Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Reality Check

I work with a student intensively that has very little English. He is from Guatemala and originally spoke an Indian dialect. Between his broken Spanish/English and my poor Spanish we manage to communicate.
Today I brought a globe into the class and was talking with him about where Guatemala was and where Indiana was. He told me he had walked from Guatemala to Indiana. Frankly, I thought it was a speaking error, but he was adamant.
After talking with the pastor who also works with him, I found that he did travel from Guatemala to Texas on foot. Part of this trip was through the desert. He is 10 years old! When he got to Texas someone paid for him to fly to Indiana.
I was humbled. Here is a mom and son that so wanted to be here, that they walked near a thousand miles through harsh terrain. Here is a boy on his third language, in a new place, struggling to succeed in school, that is so sweet and puts forth so much effort.
Though our family has had their fair share of struggles lately, it is nothing compared to this little boy's! The next time I feel like whining, I will give my self a reality check and think of this little boy's story.

Ana's Ninth Birthday

 For Ana's early birthday party, we traveled to Grandma and Grandpa Eiler's house. We had a great time visiting with family and eating yummy food.
 Ana invited a friend to go along (who bought her walkie talkies--which they proceeded to wear the battery out on!)
 It was great to have a friend along because they kept each other occupied hopping on hay bales!
On the day of her birthday we went out for "real" Chinese. It is a hawker stall in an international grocery store. We had bao zi, jiao zi, and fried noodles. There wasn't much left over!!
Happy Birthday!

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Mitike's Room Redo

I've been working hard on the house these past couple of years (hopefully I can work backwards and post some of the changes), but bedrooms are usually put off until the end. Mitike, for her birthday, received several things for her room. We went to work, and I think it turned out pretty well.
 We based the room around this colorful Ethiopian basket. We bought from the lady that kept the guest house and made baskets to sell to people that stay there. I consider it a work of art!
 Many of the pennants were already made. We had them up in Singapore and China! Thanks to the Mike Eiler family for the curtains!
 Yeah Aunt Kim! The bedspread matches really well! I decided to just hang clips on the wall so that art work could be changed out when she wants. Grandma, the rug is looking good! Sadly the beautiful wood--that was in really good shape--has to be sanded and refinished because the carpet pad stuck to it. Fall Break project!
Mitike's favorite part are the baskets and chalkboard. The fabric was bought from IKEA while we were in Singapore. Matt always laments that I don't get rid of stuff, but look how great this turned out!

Ana asked for baskets, pennants, and a chalkboard! Unfortunately all her things will have to be made from scratch! More fall break!

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Light in the Darkness

As we continue to hear truly terrible things that go on around us, we frequently hear, "Why do you stay there?"

1. We love the community. There is a tight knit group of Christians that look out for each other. We share life. Can you do that elsewhere? Sure, we had that same type of community in Singapore and China. But here it is a choice to live in an undesirable area that brings us together. There are pastors of big churches in the suburbs, pastors of small churches in the neighborhood, a family that runs a woodworking shop for local dads, a physical therapist, teachers, construction managers, computer programmers, and nurses. All living together to bring life to this area.
Today we dedicated a house that is being finished soon. We got to write verses on the studs before the dry wall goes up. 

2. We see change. Even in the three short years we have lived here there are been many positive changes. These range from more pride in the neighborhood to neighbors looking our for each other.

3. We are used in small ways. Matt was able to help someone by calling 911. We often have movie days on the weekends and kids from the neighborhood watch a decent movie in a safe environment. We are able to have positive interactions with many of our neighbors. It's great to live in a place where children of all colors play together with no problems.

4. If you don't bring in light-darkness wins and a sense of hopelessness reigns. This area around here is known for the high amount of overdoses. Last week a 22 year old was murdered over a gaming system that was stolen from him. Sometimes just living life in the neighborhood, showcases a different way to live--a better option. A life of hope even when everything doesn't go your way.

5. God has showed us that where He puts is the safest place to be. Sure we take precautions, and our kids have rules that they wouldn't have elsewhere, but we are not afraid to be here. 

We are glad God is able to use this odd group of people to love people here in Brookside.

Back to Blogging...

I'd like to get back to blogging. My classes are just about finished, China and Mitike's 4 day a week counseling program has come to an end, and my new job has less "homework." I'm thankful to be in a better place!

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

A Great God!

Be encouraged! We serve a God that is more immense than we can fathom.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Angle Tree and Caroling

This past weekend I had the privilege to deliver our Angel Tree gifts. There was a bit of a snafu when we accidentally switched two family's gifts, but all was put right in the end.  Our family has participated in Angel Tree for years (they have this in Singapore too!), but this was the first year I had ever delivered the gifts. 

One of the houses was in a "bad" area.  We drove up to a tiny double.  The one side must have had only three rooms, but we saw at least five people come out of it! There were double doors and double deadbolts.  A five year old boy with a shining face came running out yelling gleefully, "My presents are here!  My presents are here!" The grandmother invited Ana and I in.  In the living room had a couch, a t.v., and the most pathetic Christmas tree I had ever seen.  Think Charlie Brown tree, but purple.  It had  no ornaments or presents. It was about three feet tall and set directly on the floor. 

Now I know Christmas isn't about the decorations or the gifts, but I wanted to cry right then and there.  Here was a grandmother taking care of her grandchild and other assorted relatives.  They had as close to nothing as you can get (in America). Giving these gifts gave me more pleasure than any other I will give this season--because they were needed and gratefully accepted.

Mitike, Ana, and I also went caroling to two shut-ins from church and a nursing home.  All we did was sing and hand out paper stars with a Christmas message on it, but again the pleasure in receiving the smiles was priceless. 

Take time this Christmas to reach out to the poor and neglected.  You'll leave recharged and full of the true Christmas spirit.