Saturday, April 11, 2015

The Faces of Hogar de Amor

We said goodbye to some very special people today. I think Pilar said it best - we leave Colima with heavy and full hearts.

Our weeks in Colima are so short and come far too infrequently. And these smiles, these amazing little souls give us so much more than we could ever give back.

Please add the kids and caregivers of Hogar de Amor to your daily prayer list. Here are some specific things you can pray for:

  • Pray for the patience and wisdom of the caregivers. The houseparents and assistants here are simply amazing, caring for tens of children day in and day out. Please pray that their hearts and patience would always be full, that they would parent with wisdom, and that they would know how astounding the work they do every day truly is.
  • Pray for blessing on these houses: that budgets would be plentiful, that sponsorships would come through, that kids would stay safe, that equipment would work and not break.
  • The government is currently working to subdivide the land behind the main orphanage compound, which would mean that the orphanages would be surrounded by subdivisions instead of grass. Pray that Grupo Amor would be able to buy up enough land so that the orphanages don't get squished. Pray that new neighbors would see the orphanages with favor and be good neighbors to these kids. Pray for government favor in with the allotting of parcels and that any business zoning would be far away from the kids' bedrooms.
  • Pray for these kids. Pray that these kids who have already lost so much would know God as their perfect Father. Pray that they would grow up with healthy minds and hearts and spirits. Pray that they would grow into men and women of faith and grace and joy.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Thursday - Last full day of work

Thursday was a big day of finishing projects and organizing supplies and - our favorite! - giving our donations! Our church family and friends of the church were so kind and generous in their donations and we were thrilled to have a ton of donations to sort and bless the houses with.

The whole caboodle took us a full three suitcases to transport! Here are the totals:

  • 248 toothbrushes
  • 151 tubes of toothpaste
  • 160 underthings
  • 90 pairs of socks
  • 101 coloring books
  • 126 boxes of crayons and colored pencils
  • and a huge 
It was an amazing blessing to the houses - the houseparents were all smiles as they sorted everything into piles for each house.

Big smiles!
The house moms were pros at divvying up the donations for every house
And the Disney gifts were a huge hit! The houseparents are saving them to give out as birthday presents

We changed the schedule up on Thursday and started the day with projects. The crew working on the adolescent boys' home worked super hard and finished up their two-toned blue masterpiece before lunch. The house looks so good - a new coat of paint does wonders!

Hanging out in the newly painted rooms

On the sewing team we had a big old bag of boys' shorts from Casa Matriz whose elastic was simply not holding up on those very skinny, very active boys. We sewed until we were out of elastic and hopefully those shorts get a few more years of wear out of them before we have to replace the elastic again!

Rosa, the Señoritas' house mom, said Sam was a very good worker :)

We were treated to a fantastic carne asada lunch at Golondrinas, which was especially fun because we got to see the finished house we worked so hard on last year. Good food + good memories = one excellent lunch.

Checking out the view from the Golondrinas roof
The house looks so great all decorated and occupied!
And the green looks good in any light :)
The lunch was fantastic - the houseparents and kids of Golondrinas and Famoso worked so hard and put together an amazing meal
A few of us may have zonked out after lunch - when you're this tired, any surface is a pillow!

And after lunch it was time for our last set of activities! For sports, it was sidewalk chalk day. Good thing there's lots and lots of cement to decorate because the kids sure love to color it all!

One of the best parts of activities is that everybody, even the high school kids, like to get in on the action. The big kids help the little kids, the mid-sized kids make a big ruckus, and we all have a lot of fun.

In classroom games we played with stamp pads and made all sorts of fun art
We managed to keep most of the kids reasonably clean

And in crafts it was our very favorite day - crayon and coloring book day! Over the past weeks we collected over 100 coloring books and crayons and on Thursday we gave every kid and caregiver their very own set. It's amazing to see their joy at having a new box of crayons of their very own and it's so fun that the caregivers get in on the action, too! We love to bring a little color to everybody's day.

For dinner we went into the city center to stroll around the craft fair, hit the candy store, and eat (you'll note a theme, we do a lot of eating in Mexico!).
Like fresh Krispy Kremes, fresh churros outshine all others!

Health-wise we're doing much better. The sick in our crew are far from 100% but they're doing better and better. Thanks for all of your prayers and well wishes, for them and for all of us.

Here are some prayer requests for today:

  • Please continue to pray for everybody's health, that the sick would be whole and that the well would remain so!
  • Pray that the items we donated would bless the kids and caregivers of Hogar de Amor - that not only would they alleviate some budget pressure and help the kids be even better cared for, but that kids and caregivers alike would know that each donation comes with extra TLC and prayers.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Wednesday - Lots of play, and we worked as well

Wednesday was another hot, sunny, loud, fulfilling day here at Hogar de Amor. We started the morning right with chilaquiles for breakfast and then it was off to the races!

Oh, and we also started the morning right with a devotional :)

To be honest, I have no idea what the sports group was up to today. It looks like a lot of tripping over kids. But I didn't see any blood and I certainly didn't hear any complaining from the kids, so we'll count it as a total success.

More raucous fun at the sports activity

Crafts were a little less violent and the kids loved making picture frames for their pictures

In upstairs games we played tic-tac-toe or, in Spanish, gatos (no, I don't know why it's called "cats")

We had a blast - I'm pretty sure we invented Mexican curling with frisbees and tile floors

They took their gatos very seriously

We worked for a few hours, had a fantastic lunch at the señorita home, and then went back to work. The señoritas took their cooking very seriously and we were the happy recipients of their efforts!

For reasons I can't understand, we seem to have very few photos of work Wednesday. I guess all the days just run together and we loose interest in taking pictures of each other painting and cleaning and sweeping and sweating.

But I promise, we did a lot more than take photos with cute Mexican boys and lounge on couches mending clothes.

We got kicked out of our normal mending place so the señoritas could set up for lunch. We were fine with sewing from the comfort of a couch

And in the evening - a party at Casa Matriz!

The games are always exciting - we started with musical chairs, moved on to hot potato, and ended with piñatas. And it was all raucous and loud and very very fun.

Fighting for the last chairs!

Spaghetti and pizza for dinner - it was quite a party

And here come the piñatas!

They whack, they scrimmage for candy, and they do it all at the same time - watch your head!

Ready for piñata number 2

Shane gives it his darndest

We kept breaking our whacking sticks, so Jenny was stuck with a very short stick

But we overcame and ended up with lots of candy and even a little piñata clown.

Thanks so much for all of your prayers and support and love. It's so fun to see your comments and likes and we really appreciate all of your encouragement from afar.

We definitely appreciate your prayers - here are some requests for today:

  • Our sick folks are doing better but still aren't at 100%. Please continue to pray for all of those that are sick, that they would heal and regain their strength. And pray for those who are well that we would stay well!
  • Please bless the work that we have done this week. Pray that the kids and houseparents would feel our love as they look at every newly painted wall, mended pair of pants, and replaced light fixture and know that they are prayed for, provided for, and treasured.