Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Happy Birthday to Joshua!

Little man is 4. I can't believe it. He is amazing. I spent the morning with him at Knuckleheads and family joined us for his party in the evening. He's getting tall and so kid-like, instead of toddler like. He's starting 4K this year, and I'm so pleased with his manners and his enthusiasm and zest for life. He is all boy - rough and tumble, energy to spare, impatient, loud, loving, caring, exuberant, and messy. We love him!
4 years old
3 years old
2 years old
1 year old

Mom goes to Honduras - day 10

Our final day in Honduras (other than the travel day home) was bittersweet. We all ached to be back home with our families, but it was hard to leave those we had come to care about in Honduras. Our first task of the day was to visit a church that Cross Point (the church we attend in the states) had helped to build on previous visits. We handed out some food and school supplies there and then continued on our way.

We went to a center for children with MS and other degenerative illnesses. I was impressed with the center; they had a therapy pool and a nice outdoor playground area. Most of the children were confined to wheelchairs or strollers. We made some balloon animals, and then each of us "claimed" one of the kids and took him/her for a walk. I paired with a little girl named Paula. She looked to be about 6 or 7 but was in a stroller as she was unable to walk or move much at all. She did have some movement in her arms and was able to turn her head. She wasn't verbal and didn't want to make a lot of eye contact. As we walked, we talked to the kids, although not in Spanish, and then we gathered in the middle to sing some songs together. We sang Cristo te ama (Jesus Loves of the few songs we knew in Spanish) and I held Paula's hand and stroked her hair off her forehead. It was a very emotional time for all of us...knowing that these children were not long for this world. I prayed for Paula that her time on earth would be pain free and short...that Jesus would soon take her home.

Before we left, the director told us that one of the kids needed surgery that would enable him to walk, but they didn't have the money for it. We were able to hand her the cash right there. Amazing!

We went out for an authentic Honduran lunch at an amazing restaurant. They brought free appetizers to our table that would have been enough for lunch. Some of the guys had shish-kabobs as long as my arm with pieces of meat the size of my fist. The food was excellent.

After eating, we headed up the mountain to the "Jesus statue". We had seen the statue as we drove around the city, and learned there was a national park there. We drove up and spent about an hour walking around the park and taking pictures of the city.

Spent the evening packing up and saying our goodbyes...

Honduras was life changing for me, but already I feel it fading. It's two months ago now, and my life is back to normal. I don't want it to fade in to a memory, I want it to permeate my actions and thoughts. I want the impact to be something I face every day. I want to remember what I saw and what God did.

Mom goes to Honduras - day 9

This was one of my favorite days. Earlier in the week, the team had decided to take the money we set aside for a free fun day and build a house for a family instead. We were up early and headed up in to the mountains to a beautiful retreat center called Villa Gracia. On the way we passed many large homes, including those of the American, Canadian, and south Korean ambassadors. Quite different from most of the homes we saw and also surrounded by heavy security and large fences. At villa Gracia, we picked up the guy who would be leading our house building adventure, as well as some other people who would help us. We were able to get off the bus and enjoy the beauty. The retreat center actually reminded us a lot of Wisconsin...lots of pine trees and very peaceful. After loading up all of our equipment, the bus followed Mark up the mountain.

We reached a place where the bus couldn't go any further or it wouldn't be able to turn around again...meaning we had to hike up the rest of the way. It was a hard trek in the heat and altitude, but we all made it to the site, which had already been cleared and prepped for building. All of our materials were waiting for us, and we were also able to view the outside of the current home, which was ready to cave in on one corner. We were building for a mom and her 3 children, as well as the grandmother.

Using post hole diggers, chainsaws, hammers, and nails, we erected a 15x16 wooden one room house with a slanted corrugated tin roof, wooden floor, and a hinged window and door. We placed a sign over the door that said en el nombre de Jesus (in the name of Jesus). We prayed with the family, and they said they hoped we could come back to bless another family in the same way.

Trekked back down to the bus with all of our stuff and scarfed down some lunch. We built the whole thing in about 5 hours. Everyone was able to help, whether pounding nails, hauling lumber, holding walls in place, digging holes, etc. It was a beautiful thing to experience.

Spent the rest of the day relaxing at the house...we were exhausted!