Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Guatemala: The Ultimate Field Trip

It is a bit of a joke, that a mom who home schools her kids can turn anything into a field trip.  We can justify taking the kids grocery shopping in the middle of the day because it involves math, health (read the labels!), social skills, and even music (who doesn't sing while driving?).

One month ago today, on June 17th, Nikita and I landed in Guatemala for an excursion that was so much more than grocery shopping, but definitely counted as a field trip.

We had signed up for a GoodGoers "Mission Based Adventure", and had chosen Guatemala because we wanted to see the culture of Kimberly's birth parents.

The team we were on was an eclectic one-- our team leader was from Missouri, another member hailed from there as well, a young man from Kansas, another young woman from California, a family of 3 from Georgia and a family of 4 from Texas-- plus Nik and I from Massachusetts...a bunch of strangers brought together by God to spend a week as servants for Manos de Jesus and staying at Monte Flor.

We traveled to remote regions in the back of a truck.

 We painted a house that needed a new coat.  A house that was maybe 8 feet by 12 feet and was one room.  That makes my bedroom bigger than this family's home.

We blew up balloons, brought out crayons, and blew bubbles with children who knew us only as "Gringos".

We went to three of the six Feeding Programs run by Manos de Jesus, so we could sing with the children, play with the children, and help where needed.

We traveled to 6 different homes to help install cooking stoves for 6 different families.  The traveling might sound simple, but it was 20-45 minutes up, down,  and around the mountains surrounding Chichicastenango (and one home in Chichi) the back of trucks...more exciting than the zip line we did on the last day of our trip!

 The flashlights are being held because this woman's small stone home is very dark inside-- only the flash of my camera made it seem so bright.
 The homes were always too small to fit the entire team, so most would play with the children, while a few took turns helping to put together the stove.

Our trip ended with a day near Lake Atitlan, going on a zipline, having lunch out, relaxing,  and packing for home.

So this was our Ultimate Field Trip.  To really qualify as a field trip...whether it be to the grocery store or to Guatemala...something must be learned.

What did Nikita and I learn??

We learned that there is a need.  We did not just read about it or hear about it.  We saw it, and we felt it.  And for just a few days, we tried to meet it.  We tried to be los manos de Jesus.

And while we have come home with memories, with a knowledge of how to pray and support this mission and the people of Chichicastenango, the amazing people of Manos de Jesus will continue to  do their work...

The shoe factory at Monte Flor makes shoes so children can go to school- 50 pairs are given away every Tuesday.

3 feeding programs that each happen twice weekly feed several hundred children each week...and teach them about the love of Jesus.

Teams from all over will continue to travel to also be the Hands of Jesus for a few days.

And Lord willing Monte Flor will soon be providing desperately needed dental care to the people of Chichicastenango.

If you would like to go on the ultimate field trip, check out this website.

Or, see what your church is doing.  The people of Guatemala are not the only ones in need, but it is the area we chose.  For this very special reason:

Nikita might even go back for an entire Summer!

Where will your Ultimate Field Trip take you?

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

To the Library....Alone!!!

I have been trying to clean my massive piles of nothingness in an attempt to find the actual desk that houses it all...and I found a library dvd from who knows when.

Not wanting to get sidetracked from organizing the piles, making freezer pops, surfing the web and doing laundry all while recuperating from my hernia repair surgery--- I decided Amelia could walk to the library alone to return the dvd.

 She did not hesitate to step up to the task, after all we can see the library out our window.  The library is actually closed right now so she just had to put it in the drop box outside.
 She is actually in this photo, walking back!  It isn't really a photo of Alexander's car, but just for the record it is a 14yo Camry with 240,000ish miles that stalls often, so if anyone wants to give my 19yo dishwasher, college student, Army Reserve Soldier son a new car you know where to find us. ;)

She nonchalantly waves to me, not at all concerned that crazy Mom is for some reason recording a simple dvd return.
Amelia even looked both ways before crossing the street back home.

I did not doubt that she could independently return the dvd. 

What does concern me is what little wheels are now turning in her head.  She knows where the library is and was fine.  What next?  The store up the street?  She did try to walk up there once many years ago, barefoot and with a dollar in her hand.

Hopefully she will not suddenly feel liberated, and will work with me on this newfound big-girlness.  I think I will send her to the library again sometime when it is open, so she can check out a dvd.

For now, she is content playing with the blocks on the floor.

God is good!