Friday, July 23, 2010

When an Artist/CEO and an Encourager Hit the Road

My Artist/CEO and My Encourager had a very special time with their Aunt, Uncle and two of their bestest friends/cousins.  They traveled to southern New Mexico and spent about a week:

                        exploring old cliff dwellings,


 ( Noni is hiding in the back. She got to go camping, too)

                               doing manual labor,

                                  playing games when it rained,

(just had to add these, aren't they great? :)),

and, a great time was had by all!!!!!

Thanks, Aunt Nita and Uncle Beau for taking the time to make such special memories!!


Monday, July 12, 2010

Home Again, Home Again

My drama queen is home, safe and sound!! Her plane landed at 10:41 p.m. Sunday evening. The trip home didn't have any wrinkles. ( Although, I think she almost walked her feet off trying to get to her gate in Miami. You'll have to get her to tell you that story. She does a much better job than I could.:))

After having almost no sleep Saturday night what with last minute meetings, saying good-bye and packing, the kids had to be in the lobby ready to roll at 5:30 a.m. (4:30 our time). By the time she met us at the airport last night she was one tired puppy. Even so tired, she was still upbeat and had many neat stories to tell.

One of the things she talked about was how responsive the people of Guatemala were to the drama they presented and to accepting Christ afterwards. As an example, she told us about part of their day Friday. My drama queen's team had gone to a park where they planned to do the drama. As they were beginning to walk around and let people know what they were doing and invite them to watch, they discovered there was a girl's school nearby. The leaders of the school ask them to come to the school and do the drama there. They happily accepted and headed that way. Once there, my drama queen was amazed. The building was not very large and they discovered that there were 800 girls attending school there!! She said it was unbelievable how they were so crammed into the space they had. " The girls were the best audience EVER!" The team presented the drama (to the best audience EVER :)) . Like they always did, at the end of the drama with the help of their translators they explained the correlation between the drama and the gospel. When the girls were asked if any of them would like to accept Christ, they ALL responded. It was an incredible way to end their ministry time!!

The entire trip went so smoothly for my drama queen. The ministry time was amazing, she so enjoyed the kids in Guatemala, made so many wonderful friends and had a fun time as a bonus. As we were talking last night she said the only negative thing she could think of at all was that she did get homesick and miss everyone.

I am so thankful for all of you who followed along on her journey and were so faithful to pray for my drama queen. This has been a time that I know she will cherish always.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Today Was Pretty Amazing

"Hi, Mom =) Today was pretty amazing."

That's the way the email from my drama queen began.

Wednesday the kids were only scheduled for half of the day. In the morning they went to a place where cancer patients are cared for. They performed their drama there. My drama queen said that was a little different since they were performing it for adults. Until then they had mostly been doing it for children at parks, orphanages and schools. Although a little different, she said it was, "reallllly cool".

After that they had lunch at McDonald's which she said was "yummy". This from the girl who can't stand McDonald's! The way they work lunch when they are out and about is such a great idea, I think. They have all the kids bring peanut butter and jelly from home. It's on the top of the packing list. :) The kids take their peanut butter, jelly and plastic knives with them during the day in backpacks. The leaders have bread and water and so they are all set to have PBJ sandwiches each day for lunch. I guess after this many days of PBJ sandwiches McDonald's was "yummy"! (Is there a McDonald's everywhere on the face of the Earth? Who knew?)

Thursday my drama queen's team went to a little village and put on their drama there. She said many people came and watched. There was a woman there who said she had dreamed about Americans coming--and that her dream was exactly what had indeed happened. As my drama queen said, "Such a God thing!"

After they performed the drama they went throughout the village picking up trash and doing general clean-up. The kids all followed them everywhere. It sounds like it was fun to have the kids following along right with them as they worked. She did comment that it is "so crazy to see how little the people have".

As I was thinking through her email just before I dropped off to sleep last night I was thinking about her statement, "Today was pretty amazing". We are so incredibly blessed and if we stop to think about it, most us us could say at the end of the day, "Today was pretty amazing!"

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Wherefore Art Thou, My Drama Queen?

I was all prepared. My drama queen was going to be in Guatemala where she couldn't use her cell phone. There might be several days at a time when I wouldn't hear from her. I was good with that. That hasn't been the case. It's been wonderful! Although, their time is very limited, the kids have had access to email daily and we have been hearing from her every day. Until yesterday.

Yesterday, the afternoon turned into evening and no email from Jennie. Which isn't that unusual. Most of her emails have come later in the evening when she finally got time to get on the computer. As the evening wore on I kept checking. Nope, no email yet. Checked a couple other blogs that some of the kids have been posting on. No new posts. Eventually, I started doing the "mom thing". You mothers know what I'm talking about. The dialogue in my head went something like this,

" Maybe she is having such a good time she doesn't want to take the time to email. Maybe it's been a really hard day and she doesn't want to email. I hope she's not really homesick. I hope she's not sick, sick. Maybe the power is out where they are staying."

All those thoughts finally turned into, "Maybe she's been kidnapped! Oh, good grief, Melody! GO TO SLEEP!" So I did.

I checked email as soon as my feet hit the floor this morning. There was an email from my drama queen! *little happy dance* Here is what she emailed:

well today was GREAT, I don't have much time, but we went to a school for kids with brain issues, and then a normal school, and then we passed out groceries to random people on the was waaay cool! haha but now it's about bedtime, and I just got thrown into the pool, shoes and I'm heading to bed. night!

I'm thinkin' she's just fine. :)

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

"Guatemala is GORGEOUS!!" That was one of the first things my drama queen emailed after getting there. They all made it there with no problems. My drama queen said that the flight was easy and after her first meal there reported the food was EXCELLENT! (Her emphasis)

Friday her team traveled to a lake and presented their play. This gave them an opportunity to see some of the country surrounding the area they will be working in for the remainder of their time there. This trip was the precursor to her "Guatemala is GORGEOUS!" remark.

Saturday they went to an orphanage. There are about 60 boys who live there and around 40 other children from a nearby village who come and stay there during the day. They got to play with the kids, present their drama and pray with the kids and help grab the laundry drying outside when a thunderstorm rolled in! My drama queen so enjoyed the kids. She said they were so cute and sweet but it made her sad to see how much they craved love and attention.

Sunday was more of a day of rest. They had a worship time in the morning and seminars in the afternoon. Then in the evening their worship leader did a concert for them. My drama queen has really been enjoying the worship time they have each evening. They call it FUAGNEM or Fired Up And Going Nuts Every Minute. :)

Monday was one of those days when they started out with a plan and God changed it as He desired throughout the day. I'd like to pass along a blog post by one of the girls on my drama queen's team. It's a little long but I love to hear their experiences from their perspective and think you will enjoy it, too.

God's Plans, Not Ours
Plan Number 1 for Today: we thought we were going to a park, performing the drama, going to McDonald's for lunch, then going back to the park to perform the drama again because there would be different people.

We met Rafael, who is a local pastor and will be working with us today because he is starting a new church in the area, and he says that there have been two groups already who did the drama in the park on previous days so he suggests that we go to 2 nearby schools.

Plan Number 2: We go to one school, do the drama quickly, do the drama at the other school quickly, then go to McDonald's.

We went to the first school, and it was an amazing experience. It was a public school, but the teachers and staff were able to be very open about God and welcomed us in warmly. We performed the drama, and then went to play with the kids and pray with some of them too. A group of 5 of us went up to the two women in charge of the school, and we asked them to bring them kids who needed prayer for special circumstances in their lives.

They told us that the father of the first little boy she brought had been killed two years ago, and that he lived in a very violent place and his mother was struggling to provide food for the family. We prayed for him, and he was so glad to receive it, we could see it in his face.

The next little girl they brought to us was named Karen, and her family was going through some fighting and struggles. We prayed for her, and afterwards, she latched on to our LIT Molly, following her around and playing with her. Her fingers very slowly let go of Molly's as we left.

The next little girl they brought was named Jaquelin, and she was suffering similar circumstances to those of Karen. We prayed for her, and then she wrapped her arms around me and held on for 15 minutes. I was humbled that God put me in a place to love her for those few minutes we spent together.

As we were ready to leave the school, we realized that we had spent too long there, and could not make it to school number 2.

Plan Number 3: We would go to a piece of land that had just donated to Pastor Rafael by a non-Christian who wanted to have a church in the area, and pray for it, and then go to McDonald's.

Our bus couldn't make it up the winding lane to the land, so we had to park about half a mile away and walk the rest of the way. On the way, some of us were talking to Pastor Rafael, and he told us that he had a ministry in Chimaltenango, which is a nearby town, that reached out to about 200 nearby kids. He had some sort of Bible School he did with them, and then he would try his best to provide lunch for them because the kids came from very very poor areas. The reason he wanted to start a church in San Lucas, where we were, was because there were kids there who wanted to go to Chimaltenango, but couldn't because he couldn't transport them there.

When we got to the land, one of the first things we noticed was a sinkhole about 10 feet in diameter that had just opened up on the border of the land. Looking from a safe distance, we couldn't see the bottom. It was an amazing thing to see.

We prayed over the land for a long time, and several of us gave money to Pastor Rafael because he had nothing to build his church with, just the land. Next, Molly lead us in several songs.

We left the field after praying and singing, and as we were a little bit of the way down the path, a man came out of a building labeled "The Oasis" and flagged us down. He was an American, and he, along with his wife and several other people, ran the Christian orphanage for 60 girls that we were passing. They were about to start their computer class for the girls at the orphanage, when the power went out. He could hear us singing on the hill where the land was, and was curious to know who was singing the songs that he recognized.

Plan Number 4: We would enter the orphanage, do the drama, and then go to McDonald's.

We went to the orphanage, and were impressed by how nice it looked. Unfortunately, we ran out of time so we couldn't play with the kids too much, but there was one girl with cerebral palsy who us leaders held and played with during the drama.

Plan Number 5: We decided not to go to McDonald's, because dinner started an hour and a half after we left the orphanage.

Even though our day was absolutely nothing like how we imagined it would be, God used us in such an amazing way and it really was great that He messed up our plans.

(I'm really really tired right now, so I apologize in advance for any typos!)

Such a good reminder that God has a plan for each of us, every day.

I'm excited to see what God has in store for them (and the rest of us, too) today.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Guatemala or Bust!

The whole "Never the Same" missions team should be in Guatemala by now. Everyone flew out of Miami yesterday. My drama queen called from the airport in Miami to let me know that they had made it through security and everything was a "go". This may have been the last chance she will have to call since her cell phone won't work in Guatemala. Hopefully, she can check in via email.

Tuesday and Wednesday were spent in Miami for training. The bulk of that time was spent on drama training. Two days is a very short time to put together an entire drama, costumes, the whole nine yards and have it ready to perform.....but they did it! My drama queen seemed really happy with how it was coming together and she is quite picky in the drama department. (Not so much in the clean your room department.:)) Anyway, she did say that they were all getting bruised and battered. At one point in the play they have made a people pyramid and then the "bad guys" roll a ball into them and they all come crashing down. She said that they are supposed to "stage fall" but that when you are in a pyramid once you start falling.........she did mention that the floor is hard. HA!

Thursday the focus was just to get everyone to Guatemala. Not an easy feat I'm sure.

As I was reading one of the other kid's blog she mentioned that she was drinking Airborne to try to avoid getting sick. Some of the kids are starting out sick. Please pray for them and that the others in the group can stay healthy. Another girl asked for prayer that they would constantly be reminded of Joshua 1:9. I love this passage! (Possibly because I tend to be such a chicken.)

God is speaking to Joshua and He tells him:

Joshua 1:6-9 "Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their forefathers to give them. Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go."

Thank you, Lord.