Friday, April 30

MCC School kits distribution

The kits sitting on a teacher's desk, waiting for distribution.

Lucrecia, our Nicaraguan boss, helped to hand out the materials.

Yesterday we had the privilege of distributing school kits that contain notebooks, pencils, rulers and colored pencils, to a school in Yucul, with over 140 students.

Since there were so many students, we decided to split up the notebooks and pencils in each bag (there were 4 of each, in each bag) and give one of each to each student. The teachers then selected a few students from each class to receive the bags with ruler and colored pencils, those who were especially poor. In this way, we were able to share 59 kits with over 140 students!

Heading home for lunch.

Some other sights on our trip to the countryside.

Now is the harvest of the maracuya (or passion fruit). Here they hang on a vine, green and almost ready. Maracuya is one of our favorite juice drinks.

Tuesday, April 27

All the difference

I will admit, there are times that I wonder...what difference are we making, if any? The obstacles seem too high, the interest too low and we are here, alone. It is easy to be discouraged, to see all the cultural differences, to be overwhelmed by the constant poverty and injustice.

But there are times...

for instance, Steve has been going around and checking in with the farmers, to see how the animals are faring, to see how the construction of the ferrocement tanks and latrines (outhouses) are coming along.

Last week he met with Uriel, a leader in Mil Bosque, whose goat recently had a kid. Uriel related how a woman who lives farther up the mountain, has a 9 month old baby, and the baby only weighs about 10 pounds. Uriel offered the woman some goat's milk twice a week if she was willing to walk down to his house. So she comes, twice a week, to get milk for her severely malnourished baby. The woman and her baby were there, at Uriel's house, when Steve was visiting. He said you would never believe the baby was 9 months old. Just when we feel too discouraged to go on, God gives us some hope...

I couldn't help but remember the story about the boy on the beach, surrounded by starfish. Are you familiar with it?

A boy was walking along the beach, throwing the starfish into the ocean. A man told him, You can't possibly save them all! What difference will it make? The boy smiled and threw another starfish into the ocean. He replied, It makes a difference to that one.

Girls play on the swingset at the school in San Pablo, where a ferrocement tank was recently built. The water only comes once or twice a week, so having a tank to hold water will help with the shortage.

The tank at the school.

The entrance to Javier's house. The path is littered with beautiful flowers.

Steve talks with Javier, the leader in Yucul, about his animals and an upcoming meeting.

Friday, April 23

Sebastian turns 1!

It's hard to believe my little baby turned one year old last Saturday. He is an incredible testimony of how God can work in a seemingly hopeless situation. I hope to post his story soon, to show how even while we struggle with faith and hope, God is above our emotions.

We enjoyed having Roberto's family over to celebrate Sebastian's birthday. Enjoy the pictures! To see the full album, click on the link at right (coming soon).

The clown pinata awaits his demise...

Finishing up the final touches...since it was a circus theme, I decided to use streamers to make the room look like a circus tent.

Abby offered to paint the kids faces.

Sebastian slept through most of the party, but we finally woke him up in time to meet the clown before he was smashed to pieces.

I enjoyed making a lion cake, one of the easier cakes I've made thus far. Sebastian didn't quite know what to make of it. He seemed to be in zombie land most of the time. Being a timid baby, I think the crowd scared him a bit.

Wednesday, April 21

2nd Clothing Distribution

Using funds from Landisville Mennonite Church and from a family member, we bought clothing and powdered milk for 18 children in a local preschool.

What we've been up to...

...when we're not working.

The kids are really enjoying the pool.

More artwork...Nathaniel is getting into it now.

Calming Sebastian while we change his diaper...he's not a big fan of diaper changes :)

Monday, April 19

It's not so it?

I recently read a book that was taken out of the MCC library, in the MCC office here in Managua, Nicaragua. I was shocked to find explicit sexual material inside this book.

At first I thought, I'll just put this back on the shelf and make sure not to read it again. But then I thought, you know, MCC is a christian organization. And the library here is open to anyone that walks through the door. Is it really okay to have sexually explicit material as part of a library that is located within the walls of a Christian organization's office and is maintained by that same organization? What would somebody think, if they picked up a book with this kind of material, that wasn't a Christian? Probably that Christians aren't so different after all!

Since the team was meeting soon after wards, I decided to bring up the issue with them and hear what their thoughts were on the issue. I wasn't surprised by the responses. One person stated it should be a personal issue, even though it is not a personal library. Another stated that if the book is good otherwise or is a classic, then it doesn't really matter. There was also the statement that people don't really look at the library as MCC's. It's just a collection of books found in the office that is maintained by MCC but not a reflection on MCC.

Like I said, I wasn't surprised by the responses. Although Steve and I didn't agree with the opinions, it did sadden us. The area of sex is not an easy one. It is one that, in general, the church tend to avoid, although millions of women and girls, worldwide, are victims of sex trafficking and the stats in the States are not much better. 1 out of every 3 woman has been sexually assaulted by the time she turns 18. And 1 out of every 6 men. Clearly, this is not an area to treat lightly.

I would encourage you to check out Steve's latest blog on the issue. On what God has been talking to us regarding this issue. Check his blog out at left.

Friday, April 16

Wednesday, April 7

For you, Alaina. April 7-9, 2005

Pregnant again!
Expectation. Pain. Fear. Uncertainty. Pain. Confusion.
Trust. Pain. Sleeplessness. Fear. Doubt.
Movement! Joy. Expectation. No movement? Fear. Doubts. Heartbeat.
29 weeks. Hope?
Something wrong. Dying. World stops. Tears. Decision? C-section. Hurry, hurry! Fear. Why God? Tears. Trust.
Scalpel. Waiting. Alive? It’s a girl!
Alaina Elizabeth.
Tears. Joy. Death. Alive! Death again. Resuscitation. Life. Tears. Confusion. Doubt.
Pain. Tears. Pain.
Come now! Dying. Tears. Decision? Let her go. Why God? Bargain. Take me! Please. Tears. Dead.
No hope.
Why God? Anger. Grief. Around I go.
2 months later,
Pregnant? No. Yes? No. Yes! God? Fear. Hope. Please God. Danger. Rare Ectopic. Decision? Yes. Drugs. Heartbeat. Hope. Joy. More drugs. Dead. Grief. Why God?
No hope.
Bleeding. Surgery. More blood. Surgery. ICU. Grief. Decision. Adoption? No more kids. Grief. Why God?
Thy will.
6 months later,
Pregnant again! Fear. Hope. Expectation. Please God.
Thy will.
Movement. Joy! Hope. Fear. Doubt. Prayer. Please God.
Thy will.
Pain. Fear. Decision? Hospital. Rupture. C-section. God?
Thy will.
Alive! Healthy!
“Nathaniel”…gift from God. I’ve come full circle.

I never saw you smile or heard you cry. I never wiped away your tears or heard you laugh. You lived only 42 hours and yet…your life changed me forever. I will never forget you. I look forward to seeing you again in heaven some day.

To see photos of Alaina, click on the album at right.

Monday, April 5

Candy Land - the other side

It’s always interesting playing board games with my boys. I played these games growing up, but I only had one sister, and we generally stayed within the confines of the rules. But my boys bring a whole other element to these games.

For example, take Candy Land.

Half the fun of Candy Land is that while you are waiting for your turn, your piece gets to shoot all the other pieces, performing daring stunts and flying through the air, complete with the sound effects of guns and bombs. We almost never manage to make it to the end without coming to an all out wrestling tournament between the pieces, which quickly escalates to my boys ending up on the floor, wrestling and playing.

I’m thinking of patenting this version of Candy Land. I think it would be a big hit! It would include helicopters, tanks and army boats. The pieces would try to get to Candy Land without stepping on land mines or being shot by enemy fire. I know for sure that my boys would love it.

They love anything with guns, even though we don’t have any guns in the house or allow them to watch violent movies. One day, I decided to count how many times they turned ordinary house items, such as utensils, pencils, umbrellas, etc. into guns, of their own accord. Before the end of the day, I had counted to 20 and decided to stop there! It just seems to be a boy thing.

He loves me, He loves me not...

He loves me!

Aren't these lillies beautiful!? My amazing hubby drove almost an hour over the mountains JUST to buy these flowers for me.

Because he LOVES me SO much.

It was so romantic....and I forgave him for stranding us at a local pool after hours :) I know, the Eskimo pail adds a certain flair, don't you think? That's an ice cream pail, for those of you who don't know.

But the boys had fun, as you can see from the pictures below. The boys LOVE the pool..I think they are part fish.