Wednesday, December 16, 2009

La Familia '09

God is moving in some amazing ways with Solomon and it looks like he will be coming HOME in just a few months! Hopefully the next time we take our family picture, he will be in it!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

I am so incredibly thankful for Jesus and His love. He is so good to me. I am so thankful for everything He has done in mine and my family's lives and I can't wait to see where He takes us in this next year of life! I am also SO thankful that we have had our Ethiopian babies for two years this Thanksgiving! They are treasures from heaven.

..From Solomon:

Hello Ellie,

How are you doing today? I am doing very well. I would like to say happy Thanksgiving Day. How God is awesome. You are the special gift I got from him. I pray for you to safe and bless you forever. You are a good young sister for me. I pray for you God to give you potential that help you to help more orphans and to fulfill your heart’s desire. Know that I love you and pray for you every day. You have a great place in my heart. I am proud what you are doing. God be with you my sweet sister.

Love your Brother Solomon Mestas!!!!!!!

We so hope that Solomon will be joining us for next years Thanksgiving celebration!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

There ya' have it folks...

The world's greatest invention. Everyone saw how classy and necessary human snuggies are in life so they came out with this. A snuggie for dogs. Now when your dog is playing backgammon or laying on the couch flipping through channels, they can be warm while having their paws free. (i'm just sure that somebody from snuggie dared another snuggie employee to invent this just to see how many people would actually buy it. Snuggie is taking over the world. )

The Advent Conspiracy

"Christmas can [still] change the world."

Let's remember what Christmas is really, truly about. It's about remembering and celebrating the ultimate gift that God has given us in His Son. God came to earth in the form of a baby on that beautiful silent night. He humbled himself as a little child and He came to save us, His enemies, even though we hated him. God sent His own perfect and holy son to take our punishment, even though we did nothing at all for him except grieve His heart. He sent His perfect son who's holiness was enough to cover up our wickedness and allow us to have a relationship with the God of the universe.
That is some serious love that is worth celebrating. May we not become so busy and focused on the materialism that the world has come to associate with Christmas that we lose sight of what Christmas truly means for each and every one of us. Celebrate. (...good times c'mon.)
http://www.adventconspiracy.org/

The Advent Conspiracy Promo Video from theadvance on Vimeo.

Friday, November 20, 2009

"Find My Family"

A new show is coming to town and it's not gonna be as great as it looks. Read the following from Martha Osbourne of Rainbow Kids:

"In the most exploitive and disparaging-of-adoption media effort yet, ABC will air a sneak peak' of their new series Find My Family on Monday, November 23rd. With a sensationalized and soap-opera style, ABC will take viewers into the lives of adoptees and birth families in their Search to be reunited.

With the tagline " Some people have spent their whole lives searching for the one thing that matters most... Their wish will now come true. Let's find your family, producers completely discount any worth of the adoptive families who have loved and raised these children. Instead the show emphasizes the loss of a child's Real family' as the one-and-only central issue of all adopted children's lives.

The entire premise of this show is upsetting on so many levels. I encourage every family of an adopted child to prepare mentally for the public reaction, and the reaction of their children who may find themselves the sudden center of assumptions about their needs, desires, and personal feelings on their adoption.

This new series is being heavily promoted on ABC. Created by the producer of Extreme Makeover, Find My Family is laden with emotional angst and tearful moments meant to increase ratings and viewership. Unfortunately, the general public's opinion and understanding of adoption is largely shaped by the media. ABC's exploitive new series will focus on the most extreme issues in adoption, and is sure to have an effect on how our children's teachers, extended family, and friends view and accept adoption.

For years, the adoptive community has sought to rectify the past vilification of birth-parents as people who gave away their children. Birth parents are now widely recognized as the First Parents of children, deserving of love, respect, and understanding. It is in no one's best interest to turn the tables and begin to portray adoptive families as second-class, or less-than' a family created biologically. This new series is a step back for everyone."

I pray that this show does not discourage families from stepping out to care for the orphan and love them the way Jesus calls us to. Adoption is God's idea and definitely not a "Plan B" family growing option. Both the birth parents and adoptive parents are extremely important in this plan of God's and neither should be looked down upon.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Water.

Wow. We take so much for granted. In our minds I think we become used to the fact that in Africa, they walk to get their water and it's not so clean. What if it was us though? Our neighbors that we are supposed to be loving as ourselves are dying because we are comfortable with our lives. We are neglecting our 1.1 billion neighbors who drink parasite infested water while we safely drink our extra purified bottled water. May we not ignore the lives of others for the sake of maintaining our lifestyles any longer. Watch the video and get involved. www.safewaternexus.org

Monday, November 9, 2009

Anddd...IT'S UP!

As of November 8th, Etaala's website has officially launched! ( a few things to add still but for the most part it's done!) Click here and check it out.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Teaser. :)

Website being launched on Orphan Sunday November 8th 2009
Etaala International
Youth led, Youth focused, Orphan Care Ministry
143 million orphans worldwide
YOU can make a difference.
"Learn to do right, seek justice, encourage the oppressed. Defend the cause of the fatherless, plead the case of the widow. " - Isaiah 1:17...Do you see age requirements? We don't.
"Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven." Matthew 5:16
(Photos courtesy of Sarah Herbert Photography.)

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Story Time

I have a wee story to tell you. Speaking of the word "wee". There were quite a few people from Ireland at the camp that I went to this summer and they called me "Wee Girl." It was a little hilarious and I'm glad as Americans, we don't say "wee" on a regular basis.

Anyways. Here is a story about a girl and some boys. This girl was (most of the time) a kind and sweet hairdresser. She was getting ready to go to lunch one day when a mother walks in with three small boys needing a hair cut. She was most likely perturbed and hungry because she took out her wrath on the three little boys' hair. It looked similar to something that would result from Edward Scissor Hands closing his eyes and sneezing. Well, the mother was less than thrilled and repeatedly said over the next few days as she was extremely busy that she needed to fix the three boys' hair. Well, one small boy took matters in to his own hands and here are the results. (James protecting Jer's head from a picture.)
If he cocks his head just so...you can't really tell that the top of his head is mostly bald.
Etaala's website is coming along marvelously well! I can't wait until I can share it with you all!

random moments of everyday goodness.

Kez sporting the Gangster look. Uncles, Aunts, Nephews, Nieces galore. Yogurt fu manchu's are the greatest.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Cutie Patooties.

This time 2 years ago these cute little boys were praying for their "vwuzzo and sistos in Eepee-opia" and now they are together forever. and Inseperable might I add.

The boys are 16 months apart so the twins and Josiah are in different grades. They are in two separate classes at our co-op on Fridays and every week Jeremiah goes through his speech of how he is so sad that Josiah isn't in their class and how he misses him all day and he wants Josiah in HIS class. Then James is all "Uh-huh" and "Yea" 's. Their teachers say the twins are always asking if they have extra crafts so they can take one to "their brother who is in the 5 year old class." God is just so amazing. He brought these little boys from Africa and Mexico to North Carolina to be brothers and very best friends. And they are always doing crazy things to their room like this... Soon after this blurry picture was taken, every inch of every wall was covered in a picture that they colored. When the walls were full they started to stretch across the room and surrounded the bunkbeds so they couldn't see out of the bottom bunk. They even made it across the ceiling. (with some help) It was quite impressive. Until bedtime and we couldn't find their beds. Here is a virtual tour... video And I just realized i never finished those videos from when mom was in africa. I realize now it was a bad idea to promise that the week before school started and the week our computer crashed. Maybe someday they'll make it on the blog.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Fun, fun.

This is what we do when we are bored. Sooo...we're never really bored because this is quite fun. James had his ear tubes out today and they drugged him up pretty good. He came home a little dizzy and an hour or so later began to tell me all about his time at the hospital. "I got to color on the bed! And decorate my mask! (they let the kids decorate the sleeping gas masks after? creative.) And I watched Handy Manny!..... And I don't think they ever took my tubes out!!!!!! I don't think they did!!!!"

The medicine worked. Here is the Jim himself being a ham on the far left. He gradually dropped from standing to leaning on the hay bale to resting his chin on his hand. I want to put him in a little box and keep him in my pocket. I will definitely be keeping everyone updated on all the Etaala news. Right now we're just working out a lot of details and the website is coming along! It's close!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Etaala International

Hello all 2 of my remaining faithful readers. I'm sorry that I fail at blogging. However, I have some exciting news to share with you both!

Ok, so I posted a while back about that camp I went to this summer with Precept Upon Precept Ministries. At this camp we studied The Sermon on the Mount in the Bible and there is a particular verse in there that really spoke to my heart over and over again as we were studying. It's Matthew 5:14-16 "You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven."
This is talking about the gospel and how we as Christians are to share the good news of Jesus with others and not hide the light that cast the darkness out of our hearts to ourselves. Through out the week, I just keep thinking about that verse and wondering if I was keeping the light of truth to myself. I felt God impress upon my heart that I was in fact, hiding the light of truth to myself in a way. The truth of how much He loves orphans and wants people to reach out to them and just how much the orphan crisis breaks His heart. Sure I love my siblings and take missions trips and speak on occasion but what was I doing to spread that light for others to truly see it and know how to respond to it? I kept feeling like I needed to share this with young people especially. I have a passion for other young people to act and make a difference for orphans and follow after God's heart but I wasn't really doing a whole lot to make that happen. Welllll. God has called me to start a ministry. After much prayer, I emailed 5 friends about what God was calling me to do and within an hour, I had heard back from one friend that I actually met at this camp and he told me to check out his brother's website. I did. (click here to see it and then come back and finish reading.) Very Long story shortened slightly...I prayed for a while and then emailed the said brother who's name is Matt Chambers. I emailed him about the ministry ideas and asked if Safewater Nexus would be open to having a team of people come out and serve sometime within the next 2 years or so. Just so happens, he has a trip scheduled but not a whole lot done with it yet and he offers to let me bring a team of people next May to Uganda for two weeks.
By the way. My mom is in Ethiopia through all of this so Elsa Mugyenzi (who is from Uganda) was staying with me to help me with the kids. I began to tell her all of this and she was a huge part of starting it. I felt like the ministry name should have something to do with "Light". Turns out, "Light" in Luganda is "Etaala" (Ehh-Tahl-Ah) so, "Etaala International" is underway! I'm working to get it certified as a non-profit organization and my cousin is building our website. God has been bringing people right at the time of need and He has been so faithful to open all the doors and hearts. My friend Rachel who traveled with me to China and Guatemala is my co-founder. God has been placing the same things on her heart for a while and has given her the same passion for orphan care and sharing the love of Christ with the hurting and she has been involved in this from the very beginning.
The ministry is a youth run, youth focused organization that will work to get young people involved in orphan care through seeing first hand the need, serving in those areas and giving tools necessary to bring that home. It's not about going and serving once a year, it's about living out the call to care for the orphan, the widow and those in need in our lives here at home and shining the light of Christ for the world to see. I know for me, seeing the need and having beautiful faces and names to associate with the 143 million orphans made all the difference and gave me the passion to make a difference for them with my life.
The world has such low expectations for teenagers and I believe that part of the reason God is doing all of this is to show people that He is raising up a new generation of people to follow after Him. Isaiah 1:17 does NOT say "Everyone over 18 learn to do right! Seek justice, encourage the oppressed you who have your college degree. Defend the cause of the fatherless, plead the case of the widow... but only you wealthy got-it-all-together people of course!" He calls us to defend the case of the fatherless and there are no age requirements in this command. He promises that if we are seeking Him first above all things, He will provide for our needs. I believe that He finds joy in using people who don't seem like the greatest pick to bring about His plan and show how great He is and how capable He is of doing incredible things. He used David, probably a middle schooler, to kill Goliath the giant. He used Moses, the one afraid to speak in public, to represent the Israelites and demand that the Pharaoh of Egypt, (the most powerful man in the world at the time) release them. There are countless stories of God doing miraculous things through extremely normal, sometimes even pathetic sounding people.
Today, people expect teenagers to be irresponsible, facebook-a-holics who can not be separated from their ipods and survive longer than five minutes. I believe God has designed us for so much more. He is calling us to wake up to the reality that we were not made for this. We were created to glorify Him and one way that we can do that is through showing others what His love is like through serving without expecting anything in return. We are the next generation of leaders and it is our responsibility to act and ensure that the orphans in the world today are cared for and loved. We are to make sure that we are so in tune to God's heart, that in our generation there will be no orphan crisis. That we will love so well that when we see someone in need, we take responsibility and care for them as our own. Etaala International wants to change the world for orphans through changing hearts of young people in America and enabling them to make a difference. Please add me as a friend on facebook and join the Etaala International group to read a little more about it. Also, if you are interested in joining us on the Uganda trip, email me at etaalainternational@gmail.com . I'll post the link to the website (complete with trip applications) as soon as I have it. :) (Not to sound like a grammy winner or anything but..) I have been blessed with the greatest, most supportive group of family and friends that a girl could ask for. I have wonderful godly parents that support me and encourage me to follow after God's will for my life, even when it sounds slightly crazy. It would be so easy for them to tell me that these issues are too big and be more concerned for my personal safety than to send me to Africa. or China. or Guatemala.
I believe deep down, they are terrified at times but they know God is bigger than any plan's of man. So, you...yea you. If your child has a heart for missions or orphans or serving God in a way that seems slightly crazy to the outside world, don't crush their dreams but encourage them to follow after God's heart and His will for them. They can make a difference. In the words of my friend Elsa "We have to lose our minds in order to take on God's mind." Quite frankly, most of the time when we take on God's mind and forsake our old ways of thinking, it appears we have lost our minds. And there is not another more rewarding state to be in than this.
"We are too young to realize that such things are impossible so we will do them anyway." ---William Pitt (spoken about the abolition of the slave trade in the film Amazing Grace)
Love.

Monday, August 31, 2009

A sneek peek into our week.

The Littles have been angels. The girls are more of the type of angels that hit each other occasionally and sometimes bite and sometimes take off their diapers at nap and have an obsession with flushing the toilets and washing their hands every five minutes... but overall, angels would be a good word. :) If you've ever the met the girls, you know they are 100% full of energy and too smart for their own good. The only thing is they are so fast and so busy and they move in the opposite direction. They are incredible and I love them with all of my heart but they can be difficult at times.

It's almost like God has given them a heavenly dose of benadryl this week, not even kidding. They have been so much fun and so well behaved. Thank you Jesus. :)
God has been so good. Everything has gone so smoothly and everyone has had wonderful attitudes and loving hearts. I so appreciate everyone's offers to help but we have been surviving quite comfortably!! More than surviving, we've been living quite comfortably. Elsa is a Godsend. I love her.
Today we had a case of a popcorn kernel up a nostril. We almost had an experiment on whether corn stalks could grow in sinuses but luckily we handled it before the situation was too far gone. or up. or...yea.
I have pulled three loose teeth in the past two days leaving two little boys with no front teeth. It's precious. Two years of speech therapy has gone out the window, lisps are inevitable. Ever wonder if the whole "tie a piece of string around your tooth and then tie the other end to a door knob and shut the door" method works? It does.
We really are documenting everything I just haven't had any time at all to compile our videos together yet! They are coming soon I promise. :) Pictures from Marbles Kids museum (my fave place in NC pretty much), the park, frog catching etc.
She painted her own face at Marbles. :) Swingin at the park with our poodle the way cool people do. Frog hunting. "I CAUGHT A BIG FAT PAPA FROG!!! I "FOT" IT WAS A ROCK AND DEN IT JUMPED!!!" Rennie's masterpiece involving lots of glue and feathers. :)
Kezzie looking more than slightly suspicious on the far left and the other little girl on the far right looking shocked.
We took the littles to drive their truck around at Joyner's Park. They had a blast.
This was fun until the bees came. :) First soccer practice this week!! Fun at Marbles.
Videos coming soon. :)>

Monday, August 24, 2009

To Him who does immeasurably more than we could ask or even imagine.

Immeasurably. im·measur·a·bly : to an immeasurable degree; beyond measurement; without bounds.

To Him who does Immeasurably more than we could ask or imagine be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to ALL generations forever and ever and ever and ever...and ever. Amen. (Eph. 3:20-21)
www.jobsdaughters.blogspot.com
God is working immeasurably in multiple mighty ways. Not even kidding. When I say multiple, I mean multiple.
P.S. We are surviving unbelievably well. Elsa is here with me, I love her to death already. More to come on us later along with words from the Littles. :)

Saturday, August 22, 2009

And She's Off!!

Mom just called from D.C.! Her plane is boarding and she is officially on her way back to Ethiopia!!! AHHHHH!! :)

Today our neighbor came over to play for a while and Jeremiah sees him at the door, rushes to open it and quickly told him that Mom had just left on an airplane to go to Ethiopia to see Solomon and he was beyond excited to tell him. Next he told him all about Malaria and the need for mosquito nets in Africa. (We talked about Malaria recently and our sweet boys excitedly volunteered to give their tooth fairy money to buy mosquito nets and they bought about 25 nets!!) Well, our sweet little neighbor child had no clue what Jer was saying and had a look on his face that said "I just asked if you could come outside..."
After playing outside for a while, (we shall call him "Bob") "Bob" breaks out his gameboy and is sitting by himself for a while just playing away. James then walks over and says "Do you know video games make you lazy and turn your brain to mush?" Blunt much, James? :) We love our neighbor, he mostly seems like he loves us too. Most of the time.
My boys bring joy to my soul.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Sweet 16!!!

Yes, yes it's true. I'm now 16.

I gave 3 of my very good friends (and their moms, who happen to be my mom's very good friends which worked out nicely.:) a packing list and a time frame of when I was going to kidnap them. I banged on their back doors dressed like a disturbed madwoman who had a secret desire to be a ninja, and then we drove for four hours up to the Asheville, NC to spend the weekend at the Biltmore Estate! We had soo much fun and I don't think we ever stopped laughing.
(P.S. The Biltmore is an incredible place to visit, we have season passes and LOVE it there. and also...there is this incredible Thai restaurant in Asheville that our long time friends own that is insanely delicious. They put on the Ritz for us and were so sweet. Gahh. Just typing this made me hungry for their deliciousness. )
My sweet birthday letter from Solomon...:) "Hello Ellie Happy birthday. How are you? I am so sorry because I didn’t write for you sooner. The reason for this is I think that you are going to other place for work. My graduation day is September 1. I hope that mom will be with me in that day. I am so happy very much. I love you my dear sister Ellie. Happy Birthday!!!"
Mom leaves for Ethiopia TOMORROW!!! Please keep her in your prayers! I'm so excited for her!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

If you like it then you better put a ring on it... or a comment.

Ok, so we are contemplating video journaling every waking moment (or just a few waking moments) of our time without mom as she is leaving for Africa next Saturday!!! I am forcing her to video EVER-EE-THANG because I especially wish I could see Solomon's face when he sees her but I also want to see my favorite place in the world which I miss dearly. And I'm also insanely excited about a lot of things she will be doing.

So I am thinking maybe, maybe... we should do the same. It might not be pretty. Most likely there will be a lot of hilariousness with a hint of crazy and insanity on the side. Maybe too much for you to handle. But if you want to see the madness that will go on, then you better comment. I need at least 5 comments, maybe 12. I don't care if you don't know me. Comment. You can even comment more than once. I don't care. We will be interviewing The Littles (who are quite hilarious as it is) and also letting you glimpse a week of life in a rather child-infested home without mom here. AND we will give updates on Mom as we hear from her. Don't hold back, don't be nervous. Comment.

Sometimes we're crazy.

*Correction*... We're always crazy. (and yes, those would be underwear ^.)

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Pondering My Wanderings. Part Uno.

Once upon a time I was flying home from Nashville last summer (2008) from visiting my China girls. I was seated in the exit seat. row. thing. This kid comes a long and sits down. The steward comes, moves him and tells him he's too young to sit there. He was 15. I say, "Excuse me kind sir, I'm not even 15." He doesn't believe me. Finally he moves me next to an elderly Chinese man who's name was Jelly. Or that's what he said. Turns out it wasn't Jelly. It was Jerry. Anyway.
He was an extremely darling little old man and I decided to practice my 12 things I know how to say in Mandarin on him. I started out with a friendly "Ni Hao!" and asked him what his name was...he was super excited. He said.."OHH!! You speak vellllllly good chai-neeee!!!" We carried on a little conversation until I came down to my last three phrases which were.."Can I have a kiss?", "Merry Christmas!" and "Can I hold the baby?"
So. Needless to say. Our conversation ended.
Meanwhile, there was a friendly man behind us who was apparently listening and he says to me..."WOW! ARE YOU IN THE OLYMPICS?!"
Yes sir, I'm so good at saying hello in Chinese they sent me to the Olympics for it. it was that or tell him I'm a gymnast... I'm tiny, it could work.... till he asks me to do a handspring. not gonna happen. ;) He was extremely nice though and it turns out his son was on the Olympic committee and was living in China. The guy ended up being a Christian and our conversation was worth the crick i got in my neck from turning around for an hour and a half.
....................................
So, I was thinking the other day about the fact that I have fallen in a bush in three countries and I think its becoming apparent that I no longer need prayer for "A hedge of protection" More like "Protection from hedges" please. Thanks so much. ................................
Once in Africa, I got asked why I wasn't married. I tried to explain that I was really not old enough to be married in America and the baby I was holding wasn't mine. Sadly, charades wasn't taking the conversation anywhere. (You try explaining that in charades.)
I ran away before he could propose.
.......................
This one time, in China, I was on an overnight train and there was a bug in my bed. I was on the top bunk of a three bed, bunk bed. I almost dove off to my death. It was dark. People heard me shriek from terror and then pant from fear of falling. They laughed at me.
.................
I was eating pistachios in the back of our bus in China when i found a rotten one. I did the sensible thing and chucked it out the window. Our driver was a very fast walker. He wasn't there and then he was. It hit him on accident and he jumped 5 feet in the air. He then drove like a maniac...
.................
In Guatemala...I fell out of a tree while getting down. Why were we in a tree? Who knows. It seemed like a good idea.
......................
Also in Guatemala, I was wearing shoes. and then i wasn't. I still don't know what happened to them. hopefully someone is using them. Shoes. I almost left for the Great Wall of China without shoes on. I was in the bus and we were about to pull out when someone realized they forgot something. I offered to run into the orphanage and get it. I ran through the lobby, out to our yurt and ran back to see three pairs of my shoes in the lobby. "Thats strange" i thought. "I only brought three pairs with me." I keep walking like a doofus and then look down at my feet. Oh thank you sweet Jesus. I wish I could say I have learned my lesson on remembering to wear shoes. But that would be a lie. I left my house without shoes again somewhat recently and it was 45 minutes before i realized i didn't have any on. It was kind of...really, recently actually.
kind of like....today.
...................
I got stung by a bee on that Oh So Very Great, Wall of the China Place. A freaky bee.
......................................
More to come.
P.S. Click here. My mom is going back to Ethiopia to visit Solomon in TWO WEEKS!!! I'm sooo excited.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Guatemala 2009

video Scroll down to bottom of page and pause music player. :)

Friday, July 10, 2009

The Littles' quotes of the week...

  • James sits down and plays random notes very seriously on the piano for about 3 minutes and stands up when he finishes, proclaiming "I like to call that..."Hibernating 'aminals' "
  • Keren was holding a Cinderella school folder in Wal-Mart, opening and closing it when suddenly the corner pokes her in the eye and she yells "Owwwwww...T-Rella( cinderella) in mine "Oyyyy"(eye)!!"
  • Jeremiah walks into the bathroom at our pool, shivers and says "UMM, POLAR BEARS could live in here."
  • I ask the boys to go up and get ready for bed...they quickly come back with..
James:"Well!! Mom is upstairs taking a shower and we want to give her quiet time alone with no noise upstairs!" Josiah: "Yea!!" Jeremiah: "Yea! For Mother's Day!"
  • Our pool that we are members of has a lazy river and the other day, it was starting to get a little crowded. Josiah sees this, shakes his head and says..."Mom, just look at all those lazy people."
  • Jeremiah, James and I were playing a memory game and as Jeremiah is winning, he chuckles and says "I wundo how God made me so smart..."
  • Jeremiah told me a story about an ant the other day that was walking through our house with a chip on his back and according to Jer, the ant was teasing the other ants saying "Ha, ha I have a chip and you don't! I have a chip...ha..ha." and then Jer says..." So then I squished him!! and he said "ohhh..i guess I can't tease anymore!"
(This cute picture was taken by the lovely Rachel.)
  • Keren's trademark term is "Aww!! How T-yoot!!!" which translated means, "How Cute." and she says it about babies and little cute animals or baby anything's. Its her favorite thing to say. She can't say it with out shrugging her shoulders up, squinting her eyes and clasping her hands. It's precious.
  • The boys are observing the bees in their beloved sunflower garden:
They really don't like bees and wasps. They were talking with mom about the ones on the flowers and were talking about killing them before they could sting them. Mom: "No, we don't need to kill them, we need to leave them alone. They are doing the job that God gave them to do, we need to leave them alone and they won't hurt us." James: "Yea, just like the Bible says..." We need to love our enemies." " The bees, being our enemies in this case. :)
These kids are precious and hysterical and I love them more than water and chocolate and cucumbers and hammocks and the beach and all of my favorite things here on earth. They are my favorites.
For the record, this picture was not staged. They love to walk like this. This is them walking through the zoo...oh what a fun adventure it was. We were quite at home with the monkeys. :)

Boot Camp '09

I just got back from Boot Camp. I am joining the Army. HA. Big joke. Several people fell for it but yea, umm I'm a little girly for the military. I just got back from BIBLE Boot Camp in Chattanooga, TN with Precept Upon Precept Ministries. If you have never heard of Precepts, I HIGHLY recommend you check them out. They use the "Inductive method" of studying the Bible, where you basically take a passage and dissect it to get the full meaning of what the text means. It is AMAZING. My family and I joined a Precepts Bible Study group in our area about 2 or 3 years ago and love it. They really teach you how to study the Bible on your own.

Anyway, I just spent an amazing, life changing week in Tennessee at their boot camp. It is a week long camp where you study God's word in-depth, see God in new ways and meet incredible people. We were studying the sermon on the mount in Matthew, Chapters 5-7 and it was incredible. God showed me so many things through His word that I never saw just by reading over the passages we studied for a week and I still feel like there is so much more we could have studied in those chapters than we actually covered. Boot Camp is soooo much fun and altogether awesome. If you are in high-school, I want to strongly, strongly urge you to come to boot camp next year. It will change your life. They are having a conference in December that looks amazing and it is basically a mini boot camp. I don't know if I am going to that yet but I am reallllly hoping to be back at boot camp next summer.
Seriously. It is so important that we know what we believe and not just what people tell us is true about God. The statistics of how many young people walk away from what they believe in college is staggering and all together heart breaking. It is SO important that we know truth for ourselves and are ready to make a defense for our faith and the only way to do that is to know God's word and what He says about Himself. Precepts is incredible and they have a passion to train young people to know God's word and I really hope that you will get involved with Precepts in your area! Please email me if you have any questions about them or how to get involved! elliemestas@gmail.com or just add me on facebook! :)

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Jesus loves me this I know.

Alex is amazing. He called me "Ellie!!! Mi Amiga!!!" and would run and hug me every time we saw each other. He came up to me one day and whispered in my ear "Camorones sin colas" with a lisp...so it came out..."Camaroneth theen colah-thh." It means...shrimp with out tails. I have no idea what he meant by it but was pretty darn cute.

On our last day I hugged him and told him in Spanish that Jesus loves him and he squeezed me and then looked up at me so very serious and in his cute little lispy Spanish told me that Jesus loved me too. I've never seen a little child so sure of Jesus' love and Jesus's love for someone else at that. I was blown away and overcome with emotion. I never ever expected him to come out and say that. I was holding him and he had his arms around my neck and when I told him, he lifted up his little head, stared into my eyes and just said it. "Yes, I know he does...and Jesus loves you too." and he laid his head back down and squeezed me tighter.
Jesus is there and He is real. He is the Father to the Fatherless and His love is ever present with them. His love is alive and is working in the children of Agua Viva. I will never forget that special moment with Alex. God has taught me so much through this little boy and his life and I can not imagine having never met this child. It was so humbling to be reminded of my Savior's love for me by a little child in such tragic circumstances. I have thought back to that moment so many times since I have been home and am having a rough day or am struggling with something. Jesus loves me. Not because of anything I did for Him or could ever do for Him, but just because He wanted to. I love Him because He loved me first. I went to Guatemala expecting to do some yard work, paint some buildings and play with a few kids and it was so much more than that. I saw God in the waterfalls, in the sunsets, in the mountains, in the villages, in the faces of laughing children...everywhere. I was reminded of Christ's love in extraordinary ways. Jesus loves Alex and He loves me and I am forever grateful.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

He's Got the Whole World in His Hands.

"As I held Your hand today, You took my heart and You said..."This is where I Am. I've been here all along." Now that I've held You, my heart is broken, but it's awake. Break my heart of stone and let me feel what makes You hurt. Break my pride, awaken me, open up my eyes. Show me how You see the world, I don't want to be the same." "...I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me."--Jesus Matt. 25:40

How very comforting it is to know that The One who made the heavens and the earth, holds every day of the lives of my new little friends in His hands and He never lets go.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Guatemala...

Guatemala is amazing. I just spent a week with the most amazing team, working with the most amazing kids at the most amazing children's home in the world. The culture is like none other and the food....oh the amazing food. So needless to say it was amazing. I learned SO much and Guatemala and the kids I met there will forever be in my heart. I saw God in a whole new way and learned more about Love than I knew there was to learn. I'm hoping to be able to post more about the actual trip when I get back from TN next week.

I became an aunt again the day I left for Guatemala!! She was born after I had already arrived in Guatemala so I didn't even know about her until she was almost a week old. I met her on Saturday and she is beautiful!! Her name is Cana Naomi Pearce and I love her so much already. Check her out here.
My brother graduated from the fire academy while I was gone and is officially a firefighter!! I'm so proud of him. My big brother is so cool. You leave my house for a week and you miss all kinds of huge monumental things. It's really quite annoying. Click here for some pictures of my super cool, bald brother.
Here are some pictures from Guatemala for now and a slideshow is coming soon! A sweet family in the town outside the orphanage. Gina, dear sweet Gina whom I love. Gina, Rachel and I were work project buddies at the orphanage. They make weeding flower beds along the driveway of the home the most fun thing you could ever possibly do. A fun day at Lake Atitlan...we took an hour long boat ride across this amazing lake that is surrounded by volcanoes and we went shopping. It was awesome. Rachel and I. Oh how I love Rachel. We are traveling buddies. A super awesome waterfall we hiked to... Paige whom I love. She is going with me to TN to Precepts Camp in two days. We are sharing a life this summer. :) One of the many gorgeous views from Agua Viva Cesar, my love. Also known as the cutest ninja in the world. Oswaldo. Sweetest kid on the planet. Jefrin and Cesar... Kevin and I... Alvaro and Kevin. My Guatemalan Bff's. My favorite kid in Guatemala by far. Alex. Alex has changed my life. Lea, Me and my baby boy. David enjoying every last bite of his peanut butter and jelly sandwich. This was the sweetest thing ever. We made like 100+ PB&J sandwiches on our game day for the kids as a special treat and it was sooo sweet. I will never forget it. The kids LOVE PB&J. Something we eat as a last resort was priceless to them. They take it apart and lick the filling off both sides... and then eat the bread... and then lick their fingers. It was so cute. David and his brother Jefferson have mad skills. They were both on my team for Soccer and we won every game. They are awesome. Sweet little ones from Casa Samuel...Alex, Alvaro, Elisabeth and Kevin. Our team was wonderful. There were 20 of us. Most of them I have known almost my whole life but there were a few that I didn't know before the trip. Everyone got along so well and worked as a team wonderfully. There was a sense of unity that can only come from being in Christ. It was truly awesome and I am so thankful for every person that was on the trip. It was evident that God had every single person there for a reason and I was so blessed to be one of them.