Thursday, October 28, 2010

Operacion Rescate (Operation Rescue)

For the past few weeks now, our family (along with a few ORI co-workers) has been going to a feeding center/school down in Guatemala City called OperaciĆ³n Rescate (Operation Rescue) to serve breakfast.  OR works with about 180 kids, ages 4 on up,  providing them with breakfast and then having classes for them.  The requirement is that they attend classes if they get breakfast. 

So, when we go to OR to help serve breakfast, we usually get there a little before 7 and start greeting the kids that come in early.  Around 7 (or soon after, or quite a bit after!) the bus pulls in with anywhere from 70 to 90 kids from the city dump.  Giuseppe (the founder of OR) stands outside the main door and greets every child that comes off the bus, and he invites us to do the same.  So, the kids are greeted with a whole line of "gringos" to hug and kiss!!  Giuseppe said that many of these children aren't given the time of day before they leave home, so he wants to show them the love that they are missing.

The hug line
Once all the kids are inside and seated, Giuseppe tells them a story and then has a prayer for them.  He always tells them to be thankful for what they have and he reminds them that God has a special plan for their lives.  Afterwords, we get the breakfast line moving!!  Each kid gets two pancakes, so there are usually two people dishing out pancakes, one person putting syrup on them, and then several people handing them out.  It's really quite a process!

Getting the line moving
Eventually, all the kids get their breakfast and we can walk around and hand out any extra pancakes that we may have.  For some of the kids, this is their only meal of the day so they will eat as many pancakes as they can!!  Many of the kids also enjoy a little extra syrup, so we can go around and pour syrup on their pancakes too.  And, of course, we can interact with the kids, play with them and pick on them!! 

After everyone is done eating, we'll go around and clean off the tables, wipe them down and try to push the stragglers to get done!  Each kid finishes up and goes and gets their toothbrushes and uses the pila to brush their teeth.  Many of the kids have rotten teeth already, but any little bit helps!!

LOTS of dishes!!

Teeth brushing line
After breakfast, all the kids go to their separate classes and we have a little time to talk to Giuseppe.  He will often tell us the stories of several of the children.  Some have been beaten by their fathers, others have had a parent die and even others have come to school with rat bites from overnight.  Many of their stories are heartbreaking beyond anything we can ever imagine.  Giuseppe talks about each child like they were his own and you can very well tell he is EXTREMELY proud of them!!  Oh, and today a rat ran out of a drain, very out of it, but it was still a rat... 

No, he did not kill the rat, it's Operation Rescue, remember?  =)
Every week I look forward to going to Operation Rescue and being with so many of God's precious children.  Whenever I go, I walk away feeling so many different emotions.  Anger at how these children are sometimes treated, happiness because of their smiles and hugs, helpless because I am only one and I can only do so much, but at peace because I know that each child is in God's hands and he is always taking care of them! 

Saturday, October 23, 2010


One day when we were out at a nearby orphanage, we noticed that many of the boys needed new shoes.  A few weeks ago, we got a container that had several large boxes of shoes, so we decided to take the boys out to get new shoes.  They were THRILLED!! 

This morning around (nothing is ever exact around here) 9:30, we arrived at the orphanage and we were immediately surrounded by boys eager to get their new shoes.  In no time at all, we had 14 boys, two volunteers, my mom and myself all settled into our 15 passenger van and we were on our way!  My dad, Sheryl (ORI co-worker) and my sisters had gone to the warehouse a little ahead of time to get the shoes laid out, hoping to make things a little easier!!

We got to the warehouse and got right to work.  Each adult took two kids to start with and tried to get them fitted with shoes.  Those that weren't being fitted were running around the warehouse, either playing soccer or just being boys!  We were very quickly able to get a new pair of shoes for all the boys at the orphanage, as well as at least two pair of socks for each boy! 
Fitting shoes

Roberto with his new shoes, he loves them!!!

The whole gang and their shoes!
While at the warehouse, we needed to use the forklift to help load someone up with their monthly food, so I hopped on and all of a sudden, I also had 6 boys on board with me!! We went VERY slow, but to those "helping" me drive and those riding, it was great fun!!

Yeah, he enjoyed it...

How many kids can you fit on a forklift?

 After we were done with all the shoes, we took all the boys to a local Pollo Campero to get ice cream cones.  The look on the cashier's face when I asked for 22 chocolate cones was pretty priceless, but they more than willingly obliged!!  I think that it is safe to say that all the boys (and helpers!) enjoyed their ice cream!!!

There's more than one way to eat an ice cream cone!!


All the boys quickly polished off their ice cream and it was time to head back to the orphanage.  We dropped everyone off to a chorus of "gracias," smiles and hugs.  To see the smiles on these kids faces and receive their hugs is SO much fun; and it just makes me what to stay here in Guate longer!!!  =)

Friday, October 15, 2010


I've realized lately how, sometimes, it's the simplest things that make me happy.  It doesn't have to be anything out of this world or even out of the ordinary, but something about it makes me happy!  So, here are a few of my "happiness" things.

1.  Handing the guards of a community 6 boxes of Chocopops.  Who knew that such big, mean looking guys could giggle like that!!

2.  Having 20+ toddlers running to me (and others with me) for hugs.  Wonder how many hugs they get every day?

3.  BLUE SKY!!!  After five months of rain, some blue sky and sunshine can brighten my day up like nothing else!!

4.  Sleeping and smiling babies, there's just something about them, especially if I get to snuggle and play with them!!

5.  Helping to get two little boys to the dentist.  This morning, we were dropping Shyanne off at school and two little boys opened the door for us, they were THRILLED that they get to go to the dentist!!  Much to their dismay, the van drove off without them.  The look on their faces when we told them that we'd take them to meet the van was priceless, who would have thought the dentist would be so much fun??

6.  A crazy dog to walk with, snuggle up with, play with and tackle.  

7.  Friends to laugh with, talk with and hang out with.  

8.  Crazy little things in life.  Flat tires on cars, that are still driving, 3 wheeled "trucks," bus butts, whatever!!

9.  A new camera lens to use, even for a little while.  So nice for taking pictures of hummingbirds!!! 

10.  Hugs...  whether they're kids hugs, hello hugs (not so much goodbye hugs...), or "just because" hugs, they can usually make me happy!

Happiness is around every corner, sometimes we just need to keep our eyes open for it a little more!!

Monday, October 11, 2010


Yesterday at church we had child dedication.  It's always so much fun to watch the parents walking down the isle, holding their little one like they are the world's most precious gift, which they are!!  It's neat to watch as the parents dedicate their little one to God and present them to the church family.  I love the joy and contentment on the parents faces at showing off their baby (or toddler). 

But, as I'm watching the parents and the kids, hundreds of faces pop into my mind.  The faces are of the children that may never be publicly dedicated to God, that may never have loving parents to show them off to the world or a church family to stand with them.  I see the faces of the fatherless here in Guatemala, those that have been abused, abandoned, rejected, and forgotten.  Some of the faces I know exactly where the children are, often times an orphanage.  Other children I have no idea where they are; they have either been adopted or sent back with their parents, no matter what their situation is like.  There is one thing in common with all these children though, God had them all in His hands and he will NEVER let them go!! 

"For I know the plan I have for you," declares the Lord, "Plans to prosper you and NOT to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future."  -Jeremiah 29:11

Monday, October 4, 2010

I could complain, BUT...

I recently realized how often I complain, maybe not outright complaining, but just saying something in passing.  But then I thought about how little I really have to complain about!  For example...

   -I could complain about it being so stinkin' cold, BUT, at least I have sweatshirts to pile on and extra blankets to curl up in.
   -I could complain about cold showers, BUT, at least I can take a shower and usually have a dry towel to dry off with.
   -I could complain about the long periods of time that we're always in the car, BUT, I'm fortunate to be able to sit in a car and not have to walk for miles on end to get somewhere.
   -I could complain about how expensive so many things are, BUT, then I realize that I don't really NEED anything else.  I have everything I need, plus quite a bit, and I do have a little (not much!) extra money on hand to buy something if I feel it is absolutely necessary.
   -I could complain about how hard math or science is, BUT, at least I have the privilege of doing school and being able to move ahead in life.
   -I could complain about not seeing enough miracles in daily life, BUT, then I look around.  I can look at the baby I am snuggling with and see the tiny miracle of life.  I can pick on my sisters and realize the miracle and blessing of family.  I can go to an orphanage and realize the miracle of second chances at life.  All of a sudden, there are so many more miracles around me that I had at first thought of!
Miracle of new life

Miracle of Family
Life is full of things to be thankful for and miracles to look out for, sometimes you just have to put aside complaining a little while to see them!!