Sunday, October 31, 2010

Kids Church

One of the things I miss most about home is teaching Kids Church. Yesterday I went with Hope and Cheque to Rio 1 where Meme has a soup kitchen and every Saturday they have worship, kids and adults split up for church, and then they eat lunch together. I helped Hope and Cheque with the 30ish kids ages 2-12 who have church outside on a picnic table, which was so entertaining. I love that some things about kids are universal. The girls all sat at one table, and the boys sat at the other. The boys finished their craft in record time, and the girls spent lots of time coloring, cutting, and pasting theirs together. Most of the girls sat still and most of the boys were upside-down or under the table. One thing that I loved at home, and still love here, is the emphasis on memorizing scripture. Each week Hope gives the kids a memory verse, and they can earn a silly band or piece of candy if they remember it the next week. Yesterday we put together books with all their memory verses to date, and have plenty of extra pages to add a new verse each week. Now, the trick will be to see who brings their book back next week, they earn double prizes if they remember it!

Friday, October 22, 2010


Yesterday I was at Casa Hogar Del Norte (CHDN) with a women's group from Cincinnati. I promptly found myself a baby to hold and he was quickly asleep, surprise surprise! Upon picking Carlos up, I discovered that he had a good case of diarrhea which was now on his clothes and consequently on my arms. After locating diapers and wipes, I went to find someplace discreet to change him. One of the other little boys followed me and just melted my heart.

From working as a social worker, I've learned that the bond between siblings is often stronger than the bond between kids and parents. And the bond between "siblings" that grow up in the same foster home/children's home is often equally as strong as biological siblings. They look out for each other and protect each other with a fierce determination. This little guy that followed me showed me to his bed and said that I could lay Carlos down there to change him. He then handed me wipes, took the dirty diaper to the trash, and helped me pull off Carlos' dirty pj's without getting the mess on Carlos, myself, or his bed. Throughout the day he would check back in and pat Carlos on the back or give him a hug, then run off to play again. I love these glimpses into the heart of a child!

A day in the life

Per my mom's request, here's a look at what my day is like here. Adjusting to the atypical schedule has been an adventure. Some days (like Thursday) you work from 8am to 10pm straight with a group, some days you're doing random stuff around the property or going to meetings, and my days off aren't always Saturday or Sunday. So here's a look at a few days this week, since no day here is ever the same.

Tuesday: Prep for a group and work on campus
7am - wake up, quiet time, and study spanish
10am - meeting
11am - bake 140 sugar cookies for the group with Kathy
3pm - go to Casa Hogar Douglas to help the kids with homework
6pm - dinner with the single ladies
8pm - staff education meeting
11pm - shower and bed time

Thursday: Helping to lead a women's group from Hope Church
6am - Wake up, quiet time, and study spanish
8am - Staff meeting and prep for the group
10am- Take the group to Casa Hogar Del Norte and Betesda for the day
6:30pm - Dinner w/the group
8:00pm - Debrief the group
10:00pm - Shower and crash in bed

Friday: Day Off!
sleep in, go to a coffee shop, do laundry, clean the apartment, read, nap, and whatever else I feel like doing

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Climbing my first mountain

This morning I went with 7 other staff guys (I was the only girl!) to climb one of the four peaks of Cerro de la Silla, which is Monterrey's famous Saddle Back Mountain. It was an 8.2 mile round trip, and a pretty serious climb! I'm still waiting on David's garmin watch to tell us the elevation gain to the top, but trust me it was intense. Ever since my first trip to Back2Back in the fall of 2000, I've been asking to climb these mountains. It took me a whole decade, but I got there! It was such a great experience, and fun to spend time getting to know some of our staff men better. We want to climb all 4 of the peaks if possible, although we're not sure if there are trails up to all of them. Here are some pictures of our great trip, and maybe if you come visit me we can climb it again! Or at least to the half way point.

We started our climb at 7am so we could see the sunrise over Monterrey early in the morning, the sky was so pretty!
The view from the halfway point to the top, I told you it was quite a climb!
Monterrey from the top of the mountain
Stopped at the halfway point again to refuel
Colton and I at the halfway point

Monday, October 11, 2010

My help comes from the Lord

"I look up to the mountains-does my help come from there? My help comes from the Lord, who makes heaven and earth!" Psalm 121:1-2

I absolutely love sitting on my couch in the morning watching the sunrise hit the mountains. I especially love when I get to sit there reading scripture that talks about mountains. I've lived in Mexico for a week now, and I am learning so much about my help coming from the Lord. I'm in a foreign country without mastery of the language, a car, a cell phone, my church, and many of the other things that I turn to when I need help. I'm completely dependent upon the Lord and how he provides for me through others. A little example for you. I have next to no groceries right now, it's basically cereal, fruits and veggies, and sandwiches, which is sufficient but not fun. Yesterday a group left leaving behind some treasures that were passed down to me! I got a few cans of coca light, pringles, oreos, more cereal, cashews, granola bars, pears, and chocolate. I was so happy and so grateful, and again so glad that the Lord cares about us so much that he provides these little things for us.

Thursday, October 7, 2010


I'm on day 3 here in Mexico! I'm unpacked, I got groceries, and I attended my first staff meeting. I surprisingly feel at home already, and like I've been here for a while instead of just 3 days. For the next week or so I'm "settling in", which means I'm just getting used to life in Mexico and I'm not really committed to any projects. I have an amazing staff mentor who's let me be her shadow for the last 2 days while she purchased all of the items for dispensas which will be handed out to 300 families that we serve, plus the food for a major cookout on our campus this weekend. It was quite a sight, it took 2 trips to Sam's Club plus a trip to a butcher shop. In the end we had 300 bags of beans, 150 bags of rice, 300 jugs of oil, 1720 eggs, 30 packages of bacon, and 55 kg (121 lbs) of arrachera. Our arms are SO sore from lugging all of those groceries around, but it was great fun and I'm excited to see the despensas passed out to the families we serve. I'll leave you with a picture of the view from my apartment window. It's been cloudy so it's hard to tell how gorgeous it is, but once the sun comes out I'll take a new one so you can truly enjoy the mountains.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Time to go

I'm leaving for Mexico on Monday morning! Now that it's actually here and I'm looking at my visa and plane ticket instead of just imagining them, the nerves (and endless questions) are kicking in. The past two weeks have been challenging, and I've felt homeless for lack of a better term. I moved out of my apartment and back to my parent's house in Cincinnati. The bummer is that I don't really know anyone in Cincinnati so I've had lots of me time. Anyways, here's a glimpse into the mess that is my head at this point in time.

I don't really speak Spanish, and as much as I've been studying I just can't remember anything. I've gotten to do 3 triathlons and 1 running race in the past 6 weeks and I'm really going to miss racing and my awesome endurance sport friends. I've still been able to text and talk to my best friend Jenny every day, and I'm not certain I'll survive without the daily communication. I haven't been to church in about 6 weeks, and boy do I miss Clear River! I can't believe I'm leaving a full month later than I planned on, although I'm seeing the purpose in it.

I'll leave you with a picture of my race last weekend, the Boilerman olympic distance triathlon. I took 3rd in my age group and shaved 17 minutes off of last years time.