Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Te Doy Gloria

 We are back from Mexico!
To say it was amazing and life changing is an understatement.
We woke up around 4am and traveled all morning.  We arrived in Mexico around lunch time.
We ate, had a couple minutes to get settled in our rooms.
We met with the lovely, Amy (our debriefer) quickly.  She asked us 2 questions...
"What is your biggest fear this week?"
"What are you expecting?"
If you know me at all you know I had a list a mile long of fears.  Even more than I let on before we left.
I thought of every worse case scenario.
From my kids being taken to getting bit by or even seeing a tarantula!
So I simply said, "I have a list of fears."
My expectation was a little different.  I tend to think of expectations as bad.  Which they aren't always.
So I really tried to go into this trip with no expectations.  I just wanted to see the Lord at work and join Him.

Soon after we arrived kids from 2 children's homes started showing up for swimming, games and a cookout.

While swimming with the kids it hit Rob and I that we really couldn't communicate with these kids through words.  We both were a little unsure of what to do.
The kids jumped right in...literally.  They just started playing.
We quickly learned that we could commincate love and laughter without words.

 The cookout was a lot of fun.  It was a great time to see people on our team reconnect with kids they met last year and get acquainted.  We ate hot dog/sausage things in a tortilla with guacamole and pico de gallo, with hot sauce of course.  Whatever you have heard about Mexican people liking hot things...it is true.  
Even the little kids would put hot sauce on everything!
Every flavor of chip I ate had a little bit of kick to it. 
 (Queso chips and Chili-lime Frito's were my favorite.  I am trying to figure out how I can get some!)

Sunday we toured the Back2Back campus and got some great information on what they do.
(If you don't know much about them I encourage you to look into their ministry.  It is AMAZING!)

Then we went to church.
Before we left, Antonio the director of Monterrey, said to me "It isn't like American church."
He was right!  People were dancing and singing LOUD, clapping.  They were just so excited to be worshiping the Lord.  I stood there and watched and listened, moved to tears, and thought... I love that they have no reservation.  They just give God all the Glory that he is worthy of.
I literally sat there listening to these people sing and thought, "You can take me know Lord.  I am good."

Speaking of glory, we have a new favorite song in our house. Te Doy Gloria.  It means, I give you glory.
We love it!  Every time I hear it I go right back to church on top of the hill at Casa Hougar Douglas.

 Carys jumped right into the dancing with a friend she had made while swimming the day before.
After church we went to Imperio De Amor.  This was the children's home we would be spending the rest of our week at.  We picked up the kids and headed to a park.  Yes, park.  My panic and fears began to surface.  Taking my kids to a park that is semi crowded where I can't keep an eye on them is nerve racking.  And you want me to go to a park in Mexico, where I don't speak the language, keep track of my kids and another child.  Uhh...no.  Not cool with this.  At all!  But I decided to pray and trust in the Lord.
Then we get to this "park."  It was MASSIVE!
breathe Amy, breathe.
I get paired up with 12ish aged girls and follow the crowd.
Antonio says, "This will be our meeting spot.  You have until 4 and then meet us back here."
Huh!? Did I hear him right?  Now you want me to walk around here by myself.
I immediately found Rob and said, "I am staying with you.  Don't leave me."
If only it were that easy.
The boy he had wanted to go one way, the girls I was with wanted to go another and Carys thought we were going to a play ground and she wanted to play.
I kept trying to get the girls to come with me so I could stay with Rob, but they wanted none of it.
 And since I couldn't talk to them that just added to the frustration.
Then, very clearly, I heard the Lord saying, "Amy, what if I want you to just say yes to following these girls through this park.  By yourself."
It struck me.  If I can't say yes to the Lord for this, I am not going to say yes to Him for much else.
So I said yes and began following the girls.
And guess what?
I survived.
I found my way back to the meeting area.
No one was kid napped.
Everyone was just fine.

We spent all week at IDA helping them put on a VBS for the community.  Yes, you read that right.  The children's home was doing a VBS for the community.  It was awesome too.  They had games, crafts, snack, Bible stories and puppets.  I even got to play Goliath in one of the stories.
Each day after VBS we would eat with the kids that lived at the home and then play with them.
Carys took her rainbow loom and her and Broderick made bracelets for them.
It was so great to watch my kids give to and serve others.

Tuesday we took a break from VBS and went to an impoverished community to serve.
To say I was not prepared for this is an understatement.
I had read books, seen pictures and heard stories of people living in a trash dump and making their homes from the trash. I truly think that part of me didn't really believe it was real.
Oh, it is real.  Very real.
And God used this place to change my life.
I saw kids living in trash.
Broderick saw a baby getting a bath in a Home Depot bucket.
I heard a baby crying from inside one of the houses.
I saw a street orphan.  That is a child that lives on the streets.  
A child. He doesn't have a birth certificate so he can't be put in a home.

This day quickly turned from the worst to the best.
We served food to some of the people that live in these homes.
It was so great to see these people smile and be so thankful.

Carys met Esmeralda and became great friends.
She also became my friend.  We got to play ball, color, make bracelets and we even taught her a song.
We spent the entire afternoon together.
When we left we gave big tight hugs.
When Carys and I got on the bus Esmeralda was standing right outside our window waving to us.  I opened up the window and grabbed her hand.
I don't know if I will ever see this sweet girl again, but I am so glad I met her.
One of my fears was that Carys and I would get lice.  Lame, I know.
I tell you what...
I would have lice everyday if it meant I could share the love of Jesus with Esmeralda on a regular basis.
I truly and genuinely love this little girl.
I told her she was beautiful and wonder if that was enough.
I miss her everyday. 
I think about her often.
I pray for her every night.

After we played for a while we took the left over food and delivered it door to door to some of the people in the Rio.  I honestly wish we had more left overs.  

Just one of the houses in Rio 3.
For a moment, imagine your family living here.

Day 4 brought more VBS prep and fun.  Thankfully I am a pro at prepping craft projects.  I am a preschool teacher assistant.  It is what I do.  And apparently it runs in the family.

We also got to take a tour of the dorms where the kids live.
I love the way they set it up.  Each dorm is set up like an apartment.
There is a living space, kitchen, bathroom and bedroom.
There is roughly 8-10 kids with one "parent."
Girls are in several dorms and boys are in several dorms.
These are some of the girls making a blanket fort out of their beds.
Blanket forts are universal!
We also got to take part in a baptism of one of our team members, Angelica.
It was such a blessing. 
Afterwards we all jumped in the pool with her and celebrated. 
Complete with a belly flop contest.
Carys asked me Saturday night at church if there was going to be a baptism.
I said, "I am not sure but if there is we can't jump into the baptism afterwards."
Or maybe we could...
What do you think Apexers!?
Our final day we took the kids to get ice cream at the mall.
Little Rosa did not want her picture taken this day.
I stole a few anyway.
Especially when she fell asleep on my lap on the bus!

This experience was absolutely amazing.  I encourage everyone to get out of your comfort zone and go on a trip.  It will change your life and the lives of the people you serve.  If you have kids, take them.
Our family is different because God used this experience to show and teach us things we couldn't learn here.
I met people that will be life long friends and some I may never see again.
I can not wait to go back!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Trip to Pennsylvania

We recently took a trip to Pennsylvania to visit Rob's side of the family.  The kids were so excited to see their cousins, aunts, uncles and grandparents.
It is funny to me how time doesn't matter to kids.  It doesn't matter if they saw each other yesterday or a year ago...they just pick up and start playing.

Little Emily is the sweetest thing.
We were all laughing at this moment because she was sharing her snack with Rudy.

We also got to celebrate Carys birthday while we were there. 
Grandma made a delicious ice cream cake.

These five had so much fun together.
It is a shame we don't get to see them more.

We celebrated the 4th there as well with a cookout and a fireworks show.
It was a great trip and we can't wait to go back!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

God is Driving a Truth Home Today

This morning Broderick woke up with a fever.

Not a big deal.

He gets one every summer.

The thing I am struggling with is...
we leave soon for Mexico and we are taking a typhoid fever vaccine pill.

We started Sunday and we take a pill every other day.  The fever could be a side effect or he could just be sick.

My first question was whether or not to continue the medicine.  After consulting our doctor and a pharmacist I received my answer which is to continue.

Did you catch that? "After consulting our doctor and a pharmacist..." 

I sent an email out to some friends to pray.  Which I did.  Quickly.  I didn't fully stop and seek Him on the matter.

Then I read this.  (seriously this ladies blog posts get me every. single. time. But that is another story.)

I mean, for real!?  (If you didn't read Ann's post go back and do it.)

So I stopped what I was doing called the kids in and prayed.  For healing. For protection. For faith.

My #1 struggle in my walk with the Lord is lack of faith.  I worry. I get anxious. I think of the worst case scenario.

I need to have faith.  (Oooo you gotta have faith, a faith, a faith! Sorry...couldn't help myself.

I knew that there would be some spiritual battles as our trip neared.  I figured it would have to do with me lacking faith.  I am ready to surrender to the Lord.  He's got this!