Manos de Jesus

Manos de Jesus-Hands of Jesus.  That’s the organization that we’re working with Dsc03495 here.

One of the key aspects to the organization is the feeding program.  They feed over 1500 kids a couple times a week, but before the kids eat they get experience kids’ church…it’s a whole lot of fun!  I’m definitely missing my students, so this was a great relief to hang out with kids-really cute kids:) 

We sang several songs, all in Spanish of course.  And we did many, many, many motions.  The kids were cracking up at me because I kept trying to get the motions down.  The words, notsomuch, but the motions connected them with me.  It’s amazing how much kids love you more when you’re willing to make a fool out of yourself.  This is a trait that God is still perfecting in me.  Jesus put himself in a position to look like a fool for the sake of people.  I’m usually okay with putting myself out there; I’m usually okay with laughing at myself.  Take my word for it-you don’t need to test me on this:)

To be the hands of Jesus is to be Jesus incarnate.  It seems like that keeps coming up through many people…how fitting.

Cinco Quetzales

**Due to technical difficulties, this post is actually from Sunday:)

I just paid cinco quetzales for a picture with this little girl.  (7.5 Q’s are $1, so…) She Dsc03452 followed my friends, Joe and Elizabeth Foote (the Feet:) and me around the market for about 15 minutes.  I started talking to her, and I’m pretty sure she looked into my eyes:)  She said she was nine years old, which is the age of my 4th graders.  That impacted me too much.  I didn’t want anything she was selling, so I asked her if I could give her 5 for a picture with me.  She liked that.

The Feet and I are wiped out from trying to barter for the past couple of hours.  I’m really thankful that God has helped me to remember as much Spanish as I do!  I’m actually quite surprised at how well I’ve been doing.  There was this one boy, Jeremy, who latched onto us for awhile.  He knew a little English and translated a few things for us.  He was a cute kid, thirteen years old, and in the sixth grade.  While we were walking, I asked him if he knew who Jesus Christ was.  He said that he did and we talked for a minute about the Lord…but I couldn’t remember enough Spanish words to really talk much.  I’ll definitely pray for Jeremy tonight. 

Hasta lluego!

Reflections From Saturday

Okay, so today was hilarious.  Looking back, I have to laugh at the adventure of it all. 
First of all, you can check out the video post below to see a snipet of what it was like for us to get to the locations to build.  Up and down the mountains we venture, all in the back of pickup trucks.  Yesterday all 6 of us in the truck were fortunate enough to stand, while only about half the people in the other truck were able to stand.  Take a second and think about what it would feel like to sit in the back of a pickup truck for 45 minutes, going up and down mountains, around curves that were kind of like u-turns, and driving on crazy, dirt roads…you only got a snipet of a paved road…I had to hold on with both hands once we hit the dirt roads, due to the bumpiness, so no video footage could be captured at that time. 🙂
Anywho, I went on the other truck today, so I sat the whole way to our site…that was the first part of my adventure.  Going up and down, and airborn several times.  So then we get to our site…well, we couldn’t actually drive to our site.  It was a bit remote…and quite uphill🙂  Have you ever seen movies, or TV shows, where they’ve got some fugitive who goes into hiding in massive forestry mountainous areas?  Well, I kind of felt like I was in one of those places.  We had paths though, so I knew if something happened to me, Jack Bauer would be able to find me by tracking my footprints.  I was so out of breath once I reached the top and the whole rest of the time I kept thinking about the trek back.  Okay, it was only about a half mile-that was the guess from a couple teammates-but that was, by far, the toughest half mile I’ve ever experienced in my entire life. 
It got even more fun when it started raining.  Thankfully it didn’t downpour before we left our site, but the dirt did get a bit muddier for our way back down the hill.  My legs hurt:)  It’s a good hurt-although I have to admit that I’m not sure I’ll be able to handle our 5K a few days after we get back. 
Honestly, I drilled a lot more and hit a lot more nails today.  And I realized that this is definitely not my calling in life:)  I’ve watched a few people who do this construction stuff very well…I am not one of them.  I actually messed up a few times today (imagine that!) and it really messed with my pride…yep, the P word.  It really bothered me that all my measurements were off, and one of the walls was even a little messed up because of me!  Yeah, the teacher who teaches kids how to use rulers…boy will this be a great illustration next year of why accuracy in measurement is important!  My mistakes really had more to do with my lack of understanding in how to use the tool I was using.  It’s a simple tool, but it was old and rusty, and I clearly missed something on how to use it.  I know that I found the 8.5 inch mark each time!  Oh well…grace was shown to me today, and God reminded me of why He brought me here.
See…Last year, as God helped me to process life a little more by cleaning out the rooms of my heart.  Then I got to do that practically, by gutting out houses in Lousiana.  He prompted me to go on this trip because we were going to be building.  He reminded me that He’s doing that in me and that I need to do that practically.  Construction is simply not my forte, nor have I ever had any desire to that…or this kind of missions trip.  But because God’s always right, I wanted to obey him in this venture as well.  It’s kind of tough agreeing to do something that you know, right off the bat, that you aren’t going to be very good at.  It would be like my friend, Katie, playing on a sports team to raise money for missions…it would be way out of her comfort zone, but I’m sure she’d obey if God called her to go;)  I digress.  So here I was today, screwing up (as I’ve also done in God’s building process in my life-it’s called sin) and after I felt stupid, confessed that it was my fault, I sensed in such an amazing way, how big God’s grace is. 
Okay, I could write all night, but I’m really sleepy.  My real, Guatemalan coffee isn’t even keeping up:)  Did I mention it’s 9.37 on Saturday night?  That’s alright.  I wake up at 5…without even trying.  I sit by the fire, drink my coffee, read my Bible, and journal. 
It’s a good time.

Home Sweet Home

Today (Friday) was amazing.  I’m tired, but it was amazing.  I hit a hammer into wood for the first time today.  Knowing that this was not going to be my specialty, I mostly held wood for others to pound nails into, but a few nails I did drive home:)  (I was kind of a girly girl today, I guess you could say)

Take a second and think of what the word home means to you.  Think of what your home looks like; how big it is, how cozy it is, how cool/warm it is, how much stuff you have in it, the paint on the walls, the pictures hung…I’m a spoiled brat.

Here are a few pictures of one of the homes that my team built today, for a widow and her five children.

Think about the word home again.  Don’t you feel kinda spoiled?  We don’t have to feel bad about our blessings, but it’s nice to recognize that we have so much, in order to give.  After all, in the reality of the Cross, we don’t deserve anything, and we haven’t earned anything. 

This widow, and her kids, were so grateful for our small kindness.  I’m pretty sure that it meant the world to them.  We got to share blessing with someone that desperately needed it. 

Nosotros Aqui!

I think that’s how you say it!  Dsc03376

Anyway, after a long day of travelling through a couple airports…and long, windy (with a long I) roads, we’re here!  This mission house that we’re staying in, here in Chichicastenango is absolutely beautiful and is quite a haven in the middle of the 2nd most poverty stricken areas of the west.

The missionaries that we’re working with, Steve and Sonia, are quite hostesses, and I’m excited to get to know them some more throughout this week.

The team is pretty tired, although I took several "catnaps" today and actually don’t feel as tired.  Hopefully I sleep well tonight…through the rooster crows next door and the dog with a bass-like growl on the other side:)  I sleep through Jen’s snoring Jen coming in late most nights, so I should be fine.

The long, windy (with a long I) roads had my stomach churning a bit.  We went up mountains, mostly, and the down a couple too, for about 3 1/2 hours.  One thing I learned is that they have construction on Guatemalan mountains that back up traffic for miles, just like we have in Michigan!  It made me feel like I was at home.  The biggest difference would be that you’re surrounded by mountains in Guatemala and there are absolutely no exits to hit a different path…the road we were on, to get where we were going, was pretty much it:)

I’m excited that I’m sitting in a plush house, in a plush office, on a Dell (not mine), able to blog about this.  Please pray for us as we go to build a couple houses, and then go play with and feed some kids!

Dsc03370 Check out this view!


I’m a fan of many things including:

  1. my church
  2. ministry
  3. my pastor’s preaching
  4. my friends
  5. blogging
  6. jogging
  7. teaching 4th grade
  8. Hanley International Academy
  9. my family
  10. caribou coffee

…and I’m going through withdrawal of several of those things.  Can you tell on #5?  This is my 4th post tonight!  up until today i went through withdrawal of #10.  i feel like i haven’t been at #1 in forever…and i always miss #3 when i’m gone (good thing I can get the podcast;)…to the #4’s who read my blog, let’s do coffee when I get back…and i already can’t wait to get back to school the Monday after i get back (isn’t that insane?)…i miss #7 for the moment…and as for #9, i got a quick fix this weekend, but i definitely miss my boys in chicago.

12 Hours

In 12 Hours (and a few minutes) my plane will take off from the Detroit MetrGuatemalao Airport and I will be on my
way to Chichicastenango, Guatemala.  I’m quite excited and a little nervous.  I’m going away with mostly people that I don’t really know…and I’m going out of the country.  I haven’t been out of the country since I went to Mexico with my youth group, in ’96.  I really pray that we are open to being used and that God will change us forever, through changing the lives of the people that we’ll minister to.

Building homes for women and kids will definitely have its rewards…and I hope there’s more.  I want to pray prayers that seem so impossible and ridiculous to pray…and actually see God’s hand move.  Let’s pray for that.

I just posted three times this evening…because I’ve been dying to post.  I finally had the chance to sit down and not be quite as stressed about getting everything done.  My life is so blessed-so rich.  May God humble my heart this week.

It’s funny because I finally decided not to take my digital SLR, and settle for using my little digital camera, thanks to a good friend who helped me go for the "below par" pictures over risking the loss of ‘my baby’.   (Thanks, friend:)  Even in this one thing, I’m already feeling humbled! 

I think I already ready for bed!

Philly Weekend

This past weekend I spent some time in Philadelphia with my parents and my brother and sister in law.  Congratulations to Tiffany for getting her Masters Degree!  …and a 4.0, at that!

It was Father’s Day and the Tigers were playing the Phillies.  What a great day for me to take my dad and mom to a game!  To top it off, the Tigers won.  Dad wasn’t as happy…but I think that the sting of watching his beloved team lose was at least a little less because I was there:)
This is my dad and me outside Citizens Bank Park.

This is us with my brother, Todd.June_2007_272
I was told that I looked like I was confused…wearing my Tigers shirt and my Phillies hat:)

This is mom and me, right before I left.  She’s the one that kept elbowing me when I would scream for Pudge at the game, Sunday.  She tried to kick me out of their row!

And as an added bonus, I got to see a good friend from college, Ryan, who’s working in the culture of Philly.  It was also great to see him.

And just because I wanted to take a picture of the beautiful scenery of Pennsylvania…while I was driving…dad, pretend you didn’t read that:)

Kay, the beautiful goddess statue

Meet Kay.  She’s my beautiful goddess statue.Dsc03369_2

A few years ago when I was at my grandma’s house (the one that passed away in January), I commented on
her statue.  I said that I liked it and I asked her if I could have it someday.  She said that she would make sure I got it.  Well, she moved out of her apartment about two years ago, so the statue had been at my parents’ place, hiding out in the upstairs closet.  This past weekend I drove to Philly to be with my parents and I brought Kay home with me. 

Why "Kay"?  My grandma’s name was Katherine (like a wonderful writer/friend I know;), but she went by Kay.  So now I have her in my apartment.  She doesn’t match one thing that I own, but Kay will always have a place where I live, somehow and somewhere.