Sunday, July 22, 2007

One amazing summer...

The last 2-3 months of my life have been absolutely crazy! First of all, the end of the school year was insane with students (mainly their parents) and coaching softball.

Here is the #1 Minnesota Vikings fan. =)

Literally the moment I checked out for the year I left to drive to Oklahoma City to watch the Women's College World Series. An entire week of watching softball. It doesn't get much better than that. I know how jealous all of you are. =) The Oklahoma City Memorial was absolutely the best-done memorial I've ever seen.

Joey and DJ at Sleeping Bear Sand Dunes

A few days after getting home my parents, my dog, and I drove 12 hours up to Detroit to visit my sister, Kendra, and her family. We drove another 4 hours to Traverse City, MI (right on Lake Michigan) and camped with them for 4 days. It was so fun. Kendra has 2 boys 7 and 4 years old. The 7-year-old is all about baseball (really sports in general) and the 4-year-old loves to dress up in costumes (Jack Sparrow from Pirates of the Caribbean is his favorite) and he is hilarious. Joey kept coming up with all of these one-liners. For example, the boys were outside playing and he opens the doors and says, "Honey, I'm home." Another time at the dinner table he said to DJ, "Use your manners, dude." It was so great to get to spend quality time with them. Living so far away make it hard.

Then, a few days after returning from Michigan I left for Honduras. It was my first time to return since I moved back to the states. Relationships I had built in the year I was there were rekindled and renewed. (All except one, but that is a very long story.) In years past my passion has been with the construction crews, but this year I was able to do a wider variety of work. Every day the large group breaks up into 4-5 small groups that do different things.

1. As a group we handed out about 500 bags of food to individual families, which can feed a family of 6 for 2-3 weeks.

2. We built 5 houses and a playground for a school.

3. We planted 200 pine trees as a humanitarian project.

4. With money from the work fund we purchased enough food for an orphanage of 35 kids for 3 months. (I'll tell an interesting story about that later.)

5. We put in a cement floor in a church building a group last summer built. (Another tear-jerker story.)

6. We painted a church building, which ended up to be a huge warehouse.

7. We held a medical clinic, which was greatly under-equipped. So if any of you reading this has access to medical supplies and can donate some for next year we would love the help.

8. We visited the Blind school, the special needs orphanage, Didasko orphanage, Casa de Esperanza (the orphanage I helped build the year I loved there), and 2 hospitals.

9. We handed out 100 blankets at the orphanages listed above. These blankets were made by 7th and 8th graders at the school I teach at in Memphis.
10. We worked at a feeding kitchen that missionary friends of mine started last year.
11. We had a VBS in two cities.

Now for a few stories:

It is incredibly hard to explain how bad this road was. In the states it wouldn't have been considered a road and here we were driving buses miles off the main road. We are the only mission group to ever go to this particular town, so when we go there are hundreds of people that gather around to watch and help us work. The bus finally pulled up in front of the school where one small group was building the playground and the other small group had to walk another half-mile to the church because the buses couldn't get back there. One neighborhood man told us that about 40 men had stayed up all night to fix the road, so our buses could get close. Not only that, but these men continued to work by starting the cement work. It was 2/3 completed by the time we got there. When I heard that tears filled my eyes. Here we were coming to help them and attempt to make life easy on them, but they were trying to my life easy for us. What servant hearts! We were blessed to worship with them that Sunday.

I drove up to a place called San Marcos where we planted trees. It had to be the most beautiful place in all of Honduras. It is located in the mountains, so it was much cooler that down in the city. There was a spot we nicknamed Pride Rock because it looked like Pride Rock from the movie "The Lion King". When it was time to stop for a lunch break we climbed up Pride Rock and had the most increible view I've ever seen.

This is Casa de Esperanza which is run by two dear friends of mine, Karen and Jen. They now are mothers to 16 children and are teaching them about God. This children's home project was the reason I moved to Honduras. As soon as I heard the vision I had to be a part of it. And now, it's not just a barren piece of land, but now it is a home to children who have never had a home before.