Saturday, August 4, 2012

the last one.

Well I guess now would be a good time to tell everyone that I've been back in the States for three days. ;) I'm experiencing a little bit of reentry culture shock so hot water coming out of faucets and police sirens are still a little surprising to me. 

I have so many drafts for blog posts that I wanted to write but never had the time. This will probably be my last blog post and I am sad but also excited to start the next  adventure of my life. This whole summer has been unbelievable and I am beyond grateful for each and every one of you readers. Thank you for your comments, encouraging words and most of all. your prayers. Dios te bendiga!! 

Saturday, July 28, 2012


just a few more pictures of some kiddos + i. can't even describe how precious these children are. 

one photo.

pc: taylor 

Thursday, July 26, 2012

water fun.

Today the kids didn't have school. Horror movie? Nope. Not when you have a slip and slide available.

The day started out with my kids watched the little boys from Casa Samuel enjoy their fun. I felt so bad for them, but they hadn't gotten the "okay" so I had to let them stand by. And I took pictures. And I got a huge soapy hug from someone (ahem Chris). That was fun.

Finally they were able to go in and enjoyed their time immensely. When you put together 35 kids, 10 adults, a huge hill, a tarp, water, shampoo, and dirt all together it becomes a crazy party. Enjoy these pictures but know that they don't do the immense amount of fun justice.

It was so messy but so awesome. 

No more hugs please. 

Another quick story, Lauren was going down with some girls and then a boy came down and crashed into all of them. It was actually really funny to watch. :) 

She's my hug buddy. 

Love these girls so much. :) 

It was such a fun morning. What a cool way to entertain the kids... and the helpers. Haha. :) 


I have 8 days left in Guatemala.

I don't even know what to say right now except that my heart is torn between two places. Here, with the precious children, the tons of rice, the mountains, the laughter, the crying, the emotions, and home. Home with it's comfortable lifestyle, amazing friends and family, Chik-fil-a, and cars that don't try to run over people as they cross the road.

I have learned more than I ever imagined I would learn here. I have been surrounded by the best team ever. Kids of all ages have loved on me these two months. I have had the opportunity to love and stretch my heart to places I never knew it could go. I'm sad I had to come to Guatemala to learn the lessons I did.

But I guess that's how God works. When we step out in faith and do what He's called us to do, He changes us. It's not like He CAN'T work in our hometowns, of course He does. I think it's special though, when we go out of our comfort zone and follow Him and only have Him to lean on. When we are without familiarity, we only have Him.

That's what I learned here in Guatemala. I have God always. In the good, the bad, the horrible, the uncomfortable, the ease, He's there. He's always carrying me and giving me strength for the next step even if I'm not thinking about Him.

I've been savoring these last moments with the kiddos I've grown to love so much. A few nights ago, the kids were NOT good for Taylor and I. After a long and exhausting night, I was giving them all kisses and rubbing their backs. Those seconds before they drifted off to sleep were precious. It didn't matter that the last two hours had practically been hell. I love these children with all of my heart. I didn't quite understand how much I loved them until that night, when I had seen them at their worst (and ahem they probably saw me at my worst...) and then when they fell asleep. These kids are special. I love them.

Yesterday was the birthday of a little boy in our house. He is so cute :) Of course, we had cake, ice-cream, pizza, everything. This little kid is one of the sweetest boys you will ever meet. He rarely gets in trouble, is kind to all of the kids, and has the cutest smile. It was a lot of fun to celebrate him.

Expect quite a few blog posts, I'm working on catching up. :) 

Thursday, July 19, 2012

what? blog?

Yeah sorry about that. I guess I took a little break...? Moving on. 

First order of business, we only have two weeks left here. FOURTEEN DAYS. What in the world? I'm not ready! But I am. But I'm not!! I can't believe I have to say goodbye to this place soon... okay not thinking about it. 

Since I last posted, I've lived a lot of life. ;) Every day is pretty much the same: Get up at get to the house by 7,  kids go to school, play with the four youngest until 11:45, pick up the other kiddos, play for an hour, have lunch, do dishes, put the kids down for a nap, get a two hour break, go back and play and eat and go to bed. Then we have downtime all evening. 

Because every day is the same (obviously there are minor differences...) it can get tedious. Sometimes I'm like, "I am telling this kid to share for the twentieth time in the last five minutes... WHAT AM I DOING." Like today. I was trying to talk to someone and J and L came up to me and told me that M wasn't sharing. I tell them that L is after M and M has five more minutes (hopefully the initials are helping and not hurting this story haha). Two seconds later, "M es no conparti!!" I almost lost it. God is giving me so much grace though - to be gracious to these kids and love them even when they are so annoying. They are precious and special and God loves them a whole bunch. 

My Spanish is definitely improving which I am grateful for. I had a small conversation with a kid from Nuevo Pacto - the oldest boys house and we could understand each other!  It was like an encouragement from the Lord because one of the things I was worried about before coming here was the speaking Spanish part. And I've only spoken "toddler Spanish" for the last month and a half.  He has been faithful. 

God has been blessing my relationships with people on my team - specifically a few of the girls. I've loved getting to know them more because they are all crazy fun and amazing. I work with Taylor in the toddler house and we had a really cool conversation while we were washing dishes. It's those little moments that I am grateful - pieces of conversation and connection that get put into our lives. 

I don't know what else to write - my days are pretty much all the same. There is much laughter, blessing, happiness, and fulfillment. At the same time there are definitely tears and difficult times, but God is here and He is good. Eighteen days until I see my family. Let the countdown begin. 

Sunday, July 8, 2012

update on life in guat.

So I have a couple posts about our recent team excursion to Lake Atitlan planned, but I wanted to give a quick update since I haven't posted in a little bit. :)

Friday was a crazy day. It was the first day back from the lake, and also the house parents in the toddler house are not here. They are in Costa Rica for a baseball tournament! Their son is on the Guatemala nation baseball team - pretty cool. Learning how to run a house of 14 toddlers without them is exhausting but definitely fun. ;) 

I'm working this weekend so I got to the house yesterday at 7. It was a beautiful day outside so we spent a lot of it on the cancha and playing with "jugetes" and "bicicletas," toys and bicycles. I hear all day, and this is no joke, kids telling me that the other kids aren't sharing. They are so funny because they will give a toy to someone, and then turn around and tell me that the other kid isn't sharing! I have just started laughing. ;) Also, sometimes they will come up to me and start talking in rapid Spanish and then burst out crying and fall on the floor. They are all so dramatic. But I love them so much. 

This morning we had church and it was a really fun service. A visiting worship group came and lead worship. They were loud, fun, and definitely loved the Lord. It was so fun to see all of the little kids jumping around and dancing. They were praising the Lord. 

Something I have learned here is how precious children really are. Each and every kid at this orphanage is so special to me. God has given me His heart for them and for children in general. I want to go back to the States and view children differently. I'm excited to apply everything God is teaching me here in Guatemala to my life in the States.

Another thing I am grateful for is the ability to hang out with team members throughout the day. Sometimes many of the houses come outside and as the kids play, team members can have conversations. It's a nice break... and I can speak English. ;) 

This afternoon was more playing on the cancha, eating lunch, and watching Ice Age. My break (their nap time) is almost done so I've got to wrap this up. Below is a video. Have I mentioned how much I love these children? 

Sunday, July 1, 2012

this weekend.

Well, as I said earlier, this weekend is my weekend off. So far, it's been amazing.

I slept in until 8 yesterday. It was weird not hearing six alarms go off from 5:30-6:30, but I'm not complaining. ;) I spent the morning relaxing mostly, went out and visited my kids (can't stay away from them for tooooo long ;)) and got ready to go to the mall. Beka, Chris, Aaron, and I spent the afternoon at a absolutely wonderful mall about 20 minutes away from the orphanage. We split up originally, Beka and I got frozen yogurt and shopped around. Funny story #1: We walked into a book store with our frozen yogurt and the worker told us (in Spanish) that we couldn't have food in the store. I thought he was asking if we needed help (my Spanish is limited okay?) and so I said, "No gracias." He looked at me like I was completely an idiot. I realized what he had meant and said, "No comida en aqui?" (No food in here?) He nodded. We quickly got out of there and started laughing. You live and learn.

We went laser tagging. Holy guacamole it was so fun haha. Beka screamed, Chris became a sniper, and  I just tried to not get hit. Aaron had it all down and was pretty legit. We all had fun. 

We needed to walk over to Walmart. By the way, this whole experience is Funny Story #2. We knew it was raining but we had to make it because we thought we had to be back at 4:30. So we go outside and Beka and I start running across the road. I turn around and I see the boys back under the awning saying, "We don't want to do this!!" As soon as they decide to run, it starts pouring harder. So we are all running through the pouring rain, laughing our heads off, and we finally make it to Walmart. Greeted by strange looks and all. We went around, sopping wet, getting all of our groceries and trying out samples. 

We spent the afternoon in Starbucks, waiting for our ride but it was fun. We got some bread nearby, some of us drank two drinks, and we laughed at how the baristas had spelled our names wrong. We didn't laugh at them... just the fact that Beka was "Veca" and my last name had turned into "Merry."

When we got home, we had a little meeting about our team excursion next week (so excited!!) and then Aaron, Tori, Beka, Chris, and I watched three episodes of Band of Brothers. It was quite good. Beka and I cried, I think, at the end of one. It made me think, I really enjoyed it. :)

Today is Sunday. I slept in until 8:30 and then we had church. It's visitor's sunday which was extremely hard. If any family of the kids wanted to visit, they could come for church and then a hang out time afterwards. I thought I had mentally prepared myself for it but it was extremely hard. I watched my toddlers look eagerly at the door just in case any of their family would come. Only two of them had visitors.

I want to protect these kids from any more hurt they could get. But the furthest I can go is to love them. God has his hands around these precious little children. As I watched them interact with their family members, it broke my heart. But God did really encourage me, reminding me that He cares for these children way more than I EVER could.

I slept all afternoon which was extremely disorienting haha. We had dinner and talked with the other team that came in today. They are super nice! Right now I am blogging right outside our room. Inside of our room is extremely warm and moist which sounds gross haha, but with 14 girls, it can get... yeah.

I'm so excited for the next week. Tomorrow we have one day of work, and then early early on Tuesday morning, we are off to our excursion. I think we are going to do a zipline through the Guatemalan forests. Don't quote me on that though ;)

fro yo! 

running in the rain haha

shopping... soaking wet. 

posing with their three liter bottle of coke. 

Oh oh! New prayer requests on the sidebar. Thank you all for your support and love! :) 

Friday, June 29, 2012

rain boots.

These little people make me happy. 

it's just life.

Well we have hit the 25dayawayfrommyfamily mark. I can't believe it has been three weeks since I left Maryland, and two weeks that I have been in Guatemala. This post is probably going to turn into a random assortment of memories and quotes because there are so many random awesome things that have happened. :) 

A few nights ago, I took a walk on the cancha after dark and was just thinking and praying and randomly looking around so grateful for this place. Then I turned the corner and the motion-activated light turned on and I freaked out. Too many scary stories lately. Haha. 

The house parents at the toddler house are absolutely amazing. Like so funny, encouraging, godly, and really really awesome. Billy, the house dad, has these one-liners that make Taylor and I laugh so hard I sometimes forget to breathe. Being with their family reminds me of God's faithfulness - I was worried about who I would be working with. But God has given me such great people and new friends to work with in the toddler house.

Speaking of working with people in the toddler house, there is a girl named Julia who is a junior in high school who is here for a month and a half. She is AMAZING. We have really gotten along well. She's so sweet. Again, so grateful to God.

We were out of cocoa puffs and frosted flakes and our team had a minor breakdown. We have since recovered the frosted flakes, but the cocoa puffs have yet to be bought. 

The little kids are so precious. Lately, they have been calling me by my name (it took them a bit to learn it) and it comes out as "Eyye." I am also called "mi amiga" by many of the little ones. It's so sweet to be connecting with them, holding their hand across the cancha, and to have them trust me is one of the sweetest things in the world. I had doubts (again, unbelief in my faithful God) that these kids would trust me. But it seems that I have become a member of their family and for that I am grateful. 

Well, Beka just found Nutella and I also found out that I am going to the mall with some of our team tomorrow. On that happy note, adios. :) 

Sunday, June 24, 2012


Yesterday was possibly the best day of my life thus far. ;)

It started out at 5am, which wasn't exciting. I probably didn't get out of bed until 5:15, but I took a shower and got ready. We all loaded on to the bus at 6am, our team and a few others from Houston who were here for the week.

that yellow. 

The 1.5 hour bus ride to Antigua was pretty quiet - everyone slept. We pulled into the bus terminal and the first thing I noticed was all of the color. The stores are all painted in bright colors and the market was filled with colorful fruit, garments, hammocks, you name it! It was so wonderful for this color loving girl. :) We split up in the square and want to different breakfast places. The one that my group was originally going to go to wasn't open yet, so we ventured to Luna de Miel, a French crepe place. Oh my stars. I got a Nutella and strawberry and it was possibly the best thing I have ever put in my mouth. We ate our crepes, drank our smoothies, and laughed about how Tori was totally going to drink at least five cups of coffee that day.

The upstairs of the building was open so the boys went up there to check it out. Tori, Heather and I soon followed. The view was amazing. The volcanos all around and the breeze blowing - yeah it was really cool. And of course we took pictures.


profile pic. 

After breakfast, we headed around town. We visited churches, ruins, and walked a TON. Such good exercise haha. Again, the colors and architecture never ceased to impress me. They did good.

So after I got left behind (hehe inside joke) we had SALSA. I wasn't feeling well so I didn't participate in the first part, but I jumped in later and boy was it fun! Can I just say that I am so proud of the three guys on our team who danced? They didn't want to at first, but we convinced them otherwise. They did awesome. ;) The teacher was so fun and really got into it. We all want to keep salsa-ing now. :)

We stopped by the choco museum and some of the team got the makeyourown Mayan hot chocolate. They brought cayenne pepper, hot milk, chocolate, and honey to the table and you stirred it up. The guys didn't think they were putting enough cayenne pepper in so they kept dropping in more and more pinches. Then... they got to the bottom of the cup. Not all of it had dissolved. ;)


We grabbed a few loaves of bread from the amazingly wonderful smelling panaderia and headed towards where the shuttle would pick us up for the volcano hike. Yes, you did hear me right. We hiked a volcano.

It took another hour and a half and lots of car sickness (for me) to get to the base of the volcano. There is a small town right underneath it that was absolutely beautiful. When we got out of the shuttle, children came up to us asking if we wanted to buy walking sticks. We took a quick trip to the bathroom and started the trek. Out front was Ben, Chris, Tori, Aaron and I. It was a good hike - like seriously beautiful and definitely just a bit tiring ;) We took the wrong path for a little bit (Chris said he told us he thought we were not on the right path - I didn't hear him) but we made it back on the right one in no time. We started pulling away from the dirt trail and green bushes, and into the lava masses. There was sharp lava rock all around us and ash underneath our feet. The stillness was haunting. We came upon a lava jewelry store ( a tiny shack really) and bought some stuff. Definitely a cool souvenir ;)

When we got even further up, it began to get hot under our feet. Of course, the jokes about how the volcano could erupt any second or explode and blow us all to smithereens and how we would roll down the hill as fast as we could, abounded. That's why I love my team. Haha. We played hot potato with the extremely warm rocks, roasted marshmallows over the hot air rising from the cracks, and climbed. Oh how we climbed. We were like monkeys with no fear, scrambling over the rocks. Yes, we fell a couple of times. But I think it was worth it.

heather :D 





taylor smiled. hehe. 

Over and over again I couldn't believe that I was on top of a volcano, with some of my favorite people, enjoying God's creation, and laughing and having a wonderful time. It's like one of those things you don't even imagine doing. All of us kept saying, "How was this not on our bucket list?" I am so grateful for that opportunity.

The hike down was fun, trying not to slip on the ash and dirt on the super steep parts, taking the shortcuts the little boys found, and thinking about food. When we finally made it down, some of us changed out of our sweaty clothes (tmi hehe) and piled back into the bus. The driver turned up the music loud and we danced for half an hour haha. So epic. Then, people went to sleep. We are such a sleep oriented group. Back in Antigua, we headed to McDonalds for dinner where I had a chai tea latte and a yogurt parfait. Um, that latte was literally the best thing I have ever had. I was kind of skeptical of McDonalds... and lattes. But I was more than happy with it and enjoyed every sip. It took us forever to find the bus but once we did, we settled in and waited for the ride home to start.

Chris, Tori and I were in the back (where the naughty kids sit... apparently). Chris started telling scary stories and Tori and I were freaking out. The dark bus, outside being dark, and a tired mind do not go well together. ;)

Once we got home, we all settled into bed. It was a wonderful and amazing day. All of it. So grateful for the time to get away and explore Antigua with awesome people. :)