Fundraiser

Some of you know, I sell AVON. I will be having an AVON fundraiser for Mayan Families. The money will go into their account, so that we can put they money to good use such as buying items for our sponsored childrens families that they really need.

The fundraiser will only be local. I will let you know how we do. The organization will have a 50% profit... so, pray that it goes very well. :)

I believe we will start the fundraiser on Tuesday - March 4, 2008 if everything goes well with AVON setting up the information in their systems. :) I will keep you updated! :)

Candy sure has been a very big help to this project. :) Hopefully we will have more information today about the situation the families are in... their clothing sizes, shoe sizes, and the exact needs of each family. :)

Also, two of Oscars sisters are sponsored by different ladies. They have been wonderful in keeping contact with me. Oscars sister should have her medication covered by one of the ladies... I will update you on exact facts of Oscars family and the sponsorship soon. :)

Oscar


I'm so excited, Oscar has recieved his school supplies!
More pictures to come soon! :)

The Reason...

I want all of my blog readers to know a couple of things... there are a few reasons my son and I are going to Guatemala...

1. To show the people there the love of Christ
2. To check out the organization we are donating to
3. To personally ensure the families we sponsor are getting everything they need - going down personally will allow us to give the families items directly instead of going through anyone as an "in between."

Next, where we sponsor the children...

Mayan Families is the organization that we sponsor our children through. You can directly sponsor a child, however - going in as a group effort will allow us to pool funds together to better help the sponsored children and their families.

Our Plans:

As of right now, we do not plan on sponsoring any more children - except sibblings of those we already sponsor. The reason? Ken and I talked about this, and both agree that it is very important to help a few families really get on their feet. By sponsoring many kids (which we would LOVE to do) - this does not take care of their families directly in the long term. If we can really help families "get on their feet" and have a good education, this is our goal. When we know families of the children we sponsor are not eating for example... it would be hard in our eyes to send another $120 for school supplies etc - when someone we already have in our hearts are going hungry?

I know there are so many people in the world to help - my goal is to help as many families as possible.

Once our sponsored children and their families are on their feet - we will sponsor more children.

The money that our family and friends donate are going directly to help the children - I will say, my son and I are not using any of the funds for our trip. We are paying for our plane tickets, food and lodging while away. Any money that we do raise (via garage sale, or other fundraisers) will go to purchase items once we are in Guatemala for the families there. This way, we are 100% sure that the families ARE getting the things that they need.

Our Future Goals:

I'm really unsure at this point about what our future holds. Only God knows... I am sure that we will be keeping Oscar, Rafael and Marcos close to our hearts and keeping updated on their situations.

By all of us coming together to sponsor these children, we can continue to help them in the future. Say for example, one person can sponsor the children this year... what if their situation changes and they cannot do it again next year? This way, if we pool all of our resourses together - we can make sure that they are taken care of.

If you would like to make donations directly to Mayan Families - please let me know, and I can give you the exact information on Marcos, Rafael and Oscar. What you will need, are their student numbers - click the links for their student numbers etc... :)

Marcos
Rafael
Oscar

Thank you to Mary and her family for donating $100. She asked me to use the money in whatever way I thought could help... I am thinking we will use it to purchase items for Rafaels family.

It is so hard to "pick and choose" where to invest (I use this term, because really it is investing in the lives of the children) - money.

If I had to "choose" - I would say Rafaels family is most in need.

Again, here's the information about Rafaels family...

Rafael is 8yrs old. He is in 3rd grade. His birthday is 19th of April.
He lives with her mother, Caterina, 33yrs old in a village called Santa Clara. The father passed away recently. He was very ill, the family could not afford a doctor for him or medicines. They are not sure of what disease he died from.


Rafael has one brother and four sisters.

They are:
Ana is 16yrs old. She is in 12th grade.Juana
(student #603) is 14yrs old. She is in 5th grade.
Candelaria
(student # 604) is 12 yrs. old. She is in 5th grade.Maritsa (student #606) is 7yrs old. She is in 1st grade.Antonio is 2 months old.

They own their house. They have one room that they sleep and eat in. They do not have a separate kitchen. They have two beds - in one bed 3 people sleep, 4 in the other. They do not have enough blankets. They do not have tables or chairs. They keep their clothes in a cardboard box. They do not have pila. They have a a tank for water. They wash their clothes on a rock. They do not have electricity, they live by candlelight. They cook over an open fire on the ground. They do not have an onil stove. They do not have a water filter.They do have a toilet. They have water connected and pay $1.US. per month.

The mother works washing clothes by hand and earns $2. US per day. The mother says that there are days when they eat and days when they do not eat. Much of their diet consists of tortillas with salt. They also eat eggs, beans and herbs when they have them.

Great News!

The women who are sponsoring Oscars sisters wrote me an email. The three of us will be pitching in money together to buy the family a water filter and a nice new Onil Stove!

Life


Well, this afternoon I found out that there's a very good chance my moms cancer is back. A few years ago, my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. She was treated with chemo and radiation.

Today - she was given the results of her PET scan. It does not look good, but - I still try to stay positive. After all, tests and doctors do make mistakes.

My mom will be going to another doctor on Friday to see if they can go in and do a biopsy. The location of the lymphnodes they need to look at are under her armpit - very close to her bone. The doctors may not be able to go in... we will find out more soon.

Why am I posting this blog here? Because this just motivates me more to hurry up and do things with my life before I can't someday. This is yet another reality check... After months of losing friends in the Iraqi war... and after having an injured husband - after watching my mom battle cancer once... all of these experiences are pushing me to DO things for others. Not just sit around thinking about it.
I really just do not believe that my moms cancer is back. I really don't.

A big thank you to Candy for the fleece blankets - they came to my door today! Daphne and I will be taking all 25 blankets to Guatemala with us to distribute!

:)

Shot Record

This morning my son and I went into the health clinic to see what type of shots we would need for our trip to Guatemala.

I did need an updated Tetnis shot as well as the Hep A shot... That little Tetnis shot is a pesky little booger. LOL!

Decluttering

Today, I spent much of the day decluttering our home.

I'm going through items and have found nice blankets we do not use. I've had them stored in totes in the attic for over a year.

I challenge you to try to declutter your home. Items you do not use any longer could really make a huge difference in the lives of others in this world.

We Did It :)

Okay, so we went to Walgreens to have our passport photos taken... and then off to fill out and submit the passport application. All went really well, we did not have a long wait or anything! :) I was pleasantly surprised the office was open today, it's Presidents day.

I want to also add, we were warned by people in the area that it's taking a long time for people to receive their passports... however, the place we applied for our passport said they are actually very fast - and we will most likely receive our passports before four weeks! :)

When you listen to God and do what He wants you to, I've learned things are SO much easier! :) :)

Wow! I didn't know passports were sooooooo expensive!

Here's a tiny money saving tip: You can have your picture taken at a place such as Walgreens or Rite Aide for a much better price than the post office, or other passport offices can offer photos to you.

Example: our post office planned on charging $15 per passport photo
Walgreens: $7.99

Well, we are on our way to get our passports! :)

Zoom!


Rafael is now going to school, thanks to Candy!!!

Rafael is 8yrs old. He is in 3rd grade. His birthday is 19th of April.

He lives with her mother, Caterina, 33yrs old in a village called Santa Clara. The father passed away recently. He was very ill, the family could not afford a doctor for him or medicines. They are not sure of what disease he died from.

Rafael has one brother and four sisters.

They are:

Ana is 16yrs old. She is in 12th grade.
Juana is 14yrs old. She is in 5th grade.
Candelaria is 12 yrs. old. She is in 5th grade.
Maritsa is 7yrs old. She is in 1st grade.
Antonio is 2 months old.

They own their house. They have one room that they sleep and eat in. They do not have a separate kitchen. They have two beds - in one bed 3 people sleep, 4 in the other.

They do not have enough blankets.
They do not have tables or chairs.
They keep their clothes in a cardboard box.
They do not have pila (sink).
They have a a tank for water.
They wash their clothes on a rock.
They do not have electricity, they live by candlelight.
They cook over an open fire on the ground.
They do not have an onil stove.
They do not have a water filter.
They do have a toilet... They have water connected and pay $1.US. per month.

The mother works washing clothes by hand and earns $2. US per day. The mother says that there are days when they eat and days when they do not eat. Much of their diet consists of tortillas with salt. They also eat eggs, beans and herbs when they have them.

Thanks to Candy - Oscar is now sponsored for one years worth of school! :) I will write more after I return home from taking the children to youth group tonight. :)

Here's more information about Oscar...

Oscar is 7yrs old. He is in 1st grade.

He lives in Panajachel with his father Lorenzo and his mother, Valeria. He has 3 brothers and 4 sisters.

They are:

Heydi is 22yrs old. She graduated from school. She is working in a hotel.
Lorenzo is 19yrs old. He graduated from school. He is working driving a taxi.
Luis is 17yrs old. He will be graduating this year. He has received a sponsorship to be able to graduate.
Honoria is 15yrs. She is 8th grade.
Jose is 13yrs old. He is in 7th grade.
Saira Leonora is 12yrs old. She is in 5th grade in Jan. 2008.
Blanca is 4yrs old. She is in kindergarten.

There were also 2 month old twins that passed away four months ago. They had vomiting and diahrea, one passed away at home, the other on the way to the hospital.

This family were victims of Hurricane Stan in Oct. 2005, a lot of water and mud entered their home and they lost all their possessions and clothes.

The father works as a day laborer. He does not have a fixed job. He takes whatever work is available. Working in the fields, working as a builders assistant, carrying heavy loads in the market etc. He earns $5 US per day. Along with the money that his elder children earn they have an income of $35 US per week. This is not enough money to cover all their costs especially the very expensive costs they have of the higher education of their children.

They own their house. It is made of wooden planks. The roof is tin sheeting. The floor is dirt.They do not have a kitchen. They cook outside on an open fire on the ground. They have two beds. Four people sleep in each bed. The rest sleep on the floor on woven mats.They cannot afford to buy wood, they have to forage every day in the mountains for firewood.

They do not have enough money to be able to drink coffee. This is a very staple part of the Guatemalan diet but this family is so stretched with their budget to provide food that they cannot afford this.

They have electricity connected and pay $10 US per month. They have water connected and pay $0.75cents US a month - they were five years behind on paymet, but thanks to Kens parents - this bill has been taken care of!
They do not have a water filter.
They do not have an onil stove.
They do not have a closet.
They keep their clothes in a cardboard box.
They do not have enough tables and chairs for all of them.
They have one chair and one small table.They do not have enough blankets.
They do not have enough clothes and shoes for the children.

The youngest daughter, Blanca 4yrs old, suffered a fall when she was 7months old. Since then she has suffered convulsions and always has headaches. They have taken her for a medical exam, they gave her medicine that helped the pain in her head but they have not been able to afford to continue supplying her with the medicine.

Toothpaste...

A huge thank you to Diane for donating 180 tubes of toothpaste and a few toothbrushes! :) Dental care is hard to find in the villiage we are going to - so many of the people do not have food, let alone money for toothpaste - this will be a big help!

Tonight, I had the nicest email sitting in my inbox... it was from a good friend who painted my husbands "hunting room." He and his wife are wonderful, professional painters... they have a website, http://www.artbyzaro.com - if you are in the Fayetteville, North Carolina area - look him up!

The email stated this:

There's a story about thousands of starfish washing up on a beach, a woman sees a little boy throwing one back in. She tells him that he can't possibly save them all. The boy replies to her, "no, but I made a difference for that one I just threw back!" Save as many starfish as you can Patti, you'll always remember what you did.

I appreciated this so much, it was SO touching that I wanted to share that statement with you!

Water Bill


I am very excited to announce that my mother and father in law sent us a check to help the families in Guatemala... we found this family who was five years behind on their water bill. Their water bill is normally .75 per month - bringing the total to about $45.


Using some of the money my in-laws sent, we were able to pay off the water bill... plus give them credit for another year and a half... this will help the family SO much! I know they will be thrilled!


Now, we are pooling our money together to send Oscar to school for a year. The cost is $120. this includes all supplies he will need to go to school. Bookbag/shoes/books/paper etc. We only have $80 to go before we can sponsor Oscar to go to school!


This is very exciting!

This morning started out with so much excitement! Daphne and I bought our tickets to Guatemala... I went over to her house for coffee this morning and to talk about the trip. We also talked a couple of times on the phone.

We figure we can each take 2 carry on suit cases - 50lbs each to the organization we are helping in Guatemala... we will load the suit cases up with blankets, sheets, clothes and more. That's 10 suit cases total - 50lbs each!

We would appreciate any donations you would like to give.

Have you ever went to Guatemala?

Have you ever been on a missions trip? A charity trip? Tell us about it! :)

Well, the decision has been made. My son and I are traveling to Guatemala in May, with my friend Daphne and her two girls.

We are going to help the people of Guatemala - we are taking donations of clothing, sheets and so much more. Please let me know if you can help in any way. Items may be gently used.

Thank you for keeping up with my blog, this is a very important project!

With, or without... this is the question.

Should I go on a trip to Guatemala with or without our church?

My first thought is to go with the church, however - they are going to a language school. I want to go HELP.... I do not want to be entertained.

My friend Daphne and I are milling over the idea of going together... she has been there a couple times.

We are both going to pray about it.

This evening, I talked to a woman from our church about going to the language school in Guatemala. I was happy to talk with her. I will be meeting with her this upcoming Sunday at church. She sounds very nice, and it will be nice to meet her. :)

The trip to the language school will take place between two - four weeks. I think this will be a wonderful experience for my son and I. :)



The past few weeks I have felt very strongly that I need to do something else in the world. Something to not only better myself and my family, but help others around us. I've always had the desire to help others in need.

I have stepped out of my "comfort space" and into a new "adventure" so to say. I will blog my experiences to keep myself motivated, and to hopefully motivate others to make this world a better place as well.

Recently, our church announced they will be going on a trip to Guatemala to do volunteer work for the schools and community.
I really felt in my heart that I just needed to do this trip. My 11 year old son has also always wanted to help others. We talked about this in a "family meeting" and it was decided that my 11 year old son and I would go on the trip to Guatemala. We are unsure at this point if any one else in our family will be going. Right now, it just looks like the two of us.


Last night, I was talking to a friend of mine... Daphne - she runs the website, http://www.guatemalanharvest.com/ - it is a WONDERFUL website. She has a heart of gold and really does care about the people of Guatemala. Please take time to check out her website, as she really has inspired me to submerse myself into learning more about the Guatemalan culture.
After speaking with Daphne - we decided to sponsor a little boy named Marcos to go to school. We have paid for his first year of school. He is five years old. He lives in a mud brick home, with a tin roof, dirt floors, an outside kitchen, and his family cooks over wood, outside the home.

Right now I am trying to raise the money to buy an onil stove for the family, as this will help them save money. The onil stove provides not only a huge savings to the family, but it also offers a more healthy, and safe cooking place for families to use. Marcos' family cooks over an open fire outside at this point.

The cost for sponsoring a child is only $120. per year. This pays for school books, uniforms, paper, pencils, book bag, shoes and other items needed for the school year. This really is not a bad price to pay for education!

The cost for an onil stove is $125.


Daphnes site is terrific. Money that you donate to her will go 100% directly to help the children of Guatemala - I totally trust her and her husband (who is a CPT in the Army I might add!). She is not only collecting the gift of money, but also items such as stuffed animals, books in Spanish, long pants (no shorts), dresses, shoes, blankets, (there's a big need for blankets)...

The picture I have under this journal entry is of Marcos.

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