Honduras Day 4: Brayan’s Home Visit


Click here to see yesterday’s post, Day 3: Tablon Fun Day

Seeing this view every morning never got old. In fact, I really wish I was back there now…


This was the day I would be meeting my children from Mercedes! I got all my gifts sorted and packed for them the night before, and I was so excited to meet these special children.  Mercedes was the first church that Manna 4 Lempira started working with for their sponsorship program. It started out as one small church, which is now the main church, but it has grown so much, that they have been able to plant several more smaller churches around the community! Mercedes is further away than El Tablon and much more into the mountains. In fact, it’s the ride that everyone who had done it before warned us newbies about at the beginning of our week. “Just wait until the Mercedes ride!” they’d tell us. I have to say, I was intrigued. It did live up to the hype, with the bumpiness all the way up the mountains. We drove through water, around very narrow bends, and through parts where you couldn’t see if someone was coming the other way. To think that past that whole adventure of a journey lives this beautiful community of people is kind of incredible ❤

When we arrived at the church (the main church), I saw Brayan and Valery and their moms immediately waiting to greet me! We had some time while the staff figured out everyone’s home visit schedules, so I got to sit with them. They knew each other, because they attend the same school for kinder, although since Brayan is older, I’m not sure how much time they spend together. It was great getting to talk to them with the help of my always present translator! For the purposes of this post, I’ll focus on Brayan first.

Brayan was my second child with Manna 4 Lempira, but since I sponsored him less than a week after my first, you could really argue that they were both my first. It was 2 years in May that I’ve been sponsoring him, the longest out of any of the kids I had met so far. In those over two years, I’ve received lots of photos of him, and he was one that I was quite sure was going to be shy. I was right, as he cuddled closely in his mom’s lap in the church 😉 As a former shy child myself, I probably would’ve done the same thing!

We were told we’d be going to his home first, and we piled in the back of an already full truck. I let my translator and Brayan and his mom get in first, but then I remember looking at it and thinking, how am I going to get in now? I found room in a corner, though, where all I could do is squat down and put my arms along the sides of the truck bed for support. Luckily, it was a short ride, and you gotta love Honduran adventures!

I had a really lovely visit with Brayan’s family. His parents were so kind and some of the best conversationalists I met all week! They had lots of questions for me, too, and told me some more about life there, and we never lacked for conversation. Brayan is the youngest in the family with several older siblings, who are all (or at least most?) part of the program as well. I noticed some photos from sponsors up on their wall. I also noticed a Christmas bunting on one wall and realized that they must keep it up year round for decoration and as something to brighten their home up. The family is very involved in the church, and they have been for many years.

After I had mentioned to Brayan’s mom about how serious he is the photos I receive, she later showed me some pictures of him that she had on her phone where he was being silly 🙂 Brayan first spent time in the bedroom, closed off by a curtain, as was the standard in the homes we visited, looking at the gifts I brought him, and came out to join us later on. The family has so many animals, but amazingly they don’t seem to bother each other. The dog was coexisting peacefully right next to the chickens while we were outside. His father even offered to give me a live chicken, which just speaks to the generosity of these families and how big their hearts are!

I met two of Brayan’s siblings, a brother and a sister who were there when we were there, but they didn’t end up coming in our photo, nor did his dad, for some reason. His oldest sister got home from school just before I had to leave, and she did make it in the photo though. Later on, back at the church, I was asked if I minded her coming along to the pool day the next day. She had walked over there to ask if she could come with. I said of course not, and we could run it by Russell, but I knew by then what his answer would be!


Click here to continue on to Valery’s home visit.


Honduras Day 3: Tablon Fun Day


(If you want to see yesterday’s posts, click here to see the home visits for Maria, Yeyson & Greysi, and Cristian).

What I love about how Manna 4 Lempira structures the sponsor visit week is how much time you get with your sponsored children! Because they are such a small organization, along with many thanks to hard work from Sowers 4 Pastors staff, you get to do home visits with each of your children along with bringing them to a fun day, equalling TWO days together! This is something that isn’t possible with the larger organizations. Not to mention how nicely it is spread out with fun days, as I have children divided among different churches, so I was able to spend time with them in smaller groups throughout the week and not feel too overwhelmed.

When we arrived at the pool, located in Gracias and just about a 5 minute drive away, the kids were there waiting for us! It was fun to see them again, ready to go, and get to pass out swimsuits and start blowing up pool toys.


I spent the entire day with them in the water, just enjoying these 4 precious children and the time I had with them. (I ended up with a really severe sunburn on my wrist, but that’s another story… and worth it). So pictures were taken kind of sporadically, every so often when I’d be out of the water and I’d grab my phone to snap a few. I wanted to preserve the memories, but I also really wanted to be in the moment.

Greysi and I bonded very quickly. 3 year olds are my jam; it’s what I do for a career and I love ’em. But I’m incredibly in love with this 3 year old in particular, and I think the pictures will make it evident. This little girl adored the pool, most specifically the shallowest one with the small slide. She never wanted to get out, whether it was to go to another pool, to eat lunch, or to get dressed.

Greysi is fearless. Her mom had come along, but I realized quickly that I couldn’t let this little one leave my sight. Since her favorite pool was obviously different than older kids, who also wanted my attention, I’d have to carry her over to the others with me for as long as I could keep her there. Eventually, though, she’d always end up scurrying back to the pool she adored. I’d ask her if she’d want to go to the other side, and she’d always say no, at which point we’d playfully argue back and forth, giggling as I carried her. My limited Spanish got me through more with the kiddos, especially the younger they were!

Is she not adorable? Soon into the day, she began saying “mi niña!” (or “my girl!”) when she wanted me. I was her niña, and she eagerly soaked up all of that attention in our time together.

At lunch, she was the first one to finish, and she was getting antsy, so I pulled out my phone to entertain her 🙂

Nope, not shy at all, this one!

It was also fun to watch Yeyson and Greysi together and seeing him be a sweet big brother. I love joy that sponsoring siblings has brought!


I always thought Yeyson seemed like a gentle, sweet boy before I met him, and I can say he definitely is! I loved playing with him and watching his huge smile all day as he had so much fun.


Yeyson and Cristian being such good friends was also an unexpected but awesome benefit! They are a few years apart, but as cousins who are neighbors, they understandably are very close. Let me tell you, both of these boys are FISH. They were excellent swimmers, with no problems in water way above their head. They were even doing flips into the pool to impress me! I got to spend a lot of time playing with the beach ball with them, which they loved. True soccer players as they are, these boys were headering and kicking the ball every chance they got! 🙂 I had a blast keeping up with them!


At one point, they wanted to go see the animals there. Yeyson was braver than I was, even touching Lola the monkey’s hand.


And speaking of brave, there was the time when Cristian had climbed on top of the cave by one of the pools, and then proceeded to jump off of it…


This kid has such a great smile, and he definitely had a great day. I loved when he would lay on one of the rafts or inner tubes in the deep pool, sometimes the only one in there, with hands behind his head just relaxing and smiling away!


Maria was the most unsure about swimming, I’m assuming because of her location up in La Azomada. But she got more comfortable as the day went on, and she even came in the deeper pool with me for a little while, as she held onto me. 🙂 She had a couple younger cousins who were also there, and I think they helped with her comfort level some, too.


She did change back into her clothes before the day was done, but I get how a day like that could be very overwhelming and tiring if it’s such a completely different experience, especially for a quieter personality like hers. I know she had a great time, and I wanted her to be comfortable and happy, which she was. She got to spend some time after she changed talking to Yeyson and Greysi’s mom as they sat together in the shade. I don’t know what they talked about, of course, but it was sweet to watch them together!

The kids and any family members that came with them all got huge meals of fried chicken and french fries, but they ate those meals up! A meal like that is a real treat for them, as is every part of a day like this, and it was just so special to be able to provide that to them! I got the meal each swim day that was gluten free, the beef, and it was delicious, too.


At the end of the day, popsicles were purchased for all the kids, which they gobbled up! I unfortunately didn’t get a picture of Maria with hers, as she was sitting farther away. Greysi sat right next to me and dripped purple all over both of us, but I wouldn’t trade those drips for anything!

Saying goodbye was the hardest part, without a doubt, but we all left there with full hearts and lots of wonderful memories! This picture, with all of the kids wearing shirts I gave them just the day before, happy and tired from a full day, makes me so happy ❤


That evening, after we had all gotten a chance to shower back at the hotel, we went out for dinner to a local restaurant called Asados Anahí, where we got TONS of meat and plantains! It was delicious, and even though there were a lot of us, we didn’t even finish close to all of the food. We were able to box it up, though, and bring it to family of a former sponsored child of some of the team!


Click here to see Day 4:

Brayan’s Home Visit

Valery’s Home Visit

Ludvi’s Home Visit


Honduras Day 2: Cristian’s Home Visit


It was only a year in the spring since I sponsored Cristian, but it feels like so much longer. It was so good to see that smile in person that I fell in love with in his photos. I’ve put extra time in worrying and praying for Cristian after my Deilin and his older brother left the program because they were no longer in school to work, among many other children. I wrote to Cristian, and my other older children, sharing my hopes that they would finish school and how it would create so many more opportunities in life for them. Every time a round of photos come through, I’m relieved to see his smile and know he’s still attending school and the church the program.

Here he is leading us down to his home:


And a look inside:


Cristian’s family was a delight. In his Christmas letter, he had written how his mom was expecting a baby. It was so exciting to arrive and see healthy baby Lesly in person! She slept through our whole visit, but his mom said she has blue eyes. Cristian looks just like his mom, who was just as smiley as he is. His younger sister was also there, and his dad and older brother were working. I had noticed Cristian’s kinder diploma hanging on the wall and commented on it. They took it down to show it to me up close, and even showed me his siblings’ too. Later, Cristian asked me to take a picture of his 🙂 Clearly they are very proud!


Speaking of proud, imagine how proud I was when Cristian’s mom told me he is on the honor roll in school! Not only that, but when I asked him what he wants to be when he grows up, he told me he wants to be a lawyer! This is the boy who has always said he wanted to be a mason, like his dad, and to hear that he is dreaming bigger made my heart so happy. I want all of my kids to believe that they can accomplish anything, and it’s something I try to instill in them over and over. Because believing you can do something is often the biggest hurdle. Now, he may still leave school after he finishes 6th grade next year, a common time to stop (I think there was even a brief mention of the possibility, although I didn’t want to ask). And if that happens, I’m sure he can still have a happy and fulfilled life, but I do continue to pray for his future.

As we were sitting and talking, enjoying cold drinks that his mom had brought for us, I noticed he had brought out a set of small legos I sent him previously, which he had made into a pyramid. He said how he really liked making things out of them, and his brother helped him think of things, like the pyramid, too. Time after time, it never got old to see things that I had previously sent the children with or on them. You never have to doubt the legitimacy of Manna 4 Lempira as an organization or the fact that everything is going straight to these children!


After our home visits, we had a little time back at the hotel. This would be the longest day of home visits, because of the 3 separate churches, and it was a very hot day, too. We ordered pizza for dinner from a local pizza place. It apparently does taste different, but since I cannot eat gluten, I ordered from the hotel restaurant instead.

That evening, we attended a church service at the Guanas church, the second one we visited earlier in the day. We were late, but they hadn’t started yet. Hondurans very much run on “Honduran time”, and it’s something you have to adjust to early on! The service was a children’s service, which they do once a month. The children do everything, from the songs, to the Bible readings, to the preaching. It was cool to see how excited they were for their turns up in front, and how their families were there supporting them!

I made friends with these two little sisters, who quite enjoyed waving to me and getting the attention of me waving back and smiling at them 🙂


Enjoying the calm of sitting above Gracias in the restaurant at night:


Click here to see the previous Day 2 posts:

Maria’s Home Visit

Yeyson and Greysi’s Home Visit

Or here to continue on to Day 3: Tablon Fun Day!

Honduras Day 2: Yeyson and Greysi’s Home Visit


Click here to read the first part of Day 2, Maria’s home visit

After we finished in La Azomada in El Tablon, we traveled a little further down the mountain to Guanas, the second church. I don’t have any sponsored children at this church, but a couple of the other sponsors did. While they went on their home visits, the rest of us watched the kids rehearse for their service that we would be attending that evening. It was fun to see the happy and smiling kids singing and dancing, and I recognized many of them from photos over time that have been posted by Manna and shared by their sponsors.

Next, we traveled down to the last stop, the main church of El Tablon. This was the first church that children were registered from, and it is closest to the main road. I have 3 children here, and the first two are my set of siblings, Yeyson and Greysi. I sponsored these two together a little under a year ago, and it’s been great getting to support and know the whole family. They came walking up with Cristian, my other sponsored child from the main church, and I only found out at that moment that they were cousins and the boys were very close! I have sponsored Cristian longer, and I had no idea when I sponsored the other two that they were related, but it turned out to be awesome! They live nearby each other and not far away, so we walked.


the road down to their homes

The boys were a little shyer at first, as Maria had been. It’s a little intimidating meeting for the first time, which is why I love that with this trip, we get two days together. It’s funny that going into this day, I had assumed Greysi would be shy. But as I got to know this little delight, she turned out to be anything but! She came right up to hug me, and once we arrived at their house, she first timidly peeked in the bag of gifts I gave her, but then eagerly started playing with the toys.

It’s cultural to not want to open gifts in front of the giver there, so many children saved the bag of gifts for later or opened them in another room during the visit if they couldn’t wait 🙂 I did get to see a few children open and go through their gifts though, and it was so much fun. With backpacks, you use their photos and letters as clues, hoping they liked it, trying to discern what their favorite things were and what to send again. I thought about how just a couple days before, those gifts had all been sprawled out in my bedroom as I worked to sort through and then pack them all, and now they were coming to life through the vivid imagination of an adorable 3 year old. I got to see the toys and gifts through her eyes.

She adored the Barbie doll, which was obviously her favorite. She also loved the two ponies with their long mane. I watched as she carefully undressed and redressed the doll, combed her and the ponies’ hair, put the doll on the stuffed deer to ride, used the reversible sequin bracelet as a small blanket for them, and more, and I wanted to preserve that moment in time forever.


Yeyson, who had put his bag away when I gave it to him, pulled it out after a little while of his sister playing with hers. He was so cautious with everything. He tried out the harmonica, briefly in front of us, but then later I heard him just outside the house playing it again 🙂 He took out the kite to try, although there was no wind that day, and carefully put it back away when he was done. He put on the bracelet right away, and played a lot with the fidget spinner, knowing just what to do with it. I remember last year when I brought one to Evelin’s brother in Guatemala and her mother had told me he had been wanting one. They’re definitely popular in Central America, too! Sitting there in the cool of their home, a strong contrast to the unrelenting heat that day, sipping on juice that their mother brought us, watching the kids play, I couldn’t imagine being any happier, and I could have sat there for hours more.

Their mother was also so kind and grateful. Their father is not in the picture, I don’t know why, but she has remarried now. She told me that when Greysi was born, they both almost didn’t make it. It’s such a blessing seeing how healthy they all are now!


Both kids were wearing things I had sent them in their backpacks, which made me so happy to see. Their mother said it was a way to show their appreciation. Aren’t they a sweet family?

As much as I didn’t want to leave, I was also excited to get to visit Cristian. He came over, and he and Yeyson walked me a little way down to his house.

Click here to continue on to Cristian’s home visit.

Honduras Day 2: Maria’s Home Visit


Breakfast started every morning during the week at 6:45 am, but really, the birds made it pretty difficult to sleep much past 5:30 anyway. I never sleep well the first night in a new place, so despite how tired I was, I got very little sleep. I also never cooled down from being in the grocery store and then scrambling to pack all of the bags of gifts, and of course there is no air conditioning there. But it was okay, because I was up and ready to go Sunday morning- I was going to meet four of my sponsored children and visit their homes!

On the way to breakfast, I got some pictures of the beauty that is Hotel Guancascos…

El Tablon is the closest to Gracias of the communities that Manna 4 Lempira works with. It was just a short drive away. It is made up of 3 distinct churches based on location: La Azomada, Guanas, and the main church. We started our day in La Azomada, the furthest up in the mountains and the one of the least well-off communities with Manna 4 Lempira. This is where Maria, my oldest of my Honduran children, lives.

The drive up to La Azomada was very bumpy! It was incredibly beautiful, though. This is what the views look like for Maria where her home is. I was struck by the contrast of how much beauty there is in the views but how in need the community is.


When we got to the church, several of the kids were there waiting for us, including Maria, whom I spotted right away!


Meeting your sponsored child for the first time is a bit of nervousness mixed with a lot of excitement, as I’m sure it is for them, too. I always feel ahead of time thoughts of “I hope they like me” and “I hope I live up to their expectations”. In all of my experiences, though, I’ve never had anything to worry about, because God knows what He’s doing when He brings a sponsor and child together, and it’s such an awesome thing to witness. If you ever go on a sponsor trip, take time to look around at how perfectly matched everyone is. It’s one of my favorite things!

We took one of the trucks to Maria’s home, along with a couple other sponsors and their children who were traveling to those children’s homes. Throughout the week, if the homes were farther away, we took trucks to get there. They were easier, safer, and more time-effective, and we had them available. But let’s not forget that however long the journeys were (and for some children they were VERY long), these children and families are walking those roads every day, because they don’t have any other options available.

At Maria’s house, her mother and younger sister were home. Her mother wasn’t expecting us, she had thought the pool day was that day, but she graciously welcomed my translator and me with open arms. Maria is the second to youngest of several children. Her parents had thought she was the last one. But then a little surprise blessing, in the form of her youngest sister, who has Down Syndrome, came along. This little one was absolutely adorable and put on quite the show. She asked for water from my translator’s water bottle, and after her mother told her no, she went to find her own bottle that looked similar, which she would take drinks out of and then purposely spit the water back out into the plants. She tried lifting up very heavy rocks, I’m assuming to show off her strength 😉 She wanted to come with us, and got quite upset when she couldn’t. First, she kept trying to get out of the gate and start walking down the road by herself. When that didn’t work, she grabbed a small piece of wood and tried to secure the gate closed with that, so that if she couldn’t leave, none of us could!

She even had Maria laughing, who is a great big sister. Maria’s mom was so kind and appreciative for all the help provided for Maria. She told me that I looked very fancy in the photographs I had sent, but in person I was very humble. I could take that different ways, but I know it was meant with love as a compliment 🙂 She told me how I had brought a blessing to their home by being there, which is so humbling and almost mind-blowing to think about, because I’m just a very ordinary person from Illinois. To realize how much you mean to people you have never met in person before can blow you away. But then I think about how much these children mean to me, even way before I met them.

I learned that Maria would not have been able to go to school without the backpacks provided by Manna 4 Lempira and Sowers 4 Pastors, something I had heard was the case for many Honduran families that Sowers 4 Pastors provides backpacks for. She said that she told Maria they weren’t going to be able to send her to school, but Maria was determined, and she told her mom that she had to and she was going to. Well, where there’s a will there’s a way, and now this 13 year old is thriving in school at an age where many Honduran children stop attending. A backpack full of school supplies and a pair of shoes are things that seem so simple to us, but they are literally the difference of an education and a different future or not for children like Maria.



Continue on to Yeyson and Greysi’s home visit here.

Click here to read about Day 1: Traveling to Honduras.


Honduras Day 1: Arriving


As you can see from this post, the packing of gifts for so many children, plus clothing and basic necessities for myself for a week, was a small adventure by itself. But somehow I got everything to barely fit, and I was up dark and early at 2:30 am the morning of June 23rd to get ready for my trip to Honduras. I was more nervous for the travel part of it all than I was for the actual trip, which I really wasn’t nervous for at all. So I was anxious to get my day of traveling started and get there already, safe and sound, so my week could really begin!

When I arrived at the airport and used United’s scale, my suitcase weighed in at 49.5 lbs, and I couldn’t be more relieved! I had brought along a small, empty, collapsible suitcase just in case I was over the weight limit, but thankfully it wasn’t needed and I was able to send it back home with my family. The crazy thing is that even if you’re one pound over, the fees get way more expensive than it would be to check a second bag.

I had a connecting flight with a short layover in Houston. I was a little worried about having enough time there, and that worry increased greatly when my plane from Chicago to Houston was late to take off. Upon arrival, our gate wasn’t ready for us, so it took even longer to deplane. By the time I got off, I was doing a very fast walk through the airport, riding the skyway across terminals, to finally make it to my new international gate, where everyone else had already boarded. Thankfully they were waiting, and there were even a couple people to board after me, but it was still a close one!

On the flight to Honduras, most of the plane was composed of Americans on missions teams. I sat next to some interesting people and enjoyed hearing their stories. Once arriving in Honduras, the customs line was extremely long and slow-moving. I was able to find and meet up with another member of the team in line who had been on the same flight, though. Once we finally made it through, we weren’t quite sure where to go, as we couldn’t find Russell or any of the Sowers 4 Pastors people. We met up with another team member, but as the wifi in the airport wasn’t working and we didn’t have anyone’s phone numbers, we were kind of stuck. Finally we spotted Russell, the other Sowers staff, and our two other team members arriving that day, and our travel group was complete! After getting some Wendy’s at the airport, we began our 4 hour journey through Honduras and into the mountains.

The team that had arrived the week prior had gotten held up by protests on their way down, and although they stayed safe, it took a very long time to arrive, which I think was in the back of all of our minds. But we made great time with our drive! The driving and the roads in Honduras are certainly interesting! They were even bumpier than Guatemala, though not quite as winding going up into the mountains. Everyone passes everyone, and all of the traffic rules seem to be more “suggestions” than actual laws.

Since my day began at 2:30am (1:30 Honduras time), I was so glad to be arrive in Gracias, Lempira at Hotel Guancascos at around 6pm. It was a long day of traveling, but the beauty of the hotel, the excitement of being there, and the warm welcomes from the team members already there kept me perked up! We got our bags in our rooms and went right to dinner.

I ordered chips and salsa for dinner, which would become one of my favorites for the week, as they were the best and most fresh tortilla chips I’ve ever had. It was great getting to meet everyone at dinner and hear a little more about the week. One of the many wonderful things about Hotel Guancascos is that all of the food is prepared with water that is safe for us, so things like salsa and fresh fruits and vegetables are totally safe to eat there! They also have water coolers around the hotel to fill up your water bottles!


the view from dinner that evening

After dinner, we took a walk to a nearby grocery store to purchase some groceries for families we would be visiting the next day. I pretty much fell in love with Gracias right away, walking the streets of this charming town in the evening, seeing some of the sights pointed out to us. The grocery store was small and very busy, and it had a mix of things we’d see at our grocery stores and Honduran things. The groceries were very heavy, but Kim graciously helped me carry mine, which she did not have to do 🙂

Before going to bed, I still had to go through my luggage and get all the gifts ready for the following day. I would be visiting my four El Tablon children: Maria, Cristian, Yeyson, and Greysi. As I previously shared, to make everything fit in my luggage, all the gifts were mixed together in vacuum bags. I used the pictures I had on my phone of what gifts went with each bag for what child, and eventually everything was ready to go and I was able to finally crawl into bed!

Click here to Read about Day 2:

Maria’s Home Visit

Yeyson and Greysi’s Home Visit

Cristian’s Home Visit



I’m home from Honduras with such a full heart. I couldn’t have asked for a better week. I’ll be posting a lot more about each day soon as I’m readjusting back and taking care of things at home that need to be taken care of. I can’t wait to share my joy!

Bringing Gifts to my Sponsored Children

I leave for Honduras tomorrow!!

Long before I was ready to pack for this trip, the thought of it just stressed me out. I can tell you now, actually having been going through it, that the act of packing is no less stressful. It’s funny to me now that I was worried about packing all of the gifts for one child and for centers when I went to Guatemala. This time I had to pack gifts for 13 children, plus small family gifts for each of their families!

I did have a blast shopping for all of them, though. There are some things that are consistent for every child. Each one is getting two shirts, a bathing suit, and a stuffed animal (I figure any age loves a stuffed animal to hug, right?) I went through and assembled each bag, took pictures of its contents, and then disassembled everything to pack it as tight as possible. The pictures will help me to reassemble everything when I get to Honduras! Here is what I packed for each child, starting with the boys:

Brayan, age 5:


a purple shirt (his favorite color), a striped shirt, a pair of swimming trunks, a toy train, a blue superhero cape, a Jesus loves me bracelet, a stuffed goat, a fidget spinner, and a paw print bag (these are the same ones my students got at our school picnic, which I figure the kids will get a kick out of)

Diego, age 6:


a dinosaur shirt (he’s a dinosaur fan), a Chicago Bears shirt, swimming trunks, a large toy car, a blue superhero cape, a Jesus loves me bracelet, a stuffed dinosaur that makes noise, a fidget spinner, and a paw print bag

Yeyson, age 9:


a blue shirt (his favorite color), a Rainforest Cafe from Downtown Disney shirt, swimming trunks, a stuffed dog, a harmonica, an Angry Birds kite, a fidget spinner, a Jesus loves me bracelet, and a paw print bag

Junior, age 10:


a Rainforest Cafe from Downtown Disney shirt, a future rocket scientist shirt, swimming trunks, dominoes, a harmonica, a stuffed horse, a fidget spinner, a Jesus loves me bracelet, and a paw print bag

Cristian, age 12:


a Rainforest Cafe from Downtown Disney shirt, an Old Navy shirt, swimming trunks, a stuffed dog, glow in the dark stars with removable putty, a bag of marbles, a fidget spinner, a Jesus loves me bracelet, dominoes, and a paw print bag

And now onto the girls… Angie, age 3 (and the youngest of all my children):


a pink bathing suit, a kitten shirt, a yellow floral shirt, a stuffed cow, a mermaid doll, two ponies, a reversible sequin bracelet, a Shimmer and Shine doll with a locket keychain, and a summer tote bag

Greysi, age 3:


a pink bathing suit, a red and white striped shirt, a rainbow shirt, a stuffed deer, a Shimmer and Shine doll and locket keychain, two ponies and hair accessories, a barbie, a reversible sequin bracelet, a Jesus loves me bracelet, and a summer tote bag

Valery, will be 4 by the time I meet her:


A stars bathing suit, a blue and white daisy shirt, a planets and sun shirt, a stuffed rainbow tiger, a reversible sequin bracelet, a barbie, a Shimmer and Shine doll and locket keychain, a mermaid doll and some little fish friends (when she mentioned in her latest letter that the animal she wanted to see in person was a mermaid, I had to find something related to give her), a Jesus loves me bracelet, and a paisley tote bag

Helen, age 8:


a rainbow bathing suit, a Frozen shirt, a chambray and lace shirt, a stuffed pegasus, a Minion journal with a lock and keys and extra stickers (more on the back, too) and a pen (I loved these sets from Walmart!), a turquoise choker, a Jesus loves me bracelet, a barbie, a flamingo tote bag

Jenny, age 8:


a pink bathing suit, a white tribal shirt, an Olaf Frozen shirt, a stuffed horse (she has a real horse at home), a Frozen journal with a lock and keys and a pen and extra stickers, a turquoise choker, a Jesus loves me bracelet, a barbie, and a flamingo tote bag

Ludvi, age 10 (as of yesterday!):


a tropical bathing suit, a chambray and lace shirt, a blue floral shirt, a journal set of 3 notebooks of different sizes, a turquoise choker, a set of 5 rolls of washi tape, a barbie, a stuffed unicorn, a Jesus loves me bracelet, and a pink striped purse

Heidy, age 12:


a mermaid bathing suit, a black shirt with an attached necklace, a tribal fringe shirt, a stuffed dog, a brown choker, a set of 5 rolls of washi tape, a set of 3 pouches/cosmetic bags of different sizes, a journal set of 3 notebooks of different sizes, a Jesus loves me bracelet, embroidery floss to make friendship bracelets with instructions, a black Old Navy purse

Maria, age 13 (my oldest Manna child):


a pink tie-dye bathing suit, a polka dot chambray shirt, a coral draped tank top, a pineapple “pura vida” journal, a set of 3 pouches/cosmetic bags of different sizes, a stuffed penguin, a brown choker, a Jesus loves me bracelet, a set of 5 rolls of washi tape, a thirty-one bag (really excited about that find)

Then there were the family gifts, which I needed 12 of, because Yeyson and Greysi are the same family, so they only need one family gift between them. I’m giving each family a set of 4 plastic cups, a bamboo wooden spoon or spatula, and a dish towel.

I’ll be assembling them once I get in Honduras, and they’ll look something like this:


I also made tags for each child’s bag, but I forgot to attach them before I packed the bags, oops! So they’re packed, along with more ribbon, to attach in Honduras:


When you look at each of the individual pictures, it doesn’t seem like much, but when you put it all together, it really is!! This is a glimpse at what only part of my suitcase looks like:


Yeah, yikes! Here’s hoping my bag doesn’t weigh over the weight limit… I can’t wait to give these gifts to my beloved children and most importantly spend time with them!


Introducing Helen!

I thought 12 kids to pack for was a lot… but then it turned into 13. Helen has been waiting for a sponsor through Manna 4 Lempira for a few months. I remembered her from her photos even before she needed a sponsor, and loved her joyful smile. I’d been watching and praying, hoping she’d find somebody soon. I actually figured if I sponsored a 13th child, it would be during or shortly after the trip.


But then, there was a post featuring Helen on the Manna page, and I kept thinking about her. I figured she’d be sponsored right away though. But she wasn’t, and the following day there was another post, this one with more detail, all of which described everything I adore in a child.

“Spunky Helen is a delight. She is a 100% at whatever she does. She is a hilarious mix of wild child and sweetheart, and you never know exactly what to expect. Her smile can light up a room, and giggles are never far from her lips. If you hope to sponsor a perfectly obedient child, well, Helen may not be the child for you—but if you hope to sponsor a child who is hungry to receive love and affection and then return it tenfold, Helen is your girl!”

Now, all of this was going on while I was out of the state and very distracted and busy, but I still could not stop thinking about Helen. I told myself after a certain time, if she wasn’t sponsored, I’d ask about her. I ended up waiting even an hour or two after that. The rest unfolded in only a way that could have been meant to be, and now Helen is my newest sponsored child. I’m thrilled to be visiting her and loving on her!















I can’t wait to hear that giggle in person. And this last picture is when she was told I’d be visiting next week!


Letters from Brayan

I’m pinching myself that in just 4 days, I’m going to be arriving in Honduras!! This is a trip that I’ve been dreaming of for 2 years, and I can’t believe it’s actually happening and that I’m going to be meeting so many of my sponsored kiddos that I love so much. I’ve developed so much love and respect for the Manna 4 Lempira and Sowers 4 Pastors ministries over the past couple years, that to get to see them in action is going to be amazing. The first team is there now, and I’ve gotten some glimpses through photos! Some of them will be staying for the second week, which I’ll be arriving for with a few others, and some of them will be going home.

I’ve realized that I’m behind in posting my Manna letters, though, so in these final days leading up to my trip, I’m going to be sharing the letters I’ve received from the last 2 mailings from my kiddos. Today I’ll be sharing the letters from my children from the Mercedes church, starting with Brayan.


Brayan is 5

“Hello Dear Sponsor! How are you? I hope that you are well. I am very happy because next year I am going to my first year of classes. I will be going to kindergarten. I want to know more about you. It is almost Christmas. I hope to have a good one with my family and friends. I hope that you also have a great Christmas full of blessings. Many hugs for you. A greeting through the long distance. Thanks for everything. We have prayed for you and all the world. Feliz Navidad y Prospero Año Nuevo!”


“Holy Week is important because we spend time with family, friends, and neighbors. On vacations my family likes to go to church and to swim. Typical Easter food is fish and honey. Traditions in my country are Independence Day and Indian Day. My favorite part of the feast is the sea. I am very important for me and my family. I am a treasure of God.”


This last letter did not come translated and google was very little help. I know basic Spanish, but certainly not enough to translate this. The Manna team was very busy getting ready for their trip so I didn’t want to bother them at the time. So this is what I have for now. I’ll update it when I have a better translation…

“For my Sponsor Alisa, From Brayan, I hope you have enjoyed a Holy Week with your family- me and my father went to bapario I felt very happy in my bacasiones. We meet with my fighters (?). I hope you are well and I start my classes again. I have 3 very lottery (?) pets. One sema pingui, the other was called Rok, and the other sema Cosita. I hope to write you again. God bless you, those who surround you, many blessings. Much love and affection and hugs. Brayan”