3/31/09

Bring The Rain - Canvas

I just got finished reading a post on "Bring The Rain" entitled "Canvas". It was so good that I wanted to put a link on my blog...for anyone who does not already keep up with Angie's posts. I have her on my blog roll and "buttons" on the side bar. Their story is also listed on my sidebar under videostories - The Smith Family Story. Thy lost their fourth daughter shortly after birth almost a year ago. Her husband is the lead singer in the Christian band "Selah". She is a very gifted writer, a very humble, authentic woman of faith who has been on a difficult and beautiful journey this year. Instead of trying to explain and butcher what she so eloquently wrote I'll let you read the post for yourself .

3/28/09

our new pet


Ok, so maybe our new pet is a little unconventional....and uninvited for that matter. Its a moose, actually there are two of them that wonder through our yard on a daily basis lately. They like to eat the trees and leave little "gifts" behind for us.
Such strange and fascinating creatures. They look like they are made up of spare parts. Tall , gangly, huge noses and humped backs...sorry moose. I make sure to check that they have gone away before the kids go out to play. The weather has been nice so I am NOT about to keep them cooped up inside. I've warned them not to go near them and if a moose shows up to get to the house.


Since we are being overrun by animals I thought I'd show you the monkey breeding program we have inside the house. Little Silas has learned from the best and is following in his brothers footsteps. I found him up in the cupboard in our back entry way.


Silas! Get down from there!...oh wait let me get my camera first!


Feeding time at the zoo. Silas is making his own pizza and apparently helping someone else get theirs started too. My kids have a thing for black olives...I can barely get them from the can to the pizza without causing a stampede.

Life in our zoo is never dull, just today for example I found Silas in Ailis's room surrounded by markers, decorating himself...oh and he had pooped in there too ( I told you it's like a zoo in here)...shhh don't tell Aili. Potty training is wearing me out. He has amazing bladder control, he can hold it for hours ....but the bowels are a different story. We are making progress though....someday... he'll figure it out eventually. Please somebody remind me that he will someday stop pooping his pants!

Roman spent a good part of the day today studying the atlas. He decided "when he travels the world" that he might need to take it with him and once again promised to bring me back jewels and treasure for my own enjoyment. Looking forward to it.

We had to disappoint him a little recently. We had applied a few months ago to work as dorm parents at an International school in Malaysia. It was kind of out of the blue as we had never really considered doing it before. Until we knew anything for sure I was hesitant to share it here in blogland. The possibility of moving to Malaysia was big part of our lives for the past few months...its taken up a lot of thought, prayer and emotional energy. I have been following another dorm moms adventures and she suggested that we look into it. Well we looked into it out of curiosity and one thing led to another.

It was a lot of paperwork, making ourselves vulnerable and waiting to find out what our lives would look like next year. Actually we would have been leaving in July ,....that would be 3 months to pack up our lives and move across the globe. Exciting and terrifying at the same time.
Wrapping our minds and hearts around the idea of being in full time youth ministry to kids from many different countries was a lot to pray and think about.
We found out just a couple days ago that there wasn't room for us this coming school year.
There were about 16 people that applied for the 2 positions and it sounds like we made it to the final few that were considered. As far as a 'rejection' letter goes it was the most encouraging and affirming letter I think I've ever gotten, it definitely made the news easier to take.
I think that satan uses opportunities like disappointments or "rejection" to tell us that we are not good enough, God can't use someone like us and we may as well give up.
Immediately those thoughts started to crowd in. I could picture people saying "Of course they didn't pick you...who do think you are anyway!" I immediately recognised those thoughts for what they are and am refusing to let them back into my mind. I honestly feel very much at peace with the outcome. We sought Gods guidance throughout the process and prayed that the administration at the school would find the right people for the jobs , whoever they might be. We trust Gods timing for us. We are definitely not ruling out being dorm parents in the future.

The kids knew that we might be moving to Malaysia and since the move would happen very quickly we were preparing them for that possibility. They were excited and were up for the adventure. Before we applied, Roman looked at me out of the blue one day and asked "mom, someday could we live in a jungle next to the ocean?". hmmm..how about Penang? Needless to say he was excited to explore Asia! He was a little concerned about pirates and giant sea creatures coming up out of the ocean though....you know the rational fears one has when moving to a new place. Aili was more concerned with leaving friends and family in Canada.
We are now looking forward to our summer here, camping, sailing and enjoying our home for a while longer.
We shared our Mexico trip in church this morning. Some members of the team put together an amazing video put to music and each person shared a little bit. It was greatly encouraging to see how the trip and the experience impacted each of the people who went. I have never really led anything before....never mind a group of 15 people to a foreign country! It was out of my comfort zone and beyond my organizational experience. I really enjoyed it though. I realized that sometimes all it takes is to follow God out of where we are comfortable...easily hiding in the background...to discover that he has something more for us. He can use us in ways we never thought we were capable of. He is the one that is capable. All we have to do is be willing to be used by him.
So we are once again setting our sights on returning to Mexico this fall...kids and trailer in tow.
And once again I am excited to see what God has planned for us this time.

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3/27/09

Random kid pictures


Here are my three little sweethearts in a rare moment of sweetness. I found them watching a movie all snuggled up together along with their stuffed friends.


Kiss me baby!!


I just thought this one was funny. He woke up from a nap and was upset that he couldn't carry his complete entourage out of the bedroom with him with out dropping things. This included three stuffed animals, 2 blankies and his pillow. Sometimes he has trouble letting go. Of course being the sympathetic compassionate mother that I am I responded by grabbing my camera and frustrating him even more....I made it up to him by helping him carry his bed out of his room.


My little warrior. We are so glad to have Roman around for our general protection. There are things in life that must be taken very seriously...alien invasions for example.
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3/19/09

just missing him


I've been missing my Kade boy the last couple days. I don't know what brought it on but I suppose it will be like this for a while. I wonder how long I will wonder what he's doing, where he's living , if he's being looked after, if he has someone to rock him when he's sad.
I'm missing his help emtying the dishwasher, his cute little words, his expressions, his snuggles, even his cute floppy ears. Its harder than I thought.
We cared for two other little ones in our home for 8 months. I loved those kids and did feel like a mama to them but we knew from the start that we were working toward them being able to go home to their mom, who loved and wanted them. The goodbye was a little sad but we have been able to keep in touch and their mom is great an sending us pictures and updates once in a while. Kade has been different. We have never met his parents, we knew very little about his history...what we did know was nothing that would make us confident that someone was able or willing to care for him. I guess I expected him to be around longer. The goodbye was unexpected and quick...which is typical I guess for foster kids. I had dental appointments, immunization appointments made that had to be cancelled, I had plans to enjoy being outside with him this spring, things to show him, things to teach him. I fell fast and hard for this little guy who was so easy and rewarding to love. I was his mommy....if only for a short time in his life.
Our goodbye with Kade came the same day we left for Mexico. Which I guess was mercifully good timing. It was really hard, to leave him with friends (where he stayed until Social Services picked him up a few days later) knowing he would be watching for us to come back to take him home. I tried to make it casual and not make a big fuss in front of him....I did spend an extra several minutes letting him cling to me like a piece of velcro before I distracted him with some toys said a quick "happy" goodbye and walked out. He cried, I tried my best not to ...until I was out of sight anyway.

I think I will always have a little piece of my heart out there walking around and living a life that I'm not a part of. I still pray for him, and the fact that he has a "stranger" praying for him throughout his life is not a small thing. God knows where he is and what he needs, even if I don't. Its a comforting thing to be able to talk to that God and intercede for my little Kade.

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3/17/09

The road less travelled


I was looking for some pictures to illustrate a picture I had in my head of people climbing a mountain. Being that we live in a place with no mountains in sight and its been a while since we were actually hiking in the mountains this was the best I could come up with. This is actually a location in SK. The highest elevated land in the province, Cypress Hills Provincial Park. We camped there last summer.

Lately verses in the Bible that refer to the idea of running a race in our spiritual lives have been coming to mind. Some trying and discouraging circumstances surrounding me right now are requiring an extra measure of focus and perseverance.

"Therefore since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus. The author and perfecter of our faith" Hebrews 12: 1- 2
To put the passage into context the author of the book of Hebrews had just finished reviewing the men and woman of faith who had gone before them and was encouraging the Hebrew believers to persevere in times of trials and great difficulties. The "cloud of witnesses" are not spectators to this race but inspiring examples of those who have finished the course and are cheering us on from the finish line. In that cloud of witnesses I see great hero's of the faith , Abraham standing next to Hudson Taylor, and loved ones who have gone on before me who lived a life of faith.
In this race, this course set before me, I sometimes stumble, I trip and fall, I get weary. I approach a hill and wonder how I will ever have the strength to keep running. Sometimes I run with ease and exhilaration, enjoying the rhythmic pounding of my heart and feet. I often enjoy the passing scenery as I look forward to the triumphant finish.
Other times my lungs burn and the pain in the side of my stomach is hard to ignore...all I want to do is sit down and rest, just for a while...just coast and not go anywhere that might make me uncomfortable.
As I contemplate going on, I look around at those who have left the race, those people who have set up lawn chairs and campfires off to the side. They reminisce about the good old days in the race, they discuss why hymn books are preferable to powerpoint projectors and discuss the problems with runners today.
I run past a few who are sitting in the middle of the path looking disillusioned and discouraged. I see that they need someone to pick them up, come along side and run with them for a while.
I grieve for those who have turned around and have started walking back down way they came.
I see the people who have decided to observe from the sidelines, their racing numbers pinned to their shirts. They are entered in the race but just haven't moved in a long time, they are comfortable watching...as long as it is entertaining.

I watch in awe and respect as an elderly lady sprints up the final incline toward the finish line. (let me pause and remind you that this is a spiritual race I'm talking about, able healthy bodies ,while undeniably useful, are not a requirement for this race)

At some points in the race I have been the one to fall to the ground in despair. It was then that my father came and lifted me on his shoulders and carried me up the path that was too steep for me.

What I look forward to is not simply a trophy or a participation ribbon. We hike up this mountain path one foot in front of the other in order to get to what is waiting for us at the top, at the finish line. The breathtaking view from the top. I must focus on the task at hand, not become sidetracked or tripped up by distractions that would lure me from the race or make me believe we run in vain. At the top of this mountain is something that will make me forget every side stitch and sore muscle along the way.

"..you have come to Mount Zion to the heavenly Jerusalem, the city of the living God. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, to the church of the first born, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God, the judge of all men, to the spirits of righteous men made perfect, to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant..." Hebrews 12: 22-24



Imagine a finish line that includes thousands upon thousands of angels throwing a party. Imagine what "the city of the living God" will look like, now that would be a skyline worth seeing. Imagine being congratulated and patted on the back by "the spirits of righteous men" gone before us. Our father God stands in anticipation of our arrival and greets us with open arms and exclaims "Well done good and faithful servant!" . Our mediator Jesus runs along side us cheering us over the finish line. I've ran and finished a lot of races in my life but no finish line exhilaration will ever compare to a finish line like that!


Paul writes in the book of Acts "However I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me - the task of testifying to the gospel of God's grace. "

"Tenacity is more than endurance, it is endurance combined with the absolute certainty that what we are looking for is going to transpire." Oswald Chambers

A life lived in faith requires tenacity, perseverance and focus.

I know one way or another, I will finish the race, how I finish it is another question. I could finish the race in a leisurely controlled manner, aware that I must not appear foolish or in a rush, careful not to break a sweat a long the way, but that is not how a true athlete runs a race. I don't want the polite sympathy clap as I walk over the finish line. I want to be an athlete that runs strong, one that spends every last reserve of energy, that sprints across the finish line. I want to know I gave it everything I had, used every resource available to me, invested my time and energy wisely. That is how I want to run the race....with spiritual tenacity.





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3/12/09

Welcome Home!


This post is a continuation of the last post and our afternoon spent at the fun factory. After the kids had played themselves to exhaustion...well at least two of them anyway...I'm thinking of getting Roman a human size hamster run.
We went to the airport to welcome home my parents who have been working in Haiti for 6 months. As you can see our weather welcomed them too! You can almost see the mercury way down at the bottom. What a change from Haiti. I wasn't sure how Silas would react to seeing his Grandma and Grandpa again. The big kids were super excited and have missed them a lot , but Silas was only 1 and a half when they left for Haiti. Previously he had been a full fledged "Papa's Boy" and Grandma was like a second mom. I knew he would likely be a little shy and reserved around them after so long. He was a little shy for a couple minutes and then jumped right back into being papas boy. He clung to his papa like a little piece of velcro. Poor Grandma hasn't got her snuggle yet. We had only a very short visit at the airport and then we piled our kids into the car ( a few hours past their bedtimes) and went home. Grandma and Grandpa are staying in the city for another day to take care of some business there. I'm sure when they arrive at their house we will be over for a good long catch up visit...and then you'll she'll get more than her fill of Silas :)


Someone is happy to have his papa home!!



The end of a long and tiring day for all three kids. They all slept on the way home.
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Fun Factory


What do you do when its March and the temperature is -30 plus a windchill? Lock your kids up....or drive to the city and let the kids play themselves silly for 5 hours at the "fun factory". We were going to pick up my parents from the airport yesterday evening and since Aili didn't have school (too cold) we decided to make a day of it. We were joined by two of my cousins, my aunt and my cousins children for an afternoon of visiting while the kids played. It was so nice to catch up with family that I don't see nearly often enough.




This little guy played hard all afternoon without a nap! He did great with no exhaustion meltdowns. I'm paying for yesterdays late night and no nap today though. He's still surprisingly easy for a 2 year old. Due to the fact that my first two toddlers were so extremely super charged with emotion and will I am constantly surprised at how cooperative he is. He's naturally happy and easy going. He's still a two year old though and by definition that makes him annoyingly independent, frustratingly messy and somewhat inconvenient. But oh so adorable! We are finally gaining ground potty training. We gave up shortly after my post "academy of the potty" and decided to wait a couple months and try again after our Mexico trip. So he's been in big boy underwear for a week now and is doing so much better than I expected at this point. Its got a long ways to go before he's dependable but he's even started telling me when he needs to use the potty...before its running down his leg, which is a big step forward. I fully realize that regression could still happen at any point. Two steps forward one step back.
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3/9/09

Heart Hardening

I spent a little while this afternoon during Silas' nap time (that wonderful gift from God time of day)in prayer and reading my Bible. This is something I thoroughly enjoy doing and see fruit and growth every time it is a consistent part of my life. Unfortunately it is often too easy to do something else and just not make time for it. I admit I'm often guilty of this...so many distractions, so much to do...too tired. I have a long list of excuses I can tell myself however spiritual growth requires , on our part, some spiritual discipline. Just like physical strenth and fitness requires some work , daily discipline and training.

The fact that God loves us has nothing to do with what we do or don't do, its completely unconditional. Our Salvation is a gift, we can't accomplish it on our own. There is nothing we can do to deserve or earn it all we need to do is accept it. Sanctification, becoming more of a reflection of Christ, does however have an element of effort involved. The work is done by the Holy Spirit in our lives, we can not in our own strength make ourselves that person we desire to be (even though a world full of self help books and pseudo spirituality would have us believe otherwise.). For the Holy Spirit of God to doing that work in our lives require us surrendering the dark corners of our hearts, letting go of the things we cling so tightly to, and time spent nurturing that relationship . Knowing about God and really knowing God are two completely different things. You can have accepted Christ's gift of salvation but never really move past that place into a mature relationship with your creator and the one who loves you most. Or you can know all about God but never take that step of trusting him with your life.

Anyway, my reading today brought me to Hebrews 3. It was hard hitting and of course the first thing I do when I have things rattling around in my head is go to my computer and sort them out on my blog journal.
(verse 7 )
"So, as the Holy Spirit says:
Today, if you hear his voice,
do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion,
during the time of testing in the desert,
Where your fathers tested and tried me and for forty years saw what I did. That is why I was angry with that generation,
and I said.
"Their hearts are always going astray.
and they have not known my ways."
So I declared on oath in my anger
"They shall never enter my rest."

This is a message to the Israelites, God's people, who's ancestors followed Moses out of Egypt into the promised land. They constantly hardened their hearts, refused to remember the God of their fathers, and went their own ways instead. A result of this was them wandering for 40 years in the dessert instead of entering the promised land. It wasn't until that generation died off that they finally entered. We still have a promised land awaiting us, eternity with God.

" See to it, brothers, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin's deceitfulness."

wow again. I have seen believers hearts turn cold, I have witnessed the light of faith slowly die, one decision at a time, until it is nothing but a memory. It can happen. Its a slow fade. Just like in a marriage , love can grow cold if not nurtured, if love is not rekindled, if a lover is not enjoyed and treasured. Our relationship with Christ can grow cold just the same way. We become so spiritually dehydrated that we barely remember what it was like to drink from the Living Water. It can happen so easily if our professions of faith are never actually lived out in the reality of our lives. Are you spiritually dehydrated today? Is your flame of faith a dying ember?

Hearts can so easily become hardened. Life has a way of making you hard if you are not careful to guard that relationship. Sin has a way of inticing us, deceiving us , causing us to settle for a lie and compromise the truth. The harder our hearts become the less we are able to hear the voice of God, the Holy Spirit, in our lives.
The part that really stuck out to me was the charge to encourage one another as believers. Every day, all day. We need encouragment, accountability and friends to come along side us and spur us on. I thank God for friends like that in my life.

" We have come to share in Christ if we hold firmly till the end the confidence we had at first. AS has just been said:
Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden you hearts as you did in the rebellion." Hebrew 3:14-15

Chapter 4 goes on to say:

"Therefore since the promise of entering His rest still stands, let us be careful that none of you be found to have fallen short of it. For we also have had the gospel preached to us, just as they did but the message they heard was of no value to them, because those who heard did not combine it with faith. ""

verse 12
"For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God's sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account."

If we are going through life with hard unbelieving hearts, if we think we can fool God somehow by our "good deeds", our occasional church attendance or the perfect Christian image we put on we are fooling ourselves. God sees our hearts, he sees our motives, our attitudes, those dark places we hide and think no one sees.
We cannot cover them ourselves, we cannot simply say "I'm a good person so I'm going to heaven", our deeply rooted sinfulness is so far from Gods holiness that we can do nothing but cry out in brokenness for his mercy. That's why we need Christ. He covers us with his perfection and holiness making us perfect and holy before God. We are restored. We are redeemed. We are free from the sin that entangles and separates us from the God who loves us enough to come to earth ..to take that sin from us and hang it on a cross. We are free from guilt, we are free from shame, we are free from striving to be good enough, we are free from our own legalistic pride. We are now free to grow , mature and to enjoy the peace and joy that only comes from him. We are free to enjoy an intimate relationship.

" Therefore since we have a great high priest (Christ) who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are - yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need."

Hebrews 5: 14-16

I LOVE that last verse. The thought of little old me, full of bad attitudes, mistakes, insecurities and imperfections is able to approach the throne of grace with confidence brings tears to my eyes. Just imagine that day. To confidently stand before the creator of the universe the prince of peace, the king of kings and to have him smile at me with love in his eyes and welcome me home is something that baffles me. I desire that day. I don't have to wait until the day I meet God face to face though to be able to commune with him and approach him with my qustions, my anxieties, my petitions, and my worship. That is the privaledge of my position as a beloved child of God, I can approach him with confidence no mediater but Jesus Christ needed. I dont need a self help book to do it, I don't need a liscenced prayer practitioner, I don't need to reach a certain state of enlightenment and I don't need a book of incantations to have him hear me.

One day we will all stand before that judgment throne whether we chose to believe it now or not. My sincere desire is that each one of you reading this will be able to stand before him forgiven, covered and confident.

Today if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts.




"





more winter pictures.


I hate dial-up..even possibly more than I hate being cold. Anyway my picture limit is four at a time and this time it appears to have kicked the picture off my last post. I decided to put it back on and add a couple more of our sledding outing. Today is -30 degrees celcius. sigh. Spring is no where in sight yet but here we don't typically get spring until April. Then we usually have a few weeks of living in mud and slush at that point. The kids will love being outside in the warmer tempuratures and who wouldn't be thrilled playing with muddy streams of water running through our yard. I'm willing to put up with multiple loads of muddy laundry to have them outside all day. Right now a yard full of mud and slushy puddles sounds better than -30. Okay, enough whining about the weather.
On a more positive note it is beautiful isn't it?


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3/8/09

Trying to make the best of it.


I'm not at all pleased with winter at this point in the year. Especially now that I have had a short taste of summer and have returned to the artic. The weather was hovering around the freezing mark for several days giving me hope and visions of spring. But we are now plunged once again into bitterly cold winds and snow storms. Saturday was a pretty decent weather so our family and some friends decided to seize the day and attempt to enjoy winter while its here. I'm the first to admit I'm a total baby about the cold. I prefer to hibernate during our 6 or 7 months of winter. I'm beginning to get cabin fever though...and outgrow my jeans so I'm hoping spring comes soon.


A rare family photo. Not to bad eh?
Ok I totally realize my American friends and family will mock my use of "eh" in a sentence. Consider it a vocabulary lesson.
Its like a non commital question mark at the end of a sentence. Like making a statement without actually having to be bold enough to state it. It can be used in a variety of ways. I will now provide another sample sentence purely for your amusement and education. "A cup of Tim Hortins coffee sounds good right about now, eh?" You can feel comfortable using this sentence in most any situation you find yourself in while visiting our great country. Its a pretty good ice-breaker and the Canadians will be impressed at your attempt to speak their language even if they privately chuckle at your wierd American accent.


WEEEEE!
(There is actually a hill but you just can't see it in the picture..really there is)


I realized two things waking back up the hill pulling a sled and carrying a two year old.
1. I'm really out of shape.
2. I feel really old...or at least my knees do.
Nothing like playing in the snow like a kid to make you realize you're not a kid anymore.
We did have a fun afternoon though. We wandered off to a steeper hill but Silas and I got stuck in hip deep snow and gave up part way there. We were both so tired and cold by that time. The best option seemed to be just to hunker down in the pit we made trying to wade through and wait for Daddy to come rescue us with a snow mobile. I put Silas on the back of that thing (his first ride) kicking and screaming in terror and climbed on. Once we were safely delivered back at the house he said "Fun! Thankyou Daddy!" . That big scary loud machine wasn't so bad after all. It certainly beat breaking through the crust of snow and sinking up to my waist with every step for a half mile hike.
We warmed up with a pot of chili and a few more hours of visiting with friends. I got my baby fix too holding their 7 week old baby.
Not at bad Saturday, eh?
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3/5/09

My favorite work assignment


Everyday that we served at the mission in Baja Mexico we were assigned or volunteered for various jobs that needed to be done. These ranged from construction work, painting, cleaning bathrooms, weeding, cooking or helping in various ministries. My favorite assignment was being sent to the day home for disabled children to help out and fill in for staff who weren't there. I did a variety of other jobs listed above but this one was more like play than work. The mission in Baja is a very multi faceted ministry. The heart of the place is the childrens home (the orgional ministry) which provides a home for about 80 kids. Out of that ministry branches many "limbs" that minister to the surrounding community or support the childrens home. One of the newest of these is the day home for disabled children.

This little guy pictured above has the most adorable smile. It's not totally clear what is causing his problems but he is small for his age (4), is non verbal and is delayed in mental development. He was not at all impressed that I was helping him with his breakfast instead of his normal caregiver. He was very communicative and I could tell he was frustrated with his lack of verbal skills.


These are two of the older boys in the group, there are several older kids. They had a good time hamming it up for the camera. We then switched and they snapped pictures of me making goofy faces.


This little Angel (his name is actually Angel) was a joyful little bundle of energy. He keeps his caregivers on their toes! It was fun to play with him. He reminds me so much of a little girl that I had the priviledge of caring for a year ago. She also has Downsydrome and was in my home for 8 months. So bright and sociable.


This is my little amiga Lupita. I spent a morning "sewing" with her. She worked so hard at stringing the laces through the holes to sew the clothes onto the wooden bear. She has such a cheerful little sense of humor. And the dimples are so cute. She has cerebral palsy and some eye issues as well.
These are just a few of the kids at the day home. There are a few boys with muscular dystrophy which is a tragic disease that gradually destroys their bodies. They were still so full of personality and life dispite their prognosis. There are kids there with a broad spectrum of mental and physical challenges.
In this part of the world a child with a disability is not able to go to school (integration is just not an option) and they are often left on the side lines of society living their lives in a small house or bed. They grow up to survive by begging on the streets. When we were there three years ago this ministry was still only a dream and vision of a wonderful retired couple from Canada who had spent time volunteering at the mission. It is wonderful to see the fruits of their prayers and continuing hard work. The staff picks up each of the kids in the morning , feeds them breakfast, provides a stimulating and educational environment for them, provides equipment (often custom made) such as walkers and rough terrain wheel chairs, gives them medical attention at the mission clinic, and of course loves all over these kids until they return home later in the day.
I was so impressed at how well organized the volunteer staff were and how much attention to detail they had in a desire to see each of the children reach their potential. Its often hard to see past the wheelchairs, twisted limbs, or unusual features in special needs kids and really see the child. It was so fun to be able to spend enough time with them to see their individual personalities, their sense of humor and their tenacious and joyful spirits shine through. I loved every minute of it! After a few minutes I hardly noticed all the things that tell the world that they are "different" .
This was just one of the amazing things God is doing through his dedicated servants that our group had the priviledge to witness and experience. If you want to know more about some of the other ministries of FFHM check out their website.
http://www.ffhm.org/
They are a ministry founded on prayer and that moves ahead in faith. This work is done by the donations of caring people all over the world. Right now their donations are down because giving has dropped off. With a tough economy in the UnitedStates unfortunately charities and ministries like these are often the first things cut out of peoples family budgets. Every little bit helps and multiplies to change kids lives.


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3/3/09

We're home!


We arrived back in Canada yesterday afternoon. I am exhausted and am fighting a Mexican cold (I called it that because we get colds everytime we are there...we had several over our last 6 month stay). We had a really good trip though and our group was blessed with good health and safety during our long trip down and our stay in Mexico. Everything about the trip just fell together with no problems . I definately felt Gods hand of protection over even the smallest details. I am so proud of our team . For many it was their first time going into a different culture, but they did amazing. It was a busy fast paced week but they all kept up their stamina and enthusiasm until they were finished....I did notice the van ride to the airport in SanDiego was much quieter than on the way down :) Thankyou so much to those who prayed for this trip.
The above picture is Nathanael and I with our good friends Olga and Trinidad and their kids Isaac and Keila. We haven't seen them since we left the Baja three years ago but have kept in contact via email. Thy met us at the beach on Friday afternoon and brought Quesataco makings for all 15 people in our group, set up a little charcoal burner and went to work! It was AMAZING! The best tacos ever...I ate three of them! They came complete with fresh quacamole, hand made tortillas, fresh salsa, grilled nopales, onions and peppers, and of course lime. They were so generous, we went to the beach with the plans to all go our for dinner and take them with us but quickly revised our plans to include an appetizer of tacos (we had already pre-ordered burgers for everyone). They even brought gifts for our family. We had brought some gifts for them but were surprised that they had done the same thing. Thats Mexican hospitality for you, even though they struggle to find work and frequently go without the basic neccesities we take for granted they spent a few weeks worth of grocery money on their visiting friends. They were so excited and told me they had been counting down the days like kids at Christmas. It was a fun reunion.


Here is me with a few girls living at the orphanage. One girl is a daughter of one of the houseparents, the small one is a little girl named Nieves (icecream in English) who has been at the orphanage for most of her life, and the girl in pink is new to us and her name is Magai.


The tree in the center of the court yard is a favorite place for the kids to play while they wait for the dinner bell...big kids too.


This little guy snuggled with me all through morning chapel (Sala). It was fun to be there without my kids, I had the chance to really be focused on the work each day 100% and to really enjoy the kids who were there. Of course all the kids and staff who remembered us asked where our kids were ....and part of me would have loved to have them there. I know Aili and Roman would have been pretty easy and would have like to work along side us but it was definately a different experience going without them.
It was a long separation though and by they end I was anxious to get back to my kids. Silas and his uncle met us at the airport. Poor guy looked so shocked and confused to see us, he actually started crying. I think he had given up on us ever returning. Nathanaels identical twin brother quickly replaced Nathanael as "dada" (after all they look pretty much the same) and his auntie became "mom" . It took several minutes of him acting really shy and wierd around us before he started acting like himself. It wasn't quite the welcome I had invisioned but totally understandable and almost fascinating in a child psychology kind of way. All the kids are enjoying being home again and were thrilled to see each other. Silas had some issues sleeping last night and was really clingy but hopefully he'll settle in and we can have a better sleep tonight. Next time they'll come with us :) I'll have some more stories and pictures later.
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