Friday, September 23, 2016

Free Falling (August/September Ministry Update)

When you take a leap of faith, that means that you're probably going to do some free-falling at some point, and it is both terrifying and exhilarating, but that's coming from an adrenaline junkie... I remember well sky-diving and that feeling of falling through the air and not knowing with 100% certainty that it was going to end well. Such was how I spent most of my summer, but in a different way.

Once I returned to Michigan, the real work began on raising support. My mom is AMAZING and helped set me up with four different places to speak: two churches, and two church groups. She also threw me a birthday party in which I invited family and friends to hear what I had to say and offered them a chance to ask questions about the ministry I'll soon be doing.

After a long couple of days of travel, my mom met me in the airport! :D

Some of the places I went and the people I interacted with offered me one-time donations, which I gladly accepted and was excited about for covering everything that I buy in Michigan because it's cheaper and/or only available there, including a new computer since my previous one was on it's last leg already and then the screen started going...

Lola is not a huge fan of being held... 

But, up until just a few days before I was leaving for a quick vacation to Nicaragua before returning to Honduras, I was still lacking some of the ongoing monthly support that I would need to complete the work God has for me. Even though I was trusting God to provide everything for me that I needed, it was still scary to feel that free-falling and not being 100% it would turn out as I had expected. I started wondering if I would need to return to the States for more fund-raising.

But, God did provide for me, through an unexpected blessing from someone I had never met before at one of the churches and a relative coming through just a couple days before I flew out.

Spotted a double rainbow while hanging out with my brothers, a reminder that God is faithful.

Now I'm safe in God's arms and have all of the monthly support that I need to pursue God's plan for my life to reach out and help the youth in Ojojona, Honduras. I feel incredibly blessed to be able to do full-time ministry and am so thankful to everyone who has committed to supporting me.

In a few days, I will be back at the Ranch and will launch myself into the work there. I have to organize things to begin discipling the young women that work at the Ranch and begin training the younger horse already at the Ranch. We'll also be looking for two more horses which will also need to be acclimated to the Ranch and may need some additional training depending on where we get them from. That's in addition to helping M get ready for another year of Trade School and J with another year of girls' Bible study and everything else that goes on at the Ranch.

Family photo that was WAY overdo! :D

This rest (which didn't involve as much resting as I would have liked, but that's just how it goes sometimes) was awesome and I'm so grateful for the time I got to spend with family and friends, but I'm also excited to get back to work, too!

Super excited about learning to play my new violin, a birthday present from my boyfriend!

Please be praying:
- That we find the right horses for the Ranch at the right price.
- That I'm able to work with Nissa (the younger horse) and get her properly trained. I've never trained a horse from the ground up before.
- That I'm able to connect with the young women at the Ranch in order to disciple them well.
- That the girls that come to girls' Bible study come with the intent to learn and that J and I are able to teach them in wisdom.
- That I transition back to life at the Ranch quickly to be as effective of a servant as possible.
- That my relationship with my boyfriend continues to bring glory to God.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

June Ministry Update - My First Week at the Ranch!

I have just completed my first week at the Rancho Oasis 4 Youth and it has been quite the adventure already. Here's an outline of my first week here serving at this ministry. 


Lu from the Ranch and a missionary friend of mine from San Pedro showed up early at my apartment to help me move. We drove together to the Ranch, stopping only for a lunch break, and then got everything into my room. I got all of my clothes into my dresser and left my kitchen stuff to one of the other staff members to sort through and add to their kitchen as needed or to leave what they wouldn't use in the boxes. She had a talk with J and M that evening and is now taking a break from the Ranch, which means some of her responsibilities have now fallen to me.
 I'm already good friends with Daisy, who is responsible for keeping other dogs off the property with her big barks and sleeping in the holes that she digs around the yard.


We went to church in Tegucigalpa (the capital city of Honduras which is about an hour drive from the Ranch) and had lunch together afterwards. I then went with Lu to the mall to try to get internet on my phone which turned into a long wait at the phone store and then a failure to withdraw money from my bank account (forgot my PIN since I so rarely use it here) and buying just enough to get me through. Then we went grocery shopping which was great because I had left all of my frozen and refrigerated goods at the apartment in my roommate's fridge... Oops. 


M wasn't feeling well, so I watched the youngest two kids for a couple hours while she slept. Then, she went up to the barn with me where we talked until lunch about what I could be doing and what the vision of the Ranch for me was and all that fun stuff. In the afternoon we had our staff meeting where we looked at the calendar for the week and the next couple of months.

 One of the does, who reminds me so much of my goat Freedom I had in MI.


I got in and started cleaning horse tack which had been sitting and getting covered in mold for a few years. I made it through all of the bridles, taking them apart, carefully cleaning and oiling them and then putting them back together. Fortunately, I had the assistance of the boy (age 5) and P (age 3) who used q-tips to get in the little holes and then played with the kittens while I worked with the sponge on the bigger parts.

 Introducing: Luke Skywalker, Tornado, Growltiger, and Jo-Jo.


I helped clean the barn out and learned from O who's been in charge of the animals how they rotate the goats around the property. Because we lack proper fencing all the way around, the goats are kept on long ropes and are moved throughout the day, though the horses are free to wander. Then, I went to work on the saddles that were there and finished the wiping down and soaping up parts of the cleaning. The English saddle had been lovingly cleaned by M a couple years ago and has been stored in a wooden trunk since then so it was in great condition. The Western saddle, on the other hand, had been out in the open and needed a LOT of TLC, as you can see. That afternoon, we had Bible Study with the staff, which included the missionaries and the Honduran staff. Since it ended up just being J and I with the Hondurans (Lu wasn't feeling well and M was watching the kids), we conducted the whole Bible Study in Spanish. 

P following Nick to the barn; there's always an adventure to be had at the Ranch!


I spent the whole morning oiling the Western saddle. It took over an hour for one of the straps in particular, which was so stiff I was afraid it would snap if I bent it. It's not perfect yet, but it's flexible now after a lot of rubbing in the oil and flexing it. I then started taking inventory of the horse supplies and getting a list together of everything that we'd need to move forward. We had guests at the Ranch that day, the pastor's family from church, and so they made fried chicken on the stove, and since I was the lucky one who had to do the dishes that day, spent a couple hours doing that. Later that afternoon, M, Lu, and I met for our women's Bible study and they shared their testimonies, which was really cool to hear. We ran out of time, so I'll be sharing mine next week when we also decide how we'll proceed in the fall (Lu leaves for her furlough in a couple weeks). 


It's mango season, and the family likes to buy 600 mangoes for a good price from O's family, which all have to be cut up, dried or frozen for use throughout the year. I volunteered to help, and so spent a couple hours cutting mangoes with M. Then I was able to finish taking inventory in the barn and have a couple lists together of things we need and things to do. I also met with J that morning to go over the lesson for girls Bible study, which I then spent the early afternoon preparing for. The girls arrived later in the afternoon and after a time of worship together, J took the 3 Jr. High girls outside and I had 12 elementary-aged girls to myself, along with Lu as an assistant. The kids were also there, except for P. Because the girls didn't know me and because they're used to a teaching style that's more focused on listening and copying than discussions, it was painful to get them to answer the questions I had about the passage in John we were reading about Jesus being the Bread of Life. But, I did get some answers and I felt like they did get something out of it, so it was good. We also did a craft in which we made a paper chain with Bible verses that they will (hypothetically and hopefully) read throughout the week. It was a lot of fun, though, and I trust that as I'm there more often, they'll warm up to me more and get used to being able to answer questions.


 .... And after!

That brings us around to today, when there aren't any ministry things going on so I can relax a bit. I will be building shelves out of boards and cinder blocks so I can finish unpacking, but that's about all I have to do today. After a much busier week with more physical and outdoor work than I'm used to, it's nice to have a more chill day where I can get stuff done without worrying too much about sticking to a schedule. 

Please be praying:
- For the staff member that is taking time off, that God would guide her to make the right decision with whether or not she continues at the Ranch. She is a vital member of the team, but is also struggling with wanting to be here full-time. 
- For my body to fully adjust to my work here and the change in altitude. I've been sleeping 9+ hours a night and still wake up feeling tired.
- For God to place desires on people's hearts to become monthly supporters when I return after my trip to Michigan in August. 

Praise for:
- Being fully-funded for this summer vision-mapping trip!!!
- Arriving safely here and being off to a great start. I already love everybody here and am thoroughly enjoying everything about the Ranch. 
- Having fairly-priced and well-working internet on my phone which allows me to stay in contact with the people I love. 

Sunday, May 22, 2016

A Giant Leap of Faith

Over the last few months, there have been some interesting developments in my life, and I can now very excitedly announce... I'M CHANGING MINISTRIES!!!

My days at the school will be over as soon as the school year ends, and then I'll be moving to a small village about an hour south of the capital city of Tegucigalpa and about 6 hours from where I am now. I will be working alongside a missionary family who have a ministry there known as Rancho Oasis for Youth, where they do a variety of ministries with the people they work with, but I will be focusing on building up their animal program.

Over the summer, I will be on a vision mapping trip, in which I'll be getting to know everyone better and coming up with a more exact plan on what my job there will look like on a day-to-day basis. Right now, I know I'll be working with the horses to get them ready for kids to ride, and the goats (and probably chickens) to start a sustainability and animal care program for the community.

Here are a couple videos to give you a better idea of what the Rancho Oasis for Youth is all about. The first one is older but has a good overview of everything they do, and the second one is more up-to-date and will show you what they're doing right now.

Although I'm INCREDIBLY excited about this opportunity, I'm also terrified because it means a lot of changes, including the need to generate my own support. I've been self-supported during my entire time in Honduras so far between working at the school and working online (freelance writing). Now, God is asking me to make a huge leap of faith and trust that He's going to provide for me while I do the work that He has for me.

After much prayer and some dragging of my heels, I have stepped away from nearly all of my online jobs and am fully believing that God is going to supply all of my needs. I'm currently believing for $1000 for my vision mapping trip that will last from June 18 through July 30. This will cover all of my living and moving expenses. I'm also believing for monthly support of $750.

During the month of August and the first week of September, I will be in Michigan on furlough visiting family and friends and getting more support. If you would like me to meet with you, your church, or another group to share my vision, please let me know so I can start filling up my calendar. I'm eager to share the vision God has given me with others.

Please pray about supporting me, either financially or prayerfully. As I am stepping out in faith, I know that the enemy will come against me and so I am asking for your prayer support as well to keep me strong while I serve the Lord in Ojojona, Honduras.

Here's how you can give financially, whether you are giving a one-time gift for my vision mapping trip or want to give monthly to support my ongoing ministry:

My PayPal:
My Google Wallet:

Please note that giving to me directly is NOT tax deductible.

To donate through the Ranch, visit: and click their "donate" button in the sidebar.

By check:
P.O. Box 1853
Mason City, IA 50401

These gifts are tax deductible, and please be sure to include your email address so they can send you your monthly statement and include my name when giving.

I will now be keeping my blog updated much more often so that supporters can see what I'm up to and be aware of my prayer needs as those arise. If you would like to receive email notifications when I upload a new blog, please let me know and I will create an email list to send out with links to updated blogs.

Thank you in advance, and may God bless you!

Please be praying:
- That those who God has called to support me answer the call.
- That everything goes well as I begin packing everything in preparation to move.
- That I finish the school year well and continue pouring into my students until the very end.
- That God would give me peace of mind as I go through this big transition.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Should Things Be Open 24/7 (Blog Posts by 3rd Graders)

These blog posts were all written and then typed out by my 3rd graders. We were studying blog posts in their spelling class, so I figured I might as well let them actually create a blog post. The topic was supposed to be an opinion piece on whether or not we should have either stores, restaurants, or offices open 24/7, but a few of them got a little off topic. Enjoy!

my name is juan jose I have 8 years old I stay in the school of eagles christian academy I am in 3grade.

I talk only for the nature.
my opinion is we need to help the nature for are good for the planet.
my question is are you stay recycle

my name is angeles i am 8 years old i am in the school of eagle christian academy i am 3 grade

i talk only of offices open 24/7 it is bad because the animals has to much light my opinion is bad for the animals question for reader do you thing that the animals like the light 24/7 if you were a animal you dont like it and love the animals i have 4 dogs,4 cats,4 turtle,4 hamsters.

donovan you the 9

the police have more monkey. the police have more prisioner. i think offices open 24/7 is a good/idea. do police work at niht?

my name is astrid  i love go to scool.

the  people have  jungre 7:00 the  restaurant  make more mone. i think it a good idea to have restaurant  24/7. wy restaurat open ol the time?

My name is Miss Melody. I am 100 years old. I am the teacher of 3rd grade and 4th grade.

When stores are open 24/7, it uses a LOT of electricity. That is bad for the environment. I think stores should close at night. Do you think people need to go shopping in the middle of the night?

my name is jahir I eat hamburger and baleadas andpizza is delicions

good the store 24/7day eat 30/percent hours go store yes money. ISgood have things incredible.

what things do you use for video
you eatin the video
what is your productor

my name ios jose. a lake baketol

 the stores have 30 persentu hours i think stores open 24/7 is a good idea do you think it good to have storer open 24/7

Thanks for reading! Please be praying for these precious ones as they continue to learn and grow

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

School Stories: Thanksgiving, the Secret Garden, and Animal Friends

The past (insert however long it's been since my last post) have been filled with a lot of activities. We're still getting ready for our Christmas show which is now LESS THAN TWO WEEKS AWAY, and we also had Thanksgiving, and finished preparing and planting (for now) our "secret garden." Here are some more school stories for you.

Since Thanksgiving is primarily an American holiday, not that many people actually celebrate it here, except for the bilingual schools. After doing the smoothie challenge with my kids (which you can see here), they had some time to play and then we all sat down together as a gigantic crazy family to eat Popeye's chicken, fruit, and various snack foods. It was a lot of fun despite the natural insanity that comes from trying to feed 60 kids and 15 adults in such a small space...

Normally we have everything in the church so there's a bit more space to work with. Last year, I actually had a dance battle with a couple of the boys while we waited for the food to arrive, but there was only enough room for a turkey sound-alike contest this year... I should have won, but the kids were too excited about our very reserved director making some turkey noises, so they all cheered for her instead of me... But I'm not bitter about that at all... Mostly because there wasn't a prize involved... Anyway, the reason why we weren't able to have it in the church is that we are expanding the church to double its size, so there's currently a very large hole in one of the walls. Here is the empty church right before they took out the wall.

The whole wall by the stage up to the first air conditioner is now just a tarp.

The garden has been a big project that both third and fourth grade have been helping with immensely. I definitely wouldn't have been able to do it all myself. It started as a science project about how plants grow, but then when they actually started growing I wanted to plant them somewhere, and then I also solved the problem of where to plant my own growing tomato and pepper plants after getting permission to plant a garden in the gated-off area between the school and the wall of the soccer field. So, after a lot of weed-pulling, digging, and finding bugs, we've got plants in the ground and they're doing GREAT!

Fourth grade working hard at pulling weeds and digging.

Third grade working on digging to loosen up the soil and get out the big rocks before planting.

We found some wildlife while we were at it, and these two worms were just the tip of the iceberg.

The miniature rock wall that we built with all the rocks we found in the ground.

The tomatoes and bell peppers I've been growing at home ready to go into the ground.

5 of my tomatoes from home and the 3 that sprouted at school in the ground!

We set up an old gate as a trellis for the tomatoes and to hold the seedlings that are still growing. I made sure to rope off the area to prevent accidents.

Little sunflowers planted in a row. :D

This is some type of flowering plant that one of the girls brought. My policy with the garden is: if you bring it, we will plant it.

These are the strawberries that have sprouted at my house from strawberries that I bought at the store... They're tiny little guys, but are getting bigger slowly but surely every day! (Yes, you have to squint a little to see them, but there are about a dozen there.)

The other morning, I saw something adorable happening outside, so I went out to take a picture. It's hard to see, but this is a little poodle-y dog and a cat hanging out. The dog is actually somebody's pet, because they came around the corner and were looking for him/her right after I took the picture, and I'm assuming the cat is a stray. But, they were hanging out together for a bit and I thought it was cute so I snapped a picture. The distance was pushing the limits of my phone's zooming capabilities, but I'm glad I was able to get some sort of picture before they both slipped into a hole in the wall that's below the half-wall they're both sitting on.

Best friends. :)

Thanks for reading!

Please be praying:
- That the construction on the church is completed before our Christmas show.
- That everyone comes together to make our Christmas show amazing.
- That I continue to seek God in everything I do and put Him first in my life.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

School Stories - Pinatas, Rainbows, and Poems

This week, I decided to focus more on my third grade class since last week was all about fourth grade... Quite on accident, I assure you. Sometimes, one grade is just more interesting than the other. As crazy as things are already getting as I have to leave my kids to work on their own while I practice for Christmas with the older grades, we're still finding plenty of time to have fun and keep things interesting.

Here is the saga of the 3rd Grade piñata... Which I documented through the daily vlog I'm doing over on my YouTube channel.

First, you see my kids begging me to do a piñata because they apparently hate the Lion King... Who hates the Lion King? It's the best movie EVER!

Then, when it came to actual piñata-making day, none of them had brought the balloons they were supposed to, so I sort of rant about that and describe the version of a piñata we did that I wasn't sure would actually turn out....

Then, I managed to use masking tape and pure magic (I guess) to keep it all together, and somehow we had an actual piñata that actually survived a few blows....

They're all smiles (and rabbit ears) so they must be happy about how it turned out!

-  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -

We're also doing a unit on poetry in third grade, so part of their homework involves them writing poems. Although I only require 4 lines, I sometimes get more, like this masterpiece about cooking, done as a shape poem (which we did in Spelling class).

I am cooking
If I don't cook I don't eat.
My mom don't cook because
she don't lik and my brother to
is not in the house. I love
cook because I can do pizza
cake and spagety.

(by Angeles)

-  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -

This picture I took from right outside my bedroom one morning. It was raining as I was getting ready, and then as I was rushing to go downstairs where my ride was waiting, I caught sight of this beauty and decided there was always time to take a picture of a rainbow.

Sidenote, the easy access to other rooftops often makes me think of Aladdin....

-  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -

My third graders have also been working hard on a science project in their own homes about the needs of plants. Unfortunately, I only got pictures of two of their finished projects which they brought to present to the class, but here they are:

Angeles bought two similarly-sized flowers and put one in a bag and didn't water it...
She determined that plants need sunlight and water.

Juan Jose chose to grow plants from seeds, one of which was placed in a plastic bag. This gave me a good opportunity to talk about how seeds hold nutrients so that plants grown from seeds don't actually need sunlight at the beginning. I further showed that with Jahir's project, which was basically the same as this one. But, his plant that had sunlight was bright green whereas the other was much more dull in color.

-  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -

Last Monday, it was the director's birthday, so they had a surprise party here at the house. I decided to spend most of the afternoon painting my nails rather than doing any writing work, so here is the result of that.....

Yes. That's a feather on my ring finger.
No, it actually wasn't that hard to do.

That's it for this week. I'm expecting this next week to be just as exciting, because when you're working with kids, you just never know what's going to happen next!

Please be praying:
- That God continue to move in the hearts of the kids as we have daily worship and prayer times.
- That everything continue to come together smoothly for the Christmas show, which is in less than 4 weeks already!
- That I continue to seek God first in everything.
Also, quick praise report: Last week, I was suffering from some pretty intense lower back pain, but thanks to a chiropractor friend in my Bible study, I am now completely pain-free once again! :D

Sunday, November 8, 2015

School Stories - Science Project, Twins, and More!

I meant to start updating this weekly, but totally forgot last Sunday, so here's two weeks worth of fun school stories, with pictures!

In science, we were learning about plant reproduction, so they were all asked to bring in two flowers so that in case some of them forgot, there would potentially be enough for everyone to do one.... One girl remembered and showed up with two roses... They're lucky I love them and wasn't actually giving points for it. So, it turned into a group project and competition (boys verses girls, of course) to find as many different parts of the flower as possible.

Opening up the rose to prepare to tear it apart.....

..... And the rose has been destroyed in the name of science.

If you couldn't figure it out, the girls' project is on the left and the boys' is on the right. :)

The boys technically one with more parts labeled......

But I also considered the girls winners for pure artistic work.

In reading class this past week, we were reading about weird jobs, including line waiters, egg smellers, chocolate engineers, and.... zombies. Since the beginning of the year, a couple of the kids have been stumbling across this picture randomly and insisting that it was my boyfriend, so at their request, I sent it to my actual boyfriend and said that it was my real boyfriend. He responded with a series of angry faces and guns, then said my boyfriend was disgusting.... And then a few hours later sent me a picture that said "I'm so glad I know you" so I'm pretty sure he was over it by then.... :D

Probably no reason for real jealousy here......

This precious young lady is Gissel. Her and I apparently are twins or at least psychically coordinate our accessories before coming to school...

Matching pink headbands....

.... and it's hard to see, but we're both sporting butterfly earrings.
(that's Kyle photobombing our twin selfie)

If I've learned anything teaching, it's that kids are crazy, and they have some pretty interesting thoughts on the way things work. This masterpiece was done by Dennisito. It's apparently me, accidentally pooping out a baby.... As much as I wish it were that easy right now, I can imagine a future me will wish it even more.....

Also, I'm a little concerned because it appears that the baby is going down the drain....

That's all I got for you this week. Hopefully I'll have some more fun stories and pictures for you next week.

Please be praying:
- That everything goes well with organizing, planning, and practicing the Christmas program.
- That the construction on the church continues to move forward so we can be in our bigger sanctuary very soon.
- That God continue to fill me with Him and everything that I need to pour out more of Him onto the kids.
- For the school, that everything works out with the math teacher position.