Thursday, April 28, 2011

Weekend Excursion

Tomorrow I am headed off on a little adventure! Six of us will be flying into Mexico City and then hopping on a bus to the city of Pechuca. We are going there for the wedding of our dear friend and fellow B2B staffer, Tere. I am so excited to celebrate this joyous event with her and to be able to explore a new city! Some of my favorite memories of living in Mexico have been the times where I have explored new places and seen new parts of this beautiful country and culture. I can't wait to see what the weekend has in store!

For the next three days I will be off the map, but early next week I plan to write a nice long post, complete with pictures of the town and the wedding! So stay tuned... and please pray for safety in our travels.

Over and out! :)

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Bright Clothes, Sad Eyes

This year my roommate Courtney spent some time serving in India with Back2Back. She took many incredible and heartbreaking pictures while she was there, but this one stood out to me the most. This is a picture of the street kids who came to get a meal that was being handed out.

Something about this picture pulls at my heart. There are no smiles and so many of the kids have a glazed, distant look in their eyes. Courtney shared with me that this is how they looked all afternoon. They come in, get the food and sit huddled together in their family/alliance groups, always alert and on the lookout for danger. There was no laughter. Amidst the sea of brightly colored clothes, there were no bright eyes and joyful faces.

My eyes are drawn to the little girl in the front row in the navy blue dress. She cannot be older that 4 years old and she has already seen more than I can even imagine. She has to fend for herself and live on her own... as a four-year-old! I pray that her heart has not been hardened at such a young age. I pray that she is protected from the evil things in the world. I pray that tonight as she falls asleep she will feel safe and loved by her Heavenly Father. I pray that she experiences hope and joy in her life.

Gosh, I wish I could fly over there right now and take her home with me!

If you would like to see more pictures and hear more stories from India, check out Courtney's Blog!

Sunday, April 24, 2011


Happy Easter! Today the precious words from the old hymn have been continually drifting through my mind… “Christ the Lord is risen today-ay…” This song holds special meaning for me because as a young girl my Grandma T. would always sing me this song. I would have sleepovers at her house and I would ask her to sing me the words as I fell asleep. Those are some very precious memories that I cherish to this day. The thing that I love most about this memory is that we did not reserve this song for Easter. We were not just celebrating the resurrection of our Savior one day a year. The Risen Lord is something to celebrate every moment of everyday for as long as I have breath in my lungs! So today, like every other day, I want to shout out (or in this case, type out!) that CHRIST IS RISEN and because he conquered death we have REDEMPTION and HEALING and HOPE and FREEDOM!

For a while now my mind and heart have been captivated by the concept of freedom. Freedom from darkness, freedom from death, freedom from evil and hopelessness. Freedom for the millions of people who are living in bondage and slavey. You could choose to read this figuratively, and yes, there is definite spiritual bondage, but right now I am talking about literal slavery and human trafficking. This may seem like an odd post for Easter, but the more I think about it, the more relevant it is in my mind. Christ died and rose from the grave to conquer death and bring light to the darkness. Yet the battle still rages on, there is still so much evil in the world, and it is believers who are called to shine the Light and Hope of the Lord Jesus Christ into those dark places. We are to be Lightbringers. If we don't fight for the lost, broken, hurting, enslaved, persecuted, and abandoned, then who will?!

The more I learn about the atrocities that take place to children around the world, the more pain and anger and horror I feel. I don't know what to do to stop it, but I feel the urgency to do something. For so long I was blind to the reality of what is happening to millions of children who have no one to fight for them. Now that my eyes have been opened, I can't sit in silence. It is easy for me to be apathetic when I am ignorant. So I am done being ignorant, and apathy is no longer an option.

Here are some shocking and horrifying facts about human trafficking. As you read them, don't let your mind brush them off as statistics. Instead, picture your daughter or son, or niece or nephew, or any of the precious children that I have posted about on this blog. These are not just statistics, they are about real people who once had family and who are broken, abused, and living in hell on earth. These are people who need freedom! They need our help!

Sex Trafficking Facts

  • -1.2 million children are trafficked every year; this is in addition to the millions already held captive by trafficking (1)
  • -Every 2 minutes a child is being prepared for sexual exploitation (1)
  • -The average victim is forced to have sex up to 40 times a day (5)
  • -The average age of a trafficked victim is 14 years old (5)
  • -Approximately 30 million children have lost their childhood through sexual exploitation over the past 30 years (1)
  • -Sex trafficking is an engine of the global AIDS epidemic (4)
  • -People are trafficked from 127 countries to be exploited in 137 countries (3)
  • -Between 14,500 and 17,500 victims are trafficked into the USA each year (4)
  • -The total market value of illicit Sex Trafficking is estimated to be in excess of $32 billion (2)
  • -By 2010 Sex Trafficking will be the number one crime worldwide (5)
  • -Trafficking in women is the second largest global organized crime today
  • -Over 25% of victims are trafficked from Southern and Eastern Europe.
  • -Tragically, only 1-2 percent of victims are rescued, and only 1 in 100,000 Europeans involved in trafficking are convicted.

(1-UNICEF, 2-UN, 3-UNODC, 4-US Department of State, 5-The A21 Campaign)

Reading this makes me so angry! This is not the way the world is supposed to be! The devastating thing is that most of the kids who are trafficked are orphans. They are easy targets. No one is there to fight for them and no one would miss them if they didn't arrive back in their hometown when they are aged out of the orphan care system. WE NEED TO FIGHT FOR THEM!

Jesus Christ fought for us and died for us so that we could be free from the power of death. We must shine His light into the dark places and fight for those who have no voice.

"The only thing necessary for evil to triumph over good is for good men to do nothing."
-Edmund Burke

So let's do something! If you would like more information, check out these websites:

Also, here are some things that you could begin to PRAY for on a daily basis:

-Pray that the Lord will close the eyes of those seeking vulnerable girls to traffic.
-Pray that the girls’ eyes would be opened to truth and they would flee.

-Pray that the Lord will comfort the girls in their affliction.

-Pray that they will feel His arms wrapped around them.

-Pray for their protection, in body, soul and spirit.

-Pray that the girls will not lose hope.

-Pray that the girls will band together to encourage one another.

-Pray for Satan’s voice to be quieted as he tells them there is no hope.

-Pray for the eyes of the rescue organizations to be opened to see girls who need rescuing.

-Pray that the rescuers who are strategizing how to rescue will have discernment.

-Pray for safety during rescue efforts.

-Pray for the newly rescued girls, that they will know they are safe.

-Pray that they will be comforted by the Holy Spirit as they begin to grieve.

-Pray for healing for their deepest wounds that can only come from Him.

(Prayer requests from

I know this is not the typical Eater message, but I couldn't hold it in any longer. If you have made it to the end of this post, please join me in praying for people who are trafficked, and in educating ourselves about what is really happening.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Egg Hunt

Yesterday with SMCA we did a little egg hunt with the kiddos! They were moving so fast that I wasn't able to get many good pictures. Sorry about that. It was a lot of fun though!

Since today is Good Friday, I want to take a minute to share a passage from a study that I did recently.

"Faith is opening our eyes to what God has done, is doing, and will do. It is seeing what God is like... The cross points to God renewing the whole work, making everything right. It tells us that through Jesus' death on the cross, we are now holy and blameless. Because this is true of us at this very moment, we can look honestly at our lives without fear of punishment, rejection, failure, or despair. Furthermore, the more we learn about the Gospel the more we will learn about ourselves. But to whatever extent we are walking in pride, unbelief, and self-reliance, we will suffer tunnel vision, and the benefits of the Gospel will grow dim and distant to us. conversely, as we grow in knowledge of the Gospel and of Jesus, we grow in a true knowledge or ourselves.

We must look at our lives through the cross, never the other way around. The cross always covers our sins and gives us the foundation for honestly looking at ourselves. Again, humility and repentant faith, or pride and unbelief, affect our ability to see both the cross and our hearts. In addition, we are to view the good things we do through the lens of the cross. The cross undermines any boasting on our part, for through it we recognize that everything we have has been given to us."

(Gospel Transformation, Dr. Neil H. Williams)

Thursday, April 21, 2011

LTP Service Project

This week Ruby and I took the kiddos out to La Tierra Prometad (LTP, aka- The Promised Land) to help the staff get the building ready for the Mantial de Amor (MDA) children's home to move in! There is still a lot of work to be done, and our students were more than excited to help out! I am choosing to believe that it is because they have servant's hearts... and not because they got to skip an afternoon of math and science! :)

Working hard!

What was painted more- the kids or the walls? :)

Caught red handed! ... or should I say tan handed...?

Such a tough looking work crew! Great job SMCA!
I was so proud of how hard they worked! I didn't hear one complaint all afternoon! Way to go kids! :)

Apart from the service project, I was especially excited to be able to spend some time at LTP because this place holds some special memories for me. My first time in Monterrey was with my family, back in 2007. On this trip my dad took us out to this property to show us the land that the James Fund wanted to purchase for B2B. It was a beautiful piece of land, with a house, green grass, and orange trees. At the time is was going to be the new home for a children's home called Rayitos de Luz. Now almost four years later, B2B owns the land and it has been a blessing to many children! Our staff is currently working on a new building to make the home big enough for MDA to move into it this summer. MDA is currently spread out into 3 different locations across the city, and it is hard for the directors to be able to spend significant time building relationships in each location. When they move into LTP, all the homes will be able to live together out of the city, in a safe neighborhood, with room to run and play! I am so excited for the kids to see their new home!!

Please pray for the MDA kids and their directors are they prepare to make the move to LTP!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Danzare, Cantare...

I'm sorry for the inconsistency in my blogging lately. Life has been busy, busy, busy and blogging tends to be the first thing to go. Sorry about that. But that's enough apologizing, because I am excited to post some pictures that I took of the CHD girlies last week!

Every Thursday night CHD has a little worship service for all of the kids at the home, and each week a different dorm is in charge of leading it. Last week it was the little girls' turn, and there was no way that I was going to miss their performance! They are so precious! Seeing their beaming faces as they enthusiastically sang and danced along with the songs made my heart swell with pride and love! A joyful smile was plastered on my face, but all the while I was trying to hold back the tears that were welling up in my eyes at the thought of leaving these dear, sweet girls.
Marta and I getting ready for the show...

Dancing and singing for Jesus!

These pictures don't do justice to the joy and excitement that was in each of their faces!

After the show...

A beautiful sunset was the perfect ending to the night!

(Title Translation: "I will dance, I will sing...")

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Heart to Heart

In science we attempted to make a simplified model of the heart with graham crackers, marshmallows and frosting. The whole thing ended up being rather messy and un-heart-like, but I think (I hope!) it helped my kiddos to see the 4 chambers of the heart, the path that the blood takes through them, and if the chambers contain oxygenated or deoxygenated blood. The heart is such a complicated and intricate organ. As I study anatomy with my kiddos, I an continually amazed at the way that God designed our bodies to work the way that they do. It blows my mind and makes me so thankful that I am not a heart surgeon!! I am much better suited for making models out of frosting than operating on an actual heart! :)

Our Heart Model:
Red= Oxygenated Blood in the left side of the heart (Left Atrium on top and Left Ventricle on bottom)
Blue= Deoxygenated Blood in the right side of the heart (Right Atrium on top and Right Ventricle on bottom)

So let's see if I can remember... the blood comes into the Left Atrium through the small red marshmallows (Pulmonary Veins), then it travels down to the Left Ventricle and then out of the big red marshmallow (Ascending Aorta) and flows through the rest of the body. The deoxygenated blood then returns to the heart and enters the Right Artium through the 2 big blue marshmallows (Superior Vena Cava). It travels down into the Right Ventricle and out of the big blue marshmallow on the bottom (Pulmonary Artery) and into the lungs where the blood gets more oxygen. Then the blood heads back to the small red marshmallows and the process starts all over again! Phew!! Got it? :)

Look at these pros!
All right, that's enough of a science lesson for you today!

Hope you're having a great day! Praise the Lord for our beating hearts and that they can work even though we often have no idea what they are actually doing!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Ode to JessiCake

I would like to ask for a moment of silence to mourn the loss of JessiCake.

(Insert Silence Here...)

(Insert More Silence Here...)

This fabulous cake shop with an even more fabulous name has closed its doors. Although I never technically had the opportunity to frequent this establishment, I would drive by it at least once a week and it would bring a smile to my face and joy to my heart. I mean seriously, its name is my name combined brilliantly with my favorite thing to eat! It delighted me! I may have to change my blog title to JessiCake. Ok, so I am not going to take it quite that far, but I am sad that JessiCake closed. It was on my list of places to visit before I leave Monterrey. I am beginning to think that the closing of JessiCake is a sign that my time in Monterrey has come to an end. All right, all right, I am taking this a bit too far. But seriously, the moral of the story is: If there is a cake shop that speaks to your heart, do not wait another moment! Get in your car (or borrow a staff vehicle) and get yourself a cake!

"Let them eat cake!"

Oh, Marie, how I wish I could... how I wish I could...

Disclaimer: Please do not judge me for my love of cake.
PS: I just discovered that JessiCake is online! All hope is not lost!
PPS: Mom, my delight in JessiCake does not diminish my love for Arnie's Bakery. :)

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Pool Party!

You know that summer has arrived when the pool parties start! Yesterday we had the youngest girls from CHD over for their first pool party of the season! It was a blast! No one wanted to get out of the pool, even after all lips were blue and every little girl was shivering. Luckily we were able to tempt them with cookies and they were happy to get out! :)

The highlight of my day was when Lydia fell asleep in my arms on the way home. I didn't want to have to drop her back off at the children's home. I wanted to take her home and let her continue to sleep in my arms, feeling safe, secure and loved. I adore her. (She is in the first picture shown below...)

Fun in the Pool!

Snack Time!

It was another great day! :)

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Maria Luisa's 1st Birthday Party!

As I mentioned yesterday, I was blessed to be able to join Maria Luisa in the celebration of her 8th birthday! However, this was not just any birthday party... it was the first one that she had ever had. Maria Luisa and her brother came to Casa Hogar El Retiro Juvenile (ERJ) from the DIF, which is the government run children's home. At the DIF they do not celebrate any birthdays because there are so many kids who live there. I find this fact to be so utterly sad. I think that every child should know what it feels like to have their birthday celebrated- their life celebrated! So last night I had the opportunity to celebrate the life of little Maria Luisa! The best part of it all was that it was a surprise party, and her face when she realized what was going on was absolutely precious and priceless!

I love ERJ because it is like a family. There are about 30 kids from ages 4(ish)-17 that live there and they all take care of each other. It was these kids that decorated the Palapa, organized games, made banners, and poured their love out on the birthday girl.

Here is the Palapa all decked out for the party...

Maria Luisa waiting to see what is in store for her...

Look at that face!! Does she not just melt your heart?! She was so shocked and excited that she didn't know what to do!

Some of the kids gathering around her to wish her a happy birthday...

The Birthday Girl!

A Mexican birthday tradition: the birthday girl takes a bite of the cake and someone else pushes her face in! Look at the joy in her eyes as she finally gets to partake in the tradition!

Since it was such a special occasion, everyone got to eat meat. Oh, how much I take things for granted- things like meat!

Enjoying the birthday feast...

Everyone loved the cake!

What a great night! I hope to get out to ERJ as many times as possibly before I move. It will be hard to leave these sweet, precious children.

Happy Birthday Maria Luisa!! Please take a moment to pray for her tonight- that she grows up knowing the love of her Heavenly Father and that she experiences His peace, joy, love and healing in her life.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Sneak Peak...

Today I spent the most wonderful late afternoon/evening at Casa Hogar ERJ. We celebrated the 8th birthday of Maria Luisa, and it was so special because it was the first birthday in her entire life that anyone had ever celebrated. It breaks my heart to think that this sweet 8-year-old had never had a birthday party. That is not the way children are supposed to grow up. Tonight it was such a gift for me to see the biggest, brightest smile plastered on Maria Luisa's face. She felt loved, celebrated and special. That is how children are supposed to feel everyday- especially on their birthdays!

I can't wait to tell you all about ERJ and the celebration! However, it will have to wait until tomorrow, because the internet keeps going out and my pictures will not upload, and there is no way that I can tell anymore of this story without letting you see our precious Maria Luisa for yourself!

For now I'll leave you with a little sneak peak of my new friend Jose and I at the party...

Hasta Manana (until tomorrow)...

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Power Outage

(Insert sigh of contentment) Oh how I do enjoy power outages and Farmer's Market scented Yankee candles!

Today was a hectic day of running around my classroom, teaching puddle-jumping choreography (complete with umbrellas) to "Singing in the Rain" at musical practice, followed by a round of parent-teacher conferences. When I finally got home I discovered there was a power outage (yessss!). Do you know what that means? Guilt-free nap time! Woo hoo! Since there was nothing else that I can do, I headed to my room, lit some candles, did a bit of reading and then took a nap. It was delightful. I know power outages can be inconvenient, but since we have them often, I have learned to make the most of them. :)

I hope that you are having a delightful day, and making the most of any powerless situation situation that you may find yourself in!

PS- Clearly the has power returned... and just in time for me to wake up and blog about it!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Cathedrals & Chipinque

It has been a fun weekend! Last night we decided to beat the heat (it has been pushing 100 degrees everyday) and grab some ice cream! We usually hit up "The Garage" which is the man near the running park who sells delicious sorbet ice cream from his garage... I'll have to get some picture of that soon because it is a unique treat! But instead of that, we opted for a more a more traditional route and went with good 'ole Helados Sultana.

Today Caroline and I decided that we wanted to do something new in Monterrey! So we pulled out the random Northern Mexico Guidebook (circa 1994) that we found in the apartment and decided to go on a tour of the cathedrals throughout downtown Monterrey. We felt like we were tourists in Europe and it was delightful!

After the cathedrals we headed up the mountain to hike Chipinque, one of the mountain peaks surrounding the city. The day was a bit hazy, but still got some great views of the city and the mountains!

This is The M, one of the 3 mountain peaks that Monterrey is famous for...

Hiking buddies...

Like I said, it has been a highly enjoyable weekend so far. I am trying to make the most of every moment of the time that I have left here... which is only 2 months! I have lived here for almost 2 years and yet I feel like there are still so many things that I have not seen in the city! I plan on having many more posts in the next 2 months to chronicle my final adventures in Monterrey! :)

Buenas Noches!