Thursday, July 14, 2011

Wow Moment

Fried plantains...YUM!

Ok, back from sharing our wow moments. Here was mine...

This week I have enjoyed spending time in the kitchen washing or drying dishes while the babies and children nap. Today, like the other two days, we enjoyed learning new words in spanish and learning how this center runs from the women who work there.

I realized that it is incredible that a group as large as ours carry servants hearts and spent a week in Guatemala to do whatever needed to be done to help these kids. What was even more awesome is that these women do this everyday...24 hours a day...weekends...and holidays. There are no breaks when it comes to feeding, bathing, and watching 70 kids. The laundry, cooking, dishes, and cleaning are never ending.

While it must have been a little bit of a hassle teaching us how things work at first, we did help them to keep things moving a little bit smoother. It is hard to think about how they manage when a group of 43 people are not there to lend a hand.

Well, the rest of my wow moment happened after we were finished wasing and drying dishes. I proclaimed to one of the ladies cooking, 'Me gusta comer plantains!' (I like to eat plantains.) She was cooking up some fried plantains that smelled delicious. She then placed the fork in my hands and let me cook the rest of them! Well, I needed a little guidance at first, but I got the hang of it. Then, it was 3:00 and time for the women to go to devotions. In spanish and little bit of sign language, she told me how to turn off the stove and left me alone with the plantains in the kitchen.

For the first time since I was at the center I had a little bit of quiet. It was a time to think about the lives of the women who work there and a time to pray for the kids who would eventually eat that food for dinner. I was so grateful for the opportunity to fry up some plantains! And, now I know how to make them!

We leave our hotel early tomorrow to catch our flight back to the states. I look forward to sharing about the trip when I get home! Adios Guatemala!

Feeding time with the Chicks...gotta line 'em up!

The Canary room.

Pastor Charles helping sweet Gladys take some steps.

Chicks and Bunnies Day 4

So, today was the last day with our Chicks and Bunnies. Most of the group was very reluctant to leave our precious children, but we knew that God had a fresh group of hands ready and willing to love on these children.

Our construction team was successful in finishing both houses for the families. YAY! They even got to come to the center for a few hours.

One of the highlihgts of my day was cooking fried plantains in the kitchen with the ladies! It{s WOW time at the hotel so I have to run. Can{t wait to see you all and share pictures and stories in person. Adios!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Malnutrition Center Pictures

Thelma enjoying snack time.

I was cheering! This is Gladys taking what might be her first steps! She was a little wobbly, but was very excited and didn't even fall! That is one of the ladies from the center she is walking to. Marsha is holding Caty who is crazy in a walker- she seriously wheels around that place like a Nascar driver. That adorable young fellow in the walker is Santos.

That morning I dressed Gladys.

Nap time in the Bunny room. Brian is in the front, then its Ashley, his twin sister.


Buenos tardes! I'm so sorry I couldn't hop on the computer yesterday, but we had a packed schedule! Things at the center are running smoothly and we are getting the hang of taking care of many young toddlers and babies. We have the routine down by now, and it helps that these kids are very used to their schedule!

Good news! We counted and there were 10,644 diapers added to the inventory this week! That is a lot of diaper changes, but I guarantee you that they need them!

When we arrive at the center we go to our different age groups. I am with the Bunnies- they are around the age of two. The ladies at the center are busy giving them baths, so we come along and grab kiddos from them to dry and dress them. Each morning it takes a minute to recogize faces and remember names, but we are doing well and they even recognize us!

Throughout the day we just simply keep them entertained by holding them, rocking them, and even helping some to walk! They are right at the stage where they can stand up and balance and think really hard about taking a step. Little Thelma is walking stronger each day and I know that Cindi wants to walk so badly! She just keeps holding on to the table ledge or the wall. She will walk if you guide her though.

Snack is one of the favorite times of day, well anytime there is food involved is a favorite for these guys. They recieve a sippy-cup of warm milkly stuff. About an hour later, we are running them in to change diapers! I'm getting better and better at that, by the way, seeing as the very first one I put on was backwards! When you have about ten toddlers wanting your attention and there are only 2 or 3 adults, you move quickly.

Lunch is an involved process as well. We learned yesterday that the more food goes in, the more that will eventually come out. The wake-up and diaper changing session was a little cleaner today!

We can be thankful for many things! A little boy in the Bunnies, Juan Miguel, was very upset all day yesterday. He had to be held and it seemed like nothing could make him happy. Today however was a different story. He was moving around in the walker, smiling, and even laughing! It is so sad that some of them are very reluctant to smile. Don't worry though, most of them are hams and will crack up at the slightest tickle or kisses.

Most of Tuesday I held on to a little girl named Ashley. She and her twin brother, Brian, are at the center although you can tell that Brian never misses a meal! She can be a bit fussy when left alone, so yesterday she was on my hip or lap. The same thing was happening this morning, but after lunch I sat her beside me so I could hold another little girl and Ashley only pouted a little. She made sure to stick right by my side (she is a bit of an attention hog) but was ok that someone else was in the lap.

During one of the many diaper changes of the day something really struck me. I was changing Cindi- such a cutie with a great giggle- and I noticed that her pants were size 3 month. Now, I'm not exactly sure of her age, she might not be 2 just yet, but I know she is well older than 3 months. She is a good eater, though, and I'm sure that as she continues her stay at the center she will grow and get healthy.

Not all of us are at the center now. The men and some of the women had the opportunity to build two houses in a community outside of Antigua. We were very thankful that the two slabs were poured yesterday despite rain around the area. One of the men reported that a dad helped his kids write their names and put hand prints in the concrete.

Today the went back out hoping to finish both houses so they could come to the center tomorrow. Unfortunately, the rain did not hold off today and they were soaked. So, they will work in the morning and hopefully they can make it to the center for an afternoon of playtime.

They get unique witnessing opportunities while they are out in the neighborhoods. One of the men from the Keys, Augie, did magic tricks for the children. All of the construction crew gave up their cookies and other snacks for the children in the area. They are really experiencing what Guatemala life is like for the people of this country.

Please pray for Brian in the Bunnies group as he was not feeling well today. There is a girl in the Canaries (bed babies) who has chicken pox. Please also lift up Miss Doreen's grandson who has lukemia; she is from Kathleen. Pray that the construction crew can finish up tomorrow so they can hang out with the kids one more time. Also, pray for the ladies who work tirelessly everyday at that center. While I'm changing a diaper, dressing a baby, or washing dishes I can't help but think what it would be like without all of our hands that day. Then I realize that they just do the best they can and make due as God provides.

Also, pray for the parents and families of these younsters. They can only visit on Fridays and SUndays and that is if they can. A mother brought her child to the center on Tuesday and was reluctant to leave. They love their children so much, that they will do what is best for them to get them healthy.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Pictures from Guatemala

Getting read to zip line!

She was too cute!

Cindy just loved to be held.

Malnutrition Center Day 1

Finally our team got to do what we've been looking forward to for months now: be at the malnutrition center. When we first arrived Howie and his wife Marvina gave tours of the facility. If you didn't know, the center was actually built by the Lions Club as a TB hospital. Although it is no longer needed as a hospital, there is still a great need in this area to help children and their families. The facility can hold up to 200, but right now there are only 70.

The construction group quickly got to work on a chicken coup. These kiddos go through 1000 eggs each week, so not having to purchase those eggs could save a bundle. However, this is not going to be any ordinary home for chickens. We declared that it would be a chicken condo, or pollo palace for about 200 chickens. These guys had to dig up stumps and level the ground so that the crew that comes next week can make further progress. Tomorrow, they will start to build one of the two homes.

The rest of us were divided up to work with different groups of children. I had the privilage of working with the bunnies- they are todlers. Most of them are not able to exactly walk on their own, but set them in a walker and they can go anywhere! We had the best time just holding them, singing to them, and playing catch with them. One little one, Thelma, fell asleep on me after snack.

A few hours later and we fed them lunch. A few can feed themselves, but for the most part everyone partnered up with a little one. I fed a little guy named Brian. His twin sister Ashley is also at the center. Once we finished lunch, the children were put down for a nap. Then it was our lunch time. After we ate and the children were still sleeping, we had various jobs to do around the center like wipe down toys, organize the clothing closet, or wash dishes in the kitchen. I helped Sue from Orlando fold sheets.

Before we knew it, naptime was over and it was time to play again! However, just a short while later we had to say goodbye and head back to Antigua. The drive to and from the center is about an hour long, but it is beautiful. We are excited to get back to our 'bunnies' tomorrow. The women who work at the center are just amazing to take care of so many children. I am so impressed with how smoothly everything runs. God is at work in San Jaun as evidenced by their compassion for these children. Adios amigos! -Sarah

Sunday, July 10, 2011

We've Arrived in Guatemala!

We have arrived in Guatemala! All 43 of us, plus 80 some odd bags of luggage made it to Antigua around 7 pm last night. Praise the Lord, it was a smooth day of travel. We were excited to get to our hotel and meet the interns who would show us the ropes. There are five: Amber, Laura, Parker, Ella, and Anda. They are awesome and have helped us get around the city. 
Our first day in Antigua has been nothing less than exciting! This morning we had a worship time out on a beautiful vine covered porch at our hotel. Stacey and Mark from Kathleen led us in worship and through a devotion from the Lords Prayer. We talked about what it means to keep His name Hallowed. Stacey led us to sing a few songs, and even though we didn't have instruments it was an awesome worship.

That morning the brave among us traversed a mountain via a glorified swamp bugee. OK, so it wasn't a swamp buggee, but that's what it reminded me of. The ride through town and up the coffee plantation was quite an experience! Once up there, we were fitted with straps and a helmet, then it was off to zip line. Let me tell you, that was one of the coolest things I've ever done! We practically flew over a vast expanse where you could barely notice a stream flowing. As we zipped out of the trees and into the open you could catch a glimpse of Antigua in the background. I got to practice my spanish with a guy named Poncho who works there on the weekends and is going to school to be an agricultural engineer. A few of us taught him and some of the locals how to play Ninja. :) 

After we worked up an appetite, we headed back into town to eat at a fine reastaurant....McDonalds. A quarter pounder, fries, and a coke are the same in any country, I believe. And, after that ride down the mountain I was excited to chow down. The main difference between this Mickey D's and the ones from back home was the beautifully landscaped courtyard that we ate around. Lunch was followed by a trip to the outdoor market where they sell everything from knives to nativity sets. They had a lot of hand threaded bracelets and woven clothing, too. It was pretty funny to watch people talk down prices with the locals. 

Tomorrow everyone is headed to the Malnutrition Center. We are excited to get to work and love on some kids. Pray for our group to have lots of energy and to sieze opportunities God gives us. God bless! -Sarah

Thursday, July 7, 2011

We're gonna need more Space Bags!

Thank you, thank you, thank you! I am so encouraged by the outpouring of donations, encouraging words, hugs, and prayers from the people of my Bible Study, Church, and community. I can't wait to share the love you have shown me with the children at the malnutrition center in Guatemala.

Before I get there though, I have to pack! I consider myself to be somewhat of a procrastinator, so the fact that I've put some thought into packing and have actually started to stuff one of my suitcases says a lot! I have received so many donations of diapers, wipes, creams, clothes, and shoes that I will have more than one suitcase full! This however, is an excellent problem to have and will be hopefully solved by using those nifty Space Bags. Rest assured, I will be cramming everything possible into my two bags and carry on and making sure that whatever leftovers are squeezed into someone else's bag before that 50 lb limit. No diapers left behind!

For now, I would ask that you pray for our group consisting of people across the state of Florida who are preparing just like me to leave home for a week. The weather report looks pretty rainy and we are supposed to build two houses, so pray that no matter the weather, we get the job done. Pray also for our hearts- it's not easy to see poverty, especially children who are hungry. Finally, pray that things go smoothly with this international travel business, and that if things don't go as planned that we will be flexible. Those of you who know me know that I've had some pretty interesting traveling experiences thus far! So, I can't wait to update you and share my experiences with you. ~Sarah

If you're into blogs or Orphan's Heart, check out the Guatemala blog that is updated pretty frequently: Watch out though, if you read it, you will want to go! ;)

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Pray with us...

Join us tonight at FBC Wauchula in the chapel at 5:45pm to pray for Sarah Idsardi and the mission team that will be leaving this Saturday for Guatemala.

Can't join us... then pray from wherever you are tonight.

Remember to continue to pray for them throughout this upcoming week.

Be sure to check next week as she will be keeping us updated as to where God is leading them via this blog.