Saturday, November 10, 2012

A miracle.

Last Friday I witnessed a miracle.

Meet Luis.

Luis is in 4th grade in a regular public school and up until this point in his life, he has never been able to read. He is the second youngest of 5 kids all with a range of cognitive delays. Therefore, he has been pushed to the back of the class and ignored for most of his elementary school career. Last year I began to give Luis homework that revolved around the various letter sounds but we didn't work super consistently and honestly, I felt discouraged that we would ever see progress. Not one of his siblings can read.

On Friday Luis started reading.

Bit by bit, sound by sound... he read.

As we said prayers in his bed that night I thanked God over and over for the day Luis began to read. He was so proud of himself he couldn't wipe the smile off of his face.

His whole life he has been sent the message that he just wouldn't be a kid who reads, he wasn't worth the extra time or the extra effort, or he's just not smart enough for that.

But last Friday... God chose to prove everyone wrong... and Luis learned how to read.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

The Chart

When I first began this crazy new season of life 2 months ago I think we all had ideas in our heads of how this would go. I expected they would behave similarly to the way they behaved the one day a week I cared for them last year... and I think they thought it would be the beginning of a nonstop party of nintendo 64 and peanut butter sandwiches.

Well needless to say our expectations clashed a bit... or more like smashed into a giant head on collision. After a few weeks of battling over literally EVERY SINGLE thing in their day... we needed a new plan. Therefore, their behavior chart was born. Their charts list out each thing they are required to do in the day and when they complete each activity they receive a point. If they earn enough points during the week they win the chance to go on a Friday field trip. So far we've taken them to 3 of our favorite ice cream shops, the movies, the mall, out to eat and to an all you can eat buffet and arcade. It's a win win win all around. They can now clearly see what is expected of them, they have positive motivation for their behavior each day and they are getting all sorts of life experiences and social development through our field trips.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Connection

With seven kids... seven voices screaming... seven little people potentially in the middle of a meltdown... it's easy for a voice to get lost. It's easy for me to put my head down and just try to make it through the day. Correcting behavior here... scolding there... and never really sitting down to connect. But here's the catch... if I stay in that mode correcting, critiquing, scolding... and never connecting nothing will ever change.

It's the model God has shown us... he's not about behavior... he's about the heart. He wants a relationship with us, and through that deeply connected relationship the behavior follows.

So we've been looking for bridges to connect. Kids who have been abandoned and grown up in a children's home tend to have their hearts locked behind some pretty thick walls. Trusting is too hard and too scary because this person might let you down just like so many before. Therefore our bridges have to be creative... Connect Four, Trouble, 500 piece puzzles and even a WWF wrestling game have been some of the best bridges we've found so far :)


Slowly but surely we're connecting... slowly but surely they are letting me in and I can't wait to see where God takes us from here.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Soccer!

It's official.. our boys are on a soccer team... in a real league... against normal community kids! For a kid from a children's home... this is a BIG DEAL.

I can't even begin to describe how thankful I am that they have been given this opportunity. I could write forever and ever about all the ways that being a part of this team will build into their lives, hearts and souls.

We had our first game on Thursday... and despite kids twice their size.. and a field 3 times larger than the sport court they normally practice on.. they played great! In the end they lost 3-5 but we all went home happy and excited for the next game.

Aren't they adorable in their uniforms!?

Friday, October 5, 2012

Seven Faces.

These seven faces have taken over my life. They are the seven faces I wake up in the morning and the seven faces I tuck into bed each night. They are seven faces that can dissolve in to tears, anger or giggles in the blink of an eye. Seven faces that can give me such joy and cause me such heartbreak all in the same 10 second span. They are seven faces that look to me to provide love, care, protection, guidance, discipline, answers.

Sometimes, it gets overwhelming... in the spirit of being totally honest I'll just come right out and say it... sometimes I miss my life. I miss being able to go out to eat with friends, watch movies, go to the mall, get ice cream, or just hang out without seven little faces by my side. My temptation is to pout and say "this is hard and I wish I my life back".

The other day, I was listening to music and thinking just that "i miss my life", when a song came on that put me squarely in my place. The lyrics of the song say...

I wanna be your hands & feet.
I wanna be your voice every time I speak.
I wanna run to the ones in need in the name of Jesus.
I wanna give my life away all for your kingdom's sake.
Shine a light in the darkest place in the name of Jesus.

I love this song and have sung it, journaled it and even prayed these lyrics so many times. And what I realized is that God has given me the opportunity to do just what I've prayed for. To give my life away in His name. At least for this season, he is giving me the chance to give my life to seven little faces that he desperately loves.
 
So maybe I don't get to go to my favorite restaurants or watch movies and tv shows and eat ice cream and be "normal" but instead, I am getting the opportunity to give my life to seven little faces... in the name of Jesus.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Happy Birthday to Me!


About a month ago we celebrated my 23rd birthday. It was during the time that I was taking care of our seven boys all by myself. I didn't expect much at all in the way of a celebration. But in the end what I thought would just be pizza with me and my boys turned into a sweet surprise party complete with cake and decorations!

I felt so loved by my friends even after a day that was completely focused on seven crazy children. My boys of course loved the chance to eat pizza and cake.

But I think the most joy for them came the moment they got to smash my face into my cake.

It's a Mexican tradition that after singing the happy birthday song, the birthday person is then to take a "bite" of their cake which always ends with a push on the back of the head and a face in the cake.

14 little hands equaled a lot of cake on my face... and a lot of laughs. It was a great day :)

Monday, September 24, 2012

One Year Later

On September 10th I celebrated my one year anniversary of living in Mexico. Throughout the day I had a running list in my head of all the ways life is different after just one year. 

One year later and I can confidently conquer the roads here.

One year later and I can now talk on the phone, order at a drive through and teach kids to read... in spanish.

One year later and I am a mama to 7 boys with at least 10 others that I would claim in a heartbeat.

But of all of these new developments and all the ways God has worked and been faithful this past year the one that stood out the most to me is Jose.

This time last year Jose wasn't reading... if we were lucky... and i mean very lucky... he might have been able to read two words in a minute... at best. Well, on September 11, 2012 Jose sat down with me to read... just 366 days after I moved here. And do you know how many words a minute he can read now... 63!!!! I almost fell over in my chair.

But even better than his improved reading skills is the fact that one year later, Jose lives with his mom. About 9 months ago she came to live and work at the children's home and since then Jose and his three brothers have lived with her. They read together and do homework together and he has the safety, security and predictability of a family. In talking to his mom the other day she told me that the director of his school was complementing him on his improved behavior. He doesn't run down the street to the SevenEleven anymore. Nor does he just run laps around the classroom. Instead he sits and listens and does what he is told.

 I looked at Jose and jokingly said "Who are you????" To which he smiled and replied... "I'm a different kid!"

So take it from him... one year later.... and Jose is a different kid :)


Sunday, September 9, 2012

22 days

It's been 22 days ... 22 days since I became the primary caregiver to 7 boys. It's my day off and I finally have a chance to breathe, so I figured I'd catch you all up on the past 22 days.

About a week before I was set to return to Mexico I got the news that several caregivers had left Casa Hogar Douglas. Two of those caregivers were one of the couples that Caroline and I had regularly been giving a day off for the past year. The children's home was left with a huge gap... there was no one to take care of my boys. So the choice was obvious. We would do it.

However... Caroline didn't come back to Mexico until a week after I did... therefore I was alone for week one... their first week of school... first week with new caregivers... their first week with new rules and a bed time... and by the grace of God, we made it through :)

Now that Caroline is back we are able to tag team and it has definitely lightened the load. I feel like it's such a crazy and unexpected situation that we've ended up in. I turned 23 two weeks ago and I celebrated with my 7 kids. That's not normal. But isn't that how God seems to work? I can't help but feel like we're being swept up into a plan that's been a long time coming.

It's been a super busy and a times really difficult 22 days. We're getting the natural friction that comes from a new set of rules and boundaries, getting new caregivers and grieving the ones that have left. My favorite quote so far has been "You're a big fat hippopotamus and I hope you die" in reference to me... because I asked one of them to please get in the shower... he wasn't having it.... clearly. It's moments like that when I'm pushed to my absolute limits of patience but I have to keep reminding myself it's a season of adjusting and transition for all of us.

Even so, the truth is, before I moved in I was so in love with these boys and now I get to be with them all day everyday... I get to tuck them in and pray with them not once a week but every single night... it's like I won the lottery.


Monday, August 6, 2012

Taking a Break Before Round Two

Alex does this a lot. Right when he's on the verge of a meltdown, he takes a break.
Sometimes he chooses a chair and lounges on the side of the pool while the other kids swim, or sometimes he camps out on the swings for 15 minutes. But, oftentimes that break is taken in my lap or in my arms. After about 15 minutes of quiet time, he's ready to go for round two.



This past week, I got to take a break. 

After 8 weeks of summer which included over 600 mission trip participants... I, like Alex, was on the verge of a meltdown. However, in God's perfect provision, just when I needed it most, I got to spend a week sitting lakeside with my family. I rested, relaxed and read. It was awesome. 

So now I'm back in Ohio and gearing up for 2 weeks of fundraising, because... in case you haven't heard... On August 18th, I'm heading back to Mexico for another year! 
 
After much prayer I have found that God is calling me to stay in Mexico for another year. As I look back at the past 11 months, I feel so blessed by all that God has done in and through me this year. He didn’t need me for any of it, but he chose to use me and allowed me to experience deep joy while doing it. 

This year also would not have been possible without my awesome team of prayer and financial supporters. As I said I am in the process of fundraising once again and I would love to invite you to be a part of our team!

If you are interested in becoming a part of my team of prayer and financial supporters you can contact me at smathews@back2back.org  :)


Sunday, July 8, 2012

Swimming Lessons

In case you haven't heard... it is HOT here in Monterrey pretty much starting in March we're lucky is the temperatures drop below 90 degrees. One of our favorite ways to beat the heat is to go swimming... however as we began taking the boys to the pool we came to realize most of them couldn't swim. They just spent their time walking around the shallow end of the pool and splashing each other. So, I became a swimming instructor. And we now have 4 new swimmers! They jump in the deep end, swim to the side and even have races.

Jonathan was sooo scared when we first ventured down to the deep end of the kick board. It was SO awesome to see him overcome his fears and put his trust in me and now look at him!

The day Guillermo finally swam into the deep end all by himself he told me "I didn't think I would be able to learn how to swim! But I did it!"

Cesareo is now trying to learn to dive... it pretty much always results in a belly flop... but he never seems to mind.
Miguel was the last to get it, and is still a little nervous at times... but last Tuesday did it! "I learned how to swim!" he shouted as he swam back and forth in the deep end.


Now we all love swimming :)

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Showing up and Showing off.

A few weeks ago I was listening to the prayer of sweet 10 year old before bed. He was praying and thanking God for everything that we were able to do that day. He can tend to be a long winded prayer in order to stretch out the bedtime process and spend just a few more minutes with me at his bedside. But I always do my best to listen to every little word he whispers... and this night, I was so glad I did. As he got to the end and began to pray for his family I heard him sweetly asking God that his family would have the time, money, and desire to come visit him this weekend. He hadn't had a visit from them since April. We said amen and I told him good night and silently echoed his prayer that his family would visit.

And you know what God did??

That weekend his family not only came to visit but they also picked him up! He got to spend a whole day and night with his mom!

When I heard that he had gone home for the weekend I was SO excited to remind him of the prayer that he had whispered the Tuesday before. We got to talk about the ways we know God hears us and I got to watch him break into a huge smile and joyful giggle as he could trace the evidence of God working in his life.

It was definitely the highlight of both of our weeks.

Thank you Miguel for reminding me that God hears us and is faithful to not only show up... but also show off.


Friday, June 22, 2012

Who?

Last Tuesday while putting my 8-12 year old's to sleep, one of the boys just could not get settled. While he got in bed rather quickly, he tossed and turned and rolled around and then, when I walked out of the room, he came bounding into the bathroom dancing like Micheal Jackson. Clearly, this was going to be a struggle. So I climbed up onto his bed with him and just started rubbing his back until he hopefully fell asleep. And as I did this I so overwhelmed by the question of "who?". Who tucked you in and helped you fall asleep when you were little? Who rocked you and fed you? Who celebrated when you first learned to walk? or talk? Did anyone even notice? Who bounced you and played with you and told you how special you are?

It was pretty safe to assume the answer to most of these questions of ... no one.

And as I sat there rubbing his back and willing him to fall asleep I just wanted to grieve on his behalf. I wanted to grieve the loss of all of those things for him. I wanted him to be able to reclaim all of those moments lost as a baby. Honestly, I wanted to do it, I wanted him to know that I was here now. I wanted to somehow be able to fix all of it and restore all that I know he has missed out on.

And then the Lord brought me back to our ministry's theme verse for the summer.

"HE is before all things and in HIM all things hold together"
        Colossians 1:17 

He had a plan before this sweet boy's life began and it will be HIM that holds it together, not me, not his parents, not his aunts or uncles, or care givers. 

The answer to my question of who? is God. God was there and will continue to be there.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Easter!

Like I said… I got to spend two whole weeks with Gustavo and Alex in my house… which included Easter. Growing up, Easter at my house always consisted of dying eggs, Easter baskets, and Easter egg hunts. So I figured, if I was going to have kids in my house for Easter, our Easter should consist of all those same things.

Therefore….

We had an Easter egg hunt…



And the eggs had money inside : ) This fact caused Alex to yell “I wish it could be Easter every day!”

They each had a little Easter basket/bowl (I had to work with what I’ve got)

And our friend Laura brought us an egg dying kit all the way from Florida… since that concept doesn’t really exist here in Mexico. Thanks Laura!!

We also got to invite a single mom and her four boys to go to church with us and all the kids got to go to these great kid’s classes where they learned all about how Jesus is alive! We talked all day long about how Jesus had died for our sins because he loved us SO much and wanted us to be able to spend eternity with him, and not that he’s alive, he can come to live in our hearts. It was an AWESOME day.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Semana Santa

Here in Mexico the week before and the week after Easter are called “Semana Santa” or the holy week. The whole country pretty much takes a two week spring break, all at the same time. Because nearly all of the children that we work with still have relationships with their families they all go home for these two weeks.  All of them except the few who really have nowhere to go, those kids just get to stay at the empty children’s home. This year at Casa Hogar Douglas, there were only 6 kids who were unable to go home. As an effort to give a break to both the kids and their caregivers we worked to find various staff families here at Back2Back that would be able to have a few extra house guests for a those two weeks. And of course... two of them ended up coming home with me.

Meet Gustavo and Alex.


They are brothers and moved in to live with me for 14 whole days… and it was quite the adventure.

I was just like a mama. I cooked, cleaned, did laundry and even got woken up in the middle of the night. I was exhausted but was also felt so incredibly thankful that God would use me to love on those two for 336 solid hours.

We watched movies. And of course ate popcorn.


Played dress-up. 
We went out to dinner and for ice cream. We went grocery shopping. We got our eyes checked at the eye doctor. And we even took a field trip to a local amusement park! 




It was an exhausting/fun/crazy two weeks. It also included Easter! We got to spend the whooole day talking about and celebrating Jesus! It was great and a post all about Easter is sure to follow so stay tuned :) 

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Chapter Books!

Around here, we make a big deal the first time someone, reads a book all by themselves... actually anytime someone reads a book all by themselves whether it be big, or little, it's a big big deal. Recently in the primario dorm a beautiful thing has happened. It started in December with the two oldest boys in the dorm... Jonathan and Miguel read ALL of the Diary of a Wimpy kid series. But the rest of the dorm, the 4 fourth graders, hadn't quite made it to that level. So after some research and thanks to some great donations, we found the perfect series for each boy to start his first chapter book ever. And within a couple weeks... they all finished! We screamed and danced and took some pictures. 

Guillermo read Space Pirates! I'm couldn't be prouder of this little guy, he really just started reading this fall and now he's reading whole chapter books!!

And Gustavo read the first book in the Stink series!

Cesareo and Angel both finished their first chapter books as well... But wouldn't sit still long enough for me to take a picture.... it was quite an exciting moment. And the best part was the confidence that oozed out of each one of them. And when we handed each of them their next book in the series there were giggles and cheers.

It. was. beautiful.

And not wanting to be left out... Jose wanted a picture as well to show that he is now regularly reading books ... all by himself :)

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Broken.

I think sometimes I forget how broken this world is, how broken I am. I get going about my day, smiles here, hugs there. And I guess I just forget. Forget that even though I'm here loving and serving and we are all desperately trying to pour into these kids lives, I can't fix them. Nothing on this earth is going to fix it. We're all just broken and desperately need Jesus.

I was confronted full force by this reality last Sunday. It was the end of visiting day at the orphanage. The day where moms and dads come to visit their kids and spend a few hours together. Every child handles their parent's departure differently. Some just calmly walk away, some run smiling to catch up with friends, oddly enough, they usually don't cry. I think it's this fact that lulls me into thinking that this is somehow "ok" that somehow it isn't affecting them. Everything I know about child psychology tells me differently but sometimes, it's just too hard to remember how much pain is experienced by these kids I love so much. Well on this Sunday, I was watching the goodbye between a mom and two little girls and I was hit full force by the weight of their pain, the brokenness of the situation. I watched as they clung to her, not baring to let go. They cried and screamed as she tried to walk away. Finally some other girls distracted them and their mom took of running. With this the older of the two girls threw herself on the concrete in front of the dining hall and just sobbed. Big screaming, heaving cries for her mommy.

Like I said, I had been watching this all go down. So I walked over, scooped her up and carried her in for dinner. But I had no words. All I could think was, this is so messed up. What was I supposed to even say to calm her down? Nothing seemed enough. So we just sat there until she calmed down enough to eat some dinner and then I left. For me, it was a full force reminder of just how broken and messed up this whole thing is.

   “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Going to School!!

I posted awhile ago on facebook about a very sweet eight year old's first day of school... but I thought I'd share a little bit more of the story.

He arrived at the children's home in late October with hopes that it would be just a short two month stay... but the circumstances have changed and well... it looks like he'll be with us for quite a while longer.

We don't have any of his official paperwork such as a birth certificate. As kids come and go and bounce from place to place, this is veerrry often lost in the shuffle. This was going to make it almost impossible to get him into school. Additionally, he has never been to school before, therefore this was going to make getting him into school even more difficult. And since, at first, it was only going to be a two month stay, the children's home made the decision not really push the subject. For his first three months, he just didn't go to school. And as you can guess, this really didn't sit well with the teacher in me... so Caroline and I made him homework. We got a backpack, a folder, some photo copies of the standard book they use to teach reading here and set him to work. Anytime one of the boys asked if he went to school he'd say "Yes, I go to The School of Sammy and Caroline". I worked with him one on one maybe 5 or 6 different times and then suddenly... it was January when he picked up the book "Go Dog Go" and just read it. 

We were shocked... there he sat in a chair ... reading. Nothing short of a miracle.

I was really struck with how big a miracle this was when after a few weeks of being able to read he said to me "Hey, can I do that thing that you do with the stories??" "Read???" I asked a little confused. "Yeah that thing! How do you say it? Reeead?". He didn't even know the word for to read! In spanish by the way. He didn't even know the word for what he was doing! But he was doing it!

This is just one of the many many many ways God has shown up in this little guy's life... I hope to share more of his story later because it literally brings me to tears just thinking about the way the Lord's hand has been on his life.

Anyways... back to his school story. So in January he started reading and already knew all his numbers and could do addition and subtraction... it was time to get this little guy in school.  I was so frustrated with the way he had to just sit and watch as the other kids came and went... he wanted to go to school SO badly.

But we still didn't have his papers... and then God intervened again.

The week of February 20th a new director came to the kids school. This was our chance! It was my job to get his dorm of boys up that morning. I woke him up and said put on a uniform... we're sending you to school. He immediately starting screaming and jumping up and down. I had to gently remind him that we weren't sure it was going to work... but we were alllll going to pray. So we prayed...  and do you know what the school said??? They said YES! even without papers!

And because he could already read... they put him in SECOND GRADE!

He came running home from school that day yelling "I WENT TO SCHOOL! AND I GET TO GO BACK TOMORROW!!!"

And now we do homework together everyday... and he still loves it.

God is moving and shaking in this little man's life... I can't WAIT to see what he does next. 


Wednesday, March 7, 2012

The reading bug...

 Like I said in my last post, the reading bug seems to have bit some of the girls too.There is one girl in particular who has been reading pretty much non-stop since December 1st... I think she's on something like her 11th book (knowing that the average mexican reads less than 1 book a year... this is incredible). We had a little problem at first with knowing how to treat and take care of books that have been loaned to you, however now we are on a 1 for 1 exchange system and it seems to be working well. There are some days where I feel like I'm dealing books out of the back of my car. It's awesome to see the way they can't wait to get their hands on them.

 "It's the longest book I've ever read!" Daniela said through a huge smile as she made her first exchange.
"Please, please, please find more in this series!!" Bety begged when she finished.

There was is one book in particular that the girls have been begging for... and that of course is anything and everything about Justin Bieber. Well, this past weekend while on a trip to Texas, I found one. Yesterday I showed it to the girls amidst shrieks and screams of "Let me read it first!!". I ended up giving it to their caregiver to use as a prize for those who were behaving well that day. Can you believe it? A book... a prize. Never would have thought I'd be saying that about Casa Hogar Douglas, but God is good... and God is faithful... and God is moving.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

A Reading Party!

I am so incredibly proud of these two boys... 

I posted a while back about Miguel and the miracle that occurred when he read the first book in the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series in just a matter of days (click here to check out that post). Well ... within a total of about 6 weeks, both Miguel, 10 and Jonathan, 11 read the ALL 5 books in the Diary of a Wimpy Kid Series. They did it without a bribe or even the promise of a reward. However, when they finished, we knew we had to have a party. Well about a month ago, we finally had our party.

Caroline and I picked up the boys at 3:30 and headed straight to the grocery store, we gave them each some money and let them pick out whatever pizza, snacks, popcorn and ice cream they wanted. It took us at least an hour at HEB to pick out all of our treats. We then went to Caroline's house to cook our pizzas play some game cube and finally watch the Diary of a Wimpy Kid movie. Throughout the movie they told us how it was the same and how it was different than the book, which parts it left out, and which parts they liked better in the movie. It was SUCH a fun night.

At the end of the night as we took them back to the children's home I said, "Thanks for spending the night with us!" and I was blessed to hear "No thank YOU!"  in return.

The goal of the night was to make it a really really BIG deal for them, because it is a big deal! They have each read at least 5 chapter books this year... the average person in Mexico reads less that 1 book per year! They are 500% above the average! I could go into teacher mode and write a list a mile long of all the benefits of reading, but instead I'll just highlight a few statistics....

Did you know?
  • Less than 4% of the Mexican population has access to a public library.
  • Less than 8% of Mexican adults have a college degree.
  • There is a direct link between reading proficiency and crime and that, two-thirds of American students who cannot read proficiently by the end of the 4th grade will end up in jail or on welfare.
  • Over 70% of inmates in America's prisons cannot read above a fourth grade level.
There is such a strong and direct link between a child's reading level and where they will end up in life. One of the biggest steps up and out of poverty that we can give them, is education, but without literacy, they will fail. Reading is going to change their lives.



I am so incredibly blessed and blown away by the fact that I get to be here in the year that reading is taking over the children's home. It seems like in everything we do this year, God is pushing education and specifically reading to the forefront of everyone's minds. The older girls have even caught the reading bug... but I'll save that story for another day :)

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

A sweet reminder.

I tell the boys I love them a lot. I just want to make sure they hear it and know it and know that even when I'm mad I still love them. Well last night I was taking care of the little boys all by myself for the first time. I was getting the last ones bathed and cleaning up the bathroom when I heard them whispering and plotting in the living room. As I made my way out to the living room to see what they were up to, I was tackled and told I was not allowed to see yet because they were making a surprise. After about 30 minutes of being banished to the bathroom I was led to the living room with my eyes covered. On the count of three I was allowed to open my eyes and found this lovely sight at my feet...

Translation: Te quiero Sammy, Courtney, Caroline .... I love you Sammy, Courtney, Caroline

It was such a sweet reminder to me of the way they Lord is working in my relationships with the boys... he's building love and trust and friendship and all these hours I spend trying to pour just a little bit of Christ's love into their lives isn't in vain.

I do love them... so very much.... and it is wonderful to have a reminder that the feeling is mutual :)


Thursday, February 9, 2012

Learning to Pray.

I've said before that my favorite part of a day spent taking care of the boys is the chance to pray with each one as I tuck them into bed. I get to rub their backs or their heads as I use my broken spanish to pray truth into their lives and their hearts. We always pray for dreams that are good and sweet and pray for every member of their family wherever they may be. We thank God for his love and that he made us princes and princesses of God. I've lived here almost 5 months now so this is been a habit that we've been building for awhile. Now as they jump into bed I get to hear "Sammy pray with me!". I've always thought this is good for me... I'm learning to pray in Spanish... but what I've realized lately is that they too are learning to pray.

I recently heard a sermon that said the way to teach a child to pray, is to pray for them. So I figured well, they've been prayed for, it's about time they start praying. One night I just tried saying, I'll go first and then you go next. At first they seemed unsure and we had a few giggles, but now... their prayers knock my socks off. I've heard prayers of repentance, prayers of thanks, prayers that glorify and prayers that praise. We're learning to pray together.

Some of them have caught on to the fact that if they just pray and pray and pray and pray it will keep me sitting on their bed. Sometimes it goes on so long that I have to just say amen  because it really is way past bedtime. But the point is they are legitimately talking to their heavenly father. And I just love love love that I can be there to hear it.


Sunday, February 5, 2012

Got Milk??

A few weeks ago while we were taking care of the little boys, our friends Courtney and Michael came over with a veeerrry fun surprise. On their most recent trip to Texas they found pretty much the coolest straws ever for drinking milk. They were plastic and filled with little flavor beads so that when you suck the milk up through the straw it becomes that flavor.

Courtney and Michael brought each boy a big glass of milk and a fun straw to drink it with. Needless to say, the boys loooooved it and loved cheesing it up for the camera while they were drinking :)




I know I have said it a million times... but they aren't they just so darn cute??