*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.
(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 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 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.
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.
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.
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!