Feeling Pretty Bold Tonight

I must be feeling something because I took on the bold and questionable adventure of a sleepover with six boys all under the age of four! Pray for me people. Their bedtime is at 6pm… it is now 11pm! Fasting may even be in order… this is our current state:

… and can I just say – So glad I changed my major from Elementary Education… whoever told me I should have been a Kindergarten teacher was highly mistaken!

Goodnight – ANIMAL COOKIES AND GATORADE FOR EVERYONE! I’m already preparing myself for what tomorrow morning is going to look like!

Never a dull moment,
Hope

P.S. I love this life!

His Eye Is On The Sparrow

Matthew 10:29-31, “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.”

He was born in a local hospital in Ounaminthe and at 2 days old was brought to our property. Moise is a premie who weighs less than 4 lbs., limbs didn’t fully developed before birth and one of his feet are clubbed. An amazing medical team came from Santo Domingo to perform a surgery to remove one of his legs just above the knee.

Therefore, at 8 days old this little trooper went under the knife last night to remove one leg, but ultimately save his life. This morning I stopped by to check on him. Now tell me this – is he not the cutest thing you have ever seen in your whole life? If he’s not then don’t tell me because I don’t care. I just think he is the cutest thing I’ve ever seen in my whole life! Not even crying this morning – just cooing and wiggling – but didn’t like the camera flash that woke him up at 7am. (sorry, little guy!)

One more reason why we are so anxious to finish our medical center and be able to save lives like little Moise everyday!

After being in Haiti for only 4 months I will never be able to question God’s faithfulness. It may not be the way I think or expect, but He is true and faithful and never changing. In all the things going on in the world in the past 10 days, He set his eye on this little sparrow baby and has not left him forsaken. Please continue to pray with us as baby Moise recovers and continues to grow.

My heart is just overwhelmed today with gratitude and honor.

XO,

Hope

Bringing in 24 with a bang!

Its 1 am and I’m sitting in a NYC hotel room that overlooks the bright lights of Time Square, listening to something better known as spanglish and trying to, not only keep up, but learn for DR purposes. Not sure what I’m accomplishing, but I enjoy trying.

Needless to say – this birthday has been one for the books.

24. Sigh. Where does the time go?

Although todays approach had me in a slight depression it was quickly dissolved as I traveled to the concrete jungle with four of my favorite Puerto Ricans and strategically wasted our day away eating a lot, laughing a lot, walking a lot and attending something we like to call the First Annual Shopping Conference. Quick shout out to all the fine NYC employees who made this so much more memorable in their own rude New York way.

I am working on an ipad here so unfortunately you get no pictures until Saturday, but I asssure you that I am thoroughly enjoying my rest in the states. I have no doubt God has amazing things planned for this year. And I suppose also that I was being a little dramatic when I felt like 24 would be complete torture. 🙂 Ive already begun documenting cus I want to remember every little bit!

Next up: Wicked (O gosh Im excited!), sleeping in, Mary Poppins, cart food (hallelujah!) And all of the above eating, laughing, walking and loving life!

Thank you to everyone who celebrated with me today – I am feeling so special!! And thanks Mom for birthing me on this fateful night 24 years ago – you’re a trooper!

P.S. To the Rivera family: Your mother/wife is a hoot. A hoot, I tell you. I considered writing a post that consists purely of things that.she says throughout our day because, no joke, that woman cracks.me.up!

Life is Good,
Hope

Photo of the Day/Cutest Thing Ever

I was working in our office when our oldest boy Robenson came in with a little girl from our Kindergarden.

She had an open wound on her arm and she was scared (you know how it is in Kindergarden – you don’t know anyone, everything is a little intimidating, and for these kids it’s the first time they’re expected to use a toilet, much less be around so many white people everyday). That’s a lot of pressure for a 4 year-old.

So she remembered Robenson from another day so she left her class in search of him. She went all the way across the property and into his classroom so that he could bandage up her wound.

The cutest part is that he loved it! He felt so honored that she looked up to him enough to come and find him for help. He even got down the colored band aides so that he could give her purple bandages.

Pretty much the cutest thing ever and totally made me smile.

Just thought I’d share.

XOXO,

Hope

Laughter is Like Milk… It Does A Body Good!

 

I think God must have known that I needed a good laugh today.

I began creating profiles for our children so that when people inquire to sponsor them they have photos and information on hand of each child. In Haiti there are three levels of Kindergarden, so many of the children who I were interviewing today are brand new to the whole school idea.

The first week when school started there was the long lesson of – What do you mean I can’t just pee wherever I’m standing? What’s a bathroom?

And of course – I miss my mom!

And just the complete distraction of uniforms and pencils and chalk and all the other exciting things that come along with going to school for the first time.

The questions that I was asking today were about family and eating and favorite subjects. Mostly fun questions, but some are needed for medical history, hygiene, needs, etc.

However, starting with the four-year old class probably wasn’t the best idea since kids are kids no matter where you are and just because they live in the worst poverty in the Western Hemisphere they are just as unaware of everything past playing with cars and singing.

I got some of the best answers today trying to figure out things about these children.

A few went something like this:

“What’s your Mom’s name?”

“Little Lady.”

“No, not her nickname. What is her real name?”

“That’s it. Her sur name is Little Lady.”

When asking what these K-1 students would like to be when they grow up, I got a range of answers, including:

“a bear.”

“A woman who answers phones for people.”

“All of them. I want to be everything there is.”

“rice.” (No joke. That was her answer.)

Another question, “Does your mom have a job?”

I got one boy who said, “Yes – My Dad works and then pays my Mom to cook me food.”

and one boy proudly proclaimed, “Yes she has a job!”

“Well what is her job?”

“Each morning she bathes me, gives me food and sends me off to school.”

Ahhhh, kids. They’ll getcha every time.

Enjoy your Thursday folks. Laugh a little.

Goodnight,

Hope

Livin’ The Free Life: The Power Of Church

The power of church.

The power of a church family.

The power of fellowship.

The power of serving.

It has the ability to change desires, to change passions, to change priorities and to shift the entire path of a seemingly perfect life into something more than was ever thought possible.

But there isn’t a question as to wether or not church can be powerful in your life. The question is if you will allow it to be or not.

And I don’t say that because I want people to go to church and I don’t say that because I want people to get more involved in their home church (although I SO DO want people to get more involved in their home churches). I say it because it happened. To me.

And I’ve literally never been the same since.

I am sitting in the Dominican Republic in an open air cafe in the back of a Texaco (yes, Texaco like the gas station, you are correct) and listening to an extremely loud ‘Fall Festival’ gearing up island style in the streets behind me that I’m sure will bellow over into the late night and early morning hours. So amped for falling asleep to that tonight.

While I’m sitting here waiting for some videos to download I can’t help but dwell on my hilariously random surroundings, which lead to thoughts on the past few years that put me in this location (in life and – literally – geographically), and just in general what an extreme impact one decision had which unfolded my life as I know it.

The decision to leap. To launch. To say ‘yes’.

I wouldn’t say that church changed my life. God definitely changed my life. But He used a church – not a name, or a building, but a few interesting people who do life in fellowship with one another and come together to worship and present Christ to their community and through their lifestyles – to get me to this initial place of change. Which seems to continually progress from there… always.

My goodness, sometimes it’s exhausting how much life changes and progresses around me. But I wouldn’t have it any other way. What is the alternative? To be stagnant? To live the same day-to-day cookie cutter style? No, thanks.

At my first opportunity (actually about 6 months of running from my opportunity and justifying ‘why not’ in my head,

I leaped into a lifestyle of servanthood.


Was launched into a world that I never knew existed or could get so good.

All because I said ‘yes’ to the posed question of surrendering my current path for one bigger than I could dream.

Maybe it was just me, maybe it was my desire to serve or find my place in a new state and new home all by myself. Or maybe, just maybe, it was God inside of me, showing me possibilities and proving to me the fruit of service to His kingdom, and most of all being all things to all men – making it relevant and real to the life that I live every day in this secular world.

Sometimes I feel like we look at people and think, “Wow – They are so involved. God must really be powerful in THEIR life.”

But, God isn’t selective. If you indeed do say ‘yes’ I guarantee you that church has the capability to be more powerful in your wor

ld than you could ever ask for. It brings families together, builds a stronger relationship with Christ and fills a greater fulfillment than this world could ever know.

My life would be different in every way if I hadn’t been open to the opportunity of being driven by a purposeful life and a powerful, purpose driven church.

So answer me this: What will you allow church to be in your life?

Heading Out.

Ok, so im in the back seat of a Honda C-RV and I’m trying to get some writing done since I do not speak a lick of english and it’s better than sitting in silence while this poor guy drives me from the border. But I can’t help but be distracted because: 1. There is this GORGEOUS mountain range to my right, 2. He is driving so fast and honking so much I keep checking to make sure we aren’t dying or something.. trying not to even look because I know this is just “how they do it” but my goodness, and 3. Motorcycle taxi’s keep passing us with the biggest loads on the back that no matter how many times I see it I have to analyse how this is even possible. I’m talking like 6 flats of fruit behind this man, just rolling down the street on his little dirt bike.

So, I was just about to go across the street to grab some supplies in the DR before getting on the road and was feeling like such a local walking down the street to the “Staples” in Santiago. When I approached the corner I stood their waiting patiently to cross the street, when I realized – there is no stop sign. They just honk real loud as they’re crossing the intersection so that any oncoming traffic knows their coming. I am gonna have to throw myself in front of some on coming traffic to get across this road. And in the spirit of a true J-walker I strolled across like I did it everyday (praying that someone didn’t come flying) and into the store. Where again, I couldn’t describe or mime the word “envelope” and took me forever to get Jen some envelopes.

When I first went to Haiti I was surprised by what I was surprised by. It wasn’t really the poverty or the heat or the homeless kids or the lack of just about everything that we throw away daily at home or the sickness or the lack of health care or even the men digging trenches with sticks.

What I was ultimately amazed by were the gracious women at Danita’s Children and how they deal with the tasks of juggling kids and everything else that takes place in Haiti. A whole new excitement with each day.

It’s never like, O man I need to get groceries and pick up so and so from soccer practice, then I just don’t have time to get to the bank, O woe is me.

Visiting a boy and his mom in the hospital.

It’s more like, well, I just sat in on so and so’s brain surgery and now I’m going down to the banana tree and turn left until I get to the white fence with the goats and I’m gonna get some goods for so and so and his mom because they’re both HIV positive and in the hospital with tuberculosis, but on the way I’m gonna stop by their house because now her young daughter is running the house since she’s gone…. o, just all in a days work.

A little different lifestyle, huh?

Some days I just walk around and watch. Watch people survive. Watch them make the best of their situations. Watch kids smile and laugh and play  bathe in the rain gutters. Watch families cook their dinner outside on a fire. And think to myself, maybe it’s just really not that deep, after all.

Goodnight,

Hope