Monday, October 1, 2012

Learning new Spanish words!

    After being here for 3 1/2 years, I am still learning new words in Spanish. On Saturday I learned the words for "broken head gasket". I am a kinesthetic learner, which means I learn by "doing" as opposed to hearing or reading. Based on what happened on Saturday, I won't forget these words for a long time!

   I had been in another town about 5 hours from my house, looking at houses to rent for the Children's Home. I didn't want to drive alone so a friend of a friend (Oscar) came along with me. I felt a little silly, but 2 1/2 hours into the drive my fears were realized. My car overheated and died.
I stayed inside the car while Oscar went to get water for my poor little overheated car.
 I learned after the fact that you don't put cold water into a hot radiator. Oops. 
At this point I still had faith that we would fill it up with water, then drive along on our merry way. Ah, ignorance is bliss.

    I didn't take any more pictures after this as I was too busy trying not to cry in front of this poor guy who had just met me 2 1/2 hours earlier. I was stressed out to say the least! But God was watching over me and although it was a really bad day (it took a very long time and some interesting transportation to get home), I made it home safely and my car is getting fixed as I write this. And a car is just a car.

    It did happen to die about 50 feet from a mechanic shop where the owner happened to still be there (they usually close up shop on Saturday afternoons) and he had lived in the U.S. for 25 years. At the time I was hesitant and distrustful (mechanics in Canada can be bad sometimes, here it can be worse) but I thank God that He let the car get that far. I don't know what else I would have done had that shop not been nearby.

   So keep praying for me! Every once in a while I have an experience that reminds me how much I covet your prayers for safety. I know He is watching over me and my life is completely in His hands.

   But I tell you, I'm not travelling alone again for a very long time! :)

Wednesday, August 29, 2012


I thought I would do another driving post. Mostly about how different it is to drive here. The ironic part of this post is that my truck isn't working. :( I take it to the mechanic tomorrow as long as I can get a jump!

The other day I was driving by a tire store. They were advertising "semi-new" tires. I have never heard that expression before. I loved it! Although if I could have gotten a picture of the tires stacked up outside the shop you would know that they are more "semi" than "new". ;)

I was driving down the highway the other day and as I came around the corner (I live in the mountains and it is basically all corners) I saw a semi truck doing a U-turn on the highway. There were 2 lanes on each side of the road so he had lots of room to turn, right? We all patiently waited while he maneuvered his truck and I prayed it would make the turn because if it didn't I would be stuck there for some time. He had a pretty tight angle going between the cab and the trailer, and he drove up on the meridian at one point, but he made it!

If you are driving down the road and see 2 branches placed in the lane a few feet apart you will know that you need to slow down for something up ahead. We would usually put down cones for that. :)

Anyone can direct traffic. Again, the other day I was on the highway and as I came around the corner I saw that both lanes were blocked off and two guys were waving at us to slow down/stop. A truck was hauling a school bus and was trying to back it into a driveway. So you turn on the flashers and patiently wait for the truck to get out of the way. Then the guys will wave you on by once it is clear.

You always keep your windows rolled up. For one thing, there is so much pollution and garbage around that the smells are enough to be thankful you are riding inside and have air conditioning. But secondly, in Guatemala City (the Capital) there are many thieves. If your window is rolled down it is an invitation to snatch the necklace off your neck. Or the watch off your wrist. Or maybe he will demand the cell phone sitting in the console. Or ask for your wallet. He may want the earrings off your ears. A friend of mine was walking down the street once and someone came from behind and ripped the earrings right out of her ears.

Granted, if the windows are rolled up, thefts can still take place, but that would usually involve a gun. One of the many reasons I always ask for prayers for safety.

If you are driving down the road with a slow person in front of you and they put on their left turn signal, it is a sign for you to let you know it is clear up ahead and you can pass on the left. Or they will just wave you on by as well. :) Such a polite culture.

Headlights are always optional. Even at night. I can't tell you how many vehicles I have passed in the dark that have had not a single front or rear light. Which then makes me think I shouldn't be passing as what if the oncoming car also has no headlight? Once I passed a motorcycle that had no headlight or taillight but he had tied a flashlight to the front so he could at least see a little bit. True story. Brake lights aren't always functional as well. That threw me off at first. I didn't realize how much my sub-conscious was looking more for brake lights than actual car stopping in front of me. I am good now.

Be agressive. Be, be agressive. (said in a cheerleader voice and pom poms waving in the air)

Speed bumps are a pain. So often they will disappear in the night. We had speed bumps put on my street and within a couple of weeks a lot of the bumps had been chipped away. They usually only chip enough away so we can drive around whatever is left.

Always expect the worse. Assume that guy is going to cut you off. Assume that you will come around the corner to a blocked highway. Assume there are potholes everywhere. Assume people will be walking in the street and won't move. It sure makes things a lot easier.

I'm sure there is more that I am missing. But having said all of that, I have definitely become accustomed to it. It doesn't bother me or make me frustrated like it did before. That is not to say that I don't occasionally yell at someone who can't hear me, ;) but for the most part, this is just the way it is.

So come on down! I would love to take you for a drive.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

I'm learning.

I had been in Canada and the U.S. for almost 3 months before returning a couple of weeks ago. I will post more about my trip on the other blog.

I hadn't seen the kids at Rehoboth in quite some time, and I have really missed them. I was able to go visit on Friday afternoon and while I was there, I asked one of the teens where he had been working. He told me that he worked at a place where they re-fill 5 gallon water jugs with pure water. I asked him to tell me about it. He got serious and explained the whole process. He told me there is is big open area so you can watch your jug be washed, then filled with pure water. He told me how they seal it and it doesn't matter where your jug comes from, they will fill it for only 7Q. That is half what I normally pay. And the water I pay for had a snail in it once, so I might as well get the cheap stuff. It can't be any worse! :)

Anyway, he went on to explain a few other details in a concentrated manner I rarely see from him. He is usually joking around. It was such a joy for me to see him take pride in what he is doing. To have the desire to explain the little details to me. To have him tell me what days he is working so I can go down and have him fill my water jugs. We were soon interrupted, but I had enjoyed the time spent with him.

A couple of days later I went to a missionary friend's house for lunch. We were talking about God's role as our Father. Having no children of my own, I have always related to God in my limited experience as His child and knowing He loves me, but not understanding the depth of it. I know I never truly will understand the depth, but that day I took one step closer.

My friend was explaining her routine in the morning. She talked about her prayer time with God and how she shared with Him the things she was thinking, the things she wanted to accomplish that day, etc. She believes fully that God is interested in everything about us. All of a sudden I thought of that teen telling me about his job, one that could be seen as mundane and unimportant, and the joy I took from him telling me. He is not my own child, but for 2 years I nurtured him, loved him, and watched him grow and mature. So if I can take such joy as an "auntie", how much more does God take joy in hearing from me? Not just my prayers requests, praises and my cries for help, but the "mundane things", the way I am feeling, the things I plan to accomplish every day.

He is my King, my Lord, and my protector. For those roles I have reverence and respect and love for Him. But He also delights in being my Father, and though He already knows everything, I understand a little more of how He loves me and wants to be involved in everything in my life. And what joy He takes in hearing from me every time I come to Him.

P.S. I don't know these people. I found their picture on the internet. I just love the way he is looking at her and thought it appropriate. :)

Thursday, July 19, 2012

I'm in the newspaper!

Check out the article here.

And remember, I have a new blog for Treasures of God Children's Home.

There isn't much yet, but there will be!

Monday, May 7, 2012

New blog.

Just wanted to let you know that I have a new blog now that is dedicated solely to Treasures of God Children's Home. The address is

Please check it out for updates on the Home. At this point, there won't be quite as much to share, but I still want to keep you all informed. God check it out!

I also made a facebook page with the name, Treasures of God Children's Home. So you can check that out too!

God bless.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

So much to write.

I am now on my own. My last day at Rehoboth was on March 30th. That day snuck up on me pretty fast! It was a hard day for me. I knew that I would miss seeing them every day. And I do.

They all surprised me with a special lunch on my last day. The food was some of my favorite and it was amazing!!! We all ate until we were stuffed. Then we had to take a break before eating the absolutely fantastic cake later on. The kids gave me cards they had made and I cried. Of course. :)

For the month of April, I was still in Guatemala but I had to change my focus to Treasures of God Children's Home instead of Rehoboth. It was a bit of a hard transition at first. It took me a couple of days to get it through my head that if I didn't do it, nobody was going to push me to do it!

I met with the social worker a few times about the paperwork on the home. We talked about the timeline, the types of children I will take in, their ages, what is required by the government in the house that I am going to rent, etc.

Now he is going to work on the paperwork while I am away in North America and e-mail me if there is anything he needs to know. I was so excited when I left his office after our last conversation 2 weeks ago. The Home is now official!

When I return I will form the Guatemalan board of directors and I will get the house ready. I will find a place to rent, get it up to government regulations, hire the staff (nannies, cook) and train them. We should be certified by March of next year! It is exciting to think about. I have a lot to do in the next year.

Right now I am in Pennsylvania visiting friends. I will be speaking to a Missions group at their church on Monday night. It will be my first time sharing about my vision and I am nervous and excited. I pray that God gives me the right words to speak.

In the mean time, I have been cooking and baking and helping out with their kids. I have been friends with this family for several years and a year and a half ago one of their sons Luke had a double lung transplant. They have 6 children at home and things get busy but fun! Several of them have medical needs. I have enjoyed helping out as well and being spoiled. I went through my first pint of Ben and Jerry's ice cream in the first 30 hours of being here. :)

It is different being in North America again. A friend of mine from Guatemala wrote a blog that I read last night. She also recently arrived in the U.S. for a visit and I was impressed with how well she could articulate what I was feeling. Here is the link if you are interested.  The 3rd paragraph especially spoke to me. She writes "Some of the differences lead me to evaluate my own attitudes and priorities.  I think I’ve spent more on junk food here in one week than many Guatemalans spend to eat for a full month—and I think I’ve been pretty conservative.  I realize how much more I “want” when I am living, even for a short time, among people who have so much.  I find it is so easy to become seduced by the materialism and affluence I see all around me. " I always think that won't happen to me. But as I wander around the Target and Sam's Club, I found myself wanting more and more. To be honest, it was mostly candy. :) I am amazed at how many different types of candy there are now!

So please continue to pray for me. Pray that I make connections. Pray that the paperwork goes smoothly. Pray that during my time in North America I accomplish all that God wants for me.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Quality vs. Quantity.

There is a lot of need here in Guatemala. The people are poor and largely uneducated. If they make it to grade 6, that is a big accomplishment here. They live on very little each day and a lot of them are just barely staying alive. They make "coffee" from burnt corn tortillas. They believe old wives tales. They respect their elders find new ideas from outsiders difficult to accept.

A friend of mine here (Canadian) told me a story about her Guatemalan friend who had to have a C-section. The incision was vertical instead of horizontal. That alone is enough to make you shake your head. But when my friend went to visit her, she noticed that this new mother wasn't talking to her and the husband was responding to all their questions and comments. Once they left the room, my friend asked why she hadn't been talking. The answer was, the surgeon had told them that the mother could not speak for the first 24 hours because air would get in her stomach and cause problems. Even if you are not a medical person, you realize how ridiculous this is. And this happened about 2 years ago.

I will not change the world while I am down here. I cannot feed everyone and I cannot educate everyone. So, do I take in a whole bunch of special needs children and give them a better quality of care than they would receive at home, but not great, or do I take in few children and give them the best that I can?

I wrestled with this.

When I was much younger, I wanted to have a big farmhouse and take in all the kids that nobody wanted. I assumed at that point that I would be married before doing it thus making me a stay at home mom a possibility. Once I got older, I realized that those types of children are often abused and angry at the world and I would have no clue how to deal with them. And I wasn't married. So there went that plan.

At some point when I was young I knew that I wanted to be a missionary. So much so, I thought that by the time I was old enough, they wouldn't need any more missionaries. I have always had the "prepare for the worst" kind of attitude. And yet I got older, got a good nursing job, and got myself into debt. So I couldn't be a missionary.

I graduated high school with a girl who had cerebral palsy. She had only the use of her neck and minimal arm movement. But intellectually, she is probably smarter than I am! I became friends with her and imagined how hard life could be for her. And yet, I never heard her complain, even when I worked for her.

I started working in a children's hospital and met Channah and her family. She was 5 years old and had severe cerebral palsy. Every day that I worked for the next 3 1/2 months, I worked with her. I fell in love with her and saw close up how a family could love and include their child with disabilities in every day life.

So I decided that I would foster special needs kids in Canada.

But then I was still in debt and unmarried. Not a good mix for someone who just wants to stay at home and take care of kids with special needs. Who would support me? Who would help me with the heavy load?

But I still wanted to be a missionary. What the heck was I going to do??!! I remember the day in October of 2008 when I prayed and asked God what I should do. Do I stay in Canada and continue nursing? Do I stay in Canada and foster kids with special needs? Do I go to Guatemala? It seemed that my heart wanted to do it all, and I couldn't see the way. But I felt God call me to Guatemala. I was 28. It had taken a long time to follow God's plan and I had learned some very valuable lessons in the waiting.

When I arrived in Guatemala I had no plan. Maybe work in a clinic? Tried that. My heart wasn't there. Then I found out about a home for kids with special needs. And I wanted with all my heart to work closely, every day with those kids. I spent 5 months learning and loving on those children. I realized God was calling me to start my own home. So I went to Rehoboth Children's Home to learn about administration and I was closely discipled by the couple running the Home.

I have now started my own plans. I have a name for the Home. I have a plan for the next year. I know what the next step is. And I only just realized a few weeks ago that God is giving me the desires of my heart from long ago. I am going to have that "farmhouse" and I am taking in children that will be abandoned and mistreated. I will be working with special needs kids every day. And not just working with them, they will be my family. I have felt heavily on my heart the number 8. I will have 8 kids in my home. And I will give them my all. I am not married but I will have staff here to help me with the heavy load. And I won't be able to save them all, no one ever could, but I will make the best life possible for these children that God will place in my care.

God already knows who these 8 children will be. He loves them. And he wants to give them to me to care for. I will be honest; it scares me! I have never been a mother. I have never been solely responsible for another human being. And caring for special needs children takes a lot of money. But I know God loves me and has it all planned out. He is not worried when I decided to freak out about it. He has put in me the desire of a special family, and that is now coming into fruition. How exciting!

So please continue to pray for me. Pray for the children I will bring home. Pray that I find the right house and I find the right staff who will love these children as much as I will.

I am sorry this is a bit long. But I really wanted to share my heart and show you where this whole crazy idea started. I know that things will change. Maybe the 8 will grow into more. Maybe not. Maybe someone from North America will come down to help me. Maybe not. My job is just to keep walking as the Lord leads me. I have such a peace and excitement about my future. Even in the midst of my panic attacks (which are thankfully lessening for now).

So enjoy folks! God bless.