Saturday, June 29, 2013

Photos of my life right now.

I don't really have the energy to write right now, so here are some pictures of my life right now instead.
Because I knew my mom wanted to know what my room looked like.

You can tell I live in a clinic.

The view from the Community Center at La Providenciaq

The worksite/Soon-to-be principal's office!

Making concrete.

Students cooking together in the kitchen.

The view from the church where we did VBS

A student slapping mortar on the concrete foundation wall

VBS kids = totes adorbs!

A student playing hand games with a VBS kid :)

My fav = a student getting his nails done by a VBS kid!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

First post from Honduras!

Yesterday we had to leave Wheaton at 3am to make it to our 5:22am flight to Houston. We changed planes in Houston and arrived in San Pedro Sula, Honduras at around 10:35am. The flight was super smooth, all of our luggage arrived at the same time as us, and we made it through immigration and customs with no problems, PTL. Then we met Douglas our Honduran host who works at La Providencia. He drove us the 2.5 hour drive to Siguatepeque and then 20 minutes out of the city to La Providencia where we are staying. We allowed Douglas to choose where we ate lunch and he took us to the only authentic Honduran fast food restaurant in Honduras, "Power Chicken." It was a lot better than you would initially think. He ordered tostones (fried bananas), fried yucas, fried rice, chicken and ribs. It was all DELICIOUS, seriously the best chicken I think I've ever had. So glad that we went authentic Honduran for our first meal!

Once we arrived at La Providencia we got a small tour of the medical clinic where our rooms are and where the teams will also be staying. The compound here is really nice. There's a community center where the school and dining hall are along with two family homes that the orphans live in with their house parents. We went into town to do some grocery shopping for the next few days at this pretty Americanized store in town. Then we were in the mood for a treat, so Douglas took us to Espresso Americano which is like Honduran Starbucks and we had a Mocaccino Supreme. It's a blended coffee drink with Oreos and I think I'm in love. Coffee seriously is the way to my heart. Afterward we came back and decided to do some exploring so we checked out the school building that last summer's LeaderTreks team built. I think that this year we will be working on either adding to it or another building right next door based on what I could see at the construction site. Then we passed by one of the families playing outside and they called us over to play, so we got to meet all of them. The parents have two biological sons and then they also take care of 2 other girls and 3 other boys. So there are 7 kids in their family. One of the little girls immediately took a liking to me and we climbed up the playground and went down the slide like a million times until I got to hold the baby. They were such a sweet family and I'm looking forward to seeing them around for the next six weeks.

It's weird to think that we'll be living here for such a long time. It hasn't really set in yet that this is going to be my home for awhile. I can't really say that any of this has been a real culture shock, honestly it looks a LOT like Nicaragua and I also adapt really well to new places, so the first day has not been too hard. I've already had to break out my Spanish a little and I'm hoping that it improves a lot this summer. I can see God's hand at work here and I'm excited to be a part of what he does here in Honduras this summer. 

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Week One - Dayton, OH

Week One of LeaderTreks is done. Finished. Completed. Etc.

And it was incredibly awesome! Our partners in Dayton are really fantastic. The church we stayed at in Kettering is called Emmanuel Lutheran and the youth pastor there is like in love with LeaderTreks and practically begged them to set up a site in Dayton so that we could stay at their church. They even built a shower for the teams to use in their basement. It's a lot nicer than I just made it sound. We spent our days building a basketball court and doing VBS at a church called Christ the King on the north side of Dayton. The church has been planning on building a basketball court for a long time but just never had the resources to do so, and so LeaderTreks is partnering with them this summer to build it. The purpose of this basketball court is so that the school that is operated at Christ the King has a court to use but also for the community to use as well. This church is backed up by a neighborhood of African refugees. There are a ton of refugees from the Congo, Eritrea, Berundi, and other countries that were placed in Dayton. We had the awesome opportunity to do VBS with these children and they were so so so full of energy and life and it was a blessing to work with them.

The group of students that came this week were from a small town in Central Illinois. They jumped right in to the work project and were really enthusiastic about serving the kids through VBS. It was really fun getting to know them and finding ways to challenge them whether on the worksite, at VBS, in the kitchen or through the Bible Study. My intern partner, Alex, and I were constantly asking questions such as "What did you learn in your Bible study today?" What are some goals that we can set before we leave the worksite today?" "Do you think there's a better way to do that?" "How do you want this experience and what you've learned this week to affect you once you go home?" and so on and so forth. It is a real challenge to constantly be asking questions and making sure that you're pushing students above and beyond where they are. We want students to take ownership of these projects and learn that they have influence in everything that they do.

This week we studied various passages about the prophet Elisha. My favorite story to discuss with the students on the trip was the story of the woman and the jars of oil in 2 Kings 4. The story really makes us think of what faith is and how the woman in the story demonstrated that she had faith God would provide. It made me think of the ways that God has provided in the past and how I need to not be afraid to ask big things of God and expect him to answer. It was fun to discuss with the students how faith is something that we have and believe but it also requires us to be obedient and to take action.

So now we leave for Honduras tomorrow! Pray for safe travels and that our teams would also arrive safely. Pray for a clear understanding of God's word so that I can discuss it well with the students and also that their hearts and minds would be open to see how God is working in themselves and in the other students.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Verse for Summer

Today I decided that Deuteronomy 13:4 is my verse for this summer. It has literally been on my desktop for 6 months now, but today is when it finally sunk in and I realized that this is what I want my life to look like, and is a good reminder especially in this context of this summer.

The ESV says this:

"You shall walk after the LORD your God and fear him and keep his commandments and obey his voice and you shall serve him and hold fast to him."

What does this look like for me?

You shall walk after the LORD your God: This is reassuring to me because I always know that God is walking in front of me leading the way. He has prepared the way for me and my most important task in life is to be right there following where he leads me.

Fear him: God deserves my worship and 100% of my devotion. No one else is worthy of worship and nothing (no idols) should come before him. I know that following him has the best eternal reward and not following him has the worst eternal consequences.

Keep his commandments: The Bible is his true word and what God commands of me I need to be obedient to. My life is about obeying what he has already laid out for me and his desire for his followers.

Obey his voice: While the Bible is an ancient text that is solid and unchanging that I should follow, God's voice is not always present to me and God's individual requirements of me are fluid. This part of the verse reminds me to listen. I need to hear his voice before I can obey it, and therefore I need to be aware and be listening for God, even for the smallest whisper. Most of the time God's voice isn't evident where I'd like it to be or expect it to be. I have to be diligent in listening to his voice.

Serve him: This summer I have a very distinct role to fulfill in LeaderTreks and I know that I can serve God the best this summer by being selfless and trusting Him and giving my all to these students that I'm working with. In all things God's glory needs to be revealed and I can best serve him by being a clear avenue of his glory to the students I'm working with.

Hold fast to him: This may be my favorite part of the verse because I know that God is my comfort and my strength and he is unchanging and reliable and I can hold on to him for dear life. He has the control and I can rely on him no matter what.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Mission First. People Always.

Recap of 5/31-6/5

First of all, I really had no idea what to expect from LeaderTreks training weekend in Manchester, KY. What I got out of it though was incredible. My roommate and other friend from Cedarville are both doing LeaderTreks too, so I knew that I would get to catch up with them and we would have a good time, but the other interns are AMAZING too. There are six female and six male interns this summer and I am so glad God selected us few to go on this adventure for him this summer.

Training essentially looked like a mock LeaderTreks trip which meant that we stuck to the schedule and protocols of a typical trip. Breakfast was at 7:15am followed by 45 minutes of devotion time and then plenty of leadership team activities and becoming knowledgeable about our various tasks and roles this summer. By far, one of my favorite activities I will call the team HonDayton Lowe's challenge. (Team HonDayton is the team of us that will be serving in Dayton, OH and Honduras this summer). We had to go into Lowe's home improvement store and become knowledgeable enough about a specific home improvement project so that we could present the project step by step to the whole group along with a price projection and timeline as if we were completing this project with groups of students. My team was given the task of residing an entire house. I learned more about siding, j-channel, fascia board, soffits, and Tyvek than I ever thought I would. It was very exciting to learn about something I never thought I would and to be able to explain it to our group. This is similar to actual tasks and projects that LeaderTreks teams will be doing all across the world this summer.

Another of my favorite parts of training is the encouragement circle during team time. Every night after dinner the whole team goes over the devotions from that morning, the growth journal that assesses how you did in the past 24 hours and also evaluates performance as a team. At the end is the encouragement circle where students and staff encourage one other person in the group with either a leadership, risk taking, service, or compassion bead. It is really neat to see people encourage others publicly and to feel the confidence and love when someone says something really sweet and sincere about how they saw God working in your life. It was honestly the most encouraging feeling and made me even more comforted and confident that this is where God specifically placed me this summer.

So now I am in Dayton, OH really close to Cedarville staying at a church and prepping for the first team of students to arrive on Sunday. I am really excited and also nervous about this week, so keep me and my team in prayers. This is a fantastic group of people that I'm working with and I can't wait to see how God uses us in these students' lives this next week.