Monday, March 30, 2015

CUMC Mission Team 2015

It was such a pleasure to have my home church here on a mission trip! It was a week full of installing 6 stoves, a Vacation Bible School program, and much fellowship. We even got a chance to go to the Macadamia Farm. The group was 8 wonderful people and it was an incredible week where God was clearly involved.


Wednesday, March 4, 2015

My Mom's Health

I want to start by thanking everyone from Maryland and specifically Catonsville United Methodist Church for their incredible support to my family. It has been most helpful and needed during this time for all of us.

My Mother was rushed to the hospital last week due to intense pain in her hip; a hip she had replaced 25 years ago. She was unable to move at all. The doctors did an x-ray and discovered that the titanium in her hip had snapped and in turn broken her femur with it. She was transported to shock trauma because they were determined to be better equipped to handle something of this magnitude. This was a very complicated case for all of them and she was in surgery for about 5 hours. In the end they were successful and able to fix her leg. They discovered while she was in surgery that she also had a fracture in her hip, from many years ago. She also does not have very much bone mass and so we are wondering if the new titanium in her hip will stick during this week.

She has made progress and is being transferred to another hospital this week for rehab and to be under observation to see if her bone is enough to grow together with the new artificial hip. We are waiting in faith and taking things day by day. My youngest sister, Haley, who is 15 years old, has been taking care of my brother. She has been an enormous help and for that reason I have decided to stay here; at least until something changes. My Dad reassured me that they are alright, even though I can imagine the pressure and concern for my Mom. All of us are just stepping out in faith as we wait and watch; knowing that He is in control.

We are so thankful that my brother has also done better than any of us could have anticipated. God has been answering each prayer along the way and truly helping in ways we couldn't expect. I thank you all so much for your prayers and offers to bring meals and help my family in any way. I speak for all of them, there are no words sometimes for the support you've given us. Please do continue to pray for my Mom's recovery and her spirit; I can imagine that for her it is a challenge to be in the hospital each day especially thinking and worrying about what the future might hold. But in the end, God is good!

Friday, February 13, 2015

English Classes

At Small Change for Big Change, we have around 100 students involved in the English program! I truly believe in education-all types. Especially learning another language. If you know English or more than one language, you are so much more likely to find work and be successful. It is also a beautiful way for the students in the community to get to know one another even more.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

School Supply Distribution 2015

The school year begins here in January. This year, we received donations to sponsor over 50 students! We had two days of distributions. This is such a blessing, as many students are not able to attend school because they cannot afford the supplies that they will need at the beginning of the year. Here are some photos.


Thursday, January 15, 2015

New Beginnings for the New Year

It has been almost a month since the last time I updated; I do apologize for the delay! It has been a whirlwind of a time with the transition to the new classroom and office space in Santa Catarina Barahona. The place is a huge blessing from God and has changed the dynamic of the project completely. I had a week of registration for English classes (between me and the other teacher who is from here, Emilsa) and there were about 80 students who are registered and separated into 10 different classes. We will be adding more classes in the near future. This generally will dwindle down as time goes on an as students are busy with school. On Monday of this week we begin with the official classes (we had workshops first) and the students are excited to learn! We have also begun with one of our sponsored students, Melissa, to tutor for a few hours per week. She takes time with some of the children who are struggling in their public school classes to help them along. We are thankful to have her on our team and be able to support the children in her community.

This is also the beginning of the school year for the children and teenagers in Santa Catarina; and we have raised enough funds to buy school supplies for about 50 students! This weekend and next week we will be having a school supply drive where 30 of the students and families will come to receive their supplies. We have another 20 but the lists were not handed out from the schools until late this week. We will be having another session next week. Thank you to all of you who have donated for these supplies, I promise that it will change the course of the school year for them!

As this exciting time continues, I pray God’s blessing on the project and the community. I see so much of His hand in it, as He makes things happen and puts everything into place. Please pray this along with me too.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Merry Christmas!

I’m sitting here listening to Christmas music and imagining that I’m looking out at snow falling and sitting next to a fire and Christmas tree. Somehow it still doesn’t seem quite like Christmas, even though I’ve been living in Guatemala for almost 3 years now. And no matter how long I’m gone, I never cease to miss my family. But I am grateful with where God has me in my life!

The English workshops began two weeks ago in the new classroom. I have been giving classes a few times per day to see which children and teenagers come to classes and who have come and dropped out. That way in January I will have an official registration time and give priority to the students who are interested and committed, and also have more of an idea of how to separate the classes. I will be giving classes along with Emilsa, the other hired teacher here from Guatemala. Through donations we have been able to hire her for more classes; praise God! She is a Christian and is always grateful for the opportunity to work and use her English. We have had full classes during these workshops and even had to turn down students because we ran out of room!
I do wish all of you a very Merry Christmas; to enjoy the time with family and remembering the important things in life. To remember why Christ came; and that after the joyous time of His birth and growing up came His sacrifice and suffering. I don’t ever want to forget how much this means to me, each day. Not just around this Christmas time.  Thank you always for your support; being here would not be possible without you all. May God bless you all!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

New English Training

It is a time of transition! Small Change 4 Big Change will officially have an office and classroom space right in Santa Catarina. This is something we have needed for a while, and God finally provided a space that we will be able to use beginning in December. The plan is to have many more English classes now that we can have a consistent classroom space. We will be able to move things from the office where we are now (in Antigua) into the other during the month of December; but the plan is to have at least the classroom space ready to use the second week.
As sometimes it is difficult to start up classes (in the sense that people begin and then eventually some lose interest) we are going to have what we call workshops. They will be twice per week to see who really is interested in signing up for full courses in January. It will also give us the chance to see who will be able to attend more advanced level classes.
As I mentioned before, the end of the year is coming to a close and for most of ourstudents, the 2014 school year has ended. Unfortunately we have had two students who have dropped out recently; one due to conflict with the University and the other because of not failing his exam at Maximo Nivel (the English language school). It brings great disappointment and sadness, to be truly honest. I have struggled recently with wondering if really what I’m doing here makes a difference. This type of work can be disheartening at times, and make me question if I am in the right place. It has been confirmed to me time and time again that this is where the Lord wants me for right now, but it has been a challenging few months. Please pray for the encouragement in times of disappointment.