Saturday, August 4, 2012

Day 14 - Aug. 3 - "See You Laters"

Today was a day of “See You Laters” – we began our day with a quick stop at Fontana’s for some last minute souveniers and snacks for the airplane then, we were off to Melody House.  We had planned on making friendship bracelets, tissue pom pom decorations for their rooms and to finish working on their tshirt rugs.  It is such a peaceful home – I’m so glad that those girls have such a good environment and Mrs. Purkiss seems like such a wonderful lady.  I think there are only 7 girls there right now and I believe that they can accommodate 12 girls – praying for the girls that will be arriving soon (hoping that it might be some from GV).  We all enjoyed our time at MH – the girls loved all of the things that we spent time doing with them but we wished that we had more time there - our relationships with them were just beginning.  We left around 1 and it seemed like our time was too short.  We brought some little gift bags to give them and we left several of the supplies for them to make more friendship bracelets, pom poms & rugs.  We took a group photo with them tooJ

Our next "See you Later" was at Blossom Garden.  Although, when we arrived there were TONS of people there! The other EO group was there but we were expecting that – in addition, there was about 30 people from another group, so… the ratio was about 3 adults to 1 childL but we had brought several things with us to play with the kids so we took it all outside.  Eventually, all of the kids recognized us and started to hang out with usJ  It was a nice turn of events for the afternoon.  I ended up with little Nicolas in my lap for quite some time – he is kind of new to BG and tends to be a trouble maker.  He was quite the troublemaker the other day and we kinda had our “moment” – since then, he has started to trust me a little bit and I was happy that he seeked me out for comfort today. After he was satisfied, I ventured over to my favorite toddlers – I think they are my favorite age groupJ   Tyrese saw me and instantly wanted up – we hung out and played together.  He is just so precious and I love his personality.  Next thing that I knew it I had 4 toddler boys playing with me at the slide – it was a blast! Then the time had come – we led the toddlers to the dining room. Tyrese wouldn’t let me put him down – I had to go – and he wouldn’t let me – I couldn’t bear to put him down and leave him crying.  Luckily Crystal walked in and tyrese recognized her and reached for her – so I quickly made my escape.  It wasn’t as hard for me to leave BG – at least I know that these kids get VERY good care.  The Aunties take very good care of them and BG seems to have several people interested in helping them.  My prayer for them is that someday they will get to experience the love from a mother and father and to have a family

Our last day ended perfectly with baked chicken and rice & peas and ya cant forget the icecreamJ we took a big group picture with the other EO group and then headed to our last team meeting.  It was great to hear what the result of this mission trip has meant to everyone.  I really love every team member – they were so awesome and really worked well together.

Well… we are all packed now – ready to head home. As I type this I’m listening to the party going on down at the city center again – the 50 year celebration begins on Monday and so Mobay must be celebrating early – great J  Our flight leaves Mobay at 12:40 and we will have 1hr & 15min to go through customs in Charlotte – PLEASE PRAY THAT WE CAN SPEED THROUGH CUSTOMS!  From Charlotte the team will travel to Seattle and then bus home.  Please keep them in your prayers for safe travels too.  I will be saying “see you later” at charlotte – I am making a detour to Prague where my son is playing in a hockey tournament representing USA Hockey. I’m sad not to be finishing the final leg of our journey together but this is a once in a lifetime opportunity.

Thanks for following along our trip… we will be sharing at Calvary after we get home and will be able to share the sweet faces of the orphans of Jamaica that we've fallen in love with - we will post here when that will be so you can plan on joining us:)

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Day 13 - Aug. 2

This morning we went to BG.  We were hoping and praying that the aunties were back and didn’t party too hard last night – haha – there was quite the celebration by the beach we could hear it going almost all night… and yeah they were there! J  Jess ran the VBS wonderfully with her helpers – it was cool today to see those that I thought were going to be only interested in holding the babies all week in the schoolers room these past few days– J it’s interesting to see how things have worked out and where people are finding their niche (or not).  I got to help make beds today and to hold the brand new baby girl that came to BG a few days ago.  Apparently, her mom is mentally ill and the govt would only release her to the relatives but then the mom tried to take the baby.  So the relatives had to bring her to BG – Bg is supposed to be a temporary safe house but many children have been there for quite some time and some not so long –not sure of the rhyme or reason… The baby girl (Reanna) is only 2 months old – so so precious!  She was very well taken care of – no signs of RAD – I’m hoping she finds a home soon.  I also had fun playing with the toddlers – still praying that we don’t get ringworm L they are too cute to not cuddle with – getting ringworm is well worth having the chance to cuddle & kiss on them!  WE were hoping to wash more feet today but all of the aunties that were there yesterday were the same ones – so we will try again tomorrow afternoon…

After BG, we took the boys back to VH to rest & to not have to go to Granville (aka prison).  It would allow us moms to not have to worry about them and to focus on the girls more.

I was excited to get to GV today.  Hoping and praying that Ashley was going to be there so I could see her but also a part of me hoped that she wasn’t and that she had gone home or to a better foster home.
It had been a raining so as we pulled through the first gate, I could only see 3 girls peering around the corner – I quickly tried to identify them and none looked familiar – no Ashley.  Would she be here or in her dorm? If she was still here, I hoped that she’d be one of the 20 or so girls in the dining room waiting for us to unload our van.  Because of the rain we would be limited to only visiting in the dining room and not the dirt courtyard. As I walked in trhough the locked gated dining room area, I quickly scanned the room and didn’t see her.  I immediately scanned it again the other way & that was when she saw me & waved for me to come. I was so happy to see her & eager to find out how she was doing.  I immediately made my way to her and gave her a big hug.  I remembered that she said that she enjoyed to play cards so I grabbed a deck and sat down with her, Polly & my new friend Natalie.  They taught us a few new card games but in the end, we ended up playing memory several times – boy is Ashley smart – she won every time!!  During this time I was able to ask her if she was doing ok – she hesitantly said yes – I feel that she wasn’t opening up with me and our time there was not long enough to allow for that… some of the sparkle was gone – my heart sank.  It was hard to hold back the tears – I honestly had to will myself NOT to cry and to not “go there” until later… until now as I write… I didn’t want her to see me cry for her but my heart was/is breaking for her.  She is so so so smart, beautiful on the inside and out – Lord – she’s only 13 – the same age as my baby boy – Lord please be with her.  She knows about Jesus and is a believer – I was happy to see her wearing a cross necklace today. Apparently an area church came and did a treasure hunt with the girls and gave them a tshirt & a plastic cross necklace  - I think the church was 7th day Baptist church of Jamaica??? I’m not sure – I need to google it… I was just glad to hear that someone else cared to come to visit them! Praise God!
Ashley asked me to bring her some strawberries from America – I told her that I hoped someday that I could but not too sure how to transport them – she had remembered that strawberries are my favorite  - I was happily surprisedJ I would love to do that for her but think that it’s next to impossible to do that… I’ll pray about it thoughJ

After our card game, we made friendship bracelets and I listened to her sing – so beautiful.  I then asked her what was her favorite bible verse is – she immediately said Psalm 34 & Psalm 121.  I remembered that Candi brought her bible in so I borrowed it to look it up together.  As she read Psalm 34 to me with her sweet voice – I couldn’t help but smile and hope and pray that she turns to this passage to bring her hope and encouragement.
Psalm 34 “ The happiness of those who trust God”
I will bless the Lord at all times;
His praise shall continually be in my mouth.
My soul shall make its boast in the Lord;
The humble shall hear of it and be glad.
Oh, magnify the Lord with me,
And let us exalt His name together.
I sought the Lord, and He heard me,
And delivered me from all my fears.
They looked to Him and were radiant,
And their faces were not ashamed.
This poor man cried out, and the Lord heard him,
And saved him out of all his troubles.
The angel[a] of the Lord encamps all around those who fear Him,
And delivers them.
Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good;
Blessed is the man who trusts in Him!
Oh, fear the Lord, you His saints!
There is no want to those who fear Him.
10 The young lions lack and suffer hunger;
But those who seek the Lord shall not lack any goodthing.
11 Come, you children, listen to me;
I will teach you the fear of the Lord.
12 Who is the man who desires life,
And loves many days, that he may see good?
13 Keep your tongue from evil,
And your lips from speaking deceit.
14 Depart from evil and do good;
Seek peace and pursue it.
15 The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous,
And His ears are open to their cry.
16 The face of the Lord is against those who do evil,
To cut off the remembrance of them from the earth.
17 The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears,
And delivers them out of all their troubles.
18 The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart,
And saves such as have a contrite spirit.
19 Many are the afflictions of the righteous,
But the Lord delivers him out of them all.
20 He guards all his bones;
Not one of them is broken.
21 Evil shall slay the wicked,
And those who hate the righteous shall be condemned.
22 The Lord redeems the soul of His servants,
And none of those who trust in Him shall be condemned.

Psalm 121 “God the Help of those who seek him”
I will lift up my eyes to the hills—
From whence comes my help?
My help comes from the Lord,
Who made heaven and earth.
He will not allow your foot to be moved;
He who keeps you will not slumber.
Behold, He who keeps Israel
Shall neither slumber nor sleep.
The Lord is your keeper;
The Lord is your shade at your right hand.
The sun shall not strike you by day,
Nor the moon by night.
The Lord shall preserve you from all evil;
He shall preserve your soul.
The Lord shall preserve your going out and your coming in
From this time forth, and even forevermore.

After she read them to me, she shared that her grandma would always read those to her, teach her the bible and take her to church (just like my grandma did for me) and it was those 2 passages that she read at her grandmother’s funeral.  You see, Ashley’s mother died when she was 2 and her grandma raised her until she died ( I can’t remember at what age that was – maybe just a few years ago).  I then gave her the verses Jer 29:11 and my other favorite Hebrews 11:1.  I found some paper to write her name down so that I can pray for her to get out of the “prison” and to write the verses down too – I did not want to forget!  She quickly urged me to write down the verses that I shared with her on a piece of paper too. 

It was then time to say our “See you Laters” – not goodbye… I gave her the bracelet that I had made and wished that I had a disciples cross that we make to give her – maybe next time…

I hugged Natalie and then turned to Ashley.  She asked if we would be back but I regretfully told her that I wasn’t certain and that our plane was leaving soonL  I asked if she had a specific prayer – a date for court or whatever but no answerL  She did say that she is a “fit person” and not a troublemaker so she doesn’t have a court date.  So I just prayed with her with what was on my heart.

I said “See you later” and slowly walked away – that was so hard to do.  I truly hope that I will SEE HER LATER!  If not in Jamaica in heaven.

My heart is truly broken – I’ve cried for her and the GV girls for about 45 min. today.  For the past 8 months, I haven’t been sure as to why I lead this group here and what “I” was doing here besides bringing others to see the plight of the orphan and to break their heart for what breaks Jesus’s heart but I know today that I am here to pray for Ashley and the other GV girls and if that is truly the only reason  - then it was worth it!

We had never planned on going to GV - we had always planned on going to The Father's House but it wasnt ready for us - i'm now wondering what He has planned for the GV girls and can only hope that it is BIG - i'm so glad that we got to go there and only wished that it was more...

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Day 12 - August 1

today was our last full day at BG and it is Emancipation Day, which means it's a holiday, which means that many workers/aunties had the day off!  Boy does it make a difference in the children's behavior when the aunties are gone!  Needless to say that we were not able to teach our bible story today - we were able to pray, sing some songs and then all broke loose - i guess i can kind of laugh about it now but we had kids all over the place - the ratio of workers to kids was 1 to 2 but that didn't matter - we were outnumbered and with no power to do any discipline it was a lost cause - LOL. so... we just had a few different stations to do some activities to keep them busy for a few hours and it was all good.

we did our usual routine of lunch and then playing outside with the kiddos. since many of the aunties were gone, we didn't think that we would be able to bless them by washing their feet and giving them a pedicure BUT we were wrong!  At about 3:00 the director asked if we could go ahead and wash the aunties feet of the ones that were there.  We have been planning this for the past 6 months but now that it was time - we were a little unsure of how it was going actually happen... but we just did our best and it worked out perfectly:)  The aunties LOVED it!  We washed, scrubbed their feet, lotioned & massaged their feet and painted toe nails and of course we added cute little flower stickers:) and we thanked them for working so hard in caring for the precious children at the home.  We also were able to bless them with little gift bags of mini pedicure kits that they can use for themselves.  They were so so happy! and it blessed us so much that we could do that for them!  Many have never had that kind of treatment before :)  What an honor it was for us.  We were able to take some pics:

We are getting ready for dinner and then will have our team meeting - i might update some more later.  Thanks for everyone's prayers.  Crystal is much better since her asthma attack last night (scary:( ) and Caleb stayed home today and i believe is feeling better too:)

Day 11 – July 31, 2012

Please visit the EO blog - it is a private blog (you will need to register for a username & pw) and has some pics of us & kiddos:)

At our nightly meeting tonight, Julie shared a great verse of encouragement for the team – 1 Cor. 5:18 “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord”

As we are working hard at BG this week, this verse seems fitting… sometimes doing the menial “grunt” work does not feel very rewarding but knowing that it is the work of the Lord – He has each of us here for a reason – makes it worth it! He called us here to this mission field and boy is it big!
Again, we spent a wonderful day at BG – not sure where all my energy came from today! Maybe the Joy of the Lord!!  I got to spend the morning with the toddlers today.  It started out as the usual morning of hanging out on the veranda – having children sit in our laps to read or sing to, or refereeing any little squabbles about toys… today we were blessed with a Jamaican tambourine singing grandma – boy was she FILLED with JOY!  She came bounding in and all the kids were extremely excited to see her.  She asked for song requests and the little toddlers answered – so precious!  The next thing I know – I looked to my right toward the baby’s veranda and there were 5 little heads peering through the steel latticed walls enjoying the music as well – I so wished that I had my camera and could take a picture! L I will just have to picture it in my mind…  Soon after the tambourine lady left we took the kiddos outside – it was definitely a day to be under the trees – not very many clouds and thank goodness there was a somewhat of a cool breeze.  We tried to let the kids color sesame street pictures – we had to keep a close eye on those toddlers! Many of the crayons ended up in mouths or coloring on the outdoor furniture –oh well… at least they had the opportunityJ  the todds seemed a little crabby and tired this morning – it was a bit of a challenge to keep a few awake until lunch.  And that’s pretty much what we did the rest of the day… played outside with various toys etc…  Brayden enjoyed playing with his buddy Kwan (sp?) and begging me to adopt him – J I had a sad moment seeing Breanna dressed in her best – her and her brother had a court date this morning.  I’m hoping to find out what happened tomorrow – maybe I’ll get to see her again, maybe she’s with her parents or maybe she’s gone to a permanent children’s home??? We shall see…
Another mission group has arrived here to do work with EO.  They are meninites from the east coast – 19 of them and most are teens.  We had dinner with them tonight – tomorrow their boys are doing work at the Father’s house and the girls will join us at BG.  After dinner we had our devotion/team mtg with just our group.  Please keep Crystal in your prayer as she had an asthma attack tonight.  We were able to get her breathing ok with her inhaler etc…
Tomorrow (8/1) is our last full day at BG – we are planning on pampering the nannies with a little pedicure/spa treatment – we are hoping to bless them as they do those precious children every day!

Monday's project with schoolers

lunchtime in the volunteers breakroom

monday project - "He knows my name"

waiting for our vans to go to BG...

Monday, July 30, 2012

Day 10 - July 30

We began our day with an interesting breakfast - jamaican porridge (yum) and swordfish (no thanks - for me:) )  I think we all were wondering if we were going to make it through the day today - it was to be a long hot one!

As we arrived at BG, the toddlers were on the veranda excitedly chanting for us to come! what a sweet sound to our ears.  We quickly put our things down, prayed for God to carry us through the day and for divine appointments.  I got to go to the schoolers room today - it was a blast!  I had about 15 min. to figure out what devotion/story that i would do and it went great!  Brayden & I acted out David & Goliath - the kids loved it:)  We sang, did an activity, sang some more, had snack, sang some more, and then another activity to keep them busy for 3 hrs. - whew - we did it:)  The rest of the day we spent outside with all of the children.

Brayden has attached to a little 3 yr old boy named Quan - he's trying to talk me into adopting him.  I told him i'd pray about but just not too sure about that right now... however, i have fallen in love with a little girl that was abandoned last week and brought to BG - last week when we were there she didn't make a peep.  today, i got her to do raspberries and babble a little bit saying dadada or mamamama - so sweet.  Then she fell asleep in my arms  -as  i looked at her precious sleeping face, i wondered if her mom misses her and wondered if she will someday have 1 mother again to rock her asleep - i guess for today, i was that mom...

It has been sweet to see the team fall in love with all of the children at BG - we all tend to have our favorite:)


Blogged By Ronnie: It was a long day , Hence its Monday ;) So into Blossom Gardens to serve the Aunties and Love on these precious children with God's love. It was enlightening to have the lack of energy knowing that all that came out of me would either be my flesh fleeing to lay down on a bench or God showing up in a mighty way and holding me up.So forward on  I went to the baby room for the first 3 hours and just held sang and fed them.One little girl was getting her hair done all pretty and a brand new outfit was picked out for her along with a new pair of sandals. They got her all dressed and she left escorted away as one of the Aunties turned to release tears- there was a handful of children that left BG today with good promise to be adopted out which is so wonderful but at the same time so heart breaking for these Aunties who love these children and do such an amazing job at caring for their needs- these children are definitely loved by these women. After feeding time I was beginning to feel the lack of energy again and needed to eat to regain stamina. I ate and read from my Bible the Proverbs of the day. What really stood out to me was the verse from Prov.30:5 "Every word of God is pure : He is a shield unto them that put their trust in Him. 8: " Remove far from me vanity and lies; give me neither  poverty nor riches; feed me with food convenient for me; lest I be full and deny thee, and say Who is the LORD ? or lest I be poor, and steal and take the name of my God in vain." I have had this burden and fear that leaving Jamaica and returning back to my normal life would soon erase what I have seen and experienced while here and I feared the shame and guilt that I would have to live with- I made this verse my prayer and was just asking God to help me to serve Him and please Him with my response to what I have obtained through this that it wouldn't be vain. I left the break room heavy and began talking with the Financial Advisor of BG and was asking him how he was doing. He responded by telling me that he was heavy spirited and I told him how I was feeling that a couple days ago. I listened to him as he poured out his heart and burden for providing for his family and the trying to understand why he chose to put his faith in God. He serves the Lord, He loves him and has brought up his children in the Lord and while he struggles to provide he sees the evil prosper in their ways and it really dissuades him and leaves him feeling heavy. After just reading this chapter from the Bible I realized that this was very relative to what we were talking about. As we were both sitting very tired after such a long day - God showed up and encouraged us both. He was asking me where we were staying and he lit up and said he knew where we were because he goes to the Verney House once a month for meetings with the Gidions Bible Association. He brings Bibles to Nursing Homes, Hospitals and the Homeless etc. I was telling him how we were kicking ourselves about not bringing Bibles after their being a number of requests for them at the Granville Girls Home (Prison) He was quick to say that he will bring them Bibles - what an awesome encouragement to him to be reminded how he is making a difference and for us because we had been praying that God would provide Bibles for these girls wanting Bibles.Thank You Jesus! Please pray that as the girls receive these Bibles that they will grow and desire after God and His will for them and that His word would not return void- Oh how He loves them <3

Day 9 - July 29

Trying to get up to date...

Sunday - July 29 - we had another day of rest & relaxation.  We were able to sleep in a bit and then had our own worship and church/devotion/sharing service - it was GOOD!

After lunch, we headed back down to the hip strip to finish up some souvenier shopping and then to have our last chance to put our toes in the jamaica beach!

It was a time of GOOD relaxation - a time to charge our batteries for the week ahead.  We are supposed to spend the entire day at BG on Monday, Tuesday & Wednesday (9-4) and then Thursday morning at BG and afternoon at Granville and our final day on Friday we will spend the morning at BG and the afternoon at Melody House.

Keep us in your prayer:)

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Day 8 - July 28

Today was a relaxation/fun day to rejuvenate ourselves.  We had to say good bye to Ryan yesterday and Carl today - they both had commitments back in Walla Walla.  They will surely be missed!!!

The team journeyed to YS Falls - about a 2+hrs. drive but definately worth it.  Taylor & Brayden are still not feeling 100% and Jane has come down with a bad stomach bug.  Jane did not come with us.  We had a great time - most of us did the zip line and played in the falls. i hope to post pictures soon but i wanted to get the blog updated.  Here's a link so you can see what it is...YS Falls website

We ended the day with delicious Jerk Chicken at "Jerkies" - YUM!