'Twas the Night Before

Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house, not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse... except for the sound of me gently typing away on my laptop. I would like to send a thousand apologies for not updating the blog more often. Its one of my New Years Resolutions. Blog more. The last month or so has been crazy and wonderful all at the same time. For now, I'll just focus on the present instead of back-tracking.

As most of you already know, I'm in the States for the Holiday season. I fly back to El Salvador on January 13th. It has been such a blessing to be here with family and friends, but I also miss being with my family in El Salvador.
My family all got together for our Christmas celebration last weekend, so this weekend is going to be fairly low key. Tonight, Im staying at my brothers house. Everyone, except me, is already asleep and I can see the beautiful glow of the Christmas tree from the pull out sofa. With Tim not being home last Christmas and with me being out of the country for half the year, it has been such a blessing to have both of us home. Tomorrow, Tim and I will be getting up at 5:00 am (quite a feat for us, we are not morning people) to go Christmas caroling with family and friends. This has been my favorite Christmas tradition. Its the only thing we still do at Christmas that I remember doing with my Dad when he was alive.

I want to thank all of you for your love and support this year. I wish you and your families a wonderful Christmas and a very blessed New Year!

Also, we are in the process of getting together a Let's Start Talking team for next year. If you are interested or know anyone who is, let me know. If you would like to help with one of our quarterly mission teams, we'd love to have you. We especially need doctors for our medical mission in March. If you want to just come visit and see the great things happening in La Palma first hand, come on down! And after you've opened all your presents and gifts, try to think of some of the other items in your house that would make a great donation to either a local charity or to a family in La Palma. Sorry for the long La Palma sales pitch, but while you are approaching the new year, I hope you take a minute to consider all the different ways you can make a difference. :)

Love to you all and Merry Christmas,

Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up. ~Pablo Picasso

I have so much blogging to catch up on, but instead of trying to relay the last few weeks, let me just tell you about today.

Today is Monte's birthday and Reina wanted to throw him a surprise party. We had homemade tamales, compliments of Reina, and chocolate y strawberry cake. Delicious. And great company too.

After lunch, I was off to visit Liseth, Edith, and Flor, three of the girls from church. I went to their house and hung out with them and their little brother Edgar and their mom Anna. We had a good time and it was an excellent opportunity for me to practice my spanish. I was there for maybe 20 minutes before we decided to go visit Anna's sister, Morena. Morena is the woman whose husband died last month. I had been wanting to go see her also. I love going to Morena's house. She has a very beautiful garden and lives on the side of the mountains. Its so beautiful there and much quieter than it is in town.
This is one view of her beautiful garden.

They had been working crafts in the artesian style that is famous to La Palma. I mentioned that I wanted to learn to paint and draw like they do because I think their work is beautiful. Here is a picture of Anna and Morena helping me get started!

Seriously. Up in the mountains, in a beautiful garden, on a beautiful afternoon, learning to paint (color-she doesnt trust me with real paints yet, thats our next lesson!) La Palma style. Amazing day.

While we were working, they served us some very delicious coffee grown and produced in La Palma. (Don Jose cafe) and some sweet bread that was made the same way the artesians made it. She said you cant buy this type of bread at a bakery. It was made with black corn. All of it was very delicious and I felt so blessed to be there. While we were sitting there, Morena shared some stories and pictures about her late husband and his work. She said he used to study with Fernando Llort (famous artist) and that Alfredo, her husband, had started a business selling the local artesian style of art. She is continuing with the art in memory of her husband.
These are the finished pieces that I painted! Loved every minute of it!

This is something else her family makes and sells for about $10 or $12. She gave this to me as a gift. So sweet, but a fairly expensive gift to give. I tried to politely decline, but she was having none of that. So i thanked her for the gift and welcomed into my apartment my first Christmas decoration of the season.

More to blog soon!


Words or Deeds?

Is Missions About Words or Deeds?
I found the above article to be very interesting. It talked about that famous quote "Preach the Gospel always, and if necessary, use words." I think what this quote was trying to say is that our lives should be a constant testimony to the amazing God we serve. Its easy to consider myself a missionary here in El Salvador, but I should still consider myself a missionary when I move home. Sharing the Gospel in the States shouldn't be less important that sharing it in some far off country. I pray that when I move home, I can take the lessons I've learned here and continue to work for the kingdom in my everyday life.

Something else the article said that I found interesting:
"But man, if I hear another well-fed, TOMS-wearing evangelical kid quote St. Fracis ('preach the Gospel always, and if necessary, use words') one more time as a justification for their unwillingness to utter a word to anyone about Christ as the one true hope, I don't know what I'll do."

Wow. I think in missions its easy to get side tracked and focus soley on the actions of the trip. Building houses, medical clincis, schools, orphanages, food drives, clothing drives. These things are all great, don't get me wrong. I just pray that we never hide behind those things and forget to mention the real reason why we are here. Its because we serve an awesome God and we want to share that joy with others.

Please continue to pray for the work here in LaPalma that we may fearlessly speak the Word of God. Ephesians 6:19

Uncle Park

On a personal note:

Tonight, my great uncle Park passed away. The last of my Grandpa's (Jess Willis) siblings. We are indeed quickly losing an amazing generation of Godly examples and church leaders. Please dont take advantage of this generation. We need to appreciate them and learn as much as we can from them while we still have them.

Uncle Park. I did not know him as well as I would have liked to have known him. But this is what I can tell you. He had an irresitiable smile and unwavering faith in God. Despite his own failing health, he traveled to Missouri to be with my family when my grandpa passed away. I remember him sitting on the front row next to my grandma as they tried to comfort each other during that difficult time. I also know that as soon as he heard that I was coming to work in El Salvador, he called me to say how proud he was and how he wanted to help in any way he could. He told me that with his social security check, his monthly income was around $700, but that he knew that he could help finanically support me. I told him that his love and prayers were all the support I needed, but he wanted to help. He decided he would start out sending $10 a month and if he could, he would increase it to $20 a month. I greatly appreciate everyone who has contributed to make this work possible. But this gift in particular really got to me.
Luke 12:43-44 Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, "I tell you the truth, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth, but she, out of her poverty, put in everything-all she had to live on."

This week marks the one year anniversary since my grandma passed away. She has been on my mind a lot lately. I take comfort in this following verse. It was one of her favorites.
John 14:1-2
"Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, trust also in me. In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you."
I can almost picture her quoting this verse with a smile on her face and that soft warm gentle voice saying, "Dont cry over this, dont you know that our Father in heaven is looking out for us? And one day soon we will all be together in heaven. no sense in you crying right now. I'm just waiting for you to get here."


November is here. This month is going to be quite different from my other time here. Its going to be a lot more flexible and a lot less planned out.

Yesterday, I went to Honduras for an area wide church service. It was an excellent time to see our brothers and sisters from Ocotepeque (I JUST learned how to spell that, finally!) and to meet some new brothers and sisters from other parts of Honduras.

Today and tomorrow are holidays here in Central America. And yes, they like their holidays. It seems like theres always a holiday or some special event going on. For example, Monday is the holiday, but school is canceled for Tuesday as well, as a Dia de Descansar. Yeah, thats day of rest. We are taking a day of rest from having a vacation day. Then the school year ends next week. This week the school kids have their English final. After that, I will have a lot of test grading and getting their final grades in order.

Ive been thinking for the last few weeks of what I would do during my last month here before going to visit the States. I was worried I wouldnt have anything to do. But I know God has several adventures planned for me. This week, I'm hoping to visit Casa de Mi Padre. Its an orphanage in San Salvador that is doing some really great things. My plan is to meet with them and see the good work that they are doing. Hopefully I can learn from some of the things they are accomplishing and take that back to the work in LaPalma.

Im also hoping to work in Ocotepeque for a week this month. The goal is to teach a week long English seminar with English lessons and English Bible lessons. Please pray that this is successful. After that, I'm considering meeting up with another mission group to help build houses for a week further into Honduras. As of right now, I'm not sure the exact details and if this will come to be, but I know God has a plan and I'm just trying to be flexible.

We are also recieving a large shipment from the States. I will be working with the Lalli's to take care of unloading the shipment and organizing it.
Also, we have a group from the States coming the first week of December. We are planning a VBS for that week and I need to get working on those bilingual lesson plans for the kids.

A very busy month and I'm so blessed to be apart of all of it. The great thing about living here is you wake up not knowing what you will be able to do that day, and then God surprises you with something amazing. Some unexpected way you can bless someone and in return, you walk away just as blessed.


The man that I asked for prayer requests for in the last post died a little before noon today.

We hadn't been notified untill his niece, Edith, showed up for school at 1:20. For those of you that have been to La Palma before, the man that died is the uncle of Liseth, Edith, and Flor and he is the mayor's brother. Please continue to pray for the family over the next coming days. Death is always hard to comprehend but when the person is older and in a lot of pain, we can comfort ourselves by saying that they've had a good life and won't be in pain anymore. This man was in his mid 40s and for whatever reason, he chose to leave this life. I can't even begin to comprehend what the family is going through. Please pray that God grant them peace and comfort and that they can lean on each other and on God for support.

http://www.save.org/ For suicide prevention information.

Home Visits

This week, I went on a few home visits. I really enjoy going on home visits and getting to sit and talk with people in their homes. It helps me to get to know them better. For example, Thursday night at church, I looked around and realized I've been to a majority of the members houses that were present that night. It was very humbling to realize that these people walk miles in the dark up very steep hills after church and yet they don't use that as an excuse to not go. In the States, I've been guilty of finding excuses for not making it to weekly services. And we only meet three times a week. In La Palma, we meet seven times if you include all of the Bible classes that are offered on a weekly basis.
That being said, the picture above is from one of the home visits. This little boy is two months old and looked so peaceful sleeping in that hammock. I think they have the right idea here! All babies should have their own hammock! :)
That home visit was fairly emotional. The man of the house had unsuccessfully tried to kill himself the night before. He's still in the hospital and I'm not sure if his condition is stable or not. The family was obviously very shaken. Theres not really much you can say in that situation that is going to ease the hurt and fear that comes with knowing your husband wanted to take his own life. Sometimes, all you can do is just be there, show that you care for them, and pray with them.
Please pray for this family in the coming weeks. The husband has a long road to physical recovery and the emotional recovery for him and his family will be an even harder one.
Thank you for reading my blog! And thank you for your prayers. I ask that you pray for the work here in La Palma. Pray that we can hear what God's plan is and follow it.

La Iglesia

Sunday night we went to Honduras for worship service. It was their first time meeting in the new church building. I always enjoy getting a chance to worship there and visit our brothers and sisters. There were three people that responded to the invitation that night. All three of them were baptized the following day. (Currently, there is no baptistry in the new building. They are still trying to complete that part. And this allowed for some extra time to study and talk with the people that our now our brother and sisters.)

Monday night, the church in La Palma met for a night of singing and prayer. Our congragation has very few active men that can help with worship service. Hermano Modesto is one of the few that comes fairly regularly. The closest he has come to saying a public prayer was when I was very very sick and some people from church came to visit me. He led a prayer at that time but was very nervous and very quiet. Monday night, Modesto got up and led a prayer. Such a huge step for him. Since then, he has led a prayer during worship Wednesday night and Thursday night. Its such an encouragement to visiably be able to watch the church grow. So proud of him.
Wednesday nights church meetings are always held at someones house. This is a great evangelistic tool for the neighborhood and just a great time to be in our brothers and sisters homes praising God. This week we were in Selena's home. Selena is one of the preschoolers here and anyone who has ever met her, instantly falls in love. This was my first time to visit their house. The houses that people live in dont usually shock me or humble me. Even when I first got here, I wasn't usually taken back by the small houses that dont at all resemble our American standards. Selena's house was different. I was immediately humbled. I saw this tiny house that Selena and her mother live in and it was at least half the size of my apartment. I couldn't help put think that most people in the States have nicer sheds for their lawnmowers than this littler girl has for a home. In this tiny home, they invited their entire Church family. Altogether there was 28 of us there. Sometimes its easy to think that we can't host a youth night or a ladies night at our house because its too small or not fancy enough. This night was a reminder that it doesnt matter what your house looks like, but your willingness to help that counts. I hope that this is a life long lesson that I will keep with me. When I move home, I hope I remember its not about how nice my car is or how big my house is, but its my heart and the smile on my face that really matter.

Here is a picture of Hermano Modesto leading a prayer in Selena's house.

Pelotas y Pinatas

This past Saturday was a big day at the school. We celebrated Children's Day with ice cream, a movie, and pinatas. It was also program day where the sponsored children recieved their groceries.

As I have mentioned before, a friend of mine donated some money to buy the school new sporting equipment. It was supposed to be a huge surprise for the students, but word spread before Saturday arrived. The kids were so excited. Even before the doors of the school were opened, kids were standing on ledges trying to peek over the fence to look at the new basketballs, soccerballs, baseballs, and bats. When the doors were finally
opened, the kids ran over picking which one would be theirs. We are still working on getting the basketball goal installed at the school. The kids are anxiously awaiting for that day. They were all very excited.


Immigration, Mudslides, and Sporting Equipment

Hello Friends!!!

It has been such a long week for me. I'm exhausted. I have officially been here for THREE months. It doesnt seem possible. Time is just flying by. Part of me is thankful that it is going by so quickly because Im ready to be back home with my friends and family and part of me just wants to cherish every second that I'm here.

This week, my original tourist visa was set to expire. So Monday, Jose and I traveled to San Salvador to try to get it renewed. We came prepared with everything we thought we could possibly need. We were wrong. The Immigration Office told us we needed two additional documents and that they needed to be notarized and brought back the next day for me to stay legal in this country. We traveled the two hours back to La Palma and set to work on getting the rest of the paper work. Tuesday, we traveled back to San Salvador, back to the Immigration Office, and tried again. This time fully prepared. They told us it would take two days to process the Visa and that I would need to leave my passport there and come back on Thursday. Two days without my passport?! With an expired Visa? Not at all what I had hoped for. And I really was not looking forward to canceling class for a third day in one week. Especially on Thursdays because thats the day I teach in the Christian school. I soon found out that due to some tropical depressions we've been having, school was canceled nationwide for Thursday and Friday. So back to San Salvador we went. This time, I left with my passport and my new Visa. Finally. When this Visa expires, I will be home for Christmas break. I'm going to attempt to get my temporary rescidency card when I return in January. I'm already trying to prepare myself for the red tape that will be involved in that process.

About those tropical storms? We've been very fortunate and have not had any real problems because of them. Several other parts of El Salvador were evacuated and faced serious damage and there were some casualties. Most of my classes this week were canceled due to either rain or the Immigration Office. Thursday on our way back from El Salvador, we drove through the remainder of a mudslide just outside of La Palma.

Yesterday was Dia de Los Ninos. Or Childrens Day. The school had activities planned for the kids as well as program day (day where the program kids get their groceries and support). Due to school being canceled, I believe that has been postponed till next Friday. A good friend of mine learned about the work here and wanted to help. He has offered to buy all new sporting equipment and pay to have a basketball goal installed for the kids here at the school. This has been in the works now for several weeks. We're hoping to get the goal installed (if the rain holds off) before next Friday and present it to the kids. They have no idea that this is going to happen. These kids love to play outside. At every recess, theres always a soccer game or a baseball game breaking out. But the equipment they currently have is older and not in good shape. I will take lots of pictures of this and hopefully be able to post them next week. :)

Please continue to pray for me. Pray that I will see God's plan for me in La Palma and that I can accomplish as much as I can during my limited time here.

Acts 17: 26-27 From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us.

It has been a long time since my last post. I keep forgetting I have a blog to update! So much to talk about in this blog, it'll make up for the last few weeks.

We had an American team here this past week. They were in La Palma for a few days and spent the rest of the time working in Honduras. It was great to see some familiar faces and meet some new people. Side note: I love having vistors and my top bunk now has a mattress. Hint. Hint.

Also, to everyone who contributed with the "care-suitcase," BIG THANKS!!! It was like Christmas in my casa. I'm one very happy girl and am so blessed by all of your help! Meant more than you can know. :)

My brother returns to Monett, MO this Monday. I'm so excited to have that man home! For those that dont know, he left for afghanistan last september, and we've been counting the days since then. Praise God for keeping us all safe and sane during this deployment and continue to pray for my family as they try to re-adjust to life after deployment. Also, for those that contributed to my welcome home surprise for Tim, Thank you! I absolutely hate not being able to be there on Monday. But I will get to see him at Christmas, and that will be the best present.

Over the last several weeks, I've become very close and attached to a local family. Yesterday morning, I got the awful news that one of them had died. My friends husband passed away leaving her a single mom to their 4 year old son Vladi. My heart aches for this family and their loss. Today at the funeral, I thought about how short and temporary this life is. We are all blessed to be given every day that we have. Every day with someone you love is something we should never take for granted. Please continue to pray for my dear friends as they try to move forward.

Here are some pictures with my friend Janixta and her son Vladi on Independence day. Less than 24 hours before her husband was killed on a motorcycle when a truck hit him head on.

First week of September

Last week, I took a few days off to avoid burning out while I'm here. I think its important that when you work every day (except for those lovely days when you are too sick to get out of bed) that you take a few days to yourself to re-energize and come back ready to hit the ground again.

I went to San Salvador and I loved it. It was just what I needed. It was a very relaxed day and included McDonalds and Pizza Hut and a trip to the Cinemax.

This week has been an interesting week. One night, we thought we had an intruder at the school. I was at the Lalli's house and for me to get home would mean walking past the school. We thought it was probably nothing, but had the police do a walk through just to be sure. The police were great, not only were they very nice, but they had their guns out and did a legitimate search. It was almost like watching COPS: El Salvador (although I dont believe they have that show).

We have a team scheduled to come down in a few weeks so I am very excited to see some familiar faces.

In my 3rd grade class this morning, one of my students tripped and landed on his arm that he broke back in March. He was very upset and his arm looked like it was broken again. I took him to the directors office and had him checked out. They determined that it most likely wasnt broken (praise God) and wrapped his arm in a bandage. Brave kid.

As most of you know, my brother is in Afghanistan. I'm working on a little surprise for him and could use your help. If you would like to, send me a picture of you and your family with a home-made welcome home sign/poster. Im making a photo book of pictures of friends and family and people of La Palma all holding Welcome Home signs. I'm hoping it'll be a nice welcome home gift that he will keep forever. AND I'm a little heart broken that I wont be there when he gets home, so this is my way to feel involved.
This is Ulises after getting his arm wrapped up. We had some extra time today after the kids finished their test so I asked them to help me with my Welcome Home project. Any excuse to color and get out the markers? These kids were all for it!

Thank you for reading!

My prayer request for this week: Ephesians 6:19.



Agua Viva

Living Water.

Water has been on my mind a lot lately for several reasons. I'm fairly certain that I haven't been drinking enough of it and have been borderlined dehydrated for several days. Tonight I poured myself a giant glass of water and it was so refreshing. Much better than a bag of soda.

Last week, our water stopped working on Wednesday. Thursday it came back long enough for a quick shower, and then stopped again. It returned Saturday and has stayed on until tonight, when it shut off again. We aren't exactly sure what is causing the water issue but we are hoping to get it fixed quickly.

Friday, in the middle of our water crisis, I kept thinking of the Accapella song, "Living Water." Specifically the part where the child sings, "Give me water from the well that never runs dry and I will thirst no more." I started studying the story of the women at the well. She asks Jesus to give her this "living water." so that she will never again be thirsty again. I can relate to being thirsty and I can relate to the woman at the well. What concerns me much more than my physical dehydration is my spiritual dehydration. Friday evenings we have a womans class. Typically, we study one woman a week from the Bible and discuss her story. When we were told to open our Bibles to Juan 4, I knew exactly what women we were going to be looking at. The woman at the well.

Tonight, I'm studying a Beth Moore book, trying to work on this spiritual dehydration, when I get the call about the water being off again. After realizing theres nothing we can do tonight, I came back to the study. Beth Moore takes me to Psalm 63. The first verse of this psalm says, "Oh God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you, my body longs for you, in a dry and weary land where there is no water."

Here in La Palma, we meet as a church every day but Saturday. We are always coming together and encouraging one another. Sometimes though its easy to get caught up in the work and miss out on the relationship with God. It would be easy to focus on the differences in culture, what I do or don't have here, and the other insignificant details. I don't want to spend a year here and leave feeling like I majored in Bible with going to classes night after night. I want to build a genuine relationship with my God. A thirst for His word and for a relationship with Him.

Please pray for me as I try not to drown in the details but to instead drink in the richness of God.

Super Hero

Todays blog is all about super heros.
A few weeks ago, one of my second grade students ran off of the playground. If you know anything about second graders, you know this is highly unusual. So I went to the classroom to check on him. He was starting to cry, so I asked if he was hurt. He said he wasnt. I asked if everything was ok and what had happened. He started sobbing and saying something very fast in Spanish. I have no idea what happened that day on the play ground, but I held him until he stopped crying. Afterwards he was so thankful that someone had payed attention to him and noticed him on his bad day that he gave me this:

It is handmade of construction paper and appears to be wearing a cape. When he ran up to me with a huge grin on his face and delievered me a handmade super hero? Thats exactly how I felt. Like a super hero.

This week in my other English classes, we've been talking about what special powers we would have if we were super heros. I had them write "If I was a super hero, I would...." My class yesterday participated and were a little creative. My class today was not creative at all. Out of five students, only one person even wrote anything. So we had to use my super hero as an example. If I was a super hero, I would make it rain cake. I would have a Patience Wand that could bless people with more patience and I would have a peace gun that would shoot peace at people. My class thought I was crazy. Heres the picture of Super Teresa and all of her cake:

Ok, so maybe my students are right. Im a little crazy and lacking in artistic ability. I asked if they had ever heard of the movie or book "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs." I would really like to have both. If I had the book, we could read it a page at a time, discuss sentence struture, and vocabulary. It doesn't matter to me whether its the new edition or the classic edition. Also, I would really like to get all of my students together and have an English movie night. This movie would be perfect. The characters dont have thick accents making it fairly easy to understand. Also, it has so many different types of food, I think seeing gigantic pancakes landing on schools will help them remember their vocabulary. Also, it might help to spark some of their imagination. Because, really, whats the point of being a kid without imagination?

If anyone coming on the September trip has room to pack a DVD and a childrens book, I'd GREATLY appreciate it and even reimburse you for the costs. (not the cost of flying, just the cost of the movie and book) :)

This is a quote my brother found for me. I feel its appropriate for this blog:

"I am fairly certain that given a cape and a tiara, I could save the world."

And an even more relevant quotes:

"I can do all things through Him who stregthens me." Philippians 4:13

"...if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, 'move from here to there' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you." Matthew 17:20
Miss you all and God Bless,

100 students

A lot has happened in the last week. Friday the school went on a field trip. We went to an agricultural school and a water park. I definitely enjoyed the water park more. At this water park, they have a natural hot spring. It was a huge area for people to swim and hang out full of fresh warm water. It was very relaxing.
This is a picture of three armed security/police people at the water park. Definitely not something you'd see at White Water.

The monitor on my laptop stopped working last week and this week I have a new monitor!! I'm very excited to have my computer back. Its my little piece of home that I can't live without. Mainly because its the easiest way to connect with all of my friends and family.

I have been here for just over a month and thanks to a few new students trickling in here and there, I have reached ONE HUNDRED students. This is not including the K-6th grade that I teach on Thursdays. I'm super excited about that but I'm also trying to pace myself. With as much as I have been sick, I think I need to take better care of myself.

Lori and I will be starting a class for the teen girls this Sunday. I think this will be a great opportunity to minister to the girls. I'm a little concerned because I dont think my spanish is quite where it needs to be. Between Lori and I, I'm sure we can manage though.


This week has been fairly unproductive.
Monday I woke up very very sick. It was miserable. Everyone was very helpful though and brought me gatoraides, saltines, and medicine. A group from church even came and prayed for a speedy recovery. Tuesday I was better, but still had to take it easy. I was very dehydrated and exhausted. No classes Monday or Tuesday of this week.
Today, I have my first classes of the week. So far so good, Im still trying to rest in between classes and drink lots of fluids.
Also, apparently, whatever I had, my computer caught because it is not working. At all. Thankfully, theres an extra computer I can use till I figure out what my game plan is.
Today is Normas 25th birthday! We are throwing her a surprise party in her house complete with friends and cake. As of right now, she assumes we have all forgotten her birthday! I cant wait for it and will hopefully be able to post pictures soon! But no guarantee since I do not have a personal computer.
Love to you all

Coke in a Bag

A serious picture with me teaching, and a not so serious picture with me drinking soda out of a bag. Or as my preacher back home likes to call it, "coke in a bag."

I have been very busy this week. Last week I had 80 students. This week I have more than 90. This week was definitely tiring, but good. Sometimes I really miss home. Everything about home. OK, mostly the people and the food. But then I have an amazing day here or something small happens that just reminds me that I'm where I want to be and I love it.
For example, in my class this morning we had only two people come today. The other students had other obligations today. Since it was a small class, I thought we'd try something different and fun. I taught them the song, "Here I am to worship." I love this song. Its really great to teach them too because its repetitive and slow. We worked on the lyrics and sang it a few times. (With the help of itunes.) Other students came and joined the class or stood at the door just to hear the song. They asked if we could learn this song in their next class too. It's so exciting to watch them learn and to see them get excited about what they are learning. Most of my classes last about 45 minutes. This one lasted 90 minutes. It was great.
The Other Americans
The other Americans are here! They have arrived safely and are trying to get settled into their new environment. I know it was very hard for me to back up all of my things and figure out what to take and what to leave. Putting it all in a few suitcases was difficult, I can't even imagine the preparation they have had to do to bring a whole family. I'm excited to get to know them better and work with them over the next several months.
Thats all for today, Much love to all of you and a special birthday shout out to my brother! Happy Birthday Tim, You will be home sooner than you know it! :)

Prayer Request and Updates

Prayer Request:

This week has been a tough one. Its hard to hear that your friends and familiy are going through a really difficult time and you can't be there for them. It breaks my heart. Please remember to pray for the families of fallen soliders and thank them for their sacrifice. Also, pray for the families that have lost a child. That is a heartache that no mother should have to experience.
I've been thinking a lot this week about Crowe, Holmes, and baby Elliot.


As for the English classes, this was the first full week. I had almost 80 students this week, not including the students from the La Palma Christian School. Out of those 80, 46 of them were on Saturday. I'm really excited about the classes and hope that the students stay with it. I will be starting another class this week also. The women that work in the Hotel La Palma want to have an English class but because of their work, they cant go. Therefore, twice a week, I will be going to the Hotel to teach a class there. These women are such hardworkers and are always so welcoming when we have teams staying at the Hotel. I know they are eager to learn.

Also, I'm waiting to hear back about a possible Let Start Talking team coming to La Palma. I think that this is just what the church needs to get things going.

The church in La Palma is hosting a Ladies Day on December 4th. We are super excited as this is the first activity like this that we have done. I have volunteered to cook for about 60 people. They have obviously laughed at the notion of me cooking. I told them I CAN cook for that many people, as long as we are having hamburgers. Alas, I think they will sign me a different job.

My Spanish is getting much better! But I wish it was even better. I can say a lot more than I could before, but I still struggle with comprehending. If they speak slowly and use simpler words, I can follow along pretty well. I know that as time goes on, it will get easier.

That is my update for this Sunday afternoon. Love you and I will talk to you soon.

Sad day

Today is a sad day for me for many reasons. All of which I find too personal to post on a blog. Today was my first day of teaching classes to the grade school children by myself. The professor before me outlined which lessons should come next. Only problem is he told me to teach lessons they learned weeks ago, thus making me look incomptent and having to improv all of my classes today. I'm giving this man the benefit of a doubt and hoping it was an accident or miscommunication and not some intentional retaliation to my teaching. That added with the personal sadness? Not the best day for me.
My favorite new comfort items: Rapiditas: pre-made tortillas, chips, and my St. Louis Cardinals hoodie.
I'll write more soon.
God Bless.

No Power

Yesterday, we didn't have power for about four hours. This can be quite common in La Palma, but something that will take me a long time to get used to. I opened all the windows in my room to let in as much of the remaining daylight as possible. Including the two windows that are about 10 feet above the ground. (Chair, kitchen counter, im six feet tall, wasn't that difficult). When the lights finally did come back on, they were so bright and my first reaction was to shut them off. My second reaction was to start charging all of my electronics.
I think it will be to my advantage to buy a few extra flash lights at the store today. Just in case.

Con Dios

This picture is of Norma and I. Norma is married to Jose, the preacher in La Palma. She is very quickly becoming one of my best friends here. Now, I just need her to teach me Spanish and for me to teach her English so we can talk more.
Yesterday, I had my first two classes open to the puplic. It's a little intimidating to teach a class with various age groups and skill levels. I was warned to not teach anything too advance as it may discourage some of the students. Both of the classes I had Monday were full of intermediate to advanced students. This was a welcome surprise, so we only did a small review. Hopefully I will be able to teach something more appropriate for where they are at on Wednesday (most of the classes meet twice a week). So far today, I have only had one class. This class was actually at a beginners level so we worked a lot on pronunciation. Some of the students knew the words, but didnt know how to say them. For example, they could see the word in English and tell me what it was in Spanish, but didn't know how to say or spell it in English.
Also, I mentioned the other day that we went up the mountain to visit with a sister in Christ. Her husband almost never comes to church and when he does, the family doesnt sit together. After our visit, he came to church service the next day and the whole family sat together. The whole church is meeting at their house on Wednesday for songs and devotional. Its a very long track up the mountain, but its our way of acknowledging the sacrifice they make every week.
Also after church on Sunday, there was a man who is not a memeber of the church and he was very upset. I didn't quite understand what was going on, but I was later informed that he was drunk and mad about something and warned the people that were there that he had a gun. Not really upset that I didn't understand that while it was happening. That would have frightened me, but once again, God provides. Please continue praying for the work here.

Friday and Saturday

These are some of the kids at the school. They are so cute. Today was the day that the sponser children get their support. They get a bag of food for their family to use. After that, Jose announced my upcoming English classes. Lots of people were interested and I will be teaching 13 classes next week (including the ones at the school). I'm about to become one busy lady. Today when I walked outside of the gate, there was at least 10 people waiting on me for an English class. I apologized for the confusion and said that class doesnt start till next week.
Jose, Norma, and I then took a public bus to go see a sister in Christ that lives VERY far away. I was a little nervous because I have heard some stories about how dangerous the buses here are. I keep reminding myself whenever I'm unsure about my surroundings that God is right beside me. I'm on a very crowded bus, sitting next to someone I've never seen before. I asked where he was going. He said that he'd taken at least an hour bus ride for my English class to learn that it doesn't start till next week. So now he is taking an hour bus ride home. He said he knows one of the preachers from the congregation. How about that? I'm sitting on a bus, asking God to watch over me, and that's the guy sitting next to me, one of my students. What are the chances? I also felt soo bad that he had come all that way and paid the money for nothing. I hope he isnt too discouraged to the point that he doesn't come back next week.

First Day in the Classroom

Today was my first day in the classroom. Samuel, the other English teacher, taught today while I observed and got to know the students and see where they are at in their studies. I absolutely loved it. The kids are adoreable. I am a little concerned that my lack of confidence in my Spanish will let the kids think they can walk all over me. Samuel left me in charge for about five minutes during one class. Before he left, one by one, students were coming to the board to write the answer to a question. After he left, two students asked to go to the bathroom, and the rest of the students were at the board. I somehow managed to get them all back in their seats before he returned so it at least appeared that both the students and I could handle ourselves. I'm sure it'll be a work in progress and I will learn all of the teacher tricks along the way.

In the mountains

I will post later. But check out this clear view of the mountains.

English Classes

Yesterday, I was sick and spent the majority of the day in bed resting. The parts of the day that I actually braved outside of my room were productive. Jose and I worked on a class schedule. I will be teaching English at the Christian School on Thursdays and holding open English classes twice a day the rest of the week. I´m excited to get to work and figure out a curriculum that will be helpful. I´m also trying to incorporate a way that we can teach the Bible and English at the same time. Maybe in January we could have an LST group come down. Any volunteers? (still figuring out the spanish keyboard, took me a long time to find the right side up question mark!)

So far we have lost power at least once each day. It doesnt stay out for long, but I have given up on resetting my alarm clock.

Some of you have asked for this information again, if you want to send a monetary donation, please send it to the Monett Church of Christ, po box 172 monett mo 65708
As always, your prayers are needed.

La Palma

I have made it to La Palma! I'm mostly unpacked and getting accustomed to my new surroundings. I've also learned where to buy towels. I bought a bath towel for 20 dollars (eeks!!) and later learned I could in fact get one for less than 3. Lesson learned.
The first day I was here, I attended a ladies class and a teens class. It was a great opportunity to meet a lot of people. I understood parts of the ladies class, but I understood almost all of the teens class! There is hope for my spanish speaking abilities yet!
I was able to talk to my family today. That was such a blessing! Even if I did cry when I talked to my niece Kayli. She's 3 and kept telling me how much she loves and misses me.
SO FAR, I have not gotten sick!! I know its only been two days, but after two days on my last trip, I was already sick. Hopefully, I will stay parasite free for a while.
The picture is of my friend Joel. He met me in San Salvador before I left to go to La Palma.
Tomorrow we will have church and I look forward to a great time of fellowship with my new friends.
Not sure when I will be able to write next, so this blog is full of lots of random information! Hope you all have a wonderful Independence Day! Celebrate our country and pray for those serving it.

San Salvador

I'm sitting in my hotel room in San Salvador. I safely arrived a few hours ago with all of my luggage. I was a bit concerned it would all make it for a couple of reasons. First, when I went to check my black and yellow totes, I was informed I couldn't take them. Apparently there is an embargo that only American Airlines enforces that says it had to be a suitcase. So Mom and Randy went with me to Wal-mart and helped me frantically buy suitcases and re-pack everything in the Wal-Mart parking lot. I kept saying that I felt like we were on "Amazing Race" and winning! We managed to keep our cool and make it back to the airport in plenty of time. After that, I had no real issues. When I went to baggage claim, I immediately saw my first bag. I waited for the second bag and never saw it. I started to get nervous but then looked and saw that someone had set it aside thinking it was theirs. Lots to be thankful for today. I'm here, I'm safe, and my luggage is too.

The past few months have been a whirlwind of activity preparing for my move here. When I finally got to board the plane headed to El Salvador, I had a huge grin on my face and was so excited to just get here! Tomorrow, I have plans to hang out with my primos and get settled in La Palma!!!

Thank you to everyone that has been so helpful through out this whole experience and thank you for the prayers today. I know thats why things went so well.



Tropical Storm Update

I'm not entirely certain how much property damage or road damage was done during this storm, but thankfully our brothers and sisters in La Palma are safe and doing well. I'm very thankful that everyone is ok and I can't wait to get there so I can see everyone!

Tropical Storm

Please be praying for our brothers and sisters in El Salvador. From the looks of the news reports, the country was hit pretty hard but so far no specific details. I hope everyone's OK!! Check back for updates.

Welcome to La Palma Girl

Hi Everyone!! Welcome to my new blog! This is the site I will be using to update you on my adventures while I'm in La Palma. Right now, I'm still in Missouri trying to get everything finalized for the trip. I'm working on preparing a curriculum that will introduce the community to both English and the Bible at the same time. I'm also working on getting the rest of my funding for the trip. Please contact me or the Monett Church of Christ if you are interested in supporting me. Even $10 a month would go a long way. I have half of my funding in place and I can't thank you enough for the help!!!
I will be leaving July 1st and plan to move home December 2011. I will be at home this year at Christmas for a few weeks to rest up and see the family.

I will post more information in the coming days. Please email me if you have any questions!