Villa Esperanza

Villa Esperanza

About Me - trying to live a life that is as full as it can possibly be - loving God & loving others

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Thursday, 27 November 2014

Thursday Thoughts

This year has been so much fun - in fact, I would go so far as to say it has been Such Fun! (If you are a non UK reader, I apologise, that is a Miranda quote)

Im discovering that it is really only when I go and do my talks in England that I really stop and reflect over the year, trying to see what the most important/exciting things have been. What the hard parts have been. What I believe God has been doing in the DR. What message is there that I can share with all of those in the UK who have been faithfully supporting me and praying for me - partnering with me in this crazy Kingdom stuff that I get to do. 

SO...here a few of my thoughts...

                                                                  Chorlo and I in October 


Seeing God's provision through YOU, his people, has been amazing. Being able to help Chorlo with 2 brain surgeries - 2 BRAIN SURGERIES- is incredible. Being able to support 2 year groups of students as they go to high school - amazing- having dedicated people who give sacrificially from their hard earned paychecks, to help students they have never met to have a better future - inspiring and moving. Being able to help as many young people and children as possible for the naturalisation process - enabling them to have the rights to education and employment in the Dominican - life changing and overwhelming! I can't thank you all enough for everything that you have done to help me help them. ;) 

There have been some sad losses along the way too - in May a young man, Esquor, passed away. He had been sick with heart and circulation problems for a long time. Eventually he needed dialysis, and then he passed away. He was only 30 years old. He used to help the mission teams when we were building in his village, he managed to give me a scar on my arm through his exuberant helpfulness...he swung a metal frame into me by mistake! His story is one that saddens me - if he had lived in a developed country there would have been so many other options for his health care that the ones available to him. Im pleased to say that Isachar (a very gifted and wonderful Dominican man) and I did have opportunities to pray with Esquor and share God's love with him. He knew where he was going. 

As well as looking back though, I start to look forward and dream about what might take place in 2015. In the looking forward and dreaming, I am feeling slightly overwhelmed! I do know though that this time last year I would have felt overwhelmed at the things that have been accomplished over the past 12 months. I am always thankful that God does not reveal too much at a time! I often say that if I had known in 2009 when I went to the DR on  2 week mission trip that I would end up living there I would NEVER have gone for 2 weeks! Obviously, I am very glad that I did - but at the time it was certainly not what I had in mind for my future. 

One BIG thing for this year is Nazareth house children's home. This is the home that Sister Mercedes runs and lives in, for disabled children. For 12 years they have been living in the one house. The owner is now trying to sell the house, which means Sister Mercedes has nowhere to live - with her 18 disabled children. The house is being sold for 240000 pounds! Please join me in praying HARD as we try to work together to come up with a solution. At the moment am looking at land with a view to building a purpose built facility for her - which is pretty exciting! Nothing is certain yet, but this is something I am pursuing. Please pray that God would guide and provide for Sister Mercedes - through whichever means is best - and that if that  is involves me, which at the moment it seems too- that I will have faith and confidence in doing my part! 

The last thing I want to share....this is getting long...sorry...


This is Laurison. He is a lovely man. Laurison is very, very thin and very poor. Laurison is a member of the village church in Esperanza, and he dances away during every service like no one else! He is a fantastic man and I really enjoy seeing him in the village. 

One day I saw Laurison doing some gardening, and I took the photo above. The wall in the background is the side of the church.  I watched him for a few minutes and then went over to him and asked "What are you doing Laurison?' 
His response really hit me - he said 'My part.' 
Profound. Laurison, aged 12387 years old, was doing His Part for his community and for God. He cant do everything that needs doing, but he can do his part. 
How beautiful is that? 
This was possibly one of the most inspiring moments for me this year - strange, because it was so so so simple. If Laurison can do his part, whilst shaking with hunger, what can we all accomplish when we all do our part? 

I know a lot of you are doing your part, and Im not sharing this as a preach at anyone at all - Im sharing it because it inspired me so much to rise up and DO my part. 

We all have different gifts, abilities and skills. We all live in different parts of the world and have different needs presented to us on a daily basis - maybe for many of you those needs arent so much the physical, but the emotional needs of lonely neighbours, work colleagues and school mates. Maybe there is someone nearby who really could use a friend, maybe there is a patch of land that you can go and garden for the community? I have no idea what it is for you, I just know that this world is hurting and if we all do our part it hurts just a little bit less ;) 

Im back to the DR on Wednesday, having had 4 weeks in England to remind me what the COLD feels like. 

Much Love and appreciation to all of you, 

Claire 

Thursday, 25 September 2014

Friends.....or Foes?

One of the saddest conversations I have ever had in my life took place today.

As I came in to the complex where I live, one of my older neighbours was kind of stuck on the steps. I asked him if he was ok, and then we began a very long conversation. It turns out that No, he is far from ok.

Without going into too many details, this older man is getting sick. He is from the US and is here alone. He has been here 7 years and the only friends he has are other older men, who sit on the beach drinking each day. Their conversation is almost exclusively focused on the Girls that they pay for sex and the Dates that they take them on. (Sosua is one of the top 5 sex tourism destinations in the world, although, thankfully, this is changing!)

My neighbour is no longer a welcome part of their group as he has no more stories to share, as he is too sick to go on Dates now. The  guys that he has been hanging around with for 7 years have dropped him and are not prepared to help him. They have told him that he is a burden and they are sick of him.

He doesnt have family.

He doesnt have church. He doesnt have God. He is literally alone. He cried several times during the conversation. I tried to help him problem solve some of the difficulties he is facing, and I will do what I can to help him. I dont think I have ever seen someone so desperate.

It has led me to think about relationships. What my friendships are based on, what I would be prepared to do for those around me, what would be too hard - for this guy, his friends seem far from being true friends. I know that there are 2 sides to every story, and I dont mean this in judgement of them - but if your social world is built on sin and damaging other people it is fairly unlikely that you will find big-hearted friends there. People who gather to discuss their conquests of women living in poverty are probably unlikely to be the selfless support that you might one day need.

I also find it terribly sad that for the last 7 years that is all that my neighbour has been focusing on. That in a country surrounded by poverty and people needing opportunities, that he hasnt ever gone beyond his own wants and desires and stepped out to help others. It is all just very sad.

I know I always say this, but Jesus told us that the important things in life were to love God and to love those around us. That if we learn to love others we will expereience His JOY. That is what so many people seem to be seeking after, happiness and acceptance and joy. Sadly for so many of us, we look in the wrong places. We think loneliness can be cured by sex, or alcohol or any number of things. We are created to love and to be in community with others and with God.

But its not all over for my neighbour. He needs help -  in almost every way imaginable. Physical, emotional and spiritual. I have no idea what the long term looks like for him. There are no elderly care homes here for him to go too.... and he refuses to go back to the States.

The decisions that we make, about how to spend our time, who to spend it with, and what we invest our lives, our minds and our money in - they are important decisions. Important for today and for eternity. It does matter. Take it seriously.

Living here is a funny old thing really. You spend your days working with Haitian and Dominican people, and you spend your evenings with people from Canada, the States, Europe.... its a mixed up little community of people! Im off to my church prayer meeting now - I will be praying for my neighbour, and for wisdom for him, compassion from his friends and for wisdom for those of us around him who are wanting to love him in the way God calls us too - but who -if IM honest- are also slightly nervous to get involved!

Sorry this isnt my usual chipper tale of wonders, but this is the reality of life too....


Tuesday, 23 September 2014

God knows the details!

I haven't written a blog post since the end of June! I knew it had been a while, but I had no idea it was that long!! There is a good reason though - I've been really busy!

Throughout the summer I get to host and facilitate the mission teams from the UK that come with Mission Direct. They come out for 2 weeks each, to build homes for the poor and undertake any other mission tasks that we have for them! The team members dont know each other before they get on the plane, and so it is always an interesting and exciting experience! Getting to know new people in a new culture and getting involved in new tasks - Such Fun as Miranda would say!

So this summer has been busy and fast and now its over! Im left with fond memories, new friends, a lot of laundry and some achy muscles! Im also left with a reminder that we are all different and we all have a story. Spending 2 weeks with people in a fairly intense, communal living, life sharing type of way is a good way to get to know people! Im often humbled by the stories of other peoples lives, and Im often challenged and encouraged by other peoples testimonies of what God has done in their lives. I've enjoyed seeing people stepping out of their comfort zones, daring to live, giving new things a try - even including seeing an older team member jump from the side into a swimming pool for the first time in her whole life!

There is one story that I really want to share with you all - the story of Chorlo. See my lst blog post for an introduction to Chorlo's story.

Chorlo had a shunt put into his brain in June this year. I had 2 weeks notice to raise the money for the private operation. I put a post on facebook and within  a few days I was totally blown away by the answers to prayer that came in! Generous and amazing people sent in money for a man they had never met, and I truly believe that it was a Miracle.
The surgery took place and Chorlo made a great recovery.

So for a few weeks I have been aware that I had received too much money for his surgery. People had been so amazingly kind, that almost twice the amount I needed came in. I had $8042us dollars. His operation cost $4096 dollars in the end. So, I had decided that this week - once the last team left - I would email everyone and explain the situation. I was planning on asking everyone if they would be ok with me holding the money here for the next medical emergency/ Honestly, I was about to send that email.

Last Sunday I got a call to say Chorlo was really, really sick. I agreed to cover his hospital bill so sent him to the private clinic again. He ended up needing surgery to remove his shunt because his abdomen and intestines had become barbed and 'stuck' together following a parasite. The catheter from the shunt was now contaminated and the whole thing had to be removed. He had surgery to Unstick his intestines and to remove the shunt. The surgery went well and he is back home already!

Guess how much that all came too?

Yup,. you are quite right. $3946 dollars. EXACTLY. And there would not of been time to fundraise for that, and that my friends is my BIG ENCOURAGEMENT! That God knew ahead of time the need, put it on peoples hearts to give, and then the details all came together so perfectly. Miracles do happen, if you open your eyes you will see them!

So, thank you all once again for giving - to those of you that were here and came to donate your blood too - another miracle. Chorlo needed 4 pints of blood when I had keen volunteers here, more than willing to donate their blood for another. I donated too, it is so amazing to know who your blood is going too - kinda freaky too though!

I love it when you get to see the details all coming together like this, dont you? I know Chorlo's story is unusual, and Im amazed at how it developed! Im reassured that God does see the details, He does provide. He uses us all to be a part of the story too - isnt that amazing.  'May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave  us ETERNAL ENCOURAGEMENT and good HOPE, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word.' 2 Thess 2 v16-17.

Please keep Chorlo in your prayers, for continued recovery and that the hydrocephalus doesnt come back.

Thanks for reading, I wont leave it so long next time - promise!


Sunday, 29 June 2014

The one right in front of you

Recently, out here in the Dominican I have been able to help 2 men with surgeries that they would otherwise could not of had.
The first gentleman, Willie, had a massive debilitating hernia. He was unable to work and unable to provide and care for himself. He came asking me for help. He came to me. I didn’t go looking for him.
Fortunately we have a great private clinic here in the town, and so I took him there for a consultation. The public hospital is poorly equipped and you have to go elsewhere to get your scans and tests all done. The doctors there do their best but with such limited funding, the public medical sector is in a terrible state.
So, Willie ended up at the private clinic with me, and we managed to get him his surgery done within a week and at a cost of two hundred and fifty seven pounds. Boom. Life changed.

Man 2, Chorlo, had a life threatening brain condition. He came to me, telling me about his dizziness and …long story short, we ended up getting a brain scan done at the private clinic. The results showed 15 parasites in his brain, as well as cysts and an excess of fluid in his skull. Without treatment and surgery he would die. Chorlo is a 39 year old father of 6. Sole provider for his family.
Chorlo's operation was going to cost a lot of money. Brain surgery does. So, Chorlo sat there in the hospital, telling me how God was going to provide and how he wasn’t worried…. I on the other hand was a wee bit stressed at the expense ahead of me. Hmm… where was my faith?!! So, God did provide, through many amazing people in several countries, within a week we had enough money and the surgery went ahead. Right now Chorlo is healing up nicely.

Why do I tell you these two stories? Because this week so many people have been telling me how great I am and how kind I am – where actually I’m not really. Yes, I helped these two men, and yes I clearly saw God provide for them and was honored and humbled to be a part of that. BUT it wasn’t me. I didn’t go looking for people to help medically, they both came to me. They were both there, right in front of me with a real, genuine need.
People often ask me how I decide who to help. I never know how to answer that because I really don’t feel that I do choose who to help. I pray for God to guide me and give me wisdom, and then I head out the door and see who I meet that day. Sometimes there is no one in any particular need, but even then we all need human compassion, kindness, love and acceptance.
So that is what I have been thinking about. How our responsibility to God and to humanity is to love the one put in front of us. That’s it. Who is my neighbor? The one right in front of you. That is who we have to love. The one right there, the one you maybe see all the time. Thats who God wants you to get involved with and love and be the hands and feet of Jesus too and with. The one right in front of you. It wont always be as dramatic and exciting (and scarey) as a brain surgery…but it will always be as exciting and important as a human being knowing that another human being cares about them.

Jesus made it all fairly simple really – love God and love your neighbor as yourself. He even told us why – John 15 – so that my joy may be complete in you!
Its so true, showing love, sharing love and having compassion on and for each other really does bring me joy. Jesus was telling the truth. If you don’t think so, I challenge you this week to put it to the test. Have love for those around you and see how you feel!!


Friday, 2 May 2014

Helping without Hurting

It's been a while since I wrote...but no one has complained so I think thats ok. Probably better not to write unless I have something to say hey...!

So my thoughts at the moment are on how do we really help people? I know we are called to Love people - in the truest sense of the world - see 1 Cor 13 for the real definition of love... and that is a big massive challenge to all of us, no matter where we live! But my struggle at the moment is how do we help people living in poverty, in a really helpful way?

Reading books like When Helping Hurts and Toxic Charity as well as seeing the impact on villages here from short term mission teams and longer term missionaries- including myself- has given me much food for thought. I assume that we are all just working to the best of our knowledge, wisdom and ability and I dont mean to be critical of anyone - we all have to be accountable to God for our actions, right?  I also had to learn not to be critical of myself for precious mistakes!But... how do you really help without accidentally causing harm?

Harm can be caused by making people dependent on US, the ones who can meet the needs. I dont think we mean to do this, but helping people does feel good. You do get to feel happy at being able to be involved in helping a girl to see again. You feel like you have a purpose and you feel good. But sometimes this feeling good can come at a great cost to someone else - without us even meaning too! Like any welfare or benefit system, things can be abused and its up to the missionary or aid worker to try and distinguish from a real, real real, need and a want.

Let me explain a little - in 2012 I thought I was helping people when I distributed some beds in Esperanza village. I had seen people sleeping on floors, or sleeping with bits of metal spring digging into them, crammed 4 to a bed etc. I thought it was a good idea to help by buying a dozen beds. A dozen...for a community with 264 homes in.... hmm. I didnt think through the impact of neighbours being envious, or the bare fact that a bed doesnt really change your situation in life all that much. Im not saying no one should ever buy beds - Im sure there are many cases where a bed is a really great help to a community member. Its not so much about the individual who receives the bed, its about the rest of the community - its about the damage to those who didnt get one and the change of their mindset from "how can I buy a bed' to 'how can i get HER to buy me a bed.' I still have people asking me for beds now, 2 years later - even though for two years I have been saying that I dont have money for beds. 2 years ago, 12 beds changed some peoples mentalities... even some of the people that I did get beds for are asking for another one! It's not about gratitude, its not about me not wanting people to ask for beds - its about the village mindset that now seems to be that I will buy the beds. I did that. I caused that by buying the beds! I took away the responsibility.

I dont know if that makes sense to you, if you havent ever had to think about these things then it might not. But really, real help has to be help that is aimed at the whole of a community, that improves the lives of everyone. SO for example the birth certificate scheme - it doesnt help very much if I randomly go and select 40 people from the village and get them a birth certificate. That causes stress and anxiety and desperation in everyone that wasnt in the magical 40. Instead I have to follow a process - I will always try to get the certificates for the top year group in the village school. Parents of children who are in the first year come to me desperately wanting their child to get their certificate - I explain the process and they seem to relax. Following a rule helps.

2013 graduating class with their birth certificates.


All that said, its not always that straight forward. Right now I am trying to think of how I could help some of the elderly in the village. These are thin, old men - some of whom have no family around to help them. I would love to open some kind of feeding program for them, providing a simple meal. My concern is though that this will then take away their independence. Right now no one is starving - everyone is finding a way and everyone has food. If I create a program then people loose their independence and responsibility and become dependent on my help - which ultimately is not as helpful to them or the community. Imagine if I open a feeding program for them, they let their gardens go to waste as they no longer NEED to work in them to feed themselves. Then after a year my funding runs out - Sorry guys, no more food... their gardens are done. They no longer have the land. They no longer have a means to provide for themselves and they are now dependent on anyone and everyone. All because I didnt think and just jumped in with my big warm heart.

There are always exceptions, there are a few people that the village leaders have asked me to help - and i do so willingly, exceptional cases like people who are very sick and cant grow their own vegetables etc.

It's a bit like stepping back a few hundred years! Many of the older men work their gardens and grow just enough to eat.


I think that what Im trying to learn right now is how to help in a long term way. How to move from helping individuals to helping a whole community. How to think more with my head and less with my heart but also being open to God and to those Exceptions that come along!

Trying to make sure that the programs I put together for the mission teams that I lead are following these ideas too - helping, not hurting. Helping communities, building real relationships and seeing development happening.


I also want to acknowledge that the things I have said here and the examples I have used are specific to the work I am doing in the Dominican - and to the community I work with. I am sure that across the world there are many feeding programs that are totally needed and without which people would starve. This is not one of those communities though. As I said, I dont wish to criticise anyone elses work, I am just reflecting on my own little life lessons thus far!


Ah its fun! But sometimes I really dont know what Im doing! Shhh, dont tell!!

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Reflecting on the adventure

So...I've just celebrated 4 years in the Dominican! I put a post on facebook and received nearly 200 likes- which I am choosing to take as a good thing and not as a sign that nearly 200 people in the UK are glad they don't have to see me!!

Anniversaries, new years, birthdays and important dates in our personal lives are usually a time when we stop and take stock - we cast our little minds back over the last year/decade etc and reflect on Life. Sometimes we reflect with sorrow or shame, other times with regret, other times (hopefully) with joy and excitement at what the last few months have held for us.

I think its great to think.

Then, most of us turn our minds towards the future, the great abyss of time spreading out before us... What will the next 4 years hold? Sometimes thinking about the future is thrilling, other times freaky.

Well, this week I've been thinking how amazing it is to not have a clue! If I had known in 2009 when I got on that plane to come on a 2 week mission trip to the Dominican that 4 1/2 years later I would be living there I would honestly of never come.
BUT
Im so glad I did.

 I agreed to come for 8 months and I refused to talk about the future. 8 months felt like an eternity on day 1, getting off that plane, speaking no Spanish and knowing no one.

But now, with the beauty of hindsight, I am so glad that I came, so glad that I dared to live, that I was obedient to what I believed God was calling me too. I have had some of the most amazing, humbling, exciting, terrifying, hilarious and challenging experiences of my life in the last 4 years.

Being obedient to God and coming to the DR has given me an opportunity to love so many people, to help so many, to care for so many and to share life with so many. God has enabled me to meet hundreds of people from all over the world on mission trips, to speak into each others lives, to share and to walk with each other. God has allowed me to serve the local people of the Dominican in so many varied and unplanned ways! I am constantly amazed that even now no two days are ever the same. Jesus promises us that he came to bring us Life in all its fullness (John 10v10) and that as we learn to love one another God's Joy will be complete in us (John 15 v 9-14). This is certainly my experience here in the DR.

Living a different life is fun, but it also isn't without its costs - not to be negative, but there are some things that are really hard about being in a different culture to your own. For the most part though, I am truly thankful for the opportunities that I have and the life I get to lead.

Sometimes living here is exhausting - today Ive taken the day away from the village, because the constant demand from everyone for attention and help wore me out this week. I've learnt though that when I feel worn down I have to take a day away and recharge. Im no use to anyone if I am exhausted. It can be hard to know who to help and how - it can be hard to know what help is really needed. It can be frustrating and exhausting - but then I remind myself of the situation of the people I am working with - people who struggle for their daily food, who struggle for everything. People who live on less than I spend on a snack. I will never know what it is to live in the poverty that they live in, I will never truly understand that - but I have a better idea than I used too. That teaches me not to judge people for making choices that I perceive to be unwise - not to be frustrated but also not to give up trying to help people make wise decisions.

Life is a big adventure, and Im loving the adventure that Im on. Im so thankful for good friends here in the DR, they make the adventure even more fun! I love my life here so much, although I do miss people from the UK and that can be hard, but with the wonders of skype and facebook the world isnt as big as it used to be!!


I just wonder, is God calling you to do something different? Not necessarily to move thousands of miles away to live on a small Caribbean island... but maybe to love someone that you struggle with? To be obedient to Him in some way? Its worth it! Its an amazing adventure, the life of faith!

So... reflections over, its time to get on with the next bit of the journey!!
God bless y'all for reading!!

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Inspiring people

Next month will be 4 years since I moved to the DR. I have aged, physically and mentally and maybe even emotionally! I have grown old. I have experienced more in these 4 years than in the 26 before it. I have seen more, smelt more (as in stunk and inhaled....), touched more, loved more and been blessed more. It has been such an amazing journey. It has been a blast. I have loved it and continue to love it. I never really know what my day will entail - as much as I plan and think I know...! I am continually amazed at the people I get to meet and the inspiring stories that I get to hear. Stories of survival, strength, perseverance, love and faith.

Last Friday morning I met an inspiring young man. He was a patient in the public hospital, a young Haitian guy about 28 years old. He was lying in his bed, wearing a really awesome hat, and he had the biggest smile I have seen in a long time. I went over to talk to him, and he told me his story. He was a motorbike taxi driver and he had been working one evening, collecting passengers and driving them where they want to go on his motorbike. These moto taxis are very common here and are a pretty cheap method of public transport. So this guy, lets call him Elmond, was working one night and he got a phone call from another moto taxi guy asking him to go pick someone up, So off Elmond  went. He drove the passenger where they wanted to go and then asked for the 25 pesos he was owed. 25 pesos is about 35p or 50 cents. The passenger took out a knife and stabbed him, a big long wound in his front, from about hip level up to near his heart. For 35 pence. Elmond showed me the wound. It was nasty and he is fortunate to survive. 

What amazed me about Elmond was his smile. If that happened to me I dont know if I would ever smile again, but there he was, just 2 days later smiling at us. He wanted us to pray for him, so we did and as we did I had a feeling that he might try to get revenge on this person. When we finished praying I asked him what he was going to do about the person. He told me that he wasnt going to do anything because God saw everything and God would judge the man and take care of him. No evil plans of revenge there then!! He told me that God lived in him and he would leave it to God to take care of the man. 

Amazing. 

Pray for your enemies and those who persecute you. Pray for our friend Elmond. I changed his name, but God knows exactly who Im talking about ;) 

So, another inspiring man to add to my list of inspiring people. 

Oh, do you remember Danielson with the thumb infection that I took to hospital last summer? I saw his again last week and his thumb is kind of squished looking but clean and fully functioning. $100 well spent then hey!!

I hope you are inspired by Elmond to love those you struggle with, to be gracious and to realise that God is the judge. For Elmond, his injuries will mean he has no income, no benefits and no money until he heals up, which will probably be a good few months. What a gracious guy. 

Be inspired. 

Saturday, 11 January 2014

Welcome Home - have an orange....

Look at my magnificent welcome home gift!! Yes, Its an ORANGE!!
This orange made me smile more than any orange ever has before though! And I feel very welcomed by it...


After 7 weeks away, visiting friends, family, supporters and churches in England, I headed back to the DR. Typically, I got caught up in the Polar Vortex in New York and my flight was cancelled...so far thats cost me $350 dollars...which Im fighting to retrieve...so my journey back took 61 hours door-to-door, and was a little irksome, but hey ho. I was safe. Cold, but safe. Ive never experienced -27 c before, and hope to never experience it again! I wonder if it would of been any less painful if I had winter clothes, instead of Dominican ones...

Anyway, I got back feeling exhausted and popped out to get some dinner. I was met by the security guard who looks after the houses around mine. He was delighted to see me, shocked at how white I am and proceeded to present me with this, welcome home orange! How sweet!

People have been so excited that Im back! Its really lovely. Random motorbike men in the town are all shouting their hellos to me, and its a little bit like being a celebrity!!  It wont last long, so let me enjoy it while I can!!

I went up to Esperanza on Thursday and was met by some of the youth football team, desperate to show me their latest trophy. I love how excited the boys get by football - its teh same all over the world hey! Apart from maybe at the north pole....maybe...? Ah, the beautiful game...

Then Evalina came to see me, she is one of the loveliest ladies I know. She came marching over and demanded to know how my Mother was, my Father, my Brother and if I had been in church while I was away. Once she was reassured that I hadnt Backslidden in my homeland and fallen into those dangerous English Ways, she was quite happy again.
Phew, Im glad I hadnt fallen away....!!!




The first conversations are always interesting to me. 2 young men from the village came over to ask if I had a bible with me - thank God for the bible app... they wanted to know what John 16 v 3 said,. which if you go read it (go on, go look it up) you will see makes little sense, and when read with v1-2 as well is slightly worrying... fortunately it turned out they meant John 3 v 16!!


Just one more photo for ya today! This is Sandra and I. Not Sandra from Aguas Negras, Sandra from Esperanza. She decided that my hair was so terrible she wanted to cut it off... I declined her kind offer and instead allowed her to put it into pig tails... classy hey.









So, Im back, and the honeymoon will soon be over. This morning I decided it was time to get rid of all the dust and dead insects, so spent a good 4 hours cleaning by little apartment! I had some interesting uninvited dead house guests to dispose of - sorry there are no photos!!

I start teaching English classes in Esperanza on Monday. Its been a while since I taught English, but Im quite looking forward to it. Im having 3 separate classes, based on ability.

Ok, time to go have a shower. I have no hot water, but I guess thats ok, it is 29 degrees right now...

Bye bye World!!
I'll be back!