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Daily Journal: Saturday, February 19, 2011 (Second Edition)

By Bonnie Black
I sent the previous journal entry before the morning Home Crew had returned, so I couldn’t tell you the details. The Home Shelters built first this morning was for Alba Lucia Marenco who lives in Solano donated by the Dominican Sisters. That was followed by a home donated by Ray Petrashune for María Esperanza Moreno also of Solano. The last home constructed this morning was also in Solano built for Francisco Pérez García donated by Sante Fe School.

On Home Shelters this afternoon were Nancy, Sister Claire, Chris & Ann (their mother/son experience), James and Eva with Ilona as our translator. Although we had planned to finish the last 3 homes today, the material delivery had too many short lengths or wood and not enough of the long lengths, so it won’t be until Monday that we can complete the 10th home for this mission. The first shelter they built was for Maubdiel Gonzalez and Teresa Fonseca of Cedro Galan donated by Nancy Cronin; the second was for Joel Morales of Monte Verde donated by Dan & Kathy Riggins of Schroon Lake.

Henry led this afternoon’s painting crew of Josh and Sarah R although he also had help from Hillary and Chris who jumped in before they left on their assigned tasks. Ben kept himself on the team and got a good handle on the spray painter tackling a substantial portion of the exterior of the Women’s Dorm along the breezeway.

Our Rice & Beans team of Hillary, Joy, Marcus, Lauren, Zach, Paul S. brought along a Medical Outreach team of Allie and Bev VanDenburgh as the Nejapa Women’s Clinic was not scheduled as we had planned.

Sponsor gift sorting began this afternoon with Maggie, Caitlin, Megan Hall and Megan Harris matching names with lists and creating the Master for Magaly who will need to have it by tomorrow so that the families receiving gifts come here at 2pm on Tuesday. We are going to ask both schools to come to our new facility in order to ‘show off’ our yard and let them know about our Clinic that is open to all in the community. Megan H. continued to work diligently after sending the other 3 out to play with the children who had come to the gate. We had announced (with a poster on the gate) that children could come each day Fri-Tues from 2:30-4:30 and play at our facility. It worked very well today, but with the intense amount of off-site projects to day, it was the Rice & Beans crew that began playing with the children until their guide arrived; them Megan H. had a great idea of letting her companions on gift sorting go around the facility to be with the kids. That is such leadership – perfect for one of the student representatives on our Leadership Team!

The seemingly never-ending Notebook sorting was tackled by Joy C., Gwen and Ann. Yes, we will get it all together to bring to the schools early next week with our Heights & Weights team.

Everyone who had been out on all day painting crews returned in the late afternoon one in time to play a bit with the children and the other just in time for dinner!

We took the ‘official’ Mission #41 photo – the first mission to be established for the full week here.

THEN…we started the meeting with a quick review of the times for tomorrow. Sister encouraged us to share in prayer with the local community tomorrow morning; Father Jalder has been thanking the Mission for what we have done over the past 12 years for them. Tomorrow’s service will be said in memory of Don Miller, Connie Miller’s husband, who died a couple of weeks ago. Joy Cayea paid for it, with the full support of our Leadership Team.

We heard that Sister Ligia will be here to pick up her donations on Monday, too.

Norm Baker noticed that the Mission could benefit from a table saw and a chop saw for the various projects we do and he is donating them to us tomorrow!

Sister acknowledged that Barbara was with us tonight, her last night for this mission.

There were some housekeeping issues we discussed regarding bathroom practices and kitchen and James asked to meet with today’s painting leaders for input on what’s left.

Roger mentioned that Bev G. organized our Health Festival for tomorrow afternoon very well and we will be able to see, in the morning, what stations we will be at. EVERYONE will be needed for prep as well as teardown afterward. See the board in the morning ;-)

Sister spoke of the opportunity to purchase locally grown organic coffee before we return from a fair trade owner ‘down the street’ who treats his workers well with a 5-day week at fair wages.

She then mentioned that of the 10 years we have had student representatives to the Leadership Team, Zach and Megan Harris are the most outstanding. Their qualities of stepping up without being asked, following through and taking initiative have been very strong.

We then began our sharing time with the Lord’s Prayer led by Henry as we joined hands. Sister shared that we need to remember that God is both Mother and Father – all encompassing.

Sister asked us, “What have you done for the poor ones in your midst today?”

Hillary shared that she played soccer with a particular girl at El Crucero this morning then spent some time with her sharing time even though they did not speak the same language. Near the end

Marcus found today eye-opening on the Home Building Crew.

Allie has found the patients very appreciative which is a wonderful experience as a provider.

Ben helped Henry paint the walls day, but he said that yesterday at Parajito Azul and the playing in the yard in the afternoon he found all the children very happy and actually quite happy. They also seem to love the Silly Bandz handed out.

Henry thanked everyone on his crew today and how cheerful they were doing what still needed to be done to assist the Mission to work with the poor. He feels very blessed to be working with such great people.

Tom shared his experience at the Dermatology Clinic and the drive there setting the scene for what was to come. It appeared quite drab and dreary today, but by the time they left it was brighter and the workers at the facility seemed quite grateful for what we were doing which seemed to us as something so small. Sara L. thanked everyone on the crew for making it a great experience.

Joy said that we also need to thank the people back home – her husband has built four shelters over the past couple of years – and it means so much to so many.

Roger told a story about getting up early this morning and finding a large dragonfly trying to get at the light. He took one of Sister Steph’s plastic cans to capture the creature, opened the door and let it go. He said that when our ceilings are limited and when we think we’re heading toward the light, it is Mission that collects us, shows us the door and releases us.

Aislyn said that at first it was sad to see the physical condition of the space they had to paint at the Children’s Hospital , but she felt very proud they were able to bring it to a new and brighter level for the children who now need to go there.

Sister reminded us that ‘they’ are ‘us’ and when we return we must speak of our brothers and sisters – not the differences. As a third-grader told her recently, we help because we can. Another told her that God didn’t make boundaries, people did. Those statements reinforce we are called to stand as one. We don’t have to do an either/or.

Maggie said she found today mind-boggling. At El Crucero when they gave the stickers, they returned them – something she had never expected. She found this afternoon very different when the children who came in were very physical running up and almost knocking them over.

Lauren went on Rice & Beans today and was able to bring along clothes her community donated. She saw a little girl covered in dirt, sitting alone, seeming very sad. She gave a new pink shirt to the girl’s father and later the girl came running up to her wearing the shirt, asking to be held. It was a striking experience.

Gwen told us she is the now (self-proclaimed) Binder Queen after this afternoon’s experience! But, this morning she found some of the children she interacted with during Home Shelters had very old eyes. This afternoon, though, the children she saw – many of whom were the same – their eyes were filled with hope.

Nancy told us about a 4-year-old who was about the size of a one-year-old who enjoyed being carried around by Josh. She massaged another child who was 17, the size of a 5-year-old, for about 20 minutes and was so pleased when the young girl had relaxed enough that she could feel her ribs. Another story she shared was about a watch she gave to a woman last year on Home Building who approached her today wearing the watch. Last year, Nancy had told her when she would look at a clock back home, she promised to pray for her. The woman showed her the watch, looking brand new, and said that she prayed for Nancy whenever she looked at it.

Paul R. noted he could hear many babies crying while they were painting the room and they seemed upset. He thought of his grandchildren, about the same age, and how babies cry the world over – they, too, know no boundaries.

Josh told us how task-oriented he is when he arrives at a site, even at Parajito Azul, thinking of exercises to use, etc. He said when Nancy arrived, she began to place her hands on some of the children and mentioned how important ‘touch’ is. He thanked her for reminding him of that power we all possess.

Liam thanked his painting crew for a ‘good hard day’s work’ and the way that we get more than we can ever give them. He told us that Aislyn handed out knit hats while there and the smiles she received blossomed into a greater smile when she returned from giving them away.

Sister Claire’s two experiences on Home Shelters this afternoon were very different. The first was a strong family community but the other was for a young couple in a remote area only exposed to bugs around them.

Kevin spoke of how hard his team worked at the Dermatological Center painting as well as the electrical enhancements that Mary-Kate accomplished. He mentioned that Norm actually saved his life from a self-fashioned circuit tester as they had a hot one that had appeared cold, but wasn’t! He said that each of us has a talent to contribute it is a beautiful thing – whether it be support or frontline – we form teams and accomplish so much. They brought back a bag of mangoes to share with all.

Allie also spoke about the logistical feat that Mission is in the behind-the-scenes work that goes on to support everyone who is ‘out there’ doing the Mission work.

Jeremy asked Sister today how she and Leadership cannot get so cynical with all of the roadblocks that appear continuously. She asked him what he thought was the strength of the Mission. He believes it is ‘the circle’ we experience as Mission. “It is the blessing of the blend that is important,” Sister said.

Norm said that when he first started coming to meetings, he wondered what ‘kids’ could bring to the Mission. He has found how cooperative, talented, enthusiastic the younger generation here is. He will now hold back a bit about that ‘younger generation’!

Sister Stephanie asked Marlee to tell us about the young girls at El Crucero who received the dresses she and her mother had made for them. You could tell by her response that Marlee had a memorable experience sharing her talents – in many ways – with the young girls.

Barbara said that her two days/one night experience at the orphanage is something that she can’t talk about yet. Sister thanked her for spearheading our Orphans’ Hope Project over the past year since her first Mission trip last February.

We closed our meeting with “What Have We Done for the Poor Ones?” by Lori True after which we enjoyed pineapple pastries made by Karla and paid for by Brenda Flynn, a missioner who has been down here a few times, from Schroon Lake. Although she isn’t here this time, she wanted to share these with everyone.

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