The Children

The children we got to work with weren’t just kids needing something to do in the hot afternoons. They weren’t just faces we took pictures with and took back to show our friends and family how many wanted to hold our hands. They weren’t a number we needed a certain amount of crafts for. No. These children were God’s Children. They had names and futures in His kingdom.

Like Lucia, the shy but compassionate girl who patiently helped me with my spanish.

Lucia

Or Luis Fernando, the small but charming boy who loved unconditionally.

Luis

And then Jueniel, the one who remembered and loved and taught us a lesson when he turned the other cheek when being mistreated.

Jueniel

Oh, and none of us can forget Kendry, the one with no loss for words. (but he didn’t just say them, he sang them.) (watch him HERE)

Kendry

And then there’s Elito, the one who chose me and looked past the dirt and the grime of the worksite and called me beautiful. God has given me the incredible opportunity to continue a connection with this child through sponsoring him and watching God work in his life as he grows into a young man.

Me and Elito

Before going on our trip I think some of us thought that the children we were going to work with were so lucky to have us visit them, to make them smile and laugh and to have us, the amazing americans, take time to interact with them. But we were wrong. We were the ones who were blessed. We were the ones that they made smile and laugh.  And they are the amazing Children of God who willingly took time to interact with us.

DR VBS game

 

(Photo credit Chris O'Neill)

Elito. The eleven-year-old boy who chose me.

 

He wasn’t smiling like all the other children when he came through the gate. His reply when I asked “como estas?” was not “bien” like all the other children. He was frowning and feeling “mal”. As all the other children skipped off, excited to go to VBS, he walked slowly, so I matched his pace and let God show a little piece of His love through me. I prayed this little interaction would somehow impact his life for the better.

At craft time he insisted on writing my name all over his craft, and by song time he didn’t want to let go of my hand. When it was time to say goodbye, his frown returned, and he told me he was sad about me, that I had to say goodbye. “Tomorrow, “ I said, as he hugged me tight and I fought back tears. What if he didn’t return tomorrow? I walked him to the gate and he turned to hug me again. I reminded him “Tomorrow…please come back.” His sad eyes connected with mine and then he turned and didn’t look back as he began his walk home.

The next day I waited at the gate, but only a few children showed up. I searched each face and smiled, but he was not there. We opened the gate; VBS was about to start and he was still nowhere to be seen.

I searched the road with my eyes as more children made their way from their homes to join us one last time.

And then, there he was, smiling this time, and I began to think that maybe I had made some small impact on this young boy. He came through the gate and hugged me tight, then took my hand as we walked towards the main building.

The day continued much like the last one, though this time with added smiles, more words, and maybe even a skip in his step. Once again he told me he loved me, once again he wrote my name, once again he held my hand, and once again we found ourselves back at the gate, needing to say goodbye. We hugged three times, not wanting to leave. This time he flashed one last smile before he started on his way back home. I waved goodbye and watched til he disappeared, then looked in my hands where he had left me his craft with “Moriah I love you” covering the front and back.

But the story doesn’t finish there because this little boy chose me and this couldn’t be the end.

Curious, I asked the sponsorship coordinator if this boy had a sponsor to support him and found out that no, he didn’t. He’d been waiting for me. At this point I had no say in the matter; no, it wasn’t up to me. Because you see, Elito, he chose me.

 

Me and Elito

 

(Photo credit Chris O'Neill)

Hello Blog

Wow.

It’s been awhile.

I practically feel like I’m starting a new blog!

So far 2014 has looked like this for me:

January- I housesat 14 days, we celebrated my parents 25th Anniversary (woot!), and participated in a Civil War reenactment across town.

February – I started leading our HighSchool worship team on Wednesday nights and went with Jordan to Pheonix for 5 days to participate in a Justice For All training and outreach.

March – Enjoyed fellowship around a bonfire, as well as at our Church picnic a couple days later!

April – Performed with a band in our homeschool group’s talent show and celebrated Joshua’s 7th birthday on the 10th along with my Dad’s birthday at the end of the month. AND we went to the Grand Canyon and stayed in a trailer (but that’s a long story for another time)

May – Choreographed Musical Bootcamp and taught 50+ teens in one week!

June – Left for the Dominican Republic on the 6th, Jordan’s 22nd birthday, and had an amazing 2 weeks there working hard, building a great team, reaching out, loving on children and sharing God’s love. I missed Father’s day with my dad, but made him this song. 3 days after arriving back in the states my Dad and I drove my sister to Kansas, her new home! She is now working as an intern with Justice For All!

And that brings us to July! The coming weeks are packed for me, so it’s likely I’ll disappear again, though not so long this time! Family coming into town and a lot of housesitting for my sister and me!

Hope that helps get this blog up to speed 🙂 I’ll be posting about a highlight from my trip to the Dominican Republic soon, so stay tuned…

❤ Riahjoy

 

PS How do you like the new blog look?

Housesitting – ALL SUMMER! {Flashback Friday}

Although Bethany and I didn’t live at another house the entire summer we did spend four long weekends, as well as a full week, at a couple different houses throughout the summer. It was fun and we loved getting to take care of DOGS (two at each house)!

Chase

Chase

Jake

Jake

Paddy

Paddy (there was another dog, but I didn’t get a picture 😦 A sweet golden retriever named Bella)

It was an amazing experience for both of us as we learned a lot about taking care of houses, the responsibilities of taking care of ourselves, and how to deal with a depressed dog (Chase) after his pal (Jake) was put down the day before his family left (plus how and when to call the police!).

Yes, this is what you come home to when you leave a sad dog home alone :(

Yes, this is what you come home to when you go to church, leaving a sad dog home alone 😦

ouch!

 

We also got a warning one day about the water being turned off in the neighborhood for a few hours!

 

No water!

No water!

John 4:16 - I loved this verse that hung in one of the kitchens...

John 4:16 – I loved this verse that hung in one of the kitchens…

Chickens

We loved getting fresh eggs from these chickens so we wouldn’t miss our babies 😉 Thankfully no chickens were eaten while we were there, but a few were “enjoyed” between our visits! Yikes! Glad I didn’t have to deal with that coyote 😕

But it wasn’t all hard and (dare I say) deathly…

Yes! I can fly!

Hello there!

Who says you can’t have fun on the job?

Rockn

sleep ;)

Or sleep on the job?

Sleep!

Fell asleep after finishing “Every Waking Moment” by Chris Fabry. It wasn’t even out yet! We got the pre-release copy from our friend the Author 😉

 

In all I want to thank the D and R families for trusting us with such a big responsibility and to Mom and Dad for encouraging us with this opportunity!

Hume SD Camp! 6/23-28/13 {Flashback Friday}

If you click on the first picture it will enlarge and you’ll be able to page through each one (and see the captions)…

Camp was amazing and a TON of fun. I was challenged and encouraged in ways I didn’t expect!

VBS! – 6/3-7/13 {Flashback Friday}

Vacation Bible School is always something I look forward to each year. I love getting to shepherd 6-7 kids around while having lots of fun!

My silly boys from my VBS  group

The silly boys from my VBS group

The boys loved making the “Kingdom” themed crafts. The shields below were quite a hit!

Game time was also always a big hit! Especially the day they turned the gymnasium into a giant Candy Land game board!

One of my favorites was music. It was fun to see how much the children got into learning the moves and words. It was also really great to see how worshipful the children could get praising Jesus!

Music

 

Although VBS is an amazing week I’m always glad that it only lasts five days at the end 😉

Moody Global Trek Game!

Global Trek
Moody Ministries is doing a fun Global Trek  game online to get you more information about the ministries and all they do (you must be 13 to play). Not only do you get to learn how they’re working in the world today you get to answer questions and receive points towards some amazing prizes! Sadly you have to be 18 to win, but if you’re 18 that’s awesome, because you might win a missions trip to Guatemala!

Game board

 

Head over to sign up!

https://www.moodyglobaltrek.com/9219?utm_source=link_share

SetApart Girl Conference – 5/31-6/1/13 {Flashback Friday}

This year’s SetApart Girl Conference was amazing!

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We worked with the Ormand’s church and we’re able to use their building to reach a bigger group then last year in my small living room

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I am so grateful for the Ormand family and all they did to help grow my vision and share this conference with others!

Saying Good-bye to Great Papa – 3-30-13 {Flashback Friday}

Soon after my Great Grandpa moved in with his daughter (my Gramma) because of his decline from lung cancer, we noticed his health deteriorate even quicker. It was time for a barbecue to spend some last moments with the patriarch of the family. It was bittersweet for all of us since we knew it would most likely be our last time with him, but we also knew how much he was eagerly waiting to be reunited with his dear wife in Heaven as well as meet his Savior whom he had served faithfully.

Papa

Watching Papa grill

Watching Papa grill

Lil josh

After Great Papa woke up we all got to spend some special time with him.

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Daniel showing off the wordless picture book I made them from their hike on the mountain.

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Now we couldn’t have a visit to my grandparents house without having the traditional egg hunt. No matter what time of year or what holiday we are celebrating we hide around 12-24 wooden eggs!

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We also had some time to spend with my Aunt Becki and my dad’s cousin (Nate) and his wife (Sandra).

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Plus we got to chat with my Aunt Kris to wish her happy birthday on Skype!

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My favorite picture of the night… my Dad having his last conversation with his Grandpa

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The beautiful sunset that night

We love and miss you Great Papa!