Monday, August 30, 2010

Nuestros Pequenos Hermanos

What a great weekend! I went with Debra and my housemate Jenna to the orphanage that Jenna worked at 2 years ago. It's a huge orphanage on several acres. It took us about 2 hours to get there on the ALP bus, colectivo (taxi), city bus, and rapidito. But, only about $5 round trip. We toured the orphanage - there's a school where about 300-400 students attend. The orphanage has around 500 kids total. The rest of the students are either in high school or college and live both at the orphanage and in the city. It was Saturday morning so the kids were all doing chores around the grounds. We chatted with the little boys for a while, I read a book with some girls, ate freshly picked watermelon for a snack, and went for a walk to the farm- the orphanage has several chicken barns and around 25 milking cows. (Since I missed the fair, this was as close as I got) For lunch we ate spaghetti, it had been brought to each of the houses in a big igloo cooler- enough to feed the 20 some kids that lived in each house.

It was such a blessing to go there. For my own sake, it was refreshing to leave the school and go out into the country. (Where I feel most at home.) The orphanage is on the side of a mountain where we could hike around. For the kids, we were a blessing to them. They all knew Jenna and adore her. It was so fun to talk with them, play with them, answer their question, and just love on them. They tried to speak a few English words too. :) I hope that I get the chance to go back! Visiting is great, but it's so much more meaningful when you can build a relationship with the kids. The orphanage is Catholic and they had mass that afternoon. We left before it started so that we could catch the bus back to ALP. But they desperately need prayers to accept Christ as their personal Savior and to be in relationship with him. The orphanage is religious... but there's a difference between religion and faith. Please say a prayer for these adorable children!


Tuesday, August 24, 2010

1st day of Teaching

Yup. I did it. I took a "First day of School" picture. This is me on Monday, my first day of teaching. It's such a good feeling to finally be starting to teach! The kids have been (mostly) great! They are excited about PE and about school... of course it's still the first week. I still feel like I'm not sure what I'm doing for some reason... I think it's because I know the habits the kids form in these next couple days could make or break the rest of the year... talking out of turn, yelling, pushing, sliding on the floor, climbing on the basketball poles... at the same time I just want to have fun with them! I'm excited to teach them too. Tomorrow I'll have a few classes for the second time. Which will be nice to see faces I've already seen. The kids all wear name tags to their specials classes for the first couple weeks. Amazing. It would be so hard without them! Thankfully, I learn names fairly quickly... but still, I have around 300 names to learn! :) But, God knows them all by name, and each one is "precious in his sight."

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Teaching Tomorrow!!

Tomorrow's my first day of classes!!! Amazing how nervous little kids can make you! Please pray for me!

El Mercado y el Rapidito

I absolutely love markets! And what's better, in Honduras the market is super cheap. We headed out at 6:30 am Saturday morning to go to El Centro (the center). The fruits and veggies are great and there's so much of it. I bought everything that's in the picture for 160 limperas... $8. Try finding that in the states! I even bought the plant for my room! That was only $3 of the $8 total.

I'm on a break baking kick... my housemate, Kerry, is an amazing cook. So yesterday I made some whole wheat bread and some brown sugar, cranberry bread! (My own modification of the original recipe.) So yummy! I love having time to cook/bake, and it's even better when I have someone to show me some of their best recipes!

Today we took the Rapidito downtown to church. Funny that the public transportation here is called Rapidito and in Grand Rapids it's called the Rapid! :) For $1 we got down to el centro and back. Church was great, although the pastor talked very fast... it was mentally challenging to follow along. The worship was a lot like Crossroads! (except in Spanish) So it felt a little like home. We also met some teachers from the International school in Tegucigalpa. For lunch we went to Wendy's. :) Most of the traditional Honduran restaurants were closed on Sunday. On the way back the Rapidito got really full, and I was standing... unfortunately the height on the bus/van was only about 5'8". (I'm 5'10") So I said to one of the workers, "El Rapidito no es para gringas altas." (The Rapidito isn't for tall white people), and he just laughed. There's no where that I can go and not stand out. At the same time, what an opportunity to show Christ's love. Because people notice us gringos walking around, our words and actions are also noticed. I pray that they may see Christ through us and not just our height and hair color.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Torrential Rainfall and the Loudest Thunder I've Ever Heard!

What an amazing experience! Sometimes it rains so hard here you can't see in front of you! Today we had one of these storms. I was in the library when it started to pour. With the rain came the thunder and lightning... We had a 'warning' crack before the huge one. It was an ear-shattering crack of lightning and thunder at the same time. Light flashed inside of the library! We're not sure if it was the lightning, but one of the lights burnt out and the computer monitors are fried. Please pray that nothing important was lost! I felt a tingle shoot through me... but I'm pretty sure it was just from jumping at the sound! And my imagination thinking I could have just been electrocuted. Ha! The lightning did hit the building, but no one was hurt.

Please pray for safety in future storms. And pray for the people down in the city. There is more rain than you can even imagine and it all flows down into Tegucigalpa from the surrounding mountains! There has been several mudslide warnings.

Overall, I was more amazed at the awesomeness of God! He is so powerful! It is unbelievable!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

First Day of School!

Wow! What a day!!! So many new beautiful faces!!! It was a bit overwhelming but went well. The seniors each year make an "entrance." This year they all came in with balloons, confetti, senior shirts, shouting and yelling. They took "Tuk-tuks" (3 wheeled taxi motor bikes) from a couple miles out and came yelling and shouting onto the school grounds. After the kids got there, we started the morning with an all-school assembly. I helped out in one of the 6th grade classrooms. This is the teacher who has been sick. Praise the Lord, she doesn't have Dengue and hopes to be back tomorrow!

Tomorrow is another half day-no specials. I'm going to be doing morning duty, recess duty, finalizing lesson plans, making sure the equipment room is organized, etc. I also found out today that I'll be teaching the Pre-K and Kindergarten in Spanish! I'm super excited about this but a little nervous. I'm going to refresh myself on some vocab this weekend.

I was pretty tired tonight. I think just emotionally tired. But, I did make some oatmeal cranberry cookies :) We have a potluck tomorrow for all the new teachers. Of course, I made about 30 cookies and ate 10 cookies worth of dough! It was too good to bake it all!

For more pictures, check out my facebook- it's easier to load multiple pictures there.

Thanks for your prayers! God Bless!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

School starts... TOMORROW!!!

Wow. What a week of preparation! I can't believe that school is already starting tomorrow! The fist 2 days are half days so the elementary won't have PE. I'll be helping with the assembly and assisting the teachers throughout the day as much as possible. Monday I start full on. I got my schedule and class lists today. It'll be great to finally meet the kids!!! So many names to put a face with finally!

Other happenings: I've been teaching an aerobics class this week! It's been fantastic! Around 20 teachers came both Monday and today at 6:30am before our sessions. I'm going to continue it next week... I pray that I'll have enough energy to lead at 5:30! Tonight we had an amazing time of prayer and praise to start off the year. We sang all kinds of Sunday School type songs! Every day I'm more excited to get involved in the community of believers here. I'll be doing a Bible Study/Care group starting next week with 4 other girls. I'm not sure what it's going to look like yet, but I'm excited about the girls in my group.

Please pray for health for some of the teachers. One of the teachers they fear has Dengue. She's been unable to do much for the last couple days. Also pray for Mr. Smith and Mr. Osberg, our director and Elem. principal. Both have been under the weather. Now is not a good time to be sick... there's so much happening.

Thank you for your prayers! Keep in touch!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The School

I've finally had time to take my camera around the school and take a few pictures!!! Enjoy!

This is my desk!!!

I share an office with Kathy Carrion, the Spiritual Life Director for the Elementary School.

This is the covered court (cancha).

This is the building my office is in. Love the color!!! :)

This is the gym!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

One week

So, I've been here a week already! I have to say, some of it still feels like vacation. I am constantly learning new things about the school, town, culture, language, etc.

Yesterday we went to PriceSmart. It's pretty much a Costco or Sam's Club! They had everything in bulk... so of course I spent way more than I expected too! But I got things that will last me a long time! Prices here are pretty much the same as in the states. Some of the "name" brand items are more expensive but other things are cheaper. After shopping I played some basketball with other teachers and alumni for 3 hours! Then the Kolmodins had us teachers over for games and snacks. They live right across the street from the school. Just another example of the generosity and community that I'm experiencing here so far!

Today I went for a walk up the mountain before church. It's about an hour walk to the top and around a loop. Not quite as intense as NWT because we're on the road and I don't have a pack on my back, but it's a pretty good climb! After that I went to Impacto Church. It's a Spanish church with an English translation. For lunch, there was a fiesta at the Catholic church across the street. I experienced my first pupusa, a food that looks like a pancake, made out of cornmeal with cheese and beans in the middle. It was very good! And only cost 35 limperas= almost $2. Now I'm relaxing... actually pretty tired. Hopefully I can sleep. The dogs and birds sometimes keep me up. In addition, the Catholic church has been shooting off fireworks every now and then. Usually at night or early morning.

I'll try to take more pictures this week of the school. The one posted is of the new teachers last Sunday after we went out to eat.

Prayer request: School starts on Thursday!!! Pray that I can get everything prepared that I need to, and that everything goes smoothly. :)

Thursday, August 12, 2010


I wake up each morning still amazed at where I am. What a crazy feeling! A week from today we will be starting classes already! There's the overwhelming feeling of being a new teacher on top of living in a new country. I am so grateful for amazing student teaching placements that have prepared me so well! I went with Carla, the 4th-6th grade PE teacher, through the equipment room yesterday. I was amazed! There's so much there that I didn't even image! We have parachutes, bean bags, foam paddles, scooters, whiffleballs, foam balls, equipment for soccer, volleyball, hockey, badminton, tennis, track batons, hula hoops, jump ropes... the list goes on and on! There's so much I can't wait to be creative with! I feel as though I have a lot of freedom and I'm excited to have fun! What I'm most nervous about is discipline. The students at Chandler Woods were amazing! I have no idea how these students will respond! My next task is to write out my classroom procedures specifically for ALP... where I will meet the classes, how they will walk down to the court, gym, or field, if they will have spots where they can sit, how to start and end the class, if they can even understand me or if I'll need to explain in both English and Spanish! :)

God has been so good. I deeply miss everyone back home, but he has replaced the longing with joy. I have peace that it's God's plan for me to be here. Whenever I am tempted to be sorrowful, I am reminded of the blessing it is to be here and how even more wonderful the homecoming will be! When I miss having a hand to hold, I can feel the Lord holding me in his hand-never letting go. When I am in need of a hug, someone here will greet me with their arms open, welcoming me into the community with the love of Christ.

I can feel your prayers, your love, and your encouragement. You are in my prayers as well! Love.

Colossians 1:9-12
And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God. May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all the endurance and the patience with joy, giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

I have an office!

Today was filled with moving furniture around setting up my office and helping other classroom teachers set up their rooms! We started out the day around 8am with an elementary teachers meeting.. just in time for the power to go (a regular occurrence in Honduras I'm told). It stayed out all day until around 4pm. My office doesn't have a window so that made it a bit more challenging but it went well. I didn't get a chance to take a picture yet but I will soon! I share an office with Kathy, the spiritual life coordinator in the elementary school. She's amazing! So much fun and so good to talk to. I'm excited to spend time with her. We had a traditional Honduran meal tonight for all the teachers: chicken, steak, rice, beans, and tortillas. Very delicious! Tomorrow is more meetings. I'll be starting to plan my curriculum for the year with the other elementary PE teacher as well as going to the hardware store to get some of the things I wasn't able to take!

I'm definitely tired after a long day. I think that the first few weeks are going to be more mentally challenging than physically challenging. My brain is trying to take in and remember so many new things all at the same time! But, I am going to play some pick up soccer tonight with some other teachers. :)

Good night and God bless!

Monday, August 9, 2010


After so much anticipation I have finally arrived at Academia Los Pinares! What an adventure! This summer has gone incredibly fast, but not without memories that I will cherish.

July 11- The Engagement! After easily convincing me that a gentleman was willing to show him the ropes of a small plane- since he was interested in getting his license- Jared took me on a plane ride over the shores of Lake Michigan. The views were amazing! We made our way toward Holland Beach where my family was on the pier with a huge sign: WILL YOU MARRY ME? I turned away from taking pictures out the window to Jared. He turned around as best he could in the small backseat of the plane, held out he most beautiful ring I've ever seen, and asked me to marry him. It was an amazing night and I was completely surprised. I am more excited than ever to be engaged to my best friend. I love you, Jared! Now the wedding planning begins from Honduras!

July 23-August 1- The Hunt. Dad took me on an incredible hunt in the Northwest Territories. We backpacked through the Mackenzie Mountains, averaging 5 miles a day in search of Dall sheep. After 5 days he got the shot he wanted. It was 11:50 pm (it's light 21 hours a day up there in the summer). He shot a beautiful ram. What an experience! I climbed over boulder, inched my way across slippery rocks, marched through boggy hillsides, ate freeze dried, washed my hair in a mountain stream, and took tons of pictures! :) The day after he shot his ram we hiked 7 miles up a creed bed toward a herd of caribou. I shot the biggest one we saw- he was running away at 150 yards. The immediate reward: we fried up some tenderloin right there on the mountain. The tiresome reward: packing the horn, head, and cape all the way back to camp (around 55lbs.). Such an amazing trip and quality time with my dad!

August 8- Dad, mom, Jared and I arrived yesterday morning to the airport around 5am with the 4 bags that I had packed to 50lbs. Unfortunately, Tegucigalpa is one of the few destinations that Continental only allows 2 bags at 50lbs. So, there we were, the people you see digging through their luggage while everyone else is checking in. I managed to cut my luggage in half in about 20 minutes, tossing the non-necessities aside to be brought back home. It did make the morning more emotional... but I think I have most of what I need. Except an umbrella! I accidentally through that back! And it rains every day here! I'll have to get one in town. Once I got to Tegucigalpa we stopped at the church where the rest of the new teachers were, in time to catch the last song and then go out for lunch. The rest of the day was spent setting up my apartment, going to the supermercado to get a few groceries, and meeting some of the people. Everyone I have met so far has been so wonderful and generous. I went to bed early after an exhausting day!

August 9- This morning I woke up to our maid, Gloria, cleaning the kitchen! :) Today will be filled with sessions for new teachers, helping us to understand the culture and way that ALP functions.

Thank you for your support and prayers! I'll keep you updated! Check out my facebook for pictures of the engagement and the hunt if you haven't seen them yet! :) Love you all!

God Bless,