“Welcome to Nicaragua!”
This is a day I will never forget. I met Felix who is 10 and Pedro who is 16. We also met their families and visited their homes. You can tell they were trying to look their best for us. With plenty of gel in their hair and with their shirts nicely tucked in their pants. They gave us a tour of their homes. Felix shares his home with two other families and Pedro shares his bed with two other people. Later, our host confessed to us that, their homes were the poorest she has ever seen.
Later, we visited one of Compassion’s sites –a school full of vibrant children who prepared a welcome ceremony for us! As the afternoon went by they made us feel like celebrities, wanting to be with us, hugging and playing with us. I can still hear their voices calling me “maestra” or “profesora” which means “teacher” in Spanish. I felt really good being there with them. I don’t know how else to describe it. All we were doing was blowing bubbles, but for them, this was a big deal. One container of bubbles can cost around $3, so for many of the children there, this was something they had never done before.
My biggest lesson learned today: Kids appreciate the money, but they prefer to feel loved. When a sponsored child doesn’t receive a letter, and other kids do, they feel like they don’t matter to their sponsor. Teachers try to keep them encouraged but it is hard because no answer really satisfies them. Sometimes they just have to tell them that their sponsor just doesn’t have the time.
On a positive note, I’m so greateful to be feeling better… tomorrow, I look forward to doing more home visits!
Houston We Have a Problem
I’m in Houston now, meeting with two other people going on this trip. Mark is the leader and Mary works for another radio station.
Here’s the problem…
My stomach isn’t feeling well – and I don’t think it’s nerves this time! lol It’s a good thing I packed some Imodium!
We are headed to a Holiday Inn in Managua. The Compassion Nicaragua staff will be at the airport to take us there.
Hope I’m feeling better by then.
On my way to the airport and I feel like I’m about to get on a scarry ride… the seat belt is on and I’m about to embark on a thrill of a life time… then that feeling hits my stomach -the one that makes you think you’re about to throw up. I’m just taking deep breaths and taking as many mental snapshots of my family before I leave. Keep me in your prayers. To God be the glory!
Tomorrow is the BIG day
I can’t believe tomorrow is the BIG day. I’m travelling to Nicaragua –by myself! Without my husband and without carrying a diaper bag and extra snacks for the kids, it almost feels too weird. After so many years, I get to do something that is all about me and God! I know you understand. I will miss my family so much but for five days I won’t belong to my own children –I will belong to the children I get to meet in the schools and churches that work with Compassion International. To those kids, I will represent you, and the hope of more of you. Your sponsorship changes their lives and I will experience this for myself and report back to you of the many ways your contributions help to make their lives better.
Weekend Review: Laura Story and Blessings
Sometimes you get a particular image of a person when you hear them in song or on the radio. Chaplain Terry likes to joke that people think he’s a 70-year old white man (he’s not).
I imagined that when I met Laura Story I’d meet the most quiet and reverent person possible who would end every sentence with “Praise God” and could back up every statement she made with a bible verse. I mean this is the person behind “Mighty to Save” and “Indescribable” – I’m sure most of her thoughts sound like lyrics to new praise and worship songs.
But this past Friday, I got a chance to meet and hang out with Laura and her husband Martin and a couple things were made clear immediately. They were laid back, they were fun and they were down to earth. It was clear that they have their priorities in the right place: with God and with their family. They were so easy to talk to, like friends you had known for years, even though I just met them hours before. It was weird to think that this normal couple had a major part in two of the most powerful songs in Christian music today.
Laura arrived on Friday afternoon and immediately sat down to chat with Chaplain Terry on Breakaway and talked about how she got in music. She even talked about the story behind some of her songs, including her brand new song, “Blessings,” a song that came out of her husband’s struggle with a brain tumor. Click here to check out that interview and download it.
Later that night, after she got a chance to practice with the WGTS Gateway Praise Band, Laura, her husband Martin, Chaplain Terry, Chaplain Pete, Music Director Ben, Production Assistant Warren and I piled into a car for a night tour guided by Chaplain Terry. (If you didn’t know he used to be a tour guide at the Pentagon) We got a chance to see the Lincoln Memorial, World War II Memorial, Washington Monument, FDR Memorial and the White House. You can check out some of the pictures here on our facebook page. It was so much fun, in fact click here to check out her blog for a few of the things she learned on Chaplain Terry’s tour.
The next night, when Laura got on stage, I saw the exact same person we hung out with the day before. She was real, down-to-earth and passionate about God. I didn’t see someone who put on a show for the people who came to WGTS Gateway that night. She was a little goofy at times, worshipful when she led the audience in song and showed a little bit of vulnerability as she shared her thoughts and experiences that have been poured into her music. But it was never about her. It was always about God and how we all came together that night to praise him.
When the night ended (far too quickly) I not only had a great time, but I had experienced the kind of worship that allowed me to reflect on the blessings God has put in my life, even if I sometimes see them as challenges.
It showed me that simply being a normal person just like Laura Story who is willing to take life’s challenges and turn them into blessings is a great way to encourage myself and those around me.
Baby Conway is here!
After cooking in momma’s belly for a very long 9 months, our new baby boy arrived this past Saturday, the 20th at 5:42am. Caleb Dean Conway came into the world at a very hefty 8lbs 7oz and 21 inches. We were so glad because we were beginning to wonder if he was getting too comfortable in there. We learned there are actually Castor Oil recipes to help it go down easier (drizzle over ice cream, for instance)…fortunately, it never came to that! I was personally hoping he’d come on my birthday (the 16th) but I suppose it’s good he gets his own day anyway.
Christian the Lion
If you love cats, or really just animals in general, you’ll love this heartwarming video. I can just imagine what our reunion in heaven will look like…
It’s time to expand your music library! It doesn’t happen very often, but the group Downhere (they do those songs “How Many Kings” & “Little Is Much”) is offering their ENTIRE brand new album completely free to download. But you only have until the end of June to do it!
Just go to www.musichristian.com/downheredownload and download away!
Idol does Shout to the Lord
By popular demand, I’ve posted both performances of the Idol contestants doing “Shout to the Lord.” Many of you noticed they took out the word “Jesus” the first night, but put it back in the following night. My guess is the producers received a lot of flack for it. Enjoy!
Washed By the Water
If you’ve heard the new song “Washed By the Water” from Needtobreathe, well here’s the video that goes with it! I think we’ve all been through seaons when we feel like our friends and the world are out to get us. The truth is, we only have one place of refuge. http://youtube.com/watch?v=3p_Akkx00k4