Tuesday, December 27, 2016

And then there were 5...

5--that's how many shifts of work I have left. So hard to believe. I don't think it's truly hit...but I think I am starting to get there. I am at the point where I am saying goodbye to amazing friends and coworkers who I will no longer be working side by side with every night like I have for the past 7 years. So weird to think about. I am ridiculously excited for what's to come, that's for sure! But saying goodbye and knowing that I will no longer be working there every night just seems so final. Any other time, even on my 3 month leave of absence, I knew I was returning. And of course, I will come back for visits and stay in touch thanks to WhatsApp and Facebook. But it will definitely be different. I just want to take a timeout to say thank you, thank you, thank you to my coworkers...and honestly, that doesn't seem adequate at all for how grateful I am of you guys! You guys are truly amazing. Not only because of what we deal with and experience every day and night, but for the friendships that have occurred from there, whether it was from something that happened at work that just shook us to our cores, something that we can only shake our heads at, or something in our personal lives. We've definitely experienced and endured a lot, but have come so close because of it. I am truly grateful for all of you and can say I have worked with some of the best teammates, friends, and family ever. Thank you especially for all of those nights where you helped with my crazy trainwrecks, got me to laugh when I was about ready to lose my crap, and stuck by my side through my toughest year of my life, even if it was just to push a piece of chocolate my way, give me a hug, make me laugh, or let me talk, vent, cry, or step away for a hot second. You guys are just absolutely amazing! Thank you for the encouragement for all these years when I would go to Guatemala "yet again," for pushing me to take the leave of absence that I desperately needed and didn't realize how bad of shape I was in until I got there, and for being so supportive of my move to Guatemala even though I know a ton of you are either dreading this or in denial. I will definitely miss working with you all, doing the challenging IVs, getting that trainwreck of a hot mess patient, and the many laughs we have together despite a difficult night. (So you all need to stay in touch often...and come visit often! Not even kidding!!) But I know that this move is the right call at this point in my life. The details are falling into place way better than I could have planned it. Clearly, God is all over this!

Eating my hair
So as most of you know, January 3rd is my last night at work...and yes, it's a "princess" shift (Night before is a 12...if that makes any of you feel better). And then I need to hardcore focus on this "little" thing called packing. I have one box mostly packed and some more to go. I keep telling myself that I can get it all done once am done with work. Well, that time is quickly approaching and filling up with things to get accomplished. But one way or another, it is getting done before this little trip to Haiti...and then Uganda...and then final stop in Guatemala. I just spent this past weekend at my parents' for Christmas and we had a great time. I stopped in at Martinsburg Mennonite Church one final time before I leave and was able to say goodbye and thank you so much for your continued love, prayers, and support! Thank you to all of my donors and people willing to give so that I can do what God has called me to do....and He's pulling you guys into it...partnering along side and making a huge impact on so many people because of your donations and support! You guys are making a huge difference in so many lives! Honestly, so no need to say this is all me doing the work...it's not at all. It's all God and He's using all of us to do this...so again, thank you!!

Best photobomb ever. And this cat was caught in the milk replacer bag

Enjoying the milk dripping from the calf's mouth

Selfie gone bad

Many of you donated for food for kids and their families this Christmas and because of the amazing donations from you guys, they were able to receive not only food, but helped to buy school supplies for the kids, Bibles for patients and kids at clinic who don't have one, activities/crafts/decorations for Christmas parties, and the food for the party. Huge, huge THANK YOU! I about cried happy tears on more than one occasion at work when you guys were giving. I think Peter and his mom were a bit shocked at how much you guys were able to provide for. It's so humbling and amazing to see it! I had faith that you all would provide...something about Christmas time and my coworkers...they love to give! We certainly have a history of that :) (I still see kids running around down there with their fleeces that were given a few years ago). I have also received some blankets to give to families who live in tin shacks, sleeping on either one bed or no bed on a mud floor and lately it's been getting into the 40's at night in that area. So these families will be able to stay warm at night because of these blankets. So again, thank you!

And last but not least....my website is done! Conner, my grandson (see previous posts about how I have 2 grandsons if you have no clue what I am talking about), has finished it and I have to say, it's pretty awesome! Here's the link, save it, and spread the word about it: 1lifeatatime.com
There are 2 videos on there: one explaining what I will be doing in Guatemala and the other is the blooper reel. There is a tab with pictures from the previous medical team that we had this past October with Reading Hospital's very own Mark and Deb, and pictures from my 3 month leave of absence when I was volunteering at some clinics, and when we had camp with the kids (same kids who received the food this Christmas). My blog will now be posted on there instead of this website...just to keep everything on one site and that way you don't have to bounce around to different sites and try to keep them all straight. And the last tab has a button to click and will take you to where to donate (It will redirect you to the same website that you have been using to donate: cten.org/donnadelp). Again, I will not be getting paid in Guatemala and am relying strictly on support from you guys. So please, spread the word! You can give monthly and/or as a one time donation. It is tax deductible. So honestly, any amount is a huge help and blessing. Thank you to those who have donated and those who are considering and for those of you who are praying and have been a major support and encouragement! Love you guys! And MERRY CHRISTMAS! Enjoy the pictures below of the Christmas party and the kids who received the food and gifts from your donations that were given specifically for that! You guys are awesome!!

Friday, November 18, 2016

Youth, Manos, baking marathon...things not going as planned, but everything working out perfectly

After we dropped off Deb and Mark at the airport, we crashed for a while and had a totally lazy day after a crazy, awesome week. Peter couldn’t wait to give his mom DVD of the Sound of Music in Spanish. So we watched that in the evening and I had to laugh…the songs were in Spanish too and Yelsi and Peter both yelled at the same time, “NOOOOOOOOO!” Apparently, they thought only the talking would be translated and not the singing too. I found it to be amusing. We had visited an elderly man who has really bad arthritis and was waiting for a walker. Peter joked that their house was made for hobbits. We all had to duck a few times in their home to keep from hitting our heads. That night, the one volcano erupted. Mark and Deb were both jealous that they were already back in the States and missed it. The following day, we had the youth kids over in the evening. We had a great time playing some games, applying God’s love to the games. 2 guys came, sang songs, shared, and joined in with the games. Some of the older kids were attempting to use their English, while others were asking where zapato (Mark) and ganso (Conner) were and when they could come back. They sure loved you guys!

In the middle of the mall

The following day, Yelsi and I were going to San Lucas to Drew and Cindy Metcalf’s home. The plan was for Yelsi to stay at home with Carla for the weekend while the rest of us travel to Manos de Compasion (children’s home by the lake) to work with the kids there. Well, we started driving, hit the traffic…before it usually is bad, sat in standstill traffic for 2.5 hours, and decided to head back home til around 4am. So we picked up the rest of the crew…12 people in a jammed packed van, and went to the mall to spend the evening out. We had along a child who has been living with Drew and Cindy to heal from past trauma. He had been introduced to another guy who worked at a different home, Emmanuel, and they hit it off! It was amazing watching the 2 of them form a great connection and this guy’s patience with the child was amazing! On the way back, I had received word that the woman who we took to the hospital earlier in the week was worse and things weren’t looking too hot for her. It’s such a helpless feeling at times when you know it would be handled better in the States and instead, here, we’re waiting and stuck. For one thing, if you don’t have the money ahead of time, you can’t get stuff done, and the hospital can just boot you out if they don’t feel like dealing with something. On the way home from the mall, we were singing and prayed for her and her family. I was an emotional mess. After we finished the next song, Cindy made a comment that everyone had really good vibrato…I guess it was hitting others emotionally too.
Teaching moment on the roof of the van

The next morning, bright and early, we started the trip again to Manos. About 3 hours later, we arrived and jumped right in. Breakfast with the kids, worship and lesson, games/activities on the pista (airstrip), and some free time with the kids while Drew and Cindy worked with the kids at another home there. The theme of the weekend was about strengths and abilities that God has given us, teaching the story of Samson. While we were out on the pista playing games, we had to move off to the side for an airplane to take off. And then a little later, some cops showed up and while waiting for the person they wanted to talk to, Drew convinced the one to join in on the games. Oh my word, it was awesome! His partner videoed the whole thing. Priceless.

On Sunday morning, we all got together for home church. Honestly, I normally get the most out of home church at Manos with Drew and Cindy leading. And this time, it was pretty much top notch. Singing with kids who have been through more in their short lives than most of us in the States have in our lifetimes put together. Girls who have been raped, abused…kids who have been beaten, neglected, kicked out to the streets. But all are loved by God, can heal from their past hurts, and all have strengths given to them by God.

After the service, Natalie and Gabe led the home with the older girls in the sensory Gospel. I was so blessed to be a part of it. They go through different stations without talking. During the first station, they made something out of playdough, representing creation. Followed by drinking lime water for sin, finger painting with red and black paint, going to wash their hands in dirty water which just smeared around the paint, were blind folded and hands tied, and walked to the next station where they wait for a bit. Then, they were walked over to the washing station, get their hands unbound and cleaned, and blindfold removed. Next was communion, followed by gluing a piece of clay on a broken pottery bowl, representing restoration, healing, being made whole. The whole experience was amazing and humbling to be a part of. We could really tell that it made a huge impact on these girls.

After lunch that day, we packed up, said our goodbyes, and travelled home. The boy who has been staying with Drew and Cindy had a great weekend as well and even said on the way home that his best friend was the guy (Emmanuel) who had come along for the weekend to help with him. Emmanuel, you’re awesome! The following day, the Metcalfs and Natalie took a break and the rest of us spent time with the boy staying with us. He did an amazing job helping me to cook and bake: brownies, baked french toast with homemade gluten free bread, whoopie pies, and bacon wrapped chicken. He loved making the whoopie pies and bacon wrapped chicken. We had talked a lot about how he felt like he was doing and if there was anything he had been struggling with recently. At first, he didn’t really open up and would quickly change the subject. But that night, I had tucked him in bed (it was like when I was there for my 3 months and did this with my grandson every night!) and he just started pouring out his heart and everything he was thinking, feeling, and his past abuse/neglect. We had a great talk and prayed together. He’s definitely come a long way, but still has more healing up ahead. And of course, to wrap up my time, we played apples to apples and watched ER. The following morning, I started my very long travel back to PA. Eventful doesn’t even seem to be the right word to sum it up. Throw in the word frustrating….ridiculously amusing…now that I look back on it? It was opening day of our new building for the ED that I work in…maybe my crazy travel back was reflecting how it was going at work. Ha.

This last trip was my last short trip. I have purchased my one way ticket to Guatemala and will be arriving Feb 24…after my trips to Haiti and Uganda. It’s been crazy busy since I got back in June from my 3 month leave from work. And I’m sure it’ll continue to go fast! My last night at work will be Jan. 3. Conner is working on finishing touches to an official website and I’ll let you all know what the link is once that is up and running. It will have a donate tab on there (and it will lead you to the same website to donate that I have been sharing), blog updates, pictures from teams that come down, and a video explaining what all I will be doing down there. I just want to be clear about this (and I know quite a few people think I’m nuts to be doing all of these trips in a row…cough, cough, Chris, cough, cough…), but all money that is donated is going directly towards what we are doing in Guatemala: meds, labs and tests for patients, food for families who don’t have any, activities for kids, etc. These other trips are on my own time and just something I couldn’t pass up. I figured it was now or never at this point. So again, thank you for everyone who has donated, been praying, and put so much effort and encouragement towards all of this. We couldn’t be doing all of this without your help!! You guys are awesome! And quick update on the woman who was really sick and went to the hospital while I was there: she continues to be short of breath, unable to keep anything down, been vomiting, is diaphoretic, has pain in her throat. She has had labs, x-ray, and ultrasounds done (thanks to everyone who donated to help pay for her bills to get that stuff done! And for Peter and his mom, Estela for helping them so much and getting all of this done!). We are now waiting for her to see a local doctor and go from there. A biopsy is probably in her future. We have provided her and her family with some food as well since they don’t have any money at this time. Keep her and her family in your prayers. Anyone who would like to donate for the many people who need your help, here’s the link: www.cten.org/donnadelp

Enjoy some more pictures: 
This girl. Oh my word. Tiny with a whole lot of sass. Love her!

Cindy not even missing a beat when this girl came over and wrapped around her neck while playing

Can't take photo credit for this at all. Fuego erupting

Walking out to the pista

Playing games on the pista

I of course was loving holding him for all of the games. All was well while playing with the parachute until we went under it...not a fan of that!

She's even cuter in person! Healing well after cleft lip and palate surgery

More from the sensory Gospel