Wednesday, July 25, 2012


I moved around a lot while growing up. Made lots of friends, lost lots of friends, but some friendships just stuck. One of those friends that has continued to remain close is my friend Sydney.

I remember meeting her while we were both "volunteering" in the church preschool class. We were something like 7 and 8, circa 1999.  We were playing with the little kids and I asked her why she was hiding in the kitchen playset cabinet. I don't remember her response and she might even have a different story, but that is my first memory of Sydney.

My first time at the beach (2007)

Since then we've danced in the Nutcracker together, went on many family vacations, camping, school dances, helped one another get ready for prom and shared many embarassing moments together. My favorite: when we went hiking in the Red River Gorge with our dads. I'll spare her the embarassment. I don't remember a Sunday at church without her. She is a friend who has always been there.

I threw her a baby shower and was there when her sweet little Emma was born. I have so much love for this little girl. She has a great momma.

Not only am I honored to have been her friend for 13 or so years, but she has asked me to be her Maid of Honor when she and her hubby-to-be get hitched. With great power come great responsibility and I'm excited.

She, her mother and I went wedding dress shopping on Monday and were very successful, not only in dress selection. I had the opportunity to introduce them to bubble tea.

A tough contender, but it didn't make the cut

They didn't like the pearls, but still enjoyed it
My family has always been really bad at taking pictures. I do have more of the two of us when we were younger, but she would kill me if I posted them.

I love this girl. We've been through many happy times and many rough times together. it's just one of those friendships that no matter what happens, will never end.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Getting Back in the Swing of Things

I've been back for over a full week now and it's already felt as though I've been here all summer. Throughout this past week I would think to myself, "Where was I this time last week?" My answer usually was playing with kids, attempting to speak Spanish or puppets. I miss that.

There is no doubt I miss Honduras, but I've definitely missed my old Kentucky home. I started back at AirMart. They let me out of the conference room and promoted me to the front desk. It's the little things that make life exciting.

Something I've really enjoyed  is getting to catch up with friends. One of my best friends and roommates, Sharayah, came into town to take a test for a class she's taking this summer. It was a great excuse for her to visit me.

We went to a new restaurant in Lexington called Shakespeare and Company. The atmosphere and decorations were great. We really enjoyed our goat cheese and herb pizza as well. The service wasn't so great, but I'd give it another chance.

Afterwards we went to our favorite coffeehouse, Common Grounds Coffeehouse to hear the live music they have every Friday and Saturday night. To our disappointment, the guy singing and playing his acoustic guitar wasn't very good. There was only a small table of his friends who yelled out inside jokes and songs for him to sing. Although it was somewhat amusing, we decided to head upstairs to chat and found this sign on the door of the room we wanted to go into.

We decided not to intrude. I thought about leaving the number of the CDC and their website for Zombie Preparedness. It's a comical website and amazing public relations case study. If you call or text the number on the sign, please let me know their response.

Only 2 1/2 more weeks and I move back to school. I can't believe how quickly this summer has gone by! It is definitely not what I expected it would be, but it seems that God always exceeds my expectations. Going to France didn't work out. Visitng my friend in England and Northern Ireland didn't happen, but the adventures I had in DC and living with Julie and Martin are unforgetable. I learned so much and grew in ways I didn't see coming. It was great making new friends in DC and seeing old ones in Honduras. This is my last school summer break and it's definitely been a memorable one. 

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Back Home

I've been home for 3 days now and am trying to play catch up. I've already jumped back into both jobs, church and hanging out with friends, so I apologize for the delay in writing about our last day in Honduras.

Thursday was definitely my favorite day. We only got to go to one school, but it was the one I enjoyed the most. The school was on top of a mountain, literally. We had to unload everyone from the Excursion so that Juan could drive it up the road. We hiked the rest of the way. Talk about a mountain top experience. It was beautiful. We could even see MEDA from there.

All the teachers, but one, were at a seminar that day. The one teacher left behind was with all the kindergarteners and 1st graders by herself. I don't know if she knew we were coming or not, but I'm sure she was happy that we came. The kids were so well behaved and super sweet. This was the poorest school we had been. Noah took my puppet for me, so I got to run around and take pictures.

Throughout the week, I was so thankful for all our translators. They were so patient and great at their job. Noah, Levi and Fernando went with us just about everywhere we went. I really enjoyed getting to know these guys and already miss hanging out with them.

Remember the Patterson family and Iris from my first post in Honduras? Someone found my blog when researching adoptions in Honduras. They somehow found the contact information for the Patterson's and have connected them with a group to help them with their adoption. I was so excited to hear this when Mrs. Patterson told me. It's great to see that God is using my blog to help others, especially such a great family that I had the honor of getting to know.

There is someone else that I met in Honduras that I really want to help. Her name is Genesis.

While in crafts, Mrs. Patterson could tell that she wasn't feeling well and asked her if she wanted to come sit with us. She nodded and was excited to take pictures with Mrs. Patterson's iPod touch, which now has a lot of pictures of me.

I asked her name and got her story as well. Her eyesight is very poor so she gets headaches a lot. It also greatly affects her school work. A lot of schools in Honduras do not have many textbooks, because they can't afford them. The kids have to copy everything out of the textbooks they do have. Genesis often makes mistakes when copying her school work, because of her vision.

Her family is unable to buy her glasses. I asked if someone donated the money would someone in Honduras be able to help her get glasses. Mrs. Patterson said yes, but there is another team coming in September that is hosting an eye clinic. They're hoping that Genesis will be able to get some glasses that have been donated. I asked that Mrs. Patterson let me know if she doesn't get any glasses, I would find money to get her some.

I met so many kids with similar stories to Genesis. I had the opportunity to speak to the youth Sunday school class this past Sunday and shared Genesis' and other kids' stories. I also get to speak at the adult Sunday school class this coming Sunday and hope that people will be more aware of the ministry our church has in Honduras and will want to go and be a part of it.

I didn't meet one Honduran that wasn't friendly and welcoming. It could be because we are American, but regardless they were sweet. Pastor Melvin and his family welcomed our team and others to their house our last night. We had a pinata and desserts. There were a lot of laughs and many happy taste buds.

I don't know if I'll ever be back in Honduras, but I said that my last trip there as well. God has a funny way about taking us places and putting us in situations that we never expected.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Hondruas Day 5

I cannot believe we only have one more day in Honduras. Our time here has been great and everyone has been very kind to us. The school kids are always so excited to see the puppets and us, but mostly the puppets. I got to speak at another school today and it went really well. I'm so thankful for Fernando translating for our team as we speak at schools. He rocks.

Fernando and me speaking at a school
The kids made us feel like celebrities today. They all wanted our autographs. I would ask the children their names (with the little bit of Spanish I know) and after they would tell me, they would continue to speak to me. I would then smile and nod hoping they didn't ask me anything. I WILL learn Spanish.

Kevin and Derek signing their autographs

When we arrived at the second school today, there was a group of kids learning a dance. Brent and I decided to jump in and Charlotte and Derek soon followed. We were decent at it, but the kids were 100 times better. Can you tell how confused we were?

The kids thought it was funny and just laughed at us, especially as we tried to run around one another to get the patterns. It was entertaining to watch I'm sure.

After three school shows and VBS, we were all exhausted. We headed back to MEDA for about an hour to rest and play cards like we always do when we have any free time. Our evenings are normally free, but today we went to a coffee roaster before heading back to church. They showed us how they roast the coffee and package it. It smelled wonderful. I may or may not have bought a ridiculous amount, but at $3.50/lb, I couldn't pass it up. I bought some of the coffee on my last trip and loved it. My roommates will be so happy.

After visiting the roaster, we went back to church for a potluck and games with the church members. I LOVE church potlucks. I have never been to a bad potluck. I was a little nervous about what kind of food the church families would bring, but it was so delicious. They wanted to feed us traditional Honduran food and the kids dressed up too.

Before feeding us, we played games with everyone. One game was just kids playing. They had to steal shoes from the spectators and put them under their stools. One little girl grabbed both of my sandals before I could react. We had to recite a verse or sing in order to get our shoes back.

They also presented us with gifts the kids had made for us.

This is Joseph (the stud with the unibrow) who presented my gift to me and added a hug. He was just too cute in his getup for me not to take a picture.

Pastor Melvin asked two of us from our group to speak to everyone about what this trip has meant to us. Juan asked if I would speak, so I agreed to do so. I don't get nervous when I speak in front of people, but I really did not know what to say. If you've ever been on any sort of mission trip, you know how it goes. You go to serve and teach and in the end, you are served and taught so much more.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Honduras Day 3 and 4

Yesterday and today we got to start our daily routine of visiting schools and VBS at the church. We visit two different schools each morning. We sing songs, perform a skit, a team member gives a small summary afterwards and then pass out candy. When I say "we" I mean the puppets. The kids love them and they're a great arm workout. There are so many pictures I could post, but I'll just post a few.

I got to speak at a school on Monday with Fernando translating for me. The kids looked as though they were listening and interested, but kids smiling and laughing as they point to me and talk in Spanish happens a lot.

After lunch, we prepare for VBS at Melvin's church. The girls and I lead the crafts. Today the kids made masks and they loved them. Like I said, so many pictures, so many cute kids.

After VBS yesterday, we went to the pottery place that made all the pots that we put in the landscaping on Saturday. I remembered going there on one of my previous trips, but it was cool to see it again. They make beautiful and ornate pots. The family that owns the place showed us around and how they make them too.

The weather is absolutely fantastic here! I'm not sure I can say that enough. I'm definitely not looking forward to going back to the 100+ weather in KY. Because there is no daylight savings time, it gets dark pretty early here, which I'm not a fan, but the great weather makes it all okay.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Honduras: Day 2

I'm sorry to keep you anxiously waiting for my next post. The internet was out Sunday and the power was out most of the day today (developing country problems), so I have not had a chance to blog until now, but don't worry. I'm back.

Yesterday was full of adventures and cute kids. We all went to Pastor Melvin's church to help out with Sunday school. Kevin taught the youth group, Brent the adults and Charlotte, Chloe and I taught the 6 and under Sunday school class. Well, Charlotte taught, because she's the only one that speaks Spanish. Chloe and I just played with the kids. They were very well behaved and so much fun.

This is Joseph who was in our class:

I'm convinced he'd be famous in Kentucky. Three reason:

1. He's sprouting a unibrow. Can you say Anthony Davis?
2. Look at that cute face with the sweet smile. 
3. He's a sharp dresser. What a stud.

After church we all went out to lunch at a great restaurant. We were served a traditional Honduran meal, the name of which I was never told, but it was delicious. I love tea and got to try hibiscus tea. It was amazing.

My yummy meal of chicken, fried plantains, cheese, refried beans, rice, tortilla and salad

Most of the group at lunch
Later that afternoon we went to a church plant in a nearby town. The church is called "Nuvea Esperanza" (New Hope). It's a pavilion with a desk, seats and benches underneath.

And of course the girls and I sneaked off to play with the kids and Joseph was there. His mom comes and teaches the kids every Sunday. I had no idea what she said the whole time, but her smile and kind heart broke the language barrier. She has a great ministry and I pray that it'll flourish and continue. Juan gave her a break and taught the kids.

On our way to the church, we got stuck in mud. It was pretty bad. Joshua was convinced we were going to die. He was only joking, but he was quite dramatic.

Joshua kept making this face saying, "We're going to die!"

After many attempts, we finally made it out. The entire church was watching us at one point. We had to call for back up as well to pull us out. It was a great team bonding moment and Hunter was totally in his element trying to create a mechanism to wedge us out.

Today, we went to a school and did a VBS program for a daycare that is held in Melvin's church for children of single moms. Posts and pictures to come tomorrow.

God is good.  

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Honduras: Day 1

I don't know if you caught it from my last post, but I'm really excited to be back in Honduras. I had the opportunity to spend more time with Melvin's family today who, to my surprise, remember me and were happy to see me back. We spent our day at Melvin's church doing outside maintenance and landscaping. It looks awesome.


There was a lot of dirt moving

Part of the finished product

Mild exhaustion has already started to set in. We were outside majority of the day and the weather was wonderful. High of 75 and overcast is so much better than the gross 100 super humid weather back home.

Tomorrow we teach Sunday school at Melvin's church to the 6 and under kids. Thankfully Charlotte is teaching/translating so Chloe and I get to just play with the kids. It's going to be great.  

Saturday, July 7, 2012

We're Here!

We're here! After 4 hours of flying, 2 1/2 hours of driving, we made it safe and sound and it's wonderful to be back. Our flights were on time, went smoothly and we had great company.

Our team at 6 AM in our "beautiful" yellow shirts

When we arrived at our gate in Atlanta, it was easy to spot the other mission teams who were going to be joining us on the flight. Being the extrovert that I am, I decided to go chat with a group. They were from Alabama and headed to the north coast of Honduras. They were very friendly and seemed to be no strangers to the place. I asked to quickly pray with them before boarding our flight and they were more than happy to do so.

When we landed in Honduras, the flight attendant welcomed us and asked all the passengers to  applaud all four mission teams on the plane. We had just hit Honduran ground and I already knew that God has big plans for this week.

Missionaries Richard and Mark greeted us once we got through customs, loaded up our bags and joined us for lunch. Kevin and Derek got a little adventurous and went for a national food chain, while the rest of  stuck to the good ol' American hamburger at Wendy's.

I had the excitement of riding shotgun in Richard's van. You haven't really experienced riding in a vehicle, until you've ridden in a vehicle in a developing country.

Double yellow lines?
What do those even mean?

Speed limits?
Do they even exist?

"Exciting" is really the only word I know to use to describe the adventure.

Upon arriving at MEDA, we were promptly greeted by the missionary families who live in the compound. Even the little kids came running up to us, shaking our hands and introducing themselves.

This is Iris, Mark's soon to be daughter, once the adoption goes through. She recognized Charlotte and Chloe from their last visit to Honduras. She was not at MEDA the last time I was here, but her brother Elvin was and he loved hanging out with us. He has since been adopted by another family at MEDA. I'm excited to get to know Iris and her 6 brothers better. (That's right, 6 brothers, they all have super biblical names and they're awesome)

We got to enjoy spending time and fellowship with the missionary families and Hondurans through an intense game of volleyball, "Honduras style," meaning kicking was totally allowed. It was a bit scary, but made the games much more entertaining.  

We loaded up in this awesome vehicle as well as a SUV to the church for dinner.

Dinner consisted of tortillas, refried beans, sausage links, eggs and fried plantains. If you've never had fried plantains, you're missing out. Melvin's (the pastor) wife Alejanda and several church ladies served us all with a smile. After expecting dinner two hours prior, I was so thankful for their kindness and willingness to serve us.

I've studied and learned about Latin American cultures in classes and it will never cease to amaze me how "dinner at 6" really means 7:30 or 8. Showing up early or even on time can be offensive, because of the value they place on relationships and spending time with others. It is very nice not having to stress out about being somewhere on time and embracing the collectivist culture. My tendency to plan and be prompt about everything can often get the best of me. Just enjoying my time talking to Mark's family has been great and I don't have too much time to do that.

Our motto for the week is "be flexible and intentional." While we're here, we want to come alongside the ministry that is already established in Honduras and support, encourage and aid them in any way we can. In order to accomplish that, we much be flexible with what we do and intentional about how we do it. I've been asked to teach on Monday at the schools where we'll be doing our puppet shows. I'm nervous, but I'm trusting in the Lord to provide me with the right things to say and best way to speak the gospel.

Tomorrow we go to the church to help with some outside maintenance as well as with the youth group in the evening. Today was fun, but I'm anxious to see what God will reveal to the team this week.

The puppets are best friends for the next week. They speak Spanish and we don't.
At the "treetop rest stop"

Disclaimer: If anything looks weird or different from normal, Blogger has changed to Spanish, because of my location. I don't know Spanish, so I'm just working off my memory of where I think buttons are on here.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Off to Honduras

After once again tackling the "wild and wonderful" forests of West Virginia, I safely made it back to Kentucky.

The night before my trip home, a huge storm hit Virginia, West Virginia and Eastern Kentucky. The Weckerlein's trees suffered some damage, but thankfully their house was okay. I didn't expect the storm to cause any problems for my trip home, but boy was I wrong.

Long story short, no electricity = no way to pump gas. After searching for a gas station, with the fear of running out of gas before I found one, I waited for 45 minutes for it. West Virginia, you never cease to amaze me.

I've been home for 5 days now and head to Honduras tomorrow. No, of course I haven't started packing yet. I don't have to be at the airport until 5:45 AM. That's plenty of time. Plus, I haven't completely unpacked from DC. I've been too excited finding out and preparing for a new niece and spending time with my family and friends.

That's right, I'm going to be an aunt again and I'm super excited!

It's been 5 years since my last trip to Honduras. I'm very anxious to go back and see what God has planned for the team and me. I have been asked to prepare and teach a short lesson to go along with one of the programs that we'll be doing at the schools. I know, I'm talking to a bunch of kids, but I'm still nervous. I'm not nervous because I'm speaking in front of people, but because I want to communicate clearly and communicate the gospel.

As I said before, I will be blogging while I'm there and hopefully some of my fellow teammates will be willing to write posts as well. Thank you for all of you who have supported me and the team financially and prayerfully. They have been greatly appreciated.