Thursday, June 26, 2014

Redheaded Guatemalan in Honduras

(Honduras mission team June 2014)

So a lot of people have been asking me to post about Honduras because I'm back in Guate. To be honest I haven't had any time to process anything yet so I'm just gonna post what we did every day and then I'll definitely post more later and almost all my pictures are on my camera so those will be later too. 

Thursday, June 12th.

I woke up around 5 and left for the airport. I had such a smooth flight thanks to everyone who was praying about that! I got to Tegucigalpa and found everyone right away which was a blessing. We drove to Comayagua to Casa Guadalupe which was our home while we were there. Such a gorgeous place! The outside chapel is pictured above in the group photo. We had some time to get settled, had mass (Louisiana's priest), ate dinner, prayed evening prayer, had holy hour, listened to a talk from Carol and went to bed. I was with a group from Louisiana so I was literally the only person not from their group or there long term. Haha definitely a fun experience. 

Friday, June 13th.

We got to sleep in until 6 but I woke up a little early which meant I got to get ready before everyone was in the bathroom. We started the morning with an hour of personal prayer which is a daily thing there. We had a lot of talks by the extended termers because we were in formation before going up to the mountains. I got a super bad sore throat so I got started on medicine that day thanks to the friars clinic so I could translate in the mountains. We had mass, rosary, liturgy of the hours, and holy hour (we do all of these everyday so I won't repeat them every time unless there's something else to say).

Saturday, June 14th.

Woke up at five, got ready, had an hour of personal prayer... I discovered the inside chapel that day so that became a typical personal prayer spot for me because usually no one was in there except sometimes the priest from the Louisiana group. We had some more talks and a Spanish lesson. Then we got assigned our mountain mission teams. We met with our teams and got assigned talks and what not for the mountains. It poured rain during holy hour and we sang Let it Rain which was so fitting<3 We all went to the room of a girl that was super sick with Dangai that night and just prayed and sang my favorite song and everyone could just feel the presence of the Holy Spirit everywhere. I think we all got a huge reminder of the power of prayer that night. 

Sunday, June 15th. 

We woke up, packed, had personal prayer which I did in the chapel again, had breakfast, cleaned Casa Guadalupe, and rode two busses up to Santa Elena which was probably about four hours away. First bus I rode on the floor and second I sat squished between a Honduran and another American. We went to mass at the church in Santa Elena which is the church that all of our mountain mission towns were based out of. We stayed in an empty house. 

Monday, June 16th. 

We woke up, had personal prayer, went to breakfast, had mass in Santa Elena with everyone before we all headed out to our villages. It was announced that the roads were too muddy because of all the rain that cars could no longer make it to our aldeas to drop off supplies, water, and guitars so we had to leave everything behind except the clothes we were wearing, and extra shirt, socks and underwear, and toothpaste and toothbrush to make room for supplies. We then walked a couple hours to Quiscomotes (our village) through mud carrying water and guitars. We had lunch, did a children's program (music, talk, skit, project, and more music) then had a holy hour and mass which I later found out was the first holy hour they had ever had in the village. Talk about powerful. Our village had no electricity so that made it super fun because at night you could see more stars than I've ever seen in my life and fireflies! On our way back from dinner I swore I was not going to fall (which everyone was because walking through muddy hills without electricity is hard) and right then I fell and sliced my hand open on barbed wire but our Delegate saved me haha. 

Tuesday, June 17th.

We woke up, got ready, prayed morning prayer as a team went to breakfast (our meals rotated between houses in the community). We started house visits that day. We went to eight different houses. Just talked with people, got to know them, listened to whatever they wanted to talk about, read the bible, and prayed with them. It was definitely a powerful experience. We had some intense houses but Renan was so powerful with words. My house visit group was a Honduran, seminarian Renan, who only spoke Spanish, a young adult American boy, Landon, who only spoke English, and me. So it was interesting to say the least. After lunch we had another kids program then we had a teen program (music, skit, talk, testimony, and more music). I did the talk on Drugs, Alcohol, and Vices and gave my testimony. Then we had an adult program (music, skit, talk, testimony, more music). 

Wednesday, June 18th.

We had breakfast, liturgy of the hours, and went to 9 more house visits. They went way smoother because we were getting in the hang of it and getting a lot better about talking about certain topics. We did the kids program, Ashley did a super awesome talk. Then for the teen program Landon did the self esteem talk and testimony. It was really awesome to see how interested the boys are because most of them don't have good male role models. Everyone was teasing me at dinner that I speak 5 spanishes: Spanish of Guatemala, Spanish of Honduras, Spanish of Quiscomotes, Catalan Spanish, and kenzie Spanish. :') 

Thursday, June 19th. 

We woke up, cleaned up the church, and one of the other groups came to our church for the teen retreat. We sang a ton of songs, did dramas, talks, and sang more songs. Then Ashley had to go back to Santa Elena because she was sick. We had lunch and did seven more house visits. Then we did the kids program and we went to coffee at the delegate's sons house like we did every day. We had dinner and Renan (our seminarian) brought us all personal head scarves and said goodbye/ thank you speeches to us. We went back to the church and had a final candle light family service with tons of singing. The whole community got up individually and gave a thank you speech and that killed me. We were all sobbing. One lady got up and said "You came to share in our sorrows but instead you gave us happiness" which I think is a really good definition of mission work. I think getting told by the people we experienced God through that they experienced God through us was really huge. 

Friday, June 20th. 

We woke up around 5, said goodbye to our family, and caught a ride to Santa Elena (praise god!) I always enjoy riding in the back of a pickup. We caught the buses back to Comayagua and we stopped to use the restroom and this super sweet little old lady talked to me for like five minutes and gave me three "pensamiento" flowers. We got back to Casa Guadalupe, showered (which was needed after not showering all week in the mountains) ate lunch, and just kind of caught up with everyone that we hadn't seen for the week. My friend Cece who lives there came to visit with her husband so that was nice to see someone from home haha. It was nice to have holy hour back in the outside chapel. We got to stay up super late because almost everyone was at a funeral. 

Saturday, June 21st. 

Woke up, got ready before everyone woke up like I did everyday just by luck in Comayagua, and took my hour of personal prayer in the inside chapel again. We had the final mass with the priest from Louisiana because he and Ashely left that day. We had breakfast then I went to a different aldea with some people and worked with the missionary of Charity sisters to do a mini holy hour, talks, and music for people preparing for first communion and confirmation. I was in charge of the youngest kids which was so fun! We had a talk on the Eucharist and colored pages about first communion and sang some fun little kid songs. Then I went back to Casa for lunch and went to Casa Misericordia which is a home for mentally challenged and abused girls and women which was absolutely beautiful. We got to go and hug, hold hands, laugh, and just love on all of them. They sang the divine mercy chaplet and everyone was singing at different times and in different tunes but it was literally the most beautiful thing I've ever heard. They're just so innocent and full of joy. We sang a lot of songs, did crafts about guardian angels, played hot potato with water balloons (whoever had it when it stopped got it exploded on their head), and were just there to talk and love. I did some laundry in the pilas before dinner. We had holy hour at the JPII center where the extended terms live. They have THE most gorgeous chapel. 

Sunday, June 22nd.

We slept in, had breakfast on our own during personal prayer, then had Corpus Christi mass with the mom's group followed by a procession with the Franciscan Friars. We had a talk by Carol which was absolutely amazing and then we left for our fun day. We went up to this place that was a waterfall that lead into three different pools in like the middle of a forest. We played around there all afternoon and came back for dinner, cleaned up, packed, and had an extended holy hour. It was full of rain and thunder and lightening which made it so beautiful and all the the adults and long terms were just around to pray with everyone. The power went out so we finished in candle light (Easter vigil style) which is probably my favorite thing ever. If you know me you know I have an insane love for fire so it was a perfect way to end the last night. 

Monday, June 23rd. 

Woke up, got ready in a couple minutes because the power was still out so showering wasn't an option, and spent the morning in the chapel while everyone packed. I had the chapel completely alone which made me super happy. We cleaned up and went to the Poor Clare's for mass. Father Francis Mary gave an amazing homily about selflessness. I talked to him for a while after and then said goodbye to almost all the extended termers. We drove to the airport and hung out for a while. Then I said goodbye to Louisiana and the rest of the extended termers which was so hard. Louisiana's flight was about six hours before mine so I literally just hung out in the airport all day and read a book and a half. There was a point where I was literally the only non worker sitting in the gates so that was super weird. My phone wouldn't work but it was super nice to not deal with people or technology yet. So over all it was a blessing. The flight went super well and I was back in Guatemala City that night. 

(House visit group: seminarian Renan, Landon, and me, plus roommate Claire) 

(One of the dramas)

(Quiscomotes church) 

(Quiscomotes team: seminarian Renan, Ashely, me, Margarita, Claire, Landon, and Leo)

So throughout most of the time that I was there I was getting teased that I was Guatemalan because I flew in from there and "am living there" and one of the Hondurans was saying "the Guatemalan is going to speak in Spanish of Guatemala now so pay attention" whenever I would speak. I was so blessed with my mountain group. Everyone was so amazing in their own way and I'm so happy I got to spend the week with them even if we were the misfits. But our leaders Renan and Margarita were especially amazing. They are both amazing examples of what it means to truly give your life over to God and let him do amazing things through you. Every time they would speak there words were just so anointed that you wanting to listen to everything they had to say and because they're Honduran they helped us connect with the people on an different level because they know the culture.  
Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Goodbye Guate, Hello Honduras

(Stove in progress)

So today was a normal day. Woke up, went to stoves until lunch, painted the church some more, had some downtime to read in the biblioteca alone until dinner, played mafia with Scranton, and came home to pack. 

So I just wanted to post to tell y'all that tomorrow I head out to Honduras for two weeks and I won't have internet while I'm there but I'll be sure to post when I get back to Guate. 

Please keep all of us in your prayers!

(Reading in the biblioteca is one of my favorite things)
Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Machetes, clothes lines, and new friends.

Monday morning we woke up, had breakfast, and headed out to projects as usual. But this time I took half of Scranton in a truck to "cut corn". Which let's be honest we had no idea what that meant. So we start driving in the back of the truck, stopped and picked up machetes, and then drove for quite a while. Then all of the sudden the driver pulls over and tells us each to get out and grab a machete because we were there. We walked down this path until we were literally on the side of a mountain (which looked especially creepy because it was covered in fog- pictured above) then we proceeded to use machetes to clear out all of the weeds surrounding the baby corn plants. Then it started down pouring so we headed back to the mission, attempted to dry off, and had lunch. Then after lunch we started to paint the church which is super exciting because that happens only about every ten years. We did that for the afternoon, rested, had dinner, and went to bed. 

Tuesday I woke up around six and did laundry! It took me about an hour which definitely made me appreciate my washer and dryer back home. Such a good way to start the day with a little insight to the typical morning of a Guatemalan woman. Then we went to breakfast and I headed back to Xejuyu to do stoves again but with the other half of Scranton that didn't go last week. We worked on that until about three, came home, hung out and watched soccer, had dinner, sorted donations, and headed back home for the night. Tomorrow I'm going back to stoves for the day and then Thursday I head to Honduras for two weeks. 

(Scranton weeding with machetes.)

(A selfie seemed appropriate in case we died) 

(Flooded street outside our house Monday) 

(Painting the church white)

(Part of Scranton painting)

(Washing clothes in the pila) 


(More laundry)

(New friend: one of the stove workers) 
Sunday, June 8, 2014

Sunday Funday.

(lake Atitlan)

Saturday we finally just had a day to chill. I talked to a few people from home and literally slept most of the day. Nothing too interesting. 

So Sundays are probably one of my favorite days because we get pancakes for breakfast! So we woke up and went to breakfast at the mission. Then Josh (other LTV) and I took the Scranton group on their boat day to Pana and Santiago. We went to the church and chapel where Father Stanley Rother (google him if you don't know him!) was martyred and his blood and heart are burried. Then we shopped a lot and got lunch in Santiago. Shout out to Scranton for paying for our boat and food. Y'all are bomb! I made it through an entire boat day without spending any money... There should be an award for that. :') Then we came home and relaxed for a little bit until Pentecost mass (go Holy Spirit!) and then had dinner at the mission, showed a group a movie about father Greg, then came home. We're back to stoves and other projects tomorrow so I'm sure I'll update in a few days. :) 

(Lunch with Scranton) 

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Goodbye storm, Hello Home.

(Sign on my door from the volunteer coordinator Katie)

On Wednesday we led the new group on tour in the morning and then we got to move home the the long term house in the afternoon because the storm left Guatemala! 

(My bed)

(Mine and Gracie's room) 

(View from the roof)

Right now we have only had one group in the mission from University of Scranton so we've been splitting them up and taking them to projects. For the past two days I've taken them to stoves which is personally my favorite project. It's also very powerful to the groups because you are literally building the stove inside the home of the family that it is going to and you get to meet them and see a little piece of their life. The first house that we went to was very poor and of course they had a ton of kids (it's Guatemala!) So I just kind of translated for the three missioners that I had and the workers, let them do most of the work (because it's really only a job for a couple people), and played with the kids. This little boy that was I think four years old just stole my heart. I played with him most of the time. We danced together, walked around forever with his feet on top of mine, and so many different things. The was attached to me the whole morning we were there. Then as we were leaving he wouldn't let go of me and started crying. It absolutely broke my heart. Then we moved on to a second house which took a day and a half and that house was a little richer and also had tons of kids including a baby girl who turns one today! They were such a sweet family and even bought us sodas and chips to thank us. I love seeing the stove projects through the eyes of new volunteers and connecting with the families. 

(Kids from the first house)

( new best friend) 

(My favorites <3) 

(We all carved our first initial with the kids in the extra cement at the first house) 

(My group at the second house) 

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

"We're diverting to El Salvador"

I woke up early in Houston and went back to the airport and coincidently was on the same flight as one of the other long terms that was flying in. Our flight started off fine (there was turbulence basically the whole time but it didn't bother us) and I was sitting with a ton of pastors and a super sweet girl about ten years older than me. We talked a lot and slept for a little bit on the flight. Then we prepared for landing and about 30 minutes later the pilot announced "we're currently in a holding pattern above Guatemala City. We can't land yet and we don't have any information about when we will." Then after while we tried to land and we got super close to the ground but then all of a sudden we started heading back up in the air and then the pilot announced "We're diverting to El Salvador. We can't land due to the weather conditions in Guatemala City." So we flew to El Salvador (featured above) and waited for a couple hours. Which actually went super well and everyone got to meet other people and use the restrooms and such. Then we flew back to Guatemala got our luggage and drove to San Lucas. We're currently staying in a hotel because with all the rain the Long Term House is dangerous because of land slides. We just ate dinner and went to bed. Then this morning (Tuesday) we slept in and had breakfast an hour late and then sorted coffee. Then we watched Tangled in the biblioteca that afternoon because there's not much we can do with the constant rain due to Tropical Storm Boris which is affecting us right now. Another group is coming in tonight though. 

(Tangled projected in the biblioteca)

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Oh hey there Texas! Nice to see you again!

May we never lose our wonder. 
Wide eyed and mystified,
May we be just like a child,
Staring at the beauty of the King.
May we never lose our wonder.

I finally left California for Guatemala! My first flight from Sacramento to Houston had a lot of problems and ended up leaving extremely late. The flight went super well once we took off. I had a window seat which I was totally happy about because I love watching the clouds and land go by. Plus I had a ton of new music to listen to including one of my favorite songs right now, Wonder by Bethel Music (lyrics above) which fit perfectly with the flight. We even flew through a little bit of a storm which was beautiful to watch. To be honest I slept most of the flight. 

I ended up landing in Houston about two and a half hours late so I missed my connecting flight. It's probably my fault for saying I was bummed I wouldn't be in Texas longer. :') Everything is good though because United was amazing and set me up with a hotel overnight (my room featured below) and a flight in the morning which coincidently I just found out one of the other long term volunteers will be on as well. 

Anyway I'll update probably in a few days or whenever there's something worth blogging about!