Sunday, June 27, 2010

Jenni Ramsey going back to El Salvador!

Just wanted to let you know that one of our team members, Jenni Ramsey, is headed back to
El Salvador in July. She is leading a team from a different organization so she will not be back at the same orphanage that we were at, but a government run orphanage. There are so many orphanages and so many children that need love. Here is the link so you can follow their journey!

I still think about the beautiful children in El Salvador and long to go back soon! Please keep praying for adoption in El Salvador and that God would open the floodgates for the orphans to find families!


Friday, March 19, 2010

I uploaded pics!

For more reading and pictures...

Saturday, March 13, 2010

“Wendy, will you be our mother?”

“Wendy, will you be our mother?”

I am in the plane on the ride home. It is dark and we are far above the clouds now. I can see the lights. Is this what Wendy felt like flying home from Neverland in Peter Pan. Did the words “Wendy, will you be our mother haunt her like they are haunting me tonight?

That is what the Lost Boys said to Wendy. This is also what some of the older girls keep saying to me. I feel like I have found some of the lost children of the world. They are getting meals everyday, clothes and shelter and even school. I am just not sure how much love they receive. The women at the orphanage are nice, but they have a big job to take care of that many kids. They are just starving for hugs and attention. I told them I wish I could take them all home(Don’t worry Kevin, it is not possible). The only hugs I saw the kids get this week were from us. I felt like at times I needed 7 more arms to give them all the hugs they wanted!

Girls would just come up to me and just grab me and wrap their arms around my waist. They would look up into my eyes. I could not speak their language, but I could see the pain and sorrow and the joy in their eyes. They were looking for love…and hope. By the end of the week many started to really unfold. That is what feeling loved does to you. We saw it happen! Over and over again!

Many of the young moms there have come out of abusive homes. They did not choose to have a baby. Now they are 12-15 and have a baby. They have been put in this orphanage and share a room with about 6-7 other young moms and their babies…no really…all in the same room. Can you imagine how much sleep they get? They should be outside running around with the other 12 yr olds. When we treated their hair for lice, we really bonded with them. We all agree that was the first time in 3 days we saw smiles from any of them. After that they started to smile at us when we walked by, when before they would just look down and frown when we passed by.

One of the big things the girls wanted to do this week was the hand clap games. You know, the ones we would play on the playground. Well towards the end of the week, I was hand clapping with a small girl. When we were done, she ran off. There were two of the little moms sitting next to me. I decided to be crazy and turned to one and put up my hands towards her to play the game and she shook her head no. I did the same to the other little momma. She is 12 and we played 2 rounds of hand clap games and she smiled a lot. She did not say anything, but I think I could tell it meant a lot to her to be treated like a child…just for a couple of rounds of hand claps. She could enjoy her childhood again and be like her friends. I know it was brief, but there was an unfolding of her heart in that moment.

Another unfolding moment: The first day we arrived at the orphanage, we started to take a couple pictures of the kids. We were surprised how much they loved it!! They wanted you to take the picture and then show it to them. This happened many times that first day. Now that I look back at it, I think they wanted to see what they looked like. They wanted to see if they really were beautiful. That is why I love taking pictures. I love capturing the beauty around me. I told the girls many times a day how beautiful they are. Who tells them this when we are not around? Well one of the girls, Maria(pic above), would always look at me with such an angry look on her face, but yet she wanted multiple pictures. This hit a cord in me. I could guess the pain in her heart that made her heart so hard and the frown on her face. I decided that I was going to make her smile. I would get ready to take her picture and then I would put the camera down and put a big frown on my face and she would just light up. I did this many times, until a few days later, she stopped frowning at all and just kept smiling. We really bonded over something so silly. The night we left, she was on of the couple of girls that were crying on the side of the truck where I was sitting. She gave me a note before we left and told me I was her “best amigo”


If you have followed us all week, has your heart been moved? Have you cried and prayed for us? Do not stop praying for these orphans. I told them I hope to come back one day, but I also told them I was going to send my friends her to see them. Have you ever thought of going on a mission trip to minister to the orphans in their distress? You might think that you are not capable of doing something like this. You are. Do you have two arms that can wrap around a young child? Do you like painting toe nails pink? Do you like to kick the soccer ball around or throw some hoops? All they really want is to be loved. Adoption is so hard right now in El Salvador, all we can really do right now is pray for the floodgates to be open for adoption down there, or go visit them and continue the unfolding work. There is so much that can be done. Let this be the start of a steady stream of visitors down to this orphanage so this child will not feel like “the Lost Children” of El Salvador. Be on the next team down there. It just might unfold your heart to see just how big a God we serve….a God that can bring hope to the broken and healing through love. Oh, will you be part of the blessing of visiting orphans? You will come back changed.

We are going to try to post pictures somewhere and post the link here.


Friday, March 12, 2010

Compassion visit/sightseeing

We had a fun morning debriefing at Casa Mia. It is such an amazing bed and breakfast.
If you are ever here, you should check it out!
I started supporting a Compassion child here in El Salvador this past Dec. I picked her because I knew then that I was coming here over spring break. I prayed that night there would be some way to meet her. Well, today was Estefany's 11th birthday and we all got to have lunch with her and her mother!! The compassion visit went great and she is such a sweet girl! I brought a big full of little things for gifts for her. It was fun to see her face light up when she opened the bag. We ate at a nice place for lunch and then had ice cream for her birthday. We took them and the team on our sightseeing outing for the day. We drove up the mountain and went to the top of one of the five Volcanos in El Salvador. At the top, we saw a place selling jewelry. I told Estefany to pick out something. Everything was about 2 dollars and she was smiling big after she got her selection.

The volcano crater was fun to see. The next place we went was funner for me, though. We took them to the local Walmart. They asked her if she had ever been to a place like that. She said no. We got lots of food for her and her family to take home like beans, rice, sugar, meat, and also a pinata for her birthday. The Compassion host that was with us told us this is will be a day she will remember for the rest of her life. It was such a blessing to be with her and to hear about her life and to see how the support we give her monthly really does make a difference.

God is so good. He not only let it work out to see her, but let us see her on her birthday!

Home tomorrow night!!

The Final Adios

Our plan was laid out at breakfast. Well, sort of. It seemed like there were a million loose ends to tie - donation distribution, birthday parties, final goodbyes. Plus, we needed to send Danilo and some others to the market to buy the rest of the supplies which meant no translator! Jenni and Jordan flew out that morning and we were already missing them, which meant we didn't even want to the THINK about saying goodbye to the kids. It was much easier to think about what needed to be done.

Once we arrived at the orphanage a few of us went to work organizing the donations into little bags to giving to each child. Piles of watches, toothbrushes, underwear, and soap covered the room which was at first a little overwhelming. However, when you put four women in a room - they will organize! The boys were most excited and proud to get the watches. One little boy kept showing me his and flexing his muscles.

Next was project PAR-TAY. 11 cakes, 4 pinatas, and 110 sugar-hyped kids later we had celebrated every single child's birthday! After a beautiful and very off-key (if I do say so myself) "Feliz Cumpleonos" we broke out the pinatas. We knew they were a hit when all the kids swarmed one that had dropped tearing it to shreds in order to get every piece of candy and dollar stuffed inside. I believe I still have sticky sugar all over my clothes :)

They young mom's have been on our hearts all week. The Amandas were able to teach them basic care such as keeping them cool. They've been wrapping them in layers of clothes and fleece blankets in the 90 degree heat. One result has been heat rashes. Many of the were very receptive and hopefully will continue to learn how to take care of their babies.

Then the dreaded goodbye. I personally had avoided the thought since the moment I met all of their beautiful eyes. We started to make our way to the truck the whole way giving out a towel to each and every child. The whole way I told myself, "Ok Mary Lauren, just keep yourself together". After a little boy came up to me with a big smile and told me, "Thank you for my towel," I lost it. BIG TIME. Before, they had been sharing one towel for every 25 kids so this was a big deal. Not to mention some of the kids had started their own water works. I tried to hug and kiss as many as I could. The kids we had bonded the most with clung to our arms and legs, begging us to not forget them. I looked around at the other team members only to see them crying too and receiving notes from the kids. They told us we were their angels from God and that they would be waiting until we come back.

The final adios was one of the hardest things probably all of us have ever done. But I thank God for protecting the kids. I have never understood God's love the way I did when I looked down at their innocent eyes and smiling faces that told the story of His sacrifice for us. Halleluiah! He would have died rather than live without us.

-Mary Lauren

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

"Adios Piojos"

“ Adios Piojos “

Bye, bye lice. Mission accomplished. Today we finished up with treating all of the children and some of the workers for lice. They were so happy and grateful to finally have some relief from the itching. The first day we started treating the kids we were starting to think it was hopeless, but as God always does, he proved us wrong and provided us and the children with one giant sweet kiss.

This morning started out with a loud pop and we woke up to no electricity. The power came back on just in time for us to eat breakfast and for the Bolanos and Jenny and her son Jordan to make it to there appointment in San Salvador with their adoption attorney. We were able to relax a little this morning and let Mary Lauren re-cooperate from her sickness and she is feeling much better now.

After we finished up with lice treatments, we provided dinner for the children and spent some time with them. After dinner, we were invited to attend their praise and worship service. They actually have a church on the property just for them. The whole praise service is lead by the kids. It was amazing to see them all dancing and singing to the Lord. I don’t think any child in the church from 2 to 17 wasn’t singing and dancing. They actually sang two songs that we sing in our church, “ I Am a Friend of God “ and “ Trading My Sorrows “. Their love for God is truly amazing. We came here to teach the children about God, but instead they have taught us about the love of Jesus. Most of the children were praying and they thank God for all that they have. Every child there has a story, all filled with sorrow. One of the girls was asked, “What is the greatest gift you have every been given. “ Her answer, without hesitation, was “ My Salvation. “ We all have a lesson to learn from these angels sent from God!

Tomorrow is going to be a day of fun and sadness. We are planning a party for the children to celebrate their birthdays. Some of the children have told us that their birthdays this week, while some of the children don’t even know their birthdays. We are having cake, balloons, piƱatas, and we will give them all the wonderful gifts that all of our friends and family have helped us collect and raise money to buy. It will also be a sad day because it will be our last day to love on them, but we will never forget them.

Amanda C.