Wednesday, November 9, 2016

My Heart Will Go On

I cannot celebrate the election of Mr. Trump as the next POTUS simply because he is a republican and will further restrict abortion access. I cannot, I will not celebrate election of Mr. Trump on the basis of “pro-life” because pro-life also means being for women, for people of color, for immigrants, for refugees, for LGBTQ+, for disabled. You, as one individual voting for Mr. Trump may not have been trying to tell the people around you that their lives do not matter but collectively, last night, that message was made clear.

I’m overwhelmed by the fact that everyone was able to overlook the countless racist, misogynistic, xenophobic, homophobic hateful things out of Mr. Trump’s mouth. To pretend that these things are not real issues in our country is a joke. Simply because an issue does not impact your life directly, does not mean that thousands or millions of others are not directly impacted and hurt by comments and words, policies and practices. I’m overwhelmed by the fact that everyone was able to overlook the fact that Mr. Trump has not only committed sexual assault but glorifies and condones sexual assault. We wonder why victims of abuse, assault, and rape often do not come forward. Here is your answer –collectively as a country we told victims their pain is not important and that their pain can be overlooked.

I’m overwhelmed at how many just don’t get it. They don’t understand my sadness, my frustration, or my fear for my friends, for people, and our country.

I’m sad for my sisters and other women who continue to be told they are less valuable and less capable than a man. I’m sad for people of color who are fearful for their lives and who are told day after day they are second-class citizens to white Americans. I’m sad for immigrants who come here seeking a better life, the American Dream, and are told they cannot have one, not here. I’m sad for refugees who come here fleeing for their lives and are told they cannot be protected here. I’m sad for LGBTQ+ community who loves in fear and feels like their love is invalid. I’m sad for the disabled who are told they are not able. I’m sad that our country as a whole continues to be unable to recognize the inherent worth and value of every human being.

I cannot, I will not celebrate the election of Mr. Trump on the basis of anything. I cannot celebrate but I can honor and respect you as the President of my country. Secretary Clinton nailed it, “our constitutional democracy enshrines the peaceful transfer of power, and we don’t just respect that, we cherish it.” Mr. Trump surprised us when he decided to run for the Republican nomination, Mr. Trump surprised us when he received the Republican nomination, Mr. Trump surprised us last night when he won the presidency. I pray that Mr. Trump will continue to surprise us; this time by the way he leads our country. I will wait and hope that I am surprised by where our country goes over the next four years. I will wait.

I will not however, stand by and watch Mr. Trump continue to be racist, misogynistic, xenophobic, or homophobic. Again, Secretary Clinton nailed it, “[our constitutional democracy] enshrines other things – the rule of law, the principle that we’re all equal in rights and dignity, and the freedom of worship and expression. We respect and cherish these things too – and we must defend them.” As president I fully expect Mr. Trump to respect and honor the dignity of the people of America.

To my fellow female friends, to my friends of color, to my immigrant friends, to my refugee friends, to my LGBTQ+ friends, to my disabled friends – I see you; I am with you. You, each of you, are loved, you are valued, you are treasured, and you belong. I am sorry that you fear for your life and for your well-being and for that of marginalized and oppressed like you. My heart breaks for each of you and for your pain and for your fear. I choose today and everyday to enter the pain with you and to fight with you and for you.

As a social worker, our work does not end and our world does not end. Our fight for social justice continues. Our role of fighting with and for the marginalized has always been a difficult one but today it became much more challenging and all the more necessary. However, we do not despair. Fellow social workers, we continue our pursuit for justice.

As a believer in Jesus Christ, our work does not end and our world does not end. In the midst of election season, today in particular, I find myself grateful to serve a God who is all-knowing and all-powerful in a world of chaos and injustice that my human mind will never be able to grasp. I do not need to have the answers or the plans; I need only follow Jesus and lift His name high. I’m grateful that God was not surprised by the election of Mr. Trump. I’m grateful that God, in His wisdom and mercy, called me out of my comfort zone, to a new church. The church God led me to, not by coincidence, was and is studying Daniel. Daniel lived in a country not following God yet remained faithful to our God and did not dishonor the King. I’m daily reminded of Daniel’s faithfulness to his God in the midst of his less than stellar circumstances. I’m also reminded of God’s faithfulness to His people, His sovereignty over the kingdom of Babylon, His mercy to those who did not follow him, and His justice. I do not seek to understand where God is leading America, only to be faithful like Daniel was faithful. It is my prayer that we will love people well, that we will seek justice at every turn, that we will extend grace and mercy fully, and that my life would be lived humbly.

“He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly, and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” Micah 6:8

Monday, April 22, 2013

He's Always Been Faithful

Has it been a crazy week or what? And I don’t mean crazy in a good way. Everything that happened in Boston and in West last week are absolutely awful but things that are happening here aren’t a walk in the park either. Some of the stuff my girls at my houses have to go through is terrible and I teach English at a public school where the majority of my first graders don’t know how to write more than half of their letters (difficult for me to grasp after seeing many of my dad’s pre-k students start reading in his class). On top of that, I spent four days last week with my girls at Casitas, many of whom don’t believe they are beautiful, special, loved, or created for a purpose. My heart is burdened and broken for the situations and experiences of my students and of all of my girls.

I know its would be easy to just say, Kellie everyone has difficult situations and difficult days in their lives, but 2 things. 1. I think that living here in SPS has made me more aware of the difficulties people go through in my own life and in the lives of others. Not to say that there have not been hard times in my life, anyone who knows me knows that’s crazy, but I’m the type of person to ignore problems and not deal with them, but here that is not exactly an option, gotta face things head on (Thanks Jesus for that sweet, not so sweet lesson). 2. I cannot begin to describe to you the difficulty and problems of this week in our house. Like I know that every day my girls have to deal with things that are difficult, things from their past and what’s happening in the present, but seriously this week was so much worse.

But, in extreme difficulties or in the case of Boston and West in extreme tragedies we’re given this opportunity to grow our faith and trust in God. The question is, “do you trust God?” A friend asked me this question the other day after she’d been asked the same question. Yes, of course we trust God. If my answer is yes why am I constantly worried and questioning what is happening? Why am I always trying to solve the problems by myself? Why am I not instead taking things to God in prayer 100% of the time? Man, what a challenge, but what comfort and strength and relief is found when I do that.

I read this passage in Jesus Calling the other day:
       "The media relentlessly proclaim bad news, for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. A steady diet of their fare will sicken you. Instead focusing on fickle, ever-changing news broadcasts, tune in to the living Word - the One who is always the same. Let scripture saturate our mind and heart, and you will walk steadily along the path of Life. Even though you don't know what will happen tomorrow, you can be sure of your ultimate destination. I hold you by your right hand, and afterward I will take you to glory."

Life is not easy, its not a piece of cake or a walk in the park. We're not promised an easy life just because we chose to follow Jesus. He does say "...In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." (John 16:33) He says "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest." (Matthew 11:28). 

Our God is faithful and He is with us always. He is never changing. He is the same yesterday, and today, and forever!

One more piece of encouragement God showed me through a blog yesterday, lyrics to the song He’s Always Been Faithful by Sara Groves (I’m not a huge fan of the actual song, but the words I love!).
            Morning by morning I wake up to find 

The power and comfort of God’s hand in mine

Season by season I watch Him, amazed

In awe of the mystery of His perfect ways 

All I have need of, His hand will provide 

He’s always been faithful to me.

I can’t remember a trial or a pain 

He did not recycle to bring me gain 

I can’t remember one single regret

In serving God only, and trusting His hand

All I have need of, His hand will provide

He’s always been faithful to me.

This is my anthem, this is my song 

The theme of the stories I’ve heard for so long 

God has been faithful, He will be again

His loving compassion, it knows no end 

All I have need of, His hand will provide 

He’s always been faithful, He’s always been faithful 

He’s always been faithful to me

Thanks and gig 'em.
Peace. Love. Pursue Jesus.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Whom Shall I Fear

You know those moments when you are totally exhausted and hurting? Totally had one of those a few weeks ago. But God is great. He pointed me to the perfect passage in the Bible via morning Bible study with my girls and our house mom, Ecclesiastes 3. Reading it was a clear reminder from God that all time is His time, is in His control, and in His will. Even in times of weeping or in times of mourning or in times of searching or in times of silence it is a time to rejoice, because those times, while they may seem terrible and even unbearable are gifts from God. He gives us these times to test us, to grow us, to draw us near. Rejoice in those times when you feel despair. Rejoice because each day is a gift from God. Rejoice because He loves us. Rejoice because our Savior lives. Rejoice because He is making us like Him.

There are some days when it’s not easy to be in another country. I miss my family and friends and the community that I have in Texas. But I know that God called me here and that He wants me here. I know that God has been using this time and that He will continue to do so.  Pray with me that God uses the rest of my short time here in whatever way He pleases.

Just a quick update as far as what I’m doing here right now: I’m teaching English classes again. For the most part I enjoy it and I love my students (most of them anyway), but I really miss my girls from Casitas. I hate not being with them and not
getting to talk to them on a daily basis. But again, trusting God in that He has me with my students for a reason as much as I may miss my other girlies.

Pray with me:  
·      For wisdom in certain situations that arise and can be difficult to handle.
·      For English classes – that my students would be attentive and willing to learn, that they would see Christ in me even though I’m up there teaching them months and days of the week and verbs and not Bible stories, that God would give me opportunities to talk to and share the gospel with some of my students during our recess time.
·      For us as a family that we would remember to treat each other with patience and respect regardless of our emotions at a given moment.
·      That our times of Bible study every morning would be fruitful. That we would come to know God better and look more like Christ because of them.
·      That we would trust. Trust each other and trust our Savior, especially our Savior with every moment regardless of what it looks like in the here and now.
·      We have nothing to fear, pray that we would know that be constantly reminded of that!

Thanks and gig 'em.
Peace, love, and pursue Jesus.

Sunday, March 3, 2013


Holy cow, its MARCH! This is pure craziness how fast time has flown by. Only three months until Texas with my baby sisters, best friends, driving myself where I need to go, and eating some really wonderful food that I’ve missed. But at the same time only three months here in Honduras, a country that I love very much with people I love more than I can even try to put into words. Only three more months with my girls and their laughter, their good food, and our dance parties. Three months, that blows my mind. Seriously. I read an email from a friend a few days ago challenging me to stay focused on where I am and to live in the moment that I am in instead of the moments to come regardless of how exciting they may be. I pray that God would focus my mind and my heart on Honduras and my girls here and that He would continue to give me the strength, love, and patience to live in the moment, truly savoring and cherishing my life here.

A quick update about my last two weeks:

Two weeks ago there was a group in town from Pennsylvania (some of whom were here in October). I had the opportunity to spend quite a bit of time with them and their translators this time at Casitas and the CTC. It was beautiful to see the way they love this country and the way they love the people here. On Saturday, I got to go to Nueva Esperanza (the orphanage with younger kids) with the Pennsylvania group. I hadn’t been there since my first visit to San Pedro Sula in June 2011. I was so happy to be able to spend a few hours playing with a few of the 2, 3, and 4 year olds. They were precious (of course!) and I recognized a few of them from my last visit. It was also really wonderful to be with this group and to feel a sense of community with people I could call my friends.

This past week has been equally wonderful but very normal. Lots of time spent with my girls at Casitas teaching science, teaching what it means to serve people and why, and making friendship bracelets. And, even more time spent with my girls at the transition house – cooking, celebrating my birthday, doing Pilates, learning about nutrition, playing UNO, and taking hundreds of silly pictures. A couple of things stand out to me from this past week.
1.     Anyone, anywhere can help and serve other people. It’s what we as Christians are called to do. So serve, regardless of who or where you are.
2.     I have a new friend. Her name is Maurgarita. She is special needs and absolutely precious. Normally it’s my little sister Lydia and best friend Katie that love kids with special needs and I sit back and watch them and admire them and their big hearts. I don’t have the patience; I don’t know what to do or say when I’m with kids that have special needs. And I know that sounds awful, but it’s true. But Maurgarita, this sweet girl has captured my heart.
3.     It is really hard to watch my girls at Casitas leave. Believe me I know we do not want them to stay here forever. Casitas is not a place that anyone would ever want to live or a place anyone should have to live. When the girls leave some of them go back to their families if it is a good situation for them or they go to another center where there is a school for them to attend. Alejandra, Susan, Claudia, Chelsy, and several others that I have gotten to know since November have left Casitas. And at least 4 or 5 more will leave soon to go to another center. How wonderful it is to see them leave but how sad at the same time, I want to be able to hug them and talk to them and just be with them each day. But God continues to remind me that his ways and thoughts and plans are infinitely better than mine. How comforting and challenging is that? God knows exactly where each of us is each moment of every day and He knows exactly where each of my girls are when I obviously don’t. I feel privileged just to have the opportunity to get to know these girls and pour into them and love them each day while I’m with them at Casitas.

Pray for us! Continue to pray that God would keep me focused here and that I would treasure this time here with my girls. Pray that God would give me the words to say in the correct moments. Pray for my girls at Casitas as many of them are going through difficult situations. Pray also for my girls at the house as they continue to learn and prepare themselves for adulthood and work hard at school, which just started a few weeks ago. Pray that God would fill us with the Holy Spirit and guide each of us each day as we walk through our days together desiring to share God’s love with this city.


Sunday, February 17, 2013

Glory To God Forever

A few weeks ago I found out from one of my girls at Casitas that they only go to “school” if they can’t read or write. I initially thought that they were all in school during their school year (the past few months have been their summer vacation) learning at least something. When I found out they didn’t do anything while the others were learning to read and write I definitely found it alarming but not very surprising. I explained to my girly that there is so much more to school and to learning than reading and writing. I was in school for 18 years and when I return to Texas hopefully I’ll be going back to school (apparently I just can’t get enough).

I decided that it would be fun to teach them science. It would be fun to engage them with games and experiments and I could use it as a way to teach them some really important lessons. For those of you that don’t know, my degree is social sciences (sociology and women’s & gender studies) not what most people would consider real science. So, it’s a little ironic that I’m here teaching them a bunch of stuff I haven’t had to look at in a bajillion years. Don’t get me wrong I love science and I love teaching these girls, it’s just a little ironic to me.

Actually its more than ironic, I feel very inadequate most of the time. In addition to teaching science a few times a week at Casitas I am teaching and planning a lot of health related activities and lessons at the transition home. These are all very good, very needed lessons and activities, but if I’m being honest I often ask God why He brought me here instead of someone a little more qualified, ya know maybe someone with a little more of a science background. But I’m always reminded of that quote that says, “God doesn’t call the equipped, He equips the called.” If I were fully equipped why would I need God? I would be able to just do it on my own, right? How would He get the glory from what I was doing? Couldn’t I just take all the credit? I mean if I’m doing it all myself and I don’t need any help then ya I guess so. But, thankfully God didn’t create us that way. I desperately need God. I can’t do it on my own. I can’t do anything on my own. I need Him. And, even better, God gets all the glory. You can be 100% certain that what I am doing is not of myself and my own knowledge and skill, but that it is God equipping my daily.

Whether we’re doing experiments and learning the scientific method, nutrition and healthy eating habits, or making paper hearts (which were surprisingly difficult) God reminds me that He is equipping me and that He will receive glory because He deserves it.

Pray for us.

Pray that we will give God the glory, not ourselves.
Pray that God will adequately equip me to teach science and health classes.
Pray that God will give me the words to say to my girls when they come to me for concerns or questions.
Pray that my heart and my mind stay focused here and not on Texas and missing my family and friends.
Pray for my girls at the transition home. There have been a lot of changes, so pray that they would take them in stride and trust that they are in their best interests.
Pray also for my girls, as they just started back to school this past week and that in itself is a big transition, especially for the girls that moved to San Pedro Sula in December.

Thank you all for your continued prayer!

Thanks and gig ‘em!
Peace, love, and pursue Jesus!