October 28, 2009

what makes a little girl smile...

this is lizeth, she is eight years old. i met lizeth and her two younger sisters a few weeks ago on a trip to mexico.

lizeth is a serious little girl. before coming to live at casa hogar de gozo she had a lot of responsibilities. her mom went to work very early in the morning and did not come home until very late at night, so lizeth was in charge of taking care of herself and her sisters most of the time. she made sure they were dressed and fed, if there was food to be had that day. recently the three girls were invited to come live at the orphanage run by a couple named pedro and zoila.

during our visit, we noticed that lizeth and her sisters had pretty bad cases of head lice. so when we went shopping to get some toothbrushes, toothpaste and some other items to leave for the kids, we picked up some lice shampoo as well. to be honest, i wondered if it would even make a difference, knowing that it would be difficult to get rid of the lice altogether. before we left, we made sure zoila knew what the shampoo was for and we said our goodbyes.

yesterday our team received an e-mail from the missionary we traveled with. he wanted to tell us this story. last friday lizeth was looking in the mirror with a smile on her face as zoila fixed her hair for school. zoila asked her why she was smiling so big and lizeth said, "this is the first time in my life i do not have any head lice and the kids can't tease me anymore!"

it doesn't take much to make a little girl smile.

on that same trip i also met ruby. she is eighteen. when we were visiting i had a very hard time getting ruby to let me take her picture...and now i know why. ruby has a bad front tooth and recently told zoila that she is really embarassed about her appearance and smile. it will cost $950 american dollars for two years of braces to fix her teeth. to me, that's a lot of money...but to ruby, it's unthinkable. i want to help change ruby's life, and maybe you will too.

October 16, 2009

the behrs and the vikings...

matthew and jacob have the distinct privilege of playing football for the francis howell vikings. i have the distinct privilege of showing up at their games and embarrassing them to no end. it is quite enjoyable. sometimes their teammates tease them, but i know they're just jealous that no one has brought a large sign with their name on it. i mean really...what's better than that?
matthew . shelly . the sign

jacob . shelly . the homecoming game

i also took some matthew.jacob.gracie photos
and this is one of my favorites.
click on it to see more!

October 13, 2009

una semana en mexico...

our small but mightily hilarious team of five just returned from a week in san pedro mexico. (which is outside hermosillo for those of you with stellar mexican geography skills) there is an orphanage there called casa hogar de gozo which just opened two weeks before our arrival. right now there are seven children (from three families) living there so we spent the week helping them make their new house a home. we painted all the interior rooms with fun, bright colors and gave the doors and windows a fresh coat of paint. there is still work to be done, but eventually they hope to house fifty to sixty children here.

this is lizeth, the mexican jumping bean.
you can see more picture of the kids by clicking here.

this trip also provided one of the funniest mexican experiences ever. one evening we were sitting on the porch chatting and laughing while the kids played around us, when a man in a cowboy hat appeared out of nowhere and joined the group. he joined right in the festivities and started singing to us. at first we assumed he must be friends of the couple that runs the orphanage, but we soon realized he was just a random drunk man who wandered through the gate and onto the property. he was the friendly sort, though we didn't understand a word he said. he entertained us for about twenty minutes until the police came and kindly offered him a place to stay for the night. here is a bit of his little song...

October 2, 2009

the finale...

yes it's true...the summer of fun is officially coming to an end. i realize it's a bit of a stretch to refer to the early days of october as part of summer...but that's the way it goes.

it's been a fabulous few months. i spent a lot of time with people i love and i enjoyed them immensely. i often found myself talking with a friend and being a bit overwhelmed at how glad i am that we met. i have some fun, inspiring and lovable friends for sure!

one thing i wanted to do this summer was to simply be available and be generous with my time. sometimes that meant just spending time with someone, and other times it meant helping out with work, kids or other tasks. the summer finale is that kind of opportunity. tomorrow my mom and i are heading to mexico with three other people from calvary. we'll be helping some missionaries there who are working to transform a facility that has been used for summer camps in the past into a full time home for kids.

i think people often wonder what the point it to short term mission trips. why not just send the money directly to the missionary or project and let them use it to buy materials, hire workers, etc? it's a good question, and one i ask myself on occasion, but i do think there is a reason! part of it is for our own benefit, so we can be a part of something bigger than ourselves. like this cademon's call song says...
he doesn't need us, but he lets us put our hands in
so we can see, his love is bigger than you and me
it's also because people are people, not just numbers. you can send money, but money can't give a kid a hug, and sometimes that's what they need. our last night in honduras the kids did a drama to a song called 'child of the street'. here's the chorus...
i don't need money, i don't need compassion.
what i need is love, i am a child of the street.
when you travel somewhere, whether across the world or down the street, you're showing people that someone cares for them, and they are not forgotten.
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