Saturday, June 30, 2007

STOMP Praise Night

Originally uploaded by ccswaringen.
We used everything from kitchen utensils to basketballs to paint and glue last night for our STOMP Praise Night.

We really wanted the kids to have an experience with God that was different from just singing a couple songs and having a devotional. So we planned our STOMP Praise Night with different interactive activities (including their own STOMP rhythms for a song and making the sounds of a storm) to show the kids that God has a rhythm for their lives that is different from the rhythm of the world.

The kids really got into the mood of the whole night, and the Spirit was definitely at work. Would you pray especially for the hearts of Maria, Debora and Damaris?

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Pedo the Snail

Originally uploaded by ccswaringen.
The boys found a snail yesterday in the garden. It became their mission to get the snail out of its shell.

They called us both over, and we even got a bowl of water to put it in, as they said that would help it come out. Come to find out, it's a land snail and we almost killed it!

The boys named the snail Pedro, but Caleb started affectionately calling it "pedo" (the Spanish word for "fart"), because of its distinct stinch. You can barely see little Pedo there in the picture.

We enjoyed showing Pedo off to the rest of the children throughout the afternoon, as well as scaring some of the girls to death!

Monday, June 25, 2007

Squatter's village

Originally uploaded by ccswaringen.
We went to the squatter's village with the Calvary team this past Sunday, and it was quite an experience.

To start out, it was raining, so the unpaved, steep streets were quite an obstacle for the van.

Being there and seeing it all really made me realize what a blessing the children's home is for the kids who live there. Their lives are drastically different because of the home.

But I know that the Lord loves kids everywhere, and I'm so glad we got to go and experience giving his love to the kids.

Friday, June 22, 2007


Originally uploaded by ccswaringen.
A team from Calvary Community Church in Houston is here blessing the kids with an ArtReach project.

Yesterday, over 200 kids came to participate. Each day, they have an art project that relates to God's love for the kids. Though it was pretty chaotic, it was a lot of fun.

Please pray that the kids will see God's love for them in these projects.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Just hanging out

Originally uploaded by ccswaringen.
I spent pretty much all day yesterday at the little girls' house, just hanging out.

I laid on the floor and colored in coloring books with Emely (pictured right) and Karla. I talked with Francis, the home mother, and Jenifer as they cleaned the kitchen.

I helped Beth braid Yessica's hair into a million little braids. I read picture books to the kids and sang along with Christian music on the radio.

At the end of the day, I felt amazed at what a smile, a hug, an hour spend with someone can mean.

I'm used to deadlines and tasks and checklists. But here it's all about quality time, conversations and hugs. It's been difficult to get used to, but I'm a better person for it.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Hospital and a Happy Meal

Originally uploaded by ccswaringen.
We had to take Josué, one of the youngest kids at the home, to the hospital today. He's had a fever for almost a week and the antibiotics he got at the clinic weren't helping get it down.

Sooo..Beth, Josué and I piled into the truck with Vivian and had a horn-honking ride to the hospial, a very small building in the middle of Villa Nueva. When Vivian said we were there, I was sure she was kidding.

Of course there was no parking, so Vivian dropped us off and Beth and I went in with Josué to get him into the emergency room. I was expecting a long wait and lots of sick people...but the waiting room was just about empty.

After getting down the correct information (quite a task between the two of us and the hospital receptionists!), we were ushered right into the room.

After the exam, we had to wait 45 minutes for the blood sample to be run, so we walked to McDonalds (where Vivian had parked) for lunch. Josué was ecstatic about his Happy Meal ("cajita feliz" in Spanish), especially the toy.

It turns out he doesn't have an infection, and we have medicine for his fever. All in all, it was a crazy adventure!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007


You probably heard on the news today about the 6.8 magnitude earthquake ("terremoto" in Spanish) that hit right off the Pacific coast of Guatemala.

We were in the cafeteria serving lunch (one of my most favorite things) when all of the sudden I felt a little off-kilter and then realized what was happening when Minga (the cook) pointed to a table that was shaking. We all just kind of froze and waited to see if it would get worse or ease off.

Luckily, it stopped and we resumed our normal flow of lunch. The only difference was that the kids' lunch table conversations revolved around which was more dangerous, a hurricane or earthquake (both of which Guatemala has been devastated by in the past).

Everyone thought it was great that it was my first "temblor" or tremor, and a few even said Guatemala was up for a big quake soon (like there's any way of knowing!).

We're safe here, with no problems. Thanks for all who called or emailed to check on us!

Tuesday, June 12, 2007


Two nights ago we learned that Edgar, a 17-year here at the home who is studying to be a chef, would most likely be leaving the next morning, unless the Lord worked a miracle in his heart. It was late when we found out, and we were crushed.

Caleb has connected with Edgar multiple times on multiple trips through playing cards (of which Edgar still has 3 decks that Caleb left him over 2 years ago) and hanging out. Needless to say, Caleb could hardly sleep. We sat outside the boys' dorm and prayed, leaving it all in the Lord's hands and crying out for a miracle.

The next morning, Edgar came by to thank Caleb for a note he'd written him at 1:00 a.m., as well as to say he wanted to talk to Kendon and Wendy. He said he wanted to stay, though he realized it would be hard for him. He admitted that he sometimes reacts with anger, which was a huge step.

So for now, Edgar is still here. We played cards with him last night and he seemed in great spirits. We praise God for His faithfulness and His work in Edgar's heart. But we know that Edgar still has a long way to go. Would you pray with us for this precious child of God? Pray that the love of God would envelope him; that he would open his eyes to see the love that the staff here has for him; that he would turn his anger and frustration over to God, in return for peace and patience.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Reaching out...

Originally uploaded by ccswaringen.
As we have started connecting with the kids again (or for the first time, in Christy's case), our hearts are truly broken for some of the older kids. While they may appear content on the outside, they still deal with much hurt, rejection, and anger.

While we love playing and being silly with the little ones, God has set our hearts on reaching out to those that are withdrawn and maybe even overlooked by many.

Would you please pray with us for the older kids at the home? Here are a few names specifically...Edgar, Esdras, Eslin, Ibet, Pablo, Franki, Salamon, Roni...

Thursday, June 7, 2007

A tongue-waving good time

Originally uploaded by ccswaringen.
After an amazing 1st anniversary, we are back here at the Children's Home. It's great to be back with the you can see! We have been serving in the kitchen, tutoring, shopping for groceries (for the 49 kids at the home), and loving on the kids.

We are really excited that all the summer interns have now arrived. We have had the privilege of leading worship during our orientation together. With a team of over 10 of us, we are already making plans for some amazing fiestas with the kids!

PS-If you'd like to see more pics, just click on any of the ones we've posted, and it will take you to another site where we've posted some more pics.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

two crazy love birds

Originally uploaded by ccswaringen.
We just returned from leading worship for the Central American New Life missionaries at a beautiful little town on the edge of Lake Atitlan. We couldn't have found a better place to spend our numero uno you can see!

We're glad to be back at the Children's Home helping in the kitchen, tutoring, and getting ready for the 7 summer missionaries that will arrive on Wednesday.