August 19, 2010This morning I woke up at 5:45 to get myself fully ready to leave for the airport. When Hannah got to my house we loaded up and my parents drove us to the airport. Checking in at the Knoxville airport went smoothly. Before we went through security my amazing parents prayed over me and Hannah.
|Hannah and I in the Knoxville airport.|
"Therefore, whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to be pleasing to Him."
-2 Corinthians 5:9
When we finally got to the Montego Bay, Jamaica airport, Hannah and I were exhausted. We got off the plane and got in line for customs. The line was extremely long, but it seemed to go fast. It was my turn, so I walked up to the booth and handed the lady my passport and customs form. She took one look at the form and said, "This is not blue ink, go to the back of the line." It was honestly the bluest ink I had ever seen. Without arguing I went to the back of the line to fill out another form with the pen she gave me. Thankfully she let me come back to the front. Once I got through customs I found my bags right away, but Hannah's were nowhere to be found. We later found out that her bag was located in Belize. At this point we were both pretty irritated, but we didn't get discouraged. When we finally got out of the airport I called Charles (the Nest bus driver) and then I saw Carly (the O'Dell's oldest daughter)! It was so nice to see a familiar face. In a few minutes we were on our way up to the Nest. I was surprised when I got in the car to see a few kids from the Nest. We had a blast on the way up the mountain.
When we pulled up to the Nest we were greeted by all the kids. It was my highlight of the day. I was so tired I fell asleep at 8:30, but I guess that's a big no no because every ten minutes I was woken up by a different kid.
August 20, 2010The morning began for me at 4 am. I was woken up by 3 roosters cock-a-doodle-doing. I attempted to fall back asleep until I was woken up for good at 5 am. All the babies woke up at 5 and their porch just happened to be right outside our window. Hannah and I got out of bed at 7 am and went to play with the babies. Emmanuel was the first to want me to hold him. So I picked him up, until I realized he had
Later in the day, around 10 am, Hannah and I went down to Jake's House to say what's up to the older boys. As we were walking down the road Ian came running up to me and gave me a big hug. I was so surprised because he was the boy last trip who told me to never come back to the Nest. So, I asked him, "What changed your mind about me coming back, I thought you never wanted to see me again?"
He said, "You can come whenever you want."
This was just one time when the Lord was so present and visibly working in the Jake's House boys hearts. It seriously made my day. After saying hey to the Jake's House boys I went back to the baby porch where Kishmar and I had an intense tickle fight.
The rest of the day consisted of painting the O'Dells apartment, helping the pod moms do laundry, napping, and playing with the children.
"But each day the Lord pours His unfailing love upon me, and through each night I sing His songs, praying to God who gives me life."
|Sunset in Jamaica|
This morning around 12:30 I woke up to some blaring music coming from the neighborhood below. Then at 3 am the roosters began their usual noise. Then the babies woke up at 6:30. It was a rough night.
Today I took my first shower since being here...gross, I know. But we are sweating and working so much that sometimes there is no point in showering. But I must say, it was very refreshing.
The verse I got for today is:
"He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God."
For some reason forgiveness has been on my heart today. There have been people who have really hurt me throughout my life and for a while I lived with a bitter heart. When we don't forgive, the streams of living water are cut off from our lives. I realized today that the root of bitterness that was growing in my heart twisted and deformed my whole personality at times in my life.
Around 10 am Benji drove me and Hannah to the airport to pick up her lost luggage. We thought it would only take 20 min. but when you're on Jamaica time 20 min. turns into 2 hours. When we finally got her bag at 12 we celebrated by treating ourselves to Burger King.
We got back up to the Nest around 12:30. When we got there we saw there was a group of Canadians visiting the children. Right away I got busy making signs for the kids and the staff to hold that said "Thank you for finishing Jake's House" "Thank you for our jobs" and "Thank you for our home."
It was kind of hectic, but made for some cute pictures. Later on for dinner, Carly and I made grilled peanut butter sandwiches. They were delicious. Then I'm pretty sure Hannah and I went to bed at 7:30 after laughing our heads off with Miss Carly.
I pray for Usain. I pray you would keep his heart child-like and vulnerable. I pray his heart won't go hard like some of the other older boys.
|My boy Usain.|
I woke up so excited this morning. Even when the roosters woke me up at 3 am I tried to have a good attitude and look forward to the day ahead. I woke up and took a warm shower (praise Jesus), then did my devotion while Hannah straightened Demille's hair. During devotion time I got the verse Romans 8:35-39.
"Can anything ever separate us from Christ's love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? (As the Scriptures say, "For your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep.") No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us. And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God's love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow-not even the powers of hell can separate us from God's love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below-indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord."
I also realized one of my goals in life is to be like Mary and say, " I am the Lord's servant; may it be to me as you have said."
Around 10 am we rounded up the gang and headed to church. We packed about 20 people in a small van. We all sweated buckets. I love going to Jamaican church. They get so into praising the Lord and I love when they yell "Amen, Hallelujah!" The lesson was taught through a skit. The secretary of Robin's Nest was the main girl in the skit and she did an amazing job. At the end of church we sang many different praise songs. I got so distracted watching Prince dance. I was laughing so hard.
Once we got to the beach, the kids had snack, then we all swam . I played taxi for Usain and Kishmar.
Pictures from Beach Day
After the long day at the beach we drove back up the mountain expecting the Wiley's (the new co-directors) to have arrived, but we beat them by 15 minutes. It was so good to see their family and help them move all their luggage into their new apartment.
August 23, 2010
Last night was the first night I slept the whole time. I woke up this morning feeling extremely energized and ready to conquer the day, with the Lord's help of course. If I try to go through any day without the Lord, my day seems so pointless. This morning is actually not as hot as the other days. Thank you God!
"They do not fear bad news; they confidently trust the Lord to care for them. They are confident and fearless and can face their foes triumphantly."
A lot of people in this world live in fear each day. As Christians we have every reason to live courageously. Jesus Christ has already won the ultimate battle on the cross.
When I finally left the room this morning around 8am, the cooks treated me, Hannah, and Mrs. Paula to a delicious breakfast. After breakfast Mrs. Paula asked me to take all the kids pictures with signs that said "Thanks!" Here are a few of my favorite pictures.
She wanted the kids to write to their sponsors thanking them for blessing them with a home and food. It took a lot of effort to get the Jake's House boys to sit down and write, but by the grace of God we finally finished.
Later in the day around lunch time a bunch of us played cards. Then Kishmar and I went in my room and called my daddy. Kishie is always asking "Where is Mr. Shawn, can we call him?" So we left him a few voice mails. Now I'm sitting here watching Kishmar play with a stuffed animal, and thinking about how much I can't wait to have my own kids. Especially one from Jamaica. Yippee.
|Kishmar and I before church!|
August 24, 2010
I woke up this morning with a heart full of praise and thanksgiving. "In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you." (1Thessalonians 5:18 ) Our God is so beautiful and full of grace. He has blessed me beyond measure. Sometimes I don't understand his ways, actually A LOT of times, but I have to remember that He is God and His mind knows all. It just blows my mind that the Lord would bless me, of all people. I am so unworthy, but SO thankful. I'm thankful for the amazing family He has provided for me, the roof over my head, the food on my table, the healing of my heart after my brother passed away, and this list could go on for days. It's so hard for me to understand why there are people who are out there starving while I am eating 3 meals a day. Or why there are people sleeping on the streets, while I'm snuggled in a comfy bed. Once again, I am SO blessed.
This morning the baby porch is very noisy and Javel keeps coming to the window yelling for Miss Hannah. I'm pretty sure they are destined to be family one day. I think its so awesome that Hannah has fallen in love with Javel. Javel isn't usually one of the kids people are drawn to. He would thrive with a mommy in his life. But we'll see where the Lord takes Miss Hannah.
This is really random but I really enjoy this quote, "Everybody in the world is a slave. Either we are slaves of Jesus Christ or we are slaves of sin. It is better to belong to Jesus."
Kishmar and I went to play outside. We played basketball, soccer, and rode scooters. He told me he wanted to go inside and look at pictures of my doggies on my phone.
Around 10 am we left to go into town with the Wiley's and the O'Dells. We visited Carly, Sam, Jacob, and Taylor's new school. On the way home there was a huge thunderstorm. When we got back up to the Nest we helped the pod moms sing to the babies to calm them down. Then Hannah and I stole Kishmar and Javel and went into our room to eat mangoes and starbursts. We spoil them!
Later in the day everyone left to go to the Boys and Girls Club except me, Hannah, and about 6 boys from the Jake's House. We were left in charge of them. One word to describe our evening: CHAOS! We made the boys popcorn and gave them peanuts and mentos. Anything to calm them down. While I was popping the popcorn we all had a dance party in the kitchen to some awesome 80's music the boys found on the radio.
This is a video of the some of the madness that went on that night:
August 25, 2010
Today is our last full day. =(
The song that popped into my head this morning was "You are my strong tower, shelter over me. Beautiful and mighty, everlasting King. You are my strong tower, fortress when I'm weak. Your name is true and holy and your face is all I seek."
My prayer for today is protection of mine and Hannah's hearts. We have gotten so attached to the children that it is going to be so hard to say goodbye. They are all so precious. I feel like I might be an emotional wreck tomorrow, but we'll take one day at a time. Today Hannah and I spent as much time as we could with Kishmar and Javel. We made up nicknames for Kishmar, Javel, and Jashaun. Kishmar is Urkle because he kept pulling his pants up really high. Javel is Vampire because of his missing teeth. Jashaun is Grandpa because he looks like a 3 year old in a grandpa body, and he walks like one too.
|Grandpa, Vampire, Urkle.|
August 26, 2010
Last night Carly and I slept in the same bed. Just a tip, it's hard to sleep in a twin size bed with 2 people. I am all packed and ready to go and it's only 7 o'clock. We are not leaving till 10 am. Hannah and I played with Kish and Javel all morning and said our goodbyes before getting in the bus to head to the airport.
Our time at the Nest was filled with so many good memories and laughs. I'm going to miss all those little munchkins. Here is the website to the Robin's Nest Children's Home: http://www.robinsnestchildrenshome.org/