Sunday, August 15, 2010

An attempt to sum it all up...

Well it's been 2 weeks now since I have been back in the states, but I figured I should update one more time just to sum up my summer.
This summer was unlike any other for me. I look back to my second post on here where I said I knew things were going to be different (the Lord had been so kindly preparing me)... but I could never anticipate how different things really were. If I tried to sit here and describe my summer in detail it could go on all day, so I've decided to just write about one little part, my boys.


The most memorable part of my summer was the opportunity God gave me to live in a children's home and be a primary caregiver to 14 boys 2-8 years old... in a word, I LOVED it. My heart was absolutely and completely stolen by these boys. My weeks living there were exhausting physically and emotionally. But really, it didn't matter because I love those kids. I broke up hundreds of fights, had to enforce time outs, listened to many many whiney temper tantrums and took a few hits from flailing and angry children. But, I also got to rub their backs until they fell asleep, cuddle on the couch as we watched Scooby Doo, do cartwheels in the field after dinner and bath and dress 14 boys each night. I am basically obsessed with these children... I love each of them and would do anything for them. But all this love that I have in my heart for them I know is not of myself... I mean what 20 year old from Centerville, Ohio falls in love with 14 Mexican orphans? I know all this obsessing love is God loving these kids through me and it is just a fraction of the huge and overwhelming love that he has for them. These boys are not normal kids. They walk around with so much anger and so much hurt and the fact that the Lord could use me to maybe bind up little bits of their broken hearts is the greatest honor I can imagine.

I have missed my boys everyday since I have been back in the states. I can't even spend more than a minute thinking about them without my eyes stinging and tears welling up. I know, it is likely that I will never be their caregiver again... some of them I may never see again. But I have to believe that God had me and the other interns and staff living there for a very specific reason this summer. I have to believe that those 5 weeks were a part of a plan that I may not ever understand.I know God has already used my experiences, this summer, to stir big things in my heart. I have no idea what all that will look like yet, but I do know I'm excited to find out.

There was so much more to my summer that I can't even quite put into words yet. I learned new things about myself, new things about God and saw him show up in HUGE ways. I met some amazing new people and built even stronger relationships with old friends. Oh yeah, and I survived a hurricane! It certainly was an amazing summer. Now I'm on to my next adventure... student teaching. 25 first graders... here I come.



When I left I told the my boys who weren't home for summer vacation that I had to go to school in the states for a year to learn how to be a teacher... but that I would hopefully be back to visit and maybe a little longer after that. I just don't think God's finished with me in Monterrey... but right now I'm just waiting to see where he leads :)

Friday, July 16, 2010

Graduation



Last week Caroline and I returned to Casa Hogar Douglas for a few days to care for our boys once again. Thursday morning as we were just starting our day, one of the other workers came to inform us that today was Jose’s graduation. In Mexico graduating from Kinder is a big deal. So we got Jose dressed in his graduation outfit which consisted of white dress pants, dress shoes, a white dress shirt and the icing on the cake was a navy blue silk cumber bun and bow tie. Then it was time for graduation, and I got to go as Jose’s parent representative! It was totally the Lord’s timing because just enough kids had gone home to calm things down enough to allow Caroline to stay alone and not go crazy. Because we had very little warning I had to go in a t-shirt and basketball shorts, needless to say I was a little underdressed, but no one really seemed to care. As he sat there on my lap and as we took pictures together I wondered what all the other parents thought. Who did they think I was? I’m certainly not his mom, do they all know he’s the orphan and that I’m just someone who takes care of him? Do they think less of him because of that? Do they pity him? These are the questions that ran through my mind throughout the 2 hour ceremony. But still I was so so excited to get to be there for him even as my heart broke as I watched all the other kids with their moms, dads, and grandparents. He deserves to have all of those people in his life giving him love and attention and as much as I want to, I can't be that. All I can do is love him with a love that comes not from myself but from the Lord and rest in the truth that God is big enough to heal the rest. I am honored that the Lord is choosing to use me to express his love for these children in so many ways, even at a kindergarten graduation :)


Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The sun is shining!!

So I realize I haven't updated in quite awhile and my last post seemed a little dire, but things are definitely looking up since then. We had a little bit more rain but nothing too intense. Monterrey was supposed to be hit by tropical storm #2 named Bonnie but thankfully at the last minute she changed her path and we are experiencing sunshiney weather once again. We have groups again here this week even though the property isn't quite back to normal. We still have kind of a river of water that runs through the center of our property making most of it impossible to drive on, however, we're making due and things are starting to dry out everywhere else which is great. So that's a little update on general happenings around the property. Also, on another note, I am feeling great once again! Thank you so so much for all of your prayers and support!


Oh and here is a little picture of one of our 3 year olds in all his glory just to go along with the much happier mood of this post... I love this child.




Monday, July 12, 2010

Coming Soon!

Updates to come soon I promise!!

Things are drying out and I am finally feeling better!! :)

Sunday, July 4, 2010

A quick hurricane update.

Hi! I don't really have time right now to post pictures or anything, but you can go to some of the other B2B blogs and they have posted a few already.

I really don't even know how to write about everything right now, so here is all I can say.

Please pray for the people of this city. I don't know if you really heard but we got hit with a pretty big hurricane that has pretty much destroyed our property flooded the city and wiped away hundreds of homes of the people we serve. And to top it off I was stuck in bed with a over a 102 degree fever for 2 days. But i don't have a fever today so things are looking up. But we could really use prayer, prayer that no more people get sick, the water is filled with disease, prayers that our staff team has energy to keep rebuilding and to bring relief to our ministry areas.

I'll try and update more thoroughly soon!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Our Boys :)

Want to meet my children? (well all except for 2 who were on a field trip that day)

Check out Caroline's blog for some pictures :)

http://carolineinmexico.blogspot.com/2010/06/meet-my-boys.html

Sunday, June 27, 2010

A few quick stories.

Sorry it's been awhile since I have updated and I don't really have time at the moment to delve into any of my deep thoughts about all that I'm experiencing. However, I will share some quick stories...

1. Today I cleaned 5 bathrooms... I highly dislike cleaning bathrooms... this is what I do for Jesus.

2. Today I also learned that "going number two" in spanish means the same thing as "going number two" in English.

3. I spent 7 hours sorting donations yesterday... it was rough... I'm the donation princess this summer, I even have a crown :)

4. This week Isai called me up into his bed and asked me to tell him a story of me, my mom and my dad... I almost just started crying right there... My heart is being broken over and over again for these children.

5. One day last week I woke up dressed 14 children sent them off to school, went to another children's home dug holes all day and then went back and bathed my 14 children and put them to bed... that was a long day.

This is my life in Mexico :)

Friday, June 18, 2010

He's leading them out.

This week was crazy once again, I was spent a few days here at the property going out with groups and then Tuesday moved back into Casa Hogar Douglas. There is so much going on in my head and heart with my time there. I'm learning so much about myself, about the Lord and his heart for the orphan child. I'm learning on a deeper level what it actually means to be an orphan and just so much other stuff that I don't even have time to put into words, but I would love to talk about. But what I can say now and what I do know for sure is that one of God's promises to orphans is to lead them out... and he is doing just that. He is using us to lavish them with love to show them that they are loved and that they are important and that they matter, not because we love them but because GOD loves them and through his transforming love, we can see their hearts changing. Don't get me wrong, there is still so much pain, so much hurt, so much anger in the hearts of these children, but walls are slowly coming down and it's beautiful. One of our toughest boys who usually doesn't show affection or laugh or smile much has been giving hugs, laughing and even asked to sit on my lap last night. The Lord is in the business of restoring and redeeming lives and I LOVE him for that. I feel incredibly honored to be a part of this process even if it's only for a short time in their lives, it matters because it's an opportunity to change eternity.

P.S. The biggest victory of the week... we used my ipod to play classical music while they went to bed and it worked like a charm!! Caroline and I just sat there and relished in the victory as they all climbed in bed and fell asleep... classical music... who knew??

Friday, June 11, 2010

So I was a mommy to 14 children.

Well it's the end of week one and this is the first moment I have had to actually sit down and reflect on my life this past week. If I tried to write this out in like an organized story form I would never fit it all in, but I'll try to give you some highlights.

This week I lived at Casa Hogar Douglas which is a children's home here in Monterrey, Mexico. They recently lost one of their workers leaving the dorm of 14, 2-7 year old boys without a caretaker, so to fill the gaps me, Caroline (a back2back staff member) and 2 other interns moved in and became their new caretakers, hence the title "So I was a mommy to 14 children". We were responsible for taking care of them 24 hours a day, so here are some the things that were typically part of my day.

- getting up every day at 5:55
- dressing kids for school
- doing 55 kids laundry
- changing diapers
- feeding children
- helping with homework
- being told I was both a rat and the most beautiful woman in the world
- breaking up fights
- finding stolen toys
- watching Ice Age 2 eight times,
- speaking Spanish
- bathing children
- catching children who are bathing in their clothes
- brushing teeth
- teaching children to say por favor and gracias
- putting kids to bed

In a brief list that was my week. It was one of the hardest weeks of my life. We were busy every moment of the day and it was nearly impossible to find a second to ourselves. I have gained such an appreciation for what these caregivers do day in and day out for years at a time.

Some things that I loved about the week were, getting to know the kids on a personal level, asking them how school was and rubbing their backs until they fall asleep in bed.

I'm now back at the property enjoying some much needed rest and relaxation, then I'll be working with groups for a few days before I move back to Douglas Tuesday night for the rest of next week. Which I'm happy about because I miss my kids, for as much as they stress me out and for as tired as I am, I can't wait to be back.

So I think that's all I have for tonight, I'm way to sleepy to think in either English or Spanish tonight, but I'll leave you with one of my favorite scenarios from yesterday...

Adrian: Who is a rat? Say who!
Me: Who?
Adrian: You!!
Me: oh... that makes me sad :(
(Boys laughing and whispering)
Adrian: Who is the most attractive girl?
Me: Who?
Adrian: You!!
Me: Oh wow, who?
Jose: Who is the most beautiful woman?
Me: Who?
Jose: You!!
Me: Thank you, I love you so much.

I LOVE these children, and so does Jesus and that's why I'm here.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

4 hours.

I have to wake up in 4 hours to leave for the airport. I still have not finished packing... I probably should have started earlier. oops.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

different.

As I said in my first post, this is my third summer interning with Back2Back. I had an amazing experience the first summer and that really just left me hungry for more, so I applied again for last summer and ended up spending two months there, one as a nanny and one as an intern. And after that I just felt like I wasn't finished there, so this summer I will be an intern for both months. Now I don't want this post to make it seem like I'm not excited, and maybe it won't be your stereotypical "wooo I'm leaving in 3 days post" but it is what it is and I'm just going to be completely honest. This summer is going to be different. And if you know me at all then you know, typically I really dislike when things are different. So knowing this has been a struggle for me. I know this summer is going to be different for a lot of reasons and some that I'm sure I don't even see coming. I feel like the Lord has been preparing me for this, yet at the same time I just have this instinctive feeling of anxiety and discomfort when I think about it. It's weird, I haven't been eagerly counting down the past 100 days like in the past, instead I've just been living life not really realizing June was sneaking up on me. Maybe I've gotten too comfortable there ... maybe a little discomfort will do me some good. God always knows what he's doing and his plans are always best. I just have to try to remember that, again and again I have seen the Lord grows me most in the times where I feel like I am pretty much terrified overwhelmed and waayyyy outside my comfort zone. So yes, things are going to be different this summer, but I am going to pray and I would love for you to join me in praying that I will embrace my discomfort and that through that the Lord will use me to love the orphan, serve the needy and advance his kingdom. Because that's what it's all about. Not me.

But... on a lighter note. 3 days!

And I thought I would give you a picture of what I will wake up to every morning and look at while I eat my toast and frosted flakes.
beautiful isn't it?


Friday, May 21, 2010

I have a blog!!

So as you can tell by the title... and the fact that you are reading this, I have a blog!! You also might know, that I will be spending 8 weeks this summer in Monterrey, Mexico serving as an intern with the ministry Back2Back. This will be my third summer there so, I decided to start this blog to keep my friends and family updated on my life happenings in Monterrey and all the awesome things I know God is going to do there this summer. I'm not really sure if I will have anything deeply profound or moving to say or if I'll say it in the most eloquent manner, but I'm going to try nevertheless.

I thought I would start by telling you all (whoever you are) a little bit more about what I will be doing this summer. Back2Back is a ministry that brings American groups down to Mexico for a week at a time to serve alongside 10 different orphanages and three squatters' villages in the Monterrey area. There is a main campus where a full time staff lives with their families, this is where I will stay along with the nearly 800 groups members that will be visiting this summer. Each day I'll be assigned a group to that will be going to either a children's home or squatters' village to do work projects, outreaches or field trips. We serve meals, play with kids, and do constructiony things... and I love it. If you want to know more about Back2Back you should visit http://back2backministries.org/

I think that's where I'll end things for now...more to come before I leave in 15 days!