So this evening has by far been one of the deepest moments in my entire life. In the span of about 2 hours, I was able to have a huge revelation about what it means to fillet oneself. I feel like within this time period I have been better exposed to one of my favorite things about God. Omnipresence is not going to a far away country to discover a God you thought you would find that is different or better than the God you knew at home. It is an understanding that you come across through experience. I quote Tozer's preface to The Pursuit of God:

"For it is not mere words that nourish the soul, but God himself, and unless and until the hearers find God in personal experience, they are not the better for having heard the truth. The bible is not an end in itself, but a means to bring men to an intimate and satisfying knowledge of God, that they may enter into him, that they may delight in his presence, may taste and know the inner sweetness of the very God himself in the core and center of their hearts."

That's not to say that due to the situation of fully exposing my life to a group of people I now feel all knowing about the magnificence of how present God truly is. I find that the qualities I desire the most to learn about God I find in the most unexpected ways. It is a beautiful side-swiping motion that knocks the breath out of you but expands your lungs deeper than you've ever felt. God is one to shatter preconceived notions in order to expose the true path of righteousness.

I remember crying in prayer one night here on the island that I don't truly know who I am, but that I just want to know God in the best ways that I can. I have been shaken deeply by many of the transitions faced within the last month or so. I have questioned numerous emotions and learned that justification is just a means to escape reality. All of this might sound confusing.. but due to a heavy conversation tonight with the girls, I feel, for the most part.. rather clear. My overall hunger for coming to Roatan was my attempt as a means to please God, rely on God, and better get to know God through servitude. Maybe missioning in Roatan was not what God originally desired for me, but I feel he made it possible for me to come here so that he could reveal his majesty to me in the most extraordinary way. Tonight I shared my life story with Naseem, Leslie, and Lucia and talked about my struggles brought on not only my environment, but more importantly by my underlying subconscious and constant need to justify my actions in order to hide my insecurities. I talked about how I've felt a huge loss of identity lately and just a number of things that have brought me to the place where I am at now. Through this I think I can taste the realness that Tozer twrites about. So many times in our mind we try and tell ourselves about one sector of God we like the most and dream about or imagine what that piece of God would be like. We turn him into this small creature and justify our actions in our fondness of his qualities. It relates as such: You may live your life hearing stories about the goodness and the healing properties of a person and dwell on the ideal of someday meeting them and delighting in beauty of their personality. But until you do, and until you begin to simply pursue this person at all, you will never start to understand or be able to deem true your imagination. It is impossible. I find it funny that we kid ourselves in divvying God up into so many qualities we have yet to understand instead of thanking him for simply being the God he is. Tozer touches on this as well:

"When religion has said it's last word, there is little than we need other than God Himself. The evil habit of seeking God-and effectively prevents us from finding God in full revelation. In the and lies our great woe. If we omit the and we shall soon find God, and in Him we shall find that for which we have all our lives been secretly longing for."

When I first read this, I'll have to admit I was a little turned off by Tozer in that I feel ok with myself in longing to sector God up and call out to each piece as if it were it's own separate entity. But I can say now that God has given me that experience shortly after crumbing to him in prayer. If we hunger for that pureness of a solitary relationship in him and trust that he will expose the rest of himself in ways unknown to us, he will. The two most important commandments, Jesus said, are to:
30 Love (BB) the Lord your God (BC) with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, (BD) and with all your strength. (BE) (BF) [m]

31 "The second is: Love your neighbor (BG) as yourself. (BH) (BI) There is no other commandment (BJ) greater than these." Mark 12:30-31 (HCSB)

They are simple acts of acknowledgment and being relational. And when these are fulfilled at least for one moment in our seemingly vast lives, God delivers a strong and powerful message. This is what I feel happened tonight. I feel like more than anything in the world right now, I crave the two most important things the Lord wants us to crave. I want to know God and the capabilities in the extensive stories told about him. I want to love him on a level that makes every other aspect of my life seem like a grain of sand in comparison to the expanse that he is. I want a relationship with him and with my neighbors so that I can love them as he does and share with them the love he gives to me.

With this said, I am contemplating whether or not I should stay here in Roatan for the complete 3 months I initially set out to stay. I feel I came, like I said, trying to search a section of an omnipresent God that existed where I was in the first place. That's not to say that this trip is completely shot.. but I do feel that I found not what I was looking for, but something far greater that has taken it's place. I have much consideration to do within the next few days and pray to God that I may know him and henceforth know where he wants me to go next. I love you all and whether you can support me or not in whichever decision I make, just know that I am striving to seek God in the best way I know how, and gain comfort in that.


P.S. I apologize for being fake in some of my other posts.. I wasn't trying to but I've come to the realization that in parts of them I was. My definition of this is wanting to feel something here so much that I jumped two steps ahead and said I felt the things I did. This isn't to say I don't already have a deep love for these children, just that I don't know how much I really believed when I said I felt I would grow deeper with them in time. To state my honesty, I do feel that I have grown tremendously in seeking God, and I do love this island as a whole. Who knows, I might end up staying, but I do have a lot to contemplate. Please accept my apology.. I want to work harder at being real.


Well it's been a week here so far and I feel better than I did the other day. I think as time goes on the more I will feel a deeper relationship with the kids. So much has happened that it really feels like we have been living here for quite some time now. I really think I do owe you all a synopsis of the people here though.. this might take awhile so here goes nothing:

First there is little Jeffrie. He is between the ages of 2 and 4. He was left at the orphanage step and is a bundle of really everything. Jeff can be sweet and sour, shy and obnoxious. His favorite phrase is "scuse me" followed by whatever he wants you to hear. "Scuse me I go poop. Scuse me I go outside. Scuse me I eat eggs." He's got this gut-renching squeal that you can hear down at the dock (maybe a 10 minute walk from the house), but he's learning very quickly that every action has an equal and opposite reaction.

Next comes little Shenice. She's 7 soon to be 8 next month. Shenice is a really sweet child who for the most part obeys, but I really feel she grows the most from individual attention. She freaks over unicorns and bedtime stories, but don't let that fool you. This little one can roll with the boys. She's extremely competitive and not easily pushed down. She's got the tough shell of the coconuts she devours but is really sweet and lovable on the inside. If I could adopt any of the children I think Shenice would be in the top two. I crawled up in her bunk and read her 3 bedtime stories tonight. I can't wait to do it more often. I loved when my dad would read with me and I feel I'm giving back in a way. (DD I can't remember the "Now I lay me down to sleep.." prayer exactly. I tried to tell it to her but I got jambled and gave up.) She had a horrendous fit the other day though after she returned home from a sleepover at some lady from the church's house. She told me she doesn't want to live here anymore which is one of the reasons I really feel she needs that one-on-one relationship.

After Shenice is Ale. Ale isn't actually one of the kids at the orphanage, but his father, Beto, is the grounds keeper so he is with us basically all the time. Game time, beach time, birthday's and stuff.. Ale is there. He is 8 and is soooo darn sweet. I love Ale's whole family in general but out of Beto's 6 or 7 kids, Ale is definitely my favorite. He's just a really loving goofy kid. Kind of quiet.. but he instantly glows when you toss him a smile or a silly face. I really feel that just because Ale's family does so much manual labor doesn't mean we should treat them any different from any of the other people here. We went to the beach the other day and we have to cross a busy street to get there. We make all of the kids wait for us to cross there and back. When we were leaving, Ale was way behind us.. and they said is was ok not to wait for him to cross... but I wanted to wait. He needs supervision just like any of the other kids. He is just a tad bit older than Shenice and equally as old as Gabriel and is no different. I went to a Spanish speaking church last night with Ale and his family. Out of all of them combined.. Ale and his older brothers Orlean, Isaiah, and Hidalgo probably speak the most spanish. Luden, their older sister speaks a little but not much. Anyways, Ale looked up at Luden while waiting for the bus to church and said "my sister" and then under his breath said something in Spanish. Luden looked over at me and said "You too." He is just that sweet.

Next comes the birthday boy, Gabriel. He turned 8 today. Gabe is the ruffian of the group. He is always getting into some sort of mischief. Gabriel and Jeffrie are really the only true orphans. Gabriel was found last summer in a sort of child jail after caught stealing and never picked up by his parents. He is our little street kid. When Gabriel was found he spoke only Spanish and would stay awake at night, possibly in fear of spending so many nights of being out on the streets. It's a miracle how far the boy has come though. He really is sweet, but like I said, that ruffian never really shook out of his system. Gabriel is a very touchy feely boy and we feel he suffered a lot of abuse from Brad, the previous director that was forced to leave the orphanage for allegations of money laundering and harassment. He loves mango's and simply just hanging out and being a kid.

After Gabe is Kerry. Kerry is 8 as well. He is one of the children we home school. There are 3 total excluding Jeffrie. Kerry is pretty willing to excel in school and catches on quickly but has a huge lack of attention. He, like Gabriel, is also very touchy feely. Kerry has a kind heart and for the most part is willing to do what he's told, but sometimes gets egged on by the other boys to sway the wrong way. I'm hoping we can keep a tighter grip on him than they can. I'm learning so much about discipline through these children and trying to use one child's dynamic to influence another. Kerry seems to care what people think about him. He seems like a people pleaser in that some days he will slightly side with Gabriel to feel acceptance by the other boys. But other days he will side with us because a big part of him still clings to that goodness installed in every human. I do feel if we are not careful though we could lose that kind heart to the sinful nature.

Nolan is next in line. He is Shenice's older brother, but at 9 years old, Nolan is struggling to overcome severe learning disabilities and fight to read and write. With him, his attitude changes more like hourly vs. daily. We all feel Nolan has dyslexia and possibly some autism. He is another of the home schooled children and gets extremely frustrated when he can't figure things out in school and takes it out on the volunteers. His catch phrase is "You gettin me mad" when asked a question he can't figure out in class. I really think when he says it, though, subconsciously he's talking to himself. I really feel for him and of all of the home schooled children think that he should be in a real school the most. (The grammar is probably wrong in this sentence, I don't feel like fixing it.) Nolan also has a one track mind. If he's focused on something and you ask him to do something else.. he mentally blocks out his surroundings and will only reply with a "Yea yea sure." I think this also plays a big part in his problem with school. He focus's so much on the fact that he thinks he cannot understand the problem that he forgets the problem in it's entirety and becomes angry with himself. I really feel for him so much. From what I hear, his mother is the same way. I want so much to be able to help him understand and sort stuff out.. but I don't think I have that capacity to sit with him one on one and piece together the puzzle in the way he needs it done. He needs a special qualified teacher that can diagnose and work with him. Going back to Nolan kind of switching from hour to hour is catching glimpses of his super sweet side. Today at Sunday school Nolan said probably the sweetest prayer a 9 year old can say. It went along the lines of thanking God for us and asking God to help him in school and understand and with his homework. He prayed that God help him not get in trouble as much as he does and that he really wants to be a good kid. We all feel Nolan can be a rags to riches story. He told us he wants to be a preacher.

After Nolan comes Sarah. She is Kerry's big sister and just turned 12 last week. She is our 3rd home schooled kid. Sarah is at that tender age where just like her brother she seems to care what people think about her. She will side with us at times, but I'm told, will sometimes become "buddy buddy" with the older girl Gardenia (15), and complete ignore and be bratty to EVERYONE. Sarah too has a kind heart and told us that she would like to be a missionary someday. She's got a funny way about her in that she's into telling made up stories in attempts to chit chat and form some what of a bond. But I'm told Sarah also tries to make a them vs. us side with the volunteers, although her attempts are clearly revealed in that she takes sides with both teams. I've still got a lot of figuring out to with her. One thing's for sure though, we all love and try to imitate her "island talk." It's a very Jamaican-esque dialect that formulates by adding "bra" or "amen sista fren" to the ends of sentences. She also likes to play cupid. Currently she is trying to hook Lucia up with the charmer of the group, David.

David is next. Like I said, he is totally the charmer of the bunch. David is 12 and has totally captured all of our hearts. He's as sweet as can be and obeys pretty much on command. He's got his signature "money maker face," which cracks us up every time. We all think he's pretty sensitive, though, and he seems to fall for a volunteer in every group that comes. This is displayed but anonymous love letters and little funny comments here and there. The thing that worries me about him is his quest to find love could possibly be destroyed by a shattered heart. He has not really received that necessary parental love and it seems he tries so hard to grasp that feeling. He seems very fragile to us all. He is also very driven. David does well in school and tells us that he plans on becoming either a doctor or a business man in order to support his family. I have no doubt he will be anything less.

After David come the Boden family. They are really the toughest to describe in my opinion. Ricky is 13 and keeps to himself for the most part. Gardenia is 15, and out of all of the kids, she will be the hardest to get to know. She has a fierce grimace and is the stereotypical tough girl. I'm really hoping I can get through to her and her older sister Teresa through our shared love of hip hop which will hopefully blossom into a dance class I would love to teach. Teresa is extremely shy and like Ricky and Teresa she keeps to herself. She on the other hand will say hello back once greeted by any one of us. We would all love to crack the Boden sisters and get to know them, but as for now this task seems almost impossible.

All in all it seems the kids can be somewhat bitter and sweet, but we were all surprised by their lack of hesitancy to get to know and love on us. And yet if you look at each child individually, for the most part, his or her actions can be justified in relations to their past. It seems a few kids might be grateful that we're here, but most saw the previous directors as parents, no matter how harshly they treated the kids. This is simply because they were there. And that alone, has taught me a big part about human nature. It is such an important thing just to be there. Now don't get me wrong, I'm not giving all this credit to the previous directors.. anyone really could have just been there for as long as they were for the kids. But if you relate it on a God spectrum.. he is there for us all the time and I find it difficult to imagine what my life would be like if I didn't recognize that. Like a child without parents, I think I would struggle deeply with a need to fill my desires and long for love in the most outrageous ways. That void in our lives only God can fill is so great that I believe I would do almost anything and everything to attempt and complete myself. With that said, it's easier to understand why the world is so screwed up.. they go to outrageous attempts to seek and find that pure and unfaltering love that they don't even realize is surrounding every step they make. It is a said picture, but I long for the days where every person can rejoice and proclaim the love they have found within our omnipresent king.

I think that's enough for now.. there is really so much I would love to share in detail about the week.. but my writing tangent has worn off. Thanks for listening.. I don't blame you if you gave up and stopped reading after the 3rd or 4th kid.



So today was rather interesting. I've been feeling sort of out on my own lately just while I've been taking everything in. It feels like a slight disconnect from a lot of things here. I feel, though, with this handicap I will hopefully be able to better relate with the kids. We are both disconnected almost in a suspended state, unknowing of really how to feel or plant ourselves into this fragile, shifting soil. But it's only really the 5th day here. I want to grow so much while I'm here. I came with a lot of ambition, but now I'm not really sure what it is exactly I'm yearning for. One thing is certain though, I am supposed to be here. This I feel is my pivot until I change orbits. I sat on the dock today alone and just thought to myself. My lack of trust seems to be an ongoing issue. My mind feels like a stew and I'm just stirring the pot looking for the chunks of potatoes. Well maybe not potatoes but I feel like I'm just trying to cut to the chase and figure out what exactly it is I want, when really I should be patient and focus on living in the moment and I don't really even know yet. But as for now, my lack of patience and trust are hindering this great ability to run with the day and figure out who I am by getting rid of my selfish ambitions and forming a translucent skin. Anywho I think that's enough to chew on for one meal.


With one day down, I am already starting to feel so connected to this island. Before we left, Leslie quoted Lucia:

Lucia: "I have trouble falling asleep on planes."
Leslie: "Not me, I could fall asleep before we take off."
Lucia: "Are you serious? That's crazy. I could never do that."

When we arrived, we went and had lunch with Steve and Lillie (The missions elders from Ecclesia) and of course Alison and Naseem. Arriving at the orphanage, we met Tonya. She seems to be in charge of things here and I can already tell that I'm really going to love sharing life with her. We have already had more interaction with the children than expected and all feel that we will be growing so much with them. But this journey will be extremely difficult. With so much of us being poured into the kids every single day we are expecting to experience some tattered edges here along the way. I strongly pray that we can be diligent during our off time and hunger for a stronger relationship with the father. I pray and encourage our hardships here that they may be catalysts to better serve the Lord and better hunger for his kingdom here in Roatan. I look forward to supporting these children through prayer, love, and example and in turn watching them grow and learn as these days continue. Day 1 has been far greater than I could've imagined. Please pray for strength and patience.

Also: Tonya, Shenice, Brad, Gabriel, and the rest of the staff and residence here.