Saturday, September 29, 2007

Elian Updated

I went to see Esther and Elian on Wednesday and they are doing great. Mom is still recovering but looks much better than she did a few days before. She is getting up and down out of chairs well and is doing pretty good with feeding Elian. He already seems so different than he did in the hospital and before we know it he will be driving a car! Below are just a couple pics, he's so stinkin' cute and check out that hair!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Facelift for the soccer field

Well we have been able to jump right into work since we have returned to the DR. It has been awesome catching up with everyone and showing off our little guy. Our first week back saw us helping with a team from Illinois and also an exploratory group that was here to see the ministry. Amanda spent time in the kitchen with the cooks preparing meals for the team and I was able to help be tour guide and translator. It was great jumping back into Spanish again after a four month break.

This past Friday I spent several hours with Romano building some new goals for the soccer field. The old goals were made of bamboo poles stuck in the ground with a "Y" carved in the top to lay another pole across for the crossbar. Each goal was a slightly different size but it worked! The new goals are now made of three inch PVC pipe glued at the joints with elbows. The look great and they are both the same size!! It is exciting to play with the new goals and the guys love them. Right now the team is getting ready for a game against a Dominican team from La Vega which is about 30 minutes away. They are very excited for the opportunity and I can't wait to use this chance to share God's love! Here are a few pictures of the new goals and some of the guys working on them:

Edmon, Elysee, and Romano working on a new hole for the post.

Elysee watching Edmon put a bamboo pole in to anchor the pvc pipe.

Elysee compacting the dirt around the new post while Romano holds it in place. Edmon is cutting the grass in the back with a machete.

A view of the whole field from behind the first completed goal.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Introducing Elian David Alberto!

I went to see Esther in the hospital today (I went yesterday with Catherine but we weren't able to see her because we came while she was still in recovery). She seemed to be doing ok but in a good amount of pain after her C-section. Oh, I remember those days!!! I assured her that after a couple days she would be feeling MUCH better. Baby Elian was 9 pounds (but still looks tiny to me) and extremely adorable. He is a healthy boy and both he and mom are doing great. Keep them both in your prayers as Esther has a good 6 weeks of recovery as well as adjusting to life as a new mom. Below are a couple pictures and I'll be getting a few more when she's feeling better so I can get some of them together. I also have a special tie to the little guy as we now share a birthday!!!!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

God Still Speaks

As I awoke suddenly at 4:30 am, I heard a whisper. Not a loud, majestic voice...a whisper. It was so clear in my ears that I looked over at Mike to see if he had said something. Sound asleep. It whispered again. Something about the kids. I'm tired, can't I do it when I wake up? I answered back. Get up, it kept saying. You're their voice. Get up and let them know. I knew just what this voice wanted me to do and I knew just who the voice was that was talking to me. I got up, compiled my list and just typed.

You see, Friday morning, I went back to the Hole for the first time since April. I assumed it would be like every other trip. I've gone at least a hundred times. I had my trusty little Nikon camera in my hand, just as I had every trip before. But somehow it felt different. I began taking pictures. Pictures of the landscapes, the trash, men and women....children. There was something about the kids. My spanish is far from perfect, but hugs are all they ask for. They all keep asking me about my baby. Where's my baby? They remember me. They remember me. In four months of being away they haven't forgotten me! But had I forgotten them? How many times in four months had I thought about them? Remembering their smiles and their laughs and their ever-so-tight hugs. Not enough, I hadn't thought of them enough, I said to myself. As we began to leave a little boy kept holding my hand. They always follow the groups up, they always hold our hands. But this time for me, was different. I began to think if when he returned home, would his mom give him a hug? Would she embrace him because he had been away so long? As our van drove away the little boy would turn around and wave at me every 5 or 10 steps. He kept waving until we were out of sight. And then...something happened that hadn't happened in a very long time. In TOO long of a time. I began to cry. I was thankful for my sunglasses. Up until that last little wave I had been cold...almost numb to what I see everyday. Just one more dirty, malnourished kid. I see them all the time. But it finally pierced me. I'm their voice.

And not just me but the people that work here, the people that visit here. The kids can't speak for themselves. We're their voices. So as I sat that morning and began to type at my computer, I put every name on that e-mail that I had been afraid to ask before. Telling them of this opportunity they have to seize and they can do something that has an eternal reward. These kids don't need much but they need something. Something that everyone I knew and everyone I've come in contact with can provide. The whisper in the dark of the morning knew I wanted to sleep but it also knew that I had been changed and just didn't know what to do with it. It's funny, all along I thought he would have spoken louder.

(below are just a couple of images I've taken over the past year that I've been with G.O.-I worked on them today and had my passions renewed to try and capture this ministry and to try and be the voice so many of them don't have)

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Hello Home

We made it to the DR safely and with no flight delays or cancellations...(the first time since we moved to the Dominican). Although, we did have one of our bags lost for a day. Of course it was the one with Landon's crib in it and with all my shorts and t-shirts. So Landon slept in his carseat for a night and wore some of Mike's shorts. Flexibility has become one of our best assets! But praise God that our luggage arrived safe and sound with the Eastview team that came the next day.

Landon is adjusting very well to being here and two nights this week has even slept for 10+ hours! Last night he went to bed at 7pm and didn't wake up until 5:30 this morning. It was the best night's sleep I've gotten since he was born, even though he's always been a great sleeper. He's pretty sensitive to the heat right now, but we assume that he will adjust like the rest of us do. We have a fan that attaches to his crib and he does pretty well just sleeping in his diaper. Mike and I knew he would like nights here as he as always loved being naked!

We snapped right back into things as a team arrived the day after we got here, as well as an exploratory trip. Mike has been busy translating everyday and I even got a baby sitter Friday morning so I could go with the team to the Hole and take pictures. I missed my little Nikon! We are still looking for a part-time sitter to watch Landon in the mornings when teams are here so you could be praying that we find just the right person!

I start my little girls bible study tomorrow with two of the neighborhood girls, Themis and Yessenia. Normally there would be three but apparently Deborah moved away. I am also hoping to start a Mom's bible study for some of the young mothers in our neighborhood and church, so be praying as I search for a co-leader and a cirriculum for us to study.

Hope you all are doing well in your endeavors and we'll update all of you soon!

Landon doing his favorite thing...sleeping!

The crib that Great-Grandma Basham gave us! Thanks Grandma!!!

Landon and Mommy at his first Dominican softball Game!

Landon asleep in his hotsling that he got from Aunt Vickie!