Tuesday, April 16, 2013
We started our day with a tour of the entire orphanage. It was so wonderful to see answered prayers everywhere and the great life they have made for these kids. We were very impressed to see how they provided for the kids with what they have been given and even more impressed with their future plans and ambitions to help even more children. This can only be accomplished by continuing support and answers to prayers. We then were able to help prepare some of the grounds for the upcoming rainy season. But, by far, the highlight of our day was making friendship bracelets with kids. They were all so creative and full of joy. We are so excited to see what God has in store for us for the rest of the week.
Monday, April 15, 2013
We had the special privilege of attending Naciones A.R. Church this morning. What a beautiful way to begin our time here. It was a true glimpse of heaven to see “every tribe and nation” praising God. The entire staff has been very gracious, giving of their time to make us feel as welcome as possible.
We had a great time being shown Cholula by Aurora and Fabian. What a beautiful City! Ending the night playing games with the kids was a joy. We can´t wait to get to know them better as the trip continues. We are so thankful to be able to spend our time here at Esperanza Viva.
Friday, April 5, 2013
Today the girls started out their morning with some dance workout. Some of the guys started out their day with a run. After everyone did their thing in the morning, we did our work project. We had to make more cement. Our group split into 2 parts. One group was making and mixing the concrete. The other group was putting the concrete into the place where it belongs. We got two squares done today. After those squares some people went to the sponsorship meeting and the dads stayed at the project and kept working. At the sponsorship meeting, she talked about the things they need and the kids that need sponsors. At the end of the meeting people were asking questions. After all the questions were answered we went to lunch. Lunch was a hotdog, rice, and beans with a tortilla. Not everyone finished their beans. Dave called it “a group effort.” After eating we had time to shower. The showers felt very good. Then we had time to play with the kids. Some people were playing kickball and the other kids were in the tent. It was very windy so it was hard to play kickball. After awhile we decided to go inside and start the craft time. During craft time we were making bracelets. The team was making bracelets for the kids; and the kids were making bracelets for the team. During the craft time Ale told us the kids could stay up the 8:30 P.M. The kids were very excited. We were going to play capture the flag, but Ale said no because of injuries. Instead of capture the flag we played volleyball on the basketball court. Most of us were playing volleyball in the beginning. Later on people started to fade and they were playing basketball. Around 8:30 people started to leave. We had a debrief after volleyball; and we didn’t want a debrief because we were tired. Amy tried to make it a short debrief. The debrief was only about ten minutes. We went around the room and said what we liked today. Not all of us shared. After sharing we prayed for Karen and anything else on our heart. After prayer, we went to bed.
Wednesday, April 3, 2013
What a day! A great one - that’s all we can say.
Today we spent time with the kids from 9 in the morning until 7 at night, and needless to say we are going to bed tonight exhausted, but our hearts are so filled with joy. It was the coolest thing; everywhere you looked you would see the kids from the orphanage smiling ear to ear, and there was never a moment that you couldn’t hear laughter. It’s surprising how the language barrier doesn’t stop relationships from being formed. The love surrounding everything here completely tears down any walls standing in the way, and that is the coolest thing – how God’s love unites us all. So many great relationships were started and further grown today because of that love.
This morning something we talked about was running our race with perseverance. We talked about how each of us has a different and unique race that we are running. A struggle filled, beautiful race. Each of us comes from different places, situations, and backgrounds yet we’re all united. It’s very apparent, especially down here to see, that God places us where we are for a reason with the people in our lives for a reason: to teach us, to hurt us, to love us, to encourage us. These kids have been through the toughest, most heart wrenching situations yet they have nothing to give but love and their love is teaching us about God’s unconditional love. I know for some of us we struggled to get out of our comfort zone, but it makes it easy when these kids just pour out love. The love and joy they have is like an open window with the light coming through, and it’s just the coolest thing to see.
Tonight we’re going to bed with our hearts happy and understanding the love that unites us all a little better.
Monday, April 1, 2013
It is the end of Resurrection Day, our third day here!! It seems longer than three days ago when we left the Westbrook Church parking lot at 4.30 am, prayed in a circle under a moonlit sky, and loaded into three Suburbans driven by faithful brothers Al, Randy, and Tom to Chicago, O’Hare. Weighing in our 20 bulging suitcases, shifting stuff around to maximize the 50 pounds allowed per person, 10 of them full of jeans, sports equipment, and other gifts for the EV kids and staff. We were all bleary eyed but so excited to be finally getting on a plane to Mexico City after our months of planning and preparation. We hit up the Starbucks and McDonald’s for breakfast and camped at Gate 18 for the two hours ´til boarding.
Four hours of trying to sleep, playing cards, reading, or watching the surfing movie later, we landed at last in waves of warm air and made our way off the plane, thru the halls to immigration, baggage, and customs… Then our gypsy crew piled our mountain of luggage and carry-ons all along a hallway where we camped again, taking turns going to get food until our bus to Puebla came. The blur of colorful buildings, bright flowers, red dirt, and Spanish words outside the windows of the comfortable coach bus to Puebla helped us to begin to acclimate to being in a different culture. The excitement was palpable as some of the sights became familiar to the 14 people on the team who had come last year, and suddenly at the end of a dirt road, the gate of Esperanza Viva brought a cheer from the whole team. We were welcomed by the wonderful staff and ushered to the brand new dormitory for guest teams, which had been completed since the team came a year ago. Absolutely BEAUTIFUL facilities! The 12 women and girls on one side, the 8 guys in the other, with comfortable bunk beds and large cupboards in which to unpack out things…and lots of oohs and ahhs over the ceramic tiled showers and bathrooms! We unpacked and then hurried out to greet the many children some of the team knew from last year and for the rest of us to begin to learn the names of the special, smiling staff and kids. What joy to hear the cries of recognition and the hugs of sweet reunions with friends made a year ago! A foretaste of heaven… The sun setting on the volcanoes and mountains which are on EV’s horizon was spectacular, and shouted wordlessly our joy and thanks at being in this incredible place to serve, play, learn, and develop relationships for a week.
Wednesday, January 23, 2013
After breakfast, we heated to Nations Church. We participated in worship and went to a room for the sermon and had someone translate for us. After church, Ivana gave us a tour of the church and classroom.
We came back to Esperanza Viva for pictures, changed clothes, and headed to Cholula. We stopped and had lunch outdoors at a restaurant. Afterwards, we visited a landmark church, located a top a steep hill. On our way down we stopped by a square and saw some performers “voladores de Papantla”. At one point four men with rope tied to one ankle were swinging upside down from a platform over 30 feet in the air!
Day Four: Monday Jan. 14
After breakfast and devotional, our work projects kicked off today. Dean, Juan and Tim started the process of reupholstering bus seat. Paul, Brook, Kris, Ann, Andrew, and Carl removed donated items from storage so that Gail, Craig and Jon could take detailed inventory. Esperanza Viva will soon be building a new community center and they need to know what they have on hand.
After work projects, we were able to have lunch and spend the rest of the day with the children. We all played volleyball as a large group. Later, we split into smaller groups and the ladies painted nails and taught the older girls hoe to knit scarves. At the same time, the guys played basketball and led by Jon learned how to play hacky sack.
Day Five: Tuesday Jan 15
Our work projects resumed following breakfast and devotional. Half of the group took items out of the warehouses to inventory them, while the other half continued to work on reupholstering the bus seats.
In the afternoon, we had craft time with the kids (huge thanks to Kris for planning them!) the girls made butterflies while the boys made paper airplanes. Some girls made an airplane after they were finished with their butterflies. Once all the airplanes were finished, the kids lined up outside for a contest to see whose plane flew the farthest.
After crafts, we had a powerful worship service with the staff. We were able to pray for staff and have staff pray for us. It was memorable how passionate the staff are in prayer and worship.
We ended the night with a familiar dinner – hot dogs – and a meeting about partnering with E.V. whether it is child sponsorship, missionary sponsorship, educational sponsorship, or the building fund, there are many ways to support the mission of E.V.
Day Six: Wednesday Jan 16
Our group decided to have breakfast and devotional an hour early today in order to get more work done.
After work projects and lunch, we had a “sport day” with the children. We played soccer with a large group and played basketball and hacky sack with smaller groups.
Day Seven: Thursday Jan 17
Today we wrapped up our work projects. The inventory project was completed and we had time to clean out and organize the maintenance room. The reupholstery project for the bus was also completed.
After lunch, we had craft time with the kids. Half of the kids were given crayons and coloring book while the other half made hex nut bracelets. The boys also put together two small teams for yet another soccer match.
We had another tread for dinner tonight - hamburgers – then we had a movie night with the kids. We watched “The Perfect Game” and made dozens of bags of popcorn.
Day Eight: Friday Jan 18
Tuesday, January 15, 2013
Day One: Friday Jan 11
Our team started the day in dark, rainy and foggy weather. It ended with our arrival at Esperanza Viva just after seeing a beautiful sunset with the volcano in view.
Bob Krames and Bob Simmons deserve special thanks as our drivers on the way down through less than ideal conditions. We took off on time and landed ahead of schedule. Unfortunately, two donation bags were temporally missing, but praise God, they were found and are on their way. We then boarded a bus in Mexico City to Puebla. A special thanks to Ale and Raul for meeting us at the bus station to take us to Esperanza Viva.
We arrived to beautiful new visitor dorm, thanks to generous donations from individuals and companies.