Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Amigas Para Siempre (Friends Forever)

      As cheesy as this may sound...God definitely knew what He was doing when he brought Desi and I together to be friends.  She just feels like one of my sisters and feels like I've been living life with her for forever!  It's funny because when we were planning our trip here in March, there was no one my age that was going to be able to go with us.  Just my mom and her friends, Chloe, and Brooklyn.  My mom kept saying, "Really Kaley, I know you are going to love this Desi girl;  there just seems like there is something about her through talking to her."  Well little did I know that my mom was 100% correct.  First of all, she is such an amazing example to me....the way she stops on the side of the road for that 95 year old woman who everyone else ignores....the way she puts her small salary towards community projects when mission groups are not down here for support....the way she knows every answer to every question about this country from only living here for a year....but most importantly the way she humbly serves Christ by being the face of Jesus everywhere she goes.  Whether its the ghetto, state run orphanage, the dump, the grocery store, or here at Dorie's Promise...everyone knows Mama Desi and she loves them back.  It's not like she has an easy and fun job all the time...she is in charge of so much down here and has started building all of these community relationships....sometimes I don't know how she does it.  But I am so thankful that God has placed her here at Dorie's Promise.  Even though I have to leave, I know that these kids will be in good hands with Desi, Joel, and the special moms loving them.  She has this laugh and personality that gets along with anyone!
     Isaiah 1:17 says,"Learn to do right! Seek justice, encourage the oppressed.  Defend the cause of the fatherless, plead the case of the widow."  This verse sums up what she is doing with her life.  I love her and am so thankful God has given me another sister at heart.  Please continue to lift up Desi in prayer as she continues to serve Christ in this hurting country. 
stopping to bring a smile to this sweet lady's face

Desi loving on a little girl in the ghetto

Desi and Nayeli Soto...

"Mama Desi...Mama Desi!!"

Just another one of my sisters that I love so much!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Reality of Guatemala

     Unfortunately the reality of most of Guatemala does not look as promising as it does to the kids here at Dorie's Promise orphanage.  These precious faces here are because of people investing their time and donations into sponsoring these kids, but the rest of Guatemala doesn't look like this.  
     We spent another amazing day at the dump yesterday.  Like I have said in a previous post, we have a missions group of 20 here this week, so they had lots of donations to give out to the people living in the slums.  They wanted to give these kids a pinata party, so that is what we did.  The people of the slums were so excited for the kids that they blocked off the road so no one would get in the way.  As much fun as it was to see these kids stuff their shirts and pockets with loads of candy, it was even more fun to see these kids engaged in one of our missions group men sharing the gospel and having Joel translate it.  For that many kids and mothers, they all listened so well.  Walking away and watching the kids holding their tracks explaining the gospel and their new Bibles, I knew that God was going to do something in someone's life that day.  We may never know who came closer to the Lord yesterday, but we know that some of those people may have heard of the gift of Christ for the first time that day. 
    Desi and Joel have it set up so that we continue to bring a chicken lunch to the same family each week.  They are trying to pour into this family so much that they may build relationships and continue to share Christ with them each week.  This family takes a small little break of going through their trash in order for us to bring them lunch.  Any time wasted to them is less money they make.  It's still hard to process for me because one day a week of missions groups bringing donations for the people of the dump is not enough.  It is not enough for these people to move out of the slums or to even buy something other than garbage bags to sleep on, but we just continue to pray that these people will find their value in Christ and know that they are loved.  
another picture of the dump from up above....imagine thousands of people working down there for 12 hours a day digging through garbage...
34 center from the LA lakers...must've been nervous, I know I could take him...cuz thats how I beat Shaq!!

 (Sorry to those who don't understand!!)

Sitting with the girls who are part of the family we bring lunch to each week

little boy with no shoes...and by the grace of God, our group had a few extra shoes thrown in their donations this week!

I see these two precious girls playing around outside each week...they know no different then to be happy with the lives they're given...they jump around outside in the dirty streets all day long.

the gospel being shared with all these kids after the pinata awesome!

Happy little Alyson sitting inside the house while her mom sorts through trash all day.

Imagine if this was the entrance to your house
      And then tonight...oh how I love precious moments like these....every time I tuck the little 3-4 year old girls in bed, I cry.  I was in there tonight helping them all brush their teeth and get in their beds.  I walk around and every little girl gives me kisses.  And then I try leaving, and each girl says, "mama kaley, mas besas."  (more kisses).  Seriously, if adoptions were open, I would have way too many kids! Bedtime is so special to me because it just reminds me of bedtime at home with my little sisters.  Whenever I'm home, I usually end up snuggling them and falling asleep in their beds.  I wish I could fit in their tiny little bunk beds here and do that with a different one each night! But seriously the only thing that keeps me from going emotionally insane is knowing that Christ has His hand on all the kids here at Dorie's Promise.  These kids are loved, loved, loved by their special mothers, Desi, Joel, and the other staff here.  They are being taught about Christ's love every day here and that is something to praise Jesus about!


Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Heavy Heart

I come to you with a heavy heart tonight realizing that a week from tomorrow I head home.  Seriously, I cry every time I think about it.  Two years ago, I remember laying in my bed crying struggling with what God wanted with my life.  I have always wanted to be a nurse, but also have a huge passion for orphans and a special place in my heart for Guatemala.  I prayed and prayed and got into St. Francis knowing that if God wanted me to use nursing somehow in missions, I could but that I should go ahead and finish school.  Now I'm back in the place I was a few years ago, but wanting so much more to just quit everything and move here.  I love everything about it and if my family would promise to come visit frequently, I would be game for dropping everything.  Pretty much I'm jealous of my dear friend Desi and her ability to be able to consistently be with these kids and serve in areas of Guatemala that are hurting and broken.  Sunday morning, in our 3 hour Spanish church service, I was kind of reading around in my Bible and came across Psalm 32: 8-11 saying, "I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you and watch over you.  Do not be like the horse or the mule, which have no understanding but must be controlled by bit and bridle or they will not come to you.  Many are the woes of the wicked, but the Lord's unfailing love surrounds the man who trusts in him.  Rejoice in the Lord and be glad, you righteous; sing, all you who are upright in heart!"  This was an encouraging reminder to trust Him with everything.  God has opened my eyes to so much down here.  There are so many hurt people down many families who are broken with alcoholic fathers, so many people striving to make as much as $1.50/day just to be able to get some many people who have not one bit of self many kids with physical and sexual abuse issues...and so many precious little kids with no one to call their mommy or daddy.  But we know that Christ knows each and every one of these people's one is faceless to Him.  It is up to us to reach out to these people and share the face of Jesus to the broken.  Many of you may be in the same boat I am....embracing your own individual, unpaved roads....but as we are each encountering what it means to be the face of Christ in this world of pain, we need to remember that it all starts with compassion and loving the person in front of you or stopping to say hello to someone.  I have no clue where God may lead me....I could end up in blm, IL being a baby nurse for the rest of my life or I maybe i could end up in a foreign country working with His beautiful children...but I know I will never forget this amazing opportunity God has blessed me with by being down here.  It's going to be a challenge going home and trying to show what it means to be His love in my everyday life.  It definitely won't be easy.  But my challenge for you tonight is to look at your life and see what you can do in order to be more like the face of Jesus?

Tomorrow is another day at the dump...even thought this will be my 4th week in a row going here, I will never be prepared enough for the poverty that is everywhere around.  Last week the kids were thrilled with a granola bar.  This week the group put more money in to do a pinata party with these kids as will probably be the first pinata party these kids have ever had and I cannot wait to see their little faces as they take part in it!

Love from Guat,

Monday, July 18, 2011

Pizza Party!!

The best part of the week is always obviously the pizza party...all the kids in their pajamas, crazy dancing, glow sticks, pizza, and so much fun! It was such a great way to end the week with my fam being here but also very sad tucking them in bed.  I wasn't even leaving them and to watch my little Chloe cry that night just broke my heart.  But anyways...parties are always a blast here, so just wanted to share some pics!
Desi and her crazy, beautiful daughter
It's PaRtY TiMe!!

Gnite sweet girl

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Hey's Brooke here!

Chloe and baby Maria

the view of the ghetto we visited

only a small portion of the dump

going into the slums and handing out donations was the highlight of our day

the little girls playing right outside their home

the family we visited and brought lunch to
Hey everyone, this is Brooke!  I just thought I'd put up a little post up before we head home tomorrow already :( It has been such an incredible trip out here to Guatemala, I just wish it didn't have to come to an end so soon.  God has blessed me greatly with this eye-opening experience that has made me think twice about things in life and how very fortunate I am.  I believe that the Lord brought us here for many different reasons and one of the most important ones was to bring him glory in everything that we do and experience!  Many times I found myself just sitting there in amazement.  Before we left (a week ago tomorrow), I had been praying that God would pull on my heart strings this week and show me ways that I can better bring him glory.  Looking back on the week, God allowed me to take these experiences and now look at parts of my life in a whole new perspective as we were working with the kids in the orphanage here, in the Ghetto, at the State Orphanage and today at the Dump.  Realizing that it is now late on Thursday night, the week is coming to an end as we head to the airport bright and early tomorrow morning.  I would like to say just a bit about our experience at the Dump today.
           Well, I don't even know where to begin.... I guess I'll start by saying that coming to the dump was something that we did here that really made me ask God some questions.  At first, we went above the dump where the National Cemetary was located.  From there we could over-look the whole dump.  I'm not going to lie, the smell was horrendous.  The smell became much less of an issue when I sat back and realized that all the Guatemalan people down there were trying to make a living.  That was their job to sort through trash.  Desi and Joel told us that each week, the workers are assigned to a certain type of material.  For instance, some would only look for paper products, others for tin, and even some for plastics.  At the end of the day, they would bring there things home and sort them in their homes, hoping to sell as much as they could for a profit.  Just to get an idea of how much they would earn (on a good day with little or no rain), about a pound of paper would be worth 10 cents.  Then we got to hand out some donations in the slums....such a rewarding opportunity.  The kids were so greatful to receive something as small as a granola bar or a little bouncy ball.  Then we brought a chicken lunch to a family that Forever Change visits each week.  We actually got to sit down in the chairs of their "house"(the chairs were garbage bags filled with garbage).  We were able to hear their story and pray with them.  It was hard realizing that this life is all they know of, but I am very thankful they know the Lord.  In the end, that's all that matters.
      Tonight we had our goodbye pizza party(Kaley will post pics of that tomorrow).  It was seriously such a blast filled with pizza, dancing, glow sticks, and giggles.  The sad part was tucking them all in bed for the last time this week.  I wish I could bring each one of them home, but knowing that I can't...I will continue to pray for them each and every day.  The awesome thing about Forever Changed International is that you are able to sponsor any of their kids each month.  Here they are given not only a home and food, but also the hope of Christ.  Please take a look at their site and consider either spiritually or financially supporting them.(or both!)
Love you!!

Monday, July 11, 2011

What breaks yours...

The first house we brought a food basket to and prayed with...
Cody and Kevin

Praying with a sweet family in the ghetto

Desi with a sweet little girl

We think this looks like Kenz when she gets mad....

Flip-flop making party!!

Cute little family reading time
Happy Feet

Special needs dance party at the state precious
          "Break my heart for what breaks yours"....we all know this is something people pray for all the time.  But when you actually wake up in the morning and specifically pray for this to happen, God will do it to you.  We had a great day yesterday in the ghetto.  We were able to bring food baskets to 5 families and then pray over them.  One that really stuck out to us was a family of 4 kids, the father was an alcoholic and the second we started praying over the family, the mom broke down in tears.  We saw her brokenness and tried to pour into as much as we could.  The joyful part of the day was doing a pinata party with all the ghetto much fun to see Dora and Diego be attacked by all the kids! When we were here in March with the "guatemalan girls" group, we met a 12 year old boy named Kevin who lived in a small room with just his 3 year old brother.  His dad wasnt present and his mom was an alcoholic.  He is such a strong boy with an amazing heart of God.  We loved being able to go back and pray with him.  Cody had gotten a great deal on a soccer jersey with his name on it, and Brady had a sweet Nike jacket that he absolutely loved! (Thanks Brady!)  
          Today was rough and God really opened our eyes.  We spent the day at the state orphanage.  One thing that was so hard to watch was watching a teenage girl stepping foot in the orphanage for the first time.  This was going to be her life until she was 18.  She looked devastated and lost...I wanted to go hug her and tell her I loved her, but she was heading into the office.  Another thing that was hard to watch was seeing a 6 year old boy being beat up by other little boys.  That was just one incidence, but I can only imagine what else goes on in that orphanage of over 800 children.  We worked with the special needs kids again...we played soccer, had a cake party, and then a crazy dance part with all of them.  Seriously, as hard as it was to be there and see their situations, it was also joyful to see these kids have fun and enjoy some of the little things in life.  There are about 30 kids to 1 lady working with them.  As cheesy as this may sound, God really broke our hearts today.  It's hard to know that we're only able to be there 1 day this week...we're not going to be able to go back and continue loving these kids and reminding them of Christ's love.  But it is good to know that God places special leaders in that home...there's a sweet lady named Erica who is a therapist with the toddler special needs kids there.  She loves these kids and works as hard as she can to improve their mobility and strength.
         It kind of leaves wondering and confused on what God wants you to do with everything He has shown you.  Hopefully it will put a whole new perspective on things when we get be able to have a new heart for the hopeless and the be able to reach out to people that may be harder to love...and to be able to continue to work towards loving through the eyes of Christ.  
          Thanks everyone for support and prayers.  It's so fun being with my crazy fam!  And sorry if this makes no sense...I am around all of them being the insane people that they are...

Love you all!! XoXo