Monday, October 1, 2012

Home Sweet Home

Hey everybody! For those of you who don't know..I am officially in the States! I arrived in Chicago at roughly 7:30 pm on Sunday, September 23rd to a sign that said "Welcome Home Jami!" My family and my boyfriend were there waiting for me, they are truly the best!

So you're probably wondering, "Why is she home? Its only October 1st, she was supposed to be coming home in December." Well, here's the story. About a month ago, I went to the immigration office to get my 90 day stay there extended. For some reason or another they only extended it for 30 days, so it would have expired today. In order to stay there for the last two months of my internship I would have had to leave the country for 72 hours, a country that doesn't border Honduras, and then I could stay for another 90 days. So the international office in Colorado and I decided that it was good timing because since a few groups have cancelled their trips to go down there my purpose for being there had changed. It was best for me to just stay here instead of going back. After being back for a few days, I realized how much I had truly missed being here! Though I had an absolutely amazing time in Honduras, its good to be home. I know its a somewhat confusing situation but I know that everything happens for a reason and God has amazing plans for me in the future!
me and my parents at the airport
My last few weeks in Honduras were great. From Wednesday, September 26th-29th the JPC team attended a conference called COICOM. According to the COICOM website, this is basically what it is: "The Latin American Confederation of Communicators, Pastors, Christian Leaders and Mass Media (COICOM) is a movement inspired by God's vision and mission is to train, motivate and mobilize the church for the evangelization of all Spanish speakers in the world. It was a great experience learning about technology for the church, evangelism and other topics.

here's a picture of the team at COICOM (from the left: Brenda, me Pavel, Mauricio, Santy and Brayan

Thank you to everyone for all your prayers and support through this journey I've been on! It was truly an amazing experience! I've learned so much about myself, my relationship with the Lord and so many other things! Dios les bendiga!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

visit from mom!

This past week was definitely one of my best since I've been here because (drum roll please) my mom came to visit! So my mom decided to come visit about two weeks before she planned on coming, which is totally fine with me because since living here I have come very accustomed to last minute plans. And of course, its just awesome in itself that my mom decided to come down here. It was her first international trip and even her first time on an airplane! Talk about stepping out in faith! (she's a pretty awesome lady) We had such a busy 6 days! She arrived around noon on Tuesday, September 4th and we went straight back to Mauricio's house for a typical Honduran lunch of plantains, rice, chicken etc. From there we went to Raissa Vanessa school, which is one of the schools we as  JPC team go to on a weekly basis. When we arrived there, however, we found out we couldn't do our thing because the students were in exams. We had to find something to do so of course Sarita (my fave ice cream place) was the best option. That evening we had a birthday party at Chili's for one of my good friend's, Richie Coto, birthday. Day 1. (I won't go into detail about every single day but will give a brief overview of the week, so don't worry.)

Thursday my mom got to go to Santiago school with us, one of the schools I've mentioned in earlier posts. All the kids absolutely loved her and had a great time with her! I have pictures but am having trouble getting them on my computer so I'll post them soon! 

A very important part of the culture here is food. They love making things from scratch and have a lot of typical food here. My mom did a great job at being adventurous! She had her first baleada and pollo con tajadas! These are two favorites of San Pedro Sulans, so of course she had to try them. There were other things she tried that I'm not so sure she enjoyed, but here is her trying pollo con tajadas: 

Saturday morning we had brunch at the beach with Mauricio and Ana. We went for a long walk on the beach and got to chat and catch up. 

 Here are some other random pics from her visit:

mom with Pavel (left) and Saul (right)

mom and Richie

mom and Karol

mom and Kelvin (my friend and our tour guide at the ruins)

mom in Copan; we went to the ruins in the morning and went did some shopping and had lunch after

Saturday, August 18, 2012

CTI, Colegios and Traveling

So I know its been a while since I've posted, 5 weeks to be exact, but this past month has been crazy busy! To begin with, on July 19th, a musical group called CTI (Carpenter's Tools International) arrived for 25 days of worship concerts. It was some of the craziest 25 days of my life! They did about 40 concerts total! We went to places such as schools, Casitas, businesses, parks and malls. Though it was very tiring and I was worn out most of the time, it was one of the coolest things I've experienced. I had never experienced anything like it. The concerts were normally about an hour long and included dramas, testimonies and worship songs. For the first two weeks we traveled to different locations in San Pedro Sula; for the second two weeks we went to Tegucigalpa for the weekend and then to La Entrada Copan (and surrounding areas), where we stayed at the JPC camp.

One of the hardest things I experienced while CTI was here was when we went to the first Casitas. Casitas is a home for woman, I believe as young as 10, go because they have no where else to go. They are either rescued from bad homes, the streets, prostitution, etc. For example, there was a 13 year old there whose mother kicked her out of her home becuase her stepfather raped her and got her pregnant. It was possibly one of the saddest and sickening stories I've ever heard. I don't think all the young women there were pregnant but looking around the room, I believe we counted 15, and none of them looked older than 16 or 17. It was definitely an experience I'll never forget.

Since CTI left and even the week before they got here, us JPC people have continued to go into schools and to VBS. We go for about an hour to two different schools, one Tuesday and one Thursday, and do a few songs, games and a teaching. It is a great opportunity for me to get out of my comfort zone and really speak Truth into the lives of these kids. I love what I do!

I do have a few prayer requests, however;
1) Danny, the grounds keeper at the JPC camp takes his kids to school everyday on his bicycle, and it is not a short ride. Mauricio would really like to get a motorcycle type thing so he could have an easier time going to town for things and taking his kids to school.
2) Overall funds for JPC here. We have had a few incidents at the grocery story with bounced checks and I'm praying they continue to let us go there. So that the Lord would continue to cover all the financial needs here.

If there's any way I can be praying for you please, please, please let me know! :)

Here are some random pics to give you a glimpse into some of the stuff we've been doing:

These are some of the kids from my favorite school, Santiago. We go here on Thursdays

The girl on the left is the one I told the story about earlier; Roberta (in the middle) is holding her baby.

Me with some of the girls at Casitas

CTI performing on the CCI Channel (CCI is a church in Tegucigalpa that has a Christian TV  station)

CTI performing at a youth service at CCI in Tegus.

and then there's me. pointin at a waterfall.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

workin', workin', workin'

After a few weeks of Gringo groups (Gringos are what Hondurans call North Americans), we are finally settling into the normal schedule. As a group in the office, we have figured out what each of our individual responsibilities are and how each of us will contribute to the JPC work team. My main roles include taking pics for the JPC website, organizing games for when we go into the school and go to the camp, help with worship, and coordinate dramas for when we go into the schools. I am loving all of my responsibilities. I know that God has blessed me with different talents and abilities and each of them are getting utilized here. 

Last Thursday we began going into schools and doing a VBS type thing for them. We do such things as worship, games, and sharing the gospel through Bible stories and every day examples. The first school we went into was called Santiago. This school has my favorite kids. All of the girls are always hanging on me, playing with my hair and sitting on my lap. They will not leave me alone! But I absolutely love it! They are the sweetest little kids. 
me with some of the kids at the school Santiago

singin some songs with the kids

Santy explaining how to play mar y tierra

some of the little girls from Santiago
Another fun experience I had a few weekends ago was traveling to Tegucigalpa, the country's capital city, for a musical concert. The JPC worship band got to open for Manu MC, who works along JPC in Tegucigalpa. His music is very reggaeton style, which is super awesome and fun. I made many friends and had an awesome time getting to meet new people. 
the beautiful city of Tegucigalpa

me with some JPC volunteers who traveled to Tegucigalpa with us
There are a few things that I would like to ask for prayer for. 1) JPC is short on modes of transportation. We really need a truck to transport things to and from the camp (which is about an hour and a half from San Pedro Sula) 2) Funds for other things such as Brayan, whom I mentioned in my last post, and for materials and such for when we go to the camp and schools. I, and JPC, appreciate all of your prayers and support. Thanks and God bless!

Friday, June 22, 2012

weeks 2-3

So weeks 2-3 were awesome. On Sunday, June 10th we can our second American group arrive. We stayed at the camp from the 10th-18th, doing things such as moving dirt, mixing concrete, etc. They even helped me and Brenda out in the kitchen!  I was rally nervous about that week because it was just going to be me and Brenda in the kitchen cooking for 20+ people but with them there we had more than enough help. It was such a blessing having them all there! It was really awesome getting to know each of them. They are a really special group of people.
the second American group, from Colorado
On Monday, June 18th, we took a trip to Copรกn to go to the ruins and do some shopping at souvenir shops, etc. We also got to visit the bird sanctuary which is one of the coolest things I've had the opportunity to do so far. Here is a picture of me holding some of the birds!:

On Tuesday, June 19th, we got to spend the entire day at the beach! The beach we spend time at was called Puerto Caballo, which is right next to a beautiful beach resort. We spent time in the ocean, which of course I was very hesitant to enter, ordered drinks at the resort, and relaxed as much as I could. It was great to get a day off after a full week of hard work. Definitely my favorite day so far. 
one of the awesome little cabanas on the beach.

the beach was absolutely beautiful!

the cool drinks we ordered at the resort. mine was watermelon!

this is Rece. both he and I let one of the other people apply sunscreen to our backs. this is the result. (mine looked the same but I won't put that picture up here.)
Since the group left Wednesday, we took the day off to just relax and reload before it was time to get back to work. Thursday, yesterday started the new/normal schedule. Yesterday and today I have been in the office uploading pictures for JPC, working on Facebook and hanging out with Mauricio, Pavel and Santy (Pavel and Santy work for/volunteer for Mauricio and JPC).
the one on the left is Pavel and the one on the right is Santy (Santiago)
There is one thing I ask that you all pray for. There is a young man named Brayan who lives in La Entrada and volunteers at the JPC camp. I will share his testimony that he wrote but wanted to tell you why I would like you all to pray for him. Last year he graduated from high school and was planning on attending the university here in San Pedro Sula. He took a check to the university to pay for his classes, but when the bank went to deposit the check there was no money in the account. Since then he has been trying to find a way to pay for school so he can have higher education and make a better life for himself. I would really appreciate it if you pray for him. He has a really big heart for Jesus and also for spreading the Truth of Jesus Christ. Here is his testimony and a picture of him:

My name is Braham Yonadab Sosa Mejia, live in La Entrada, Copan. I am 18 years old. I graduated from high school last year (11/30/2011). I have volunteered for Youth for Christ about 3 years working with each activity such as being the band, in which I am a drummer, in camp maintenance (cleaning of bathrooms, cleaning the room, maintaining clean parks, etc..); and all this together with the other volunteers and JPC Leaders. I also attend JPC makes trips to carry the gospel to everyone Honduras.
I would like to work full time in JPC because I have seen the dedication, passion, discipline and organization that is part of JPC; everything according to the vision and mission as a ministry has and because I know that God is doing great things in Honduras through YFC.
Because of intellectual and academically than I have to move to San Pedro Sula to continue my studies and take advantage of the desire to serve God through JPC and win young people for Christ; that is the will of God. Because of rental costs (apartment), food, and transportation university I cannot satisfy.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

photos at last!

I am finally able to post some pictures to update all of you on some of the stuff I've been doing so far. Hope you enjoy!
This is one of the many beautiful views from the JPC Camp

The group from South Dakota doing a VBS for some local area children

My little friend Kathi (I'm unsure of the spelling) who lives on the camp property with her family. I have really enjoyed playing with and spending time with this 5 year old. 

This is where I spend about 90% of my time here at the camp. I'm becoming quite the little chef ;)

A beautiful Catholic church in La Entrada.

I got to remove the skin from about 6 chickens last night. It was surprisingly fun! But let's just say they don't let me use the big knives anymore..haha ;)

This group from Colorado is currently working alongside of us at the camp. We ventured to town last night for some ice cream. Fue muy delicioso!

This past Saturday I went with Mauricio and family to the Joya Grande Zoo. We had such a good time!

This yummy looking thing was my lunch at the zoo. Fresh fish, plantains and papas fritas. 
Me feeding a real live giraffe!

This is one of the beautiful views from the zoo.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

week 1

I successfully made it through my first week! And oh my word was it a busy one.
I had a really great time traveling here by myself; it made me feel like an actual adult! I made a point to make at least one friend at each destination. I met these two adorable little girls at the Miami airport (I would post pictures of them but I am having trouble getting the internet to work on my laptop). So I arrived in San Pedro about an hour and a half late but was greeted by Mauricio's wife Ana (she's awesome by the way!) I arrived at Ana and Mauricio's home and it is so beautiful! (again, I will be sure to post pictures asap)
As soon as I arrived at their house around 8 pm Honduras time, I was informed that I would be leaving for La Entrada at 7 am the next morning. So I had to pack and prepare to be at the JPC camp until Thursday the following week. There was an American team at the camp that had been working there since Tuesday. This group was from South Dakota and it was really fun getting to work with them and get to know them.
With this American team, they would do work that needed to be done outside at the camp, while I did a lot of work in the kitchen whether it was preparing meals, doing dishes or cleaning. For two of the afternoons we did a VBS for some kids from local schools.
One of the days we took the American team to the Copan Mayan ruins and spent the day enjoying food at a local restaurant and doing some souvenir shopping. Then on the team's last day here, we took them to a waterfall/park area which is apparently a very popular place. It was fun just getting to relax by and in the water after a week of hard work.
Yesterday was my first day off and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I got to ride my first bus, (sorry if you're reading this Aunt Julie!) but it was the scariest ride of my life! I had two of my male friends with me but the driving here is just crazy! It was super fun though and I can't wait to do it again. I have another day off today before we have another American teamto from Colorado we get to spend ten days with at the camp. I think we are going to the zoo and tonight we have a worship concert we're going to.

Thanks again for all your prayers and support! If there's any way I can be praying for anybody please let me know :)
I would greatly appreciate prayers that God would continue to use me as a light to the Honduran teenagers and children I get a chance to work with here. Thanks! Dios te bendigo!