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Tuesday, June 28, 2011

More Stories from El Salvador - June 11-13th

I have so much to share about El Salvdor, but Eliana will only nap for so long.  I'm hoping to go through pictures and update the blog with several more stories.  I haven't even gotten to the end of the trip in my journaling yet, but let's go backwards to the beginning now that I have a faster picture uploading process.  
Here is another view from the patio that was connected to our room.  Kyle and I practiced a lot of our Spanish at Casa de Clemetina, because the workers didn't speak any English.  They were so gracious with our broken Spanish.  During our stay there, they really grew attached to Eliana, and she loved their attention.  The gal that runs the Casa helped carry Eliana in the evenings up the stairs while we unloaded.  She said she'd miss Eliana.  Eliana daily brighted up this beautiful Casa by bringing smiles to the people there.
 There were flowers everywhere at Casa de Clementina.  It was such a pretty place to stay.  It did remind me of traveling to Asia in that they didn't have hot water or AC, but we were able to adjust.

Here is another view of  that lake we mentioned seeing on our way up to Paso de Alaska.  It is so very lush and green there as a product of the humid and rainy season.  Awe, I miss seeing all of the green.  When we came back, many of the fields here have turned yellow from several days of over 100 degree weather.

 Do you see the volcano in the background?  There are 22 volcanoes in El Salvador.  We regularly traveled around volcano during our adventures to share the good news of Jesus with people.

Do you see the small boy crouching by the telephone pole?  Do you see the open windows on the bus and a few arms outside of the bus?  Any ideas on how these two things are connected?

As the team from Oklahoma traveled, they threw hard candy out the window near children.  Kyle and I loved watching people's expressions as they suddenly found sweet treats.  It was priceless!!!

 He was so happy to find candy!  Yum!!!  This little boy lived way up in a small village.  I wonder how often he has had candy before.  Here he got a whole handful of it.

 This picture and the two below are from the gringo market.  A gringo market is anywhere where souvenirs are sold.

I had more fun capturing God's beauty than looking at souvenirs.  Kyle enjoyed playing with the small instruments there.  Eliana smiled at people as they called her preciosa (precious) and mi amor (my love).

You can read more about June 10th-12th, and there is another post just for the 13th of June.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Eliana's First Birthday!!!

We had a great time celebrating Eliana's first birthday!!!  The weather cooled a little from the 100 degrees it had been while we were in El Salvador.  Yeah for a great day at the park!!!  Thanks again to everyone who made this day special for Eliana.
Aunt Dacra made this multi-layered jello cake with Korin's help.

 She wanted to take the picture;)

                            Grandpa Franklin and Grams               Taylor, GramE, and Eliana

                   Aunt Dacra, Rachel, Aunt Marcie, Korin      Trisha and Zac

                            Jeff and Ashlee                                   Dad and Mom

 This is the first weekend that these four have been together in four years!!!  Rachel and Ruli

                            Liz, Brett, and Jack                          Judy, my favorite carpooling buddy, and me

                             Harry and Judy                                  Grandpa Hal and Grandma Sue
GramE's "cousin" Jennifer came too, but some how I missed snapping a shot of her.  I said "cousin" because when the girls were young, they were told they were cousins.  It wasn't until they were teenagers that they realized they weren't really related.

Eliana got several hats for her birthday.  That makes sense since she is still fairly bald.  She loves this Dora doll from her Nanny and Grandpa Brad!

Eliana enjoyed helping me read the cards and pull out the tissue paper.  I look forward to reading these indestructible books with her from GramE and Grand Apa. 
Zac, Trisha, and Donald enjoyed watching Eliana eat her cupcake.  

 A cupcake for dessert!  Yum!  She didn't make much of a mess because most of it went into her mouth!  Thanks Terry for making the cupcakes!

These dogs were just too weird to not share.  I've seen emails with dyed dogs, but I've never seen them in person.  I have no idea how you'd get a dog to sit still long enough to dye his fur.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Happy 1st Birthday!!!

Happy Birthday to my precious little girl.  We love you and were thrilled to celebrate your birth with family and friends.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

El Salvador- Friday, June 17th

This morning Kyle drove with Jeff to Nueva Concepcion to pick up some scaffolding.  While he was gone, I made some banners for Marco and Evelyn’s upcoming event.  It worked out well because they went to a meeting this morning while I was working.  So, I put Eliana on their side of room which is divided by some cupboards.  Eliana took a nap and I got the posters done.  When I was done, I read Genesis 47 about Jacob blessing Joseph’s sons.  Again and again as I’ve read Joseph’s story the amount of times that things don’t go as planned jumps out to me.  I’m reminded of a passage in Isaiah that talks about God’s way being higher than man’s ways.  His thoughts are higher than man’s thoughts.

Kyle was still gone, when Eliana woke up.  Evelyn and Marco were still in their meeting, so Eliana and I headed up to the third floor to play.  There is a big open room up there, so Eliana could crawl around without getting into the things that were in Marco’s room.  Once again, Eliana opened the doors of communication by crawling, smiling, and babbling at the teachers.  They love talking to her and calling her preciosa.  Since Eliana doesn’t have earrings, people assume she is a boy.  So, she is also called precioso and cholo (cute).  Sometimes people get it right and say she is linda instead of lindo (cute).

Lunch was at a restaurant  called Go Green.  It is a salad and quesadilla place with lots of healthy foods.  The food was good, but the best part was talking to Pam and Steve.  Kyle asked what were good qualities to have in a missionary.  Steve talked about being willing to be meek.  He explained that people often think of meek as weak, but that it isn’t.  He said a horse is meek; it is power under control.  Steve loves to talk about Jesus.  He loves the book of Hebrews because it is all about Jesus.  Steve’s passion for the Lord is catching.  When they came down to El Salvador, he didn’t know Spanish.  He learned by going out in the mornings and witnessing to people.  He hated to see blank faces on people as he tried to explain Jesus to them.  His desire for people to be saved is what motivated him to learn Spanish. 

The Friday night service got so full that they do the same sermon on Thursday nights.  So, Kyle went in and heard the sermon while I hung out with Paula, Emily, and a few others in the nursery.  It worked so much better to have Eliana in the nursery.  She played and was quite happy for almost the whole time.  I also was able to hear more about Paula and Jeff’s move here a few years ago.  Plus, I learned another new word.  Juntos = together.  I think I’m picking up a few new words each day.

El Salvador- Thurdsay, June 16th

We went back to the church to work on painting the ship.  We went up to the third floor to do the work.  Eliana was initially pretty fussy because she was ready for a nap.  She was able to sleep about 20 minutes with all of the different noises while we painted the pirate ship blue. 
We went to lunch at a mall that is very similar to what we have in the states.  We had pizza from Bassaro.  There were several restaurants that are found in the states at this mall.  The more important thing was being able to talk with Evelyn and Marco.  We found out that they have two children named Marco Jr. and Mariana.  Mariana is adopted.  She was adopted at the age of 9 months old.  She is now seven and in first grade.  She is learning English and Spanish at school.  You can tell that they love their children very much.
When we came back, we asked the 3rd grade teacher if we could use her room for Eliana’s nap time.  I nursed Eliana, and she went right out.  She then napped for an amazing 2.5 hours!!!  We were able to finish the entire painting in that time.  I love to paint!  It was nice to be working alongside Kyle and communication and teamwork to run smoothly.  When we try and cook at the same time, we tend to butt heads.  But this project worked very well.  People came by to see the giant painting.  I didn’t think it was all that impressive, but the people were gracious in complements.
At one point, Kyle went to go do something else while I painted.  The 3rd grade teacher came and talked with me.  Between her broken English and my broken Spanish, we were able to connect over teaching.  She explained that her students were gone for the summer but that the teachers were still working on cleaning out the rooms and preparing the inventory for next year.  Later that afternoon while Eliana was napping, she brought us each a piece of cake since they were celebrating the day of the teacher.  I thought it was so thoughtful.
We had about an hour before church would start.  We decided it would be best to go pick up papusas a few houses down.  Pam sent Emily and Michelle with us.  I like when children are around.  I feel more comfortable with trying out my Spanish.  We found out the girls’ ages (11 and 13), that they live next to the church, and that they are in the 5th and 7th grade.
I was impressed by Pam as we ate dinner outside of the church.  She greeted everyone by name.  Several people came by to talk with her.  We have been welcomed warmly by the church.
Once again, Eliana opens the way for communication.  One of the ladies that was a greeter wanted to hold Eliana.  She said she hadn’t held a baby in a long time.  I love seeing the joy on people’s faces as they interact with her.  During the greeting time in between songs, Eliana visited the three ladies that were in front of us.
 Eliana turned out not able to make it through much of the service.  She made it okay through the singing, but then she was ready for bed.  To try and ease her crankiness, I pushed her back and forth in the stroller.  It had worked on Saturday to put her to sleep, but it wasn’t working to well on Thursday.  I tried walking with her, but she was getting more vocal.  Kyle went outside with her and walked her.  He listened to parts of the sermon through the windows and talked with people outside.  I listened to the sermon, catching about one out of every 20- 50 words.  I learned a new word, sangre which means blood.  Steve was preaching out of Hebrews.  While talking to Steve before lunch on Friday, he explained his sermon.  He taught about how a guilty conscience can only be cleaned by the blood of Jesus.  All other things fail.  Blood on a shirt stains, but blood on the inside cleans the body.  The blood on shirts is like the sacrificial system before Jesus came, it was only a symbol pointing to Jesus.  When Jesus came, his death and resurrection enabled his followers to be cleansed.

El Salvador- Wednesday, June 15

Kyle has been picking up Spanish pretty well while we've been here.  He went in the morning to the nurses' desk and requested that the doctor be called since it had been over 12 hours since we'd come in.  She called very shortly after that and was there within 45 minutes.  The doctor filled the papers for releasing us to go home and briefed us on things to look for that may be signs of a problem.  However, she expects that all is well but wanted us to be aware as a precaution. 
The nurse came in and removed the IV.  Then an attendant came that offered to bath Eliana.  Eliana liked the water and the special attention.  Everyone calls her "Preciosa/Precious Girl".  El Salvadorians see foreigners but hardly see their babies.  So we get lots of attention, which Eliana handles pretty well.  Another attendant brought us breakfast: frijoles, bananas fritas, pan, queso, y juevos con tomatos. 

Wednesday afternoon was very good for me because we were finally helping in the ministry!!!  We helped created a backdrop that is hung on sheets for the children’s ministry.  Marco knows little English, but we were able to communicate through his wife via cell phone.  Marco Jr. created an invitation for an evangelistic event on June 25th.  We recreated most of the invitation on a sheet.  Initially, we free handed the script which said La Tribulacion del Blanco Perla y escape de isla de Perdicion (The Tribulation of the White Pearl and the escape from the island of Perdition).  Kyle free handed the dated of the event.  As we looked at the ship we were to recreate, Kyle noticed an overhead projector.  He asked if we could use it to show the ship on the sheet.  Marco said he’d have to buy the paper the following day, but that he had a projector.  HA!  We had no idea that he had a projector.  It made tracing the ship quick and easy.  Marco loves to talk to Eliana.  Eliana opens so many doors for communication here.

Both pictures are from the third floor of the church.  It is VERY green here!

El Salvador- Tuesday, June 14th

We went to the World Trade Center which is connected to the Crown Plaza.  I felt like it was an illusion in that it isn’t what the vast majority of El Salvadorians’ deal with.  The buildings are nice.  The stores are nice.  If we move here and I need an out of El Salvadorian experience, I could go there.

We were packing up to go to dinner, I was next to the bed and Kylewas near it, when Eliana fell off the bed and hit her back and the back of her head on the tile floor.  We called Pam to ask what concerns to have and symptoms of bigger problems we should look for.  Eliana was initially a little tired.  She threw up and felt better, but that was the action that caused us to decide to go to the doctor.  While Pam drove to meet us, we bathed Eliana, I washed her clothes and mine, and we let the hostel workers know what was going on.  Eliana was acting pretty normal by the time Pam came, but she did throw up a second time before Pam arrived.

Pam took us to the nice hospital.  There was no wait.  Praise God that Pam came and translated for us.  The ER doctor checked her and put in orders for blood work, x-rays, and 12 hour observation.  Here, you have to have your regular doctor come to the hospital to check out the baby.  Pam called a relative of someone that works with the church who is a doctor.  Eliana had blood drawn and an iv put into her foot (not her favorite part of the evening).  The doctor came and said that Eliana looked good.  They called in the x-ray tech to come since this happened in the evening.  He came in, and Pam helped to distract Eliana so that her head would stay still.  The doctor was still here when the x-rays were done, so she checked them out.  They looked good.  Pam took Kyle to go pick up dinner, the car, and a few things.   She showed him the way back to the hospital. 

That night Eliana and I shared the hospital bed.  Here it isn't the culture to have a baby sleep in a crib.  It turned out to be fine since this way I was very attentive to her needs and was able to quickly nurse her back to sleep a couple of times.

Good news: The hospital is clean, and the staff was very helpful.  Pam was able to change her plans for the evening to come and help us.  I had peace during the whole process.  It is in part because I remember my friend Michele's daughter hitting her head and then throwing up later.  She was fine later.  The other part is that you all and others have been praying regularly for us. 

Visiting the hospital wasn't of my list of things to see while here, but I know that God is still on His throne.

El Salvador-Monday, June 13th

Eliana is our happy traveling baby.
Monday: Monday was the last full day for the Oklahoma team, so we joined them as they ventured to Paso de Alaska.  It is a resort over an hour away that is high in the mountains.  The drive is stunning with the lush green mountains and clouds gently misting the hillsides.  We stopped to see a gigantic lake that was breath taking.  Green is my favorite color, and it is very green here.  That is in part from all of the rain.  We had thunder storms the first three nights we were here.  I love the sound of the rain on the tin roof above us.  With all of the beauty of God’s creation, you also see poverty everywhere.  Barbwire is a common thing to have around here, not as common as it was in Afghanistan, but it is still here.  The buildings often don’t look pretty or even painted on the outside.  However, the outside is often decieving because on the inside can be nice things and decorations. Graffiti is everywhere.  Electricity is expensive here, so you often see lines of clothes drying.  However, I was surprised to see paved roads, traffic lights, nice grocery stores, and cell phones stores where you can get a cell phone for $15 and add money for minutes as you go.

Now, I’ll go back to talking Paso de Alaska.  I find it a little funny that the missionaries here, some who have been here for 26 years, have never been there before.  There is a high ropes course which Kyle and I successfully accomplished, a rock wall that Kyle made it to the top of and I nearly made it to the top of, and a zip line. The zip line was pretty intense since I had never done it before.   I was in a harness connected to the zip line that was several stories above ground.  For the first line, I had to use gloves to push down on the line to break myself before coming to the second platform.  That turned out to be the hardest thing for people to do.  Some people got so nervous that they used the gloves too much and got stuck in the middle.  Then they had to pull themselves into to the platform.  One guy got so stuck that to propel himself, he let go of the line and that shot him forward as his feet went above his head.  Thankfully, he was able to get his balance a little so he didn’t land completely upside down.  I enjoyed the second line the best because you didn’t need to use the gloves to break.  I also remembered to look around.  I had been so focused the first time that I only stared at the platform.  Plus, using my hands to break caused my arms to jerk back and hit my face smashing my glasses into my face.

Lunch was expensive for here, but very tasty with steak, shrimp, chicken, potatoes, beans, fried bananas, steamed veggies, salsa, carrot slaw, bread, and soda.  There are other activities people can do at Paso de Alaska, but we didn’t have time to go look at the animals.  We’ve had to be creative with Eliana’s naps while here.  Many of her naps have been taken while traveling places.  While at Paso de Alaska, we brought the pack n’ play and set it up in the back of the bus.  Kyle laid down for a nap in the bus too to make sure Eliana would be okay.

That night we had dinner with the team at Wendy’s.  It was good to hear snippets of their trip as they worked in schools, did evangelism, and helped finish off the church building.  Kyle’s Spanish came in handy as he helped others to order their food.  Eliana continued to light up people’s lives as she babbled and enjoyed eating.

We only have cool water in the shower, so Kyle heats some water in the microwave and adds it to this tub.  Wala, a bath for Eliana!