Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Seriously, no sour cream?!

Well yesterday was Tortilla Tuesday at the Freeman house. If you've been following along this was part of Lifesong for Orphans Honduras blitz to raise funds for their ministry in Honduras. Tortilla Tuesday was to be an event with family, friends, coworkers, etc... to be able and share about the ministry, the children, and all of the amazing work God is doing at Plan Escalon. Of course I had plans to take pictures of our kids eating and discussing the children of Honduras, the 3500'sh tortillas they make every single day and generally having a good time as we discuss our support of these children and ministry (I went in January and will be returning with D in June). And then blog about it in hopes of showcasing the event and what we did in honor of them. Given there are 7 of us, it didn't exactly go as planned, it went something like this:

* Please get F out of the kitchen, he is driving everyone insane!

* Where's the salsa? I don't know, can we have salsa? Do the kids at Plan Escalon get salsa? Uh, sure...

* I want sour cream. I don't think the kids get sour cream, maybe we shouldn't get it either. Lot's of eye rolling, are you serious, i want sour cream! I think I remember having some when we there, ha!

* Crap, we're totally out of sour creme! Seriously?! Ugghhh!!

* F, don't eat yet, we haven't prayed for the kids of Honduras yet, dang it!

* So let's talk about the kids at Plan Escalon and what we're doing as a family to help them... "can i have a friend spend the night on Friday since I was promised last weekend but didn't get to?"

* What, are you serious, right in the middle of my sentence about the children and what we're doing to help?!

* Return to table after having to walk outside and calm down, 2 oldest already scarfed tortillas with rice and beans and have vamoosed, great! No pictures, no deep discussion, no thankfulness of what we have compared to others, SUCK!

So if you want to see what it was supposed to look and feel like as we attempted to honor the children at Plan Escalon in Honduras, you'll have to go check it out here, where this family got it right. At least they got it right long enough to take some pictures and look happy about it.

Isn't family great some days? What's the last spiritual activity you had all planned out in your head that got wrecked when "life" took over?

Oh, we are still supporting the effort with time and $$ and thankful for Lifesong and their efforts in Honduras and the opportunity to have our giving doubled!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

pequeños, medio, or grandes?

When B and C and I went to visit Hope for Guatemala last May, these were the first three words we had to learn within about an hour of landing in Guatemala City. Very shortly after arriving we were tossed into service helping with the 3 lunches being served to the children. In order to be efficient and not waste food, each child coming in the door states the portion they would like for that day. It didn't matter the age, size, or gender of the child, each could eat to their hunger needs of the day. The amounts of each small, medium, and large request were quickly tallied and the ladies in the kitchen began feverishly dishing up plates for us to hand out. The kids tried to generally sit in groups of portion request size, but not necessarily so we had to learn these words really quickly to make sure we gave them the right amount of food. It was great to see nothing go to waste, and no they didn't all order grandes, in fact we  probably gave out more pequeños than anything, and even to the older children. They all understood there would be more the next day and there was no need to hoard and/or waste.

I always think of this story anytime someone mentions Starbucks and their stupid size ordering words. A friend posted this rant on FB yesterday which immediately had me thinking of the children of Hope.
How many times I got to tell ya (Starbucks hipster java server), I ordered a 'medium' - not your change-the-coffee-world-train-the-lemmings 'Grande'. I aint sayin it! Quit attempting to correct me. My apologies to my adworld/branding friends.
Don't you hate it when marketing people try and out smart us or come up with stuff because they think we're obviously too dumb to figure it out otherwise? Children seem to get it though, small, medium, large, and don't waste any. Sometimes children are so uncomplicated, they just see through all of the nonsense and just "get it". Jesus made a habit of telling us how the children got it, as described in Matthew 19 and Luke 18.

I saw children first hand who get it this past January in Honduras on my trip to Plan Escalon with Lifesong for Orphans. Children like Edgar who understand there is a bigger story God is penning and how his character in the story matters, despite his father being killed and his family leaving.

The children at Plan Escalon are a microcosm of living out the Gospel, of not perpetually staying in a state of victimization, of realizing their value in Christ, and how much they now have to offer others.

As part of our trip we got to spend some time reviewing their annual budget and plans. Due to a large donor having to pull out this year, the 2011 year is one on paper that is going to be in the red. They do however have someone else willing to match as much as we can garner in monthly or one time donations. Lifesong is looking for 100 sponsors. So Lifesong is on a Honduras blitz:

They just want and need you and me (we are doing 5 sponsorships) to give up a few of those stupid "grandes" from Starbucks each month, surely we/you can do that! And on top of that, you get to double your money on this investment. Click on the logo below and read all of the details and stories related to children and their pursuit of living out the Gospel story.

Surely you can forego a few trips to Starbucks a month, right?
So next time you here someone ordering a grandes, you can take solace in what is happening in places like Guatemala and Honduras.

These children really do get it, let's help them continue in their efforts!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

$450 a night? How about $175?

Having had the opportunity to travel to China, Guatemala, and Honduras in the past year, one thing i've learned is almost everything is up for negotiation. There's the regular price, there's the gringo price, there's the we know you're not from here price, etc... So unless it's at a world wide chain at a mall, you should always ask if there is room for negotiation if you feel there might be.

For those of you that follow along, we found a good deal at Thanksgiving at the beach, well we certainly out did that this past week. It was spring break for the entire state of Alabama so we hadn't even thought of going to the beach again, certain the crowds and prices would be at the max.  On Monday we decided to see if we could find any places still empty and we scored a major deal! We ended up at a single family home right on the beach in Blue Mtn. Beach along our favorite stretch of the panhandle for less than we could stay in a hotel with our clan of 7.  This was the throwback beach vacation you always picture, house right on the beach, covered porch, yard to play in dumping down onto beach, big windows open 24x7 with gulf breeze blowing in, etc... We were very blessed to have found such an affordable opportunity. We had originally thought about kicking around Atlanta for a few days which would have cost significantly more, so this was a huge savings for us.

We certainly had our normal ups and downs; i was sick, the cable was out (no march madness!), everyone wanted to do something different all the time, both boys went on a stretch of apparent potty amnesia, mommy daughter spats (after all we're not all 7 this close together for this many days in a row very often anymore), yet overall we probably had our best beach trip ever. It reminds me a bit of how an entire day can be really good except 1 minor detail and we let that 1 detail dictate the mood of the day. Well every single detail of this trip was not perfect, but overall it was an amazing 4 days!

Just like our daily walk with God, every detail isn't fun or perfect, but the whole experience when said and done is going to be fan-freakin-tastic!!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

The 3 Amigos!

We had the privilege last week to have one of the missionary families in town for our church's missions festival stay with us. It was Mr. Jose and Ms. Erin as our kids affectionally call them. They run Hope for Guatemala in one of the worst parts of Guatemala city and we love them dearly. Jose stayed with us two years ago when in town for the festival but it was the first time he was able to bring the whole family.

So our normally chaotic and loud house of 7 turned into an even greater cacophony of noise and activity the likes we had only seen before during a sporting event. E and F instantly bonded with their son Daniel and it was a great week of boy mania. Thankfully it was a beautiful week and they lived outside for the most part. I'm sure all of the neighbors were thinking, oh great, more kids running around over there and now there's a spanish speaking mexican looking guy hanging around, what the heck!?

It was such a privilege to be able to serve them while here and be just a little part of their amazing ministry to approximately 200 vulnerable children. Being a part of nearly 45 families in town for the missions festival is always such a great experience for us and our kids. It's so humbling to be in the presence of what I call Kingdom Heroes and those who stand in the gap with their time, resources, skills, lives. I was so stoked to see our church turn our hall with their information into a Hall of Fame hall, they are so deserving of our admiration, praise, and support.

They also have a little girl and the boys were so great with her and made special efforts to watch after and take care of her. Of course B and C did their part in taking care of a temporary little sis too. E was especially enamored by this precious little girl and was very sweet and loving with her. Melissa has taken that as a sign that we are supposed to have a little girl in the near future. All I can say is when God gets a hold of your heart, what are you gonna do?