Feliz Navidad

I know some of you have been waiting for a post about Christmas here...so here you go. 

We celebrate Christmas here on the 24th- lunch this year was hotdogs and then we do gifts.  Thanks to the amazing coordination of Sarah and Amy helped with team help all gifts were given out in about 45 minutes. Between lunch and Gifts we took photos in the pavilion with the blow up tree and penguin I found for 50% off in Teguc. I think it was like 10 dollars a piece or something less. 

I had asked for help to surprise my girls and folks from CA, OH, GA, TN, ARK, and AL all pitched in.  I got bags with shampoo, conditioner, body scrubs, pens, word search books, socks, chapstick, hair ties and claw clips, candy, deodorant and each had sandals/flip flops given to them a few days before Christmas to wear for the day.  I was astounded at how much stuff I had...more than covered my 94 kids! 

I think I had 14 boxes in my den and I told my poor roommate I would have them out when she returned Jan 4 but because I have some extra things I can't get rid of them til I get my storage space secured which is a whole other thing. Ha She said its ok though.  

I started working on the bags the morning of the 24th while the girls were beautifying themselves and after Christmas gifts it took me another while.  I think 8 hours total.  

Christmas morning (25th) while they were eating breakfast the team helped me move everything to the pavilion.  When they saw the bags on the tables when they came out after breakfast they all came running and yelling.  I explained that friends had sent it all down- the same ones that sent the sandals.  They all hollored and yelled and cheered.  It was too hard to film as they hugged me and thanked me.  They talked about those bags for days.  And I was corrected by several saying they would love stockings... to quote one "We can have bags anytime but stockings only are for Christmas!"

 

So enjoy the photos and little bit of video.  I cannot thank you enough for all your help to surprise them.  I was expecting them to be more nonchalant than they were and were so happy to know they were beyond excited. Such simple things too. Thank you! Thank you a ton of times! 

 

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I have more but the internet is being sassy. So I will post these now and work on the others at another time.

Thank you for your investment in what the Father is doing to love on these kids here. I can´t do it without you!

Be His.

 

 


Christmas time is here again

It's my third Christmas that I've lived in Honduras. The first Year I got to go to the US for most of the month. My last Christmas in Alabama and my first time to spend time in Ohio. Last year someone surprised me with a trip to Alabama for 4 days and a mini Christmas happened and I got to see my friends and family and it felt like Christmas. Then Christmas here with my kids for the first time.
This year is the first time in 41 years I won't be with my family during December. A friend mentioned to me last month that this must be difficult. I said it very well could be but it has to be about Him.
Trust me. I've looked at tickets here and there trying to figure out if it would be at all possible to show up in Alabama for a couple of days and it just wasn't doable. With my schedule and especially with my finances.
Christmas will happen no matter if we are ready for it. And as I came into Teguc today to pick up a team I was thinking how much we build up Christmas. We all have expectations for the holiday season. What time with our family and friends should be and feel like. What time at church with the family there should look and feel like. And no matter where you are, odds are high the season will seem to disappoint somehow. Gift expectations not met. Couldn't find the perfect gift for that one you love so much. The perfect gift you thought you'd get, that you hinted about for 2 months didn't happen. Plans changed. It didn't happen like you thought it would.
Then Christmas was over and you will say "is it already over?"

That's where Jesus comes in. He changes our perspectives. He shows us how things should be. He prepares our hearts daily when we ask Him. He shows up in the middle of our Christmas. Because He is the reason and we acknowledge that.

I can't help but think of the first Christmas. Freaked out Mary and Joseph having their baby in a barn. And the shepherds and wise men didn't just show up that night and the whole world started celebrating. I know that's how we tell it but I don't think the timing lent itself to have all that play out the first night. I think it was much simpler. Baby in a manager and angels announcing it to the shepherds and thus the world. But there probably was just a quiet normalcy with those three in that barn that night.
And sometimes that's just was Christmas is. Just a day. When our hearts are just full of where He has us. The shiny and bright might be on another day with loud music and annoying craziness. But Christmas is really just Him.

Last Christmas Season I encountered one of the hardest deepest struggles I've had. It was all in my heart and mind and I have to admit the day after Christmas I lost that day's battle. Satan doesn't like the light and joy of Christmas. And He will do what He can to make us forget Christ came for freedom. For salvation. To kill sin and death. I'm determined this year to keep that in front of me and rejoice in who He is. Savior. Redeemer. Prince of Peace. Wonderful Counselor. (Isaiah 9)
I long for the day I can stand in front of Him. Face to face and no more veil between us. To realize fully the hope He brings.
For now and until then I will see that baby in the manger in that barn and rejoice that He has come. Emmanuel. God with us. And one day He will come again. Or we will go to Him in death.
What a sweet day that will be.
Til then we press on. We stand. We fight. For truth of His word that sets people free.

He is the reason for the season. Indeed. May we settle in to know Him more this week.
Thankful for each of you in what He's doing in my life.
Be His.

Christmas time is here again

Christmas time is here again


The America goings on of October

Before I can blog about anything more recent than 1992 I need to update you guys on my time in the states. And since I have some good stuff to talk about I figured I better get on it. 

I got to fly home one more time First Class.  I was blessed with a ticket from a friend who´s husband flies for Delta, so if there is a first class seat open after everyone else on standby gets seat assignments I get it.  Such a blessing for a girl like me to be sitting in first class. 

After doctor appointments, dentist appointments and some running around I got to seeing my folks.  Spent some time seeing Robert and his wife in Montgomery.  Amazing to see how life has changed for us both when I met him back in 94. After stopping by my sister´s house to hold my 2 week old Nephew James and see my girlies I got to see Jamie James and her crew and witness PJ losing his first tooth. He was shocked and surprised as he at his veggies and rice. Haha

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I got to go by James´classroom at Pike Road.  Crazy that I grew up nearby and Pike Road was a country store and a railroad crossing back then.  Now there are neighborhoods and even a school.  Was cool to see so many races and ethnicities in her class.  They were journaling and would say "Mrs. Shelton´s friend how do you spell daughter, or Atlanta, or Micaiah?"  Such a joy to watch her patiently work with her littles in that room. They journaled on the floor because there are so many kids they don´t have tables and chairs for them all.  The kids dont seem to mind at all!

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During the first week in Auburn my Barbara went shopping for a few things at Sam´s then went to Big Lots to pick up some things for the Christmas surprise I have for my bigs.  When we were checking out the lady asked if we had found everything.  I told her they were short a couple things because we needed 11 of each but that was ok.  She asked what we were shopping for and I explained my 85 kids and what I do.  She thanked me and thought that was all great.  The lady behind Barbara in line said "What are you buying that for?" She explained again what we were doing and the lady handed her $40 and said "Please put that towards the balance" Pretty sure Barbara and I both were about to cry a bit.  It shocked Barbara I know and I laughed and said as we left that´s how God does stuff for my kids.  I would have taken a photo with the lady but my phone was in the truck! Barbara saw her coming out as she got ready to leave and stopped her and took a photo.  The woman shared that one day she hoped to adopt and just prayed that maybe her gift would come back around to her.  IMG_0617

I left that experience to a ladies small group lunch/meeting where I got to hear the testimony of a woman who adopted 2 teens from the Ukraine.  And then one of the lady´s shared that her husband´s boss was giving them $10,000 towards her adoption and their needs.  We were all in tears and my heart was just full over how the Father takes care of his kids as we all trust him in what we are doing.  I couldn´t help but think of my Covey´s and tell Carrie the stories to encourage her as they walk their adoption journey. Then I got to share a bit about Emmanuel and realized after I shared that most of the ladies there were helping with the Christmas surprise. Such sweet stuff.  

After a busy week of running around I picked up my littles in Montgomery and headed on our way to CFA in Opelika to spend the night.  Saturday morning we were headed to Stone Mountain but it was raining and a mess so we called that off last minute and went to NorthPointe mall.  Aunt Stina met us and a fun time commenced.  Lego had a display throughout the mall so we experienced American history via Lego.  And you KNOW i was lovin it. Stina brought a cookie cake (to welcome me back and we all know that any cause for cookie cake is a good one).  She even brought plates napkins and a knife so we could eat it in the truck! Way to plan that out Stina. 

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IMG_0732  IMG_0660 I appreciate this kid and her love for a map in her hand.  

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It was not so rainy so we headed to Stone Mountain and got to walk around the non crowded park and experience the Pumpkin festival and catch the laser light show in the rain...but so good.  We got to do our favorite things except the skytram and dipping dots.  I will miss going to Stone Mountain Christmas this year but have already calendared our date for my next trip to the states. 

After more people and visits and general running around Auburn I went to Atlanta to see my bestie from Texas. She was in town for a nursing conference.  Long story short I had to rent a car that was supposed to be a Corolla or equivalent and this is what I got.  Problem is I had about 14 boxes to take with me to Atlanta to be taken to Chattanooga.  I was determined to get 9 and my suitcase...I made it fit. When I got to the hotel it was a better deal to valet park and the guy had to be laughing at my car all packed up. We ate dinner then walked around and ended up at the Ferris wheel next to the Tab.  Was really neat and just a touch scary when that basket started swinging.  IMG_0770  IMG_0784

Next morning headed to Cheryl´s in Woodstock to take the boxes to the warehouse in Chattanooga.  Found a hole in the wall footlong hotdog place that has been there forever and followed that meal with an amazing steak dinner cooked in an amazing backyard by Cheryl.  Blessed to be spoiled like this.(For the record..not my wine, Cheryls.  That was for the photo.)   IMG_0798

Some of you will be humored to know that my rental car was FULL UP with ants on the passenger side.  When I turned the car in the lady jumped wiping off her pants (she had sat down in the car to check the mileage. haha) God has a sense of humor. Of that I am sure. 

Ohio to hang with the Ohio #Village Chapter. Got to have sushi for the first time ever (thanks but too fishy for me) and also got to go to Old Man´s Cave after talking about it for 2 years.  Turned out a great day for walking and picnicing.  Was really super cool to see and hang with my Coveys.  And Nora made my sandwich with love.  Just gotta love that. IMG_0819  IMG_0824  IMG_0807  That would be brownie waffles with homemade ice cream and Carrie´s Salted Caramel.  Dare I mention all the other foods I consumed and naps I took in Ohio...


 Ended up sick the morning of my flight back and with construction stupidity thrown in I missed my flight.  No big (except for throwing a major wrench in Carrie´s schedule and me feeling terrible). I didn´t want to be on a plane anyway... So got a one way ticket and left the next day.  I got blessed with some stuff for me and my bigs so I had to check a box on the way home. After 10 days of Covey time, VGF churching and some stellar naps and reading I headed back to Auburn to finish up the trip.

I met with more folks and hugged on some more people and was even surprised to see Susan Gaston at my parents house! Seems her and my niece are buddies.  Such a sweet surprise!

Got to watch an Auburn football game with my Spencer peeps and dipnation.  And I will just stay away from watching anymore...overtimes...too stressful.  This is how my Spencers watch the 3rd overtime... IMG_0866standing and a bit into it. 

One thing I have been wanting here is a fully functional washing machine. The one I had to share with some others only worked on delicate..which means my clothes were never clean.  Dad found one at a friends and got it for me.  When I saw it in his garage I hugged it.  He asked me why and I told him because I loved it.  I also hugged it when it arrived last week and got hooked up.  Clean clothes!! Hallelujer!

I finished my trip out with a trip to Cottonton Baptist Church.  It´s down near Pittsview.  Their pastor had come with another team in September and invited me.  I ramblingly shared about Emmanuel and how we are all adopted by the Father through the blood of Christ and answered a lot of questions.  As we stood in worship at the beginning of church I was reminded of how in College I went around to a lot of little country churches with my friends doing drama and singing and it was just a sweet time with that body.  They all were so sweet and all wanted my prayer cards to pray for me.  So grateful for that.  I told them I need that daily.

The next morning before dawn I headed to ATL and back to my bigs to see what trouble they had stirred up while I was gone.  

 

So, now I have caught you up on my time in the states. Later this week will catch you up on some Honduras stuff with my bigs. 

Thank you for all you do to support me being here with your prayers, encouragement, and funds.  If you wish to contribute something please send to (they will send your tax receipts)

Central Missionary Clearinghouse
PO Box 219228
Houston, TX 77218-9228 

Thank you all my #village peeps.

Be His 


If you read anything but your Bible today. Read this.

I know I haven´t blogged in 2 months. I was in the states for a month and there will be a post about that soon.  But today I wanted to talk about one of my #villagers.  Most of you know that it takes a #village to raise an Andi...and many of you are in that club. For just today I want to take a minute to talk about someone else...not me. 

The first summer being here in Honduras I met a lot of people.  Since I started working with teams that June basically everyone I met was new to me.  People from Georgia, Alabama, Maryland, Ohio, California, Tennessee and who knows where else. 

During that first summer I remember a family that came with one of the teams.  As we rode the bus from Teguc to Emmanuel the mom sat and talked about her kids as she held one of them up by their forehead. (Seems that the youngest was super carsick and even though she had had dramamine just was in for a long ride.)  As I sat and listened she talked about how her kids are so quick to love others like Jesus.  To make new friends- after playing with some kids at the park they will say ¨these are our friends Mom¨ even though they probably know nothing but their names.  To pray for people and think of how they can help others.  I remember this lady saying ¨My kids teach me so much about Jesus!¨ 

Later in the week I remember her bringing her kids and a couple of teens to help at our kitchen/dining room.  I had them set out the water glasses and long story short the food wasn´t ready and chaos broke out, but they just did what they could to help.  Because of the behavior of one of my kids during the chaos, later that day my girl asked to go to the team house and apologize. I took her there and asked the family to come talk to her.  My girl apologized and the mom said "Of Course you are forgiven!" And they all wrapped her up in a hug. And I remember her sitting in the front row at the team house with her youngest sleeping in her lap as I shared my life story. 

The team went home after their week was over and life moved on.  I would have never guessed what was coming next.  That mom asked me to be friends on Facebook, then Several weeks went by and as facebook goes, there are those who post stuff and it makes your heart smile, encourages, or challenges you.  And this was one of those people.  One day she posted this: 

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I believe my comment was "Can we be friends in real life? I think you would be good for me"  She said yes. 

Turns out I was in the US and we actually spoke on the phone.  She told me her story (she had heard mine at the team house when her team was here).  From there we imessaged each other and kept up with just daily life.  

As time went by I found that she quit a perfectly good nursing job to make billions at home by homeschooling her kids ;) and she was the prayer ministry leader at her church. And that one day they planned to adopt.  And she´s hilarious. 

Why do I tell you all this? The details of a beginning of a friendship? I think because I want you to see that it is clearly the Lord that let us be friends.  As many of my friendships are...clearly just the Lord putting me with some awesome people.  So many stories.  But this one feels different.  She lives in a state far away.  Our contact face to face at Emmanuel was very minimal. The fact that she asked to be "Facebook friends" and then I asked to be real friends is steps to where He wanted us to be.  The fact that the only reason we are friends is Jesus.  All the commonality after that is secondary.

I have a found a prayer warrior in my friend Carrie Covey.  A person who has taught me so much about grace and the love of God.  Who challenges me to love my kids better.  To keep seeking Him, to persevere when it feels too hard.  She reminds me that in all things I should seek the Father´s heart. And she gets my stupidity, encourages me with scripture, and just loves me well.

I remember the first time I called her from Honduras. I had a difficult day and was praying about some things and just needed someone to pray with.  I asked her if I called her would she pray.  So I called her and she said ¨How you doing!?" And I just said "Nope. Just pray" and she laughed and she did.  I can´t tell you how many times she has prayed on the phone with me when I needed it.  How many times she has texted me her prayers when talking on the phone wouldn´t work.  How many times she has walked with me through difficult things. And how each time she is Jesus to me.  Shoving me toward the Father. 

We joked about me flying to Ohio during that fall and it turned out that´s what the Lord had in the plans.  With frequent flyer miles I flew to Ohio 5 months after she came to Honduras.  When people said "Why are you going to OHIO?" I could only ramblingly explain it was the Lord who gave me this friend. Going to someone´s home in another state that I have not really had a face to face conversation.  And once there I quickly found that she feeds me well too. 

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In the spring as I was seeking a diagnosis for all the issues I had, Carrie came down to Auburn for 4 days.  The last day she was there was the day I found out what was wrong. It was the Lord´s grace that she was in town and was there just to pray as we went through that day, my appointments, and later as I thought I would have an anxiety attack in the truck.  He is good to me. 

Over the past 2 years I have found such a sister in Christ in Carrie.  She is far from perfect...I can make a list.  But she is a joy to call friend and just the fact that she has put up with me so much is amazing.  And so grateful for the way she loves my Bigs from a distance.  Crying with me over the heartbreaks and praying for them.  And when she got to come this summer- to love and hug on them in person. To watch as she preached to our kids in church, only because He invited her to, about His love and grace and truth. It´s just almost too much. He is good to me with my friend. 

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Here is the POINT IN ALL OF THIS. 
When I came to Honduras I came having sold everything I owned and still having debt.  In the time I have been in Honduras I have paid down a little over $8000 in debt. I have about $15,000 to go.  (I know. I know...you don´t want to know how much it was once....thank you home ownership...)  And this year I have begun to diligently get out of debt.  To pray for the Father to take care of it (and I hate praying about money...it makes me all try to figure out how to get it done my way...haha) And I am on my debt like a 3 year old loose in a candy shoppe, tryin to kill it. 

Today as Carrie and I talked we were talking about money.  The Covey family is on the adoption journey to adopt a child from India.  The thing she has talked about since I met her is finally happening.  Homestudy being done, tons of paperwork and crazy stuff getting done. To get little Indian Covey(s) home at some point in the near future. We talked about how we are in places that only the Father can provide for.  We are in no position to work  more hours and make more money.  The Father has to do it. 


As I pray for the Covey´s I am not in a position to give them much, so I pray for the Father to creatively provide and provide through others.  I told Carrie last month how I think I can practically help them when they go pick up their child one day, but other than that there is not much I can do.  But I can tell you guys about it.  And maybe you can tell some other folks about it. Because here is the thing.  Our God is BIG.  He does crazy stuff through the body of Christ. 


I can tell you story after story of how He´s done crazy stuff- like paying off $20,000 in medical bills for me last year.  Like paying for our tilapia tanks here at Emmanuel ($100,000 and the yearly Maintenance too!) How I sat in Auburn last month and heard a lady say to another "My husband´s boss was adopted from the Ukraine and he wants to give you and your adopted ukrainian kids $10,000 to help you with the cost". I know He does it.  I know He can do it.  Carrie and John know this.  He funds that which He commands.  He will fund this kid coming home. Of this I am sure. 

So.  I am NOT asking you to help me get out of the hole that I have dug for myself.  But I AM asking you to help out one of my #village peeps get her child in India get home to their new home in Ohio at the Coveys. I´ve had people say "this is not much..." and it be $25 dollars.  That is huge! Can you imagine... 1000 people giving $25. That´s $25000! Dude.  Let´s do this thing. Between you and me and Carrie and John, surely we know 1000 people?  And $25? I know families who spend that buying coffee and doughnuts in one morning. (I covered the non coffee people in that...Krispy Kreme anyone?) 

So let´s help a villager out. Get that indian kid to Ohio! 

 Here is how:

Buy something from Noonday. Shop and part of the money goes to the Coveys and part goes to help some women artisans in third world countries!  Go to this webpage in the next week and pull up Carrie Covey as hostess when you check out: Shop Noonday

Just donate! They have a webpage set up where you can donate AND it counts tax deductible. (Win win for you, the Coveys, and the future Covey!) Covey´s Adoption Page

Tell others.  I know India is far away.  I know for some of you Ohio is far away. I know you have other things to do with your time, prayers, and money.  But just think of what your investment will look like... one of the thousands of kids in India with a forever family. HOME. Spread the word and help get a child HOME.

Pray.  Our Father in heaven´s heart is for orphans and widows...He commands us specifically in James to take care of them.  It´s not an easy task to take classes on how to be a parent (especially for parents who already have 3 kids!), do endless paperwork and answer endless questions, then when time comes to travel across the world, more papers and questions and red tape....and then bring your child home to a whole other culture. And find $35,000 to make all that happen. They need prayer.  It´s a crazy, frustrating, difficult time to fight an enemy who doesn´t want that to happen.  But it´s sweet and joy filled.  But they need prayer.  So join me in praying for the Covey´s and their little Indian. :)  Pray for crazy fun provision.  Small and Huge ways.  For Jesus to be seen and exalted. 

The body of Christ can do it. 

HE CAN DO IT.  

Be His.

 

(And Carrie. Please don´t kill me. I know I didn´t ask for permission. So If you are mad...I´ll ask forgiveness ;) 

 


Rewarding my Bigs

Since the end of June I've been doing a point system for my girls. I think I've blogged about it some. Well this last 2 week period we announced that any girl with a point for their correct clothes and shoes everyday and no debits would receive something really cool. 11 out of the 65-70 that earn points earned this really cool thing. The list ended Sunday and Monday we announced the names. Then as the Morning went bye I told them the prize. They would get to go out to eat at a restaurant in town one day. One of the high schoolers found and said "are you for REAL!? They get to go to La Chiquita!?!" Yep. I suddenly got their attention.
Someone gave me money for it and Lydia drove us today. The money covered almost everyone and the kids had a great time. There were 4 inside the truck and they hardly said a word. Just about to bust with joy. The others piled in the back of the Truck and smiled all through town.
We ate at a buffet place and all chose fried chicken but one and they ate more than I thought they could. Cleanest bones I've ever seen left behind.
This is what your support does. Provides opportunities to show kids doing the right things sometimes gets rewarded. And to have an opportunity to get out of Emmanuel for a minute on top! It's so frustrating to always be focusing on the kids who are continually getting in trouble and pushing the limits. It's so nice to encourage them to do well and see some step up. I told the whole group that I couldn't believe Coco made it! If she could anyone could. Coco seems to always be with the wrong folks in the wrong places and sometimes not caring. She's caring now! Ha
The others who received 12 points or more will get other prizes tomorrow and some brownies. In addition to those who went today. I've posted that list and they've already gotten excited about it. And they don't even know what they are going to get!
So thank you for those of you who financially support me. You are a part of changing and encouraging lives here! And for some of you guys sending prize things for the girls- thank you!!

If you wish to send financial support you can do so at:
http://www.cmcmissions.org/donate

Or send a check with a note with my name to:
CENTRAL MISSIONARY CLEARINGHOUSE
P.O. Box 219228
Houston, Texas 77218-9228
1-800-CMC-PRAY (1-800-262-7729)
Office: 281-599-7411

If you wish to send things for prizes please let me know and I can tell you what I need!
Thank you for being a part of the body to me and my kids!

Be His.

Rewarding my Bigs


why I do it

As I read things on twitter, or hear stories of people going to India, some tribe in Africa that has no bible, some place in China, or some far away place  people are going to areas where no one has heard the name of Jesus I feel like I am not doing enough. 

Let me explain.  I am in Honduras, in a pretty cushy 3rd world situation.  I have american flushing toilets, water that´s drinkable out of the faucet, and power most of the time.  I talk to kids about Jesus a lot, go to church 2x a week and am surrounded with talk about God with Us-Emmanuel.  From time to time we get kids who haven´t been to church, some of my teens dont really want to go to church here, but most all know about Jesus.  And I can´t help but think maybe I should be somewhere more difficult, trying to tell people about Jesus who know nothing of him. 

Then I read an article like this.  Street Kids

 

And I think about an encounter I had last summer. 

I was standing in the airport like I do about once a week.  Waiting for an hour or more for the team members to come out of baggage claim and customs.  A boy probably 12-13 and just about 4 inches shorter than me comes up to me.  

He says (in spanish) "Hi.  How are you?"

Me- "I´m good, how are you?"

I´m good.  My name is Carlos and I live on the streets and my life is very hard. 

I´m sorry Carlos. Why do you live on the streets? (I´ve noticed his eyes are just jumping all over the place)

I do drugs. (He shows me his hands all covered in scabs and glue, and in the scabs and glue is dirt and sand).

I tell him I am sorry that his life is hard and he lives on the street. 

He tells me "Do you know Jesus?" me- Yes I do.

He then tells me that Jesus is the only reason he is alive and it makes it better.  Then he looks down and sees something sticking out of my cargo shorts pocket.  "Is that cookies?" No, its peanuts.  Do you want them?  His eyes get big and he says "Can I have them?" Yes. As I pull them out of my shorts he holds up a small plastic bag with some limperas (honduran money) and a clif bar (an American evidently found him before me).  I have to drop it down into his bag because he won´t even take it from me.  He tells me thank you and takes off.  

I think he left in a hurry because he knew he would be asked to leave if he stayed too long. In my bad spanish I said "Good luck!"  I had suddenly forgotten how to say God bless you.  

As I stood in the lobby waiting it just suddenly hit me.  Carlos (I couldn´t remember his name later so I named him in my heart Carlos) is or could be one of our kids at Emmanuel.  And it was all I could do not to cry in the lobby.  It just broke my heart and I prayed for the Father to watch over Him.  

From time to time at the end of orientation I tell this story to teams that come.  Not to make them feel sorry for the kids at Emmanuel, but to have them understand that some of our kids have been like Carlos, on the street, hooked on drugs, with no one to care for them.  Some willingly have gone into the streets because they think it is better, some have been put on the streets, some the parents just do not care for them, can´t afford them, so they end up making poor choices because they know little else to do. And we have kids that come to us- from the police, from family services, from other centers.  We have the opportunity to care for these kids.  To teach them about true Hope- salvation in Christ, a Father that cares and loves them like no other.  

Our time with these kids is short.  Sometimes it is just a few years, sometimes it is 15 years.  But I am often desperate to know how to talk to them, to teach them, to show them the greatest need and desire in their heart is for love...that only our heavenly Father can fill in Christ´s salvation.  To know how to get them to hear this in their hearts and believe it.  To live in it in such a way it changes them for life.  That when they walk out the gate their difficult life will be somehow a little better because they know the Father is for them and with them no matter where they go.  The Holy Spirit is their guide and comfort.  The trinity doesn´t fail. 

It´s in these thoughts that I know I am where I am supposed to be.  Caring for kids that cannot be cared for by others.  Some orphans, some kids under protection from those who seek to harm them, some kids who just can´t be afforded by their families, some who have a new man or woman in their home who doesn´t "want someone elses kids".  My heart is here to love them, be frustrated by them, to teach them, to hopefully point them and grown them up in the Cross. 

I´m grateful for teams that come to help us do that.  Invest in kids for eternity with the truth of God´s word and His love.  I´m grateful for people who pray for me regularly-it is only because of Him that the weight of this work doesn´t crush me. It is only because of Him I begin to know what to do day to day.  I´m grateful for those of you who send financial gifts.  If the money stops, I have to leave.  And I am not ready for that.  

Please keep praying.  Please keep sending money.  Please keep the kids of Emmanuel and the streets of Honduras in your prayers. 

Be His. 


another year another ummmm whatever comes with a year

It seems it has been almost a month since I posted last.  And also another year I have been alive. Yes.  41 is staring me in the face.  That means I am beginning my 42nd year in just a few days.  That is so crazy strange. And while I have about 10 things on my to do list right now I am going to take a minute to talk about a bunch of random stuff. 

I say it´s crazy that I´m starting my 42nd year because most days I don´t feel like I am old.  Like I am an adult.  Like I have a clue what I am doing.  As a child a 30 year old seemed so grown up and of course! they knew what they were doing.  Little did I know. 

Was texting with a friend today.  She and some of her church body will be at the Gathering of the Juggalos. It´s an annual event for fans of the Insane Clown Posse and features some 40 singers, bands, and rappers. They have an opportunity to serve with a guy who was a fan and found Christ and now aims to serve fans- they provide sandwiches, drinks, and I don´t know what else over the 4 days of the gathering.  I was telling my friend how thankful I was she was willing to serve them and share Christ and His LOVE with them.  She basically said she doesn´t do it right and she´s weak in it all...and I couldn´t help but think- Don´t MOST of us feel that way? The idea that we have it together is just some invented thing that tv and media sell to us.

Buy this and your life is complete.

Use this and everything will go better, be clearer, and go smoother. 

Take your husband, wife, family to this vacation spot and amazing things happen- all troubles and problems vanish forever. 

Buy a family member a Lexus for Christmas and boom! Peace forever. (or something like that). 

Cut to real life-kids acting nuts, and paying for that vacation and Lexus.  It´s just life and it isn´t all shiny and problem free. Thankful for days it is though. 

I am just so glad that our Father in heaven knows all of this and is completely aware.  And He uses all of us and our silly tendencies, weak feet and iffy motivations. And when we don´t have a clue....He does. Praise the Lord. And last I checked the bible doesn´t talk about shiny and perfect...except for Jesus...who is both.  :) 

Which brings me to my last 3 weeks here.  I have been alone for the most part in the office...juggling my work and sponsorship work (sort of...because I don´t know what I am doing!) and whatever else comes my way. It was a bit busy but boring till the last 3 weeks and it turned into a circus in my head.  Maximum brain capacity was reached and my administrative abilities to mulititask and remember stuff decreased to about 10%. Last week I had to be with the kids Tuesday because they were out of school all week and Elvia was off and I kind of welcomed the break! Haha

Dad came down with his church for his first visit ever and I was so excited to have him here.  Literally almost cried (kinda did a bit when I saw him on the tv in the airport lobby) when he came out into the lobby.  It was great to have him repair somethings I can´t, and spend time with my girls.  They all thought him so handsome and loved him. When I would come into the yard they would ask where he was everytime! 

Dad got to participate in the rewarding of the girls for round 2. I set up a bunch of items- lotions, shampoos, books, journals, shirts, purses, and word search books.  Those with the most points got to go first.  I didnt´hear many complaints about the items they wanted go and they chose something else.  I think they enjoyed just getting something.  Thanks to teams I have already a good collection for next time! And this past sunday EVERY KID had on a skirt that was appropriate.  Let´s all throw both hands in the air on that one! 

We had a danish team here doing soccer school with a lot of kids and a tournament on Sunday.  My girls got to wear some jerseys sent down from Auburn (Thank you Auburn people...Julia Farrow and Jamie Shelton I know for sure!) They loved having socks and shirts that were actual soccer wear. The bigs came in 2nd on the girls side...a disappointing loss to the medium girls (who also have big girls and one of the best players...one of my fave girls). It was a fun time and I got some sun at our new concrete soccer court one of the teams helped build and paid for. :)

The FUMC Opelika team leaves tomorrow so I am going to go into Teguc and come back Friday with the new team. I look forward to a bathtub, some reading, alone, quiet, no radio or phone time with Jesus, and some good food I don´t have to cook.  And grateful that Jesus gave me the money for that to happen from various team folks and the team.  I really am blown away week by week by the teams servant hearts. I really am blessed to be partners with them as they serve.  

And My girls knew I would be gone for my birthday so they bombed me yesterday...eggs on the head (think baby bombs....it hurts), freezing ice water, and flour.  And 20 minutes in the shower to get it out of my hair.  I held onto Elvia the instigator so she got some of it this year! 

Sorry I don´t have photos right now. Will try to post them by end of the week.  

Thank you again for all you guys do to help me be here and serve.  Your prayers, encouragement, and finances, and stuff you send my girls.  I CANNOT do this without you guys.  I had someone say "I don´t send much" but it IS a lot...it´s kingdom dollars that He uses to keep me here.  So thank you for all of it. My kids say thanks too. 

Be His. 


staring into space

I´ve been staring at this computer screen trying to think of what to say.  So much time has passed (sorry it´s been so long) that it is difficult to start with the was and the current what´s happenin.  

So let me summarize:

I was home in the US for 5 weeks.  I spent a few in Auburn and a couple in Ohio and the last in Auburn.  It was a good time to do the biannual trip to Stone Mountain with the nieces and Laura.  And I was blessed to be able to speak at all 4 services at Vineyard Grace Fellowship in Ohio.  I spoke on five words- Grace, Love, Hope, Fight, and Glory.  It is God´s word as I am learning and also teaching my girls.  It was amazing to see how God spoke very deliberately to me and to so many in that body.  I was overwhelmed with the kindness and the prayers of that body. 

I am grateful to say that finally all my medical bills have been taken care of.  So many people have assisted in getting bills forgiven and a few remaining I just had to pay.  Close to $20,000 was forgiven or taken care of.  I am grateful to each of my doctors and EAMC for the work they have done to take care of ME  AND the bills! 

Some highlights of time home-

  • CFA, Steak n Shake, and about a thousand other yummy american foods, Greek yogurt and Dr. Peppers 
  • First class seat on the way back to Honduras! I was blessed with a buddy pass which is cheaper than a regular ticket and I fly space available and if that space is available it´s first class.  Such a sweet blessing. 
  • Auburn Softball regional playoffs.  I missed the supers because I was back here but I watched most games online.  War Eagle.  Such great competitors.  Such fun games to watch.  Never quit. 
  • Dinners with all my people (missed a few :(  )  So good just to spend time with my people. 
  • Emmaus serving with Jamie and Bruce.  Such good times when serving the body. 
  • We thought we would miss the laser light show at Stone mountain because we only were there Friday night but we didn´t.  They had some group there showing it and we basically got a private showing.  We yelled and danced and sang and didn´t worry anyone would get mad.  It was a sweet time.  

 

Coming back to Emmanuel was sweet, after a time in the US I begin to wonder what in the world to do with my time between meeting with people.  Too many of you have daily jobs that just get in the way with hanging out with me! haha  

The big girls (the bigs) have settled into a new routine with currently only me and Elvia supervising them.  Katja is in Denmark for 2 months, til the end of July, so that also makes the office fun.  It´s mostly me alone each day in the office.  I have taken to answering the phone and trying my best to figure out what they are saying and what they actually want! Often what they start off saying is nothing of what they actually need or want!  Since Elisabeth left to go back to college and the office volunteer isn´t here I am covering sponsorship which means some emails, lots of questions about kids and their gifts when teams come in or a container arrives.  I think I MIGHT be a little bored when Katja and Sarah come back. haha

My roommate Catherine moved out, she is getting married next month so she will be at Emmanuel part time.  So I moved rooms.  I will be painting my quieter cooler room when I get some paint and time.  Will also be working on acquiring new art since almost everything was Catherine´s we had in the house! We also got a new refrigerator before she left.  So it´s big and shiny.  It´s small things like that to make it seem like Christmas in the summer.  

I began rewarding my kids with points in our yard.  I grew tired of fighting with them over their school uniform. So now when kids have their skirt, shirt, and tennis shoes they get a point.  On non school days if they have appropriate clothes then they get a point.  The first 2 weeks we had almost half earn enough points for a reward- brownies, soda, a couple of candy canes and when I get enough word search books they will receive them first.  They were so excited just for that.  I got hugs and ¨thank you for everythings¨ from quite a few that afternoon as they left our little party to go home. The 2 weeks we are currently in I have instituted a debit column and an "other things¨ column for extra points.  I had a big talk with them about yelling, running, and playing in the dining room yesterday and a few have already earned debits today.  I think they are getting the point (get it...the point.  haha) 

I told them after this 2 weeks we will be doing points for a month.  I can´t get enough prizes for every 2 weeks at the rate of 45 or more every two weeks.  It is thankfully working well and I find myself fighting less each day about their clothes.  Praise the Lord! 

Teams started coming Memorial day and will be almost every day until mid August and then a 2 week break and then all month of September.  It´s fun to have the last few teams come I haven´t met because I was out last june and to have teams return that are like friends visiting.  I am excited my DAD is coming July 9!!!! and Carrie and the VGF crew are coming August 9.  It´s a sweet pre and post birthday gift to me. 

Prayer requests:

Health of our staff and volunteers (and visiting teams)

wisdom with decisions I have to make in day to day things (I´m wearing hats that feel bigger right now with staff being gone)

Future staff that may come- We have had several go back to college or go to the US to get married etc.  So we could use some more! 

Endurance and encouragement for our staff- we are running with a short crew right now and we just need some extra energy

Financial support- I am still in need of funds for my furlough account 

I am so grateful for my supporters- those of you who pray for me!! and those who send finances.  I can only remain here as long as funds continue to come.  I have begun praying for funds over and above so I can continue to hammer away my remaining debt so I can be super cheap to live here! I know my God can do miracles and help get rid of what remains! 

 

Some photos:

IMG_0030 Stone Mountain photo with my Ansley 

IMG_0073my sermon notes sort of

IMG_0089Me and Ellie at one of the hottest ever softball games.  But such fun! War Eagle. 

IMG_0124Me in the back of Katjas gator on a ladder throwing a pipe with a rope to try to get a croc off the roof.  Not OSHA approved. 

IMG_0196
My girls like to play games when we have free time. There are quite a few card sharks now...phase 10 and skip bo are our current favorites. 

IMG_9890mandatory nap time happened while in ohio and the Cat got involved a couple of times.  

IMG_0136

When we do the three man swing I get to climb up this pole to run the rope to set it up.  This day I ¨got¨ to do it twice because the rope fell off my shorts. The things I do for our kids...haha
IMG_0259 On any given day I bring home 1 to 10 shoes to glue.  Thankful they are now asking to get them glued and not just throwing them out!  They call my house the shoe repair store.  

 

Grateful for each of you.  Please keep praying.  be His. 



 

 


my story

For those interested in the back story... :)

Andi’s Story

 

 

 

I grew up in Montgomery, Alabama with an older brother and two younger sisters.  Our family went to church 3 out of 4 Sundays.  

When I was 10 our family joined a new church plant in Montgomery.  The pastor asked me if I knew the Lord as my Savior.  I replied “No” but I wanted to know Him as Savior.  I was just waiting for someone to ask me.  The pastor came over a few weeks later, shared Christ with my brother and me.  That night lying in my bed I asked the Lord to forgive my sins, come into my heart, and be Lord.  I remember vividly seeing Christ coming out of the tomb for me in my mind’s eye so I have no doubt that was the night I became a Christian.

For the next three years my life with God was one of rules- the “do’s and don’ts”  and my prayers were bargains with God.  “if you let me get this, I will pray everyday for the next month!”  The summer I turned 14 at a youth camp I realized that God wanted a relationship with me.  That I am the hands and feet of Christ and he wants me to be like Him, more than doing the “right”thing. 

Very soon after my arrival home from camp I realized my home was not like everyone else’s at camp.  My mother wasn’t the sweet mom who loved the Lord like the other mom’s that were at camp.   My mother loved me, there is no doubt, and she knew the Lord as Savior, but she had issues with anger and bitterness.

Church became my refuge. When I was 16 God brought me to a place of forgiveness with my mother.  All the things she did that were “wrong” or hurt me, I handed over to Him.  It didn’t change her, but it changed me.  I was becoming more like her but God changed my heart.

My plan was to go to Auburn for Social Work then to Southwestern Seminary in Ft. Worth.  My parents told me I had to stay at Auburn in Montgomery for one year and live at home.  My heart was so set on getting out of the house as soon as that year was up!  But God had other plans.  My youth minister asked me to take on several roles with the youth group for the 2nd year of college so I stayed. I stayed for 4 years.  During that time I had the opportunity to go to California with Campus Crusade for Christ.  I think during that time my mother began to see that all the things I kept saying about my relationship with the Lord were not just words, but really was who I was.

Soon after my return from California my mom found out she had cancer.  She had surgery and chemo and we didn’t talk much about it. I went to Auburn my 5th year, had a wonderful time.  I graduated in 97 with a Social Work degree and moved to Montgomery.  My plan was to stay home for a year then head to Texas.  God had other plans.

October of the year I graduated we found out my mom’s cancer was back- it was in her lungs, hip, ribs, shoulder, and had almost disintegrated one of her vertebrate away.  She ended up in the hospital for 40 days right after Thanksgiving until after new years.  I moved back home to be with my then 14 year old sister and help out mom and dad.  It was one of the hardest things to do but God knew what he was doing. 

I was blessed to go home from work on certain days to take mom food she would eat, help out around the house, and sit with her in her room.  As time went by her condition got worse and Dad came to me to ask about Hospice and “shopping” for funeral arrangements.  I will never forget the quiet strength my Dad had as he took care of my mom, learned about all the “mom” stuff she typically did and trying to take care of  his youngest 14 year old girly daughter.  My Dad has always been my hero, even more so now.

My mom died August 1998 the night my family left on the way to Michigan for my brother’s wedding.  When we returned home we had a funeral.  But what could have been such a overwhelmingly sad occasion became a time to talk about the Goodness of the Lord.  So many people had stories to share about how different my mom had become since her first illness.  They shared stories about how she would talk on and on about what her kids were doing and how proud she was of us in the middle of the grocery store.  (This from a mom who typically was brief and moved on instead of chit chatting!)  Her death became a spotlight on the strength of the Lord and how he had brought our family closer.  And I know only because of Him could I go through everything that happened that year.  He was and is my constant companion. 

I did move to Texas in January the following year.  I spent 5 years in Texas and finished Seminary with 2 degrees. A Masters in Ministry Based Evangelism and a Masters in Christian Education.  The time I spent in Texas was a tremendous blessing and I consider Ft. Worth another “home.”  I was able to lead worship for a youth group and spend 4 summers working for Lifeway on staff with Centrifuge Camps.  When I got closer to graduation my plan was to stay in TX at an organization called Cornerstone, which worked with homeless families, but again God had different plans.  He called me back to Alabama.  My dad had remarried to a lady whose husband died the same year as mom.  He now lives in Opelika. 

I found a job at the hospital in Auburn doing discharge planning- Social Work.. I worked there almost 4 years.  The Lord led me to membership at local church and volunteer Missions Coordinator for almost 4 years.  I left the hospital to lead the Children as Childrens Minister at my church.  After a time in that position I felt the Lord led me to resign my position there. I had no job for almost 2 months but every bill was paid and in the midst my car was paid off and my mortgage was paid for 3 months.  It was confirmation I was being obedient to what He said. Even when I didn’t see His plan.

 I remained as Missions coordinator for a time and while I had been at that church I was blessed to take teams to Ecuador, the Gulf Coast, NOLA, New York City, locally on different events, and begin a partnership with a community in Uganda including sponsoring over 300 children and lead 6 teams there. And I was blessed to spend Christmas week in China and even have the opportunity to share God’s Word with a house church 2 days before Christmas.  This in the midst of my “regular” jobs.  What a blessing.  

I was offered a job at a Nursing home to work as Admissions Coordinator in 2009.  It was a blessing to see the transformation of that facility from a place of extreme darkness to one of light. 

The Lord told me after I began working at there that I would leave that job by a certain date.  I stayed several months later and was finally obedient and resigned my job there.  It was one of the most difficult decisions ever.  I loved that job and didn’t want to leave.  I cashed out my retirement account and finally began pursuing moving overseas. (I never saw myself overseas full time!) I thought I would end up in Uganda at a Christian university that relocated down the street from the church we had been working in but that wasn’t what He had planned.

A year after I had resigned my job someone mentioned to me Orphanage Emmanuel.  She had been talking to me about Emmanuel with me for almost 10 years.  She mentioned that the volunteer coordinator was leaving and the Lord clearly said “listen.”  I applied the next month to be a volunteer at OE, sold all my belongings, and moved to a country I had never been to. With no plans to leave it until He tells me.      

So you can say the story is still being written…God is the ultimate writer of glorious and amazing stories, because ultimately our stories are all about Him….