Thanks be to God

Volunteer House 120104

This past month we have been very grateful for many things in our community.  We were able to share in a communal feast with a variety of Finca neighbors, employees and friends.  It was a joy to share the culture of the United States with all of them, as they continually invite us into their homes to share in their culture.  Cooking for around 100 people isn’t easy so we had to break into groups to accomplish this task.  Here is what each of us was responsible for and little update on our lives here at the Farm…

Lily, Kate and Allison were the queens of organization and took command of cleaning the house to welcome our many guests.  Lily, an awesome new social work department head, has also helped contribute to the Farm’s clean cut look by working with our older boys chomping down trees and taking a machete to our tall grass. Kate is tidying up math and language skills with her students in escuelita, which is similar to a summer school for kids who need a bit of extra help.  Allison has been dusting off her dancing shoes and preschool nursery rhymes to enliven our winter dance classes and winter school.

Sara, a wood-burning oven extraordinaire, took on the task of cooking over 200 individual rolls and when left without a partner, Alisha, who is always willing to lend a hand, was able to step in.   Sara is constantly rising to the occasion at Escuela Invierno (Winter School) and escuelita as she finds her way teaching middle schoolers.  Alisha was kneaded throughout the Farm, to play with her godchild, visit neighbors and advise the newbies.

Green bean casserole, a American favorite, was put together by two of our oldies, Francesca and Scarleth.  They have bean our community members most known for their giggles, spending time sharing memories and prayers as they remember their time here over the past two years.

Betsy, with families members in tow, and Erin Patricia prepared a monton (“a ton”) of mashed potatoes. These two spud buds got the opportunity to share a room one last time, after Erin arrived at the Farm after a vacation to Roatan with our newest Finca graduate Dalila. Betsy’s eyes are now wide open as Erin passed on wisdom from her days as the 5th/6th teacher.

The turkeys were tackled by a group of missionary ladies- Nely, Ashley, Erin Lucia and Tami.  Nely gobbled up her last weeks at the Farm relishing time with our youngest girls and several of our neighbor friends.  Ashley struts her stuff as the fearless leader of a process to fumigate the Farm for mosquitoes (and although everyone involved did a tremendous job, to completely get rid of all mosquitoes we would need to fumigate the country).  Erin Lucia continually becomes abreast of new accounting information as she works to manage the Finca budget. Tami finally carved her way through end of year paperwork for our school district and the new phase of our work program, PAVI.

Georleny and Erin Marina took control of the stuffing, an interesting task since we only had the list of ingredients and not a true recipe.   With a true servant’s heart, Erin Marina lived up to her role as a social worker when she was sliced from the community to help one of our children who was most in need.  Georleny has been able to soak up a lot of time with our adolescents with frequent psychology trips to Ceiba.

Kristina was on gravy duty, a brand new food for her to cook.  These last few weeks, she has been in the thick of her retirement, making visits, sharing her love with the neighbors and our children here, and even attending a princess party!

Salad and juice, not always the most traditional thanksgiving foods but certainly important for our feast, were created by Haydee and Amanda.   Haydee, although tossed into a house full of fluent English speakers, has been a huge help for those of us still learning Spanish and a voice of conscience to be more inclusive in our conversations.   Amanda has definitely mixed it up in switching to 1st and 2nd grades from 5th/6th but is excelling with Escuelita and is also officially certified to drive on the hectic Honduran roads.

The pies, something everyone can agree is one of the best Thanksgiving traditions, were manned by an excellent team with missionaries in all stages of Finca life- Sheena, Kevin, Rachel and Jacob, and their boys Jonah, Isaac, and Ruben.  The Hurst family is doing well- Ruben is the apple of their eye but potty training could certainly be going a bit better.  Jonah and Isaac are enjoying home school with Mom and honing their skills in both Spanish and marbles while Rachel and Jacob have had the opportunity for several dates away from the kids.  Sheena rolled out a lot of arts supplies, creating amazing works of art to leave as gifts for several of our house parents and children. Kevin spiced up winter school with several fun camp songs that now are continually stuck not only in our kids heads but ours as well.

We dearly missed several of our community members who were celebrating this holiday in Ceiba with our Phase II program.  Deirdre and David, having been called on to stay with one of our children for health reasons, joined Nils and Mary Kate and our 6 teenagers for the traditional turkey dinner.  Deirdre has continued to work hard in our clinic- including several after-hours emergency runs to the hospital for neighbors.  David can been seen on the Finca playing more soccer than he has in most of his life, building relationships with our older boys and his security team of watchies. Nils and Mary Kate have settled in quite well to their new jobs raising teenagers.  Their hard work is already paying off- all 3 new Phase II teens are enrolled in high schools and either working or volunteering in the city.

Well, that is the update from us here at the Farm!  We are missing you all but certainly do enjoy sharing stories around our kitchen table about our families and friends from the States.  Although this update is a few weeks after Thanksgiving, we are definitely still extremely grateful for your love and support.  We are able to feel your prayers and continue to lift your intentions up as well.  May you all be filled with love during this advent season!

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