On November 17th I moved back to the States. Oh, how bittersweet this is. There are many things that are so nice about the States - the chairs are so comfortable (sounds weird, I know, but I keep sitting down here and thinking 'Wow! I am SO comfortable!'), the food is delicious, there are zero potholes in the road to avoid, I understand what everyone is saying and when I forget to lock my car door nothing is stolen when I return...yet. But man is there a hole inside me. I was nervous that when I returned I'd spend a lot of time crying. I haven't cried at all. But I have spent a lot of time floating. And not the good, elated kind of floating. It's the foggy, directionless type of floating. But after a considerable amount of time journaling and a considerable amount of time talking to my wonderful friend Ann who went through this type of transition not too long ago, I'm feeling a bit more like myself today. So instead of spending my day missing the kids I'm going to spend my day planning for my future trips to Honduras.
That's right - I may be home, but my time in Honduras is far from over! And there will now be many opportunities for all of you to come back with me and meet the wonderful kids you've been reading about! A few months ago I realized that there is no way that our time here could simply be over in November. And there's no way that we could drastically improve the lives of these children in a few short months. And when you get to know the kids, really know them, their name, their story, and when you earn their trust, you can't just file that away as a period of your life that is now closed. I had this crazy idea that maybe I could come back every two months to lead missions teams to the centers. I thought, that's insane, you can't find a job that will allow you to leave for 10 days every 2 months! But this whole year was more than I had ever dreamed of. I strongly believe that it didn't happen to have good stories to tell my friends, or to shape my character or world view. There is a reason that I met these kids and God is a big enough God to lead me to a part time job that allows me to have lots of time off if that's what I'm supposed to do! Within a few weeks I was approached with a part time job that is a perfect fit. The details are still being worked out but it was enough to encourage me to go forward with this plan.
The goal of this project is to show the children in Nueva Esperanza and Proniño the love of Jesus by facilitating an increase of love, safety, nourishment and hope in their lives. This will look a little bit different in each center. The highlights of what we want to do is to:
1) Develop a core group of consistent Honduran volunteers that will mentor, help with homework, do Vacation Bible School and in general form consistent, positive relationships.
2) Bring 6 North American teams per year for work projects and to spend time with the kids. (3 to Nueva and 3 to Proniño)
3) Increase the amount of protein and vegetables in the children's diet in Nueva Esperanza through donations from the States and from Honduras.
4) Recruit monthly sponsors for the boys in Proniño.
And how can you help with this program you ask? Oh, there are many ways. I will continue to make number lists because, well, I like number lists. Many of the details are not yet finalized but I want to share the things that are in the works!
1) Consider joining one of the teams that will be travelling to Honduras in 2011. Tentative dates are in May, July, September and November.
2) Sponsor a child in Proniño. You will be able to have regular contact with your child and an opportunity to tell them just how special they are when you meet your child on a trip to Honduras. (See item #1) =)
3) Along the same lines, I am hoping to find some churches or groups that would be interested in learning more about and helping these centers. I'm brushing up on my public speaking skills so please let me know if your church or group would be like for me to share about the kids!
4) Make a one-time or monthly donation to Heart to Honduras at www.hth.org that will support the children's home project.
5) Proniño is doing something special for the kids this Christmas. All of the kids have written down what they want for Christmas. It ranges from 5 chocolate chip cookies to an MP3 player to "that all of the children in Proniño lead a happy and healthy life". (Not even lying, one of the kids wrote that!) If you are interested in checking something off this list, ESPECIALLY the last one, let me know and I'll email you the list once I get it on Thursday.
6) I will be going back to Honduras in January for a week. If you are in the Phoenix area and would like to donate new or gently used boys clothes, shoes, belts and new toiletries and hair gel let me know and I'll bring it down! (Or you could mail it if you live outside the Phoenix area.)
7) Please pray. Pray for these kids. That they would have joy, safety and a future. Pray for this project - that it would help to change the lives of hundreds of kids. And pray for me - that I would stay constantly focused and always learning better and better ways to help these amazing children.
And now for a few photos, just because...
I'm sure Richard would have a better shot if not for the lovely sweater he's wearing.
He INSISTED on carrying my backpack around. He didn't seem to mind that it's the same size as he is.
This guy is definitely high on my prayer list. This is Josue Nahum. He's been in Nueva Esperanza for around 2 years. He had a group of pretty good friends, but they all have either escaped or been transferred to other centers and now I fear that he is pretty depressed. I used to spend a lot of time making him stop picking on other kids, but now when I'm there he almost always is sleeping. I'm glad he's essentially ignoring the smaller kids, but I'm not happy with the alternative. My last day I woke him up to see if he wanted to play soccer with a group of visitors and he just didn't. He told me that he has no interest in doing anything. This is not good at all.
Love this picture of some of the boys in Proniño. Every one of them looks hilarious!
And a gaggle of Nueva Esperanza boys. There are soooo many more....