This is the short version that we saw in Church :
Sam's testimony that he shared with the team:
This is the short version that we saw in Church :
Sam's testimony that he shared with the team:
If you saw the shorter version of Lashawn's video at Cornerstone Church, this is the extended version with SO MUCH good stuff. I encourage you to watch here :)
Our last day at OE started with big circle (see previous post). Breakfast, personal devotions and squeezing in time with kids and staff. After the kids dinner we did water games with the little big boys. Packing dinner and team time. It’s been an emotionally full day. Not enough arms to hug all the kids we adore.
In the morning we leave OE at 7:30 (9:30ET) for the airport. From there 5 team members get on a plane back to Ohio via ATL. The other spend the night in Tegucigalpa.
Thank you so much for praying for us this week. It has meant so much to partner with you!
Final thoughts from team members tonight….
I was really frustrated this week with the Honduran school system because we had it all planned then no one knew about it so we went to the special needs yard and it was the greatest thing ever.
God moment for me is getting a letter from a girl, we bonded from the first moment and we have been getting letters back and forth and it has been great. Also Something God has been teaching me is the freedom there is from bringing things into the light. It is a lot different confessing to God and telling a couple of people and telling a bunch of people I don’t have to live in shame or worry. There is so much freedom in that.
I realized Love has no language. While we were cleaning up today I was talking to a boy from the big boy house and he shared his testimony with him and I shared mine and my brother’s with him. Getting closer to him and he saying he was praying for me and some of the team was really cool.
God has been teaching me My plans are not your plans. My plan was to focus on the girls and as soon as I went to the medium boys they just came up to me and it was amazing. These kids truly wanted to hang out with me not just for my stuff. It was cool to see someone who doesn’t have a lot give me their bracelet. It was neat that God taught me his plans aren’t mine.
Coming to Honduras was nothing like I had planned. This time it wasn’t a disappointment. I feel like it is something I can take home. It was like opening a door to things that were there I didn’t know about. And to be a better listener. It’s hard with the language but I found myself getting more attached to the kids and more relatable as I got to know them. One of the girls I didn’t met til yesterday but she wrote me a whole letter today. I was glad I got to be such an example and be there for her with the little we could say to each other in person. I want to be more of a peaceful person so people can see God’s peace and joy.
Back home I work with special needs kids so I didn’t plan to go out of my way to meet them here. I spent a lot of time with kids on the farm and got to know one of the kids and found out he is in charge of the special needs boys so I spent a lot of time over there. It was neat to hear the dreams of the older in charge boys there.
This has been kind of a weird trip, we often thing about why are we here. During the week I was thinking that, and normally I don’t. Now at the end of the week God had not showed me and I was getting mad. God kind of slapped me in the face and said “you don’t need to know” it’s not about you… It was kind of weird for me not to know something… what I got out of this week was I feel like I got to translate a lot of conversations and letters and it made me feel useful. It was like little pieces of all the relationships. I like Spanish so much because of the people.
I feel like I was put here to also help our team out when they are feeling down. I got a letter from a girl who I didn’t think liked me much. I wasn’t expecting that.
I have been wanting to come to h for 3 years. It wasn’t until the week before I came I worried that I wouldn’t make any friends. What if they want me for my phone or my money and I don’t have much money. The first day in the dining room one of the girls called me over and she ended up being a key member of my friend group with the kids. I remembered yesterday that I met her the first day and she is still my friend!
I usually come into things thinking I am not special and thinking I am not going to be able to relate. So I came and got taken advantage of the girls first day. So I kind of stayed away from them and spent time with the boys. So it’s ok because they have stolen my heart. God has shown me I am enough for him and serve in his kingdom. His love has allowed me to love them in my own way for Him.
One thing that god has taught me, well coming into this week I have been talking to people who have come before= how do you know you are making a difference here. Tuesday’s devo one of the things in there was about the impact and it’s not always seen. Christ might reveal to you when He wants to, thinking you can go to a kid and make his day might not generate that feeling or longing for relationship for Christ but it’s cool how Christ can use you to teach you that in his timing he will bring forth that blessing in His timing.
About a month and a half ago I was content with not going this year and then God said here is the money and I am here. I was fully expecting God to do cool things, and I wasn’t thinking a couple days ago am I just here for the kids to beat up on me. And now I am seeing it’s ok that I don’t know how God is using me. I can go home and stay encouraged that He is in the process of still teaching me.
God has no boundaries. I knew that, but I didn’t believe that a couple of weeks ago. If someone had said that a couple of weeks ago I would have agreed with them but didn’t really believe it. It is a miracle that I am even here. Two weeks before I had to have money for it I decided I would hop in. Then I needed the money and the way I got it was selling freezer jam. Something so silly and simple I thought I would sell 5 and I sold 95. God is saying you think I can’t handle this and he is saying I can totally handle it. Chillax I got this.
I am kind of in the same boat as a couple of others. The previous years were shiny and happy and this year was great but felt different. I wasn’t sure why I was here. As a helper I need to be needed. And this week I kept waiting to be needed. The more I did devos and spent time the more I realize I didn’t need to be needed. God chose me to be here that is the cool thing that hit me, even when we think that god needs us to be here, god doesn’t need us. He just lets us hop in and love kids and staff and be here. I have noticed I have been reserved this week. I am not sure how to process this thing but I will as time goes on. And to see the relationships develop more.
I feel like I am going to repeat what others have said. I am administrative and hospitality and haven’t had those things to do. I just hung out with kids who didn’t speak English and we just sat and they said Spanish and it was ok. One of the things they gave me today said Jesus loves you more than you know.
If you would have told me 5 years go I would go on a mission trip I would have said no I am to sick to do anything like that. So to be here is a huge testament to God. There is nothing that god is not in control of. I have seen photos of the last 25 years or so of mission and trips and that looks great and everything. You have an idea until you go on one. It was overwhelming especially when you try to figure out how can I help all these kids. Your heart is so big and full but your arms are so big. I began wondering how can I help and he just said “just smile” it was really neat to be corrected many times in what I was trying to say and today was a big moment because I felt really sad all day because we were leaving and I didn’t feel like I had done much to help. I keep thinking what will happen in the days to come with the kids. I just thought the collective body can do much. God told me to focus on being happy with where they are and where you are. I went down to the kids and we just had a great time laughing. One of the kids who I have been spending time with asked if I would come back and I told her I was praying about it. This week I really just see that Missions isn’t just putting Money in a basket but being willing to go.
One of the girls on my heart the whole year you look through the blog and see photos of people with 5 kids or however many kids and how man y letters others get from kids. I realized there are really only 2 kids that really I felt like have my heart. I always feel guilty about that. God told me it doesn’t matter if I brought you here for only two and it’s a reminder that it doesn’t matter how little or how big my purpose is, it matters what God’s purpose is. And why he puts you were you are. It relived my pressure and was an ah ha moment for me which was nice.
This week has been crazy and god has been showing me a lot of things about myself I need to be working on. I kind of felt like a lot of kids were using me for the store, but three of the girls just wouldn’t let me go. And were saying I want you to stay. Those were the kids that never asked me for anything. It made me realize they were not just using me. It made me feel like god used me in that way that I was a friend for them and they could talk to me and be loved.
Since the first time I came to Emmanuel I felt a calling. A few nights into the trip I was up late and felt God saying “this is home” and coming this year and the excitement of the trip and coming wore off and it just felt like life. It was the first year that I really connected with specific kids and not groups of kids. The biggest thing I took from this trip was the calling and pulling on my heart and wanting to come back. I don’t know what that will look like yet, but God will show me.
It’s been a blessing to lead you guys because you are easy to lead. Each time I come I just build on the relationships with kids and this time get to bring friends with me.
It’s hard to say bye when you have love for someone. When you feel close to people, it’s hard to say bye. Thank you for your devotions in the morning with the kids and the bracelets and the drama. I know your family is waiting for you, but I wish you could stay. It will be a little bit hard for me to wait for you to come back next year. Thank you for all you did for the kids and remember me in your hearts. Thank you for all you do for the orphanage.
This week has been really a blessing just to see the team serve well. To come here and be willing to listen to God and do what He says- praying for kids and staff and each other. Willing to stand up and speak their stories. I love to see God at work in the body of Christ and to see that this week has just brought joy to my heart.
This year has been weird for me. Like someone else said the magic has left and you see kids are a lot like kids in the US. I still love them but the best thing is that I love the team. I love to listen to them and what problems they may have and see what God wants to do this week. Something God has been teaching me is to expect that god will always teach us in something but to walk in the works he has prepared for me to do.
Big circle this morning- all the kids of Emmanuel except for the toddlers and babies. Started with a bit of s rainbow. Today’s story take away was Jesus is with me. Fitting for Emmanuel- God with Us
Thank you for praying this week!
This morning was a great last morning with circle times. We have had a lot of feedback from staff that they have really enjoyed it. There are 4 lessons and each and there are 2 groups of team members for each story so we go to different houses each day. The plastic bracelets we had out at the end of each circle have been a big hit- So today each kid, jr staff and staff have all 4.
At the small boys house today we did the story of when Jesus walked on the water. We read it, then the kids told us piece by piece what happened in the story, then they acted it out then we asked application questions. During the questions we asked the children if they thought that Jesus was mad when Peter sank in the waves and wind and he was asking "you of little faith, why did you doubt?" Most of the children said yes. One boy said No. When we asked him why he said no he said "Because Jesus is Merciful." We explained that it is easier to stay in the boat scared than get out when Jesus says to. We then asked if they need help have their in charge people ever been mad when they go ask for help- No was the reply. We reminded them that Jesus is just like that. He wants us to come to Him. And He is always the one that has what we need and He is always enough.
The team is busy writing notes and letters to kids this morning while they are in school and this afternoon off with kids... tomorrow is the last day and we can all feel it. So the urgency is to spend time while we can.
Lisa and Arianna shared at the big girls bible study this afternoon. Both of their testimonies were very good and applied to a lot of the kids. The staff member who tied up the end of bible study explained to the girls that they are blessed to live in a place where the word is taught daily and the problems they have are not because they live here at OE or because they live in Honduras. That God will work in their lives like the lives of Arianna and Lisa if they will let him.
Staff and volunteers came up tonight. We had a table of things we wanted to bless them with- each lady got a little bag with facial scrub and homemade loofas as well as 2 bottles of bath and body wash or lotion. The rest was for them to take as they needed- the staff were very appreciative and everything was gone off the table with the exception of one item. It is so encouraging to get to bless the staff in a small way like dinner at the team house and some small gifts.
Sorry for the lack of photos, It has been tried numerous times of the day and even posting one at a time, the connection just won't stay long enough to upload them. Will upload the extras we had planned to post when back in the states. Also several videos from circle times and other things. (I found out tonight the internet is bad in the office and everywhere around here... soooo we shall see tomorrow).
Thoughts from team members today:
WE got to pray for 2 kids today- one in the yard was so upset so I prayed with him. Then I ran into Wendy and she wasn’t feeling good so I prayed with them.
We got to play with the special needs boys and do the catapults with them today because we couldn’t go to the school and they really loved it.
I got to see Karlita today, I knew here when I was 11 and I got to see her when I went up to the special needs girls but when I went to leave I found out Karlita was over at the house the whole time and I got to see her and spend time with her. They had been telling her I was here and she didn’t believe them.
I was hanging out with Jesus most of the time today and I went down to drama and the main character wasn’t there because she didn’t want to do it. But Jesus knew all the parts from practice the other night so he caught on really quickly and he could do it.
Today was the first time taking anyone to the snack shop. I was watching her yesterday and I just sat with her on the steps and talked to her. So I decided to take her to the store and used my translate and it worked so we could talk to each other. She wished she had met me earlier in the week so we can be friends. She asked if I would come next year. I said I didn’t know and she typed in my translate I will pray you will come if God sends you so now I am wondering if that is the first thing for God to be telling me to come next year.
I was nervous about sharing and after lunch we prayed and while sharing I looked over and saw 4 girls crying and I knew that it meant something.
I had one of the kids tell me they loved me…not because I took them to the store, but it was genuine and it meant a lot.
I got to translate for one of the boys yesterday and then today he came and found me today and wanted me to translate again. And it was encouraging that my Spanish is useful for more than just “ask them to sponsor me.” But really meant something.
Today was special for the drama practice and sharing but also because I have made friends with 3 of the girls especially. Some of the kids have lost interest because I keep saying no I am not taking them to the store. I told them later in the day I would come play with them after I went to the toddler house and I found them and they saw photos of my children and they asked me a very personal question. They asked if I loved them and I said yes and I said yes I missed them. Their faces brightened. I just told them that they are not forgotten. They laid their heads on my legs and I just keeping that I am only here for a week… and it is in those moments that I realize we do what we can with the moments that we have. It was really cool to see when we share our lives with them, they share their lives with us.
Today is the day we feel like we start running out of time for things! Sam and Matt are leading science hands on experiments in the elementary school the next 3 days- catapults with popsicle sticks, rubber bands, mini marshmallows and a spoon. Sam is really excited to get it going today.
Last night as we went to bed Lisa's room was laughing about her english with spanish accent and she said "But what happens in Honduras stays in Honduras right?!" We said "unless it's on the blog!" We have heard laughter again this morning about it.
Some of the high schoolers were doing a fundraiser by selling baleadas today- tortilla with beans and eggs (sometimes sour cream). It's a thin fold over and includes a bag with koolaid in it. The fee was $1 so we all bought one and some of the team members bought some for the kids. We aren't sure right now how much money they made, but the kids cooked the tortilla in the kids tortillaria and the high schoolers put it all together. When we told them we would get 22 they got really excited. So lunch today was baledas and sandwiches with fruit and chips.
A container came in today from Chattanooga so a few team members went to the warehouse to help unload it. The containers come almost monthly and are full of supplies for the children. Food and furniture and personal supplies for staff and children. Sponsors can send gifts and letters for their sponsor children to Chattanooga and they come in the container.
The drama team did their presentation tonight- the older kids go to church, so they all got to see it. I will post it after we get back and have good internet:)
Kiersten and Megan shared their testimony during service tonight- it was humbling and encouraging.
Mami Lydia's birthday was today- we got to cheer for her during church and the staff had a surprise party in the gym after church.
Lourdes Avila (Little Lourdes) who works in the baby house shared with us after dinner. Sarah the director in the office came to translate and eat a little fried chicken Veronica cooked for us (it was amazingly good fried chicken.) When asked how we can pray for her she answered to have a lot of strength in the Lord and His intelligence. It has been sweet to get to pray with the staff that have shared.
A lot of the team had moon pies for dessert. They were told if they eat them we can always find more in the warehouse :)
During dinner someone from the youth group facetimed one of the team members and there was a lot of yelling and waving and heys! It is amazing what technology can do from so far away!
We are coming into the home stretch here- 2 more days at Emmanuel. Tomorrow is the last circle (bible study morning devotion time) and Friday we will have big circle together. Lisa and Brianna will be sharing tomorrow night with the big girls of Emmanuel.
Team Members thoughts tonight:
I taught these girls how to do cotton eyed joe and they loved it.
We were talking to one of the boys we have been talking to this week and we had a discussion about how he wants to be happy and it’s hard for him and we got to pray for him.
I got to talk to one of the big girls who is the older sister of one of my sponsor kids. She is in discipleship group and she talked about it for a long time and was excited about it.
River’s twins stopped writing in my book that they love river and wrote they love me. Lol
Kiersten and Megan did a great job sharing tonight and the drama team did a great job. The kids really listened and I think they heard the message they both had to share. Mami Lydia referred to the drama at the end of service…I think it was timely.
Will be loading photos as they will load! :)
Thank you for praying!