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Archive for the ‘passion’ Category

I have been thinking and praying for a while about reaching out to the women on the Limon side of the ghetto. Not just the mothers of the kids in the schools, but the women in the community of La Limonada, at large. After a staff meeting last week at Mandarina, my unspoken goals were redeemed. Tita announced that Mandarina was going to start a group for women… exactly the thing that I was wanting to do at our school. I spoke to Tita after the meeting and let her know that this was something that I had been wanting to start for a while at Limon. She told me to go for it. So, this Monday, I announced to the teachers at Limon that I intended to start a group for women on Wednesdays, during our lunch hour. The group would meet for thirty minutes and would be an opportunity for women to come in to the school to talk, pray, and share together. Signs were made and taped to the school’s two doors, inviting the women of La Limonada into our school.

Finally, my desire to reach out to the community with something that I truly care about. I immediately got nervous. What could I share with these people? I’m not biblically educated. I’m a novice in my relationship with God. What could I possibly have to offer? At Tita’s request, I read John 4, the story of the Samaritan Woman at the well. I chose to not take the religious aspect of the story, but the social one. Jesus broke social barriers by being a Jew who spoke to a Samaritan, something that just was not done. By being the first to break the barriers, Jesus was met with hostility by the woman. Eventually, the woman becomes a disciple of Jesus. Barriers have been broken and services to God are honored.

I chose to use this example by twisting it a little bit… using the group as the break down of barriers between the school and the community by welcoming the women into the school. For thirty minutes we kept the door to the class room that faces the street open… something that is rarely done at the school. The cool breeze came through the class room as I shared my thoughts with the women that came to our meeting (and the teachers who chose to stay). I told them that I believe that the women of La Limonada are the power and strength behind this community. I say this because they are producing future generations of children that will grow up here. They are the leading examples of strength and love. The schools are just here to help out. All in all, the meeting went very well. The women were comfortable opening up to us, and I was satisfied with the turnout of three for our first week.

On another note, just after the morning session was released today, the gang members decided to hang out on our front porch. This was our opportunity to go and speak to them. I hung back, as being a gringa, I wasn’t sure of how well received I would be. After a few minutes, I joined the group talking outside. One of the guys asked if he could have my eyes, because he says that they are beautiful. “Ojos de gato” (cat eyes) is a phrase that I hear very often, sometimes several times a day. I was pleased to finally meet the guys who have been hanging around the school. They were very welcoming and respectful. One of them went home to get his infant son to show off to us. Needless to say, he was a beautiful.

It was a very good day.

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Yesterday was the official start of our vacation from the schools in La Limonada. My original plan: sleep, coffee, blogging, laundry, more sleep, lunch, etc. Tita and the gang from the schools were going to take the team visiting from Origins Church and some of the gang members to the volcano for a hike. I sat in my pajamas with my coffee while they waited for Kate to arrive to pick everyone up. Something in me woke up… and literally four minutes before Tita and Kate arrived, I decided to join everyone. I threw on some clothes, filled my water bottle, grabbed my shoes and was ready when the time to depart arrived.

The whole reason that I had decided to stay home was because I am still (kind of ) nursing the remnants of my sprained ankle from two weeks ago. So, I decided to take a horse up the mountain when we arrived. I felt like a coward. I felt kind of lazy. Then I remembered how hard it is to ride a horse. My feeling of laziness eased. Riding is harder than I remember it being, especially when you are in a massive incline and you think that your horse hates you. Champion was a great horse. While most of the rest of the group hiked the mountain, I was the only adult who was consistently on a horse. I had to prove to myself that I could ride this horse up this mountain. The reason that I hadn’t been on a horse in so long is that I have been tossed off twice. The first time was when I was young, at a summer camp… I was about 11 or 12. The second time, I was 23. The feeling of being tossed is not one that you can just shake. Riding the massive, muscular beast was an amazing feeling. However, today I am very sore in places that I forgot that I had.

Once we got to the base of the volcano, we hiked. The terrain was unlike anything I had ever seen in person… one of the team members said that it reminded him of Jurassic Park, which was kind of true. The group was far ahead. The lovely Mann family from Colorado stayed behind, and made sure that I didn’t kill myself on the hike. It took about 40 minutes of climbing (because of my slowness), but I totally did it. When I reached the resting place where everyone was having lunch, I was greeted with applause and cheering. I felt kind of ridiculous, but proud nonetheless. I admitted to my fear of heights, especially the decline… where I am always certain that I will somehow plummet to a bloody death. Tita called to me that she was proud of me and that every time we do something that we fear, we break a chain that holds us back. I will always remember that.

I did not climb to the flowing lava. I was so shaken by the height, that I kind of chickened out. But I got to hang out with Monika and Gracie while the rest of the folks hiked ahead. We sun bathed on hardened lava, which is not as comfortable as it might sound. Hardened lava feels like tiny razor blades… not so great for sunbathing. It was a beautiful day, and the wind was cold. We could hear the gas being released from the volcano. Laying there looking at the sky, and how fast the clouds moved around the volcano’s summit was a beautiful thing. Just… wow!! I felt free.

 The group returned, and we started our decline down the volcano. This is where I started to panic. The terrain was unstable. Stuff would move when you stepped on it. The climb was much easier than the decline. I was ecstatic when I reached the bottom of the volcano without injury. I got back on the horse, another unstable thing while on a decline. Riding the horse down the mountain was much scarier than the hike down the volcano.

At the end of the day, I can say that I conquered some fears. I had a great time. I had to say good-bye to a beautiful friend, who I know that I will see again someday soon. I also got to spend some time in the front yard with the team from Origins, and amazingly beautiful group of people who love God in a way that impressed me.

It was a very good day.

 (Thanks for letting me gank your pics, Wade)

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For as long as I could remember, I have had this goal/dream/coolness-in-my-head. I have ALWAYS wanted to move to a country where I didn’t know the language and be forced to adapt. I love languages.

During my time in Ukraine in 2006 and 2007, I began to understand the gist of what was going on around me. I didn’t speak any Ukrainian before I went, but I picked up some important words and phrases to help make my time there easier. In Ukraine, not only was there the language barrier, but there was also a ‘handicap’ of sorts. I worked at a camp for deaf Ukrainian children. Here is an example of any conversation in Ukrainian:

Me: Hey, what’s for lunch today?

English-speaking translator– translates into Ukrainian.

Ukrainian translator who signs — translates into Russian sign language to the child.

Child– answers Ukrainian translator who signs.

Ukrainian signer translates to Ukrainian.

Answer for original question is translated into English for me to know that we will be having some kind of fried meat (“What kind of meat is this? I don’t know, maybe pork.”), mashed potatoes and the best coleslaw that I have ever had. Now to some people, this would be an extremely frustrating way to have a conversation. I, however, love this interaction.

On January 16, 2010 my dream comes true. I will be moving to a country where I have no knowledge of the language. I can basically order a beer and extra cheese. I will be living with a family in Antigua that I have never met before, for four weeks. I get to go to a school that is specifically designed to teach me to survive in this environment. I couldn’t be more excited. I have always been a survivor and love people. I truly relish every minute that I get to hear the story of someone’s life… especially in a place that is so different from everything that I know. I am blessed.

I’ve never been one that loves a specific Bible verse… so this is a first for me. I looked this up after seeing it on a football game.

John 16:33–“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

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