“Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you,
saying, 'This is the way; walk in it.'” Isaiah 30:21

“Teach me your way, O LORD, and I will walk in your truth; give me an undivided heart,
that I may fear your name.” Psalm 86:11

“Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ
loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” Ephesians 5:1-2

“For we walk by faith, not by sight.” 2 Corinthians 5:7

Friday, June 21, 2013

Lord’s purpose prevails

Mitad del Mundo (Middle of the World)!
Since I went to bed so early I was more than ready to get up at six. I got all ready and lounged around for a while before going to the Alliance Academy. Megan is a kindergarten teacher there and I got to visit her school and classroom. It was the last day of school, so she had already been cleaning out her room, but it was still adorable! It was fun seeing and looking around this school I have heard so much about, I also got to see Kat and Mandi (two of the girls that stayed with me over Easter)! It was great running in to them and briefly saying hello. When it was time for school to start I headed out, stopped back at the house, then went to the bus stop. It was time to be a tourist and go to the Mitad del Mundo which required an adventure on the city bus. Megan and her husband told us where to get on the bus, so we hopped on and transferred at the end of the line. The bus we got on had a big label with where it was heading, so we new we were going to the right place 
View from the top of the monument.
and next thing I knew we were at the Mitad del Mundo! The original "Middle of the World" was slightly off the actual equator, according to GPS calculations the real equator is 240 meters North of the 0° 0′ 0″ line at the Mitad del Mundo. Construction of the 30-meter-tall monument was completed in 1982 and replaced a smaller monument that was built by Government of Ecuador in 1936. This tall monument with a globe on the top of it is seen on many postcards and is a popular tourists. There is a little city that is part of the attraction, it is full of different souvenirs. Inside the monument I checked out the museum on my walk up, it has history about the different regions, tribes, and groups in Ecuador. Standing on the top of the monument was a very nice view of the city, I could see mountains in the distance and tons of houses for miles around! Next on the agenda was venturing to the
Intiñan Solar Museum's equator!
nearby Intiñan Solar Museum. At this site there was a guided tour about the Shuar head shrinking, a tomb, sun dial (they explained why the time was a little bit "off" because of the leap year),did a water experiment (at the equator water goes straight down, but in the Northern hemisphere counter-clockwise and Southern hemisphere clockwise). Mom, I am pleased to tell you I did in fact balance an egg on the head of a nail and even go a certificate for it! After all the sightseeing I needed for one day Jocelyn and I walked to the spot we got off the bus and waited for a blue bus like the one we had gotten on before. As we got in to the city we noticed it was a different way and this one seemed to be taking us around the city...at this point I started to panic a little bit. I was incredibly thankful to be able to borrow somebodies map and look at where we needed to go! With the help of the bus driver, we ended up just needing to transfer once and got back to Megan's house with no problems. I thank God for faithfully getting us back, because it is a big city and not much room for error. When we arrived home from the adventure there was some time to rest, run an errand, and eat supper before leaving for the airport at 7. Jocelyn and I hung out at the old airport which is now a bus stop for a shuttle to the new airport. We left at eight and it took about an hour to get there, so there was plenty of time until my flight left. The line to get checked in was taking forever, and they rerouted me to get home later
My egg balanced on the nail!
because my first flight was delayed, it was not fun but the lady was very helpful. It is going to be an even longer day of travel than I thought, but everything happens for a reason. When my flight out of Chicago was delayed too I was a little bit flustered, I was tired of traveling and ready to be home. Although it didn't go quite as planned, I thank God for the safe journey home. Proverbs 19:21, "Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails." God had a purpose and plan for every delay and obstacle on the journey home, I thank Him for the opportunity to trust Him more!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Your Love

It was a beautiful drive, this is about 15 miles outside of Ambato! 
Today on my morning walk I saw Slyvia, Angel & Marcela! It was a great morning to run in to them, because it was my last chance. I ended up buying a custard filled roll with coconut on top, a cheese croissant for lunch, and a whole bunch of the chocolate swirl rolls to bring home for my family. I want them to be able to try my special creation! I went over to Patti Sue's house this morning to say goodbye to her and the girls living with her. I got to eat a traditional breakfast of rolls with jam, cheese, and hard boiled eggs with them. We talked until they left for school, it was really weird not needing to leave at the same time. I am very glad I got to say goodbye and talk with all of them for a little while. Then Jocelyn and I went up to Casa de Fe to say goodbye to everybody. I got to say goodbye to all of the kids yesterday, so I spent most of my time saying goodbye to all of the staff at Casa de Fe. I started at the school, went to the old bodega, then up to the new bodega, made a pit stop at the school to say goodbye to a couple of teachers, and finally down to the house. It was really hard to say goodbye, but God is so very faithful and I could not be more thankful for the friends I have made here! I was booking it on the way home, because imagine that I was running later than planned and I knew who we were riding with would be there soon. Along the way I hear a familiar sound and I new it was welding so I made sure to look the opposite direction. I certainly have learned an array of skills since being here, everything from averting my eyes at the sounds of welding to recognizing the cries of different kids. I am blown away when I start to think of all the different skills God has taught me during my time in Shell and look forward to continued growth every day! Our ride was running behind schedule, so we ended up making it back with plenty of time to spare. I did some last minute straightening up the house and finished getting things together. We left right around noon and the sun was peaking out. I had my window down and enjoyed seeing the streets that I have come to know so well. It was a beautiful day to be leaving Shell. As we drove along the windows were down and the wind was blowing through my hair, it was awesome! I could smell the fresh air, see farms all the way up mountains, and was listening to encouraging music. Three of the songs that stuck out the most were Hold me Together by Royal Tailor, Who You say You Are by Brit Nicole, and Your Love by Brandon Heath. The lyrics to Brandon Heath's song are; " Your love, Your love, the only the thing that matters is Your love! Your love is all I have to give. Your love is enough to light up the darkness! It's Your love, Your love, all I ever needed is Your love. You're the hope in the morning, You're the light when the night is falling, You're the song when my heart is singing. It's Your love!" God's love is constant through every change and is leading us in His perfect way, I praise Him for the continued guidance and faithfulness beyond measure in my life.We stopped at the mall in Ambato for lunch and I ran in to MegaMaxi to get some jelly for my family. I thought a Mora and Guyaba would give them a little taste of Ecuador!
We stopped on the outskirts of Quito
to look at the volcano!
Then we were back on the rode, on the way out of town Keith showed us the house the Ecuadorian national anthem was written at. It was a nice mini history lesson! I fell asleep a couple of times, but tried to take in all of the views as much as I could. Before I knew it we arrived in Quito and it turned out they were staying at the Guest House right next door to Megan. I could not have been any more excited about this, thanks God! I was worried about getting on a bus with all of our luggage, but we all made it safe and sound and had front door service. Megan and Danny had plans for the evening, so she told us to make ourselves at home. This is the second time I have had the privilege of staying with Megan while being in Quito and it is such a huge blessing! My night consisted of making supper, lounging on a comfy couch, and going to bed at 8:45!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Doy gracias a mi Dios

At the museum with Marjurie, Marcela, and the Primero students!
While I was enjoying my morning walk around town, I ran in to Jenny, Rebekah, and Sylvia. It was a wonderful treat getting to see these ladies first thing in the morning. My last round of morning exercises went well, then I had work time to prep before my first gym class was supposed to start. Surprise, right before my class with Primero was going to start they were loading up the van to go on a field trip. I am very excited to say I got to go with the the tour of the Pastaza museum with them. There were different huts from each of the tribes in the Pastaza region, there were animal, and pottery. On the hut for the Waorani the spelling stuck out to me, because it was "Huarani". After confirming that it was Waorani I asked about the spelling and was told that before the current spelling it was spelt Hauarani, but that linguists and missionaries cause the spelling to evolve. There were a ton of butterflies hanging on a wall and my favorite was the Angel, because it was this incredible creamy, white, iridescent color! I also got to see one of the pots a Shuar
Bumblebee from Transformers!
tribe used to shrink heads. When the tour was done we stopped downstairs and I learned more about Ecuador's flag. There have been five different designs for the center logo and eight different backgrounds for the flag, the current one has a slightly bigger yellow strip at the top, then a blue stripe, and finally a red. On the way home after driving past it we made a spontaneous pit stop at the park. The kids loved it even though we weren't there long and I managed to get kicked off the playground. It was one of those awkward moments when a police officer had to tell an adult they were too big for the playground! Right after I had climbed up I heard a police officers said, "Seniorita, es para los ninos" (it is for the kids). The park in Puyo was incredibly nice, clean, quiet, and had a statue of Bumblebee from Transformers. It was a quick stop, but a great one after nice history lesson at the museum. As we drove through Puyo there were great smells all around and we wouldn't be in Ecuador if we didn't stop to run an errand for somebody on the way, it is the Ecuadorian thing to do! On the ride Sheila was bopping around to the music on the way home. She is a little girl after my own heart, it was so adorable! We pulled up to the school right when the bell rang for my gym class to start. Talk about perfect timing and cutting it close! The Inicial class was very good today, they responded to my direction, were obedient, and respectful. We have made progress every day and it was awesome to have such a great day with these little ones. My last day of Cultura Fisica (Gym) with the biggest girls consisted of kickball at the cancha with guest appearances with Heidi and Mike. The girls were having a blast! I had managed to not fall in a puddle at the dique the entire time here until today. I slipped and fell in the puddle and it was the smallest it has been in a month, usually it is taking up a good portion of the field, but it hasn't been raining too hard so it was pretty dry. The next time my team was in the infield I kicked a home run, so that made up for the wipe out! I got a whole bunch of
I took my students out for ice cream and to the park for an
end of the year celebration!
hugs as the kids passed me on their way to the house and that is when emotions were really starting to hit me. Caila was the first one walking down with her smiling face calling my name, then a bunch of the younger ones were shortly behind her. Right when I arrived at the school Slyvia pulled me aside and gave me a gift, it was a lovely prayer and a coin purse...that's when I broke down. The love, support, blessings, and friendship I have been shown from everybody here and in the States is overwhelming. We had a special meal with all of the teachers! They prayed over me, we shared stories, and enjoyed one last meal together. I got a huge stack of cards from the kids and received a card and gift from the teachers! They have such abundantly giving hearts. Just when I thought there would be no new surprises, surprise, I got a new English student on our last day of class! He was at Casa de Fe before, but after being at home for the past year returned due to tough situations at home. We were having our last day of school celebration, so I'm thinking he had the best first and last day of school all at once! We walked to Alexander's for ice cream, then went to the park to eat it and play for a little bit 
My girls!!! I thank God for every day with Paola, Caila, Diana, and Evelyn ♥
before heading back. On the way there we raced up the hill and on the way back we ran down it, it is a big hill which makes it hard to run up and really fun to run down. When I got back I went straight upstairs for my last day of library, then helped Jenny do some interviews with the kids. When I finished helping others I put away my last books, tied up some loose ends, and finished making cards for all the teachers. Along with a little note I put Philippians 1:2-6, "Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus." In Spanish it is Filipenses 1:2-6, "Que Dios nuestro Padre y el Señor Jesucristo les concedan gracia y paz. Doy gracias a mi Dios cada vez que me acuerdo de ustedes. En todas mis oraciones por todos ustedes, siempre oro con alegría, porque han participado
Nayeli and I!
en el evangelio desde el primer día hasta ahora. Estoy convencido de esto: el que comenzó tan buena obra en ustedes la irá perfeccionando hasta el día de Cristo Jesús." I will in fact thank God every time I think about the friendships I have formed here. I am so filled with joy when I think about obstacles that have been overcome, the challenges that have been faced, and the love that has been shared! God is so very good and is faithful in all places at all times. I went down to the house to hang out with the kiddos one last time and enjoyed the beautiful weather at this time of day. I was doing pretty good until I saw Evelyn from my English class curled up and crying. I had given my girls a picture of our class from a while back and there she had it in a little picture frame she had made. I gave her a big hug before heading out, then gave her another one before I actually left. She has such a free spirit and I can just picture her dancing around and running in the wind! The way she runs is how I picture all of God's children running to greet Him at Heaven's gates! I walked home by myself and had a good alone time with God, He knows my heart and every thing I am feeling and I thank Him for always being constant. When everything around me is changing He remains the same and that is the most valuable thing in my life! I stopped at the dique to read my cards stack of cards and enjoyed very much the little messages and magazine cut outs on them. They are wonderful! I went home, cleaned up, and spent a while packing. When I was all ready I went out for pizza at Hut Cheese for the best pizza in Ecuador one last time! The evening ended with games at Jessica's house with Mike, Molly, Abby, Heidi, Jocelyn, Jesse, Ryan, and Lydia. While we were playing Tracey stopped by to say goodbye which was a huge blessing and I look forward to staying in touch with her and hearing about how the Lord is working this their family and ministry here!

Monday, June 17, 2013

Strong and courageous

As I walked around town the sunrise was picturesque, there were little breaks in the pink clouds and rays shinning through! There were also big orange clouds just high enough over the mountains to see the colors being reflected on them. It was so beautiful! When I arrived to school this morning I asked the teacher whose daughter has been very sick how she is doing and am very happy to share that she is doing better. God is good! This morning we did another skit about staying focused and working hard, so we put on a little skit. The kids loved that I was playing the role of Jacob and had a wonderful paper facial hair cutout taped on my face. Then Rick walked out dressed as a girl and they couldn't get enough! Despite the silliness of being dressed up the kids were really able to grasp the dedication exemplified in our skit. I had to start letting go of my role at the school today which was way harder than I anticipated. It humbling to know things will function just fine without me, I know that I have been helpful, but it is important to realize the school does not depend on me. There were times today that I was feeling down about being replaced, but it is all part of the process. Gym class with Inicial went fairly well, none of them wanted to do the warm up activities, but once we started playing "lobo" they were all in and interested! In no time it was snack break and there were a bunch of different activities happening all at once, soccer, jump rope, and kids running around in every direction! Gym class
Frixon and I hanging out!
with Primero was good and 4th and 5th grade was awesome too! We played soccer in the fourth and fifth grade class, it was boys verses girls and they beat us at the last minute. It was a great last day in class with them! I started making myself a first year of teaching tree, it is different than anybody else's that I have seen, but it is unique and I like it! I cut out leaves on scrapbooking paper and am having the kids I teach write their names on them to add to a tree, I hope it turns out! I had to dismiss myself from English class while we were doing our daily flashcards, because I could tell I was going to start crying. This practice drill is something we had done every day since I started and today was the last day, it has become such a habitat I don't have to think about out...which is when I realized it was the last time and almost broke down. I stepped out of the room for a moment and came back just fine, ready to get them started on a project while I tested them one at a time. After school library was very slow, and school store went well. Today flew by and although up and down emotionally it was a great day! When school store was finished, I took down the pictures I hung at my desk and headed back down to the house to hang out with the kiddos. I started in the baby room, then headed outside to be with the bigger kids! Since it was Jeff's birthday today, the maestros threw a little surprise party at the orphanage. I'm so glad I was still at Casa de Fe this evening, because it was a blast hiding in the kitchen area with the staff. When he walked in to the kitchen we all jumped up with the cake, sang, then instead of shoving his face in the cake it was kind of launched at him, but it was a success! I love that cake in the face is a not only a tradition in Ecuador, but that we eat the cake after it's been in their face. It doesn't make sense to waste cake, even though it wasn't my favorite the frosting was pretty good! It was hard to leave today knowing that I only have one day left. I chatted in Spanish on the walk home and ran in to the older girls
Jeff about to get his face shoved in cake!

coming home from Bible study. After cleaning up and resting for a little bit, Jocelyn and I went to pick up Abby (a new volunteer). The three of us got on the bus to Abuelos to enjoy supper with Heidi, Molly, Mike, Jess, and the team! I enjoyed the yummy green sauce one more time, and Heidi graciously paid for my meal. Heidi has such a kind, humble, and beautiful heart! The food adventure ended with me running over to Mickos to get ice cream before it closed. It was really special that they had the Mora y Maracuya, because it was the first ice cream I had from there and now it was my last. It was a great evening with the summer volunteers at Casa de Fe! Joshua 1:9, "Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go." As I begin to close the chapter on this experience, God is preparing me for a new one. The Lord is always working things together for my good, He has given me a heart that longs to know Him more and every life experience has been designed to do just that!

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Walk humbly with your God

Some of the Casa de Fe kids after church!
This morning I was in charge of helping get all of the kids to church. Before heading out the door I called to have them meet us and when they arrived they were all there, plus an extra kid. We got a new boy the other day, well he's actually not so new since he has been at Casa de Fe before, but I just got to meet him. We all made it to church and joined everybody else from Casa at the front of the church to the right, we sit in the same spot every week! I got to sit next to Caila, Evelyn, and Diana. Caila accidentally
The Freeman's and I!
spilt my coffee, but it didn't spill on anybody and it is easier to clean up on a tile floor. It was really hot in church until they turned on the fans, but once they did it was just fine. I hung outside the church until the Bible classes were done, so I got to hang out with Jeff and Stephanie. When they were all loaded up to go back to Casa de Fe I headed back home to the Martin's. It was my first time ever really being upstairs when it was nice and sunny outside, I could definitely feel it, because I felt like I was sitting in a sauna when I was Skyping my family to wish my dad a Happy Fathers Day! I got to go to lunch at Vista Hermosa with the Freeman's, the Hayes family, and the team that is here. It is a yummy restaurant and a great group of people to eat with! After we were all done eating I headed home and hung out around the house for a while before heading up to Casa de Fe. I went up to spend time with the kids and hold the babies, then I hopped in the truck for ultimate frisbee. It
Ronal just being cute!
was an awesome day at the sporting complex, because we had our big crew back at the field! Seriously, there were a ton of Ecuadorians and other missionaries, we had a big game of great game going! After a couple hours of intense playing we loaded up the truck and I rode back all the way to Casa with the kids and got to say goodnight to everybody. It was fun seeing them all settle down before supper and heading to bed. I helped Jeff drop off water jugs at Patti Sue's and ended up staying for a while to visit. She made a delicious pineapple upside down cake, and Heidi made a chicken broth based soup with curry, paprika, cinnamon, sweet potato, chickpeas, spinach, and a bunch of other veggies. Of course the soup was better with a little bit of popcorn! I was so glad to visit, but had to leave all too soon to go over to prayer, but I love prayer nights so it was a great place to go. Prayer was at the Freeman's tonight, so I had to walk briskly over there since I was enjoying my time with Patti Sue, Heidi, and the girls and lost
Ultimate frisbee!
track of time! Micah 6:8, "He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God." I was pretty emotional at prayer. I was grateful beyond words for the prayer and encouragement that I received and thank the Lord for the support from everybody here. As I sat there I was thinking about how much I miss the kids already. I have been blessed to see and spend time with them every day, but I know in a couple days that will not be my reality. God is faithful in all situations and I know He is working in beautiful ways. The stars were beautiful on the walk home, it is always a treat to see the stars here at night!

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Princessa de Dios

I took the big loop past blanca Nievas, went down market street, then tuned left at the Coliseo for my walk around town in the morning. I picked up some eggs right across the street, but decided to have something else for breakfast when I remembered I would be having eggs for supper at the party. When I finished getting ready Jocelyn and I walked to school, along the way I saw one of the teachers walking up the hill and my heart dropped. I knew right away that something wasn't right and when I greeted her I could see she was holding back tears. She informed me that her daughter was in the hospital with the same sickness he son had died from about a month ago. She was going to the hospital to be with her, so I gave her a big hug and reminded her we are all God's children. I know God is using the seemingly endless struggles in her life to draw her close. Listening to the kids sing and seeing them jumping around to the songs we sing in chapel warms my heart so much! The Lord is doing wonderful things in the lives of these kids and it is truly incredible to see His presence in this place. Shortly after chapel the team of volunteers, maestros, and teachers formed a prayer circle for the teacher and her daughter. Casa de Fe is an encouraging place to work, seeing how people come around one another to support and encourage each other in difficult times really is a beautiful thing! My gym class with the second and third graders reached the point in the "bean bag toss" to add the relay portion. there were two teams and to get them running they had to run to the end of the hallway, stop behind the throwing line, toss their bean bags, and hand them off to their teammate. They liked it a lot. The cancha was busy today and since it was raining we couldn't be outside there, so I had to bring the oldest girls back to teach them a new game. Although they were less than thrilled about the change of plans, I taught them the "snail" jumping game I used to play for hours when I was little and it was a hit! The forth and fifth graders played soccer in the hallway and went great. However, one girl accidentally got bumped and totally lost it. She was not hurt at all, but since she was struggling inside, as soon as she was bumped all of her emotions let loose. When I sat her down and was asking her what happened there was no physical pain, she responded with nothing hurts...I just want to be with my dad. That's when my heart dropped for the second time today, these kids long to be with their parents so much and since they have been abandoned they face amplified emotional troubles. I always love and encourage them to the best of my ability, whenever I have a chance. I got to enjoy some fresh peppers and homemade ranch with much lunch, it was a great addition.
Can't beat a game of soccer after work to kick off the weekend!
Then it was time for English, it went very well and they all aced their last letter! Next Monday we have the final and Tuesday a little goodbye party for their last day of English class. I almost had a breakdown when I was telling them about our last two days, because I am going to miss them like crazy. After work I hung out with the toddlers for a while, then headed down to the dique with the maestros and the team to play a game of soccer. I started off taking some pictures for the team members, then got to jump in and play. It was awesome! I took it easy for the most part, but played pretty hard at the end. The game ended just in time for me to stop at home and clean up before the princess party.
All the girls and Jean Paul enjoying supper at Patti Sue's!
One minor detail that I had forgotten about was the fact I didn't have my keys, thankfully Jocelyn heard me knocking after a little bit and she let me in, so I could call to track down my keys, get in my room to clean up, and head out. On the way to the party at Patti Sue's I stopped to say goodbye to Dwight and Tandy. I knew it was going to be hard, but I was hoping to be able to hold it together. As hard as I tried I couldn't hold back some tears, I am thankful beyond words for the way they have taken care of and blessed me from the first time I met them! It was hard to say goodbye and this was only the first of many. On a much happier note, I got to be a part of my first Princess party! While supper was being prepared the twelve girls from the middle age group at Casa
Princess Viviana and I!
de Fe watched a movie. We ate eggs over fried rice and ahi, it was great. Before we even had time to ask someone to pray, Yajaira volunteered to lead us in a beautiful prayer! The girls got their nails painted while watching the movies. Also, Yajaira found out I was ticklish and I could not stop laughing. We slid two mattresses out on to the living room floor for all of them to sleep on and naturally they had to jump on them a little bit to make sure they were good mattresses! After supper Heidi read Rey by Beth Moore (in Spanish) to the girls. When she finished reading it, we crowned them all "Princessa de Dios" (God's Princesses). The last page of the book quoted Matthew 25:34, “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world." We are children of God and heirs to His kingdom in heaven, this is such an incredible gift! When it was time to go to bed, I fell asleep to the girls talking, what seemed like a short night of sleep ended at 6am to them talking. They were trying to be quiet, but they were all just so excited. Over the course of the night we watched some great Princess movies including; Anastasia, Tangled, Brave, and The Princess & the Frog. Patti Sue made some pancakes first thing in the morning, then we cleaned up and headed out. I was incredibly blessed to help chaperon this party, I had a blast being with the girls, everything from crowing them as princesses to helping them find the bathroom in the middle of the night. I loved these kids so much! After cleaning up at getting ready for the day I met Slyvia at the bus stop here in Shell and got to go over to her house for lunch. It was early so we spent time looking through her pictures and chatting, I was overwhelmed by her hospitality! I was super blessed to learn more about her life and family as I looked through pictures with her, I was able to see parts of her life I never would have been able to otherwise. A picture speaks a thousand words! I also got to meet her kids, brothers and sisters, nieces and nephews, and her mother. When she started cooking I got to help,
Slyvia preparing lunch, she is a wonderful cook!
she taught me how to properly peel a potato and I am proud to say I didn't cut off any fingers! She is such an excellent cook and it was fun being able to help her in order to pick up on some tricks. When it was time to eat, we pulled the table away from the wall in to the middle of the kitchen so he whole family could come and eat. I ate with her and her sons, her mother, two sisters, and one of her nephews, it made me feel right at home. They asked me to pray for the food, it was my first time ever having to pray out loud in Spanish and it was a bit intimidating, but good. It short, sweet, and by no means perfect, but God knows what was in my heart and blessed it just the same! After everything was cleaned up, we walked a couple of blocks to the park in Marovia and sat to talk some more! After hanging out there for a little while it was time for me to head home and they were going to run errands, so they drove me home. I packed up really quick, then Jeff and Mike helped us move over to Dwight and Tandy's. I will be living here for my last few days and I must admit I am excited to live back in the center of town! After getting everything in to the new place Molly, Jessica, Mike, Jocelyn, and I hopped on the bus to the BalsaWood Store to shop. I bought more than I needed, then we went to Super Tia's one last time where I bought more than necessary again. I have been trying to get my souvenirs all bought and there's not much time left! After completing the shopping spree we went to O Sole Mio's for supper and got Nice Cream on the walk back to the bus stop. Once we arrived back in Shell all of us walked to my old house to finish washing sheets. We were trying to finish getting the house ready for the new missionaries that are coming, but the gas tank was empty so the drier wasn't working. This dilemma allowed me to change my first gas tank, better late than never! After getting it all in the drier we went to watch a movie with the crew, I slept for most of the time, but they woke me up when it was over, we went back to the old house, made the beds and finished getting it all set up, then headed home to go to bed. It has been a couple of very busy days, but I have loved every minute of it!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

From every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages

I stood in a quieter part of town and watched the sun rise over the hills this morning. Some of the clouds were low and crawled across the mountains while others were high and illuminated with gold contrasting the blue sky. I ran in to Jenny and Rebekah as they were finishing up their workout. My walk around town was great! School started off great today too, when I went down to the house to get a pump for gym classes, I saw Edison sitting outside. Edison was all dressed up and I was informed he was going to get his picture taken for his visa, because he is being adapted. The smile and joy radiating off his face was so God glorifying! I worked around the school instead of taking the morning off and was able to set up a little library display of new books! During break time I learned a new game from professor Sylvia. I started learning one similar to it yesterday after school with the girls, but this one was even cooler. Both of the games are similar to my childhood hopscotch, but more complex! I also got to tutor Genesis in reading. It is hard for her to read and working with her reminded me of the reading help I use to get when I was in elementary school, because I used to really struggle with reading. My gym classes went well, especially kick ball with oldest girls. They worked hard and had a blast playing! The sun was brightly shinning was I walked up to the school, so I decided to have a seat on the front steps and soak in the sun. Heidi was heading down while I sat there and we ended up talking through my lunch break, I was really blessed and encouraged by our conversation! Shortly after I had
Shooting blow darts inside a traditional hut!
accepted that I wouldn't be able to go on a MAF flight again today, they hollered my name and I got to go. Dwight drove us over to the landing strip on the military base, we weighed in, and loaded up. We didn't have to wait long, but while we were waiting they served us pop and chilfes, talk about great service. Our pilot was Chad Irwin, one of the local missionaries, and I was so thankful the Lord gave us him as our pilot. Leading up to the flight I got a little nervous, because the planes were so very small, but when I found out he was our pilot I wasn't worried, I was confident in our pilots abilities. GOD is the pilot of my life, I never know what is coming next and need to trust where He is taking me every day! The flight in to the Waorani tribe was just over twenty minutes and it was a
Group photo!
smooth flight, there was a lot of beautiful scenery and jungle for miles and miles. When we landed we were greeted by some of the tribe members and led up to their church for a welcome song. Typically it is led by the men, but a lot of them were gone today, so the women welcomed us with "I have decided to follow Jesus". I understood most of what they were saying, but Chad helped up out with translating too. It was cool to see the relationship he has been able to build with the community and the way he communicates with the people. After the welcome at the church they lead us to a traditional house where the women, children, and an elder led us in a dance. The elder that was the head of the dance was present when the 5 missionaries were speared in 1956. It was pretty surreal to meet him, he is somewhere around eighty years
A tribe elder and I, he was present when Nate Saint
was speared and has since become a Christian!
old and one of the three men still alive from that attack. Eighty years old is incredible old for his generation, due to all of the attacks that used to happened longevity was not really a thing. I got to to try using blow darts, the first two were way short, but my third attempt was right on target! It was incredible seeing how good at using the blow darts they were, but I guess it is how they go hunting! Some of the kids that were showing us how to use it hit the target from way further away than me.Technically the one we were using was made for kids, because the adults use ones that are even bigger. There wasn't poison on the dart we were using, but when they are hunting they use a plant poison to stun their game. Before leaving I bought a couple of bracelets the women make. It was really a unique experience being in this tribe, seeing how they live, what they do, and how they survive. Revelation 7:9, "After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands." As we were taking off a bunch of the kids stood behind the plane to feel the breeze from the propellers. It was crazy to see them doing this, but to them it is a huge fan! A little boy was chasing the plane as we were taxiing down the runway, the next thing I knew we were back in the air. On the flight back along with the incredible scenery there was a little rainbow that came and passed quickly, but it was incredible! We got to take a little detour and fly over Casa de Fe which was awesome! Going in to this tribe showed me the miraculous ways that God is everywhere. He changes hearts and draws us near, God is everywhere! When we landed I asked the big question of how the landing strips came to be in the villages and learned that they are built and maintained by the tribes. Missionaries walked in to the tribes to offer medical help and flights and if the people were interested in this they could build a runway. Shortly after arriving home I went to a spaghetti feed at the Joy's. There was a group of us teaching staff hanging out their and enjoying a great evening together! There was delicious food, dessert, and fun games including mafia! There's nothing like a group of adults playing a game of Mafia, at one point three of us claimed to be the police, I couldn't stop laughing it was so great!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

I am with you

I took a short walk around town this morning to get outside and enjoy the morning, but it was rainy and I was tired so I made it quick. The journey to school was peaceful and morning exercises were good as usual, so it was a great start to my day! I was back and forth to the house a lot, running errands and figuring out if it was possible for me to go on an MAF flight into the jungle. The time kept changing, but it seemed to be a go ahead! Library with the second and third graders was pretty chaotic, because they are always wanting to check out books in English, but were only supposed to get ones in Spanish today. Our library has a 3:1 ratio of books in English, so to them it seems that ll of the good ones are in English. After snack break the gym classes began and Primero, and the 2nd and 3rd graders were good. The second and third graders did a great job with the new activity and I look forward to building on it each day! I left the 4th and 5th grade class early to go on the flight, but it ended up being cancelled due to weather right after Molly and I had picked up our stuff. As soon as we were ready to go it started raining, then I got the call saying it was post pond. I thank God for His perfect plan, He is good! The Lord's plans are not always what I find convenient. Wow, this a beautiful realization today and I'm grateful that everything in heaven and on earth has a perfect time and place designed by Him. I got back in time for a quick lunch before my English class and it was a great day with my girls. They were singing "The Ants go Marching" in Spanish when I walked in to class, so I thought it would be fun to teach it to them in English. They loved it, we sang and did some motions to this classic tune! During the day I started looking at the new books and brainstorming ideas for the library. We have lots of new books to shelve and display and I am excited to get them all set up, looks like I can use my morning off tomorrow to get them all set up! This afternoon was my last Bible Club, I was on bathroom and door duty, although it is not my favorite job it is an important one. It is always great singing the kiddy songs, worshiping, and listening to the kids worship! I have been incredibly blessed by the messages at Bible Club, the workers, and this time outside of school with the kids. When we had our free time at the end, Maria had fun looking at how tall I am, jumping so she could be my height, then trying to jump as tall as me. Right before heading in we saw a snail in the lawn. It was climbing up the side of the cement slab and was very interesting! I had never seen such a big snail up close like that, at first I didn't find it interesting at all, but when I saw how fascinated the kids were I gained interest. When I took the time to look at it, see how it's antennas moved, and watched it's slimy body crawl it was pretty incredible! Right after Bible Club it was time for my last day tutoring Marco. He has worked hard every day and has been a fast learner. I was encouraged by his hard work every week I got to work with him! When I was all done I ran in to Mike and Jesse near Alexander's while I was waiting for Molly, I love running in to
The pretty sunset on the way to eat fried chicken!
friends around Shell! Molly, Mike, and I ended up getting fried chicken supper and boy was it good. It was the place that is a little hole in the wall, but it is so good and we asked for our french fries to be more "tostado" (toasted) which made the whole meal that much better. When we were all done with supper Molly and I had ice cream and walked around town with a friend from church. It like being able to speak Spanish so much and every chance I get to speak it is a learning opportunity, I seriously learn something new every time! I am able to understand SO much more, God was so faithful to hear my prayer! Jeremiah 1:4-9, "Now the word of the Lord came to me, saying, 'Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.' Then I said, 'Ah, Lord God! Behold, I do not know how to speak, for I am only a youth.' But the Lord said to me, 'Do not say, ‘I am only a youth’; for to all to whom I send you, you shall go, and whatever I command you, you shall speak. Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you to deliver you, declares the Lord.' Then the Lord put out his hand and touched my mouth. And the Lord said to me,'Behold, I have put my words in your mouth.'" The Lord has given me breathe in my lungs and with every breathe wherever I may be I want to speak His truth. Let His praise be ever on my lips and His hope in my heart! 1 Peter 2:1-5, "So put away all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander. Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation— if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good. As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ." Today I have learned I need to work on some of my communication skills between people, just because it makes sense in my head doesn't mean it is clear to all parties. I need to confirm that things are clear and be very detailed.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Put off your old self

I took a zig-zag route around town on my walk, it was nice by some new scenery. I crossed the big suspension bridge in the middle of town and it was so peaceful at this time in the morning. After getting all ready I was off to school, my walks to school are such a great time to reflect and this morning was particularly great! When I got started with gym classes Primero did a very nice job. For the first time in a while it felt like we were all working together to be on task, the last few days I felt like they were taking turns running off. It is all part of the job, but I was thrilled to have them all working together today. Also, the Pre-k class had the best day ever! They seriously did so well, after warm up drills and stretches we played a chasing game and they loved it! They would have to run to the store, then I (the monster) would sneak in to the store and
Just a couple of the toddlers after school!
they would have to run home. It was such an awesome experience to chase them and hear them giggling non-stop! My English class went very well, I think they will to great on their last letter test this week and their final next week. They are picking up on patterns so quickly now and I look forward to see how they continue to learn. One of my students told me that her and her siblings get to go back home and live with their mom starting this summer. My heart is so filled with joy for them being reunited with their family, but I sure will miss their smiling faces! They are some of our super knowledgeable jungle kids. God has been reminded me more and more the past couple of weeks how ever changing Casa de Fe is. I thank the Lord for bringing families back together and pray He continues to do so or makes the kids adoptable, because they will just thrive in families! Library and after school enrichment where a bit chaotic, but the kids were having a blast, because they got to finish watching a cartoon they were drawing in art class. When my work day was all done I went down to the house to hang out with the little guys at the house. The toddlers were making me eat some delicious sand food, I was a sandbox chef when I was a little girl so it was fun to see how much fun they were having. Making feasts out of sand, sticks, leaves, and rocks at daycare are some of my most vivid childhood memories. As I was heading home Genesis and some of the other kiddos were making clay. They had their little workshops set up on a piece of wood, were kneading their mud, and adding water to make it the right consistency! Genesis let me play with some of hers, it was pretty fun and they were so cute with their muddy hands. After work I sat by the dique and journaled. I've been having a bit of an emotional day, so I was very thankful for this time to reflect and write down some of my thoughts. I walked straight to Johnny's 
Some Ecuadorian football and my
favorite Maracuya juice!
from the dique to watch Ecuador's soccer game against Argentina. I went up to my favorite spot and ordered a Maracuya juice. It was tied one to one when I got to start watching and they didn't score again, but watching the second half of the game by myself was the perfect way to end my day! After a while Jenny and her girls joined me at Johnny's and the Shell possy showed up too, it was Sam's last night so they were all hanging out. I went to the Coliseo to dance for a while on my way home and there were new instructors again, but they were good. Walking home I passed many stands selling food on the street, smoke filled the air with the aroma of what they were cooking! It smelt so yummy. I went to get some food for tomorrow a bit later and couldn't believe how many friends I came across on my way home from dance, then again when I went to the market! My identity and worth in every situation is in Christ alone! Colossians 3:1-4, "If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. Ephesians 4:21-24, "When you heard about Christ and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness." God has given me a new attitude in Him, He is the one after my heart and seeks to draw me closer. It is my prayer that my heart may grower closer to the Divine Creator and perfect Father!

Monday, June 10, 2013

Shield of Faith

Veronica and I had matching shirts, it was pretty cool!
During my morning walk around town I couldn't seem to wake up, but even though I was half sleeping it was refreshing. I don't know how to explain it, there is something special about early mornings for me. Also, I got to walk and chat with Slyvia for a little ways since we were walking in the same direction! It was incredible watching Anita, Caila, Alondra, and Javier helping lead a song during chapel this morning. These fourth graders sang "Digno Eres Tu", listening to all of the kids singing this song gave me goosebumps and wanted to cry because I was so overjoyed. Listening to them sing this beautiful worship song was moving and I thank God for His presence in their lives. I am such a small part of their lives, only here for a flash, but God is constant! This morning I tutored Ronald on colors, specifically red. We looked through a red crayon book that had a bunch of different red objects, he had to pick out the red flash card, then we played a game where he got to pick out the red oso (bear). Next up in tutoring was Maria, we worked on numbers 0-10. I liked tutoring them in Spanish so much! Pre-k did a good job in gym class, they started off great with straight lines for the warm-up activity and although they got wild for a bit, they came back and focused at the end. Their laughs are priceless! First grade did an awesome job jumping rope and even waited nicely in a line when we got to the individual jumping portion of class. The 4th and 5th graders worked hard at frisbee too! We had a big lunch group with all of the new summer volunteers, now we have a lunch crew! English class has continued to go well and I am giving the girls some leadership opportunities I know they will be successful at. It has been an amazing experience seeing them grow as individuals throughout the year. After class was library and school store with the little guys. During store Veronica was trying to barter with me and although it didn't work it was very cute. We were wearing the same shirt too! I hung out with the kiddos for quite a while when I was done working for the day. There was one little girl who was crying and reaching for me, when I picked her up she stopped, but she wouldn't let me put her down without crying either. Then I went up on the bike trail where the bigger kids were playing and some of the
Nayeli, Tati, Yaja, and Vivi in the house they made!
girls made a little house. It was so cute watching them play in it, it was a little bit to small for them, but they made it work! Molly and I walked to Patti Sue's house (that's where she is living) after work, stopped by my place, then walked around town and showed her some places to buy things. She is great to talk to, God is good! When we were done running errands we met Jocelyn and Mike at Johnny's for supper and went to Alexander's for dessert. It was a great day! Ephesians 6:14-19, "Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel." I want my whole life to boldly proclaim the power and mystery of the good news found in Jesus Christ!

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Children of the day

Molly, Jocely, Mike, Heidi, and I at the waterfall in Rio Verde!
Church as usual was a great way to start off my day! There were some blue skies for the first time in a while, this was such a blessing. I thought I was running later that usual, but church had not started yet, I think they wait for the fourteen kids that join us from Casa de Fe to get there and they must have been running late! We talked about 1 Thessalonians 5:4-6, " But you are not in darkness, brothers, for that day to surprise you like a thief. For you are all children of light, children of the day. We are not of the night or of the darkness. So then let us not sleep, as others do, but let us keep awake and be sober." In the midst of not having much sleep, feeling very tired, but wanting to soak in every second God has provided light and strength. Christ's death and resurrection has brought me from darkness in to glorious light. I thank the Lord for allowing me to understand His great, living and active love for me! Caila sat right next to me again and enjoyed every second of it, maybe a little bit too much, because she was distracted. I went home afterwards, did dishes, laundry, and some organizing before lunch. Heidi, Molly, Jocelyn, Mike, and I went to lunch at Alexander's! I wish I would have started this Sunday tradition much earlier. We took our time having lunch, then we all met up with the team of volunteers at the bus stop. Since there were nine of us it was impossible to get on a bus, in fact, the bus stop was probably the busiest I have ever seen it. Since all the buses we full until 4pm, we crammed into two taxis and were off the Rio Verde. The taxi ride was really cozy and an adventure for sure, it was about an hour ride to Pailon de Diablo (the Devil's Cauldron). Once we arrived, we met up with the rest of the team and hiked
It was so powerful and I stood right next
to it and behind it!
down to the waterfall. I got to do some crawling and got pretty wet to get behind it, but it was incredible. Heidi said it was the most powerful she had ever seen it and it was powerful! The amount of force that was flowing through this waterfall was insane, I could see and feel it as I stood close right behind it. After crawling up behind it, I walked down a bunch of wet and slippery steps to stand at the base of the waterfall. When the water would splash up it would take my breath away, I think the closest way to describe the feeling I had would be the sensation of my stomach dropping on a roller coaster. It was so strong it would feel like I was going to be swept away when the waves would come splashing over the edge, my heart was beating so fast! Whenever there would be a big one I would screech  a little bit, it was pretty hilarious. My raincoat couldn't keep me dry, but it was so worth it, it did keep me a little bit warm though because the water was freezing! Next, we walked out on to the bridge to get a good look at the whole waterfall, although it looked a bit smaller from this distance you could see how incredible it was. God's creation is incredible and His power is seen everywhere! When we were all done the group of us that came in taxis went up to the bus terminal in hopes of hopping on a bus home, but they were all full. We kept waiting for about and hour and all were not able to get on a bus, but did get to ride in a taxi-like truck home. It was an adventure for sure, the wooden bench would sway back and forth. We made it back at supper time, which was great, because we wanted to have people over to eat. Molly and I stopped by a store to pick up some veggies, then went to start cooking. I was so blessed by our conversation and am thankful for her friendship! Jocelyn and I hosted Molly and Mike for supper. We hung out, chatted, sang, and laughed. It was great, when we wrapped things up I walked them home to ensure they wouldn't get lost and got a tasty ice cream treat along the way!

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Quiet you by his love

Martin and I with the kid's new pet bird!
Right when I woke up I went on a walk, I'm trying to take in the town of Shell as much as I can! On my way back towards the house I stopped by Birgit's to say hello and we chatted for a few minutes. It is great knowing many different families around town. I cooked up some breakfast when I got home and ate before heading up to Casa de Fe for a couple of hours. I got there around 10 and just got to hang out with the kids, there were a lot of different things to do. Abigail and Maria were praying with the pet bird, the toddlers were on the playground, and the kids in between those groups were running around on the bike trail. The kids really like the birdy, they take good care of it and are trying to train it. I think whatever they are doing is working! After a while I went to the backyard playground so I could hang out with the little guys, then I went back up to the front when it started raining. Since it was raining they took the kids inside to watch a movie and I sat down to join them for  a while. Sheila and Nayeli sat on my lap and just wanted to be held while watching. When I was heading out the door I got to talk with a couple of the Tias, I love chatting with them, even though the moments are brief it is great! I got home just in time for a quick lunch before walking over to meet a group of people going to the market and Super Tias in Puyo. It was a rainy adventure, but I got some food. While we were waiting for the market to open we went to get chicken empanadas and it wasn't awful, but it was the first empanada that I wouldn't choose to eat again. After completing the shopping adventure I had a snack attack. I had new food, so I had to start eating! I went over to Tandy's to pick something up and ended up chatting for quite a while, I just love talking with her and could chat for hours. It just kept raining off and on all day, but around 6 the sky was eeire. The sky looked light, but it was dark at the same time and total overcast. Once I finished eating supper, Jocelyn and I braved the rain to meet up with the other volunteers to go up to Casa de Fe for a pijamada (sleepover). It wasn't a real sleepover, but we went up there with popcorn, cookies, and movies and hung out until it was time for them to go to bed! They were all set in their various princess pajamas and were so excited. We watched "Meet the Robinsons" and I had a girl on each side leaning up against me as a pillow. They just want and need so much attention, I wish I could fill the void that they feel. In the midst of watching the movie I saw one of the girls fall on the ground. It is not unusual for her to be running, wild, and rolling around, but I could immediately tell something was wrong. A sprang up from my seat as soon as I saw she was seizing and call for a Tia to help. It was a brief seizure and the Tias knew exactly what to do and how to help, but it was scary. After the movie when we were sending the kids to their rooms, the head Tia had questions about a different little girl. She was also having a seizure, it was one of our little girls that was in the hospital earlier this week and they ended up taking her back in tonight. Hearing her fuss as she was having her seizure breaks my heart, you just never know what they are going to need medical help or when extreme circumstances will be present. I gained a new perspective about what the night Tias do for the kids and have a new level of respect for the Tias who work in the baby room at that time. Can you imagine having 20 kids to get all ready for bed, change diapers, and try to keep calm so they don't wake the others
A group of the girls enjoying the movie!
who are sleeping? Not only are there many babies, but the kids with the most special needs. God blessed those women with patience and strength to take care of these children. Zephaniah 3:17, "The LORD your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing." It is my prayer for the Tias and kids that they become evermore away of God's presence in their lives. God is good and faithful to quiet and fill our hearts with His great love! After a fun, busy, and tiring day it was time to get ready for bed and boy was I exhausted. For a moment I thought I saw a frog in my shower, but thought surely that is not possible. However, after I scared it in to jumping I confirmed that it actually was a frog in my shower!

Friday, June 7, 2013

There are many parts, but one body

I started off my day walking with Jenny Joy, she is such a blessing! It was a rainy morning and birds chirping along they way, it was a beautiful. The walk to work was cold and wet, but I managed to make it there mostly dry. I thank the Lord for constantly humbling my heart to speak His words and love even when it is hard. I sat at my desk and planned for my last week of English classes and cannot even believe it. It is a nice feeling to have all the planning finished, but it feels unreal. Before I knew it, it was snack break and I showed the pre-k kids my Spiderman socks. They thought my socks were really cool and wanted to show me all of their cartoon clothes too, SO hilarious! I continued working right up until my first gym class, but as I worked I got to see some of the kids flip book sketches. Rick started a new art lesson and Anita's book was awesome, now I want to make one too. My first class were the second and third graders and they did a great job. They had another fantastic day of warm up stretches and exercises before beginning the game. I am so proud of them and how quickly they have picked up on our routine. It was a tough day in gym for the 6th and 7th graders and I thought it was going to be for were really tough for 4th and 5th, but I am thrilled to say they had a good class. I thought they were going to shutdown as a whole since the plans for class changed a little bit, but they were able to come back after a little pep talk and did great!  Since it rained through the night and until 11:30 this morning the river in between Casa de Fe and the dique was flooded, so we couldn't cross it and had to play our sports on the rocky ground in front of the school. After lunch my
The Joy's!
English girls were having a top secret preparation time in the room. Caila, Diana, and Paola wrote Evelyn a kind message and cut out pictures from a magazine, because they knew we were celebrating her birthday at the end of class! I was so grateful for their kind gesture and love they showed Evelyn and we were celebrating her birthday. Rick and Rebekah saved the day with extra ice cream treats since I forgot to bring mine! My back up plan was cutting up the apple I had packed with my lunch, so ice cream was a much better option. We wrapped things up, cleaned the school, and headed down to the house fairly quickly to take off for Ecoparque! While I was down in the house Thalia gave me a big hug and apologized for not listening in class, I was incredibly thankful. Since I have been at Casa de Fe, I've caught a glimpse of the love my parents have for me. I love these kiddos a lot, even when they are really angry with me and won't listen. As hard as it is to admit I was not the perfect child even though I did my best to listen and obey, I definitely fell short, but my never stopped loving me. I thank my Creator God for giving me parents that love me without limits. Their unconditional love has shown me glimpses of the
Rick and Rebekah!
The Martin's!
Lord's perfect love. At 3:30 we were off to Ecoparque and spent time swimming, playing volleyball, and swinging on the tight ropes with Rosa, Marcia, and Maribel. We would stand two on one side and two on the other and swing back and forth, it was the highlight of swimming! When all of us gathered around the table it was awesome to see how we were able to serve the Lord at Casa de Fe. 1 Corinthians 12:12-19, "Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—
The Freeman's!
and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many. Now if the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body." After supper we took a whole bunch of silly pictures and hung out, I was having a blast dressing up with this group, they are a hoot! To conclude the evening some of us went to the Joy's to play "Mexican Train", eat brownies, ice cream, and drink coffee until really late. The Martin's and the Joy's are wonderful to spend time with, I had so much fun today!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Abounding in love

Genesis being goonie during
snack break at school!
I had the morning off, so I slept in a little bit to rest up from a busy week. I lounged around the house for a while, did some work, then headed up to Casa de Fe. It was beautiful walk to school filled with sunshine and the commotion of working people. I arrived at school just in time for snack break and got to hang out with the kiddos before getting in to more work at the school right away. I got the birthday board up for this month and a bunch of random tasks done, it was a productive morning. When it came time for gym class, second and third grade had a great day. For the most part the students have perfected the exercises, they know what to expect and can feel successful while we are doing them! My English class was incredible, I walked in to the room to find a beautiful message on the board and they were all pumped up for every activity. They were working hard and doing the best they could, it was a total 180 from the past few days. My heart was so filled with joy, the Lord knew I need a new day and it was far better than I could have hoped for! I was busy doing gym inventory and running errands between the school and house. I walked Martin down to the house after he was done doing his extra work (he got in trouble in one of his other classes) and he did pretty much everything by himself!  I would stand five feet away and have him walk to me, although it is a little tricky with all of the rocks he did a great job! In fact, there were times that he would shoo me father away, because he wanted to walk farther. When I went down to the house I met up with the new group of volunteers and after a minor miss communication I was able to go out to supper with them. We went out to supper with them at Abuelos, they crossed the street to grab some Mickos. It was great way of getting to know them! I am very thankful for the people God leads to Casa de Fe, I pray He continues to move in people's hearts and brings them here to serve these children. The bonds formed at Casa de Fe are very

The girls in my English "Inglish" class had this one the board when I
 walked in to class today, it warmed my heart SO much!
special and unique. When we have time together we can relate to what others are going through, help build them up, and support them. We hopped on the bus back to Shell and I went to the grocery store with Molly, Heidi, and Mike, then made my way over to the despendida for the Joy's, Allison's, and Shari. It was a wild time with all the families and kids, that started with a round of "Are you Smarter than a 5th Grader", then a time of fellowship with good cupcakes and great friends! I walked Sharon, the wonderful leader from Bible Club home, picked up some apples, then continued home. I got rained on while I was walking home and buying some food on market street, but I didn't mind. I had my umbrella, so I popped that on an trudged through the rain. Psalm 103:8-12, "The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. He will not always accuse, nor will he harbor his anger forever; he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us."