Wow! It was just a couple of days ago I said I was going to blog everyday until I got caught up! And you know when I said that I meant it. When I was a teenager my Mother would say, "Brenda, the road to hell is paved with good intentions." You see in her eyes I was a procrastinator. In my eyes, I was, you know, flexible! Intentions changed! I hope you forgive me! I'm sure you understand in our fast paced life sometimes we just don't get done what we planned to.
So my excuse is that I am working on our Annual Dinner Auction for Evergreen4kids. Our once a year fundraiser that gives us our budget for the next year. I've been pulled away into auctionland! lol But, I want you to tell you about another teenager............... I want to tell you about Jessica.
Jessica is a former student from King's Way Christian School in Vancouver Washington. Before she graduated she made her senior project all about Habanero. Jessica came to Habanero on a mission trip and fell in love with the children. During her time in Habanero Jessica worked hard and she loved on the children. She was a huge asset to the team. While she was in Habanero she saw a need that tugged at her heart. She purposed in her mind to do something to help and then she followed through and did it! Jessica saw that there weren't enough beds, with sometimes 4 children in a double size bed. Some of the mattresses were on the ground, filthly with holes in them and springs sticking up.
Hearts are often touched during a mission trip to a third world country and it can be very emotional to see the conditions that people live in. It's not unusual for a team member to say they are going to come back or they are going to become a missionary or they are going to somehow make a long term commitment to help. They want to make a difference.
Often the team member gets on the airplane to go home with full intentions of returning or helping in some way. However, it's not unusual that once back in America we find those good intentions have been left at the airport. We're home back in our regular routine and life goes on. But that didn't happen with Jessica. Habanero was imbedded deep in her heart.
Jessica raised over $2,600 for new mattresses. Our school director Yanet targeted families to receive the mattresses that were the poor of the poorest. Most without any employment at all. Jessica returned this summer and distributed mattresses to 20 need families. So if the road to hell is paved with good intentions..............I guess I have an idea where Jessica heading............. Thanks Jess!
Gratefulness................it's depends on our perspective.
As I look at photos to share with you I'm overwhelmed with gratitude. I am blessed.
Period. I was born in the USA. This thought lead me to the title of this blog. There are days when we all want more, feel like we need more or feel like we deserve more. I think it''s part of the human condition. Our parents have to teach us how to share. I think my first words were "mine, mine, mine." lol We're born selfish.
Here are five little girls from Habanero. So happy and grateful to be spending the night at the mission house. They are cheering for their bounty of bread and cookies with a cup of cola. All by the light of a little battery operated lantern. It brings joy to my heart to remember this night and how happy they were to share these little things. These girls don't have Barbie dolls or cell phones but they do know how to find joy with very little material things.
This is Maria. She is the mother of four. Her husband has part time work with the government turning on and off a pump that irrigates fields. He also makes brooms and sells them on the streets. She's never had a new set of sheets - actually I doubt if she had any sheets before Evergreen4kids. My friend Marlyn bought a new set of sheets that were a little small for her mattress so she offered them to me for Habanero. I immediately knew I was going to take them to Maria. Look at her face! She was so very happy to have them. Imagine a full set of sheets - complete with matching pillow cases. Unattainable for Maria. A set of sheets like this cost about $30 in Barahona, more than Marlyn paid for them here in America.
Here is a photo of part of my 10x10 room in Habanero. Directly opposite of this (like where I was standing to take the photo is my bed. It's a bunk bed with a double mattress on the bottom and a single on the upper. - it's tight quarters. There's a fan there in the corner and on that same wall is the only electrical outlet in the room. My door doesn't latch or lock but I do have a padlock on it. When I'm here and it's hot and we have no electricity to run the fan I am uncomfortable and if the mosquitoes are out they are looking for blood. When the fan is running it's too breezy for the mosquitoes to fly over and bite me. The fan cools and it protects. In the corner there's a plastic bucket full of battery operated flashlights and lanterns.
About the third week that I am working in Habanero I long for the comforts of my own home here in Washington. I become a little more selfish every day. And I whine a little bit more. I start dreaming of going home........ I want my comfy king size bed with matching sheets and soft pillows. I want to flick a switch and know there is power to turn the light on. I want water I can drink from the faucet instead of hefting 5 gallon jugs of purified water around. I want to take a nice long shower. - I even long for better water pressure!
And then I see the children's faces and Maria's face and I think - how dare I? Maria lugs her water from 50 feet away in old plastic containers that once held oil and she does all her laundry by hand sometimes without soap. The girls shown have never slept in a bed alone, they don't play soccer, they don't take dance or singing lessons, they don't go to movies or restaurants and they don't have battery operated lanterns. How dare I not be grateful just for the fact that my discomfort is only temporary. I'm going back home to the USA. To all the comforts I choose. This is their life every day and there's not much of a choice in most cases.
Lord, forgive me for my ungratefulness and help me to put life in perspective. Appreciating all that you have blessed me .with. Help me to cherish my relationships with precious friends and family. Help me be a good steward of the material wealth you have placed within my reach. Help me to put my life in perspective and live it with gratitude.
I'm Back in the Saddle.....Sort of! lol
Ok - I got into the blog again. That's the good news. The bad news is yet to been seen when I publish this hopefully it all works! I'm still a bit gun shy! lol I have so many things I want to write about it's hard to know where to begin. So I'm going to begin by blogging about children I love. Andelson, Ayadi, Keilah..... just to name a few.
Andelson was only about 5 or 6 years old when I met him. It was his baby brother Gerson who passed away that brought me to Habanero. I spent most of my first 2 years in Habanero knowing only Andelson's family. He was and still is a sweet boy with a tender heart.. My first memories of him is seeing him come home one day from school and he brought a little hard biscuit and a small cardboard packet of milk. Andelson got them both at school that day. He brought them both home to his siblings even though he was hungry himself. I'll never forget that day and I saw him do it many days - share and give - that is his heart. He's all grown up now and struggling. He dropped out of school to try to earn money for his family - it's hard. The unemployment rate stated for 2018 by the Dominican Republic is 5.83% but it's over 50% in small rural villages like Habanero. So these days he rides around on a bike looking for odd jobs. The good news is he's looking. He's not sitting on the white plastic chairs drinking beer and playing dominoes. He's a hard worker trying to survive. If we're doing construction I try to give him some work and he never wants to be paid. He's thankful for Evergreen4kids being in his community. He's dear to my heart.
Ayadi was about 8 years old when I started working in Habanero. He was rough around the edges. Not sure how else to describe him. Sweet one moment but when he was riled up by others his anger flared. Ayadi was part of a group of hungry street boys who would hang around the mission house when I was in Habanero. Sometimes I'd feed them dinner and they'd sleep on the floor and then I'd make them breakfast in the morning. Children are the same everywhere and they have the same needs. They crave stability, love and attention. Most times the sleep overs went well and it reminded me of my own son's sleep overs years before. But, when Ayadi got angry he didn't know what to do with that anger and he had no one to help me deal with it. So he'd yell and punch and if it got real bad he'd go home and get a machete and come back and threaten and chase the other children. It was very upsetting - I'd never seen anything like it before or since. However over the course of time Ayadi has mellowed and matured. And a lot of people have prayed for him and loved on him and he has healed some from his painful childhood. Today Ayadi is my right hand when I am in Habanero. My security. He's almost always with me guarding me. Today he has a part time job with Evergreen4kids coaching our new baseball team. No more machetes!
Keilah is Pastor Robert's daughter, she was only about a year old when I first saw her. She never hung around the house because she was very well taken care of and she was kept on a tight rein. I see her more now that she is older because she hangs out across the street from me at her Grandmother, Oliva's house. She's bright and funny and oh so creative! Plus she sings like an angel. When I'm there we share songs together on You Tube! I hope one day she will be a leader for the next generation coming up in Habanero, This picture is of her with some of the hair barrettes she makes and sells. I bought these from her and they will be for sale at our auction on November 2nd.
Writing this floods me with so many memories. Good and Bad - I've seen pain and suffering and peace and joy as well and things you just can't unsee. I would give all my memories to you if I could so that you could understand how we are all connected and how important it is to love one another. Just love them. I'm so thank to all the people that help support the work of Evergreen4kids. I'm thankful for all the mission team members that have visited Habanero and poured their love into this little village. My gratitude overflows.
I've seen a lot of change and growth in Habanero. But there's still work to be done. A difference is being made - change is slow -- but change is sure.