Life Changing Moments

When I started this grand adventure May 31, 2013 I never knew how much of an impact it would have on my life. I went from not knowing about my future to being almost one hundred percent sure. I give all my thanks to God and to the wonderful opportunity I have had here at Give Hope 2 Kids.

                Before this year I have never been involved in missions. I have always had a heart for mission work, but have never listened. This year has made me realize how much I want and need to be involved in mission work. When I get home I plan on becoming more involved in missions with my church. I am really looking forward to this.

                Give Hope 2 Kids is my family. I have multiple moms, dads, brothers, and sisters. I have witnessed some amazing parenting from all of our wonderful house parents. They all have so much love and patience for all of the children here. One of the things that I really love is how the kids call their house parents mom and dad. They have made a huge impact in their lives.

            I have also had the privilege of being friends with some fantastic young men and women. It makes me so happy to see the young teenagers and adults take on leadership roles in the church. I love attending church and seeing them praise God with song, speech, instruments, and dance. I know that God has huge plans for all of them.

                This year I have been able to work with two little boys in particular who have special needs. They have made tremendous progress and continue surprising us with their new abilities. Even though I was teaching them, they were the ones that changed my life. I always knew that I wanted to work with special needs children. These two little boys have made me realize that I want to go back to school to earn my masters in special education and start a non-profit preschool for special needs children. The idea of the center is to prepare the special needs preschooler for kindergarten. This is a very big dream, but I know this is God’s plan for me. I thank God every day for what he has done and what he will do. Big dreams are possible.

                This brings me to my last paragraph. It’s taken me a while to write this because I know I will be leaving soon. It’s hard to believe that I will going home April 6th. I have had several people ask me if I am ready to leave. The answer is always no and yes. No, I’m not ready to leave everybody and my work here. Yes, I’m ready to turn a page in my life. Honduras has been one of the best chapters in my life and it will never end. I may be going away now, but I will always come back. My heart will always be in Honduras and with Give Hope 2 Kids. 

 

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Breakthroughs

I’m going t share with you some breakthroughs that I have had a privilege to be a part of. While I was at home visiting, I could not stop thinking about two little boys, Jose Antonio and Junior. They both have delays in speech and Junior has some physical delays. They have both improved greatly from the preschool classes that Cynthia, another fabulous volunteer, and I teach. While I was at home I realized that they need more help. I have been working with them more individually and have seen great progress. 

Jose Antonio is a five year old who has a severe speech delay. After working with him individually and participating in preschool classes, he can say his name, how he is that day, and recognize some colors, numbers, and vocabulary. He has improved tremendously and is so proud of himself. He will even correct you if you try to call him by his nickname. He is a joy to work with every day. 

Junior is seven years old and has delays in speech, learning, and physical. He is a true challenge to work with, but I enjoy every moment. He is gradually learning. He can say his name, and recognize some vocabulary. I am really proud about his physical development. He still needs help on stairs, but his walking has improved greatly. He is even running now. He will also tell you when he needs help. He is very entertaining. 

There is a church service that is held here at Give Hope 2 Kids on Friday nights. It is organized by some of the volunteers and workers and older teenagers. People of all ages attend this church service. They come from the surrounding villages. One service there was over one hundred people in attendance. Most of the church is populated by the youth. The message is given by sometimes a volunteer, worker, or someone from the community. it is so amazing to see these dads, workers, young adults, and people from the community speak so powerfully for our God. I love watching the young adults and youth worship and dance for our God. Every church service is a blessing and the blessings are only getting bigger. I know God has great plans for this church. 

One of the great things that I have learned in Honduras is how to cook. One of things I can cook now is Pizza. One of the mothers asked me if I could teach her how to make pizza. This was such a humbling experience, for I thought I should be learning from her. It was such an amazing and rewarding time. I enjoyed every moment. I was so nervous something was going to go wrong, but at the end she said I was a great teacher  and the pizza was delicious. This was music to my ears. I was so glad she enjoyed it and had fun too. I would do it all over again. 

 

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Junior walking all by himself. 

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Jose Antonio loves to color! 

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Jose Antonio was so happy about cutting out his triangle. 🙂 

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Juvanna was really happy too. 

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The wonderful mother I mad pizzas with. 🙂 

 

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We made pizzas and has a sleepover with these amazing young ladies. 🙂 

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January Already?

Wow! I cannot believe its January! I have been in Honduras for a little over seven months. Time has flown by! I was able to go visit my family for a few weeks in late November and early December. We went to Disney World and had an amazing time! When December 12th came I was excited to go back to Honduras. I was especially excited to spend Christmas with the kids.

It takes  a pretty long time for packages to arrive in Honduras. I was going to bring back a whole suitcase full of brand new clothes for the kids. The clothes were generously donated by some friends of other volunteers here. I called the airline two days before to make sure that I would be able to check three bags. They reassured me that there was no problem and yes I could check three bags. That morning I started checking my bags and they informed me I could not check three bags. If I checked three bags that one of them would not make it to Honduras. I unfortunately had to leave the suitcase full of clothes behind with my parents. Thankfully my parents were able to ship it to my roommate while she was home for Christmas and she was able to bring it back with her.

Little did I know, but not being able to bring the suitcase down was actually a blessing. When I got to Honduras, I and the Baker family were able to go to town and buy all the kids a new outfit and a toy. That’s something I would do all over again. It was stressful, but the most fun I have ever had shopping.

The day before and Christmas day, which is celebrated on the 24th in Honduras, was beyond crazy! We were busy cooking, wrapping, and decorating for Christmas day. I was running on so much caffeine I remember laying in bed that night jittery. I would do every last bit of it all over again. The greatest gift this Christmas was seeing all of the kids model their clothes and open their presents. We saw a lot of tears of joy and of laughter that day. Everybody had an amazing time!

The week of Christmas the majority of the volunteers were gone, so I spent a lot more time with the kids. One of the young girls was asking me questions about my mother. Whats her name? What color is her hair? After answering her questions, I had to stop myself from asking her about her mother. That quickly reminded me why I am here. My sole purpose for being in Honduras is the kids. To make an impact in their lives.

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Unexpected event

Dear Family and Friends,

My time at Give Hope  2 Kids has been a great one. Some things have happened that I still can’t believe happened. Good and bad events unfortunately.

Some good events are of the kids progress in the Pre school and the classes. It makes me so happy to be able to tell the kids have made great progress.  It also makes me excited to see the kids are still attending classes. Classes that are extra to their classes they already attend in the morning.

My Spanish is slowly improving. The kids are a great help. They speak slowly when talking to me so I can understand them better.  They are also learning English, so they understand me sometimes too and speak some English also. I am finally able to understand a lot more. I just have to work on speaking it more now.

Living in a place where so many amazing things happen, I never thought something bad would be possible. I was wrong. There were these six amazing kids that lived at Give Hope 2 kids for a month, and than they were taken away by social services unexpectedly. They were returned to their foster mother. The exact reason is still unclear on why they were taken away. We just have to trust that God works in mysterious ways. Maybe there is a new set of children who are in a greater need of the love and care that is given here at Give Hope 2 Kids.

After that event i learned that we have to take one day at a time and love these kids as much as possible, because there is no guarantee what tomorrow will bring.

Here are some pictures on the kids progress and some fun events.

ImageMy roommates.

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Say Cheese! 🙂

ImageThis is at the top of Urraco

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This sweet girl just got accepted to Insitute El Ray, which is very competative private Christian High School. The school is one of the only high schools in the area.

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A little over three months

Wow! I can’t believe that it has been just over three months. I have really enjoyed my time here. The past few weeks have been extremely busy. On September 2nd we started offering classes to our kids and the surrounding villages. The classes are in English, computer, music, bible, reading, and tutoring. We have classes from one until four every Monday-Wednesday. We have a total of sixty-two kids enrolled. It is really cool to see all of the kids come each day. Some of the students even come as far as forty-five minutes to an hour away. The students are divided into three levels based on ability. We also have some really sweet mothers who are volunteering during this time. On Wednesday after all of the kids had left we were all so tired but felt very accomplished because we survived a week and the kids are loving it! My favorite part is working with the first level, which is basically kindergarten and first grade. 

My favorite overall class that I’m involved in is still the preschool. They are such a sweet and fun group to work with. One day we were taking a group picture and I was making a silly face to make them smile and they all made silly faces. We eventually got a picture with a smile, but most were silly faces. We have a couple of kids in the preschool program who are developmentally delayed and we have been noticing their progress since we have been working with them. One day while visiting at the kids homes I said “Olah Junior”, he replied “Olah Leah”. I looked at the mother in disbelief, for this is a child that does not say much. The mother told me that the kinder program has been really good for him. We as teachers have been able to tell his progress, but for one of the mothers to say that was much better. 

Some other fun times that have happened are as follows: 

*I killed my first scorpion. It was actually pretty big too! 

*Running in the mornings dodging dogs, pigs, chickens, cows, horses, holes, and buses. 

*Seeing more and more strange animals, like a rhino beetle. 

*Hearing everyone in church worshiping when the music gets really soft. It is such an amazing feeling to feel God’s presence during that time. 

*Seeing the kids welcome the newer kids with welcome arms and excitement. 

That is all for right now. Thank you for all of your support and prayers! 

 

Love, 

Leah 

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Jungle LIfe:

Dear family and friends,

My life in Honduras has been pretty well so far. i have discovered that the life style here is “hurry up and wait”. What I mean by this is that you may have something planned at a certain time but something may happen to prevent that. For instance, it could be raining so hard and loud that you can’t read a book to the children during library time. Plans change and it’s okay. I have learned to be okay with that There are some other things that I have learned to do so far:

*Ignore the ants (they’re everywhere) unless they are in the food of course.

*Check your bed for scorpions before sleeping in it. Also, check shoes for scorpions before putting them on.

*Make sure there is not a frog in the house before closing the door.

*How to burn garbage

*Tolerate roaches and spiders (still working on this one).

*Remember how to make coffee in a regular coffee maker not a Keung.

*Hang clothes on the line in the morning, not afternoon because it normally rains than.

*Ignore the occasional turkey.

*Keep the dogs out of the library.

*Tolerate cold showers.

*How to walk properly without falling.

*Know it’s okay to fall, because it will happen especially to clumsy people.

*Making tortillas by using a plate (Im not very good the real way yet)

*Carry an unbrella wherever you go (especially during the afternoon time).

*How to peel green bananas ( if you peel them like a regular banana your hands will be very sappy).

*How to cook different kinds of foods.

* How to experiment with food. (homemade pizza) 🙂

*Take time out of every day and read/study my bible.

*Know that it’s okay to try to practice my spanish on people.

***Wear sunscreen at all times!

Some days I wonder what have I done? Am I really here? Is this really where God wants me? Than something pretty amazing happens.

A little boy at school will ask if we are having library today? I tell him yes and he says he will be there and runs away smiling. Or, I’ll observe the children during library and notice they are really reading and enjoying the activities. One day one of the house parents little girl kept telling me good bye. She kept on telling me good bye even as I was walking down the driveway. This was a huge step because I have been here for over a month and she had never spoken to me before. She actually said audiose Leah. 🙂 I was very touched by those two words from a three year old.

There are also moments where I wish I had a frozen pizza, where all you have to do is pop it into the oven, instead of making everything. Than I am reminded about the amazing conversations we have while cooking. Or how Kaitlen (another volunteer) and I teach Doris (Honduran worker) some English while she teaches us some Spanish.

It’s times like these that I love and look forward to each and every day. I love and miss my family but I know this is where God wants me right now.

I have also witnessed some other amazing things so far. We were fortunate enough to have some pretty awesome groups volunteer in June. They helped with so many important projects, the library being one of them. While one of the groups was here one of the little girls needed to have her tonsils removed. One of the sweet ladies from the group spoke up and said she and her husband can pay for it. That was such a great moment to witness! One of the other ladies still stays in touch with kids by sending them letters. One of the teenage girls even made her an envelope and sent a letter to her and her family These moments I feel honored to be here and be a part of. It is also incredible to see on Friday nights at church some of the teenagers and the adults from the surrounding communities worship and listen during service. Also, to see some of the young Honduran workers lead worship or speak during church. You can tell they have been giving that specific gift. I am honored to know them and be their friend.

My duties right now are managing the library, working with the pre school age, and helping track the development and behavior of the children at Give Hope 2 Kids. I enjoy the work I’m doing each day and love seeing the kids making progress.

The food here is amazing. Everything is made from scratch. We get our vegetables from the veggie truck every Saturday. We also have a lot of fresh fruit like bananas, pineapple, grape fruit, oranges, avocado, passion fruit, mangos, and star fruit. I think it is very neat to crave a banana and be able to go to the banana house and get one. I love it!

I have of course enjoyed my time with the kids. My friendships with them have grown deeper. I enjoy every minute with them. The house parents  are some of the most loving and wise people I know. You can tell they love each child as if they were their own.

All of the volunteer staff and paid staff are fantastic! I have made long lasting friendships. I enjoy playing with all of the volunteers kids too, especially the almost eleven month old. We also get together and watch movies (Pride and Prejudice), tv shows (Dowton Abbey), and drink smoothies. On Sunday mornings all the volunteers watch a church service online and worship together. This has been really enjoyable.

There are still times that I really wish that I were at home with my family, but than something great as stated above will happen. God will than remind me that he does have a plan for me. Jeremiah 29: 11-13.

Some things are still the same as they are back home in Alabama. I still get woken up by birds, different sounding birds but still birds. I still travel on a dirt road, a little more bumy  though. Lastly, I still have a family. All of these things I am extremely blessed to have.

Until next time!

Love,

Leah

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Life in the jungle so far

Hi everyone it has been two weeks! I can’t believe it! It did take me a few days to adjust and I’m still getting adjusted but I’m loving it. The people are amazing and of course the kids are always fun. The library is going great and Cynthia Baker and I are going to be staring a preschool program soon. The plan is that the library should he open by the end of this month. New shelves were just built and will be painted soon. Everything is coming together really nicely.

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Hi everyone! It’s a little over a week

Hi everyone! It’s a little over a week away before I start my adventure in Honduras with Give Hope 2 Kids. I’m so thankful for this opportunity and know it would not have been possible without everyone’s love and support.

A year ago is when I decided that I was interested in mission work. This past January I started a class called Perspectives, which is a class on biblical studies and mission work. Through this class I met a wonderful family who have committed two years to Give Hope 2 Kids in Honduras. The more they shared about this wonderful organization the more I wanted to go. During my spring break I made a trip to Honduras and fell in love with Give Hope 2 Kids. When I got back home I knew that I wanted to go back and do mission work for a year. While there I will be teaching pre-school, teaching English classes, working in the library, and whatever else is needed. I’m very excited for my adventure. Thank you again for all of your support and prayers!

Love,
Leah

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Hi everyone! If you would like to support me, this is my paypal account. Thank you so much for prayers and support!

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