Saturday, March 30, 2013

He gives us hope

Last week we had a team from Windsor CO here to serve with us. They were awesome! 46 people all here to give up their spring break and serve the least of these! We decided to take this team to an orphanage we hadn’t taken teams to in the past. This orphanage had never had a team from the US come and serve so this was new for them.

Monday was our first day there and it was like most of our trips to an orphanage. There were a lot of really cute kids, all with different stories.
A 2 month old baby that had been abandoned in a Hotel, a 2 year old girl and 5 year old boy that were both with their mom when she was shot and killed and they both suffered from bullet wounds, a 5 year old girl that was in the process of being adopted by a family in the US but didn’t get out in time before adoptions closed down. I could keep going with story after story.
We spent Monday getting to know the kids and helping with chores around the orphanage.When we returned Tuesday morning we noticed there were two new girls there. The staff told us that they had arrived Monday shortly after we left. These girls were older than most of the kids at this home and it was obvious they weren’t comfortable there yet.
The girls had been living on their own because their mother ran off with her boyfriend. The only way the authorities found out was because the youngest of the 2 (8 years old) had a seizure Monday and someone called for help. The girls were then taken to the orphanage when they realized there was nobody caring for them.

Tuesday while we were there the 8 year old was taken to the hospital because of another seizure. After she returned her older sister (probably 11/12 years old) took very good care of her to make sure she got food and something to drink. Throughout the day I noticed the younger of the two was really having a hard time there. She would lash out at the other kids and cry when she got in trouble.
Wednesday we returned with some of the Doctors from the team to examine all the kids. While the Dr’s saw the kids one at a time, the rest of the team entertained the rest of the children. The 8 year old girl was throwing fits and becoming very violent with the kids and the nannies. We were concerned about this and all the nannies seemed to be too but none of us knew how bad it was about to get.

As the day went on the girl had gotten really angry. After being removed from the room where all the other kids were, she then was trying to leave the orphanage to run away. As the nannies and people from our team would try to stop her, she would try to hit them with sticks or throw anything at them she could find. At one moment she threw a brick at me and thank God there were no kids near me and she didn’t throw it hard enough because it came short of hitting me.

One of the nannies was able to get her into a room away from everyone, where the girl screamed and cried and tried to break the windows. The nannies appeared to be very scared of her and just stood back as she started throwing things all over the room. When she started to attack one of the nannies they asked me to run and get her older sister. She seemed to be the only one that could calm her down. Her sister came in and got her to lie down but she continued to scream and kick and throw herself around.

At this point everyone within that orphanage was very concerned. Nobody knew what to do. The director of the orphanage had been working for the last two days to get the girl moved somewhere else where they could better care for her. Because it was Holy week, everything was closed so they weren't having any luck.

It was time for us to leave back to the guest house but it didn’t feel right leaving them with this going on. It was only getting worse. They told us they had finally gotten someone to agree to come get her and they were on their way. They asked if we could please stay until they got there because at this point they had 4 people restraining her and needed help with the rest of the kids. We took the rest of the kids outside to play, while the young girl continued to scream and cry while being contained until someone got there. 

Both of the girls were moved. Unfortunately they had to be split up. The older girl was sent to an orphanage with girls her age and the younger girl was sent to a Neurological Hospital.
I can’t help but think about the choices that were made by the parents of these girls and how it is affecting them today. They didn’t ask to be where they are today. 

Tomorrow we celebrate Easter and this gives me hope for them and all the orphans/people around the world suffering like them.

1 Peter 1: 3-9 3 All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is by his great mercy that we have been born again, because God raised Jesus Christ from the dead. Now we live with great expectation, 4 and we have a priceless inheritance—an inheritance that is kept in heaven for you, pure and undefiled, beyond the reach of change and decay. 5 And through your faith, God is protecting you by his power until you receive this salvation, which is ready to be revealed on the last day for all to see.
6 So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you have to endure many trials for a little while. 7 These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.
8 You love him even though you have never seen him. Though you do not see him now, you trust him; and you rejoice with a glorious, inexpressible joy. 9 The reward for trusting him will be the salvation of your souls.

Evil does not win!  Sometimes today, it seems that the bad guy often wins. It seems that there is no hope for the orphans or the poor on the street to ever get ahead.
I imagine the disciples and the followers of Jesus felt on this day almost 2000 years ago that evil had won. But on the third day He rose again and because of that we all have hope! So tomorrow I will celebrate Easter a little differently........ with hope!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

She didn't come back

Last night was hard. I woke up many times thinking about this lost 13 year old girl. I prayed for her and then would try to fall back to sleep not thinking of what should be. I woke up this morning really tired but feeling hopeful for her with all of you praying.

We arrived at the church/feeding center to finish our painting. I found myself looking at the clock every 30 min or so and noticing she hadn't come by yet. At one point I asked Emily what time she came yesterday and she told me around lunch time. I took a deep breath and thought oh good, we still have time.

Next thing I know we were serving lunch and she still hadn't come. We saw a lady there that was friends with her and we asked her where this girl was. She told us that she went to Zone 1 to try and get some money.

I have heard from many people that Zone 1 is one of the places where prostitution is really bad. I felt like I got hit by a truck. My eyes swelled with tears, I saw Emily who had loved this girl the last few days break down. I was sad, angry and hurt all at the same time.

Tonight as we all prayed for her I remembered the story of Katia from Haiti. When we all came to a point where we were mourning this little girls death, God had a bigger plan and 4 weeks later she was found and taken to the hospital to be healed. Today Katia is alive!

Though we are all hurting tonight, we know that God loves her more then us. He is hurting for her just like us. We will continue to pray for her. Thank you for joining us in that prayer.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Prayer Request

This week we are serving with some amazing young men and women from our home Church. 
We went to paint Pastor Araceli’s church and feeding center today. We had told Pastor Araceli that we wanted some of the people who attend the church and feeding center to come paint with us. 

When we showed up Saturday they had already started working. There were 4 men, a woman and a 13 year old girl working with us. Pastor Araceli introduced us to these people and then later shared a little bit with us about their story. These people were all homeless with alcohol/drug addictions. Some of them lived on a corner about two blocks from the church.

We had driven past that corner many times and saw them all sitting (or passed out) on the grass. I always prayed for them and felt a little sick to my stomach every time we passed by. I knew they came to eat at the feeding center almost every day but I didn’t expect them to be the only people that showed up to help us paint. They were happy to work alongside us and to give back to the place and people that have given so much to them.

As the day went on we started to hear more about the 13 year old girl that was there working with us. She was sexually abused by her father at a very young age. She started smoking marijuana and was then kicked out of her home by her mother.  She was now involved with drugs, prostitution and some scary people. 
She started to warm up to a few of us and started to open up a little more. Especially a girl named Emily. She sat down beside me and said to me (through Emily who translated for me) “what do you want to know about my life? Ask me anything”. I was really taken back by her question and I replied saying “you can tell me anything you want me to know about you”. She told me that she smokes marijuana, and that a lot of her friends are really bad, they kill people and do bad things. She told me that she doesn’t want to live like this anymore. She asked me if I could help her. I told her that I would do anything I could to help her.  
Emily & the 13 year old girl
She later told Emily that was translating for us that she didn’t want to go to a children’s home, she just wanted a mom and dad to adopt her.

As I talked with the pastor, it didn’t seem like there are any options in Guatemala for a girl like this to get help.  That night I made a decision that I wouldn’t stop there because I know that God can do anything. I saw him close down an orphanage in Haiti when everyone in child protection was against us. God cares about this girl!

When we left that day she gave me a big hug and would not let go. Then she ran to the car to hug Sean. As she walked away and looked back at us, I saw in her eyes, a young girl, longing for a second chance and someone to love her.

Today we went back and she showed up all smiles with some of the new clothes our girls and friends had given her. A friend had given me a number of an organization that might be able to help her. Pastor Araceli and I went into her office to call this organization. I could tell by the look on her face and the tone of her voice it was good news. She got off the phone and said, “they will take her”!!! We celebrated together then we said lets go tell her. We pulled her and Emily aside and said we wanted to talk to her. The first thing she said to us before we even got a chance to say anything was, “I don’t want to go to a home”. My heart sunk…. The reality is, if she doesn’t take this opportunity, she will probably end up dead. She has to make a decision tomorrow. Please pray with me that she will let us take her to the home!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

9 months of growing and learning

The last nine months we have learned so much. We learned that living with more is not what makes us happy. We can be just as happy or even happier living with less.  
We learned that what we consider as “living with less” is still a lot more then what most people in the world have.
We now know what we need vs what we want.  
We learned how important relationships really are. We learned that only having cold water is better than having no water.
Our kids have learned that they might be hungry but they are not starving; because we have seen starving.
All of these were things I thought we knew, but now we really know.

Coming here I thought a missionary was someone who left their friends and family to move to another country to serve God.  I now believe that we are all missionaries and we all have the same calling!

As Christians, we are called "out of darkness into His wonderful light".......

1 Peter 2:9 But you are not like that, for you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light

Jesus commands all of us to go and share the gospel......

Matthew 28:19-20 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and no, I am with you always, even to the end of the age

He tells us how to do this……….

Matthew 22:36-40 36 “Teacher, which is the most important commandment in the law of Moses?”37 Jesus replied, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.40 The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.”

Matthew 5:43-47  43"You have heard that the law of Moses says, 'Love your neighbor' and hate your enemy. 44But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! 45In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and on the unjust, too. 46If you love only those who love you, what good is that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much. 47If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that.

1 Corinthians 13 Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love.

He has called us all to love one another. When we love each other, we serve each other.
 I now believe a calling is not a place, it is a lifestyle; a lifestyle that we can choose to live in Guatemala, Africa, or even Fort Collins, Colorado.

When we decided to move here, we made a year commitment to serve God in Guatemala. After much prayer, our family has decided to move back to Colorado the end of June and to continue to serve as missionaries there. We are not sure what that will look like, but are trusting God in all of this. Just as it was hard to leave Colorado to come here, it will be hard to leave Guatemala to return home.