Post-it Notes of October, November y December

*Boom* *Crash* first thought, “Earthquake!”, rolled over to be face to face with Elizabeth (age 6) saying, “Don’t worry Erin, that is just Philip getting out of bed”. I am home.  I am home to Elizabeth informing people that if they put ice in warm water, it will melt the ice faster, therefore cooling your water quicker, who would have thought. Home to Nathan (age 17), who I didn’t think could grow anymore, is now 6’6″.  Peter (age 3) informing me that he wanted to help make the PB&J Sandwiches for lunch and proceeded to lick alllll the Jelly off the bread whenever I turned my back and say, “Erin, you missed this one!”. Oh I have missed this.

In order to not completely bore you, I have decided to borrow the idea of “Post-It Notes” (thank you Ally!) via photos of moments these past three months. Enjoy 🙂

End of September

We made it safely back from Guatemala and were reunited with our final member “discerning 2-yr” group. 48393897_10218568225904792_5245934623690588160_n

(Left to Right: Patrick, Maribel (Our “mom”) Cristian, Asaph, Me, Anna, Leigh, and Patrick)  .

We also received an incredible shipping container full of donations of furniture and supplies for Beccas, Physical Therapy, San Benito Hospital Clinic, etc. Obviously I am more excited about unloading then Patrick is…

 

October

October was a whirlwind month of Spanish, tutoring kids in the Becca’s program, training, formation, and shadowing experiences.

In mid October, I received the opportunity to do Mission work with the Missionary’s of Charity. We went to one of the more remote areas and did a Christmas Program for them and then distributed food and warm clothes. Unfortunately, I did not take any photos of the program so enjoy the photo of Vilma enjoying lollipops the Nuns gave us after and the incredible view from the School we were working out of.

 

November

November started out with Program Clausuras (closing). For Casa Misericordia (the girl’s orphanage wing for woman and girls with physical and mental disabilities). We started with a scavenger hunt for them, then did relay races and ended with music, tattoos and cake. Not sure who had more fun, Kate, Karen and I or the girls.

 

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The girls from EL Volcan, a town further up in the mountains, invited the female Missioners to a soccer match one night. (It will never cease to amaze me how soccer is definitely a way of life here. I swear even the toddlers can play with all the crazy footwork.)

 

I don’t have any photos from Thanksgiving, but we had a absolute scrumptious dinner with friends and family. Can’t go wrong with bacon wrapped turkey (Thank you, Mike!) and fruit cobbler.

November ended with training for the ultimate mission in December and No-Shave-November coming to an end.

 

December

The first week December was our ultimate mission of 2018. It was an unique one because instead of having a US team come down, we had the Youth (16-25 years old) from our Formation Program help lead it. So, while it was nothing like the Summer Missions, it was incredible to witness how the Missioners of Christ are investing in the future of the people here. On my team, we have two youth who had a year of formation, then went on mission with us in June, and then two who had about 6 months of formation and no mission experience before. To see the difference between the two sets and how the more experienced ones were working and leading the other two, oh, it gave me so much hope. Our Aldea (small mountain village), Las Moras, is high in the mountains, so one of the poorer areas. They didn’t have electricity and the homes were super small, so we slept in sleeping bags on the Church floor. From the Church though, we could see the entire valley of Comayagua (the city I am currently living in), and all surrounding cities. So I was perfectly happy getting to stay there and have that for a morning view. It was a little cold though, I remember standing there thinking how cool it was that I could see my breath. It was so cold and then I remembered that the water for “showering” was from the rain barrel out back. Now that was a cold shower.  Las Moras is in the middle of several coffee farms and the coffee is ripe right now so everyone is out in the fields harvesting.. So we did “house visits” in the coffee fields. And then programs in the late afternoon so they could come after picking but before it got dark because, no electricity. Again, totally different and unique experience then all the other missions.

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December came to a close with A Christmas Program put on by the students in the Becca Program, A Christmas party with Secret “Angel” (not Santa) present exchange, Rooftop Adventures, and of course feeding the sheep who come to our door.

 

Needless to say the saying, “Where has this month gone” was on my mind quite often. I felt like these past 6 months completely flew by. I am excited for the new year. I will be going in to role as Assistant Community Director and helping Maribel, our Community Director, with ensuring community life is flourishing. I will also be starting a Social Work role with the Becca’s Program. I feel like these past months have challenged me in ways I didn’t think it was possible to grow. And now I feel ..okay.. with speaking and understanding Spanish and I am ready to see where 2019 takes me.

Thank you again for all of your support and prayers. This dream would not be possible without all of you. Please know that everyone is in my thoughts and prayers.

Wishing you a Merry Christmas and Happy New Years!

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Language School Adventures

The amount of times I referenced “The Hobbit” or “Lord of the Rings” during my time at Language School was semi-embarrassing. But obviously, not embarrassing enough, because I am now going to use quotes from the books to describe my experience. 

But first, let me introduce you to the other two year discerners aka my adventure buddies. I am so grateful that we were all able to go to language school together and explore Antigua and Volcanoes together. I am so excited to see where these next two months take us in Honduras. 

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Left to Right (what State we are from): Patrick (VA), Leigh (AZ), Asaph (VA), Patrick (SC), Anna (VA), Me (NC) and Volcan de Pacaya showing off in the background

Okay back to Language School . . . 

He often used to say there was only one Road; that it was like a great river: its springs were at every doorstep and every path was its tributary. “It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out of your door,” he used to say. “You step into the Road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there is no telling where you might be swept off to.”

–Frodo Baggins about Bilbo, The Fellowship of the Ring, Three is Company

This quote came to mind as I stood on the side of the highway with Leigh waiting for the bus to come to take us to Guatemala. The summer was officially over and I was back off to Language School. I ended up leaving a week later than planned because we realized that my initial 90 days would be up while in Guatemala and long story short, me going to Guatemala would not reset my time in Honduras. So I got to experience the Office of Immigration and received an extension. (Also, just hit me that as of next week, I will have been here for four months…where has the time gone?!)  Anyways, I heard Bilbo’s wise words in my head as I watched the bus approach. I knew that the bus was going to take me on a 16 hour adventure from Honduras to Guatemala, but I couldn’t help feeling a little bit swept away with all the new changes and next steps.

Thankfully, we made it safely and on Monday were able to join the rest of our group at the Spanish School San Jose el Viejo. I fell in love with the structure of the school. . The school was set up in a garden, with each class room being a little hut. So even though your brain was imploding, you got study in this beautiful, refreshing, botanical garden. 

We had 1:1 classes Monday-Friday from 8am-12pm and then from 1:30pm-4pm. So I won’t lie, by the end of a school day, I felt like Bilbo talking to Gandalf:

“I am old, Gandalf. I don’t look it, but I am beginning to feel it in my heart of hearts . . . Why, I feel all thin, sort of stretched, if you know what I mean: like butter that has been scraped over too much bread.”

– Bilbo Baggins, The Fellowship of the Ring, A Long-expected Party

I won’t lie. It was a rather interesting experience going to School in Antigua, Guatemala. It was like going on Vacation to this incredibly beautiful destination while  a) having your brain stretched to the point you started thinking that the hermit life of solitude might be for you and b) your heart pulled because you want to be in Honduras with your local ministries and new family. With all the emotions, frustrations, fears, and joys, I was so grateful to have 5 new friends who were all going through the same thing and the comfort knowing that many Missioners before me had gone through the same process and survived. 

Studying in Antigua, Guatemala had many unique opportunities for exploring and learning outside the classroom. 

After school, we would find a coffee shop for homework…well the others did homework, I would join them once I took my artsy photo of the coffee/them studying.

Anna, Leigh and I with a few others who were studying at our school went to a coffee plantation and not only got to learn about the process from seed to “cup of coffee in my hand” but also received a tour of the plantation and saw the process in action.

Anna and I not only discovered we had a mutual love for Chocolate Stuffed Croissants and were willing to brave thunderstorms to satisfy the craving for one, but we were also a pro-team at haggling. Nothing like reinforcing the Spanish learned while a)  trying to understand and keep up with the rapid Spanish, b) trying to understand the numbers/prices being offered, c) doing the math rapidly to figure out how ridiculously high the asking price is and offering a very low one, d) haggling back and forth till you agree on a price and e) all while trying to look as disinterested as possible. I don’t have any photos of us in action but I do have an after photo of our light night thunderstorm dash for the chocolate goodness. I mean just look at them… For the sake of our dignity, I will not tell how many we ate during our time in Antigua. Just that if you are ever there, you need to visit Santa Clara’s Panderia. 

Other adventures included visiting El Monterrico, one of the black sand, Pacific beaches of Guatemala. First time seeing the Pacific! I have never seen waves that big or powerful before. The sand is black from all the volcanoes in close vicinity. Sadly pictures don’t do it justice.

 We also took a day trip one Sunday to climb El Volcan de Pacaya. The whole time I kept thinking, “normally, normally one would try to get as far from lava as possible, but today for some reason its a great idea to try and get as close as possible…totally makes sense”. Photo below is the view from the side of Pacaya. In it, you can see three other volcanoes. El Volcan de Agua is the big one in front, he is no longer active. And then El Volcan de Fuego is just behind him. If you look realllll close, you can see him showing off. This was the one that erupted earlier in June this year. And I don’t remember the third ones name but he is active too. IMG_7523

I was amazed at the stark difference as you got closer to the top. It went from being incredibly green to no sign of life black rock to melting rock.  Also countless Sam and Frodo quotes and references to Mount Doom were made in the process of this adventure. 

Below: my “umm my shoes are smoking, not sure if this was my best idea” face to “quick take my picture as the rock melts behind me” face.  All I could hear in my head was my mom saying, “If all your friends jump off a bridge Erin, would you jump off a bridge” only change it too “if all your friends hike up an active Volcano Erin, would you hike up the active volcano?” The answer is, yes, yes I would. Only I took a horse up and then hiked down. 

Leigh’s face below captures all the joy we had getting to roast marshmallows over molten rock. I mean just look at the pure joy in Asaph, Leigh, Patrick and Anna’s faces. Sweating from the heat but smiling because yay marshmallows and volcano. 

During our last week of school, Leigh and I went adventuring one day and found out that the Hobbits of the Shire have distant cousins named “Hobbis” located just outside Antigua in the mountains. “Hobbitenango” is an ecological village but also has a hotel aka Hobbit Holes that you can stay the night in. Needless to say Leigh and I were soooo tickled pink and on cloud nine and proceeded to embrace our inner Hobbits. We also got to do some Archery!! 

Anna, Leigh and I also took an afternoon to explore the ruins around Antigua from the various earth quakes. Which of course turned into an impromptu photo shoot.

Leigh, Asaph and I also took a hike up on our Last Saturday to La Cruz, which is a stunning overlook of Antigua.

I am also grateful to have met the missionaries with La Finca. Another program in Honduras, closer to the coast. they too were in Antigua for learning Spanish, but at a different language School. Being able to adventure with them, have pot-luck dinners and impromptu praise and worship just served as a beautiful reminder for what this is all about. And being able to share it with others was humbling. 

Needless to say, that although my brain felt like it would implode from the Spanish, we had a blast in Antigua. My inner nerd was so happy with all the museums and historical sights and the ability to quote the Hobbit all day long with other fellow nerds who knew what I was quoting. But most importantly, I was incredibly blessed with the opportunity to be able to go to daily mass and have a perpetual adoration chapel in walking distance aka was able to keep God at the center of the process. There were so many days where I wanted to throw up my hands and go back to the States, back to being close to my family, back to where I throw my clothes in a washer and not have to hand wash them, back to where I could eat pickles and Chick-fil-a. I mean, there are so many opportunities to serve in the States where I don’t have to know Spanish. So why am I putting myself through this? And being able to pop in and visit God, re-center, give him my stress and frustration…that was what got me through it. Knowing that I am responding to His call, this is where He wants me and He won’t leave my side…bring it on Spanish, you got nothing. 

Gandalf: I am looking for someone to share in an adventure that I am arranging, and it’s very difficult to find anyone.

Bilbo: I should think so—in these parts! We are plain quiet folk and have no use for adventures. Nasty disturbing uncomfortable things! Make you late for dinner! I can’t think what anybody sees in them …

Gandalf:  You’ll have a tale or two to tell when you come back

Bilbo:  You can promise that I’ll come back?”

Gandalf:  No. And if you do, you will not be the same

Back in Honduras now. Just finished two weeks of Orientation and getting back into the groove of things. Needless to say my Spanish is no where near fluent. I feel like I have learned enough to hear how ridiculous I sound but not enough to correct my grammar.  I  definitely understand so much more. I can have a conversation past “what is your favorite color” and “where are you from”. But I have so much more to learn and I am grateful to be surrounded by some of the most patient people I have ever met.  

Please know that you and your intentions are all in my thoughts and prayers. Please keep me in your prayers as I start local ministries and continue on this humbling and at times very humorous process of learning Spanish. Please don’t hesitate to reach out! My email is erin.x.tooley@gmail.com . I would love to hear how you are doing! 

Love to all!

Lions, Tigers and Bears . . . more like Mosquitos, Tarantulas and Cucarachas, Oh My!

Apologies in advance for the length of this post and my run on sentences.  Hope everyone is doing well and had a fantastic summer filled with fun and relaxation. Thank you all for everything. Without your prayers and financial support, I would not have been able to join the Missioners here in Honduras and to continue serving with them.

The business of summer is officially over now and we are slowly returning back to routine. I wish I could say I am now fluent in Spanish but alas, I can only say I am a pro at charades and butchering Spanish. I am impatiently trying to grow in patience with myself while I learn. Jeremiah 1:4-8 completely captures my feelings this summer.

“Now the word of the Lord came to me saying, “Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you; and before you were born, I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations”. Then I said, “Ah, Lord God! Behold, I do not know how to speak for I am only a youth”. But the Lord said to me, “Do not say, I am only a youth, for to all to whom I send you, you shall go, and whatever I command you, you shall speak. Be not afraid of them, for I am with you to deliver you.”

Only, I think my reaction was a little more extreme then Jeremiah’s. More like:

“. . . Then I said, “AHHHH! Are you nuts, Lord!! BEHOLD, I don’t even know to speak Spanish let alone understand it. All I can say is hola and smile really big! I mean, there are so many places in the States that you could call me to serve and yet, errrm, you are calling me to Honduras?”

And he spent the whole summer breaking down my fears and insecurities and granting me the opportunity to grow in so many ways.

Language School

I arrived June 5th with the intent to head off to language school in Antigua, Guatemala but Volcán de Fuego erupted. Due to uncertainty of safety, myself and Katelyn (an incredible Chica who was here for the summer) ended up attending Koinonia Spanish School in Valley of the Angels, outside of Tegucigalpa, Honduras for two weeks. The humility struggle bus was so real. I had to admit that I remembered nothing from high school or college Spanish classes and literally had to start with learning the alphabet. But with the understanding of why I was trying so hard to learn, it made it easier to pour into studying, practicing and more studying. After two weeks, attempting to find donuts, headbands and sadly discovering that Churros in Honduras are not delicious fried bread sticks with cinnamon and sugar but bags of chips, we headed back to Comayagua, Honduras to prepare for the High School Mission Trip.

High School Mission

This year’s group of High Schoolers were truly beautiful to work with. With the High Schoolers, we do ministry in the local Aldeas (Mountain Villages). That way we can return back to the retreat center for the night. My Team was assigned the breathtaking aldea, Matazano. I say breathtaking not just because of the stunning views but also because walking up a straight incline, where when you take a step, your other foot slides back some AND you are out of shape, breath.taking. The mission went so well but to be honest, I spent most the time in frustration. I felt so useless. My spanish was mainly “small talk” spanish so I felt like I wasn’t getting to truly know the people. Or be of any assistance because I couldn’t understand anyone. Then on top of it, I had been struggling with ..errm…stomach issues since day 3 of getting here and they started to worsen (It is what I get for thinking brushing my teeth with the water was okay) (Immodium is the best invention ever). And also came down with a sinus infection that was turning into bronchitis. Then discovered that even when covered in deet of 98% strength, I still get eaten alive by mosquitoes. So.much.fun.  I die laughing now thinking back at it. I was such a hot mess. But I loved it! In not being able to communicate, I had to sit back and just listen and be in the moment. Now looking back at it, I got to know the people so much more then I would have if I could have talked. In simply sitting with them, smiling, hugging, letting them teach me to harvest/grind coffee or make tortillas or them belly laughing at my ridiculous charades of trying to communicate a story, oh, I wouldn’t trade it for a thing.

(1st photo below: Gianna, one our High Schoolers from Seton High School in VA, playing soccer with the kids. 2nd: 2yr old Jose. The amount of time I spent all week trying to get him to smile…At least he let me hold him.  3rd: Conner and Elias embracing their inner child) 

 

Local Ministry

After the High School Team returned to the states, we had a about two weeks before the Young Adult Mission. During this time, in between doctor visits and recovering, I was able to participate in the local, daily ministries that the Missioners run. On Mondays, all the other female missioners and I go to Hogart Nazareth, the girls orphanage. We break the girls into age groups and do various activities and ministries with them.

Wednesdays are my favorite. In the morning I go to Asilo, which is a Nursing home for elderly men and women with Aids/HIV and assist the Missionaries of Charity, who run the home. But in the afternoons, I go to Casa Misericordia. Casa Misericordia was organized as an extension of Hogar Nazareth. It is a home for women and girls with deep emotional, psychological, and mental illness, as well as deafness, muteness and Down Syndrome. They are the absolute sweetest but the craziest and I love it. At first, I was so out of my comfort zone, but these girls just want to love you so much that you can’t help but fall in love with them. 

Yolanda was the first one I connected with. This beautiful soul is mute and partially deaf but has NO ISSUES with getting her point across. We communicate in crazy hand gestures and facial expressions. She is always the first to greet me with the biggest hug. She loves to dance and tease me. Luz is another one I fell in love with. I am not sure of her entire story because, well, I need to learn more spanish, but she has physical disabilities and has trouble walking. Her face lights up when I offer my arm and “run” along side of her in the relay races and dance with her. I love watching the girls interact with each other. Whether its holding each others hands to help them move about, wiping the face of another who has difficulty feeding themselves, or helping them cut/glue/color the craft because they are still learning hand coordination, they love each other so much and continually teach me the importance of the little things. You don’t need to make grand gestures, you simply need to be willing to retie a shoe or hold the tissue while they blow their nose.

(Photos below: (1) Luz, in the red shirt, laughing at my attempt of Spanish. (2) Yolanda in the white shorts striking a poze. (3) Girls walking us to the door as we leave, with arms wrapped around our waists.)

 

There are several other local ministries such as house visits, assisting at the local medical clinic, but  the girls orphanages are the main ones I work with currently. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, I also help out with our scholarship program and do tutoring. Anything from english to math. Doing Math in Spanish is a struggle because they have different names for numbers and symbols but thank goodness it’s all the same written down. I love local ministries because I am getting to walk alongside of them in their daily struggles and joys. They are so welcoming and inviting into their life and it is truly humbling. I cannot wait to learn more Spanish and become more confident in conversing in it so that I can continue getting to know the people we serve.

Young Adult Mission

On July 19th, the young adults arrived from the States for our Mega Mission. We called it the Mega Mission because there were 8 different Teams and each team had anywhere from 3 or more Aldeas to work with. These Aldeas are also more remote and some were two or more hours up in the mountains, so we lived in the Aldea during the week. My Team was assigned to El Transito, a beautiful Aldea located above the clouds and in the middle of a huge coffee farm. We also visited La Cidra and La Laguna de Tigre. This mission was challenging not only because of the walking, or rather, the climbing everywhere. But mainly personally. I went into the mission with the mindset that I was going to serve others. That I was going to help them. Instead, I got served. These people stole a part of my heart.

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One example of the love these people had for us is when we first arrived to El Transito on Monday. We arrived with the expectation to be sleeping on the church floor in sleeping bags. But found that one of the families, moved in with another family, moved all their stuff out of the house, and then the village all donated beds to fill the house, so that our team could not only stay together at night, but also sleep in beds. All week it was like this. Every house visit, they would hurry around pulling out anything that could be used as chair so that we all had seats. Did I mention that El Transito was in the middle of coffee farm? Aka fresh coffee at every house visit. I didn’t think my eyes would ever close due to the amount of caffeine running through me.

The kids’ program was from 2-3pm every afternoon, but they would show up at 1:15ish ready to play. So much energy. They would also help us set up for their program, and then clean up after and set up for the teens. And let’s be honest, they wouldn’t leave till after the adult program, so two of us would take turns each day playing Pato, Pato, Gonzo (duck, duck, goose) ad nauseam. Or tag, or simply braiding hair and coloring and attempting to keep them from distracting the other programs. Also quickly learned that if you give one kid a piggyback ride, you will have to give ALL the kids piggyback rides. Thankfully though, in the afternoons after the Kids’ programs, the cutest, crinkly faced grandmothers would bring us coffee and bread to refuel for more Pato, Pato, Gonzo. These kids were so stinking excited to have us there, didn’t want to leave our sides (So many stories of their antics, but for another time).

The Equipo (team)  I was assigned was phenomenal. Each member had incredible talents to bring to the table and together. I will write more later on this mission only because it deserves its only post but I do want to state in writing that I have forgiven Jenny and Penelope for trying to kill me. I woke up one night gasping for air because Jenny decided to fumigate the room with bug spray, including spraying me down because she said I was the reason the Mosquitoes were in our room, they liked my blood. She could have at least stopped spraying me in the face when I was trying to talk.  I could not stop coughing. AND then, Penelope came in and took off her shoes, my eyelashes curl just at remembering the smell. I was coughing because I kept inhaling bug spray and then crying because the smell and then dying because I couldn’t breathe from laughing so hard. Oh the adventures of mission.

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My Team 🙂 left to right: Jenny, Penelope, Jose Ramos, Rosa, Me, Asaph, Elias. Not Pictured, Larissa. 

The people of El Transito, La Cidra and La Laguna de Tigre welcomed us so warmly into their homes and lives. Truly a humbling experience. I am continually learning that even though they have so little materially, they have the most to give. I wanted to serve them, solve their problems, and instead, they served me and taught me how to receive love. I realized I had been so focused on how to give love and service, that I didn’t know how to receive it myself. And that by not knowing how to receive love, I wasn’t able to truly serve them. I was so caught up in that I couldn’t speak spanish well and could hardly understand them half the time. When all they wanted was for me to visit their home, sit on their stump, sip coffee from their prized china cup, and be with them. Oh, I have so much to learn.

The mission wrapped up on July 30th many tears and laughter as we said our goodbyes. Bittersweet, because I was excited to return to the local ministries, I missed my girls at Casa Misericordia, but oh I will miss those crinkly faced grandmothers who hugged me so tight and the kids who would climb all over me and all try to sit on my lap at the same time.

Going Forward

Two weeks ago was vacation, recovery and recharge before heading back into the routine. For the first half of the week, I got to go home with one of my friends and fellow missioner, Karen, and experience life outside of the mission house. I have fallen in love with her family. Her mom made sure I never went hungry so I am pretty sure I rolled out of the house when I left. For the rest of week, I explored and shopped in Comayagua (with others who stayed at the house, I did not go off alone, Mom).

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Needless to say, I am very happy. This is definitely where I am called to be. Some days are easier then others to not let the communication barrier frustrate me. Normally I am able to use it as motivation to continue studying and practicing every day. Also, the Spanish speaking Missioners are SO PATIENT with me and always encouraging/pushing me to grow in confidence of speaking Spanish. I am so grateful to have had two weeks of school to learn basics, and then a whole summer to practice and learn just from immersion.

On Saturday, August 26th, I will leave with one other 2-year Missioner to go to Antigua, Guatemala, for 3 more weeks of school. I am super excited because I believe with the basics out of the way and two months of struggling, I know what I want to learn/study and grow in. Plus I can see the finish line, aka being able to converse and get to know those around me better and be able to start jumping in with the ministries and being able to lead. And that is enough to get me through long days of class and feeling like your brain is going to implode.

Thank You!

Thank you so much again for all your prayers and support. I could not do this without you. Because of you, I was able to raise $5,696.00 in only 3 months. I only have $1,804.00 left to raise woot-woot! If you or maybe a friend or family member feel called to continue supporting me financially please see the links below. The missioners FlipCause goes directly to my room and board here in Honduras. Donations made to FlipCause are tax deductible. You can also set it up to do a monthly donation for the time I am here in Honduras if that is easier.

Donations made to to the Paypal link go towards my travel and other expenses (such as when I had to get blood work because I foolishly thought I would be immune to the water while brushing my teeth, and then had to live off imodium and antibiotics for two months).  Because donations to paypal are for personal travel and expense, these are not tax deductible. Thank you again in advance.

I hope all is going well. I pray daily for you and your intentions. If you have a specific intention you would like me to pray for as well ask the community to pray for please do not hesitate to shoot me an email, erin.x.tooley@gmail.com  or facebook message. I am learning daily the power of intercessory prayer, such a beautiful gift.  Love to all and I promise this time to not wait three months before updating everyone again!

P.S. I realized I didn’t explain the tarantula in my title. Mondays are cleaning days. With 15 or more people living in one house, you need a cleaning day. Anyway, I was cleaning my area with Katelyn and we came face to face with a Tarantula. Needless to say I was a screaming mess. Thankfully Roberto came to our rescue and killed it for us. I learned three things,

  1. Tarantulas are big and hairy
  2. They move really fast
  3. I will be perfectly happy if that was my first and last encounter

P.P.S. I realized that I have been really bad with taking pictures. So sorry this post doesn’t have more. I will do better in the future. As well as taking videos. I am notorious for bring my camera and then never taking it out of my bag.

 

One Foot in Front of the Other

Good Morning! (It is always morning somewhere) My Name is Erin Tooley and I am lover of tea, elephants, mountain air, beach sunrises and exploring new places. I am the oldest of 11 (6 boys and 5 girls) so family life is never boring. I graduated from North Carolina State University (Go Pack!) in 2016 with a degree in Social Work. Upon graduating, I worked the thrilling life of three jobs. I was a Site Coordinator for the YMCA in the morning, a Program Coordinator for The Carying Place, a transitional housing program for homeless working families, in the afternoon and a recreational gymnastics coach in the evening. I finally landed a full time position as a Human Resource Generalist for a data tech company, Nimble Storage. However it was acquired in 2017 by Hewlett Packard Enterprises.

After being given an end date of June, 30, 2018 due to the Acquisition, I started job searching. But wasn’t finding anything I was truly excited or passionate about. On top of all this, I was slowly coming back to the Catholic faith. At some point in the process, I said the fateful prayer of “thy will be done” and everything turned upside down. Looking back now, I realize that if I hadn’t been given an end date, or experienced other life happenings, I wouldn’t have looked into returning to the field. Thus reinforcing my belief that everything happens for a reason.

Honduras has always held a very special place in my heart. I previously did mission work with the Missioners of Christ in high school and it was a life-changing experience. I went down for the High School Youth summer missions in 2010, ‘11 and ‘12.  My favorite memories of Honduras include visiting the patients at San Benito, the local medical clinic, and spending an afternoon playing soccer the boy’s orphanage. After looking into various other Mission opportunities, I knew I was being called back to Honduras and for a much longer length of time then a few days.

I am so excited for the opportunity to embark on the Extended Term Mission. Please keep me in your thoughts and prayers during this time. I know that it will be challenging, but it will be challenging me to grow in my faith and become a better version of myself and for that, I am grateful.  Please follow my journey here! I will be posting periodically as well as posting photos. Please forgive me in advance as grammar is not a strong point and I tend to ramble. Just know it comes from a place of love. 

“I am a little pencil in the hand of a writing God who is sending a love letter to the world.”

– Mother Teresa

Photo from 2011 Honduras Trip 🙂

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