Sunday, February 27, 2011

Jungle gyms and English words.

Some goings on of this week…

We had our first full week of school. It was fabulous. I am in heaven with all these sweet little ones.
A schedule of what I do most days during school hours (give or take):
7 a.m. - 12 p.m.
Kim and I split up between classes to help with writing and ECA time. We help check and grade their homework during writing. During ECA we help with their art, or dance, or whatever it is they are learning that day. I really enjoy this time because I am not only getting to be with the children during school hours but I am also learning as well (since I MIGHT be at about a kindergarten level of Spanish). The kids love learning English. They are always asking me questions during class “How you say??? How you say??” and I love listening to them try to say the words. Right now, in the fourth grade class, my name is “ In ingles SUUmer, en espanol Verano”. Kim and I are in charge of a few of the P.E. classes and I really enjoy this. Last week we taught them duck duck goose, red rover, and red light green light. We taught them these without a translator (it was pretty humorous). We also help serve the children their meals. Xiomara’s mom cooks for all 180 children. 5 days a week, that is pretty impressive. A taxi brings it around 9:30 and we deliver it to all the classrooms. This takes a good 45 minutes. After we finish distributing meals we go outside to recess, where my back begins to ache and I sweat for an hour but it is worth it. Apparently, white girl means jungle gym. They LOVE to jump on me, tickle me, and chase me. Whatever they decide to do, it is never less than 25 children. It is precious. I hope they never get use to me being here and it stays this way. When recess is up, they eat and then we wash out the cups they drink their juice out of so that they can use them to brush their teeth. Teeth-brushing time is my favorite.. Oh it is so sweet. They are all in a line outside their classroom brushing away with a grin from ear to ear.

School gets out at 12 but I usually stick around until 1. Each classroom has two children’s parents helping clean up each day.. So there is usually about 14 or more children who have to stay late. We play soccer or pato, pato, ganso (duck, duck, goose) or sometimes they just enjoy making me run in circles.

Around 1:15 I head back up to my house for lunch and to study up on my Spanish. From 3-5 I have Spanish school. When this is over the sun is setting and I have been trying to make a habit of walking or running during this time. It is beautiful. I then usually visit with the neighborhood kids, try to practice what I learned in espanol class. Then it is time to cook dinner. Kim and I have been very experimental and been cooking lots of different new things. That has been very fun. I have enjoyed having my very own oven for the first time.

Schedule of visitors in the month of March:
3/2-3/9: David McCrary, Tim Agee, John Bentley, and Marie will be here this Wednesday.
3/4-3/11: THIS FRIDAY I HAVE MY FIRST HOUSE STAYS J Lindsey Morse and Kristen Mitchell are coming to see me and I am so happy!
3/16-3/19: My cousin Lincoln, My aunt Kristie, and Mrs. Kathy will be making their way over here to visit me from Honduras! First family visit award goes to them ;)
3/18-3/25: The JCS mission team will be here for their spring break.
So exciting!

Tuesday night I felt my first earthquake. I don’t have any way of getting news here right now so I did not know about New Zealand’s so I wrote about it on my facebook. Big mistake. But it was not a bad one and no one was injured. I was in the perfect place for it.. Sitting in a hut surrounded by palm trees.
Because of my scoliosis, I have been going to the chiropractor 2 times a week since I was in 5th grade; so moving here without one has been an adjustment (ha double meaning). My back got really sore after painting for a week and a half and so my Spanish teacher told me about a masseuse here. I got a 30-minute massage for $8 from the “blind massage, seeing hands”. It was incredible. I have never had a massage, but I am pretty sure he is the best there is.
Wednesday morning I woke up with a gecko in bed with me.. no.big.deal.
Wednesday is FRESH MEAT DAY. This is a pretty wild day here. It is like a holiday, every week.
Thursday morning was our one-month of Spanish, and for a celebration…we got to take a 10 pg. exam. I have officially passed my first level of Spanish school. I can’t wait to be done with Spanish so that I have the afternoons to work in the villages around me. But I wont do much good until I know the language. until then…
Thursday night at church a sweet elderly woman came up to me and asked me to pray for her legs so I prayed with her and talked to her for a while (as best I could). She was very sweet but was in so much pain. Please pray for this woman and for God to show me what I can do to help her.
Friday night I had my first girls night out. Cynthia and I took a taxi down town and walked around, ate dinner, and went to a movie(English with subtitles). I am very thankful for a friend like her down here. We talked about our vision for helping children down here and I can’t wait to see some of our ideas play out. It was awesome.
-Just an FYI for people interested in visiting. I paid for a taxi downtown, two meals, two movie tickets, snacks, and a taxi back home for less than 15 dollars. Incredible.
This weekend has been very relaxed. Getting prepared for a month full of visitors.. Cleaning, groceries, etc. We also had a lot going on with the church.
Saturday morning I went to the beach to read for a couple hours.
Saturday night the power went out so Kim and I cooked by head-lamp-light AND we did not have water. It was an experience.
Today was a great day at church with our brothers and sisters. When it was over I got to rock the preacher’s infant son to sleep and I loved every minute of it. We then went to a member’s house to pray with her because she had something wrong with her leg. Please keep her in your prayers.
Another prayer request: one of the 3-year-old boys is dealing with sexual abuse. He has been profoundly affected by it. Please pray that this first year at school will give him and his family a chance to heal. Keep all of the children in your prayers. This is just the first week of school and these children come from some of the most poverty stricken areas of Leon.

I want to praise and thank God for all the wonderful things happening. I know this is going to be a year of so much amazing-ness. I am praying that I can share God’s unconditional love in everyday.

If you would like to get involved and help NCS in some way please let me know. Supporting one of these children only cost 30$ a month and it provides them with their uniform, school supplies, a good Christian education, and a nutritional meal every day. 

“He will use you to accomplish great things on the condition that you believe much more in His love than in your own weakness.”

"The most terrible poverty is loneliness and the feeling of being unloved."

Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” Matthew 19:14


Saturday, February 19, 2011

In Your presence there forever we'll be happy to reside..

Mi corazon esta en Nicaragua. 

It is official. I have been here for a month and a day. And let me be honest, I thought that this milestone would be really hard for me. But God has completely wrapped me in his arms.

The sun is setting out my window right now and I have been listening to Glory and Honor acappella on repeat tonight. I am really missing praise and worship back home and this song is so extra beautiful to me. I decided to read the lyrics..

When I’m there with You in heaven
What a wondrous joy will be
Gathered with the angel chorus
Standing by the glassy sea
Such a thought is hard to fathom
In the presence of my King
And with countless ones forgiven
Gathered round the throne to sing

Glory and honor, worthy is the Lamb (worthy is the Lamb)
Glory and honor, worthy is the Lamb (worthy is the Lamb)

Mortal words cannot express it
All the ways You reign supreme
Even death can’t hold the vastness
Nor approach this awesome theme
You are God and to Your glory
We will worship and abide
In Your presence there forever
We’ll be happy to reside

…Gathered round the throne to sing… In Your presence there forever we’ll be happy to reside..
One day, I will be singing praises to the King with my brothers and sisters from all over the world.. My family from City of children, from Tennessee, from Florida, from Nicaragua, from the Ukraine.. All together singing to OUR Maker. Forever. 

This week went great. Valentines deliveries were awesome. I loved finally getting to hug on my little ones from over the fence. First week of school was a success. And all the new milestones just made everything more real. Our spanish teacher will no longer speak english to us. I have a week and a half until we start getting visitors. etc. Praise.

The rest of my details of this week will come in picture. After all, they do speak a thousand words.. 

RIP Norvin Parrales. We will miss you, but see you soon. 

Here is a sweet Valentines baby for ya :)

 <3 Happy Valentines day <3

Finally got to hold my neighbor Ricardo. He likes me.. I swear. (ps look at that sweet little bottom ha.)

My girl Adiana showing me around the village to give out valentines

Precious baby 
Check out this sweet baby chunk!
They loved their lolly-pops.


Happy to be reunited with these sweet sweet faces. The boy on the left is Jonathan (my neighbor) you have already seen a few pictures of him. To the right is Jesse, he is Yaders son. Yader is our translator and in charge of the construction around the house and school. He is a life saver.

Getting checked for Lice.

Sweet baby Brian wanted his Madre.
Some of these pictures will make you sad.. It was the first day of Preschool.. Most of these children have never been away from their mommys. But don't worry.. It is now monday.. and they are as happy as ever.

Wait till you see his SMILE. 
We both miss our mamas

Some of the happier preschoolers.

Sweet little Emily cried so hard she passed out on me.

Wilber and Jonathan.. my favorite brothers who live next door and go to NCS!

This is the one and only Cheeks.. Every time I see this sweet face I can't help but to smile.
This is my sweet Rosita.. She holds a dear place in my heart. My family supports her and she is the most precious girl.

Jonathan :) 

 Rosita wanted to take pictures of us so we made funny faces for her!

Unlike the 3 year olds.. Rosita did NOT want to leave me. She is my sweet little angel.

We Love Jonathan!!

American food makes for a Happy girl. Thursday we went to Managua to go to a place called "Pricesmart" which is a lot like Sams or Costco. Glorious. We also took a pit stop by the mall for some lunch!
Happy am I.

The children cleaning up trash around the school

some handsome little fellas getting ready to brush their teeth.

Pretty teeth thanks to our supporters back in the US!

Hi, We are the pre-school girls and we miss our mommys. 

Hi, we are the preschool boys and we like to cause ruckus. It is a good thing we are cute.  
Bathroom line! 

This is the first smile I have caught from this little girl in 3 days.. She really misses her family. But my goodness, isn't she beautiful?

This is happy Emily.. She is over crying on my shoulder.. Not going to lie, I miss it already. But she likes to hold my hand everywhere she goes.. So it works :)

Creative little one.. Feeding her pet caterpillar a crayon. 


Serious black eye. Seeing these frequently and it has only been a week.. 
Pleas keep these little ones in your prayers.. 
“Whoever welcomes one of these little children in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me does not welcome me but the one who sent me.”
Mark 9:37
God is so good.
worthy is the Lamb.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Happy love week!

We have a big week coming up.

Tomorrow is 14 de Febrero (throwing in some practice). It is Valentines Day.. The day of love. The day of heart shaped candy, chocolate, and kind, mushy-gushy words. In the past, this has not been a day I particularly look forward to but this year is different. This year, I get to spend the day with sweet children who need love. Children who might not know the unconditional love of Jesus Christ or the meaning of unconditional love at all. Tomorrow is another day I plan to draw closer to God and to his children. We will be working on Valentine's tonight for all the children in the village around us. Can’t wait to be with all my Valentine's.

Shout out to the best brother in the world. Happy birthday Valentine's baby! Since I can’t be with my brother on his birthday for the first time in 21 years, I expect all my Campbell Street family to give him lots of hugs for me on Wednesday.

Tomorrow also marks the last day Kim and I will be painting. Thank goodness for this, my wrist was soon to fall off (dramatic moment).

Tomorrow ALSO marks (tomorrow is a big day) our two-week mark of Language school, which means no más Inglés en la clase de espanol. It is very possible I will start throwing things. Patience is still a virtue I struggle with.

Tuesday is the first day of school. PRAISE. I can’t wait to see all those sweet little babies. Over 200 hugs that I can’t wait to receive. What a great day it will be.

Thursday marks my one-month of Nicaragua happiness. Thankful for all the love I have received this month and for all the people who have reminded me of why I am here and what a great God we serve.
March is also coming up.. Which means LOTS of English speaking visitors. This subject brings me to a confession, this morning at church, I was saying my communion prayer and it literally started like this “Muchas gracias por mi familia y mi amigos y…. When I started going blank I then realized that I have now become a spanglish and giggled during the Lord’s Supper. I like to think God also found humor in this. 

Lindsey Morse is coming to see me March 4th. She will be my first visitor! Thank you Lin for sacrificing your camera money to come see me and the babies. We can't wait to see you! 

Last week I took a long walk on the beach and guess what I found? A volleyball net at a beautiful spot on the beach, next to a surf school. I know where I will be spending my Saturday mornings. Anybody want to come play? ☺

Last Thursday we went to visit Norbin’s family. It was a very hard day, listening to how much she loved her little 7 year old. She cried, we cried. She told us that she could tell he was not doing well the week before he passed but that the whole time he kept saying “Mama, have you registered me for school yet? I can’t wait to be back at school, Mama!” He had 4 siblings all over the age of 16. They were standing in the door way crying as their mother told us about her little boy. My heart breaks for this family but I am so thankful that he no longer has any pain and he is smiling with his Savior. I am so glad that he had the opportunity to go to Nicaragua Christian School and to know about Jesus. I am thankful for the families who help this school and make it possible.

Thankful for the sunshine, for smiles, and for laughter.

Some pretty faces from a fence over

:)Little boy from church

A picture of Norbin and his sweet mother.

On the day the LORD gave the Amorites over to Israel, Joshua said to the LORD in the presence of Israel:“Sun, stand still over Gibeon, and you, moon, over the Valley of Aijalon.” So the sun stood still, and the moon stopped, till the nation avenged itself on its enemies,as it is written in the Book of Jashar.  THE SUN STOPPED IN THE MIDDLE OF THE SKY AND DELAYED GOING DOWN ABOUT A FULL DAY. Joshua 10: 12-13 

Monday, February 7, 2011

Prayer requests

I come to you with two requests:

My first prayer request is for the family of one of the children attending the school here. He passed away with heart failure of some sort Saturday night around 7 p.m. His name was Norbin, and he was 7 years old.

His family came to talk to Xiomara today about what happened, and I guess to explain why they were not registering their sweet little boy in to the school again this year. When Xiomara came to tell Kim and me this morning while we were painting she said, “The last day of school last year I felt like I needed to take his picture, I don’t know why.” Heartbreaking. Xiomara went on to say that while the mother was trying to tell her what happened that she broke down and cried (obviously), but the father was unhappy about this and yelled at her and told her to stop. We are hoping that he was just embarrassed, but it is likely that she does not have a supportive home. The mother was a stay-at-home mom and was with her little boy all the time; the father was rarely with them. What a sad day! It is hard to think about what it would have been like if that poor child had the same medical attention we have in the states. He would have had a better chance of living, but I am glad to know this sweet little 7 year old is now sitting at the feet of Jesus.

Please pray for his family. I can’t imagine the pain they are going through.
Also, if you would like to help this family in anyway, feed them, help pay for the funeral cost, send them a letter, etc. Please send your money or cards to Campbell Street and state exactly what you want done with it, and I will make sure it gets done.
Thank you in advance for the prayers sent up for this family; I know I can count on all of you.

The second request is for me. I have been reading the book Sun Stand Still by Steven Furtick (I highly recommend it). This book is incredible and just what I needed as I begin this journey in Nicaragua.  
One paragraph that has really spoken to me this week is in the chapter “Hear. Speak. Do”.

“You see, there are going to be many points along the way when you’re not going to have anyone around to motivate you or encourage you. And in those moments, you’d better be able to open God’s Word, look in the mirror, and remind yourself of the truth. As you incorporate God’s Word into your vocabulary, the way you see your circumstances will begin to shift. Your faith will start to rise higher than your feelings and your fears. And it all starts with speaking the Word.”

I feel like this is really one of those times for me. I am going to have to let God motivate me, through me.  I am not alone, but sometimes I allow myself to feel alone because everything is not in order like I am use to. I depend a lot on my parents and my friends back home, and I need to fully rely on Christ at all times. During my hard times I want my first thought to be “PRAY” not I need to go call my parents (even though I have the best). I also want to take action, I have moved to Nicaragua, but now what? That is not enough. I want God to be my hands and feet every single day that I am here and always. I know that with strong faith and prayers I can accomplish the unimaginable, but without God this is pointless. I want complete openness to what God has in store for me.

Also please pray while I work to cross over my language barrier.

I am so thankful for the spiritual people that are in my life and thankful for the assurance that I can write this and know that my requests will be brought to God by many. Thank you for reading and letting me have a few minutes of honesty.
Te amo. 

Thursday, February 3, 2011

For in all your moments, He is there.

God has granted me peace beyond what I could have imagined. It is a wonderful feeling and it only gets better when all the sweet children start showing up every morning for school.  I CAN’T wait until February 15!

Can I just take a moment to say that I have the greatest family and friends in the world? I do. I have not had a moment to think about being home sick or feel lonely. Every time I get on Facebook I have an encouraging note or message. Or every time I check my email I have 10 unread, or every time I get on skype someone is waiting to talk to me. etc. I feel so blessed to have such loving people in my life who care so much about me. And let me just add that I also have an incredible family down here. Between my friends I already had that live down here, to the amazing family who also decided to move down here from Jackson. I am so happy to have a family here that loves me and welcomes me with open arms. And a family back home who can’t wait to know every detail of my life here in Nicaragua. What a blessing. God knows exactly what I need.
Here is something I received from a dear friend just yesterday (shout-out to Sherry Brooks)!

In the happy moments— praise Him.
In the difficult moments—seek Him.
In the prayerful moments—ask Him.
In the decision moments—follow Him.

In the quiet moments— see Him.
In the lonely moments—know Him.
In the listening moments—hear Him.
In the unsure moments—believe Him.

In the active moments—serve Him.
In the waiting moments—trust Him.
In the hurting moments—touch Him.
In the lovely moments—adore Him.

For in all your moments, He is there
in goodness, in kindness, in love.

Kim and I have been painting the tables and chairs for the classrooms in the preschool and Kindergarten. It has been fun, we still have lots to do but they are looking much better! There are lots of pretty bright colors that will hopefully bring many pretty bright smiles.

American women are really cool down here. Everyday since I have arrived, there have been kisses blown, “muy bonita”s thrown, and wedding purposals offered. It makes traveling to town all the more entertaining.

It is loud and noisy right now and I can’t get much done because I have to stay at my house all day. Why you ask? The horse and buggy finally made it (a few days late, of course) with my cabinets and the doors for the inside. I am now going to be able to close the bathroom door and I can take my kitchen supplies off the concrete. Double awesome. Lots of drills and flying wood. It has given me time to study up on my Spanish and to read.

Some photos of this week.. 

I sleep under a bug net.. or as I like to call it, my princess canopy.

My beautiful painting I bought from a sweet little widow at the market ($6)

To those I talk to often.. you know how exciting this picture is to me.

Kitchen Cabinet process

This is what our porch looks like right now. 

This is a funny picture...
Kim and I thought it would be nice to have rocking chairs on the front porch.. but we were informed that we cant leave them outside after 6 pm because it will make someone want to rob us. And the water.. well we got the frigidaire appliance for cheap but that water is $40 dollars a bottle. We are hoping that when we return the bottle to the store we get refunds, if not I guess I am going thirsty :)  
Another beautiful site on the streets of Leon, Nicaragua

I live in the most perfect beautiful place.. to me. I can sit on the front porch to see the sunrise, and the sun sets on the mountains outside my window.

 Thankful to be here, thankful for the beauty in life, and thankful to see God in everyday