26 Jan HOW…I left my heart at Copprome!
Well, here I am 50 yrs old and writing a blog…I never thought I would write a blog….I am a math person…a number cruncher..amazing what God can do even in me…so here goes…my story really begins in April of 2009 when my world, that I knew, crumbled. I was a teacher/coach at a private Christian school in Nashville, TN. I spent anywhere from 40-60 hrs per week there. I always started each class in the book of Matthew and spent at least 5 minutes each class…each day teaching the kids about who Jesus was and is!! So…my life was perfect! I had a married daughter living 6 miles from me and a son playing college athletics. My husband worked out of state..so we mostly had our weekends together…it was perfect, because I could spend my time during the week with my students which filled that void in my life of my kids being gone. Most of our weekends were spent at our son’s college athletic competitions. So…I really felt blessed and whole!
Then that terrible, horrible, no good day happened. I was told my contract would not be renewed for the following school year. WHAT? I had dedicated 13 years to this place. I loved the kids, I was a coach, a mentor, a teacher of God’s word, team leader in my grade and very rarely said no to anyone or anything!! Both of my kids even graduated from there…and my daughter was now a teacher there too!! I felt so broken and sad and lost…now, I am not really a big crier…but I cried…and I cried…I felt like my world had just been slid out from under me for no reason. The reason they gave was the economy….you see, 11 other teachers and administrators from that school were “let go” also that month. The walls of the school felt like we were walking on an egg shell…no one knowing who was next. But of course, we were told to finish out the school year…do you have any idea how hard that was? As I tried to read the scripture aloud to the kids the next Monday (my “let go” meeting occurred on Thursday the day before Good Friday…ha! My Friday was not so good that year!), I lost it! I just cried and told them how much I loved them and how much God loved them. I also told them I would not be back the next year…they cried with me. But I told them that I knew God had big plans for me and I was hanging on to that! My words were true..but my heart was so broken! Of course, isn’t that when God can use us the most…when we are broken enough and helpless enough to finally listen to Him?
The only thing He told me during those last 6 weeks of the school year was not to tie myself down to a full time job…to keep myself flexible. I loved that thought….but my husband had lost his job just 1.5 yrs before and though he had another job..the pay was less and we were still trying to recover from that! But, I wanted to be faithful and I knew missions was what I loved more than anything! So my accounting brain was working overtime trying to figure out how to compensate for the wages I would no longer have. Between our house note and a child in college…we were on a tight budget with not much left over. I was trying to figure out how to NOT take a full time job to stay flexible for God….but still bring in my share of the monthly bill money. So I had several parents telling me they would use me if I would tutor….and several people told me they needed some bookkeeping for their businesses…so I trusted God…found a small office to rent in Brentwood and opened up a tutoring and accounting business. The tutoring for my “kid fix” and the accounting to help compensate for the months out of school!! So I was going out on a limb…I guess we could call it faith…to see what God had in store for me….
That fall, I ended up with about 10 students for tutoring and 3 businesses who needed bookkeeping/accounting services…so the cash flow was exactly what we needed to hold onto things. The market was miserable or we would gladly have put our house on the market! So I tutored and did bookkeeping and loved it all! I had time in the mornings to do Bible Studies and go to the gym…then at 3, I would go and tutor until 7 or 8:00. I was loving it!! I started feeling God’s nudge to do more missions…my son and I were going to Mexico in May and he had a trip in the summer he needed me to chaperone on. (He was working as a part time youth pastor while in college). So I felt great that we had some mission work lined up for the summer! Then in March, Shelton, my son, received a text message..isn’t it just like God to use text messaging?…it was from a friend inviting him to come to Honduras…He told me about it and I piped up “I want to go too!”. SOOO…after several phone calls and e-mails…we booked our flights to Honduras. Everyone was asking me who was taking us and what church we were going with…my answer was…we are going because I feel like this is what God is calling us to do! We were going to live at the orphanage and just help out! I had been going to Mexico on mission trips for about 10 years with my brother who leads trips…we mostly built churches and did VBS for the kids in the communities. I had never been on a trip to help an orphanage and I was so fired up!!!!!!!!! Shelton’s friend was going to be there for a month and we would go for 8 days while she was there. Shelton’s pastor and one of my best friends also went with us…so 4 of us headed to Honduras…so excited…having no earthly idea what we would see or how we would be living…but I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that God was orchestrating the entire trip!!!
He did not let me down…we landed in San Pedro Sula….and Shelton’s friend along with the Nun, Sister Teresita, who runs the orphanage and her sweet driver…nando..were there to pick us up in a Toyota pick up truck. We had 14 pieces of luggage (5 of which were filled with school supplies and gifts for the kids) and 7 adults in a Toyota pick up! Only in Honduras is that NOT against the law!! It was hysterical….When we arrived at the orphanage the kids were climbing in the truck to hug and kiss us. With tears rolling down our faces and the enormous welcome we received…we moved into our living quarters for the week. It was hot…no air conditioning…hot water occasionally…but it was the best 8 days we had ever lived…the kids were up at 5:30 every morning getting ready for school and they really wanted to see us before they left! (They go to school from Feb – Nov…no summers off…they are off during the rainy season Dec/Jan) We loved on them…ate dinner with them (beans/rice/eggs/homemade tortillas EVERY night)..watched movies with them…painted toenails and fingernails..read stories and played lots of fun games. We also painted one of the rooms…the little girls room bright pink with big daisies!! The small kids loved us immediately….the older ones stayed more to themselves…When I asked Sister Teresita why..she said most Americans come and make lots of promises and leave…never to return…so they are scared to form relationships…I knew at that moment that I would never be “that American”. I knew God wanted me to love them…nurture them…help raise money for them…and constantly let them know that I loved them!
Leaving them was so sad…but I knew I would return. I was turning 50 in 4 months and my sweet husband said he had saved a little money and wanted to take me on a cruise or something for my birthday. He asked me when I got back where I really wanted to go (thinking I would say the Bahamas or something exotic)…my response…yeah..you know..I said I want to go back to Copprome…my heart is there and I want you to meet the kids God has given us! He said “are you sure?”…you see my husband had never been on a mission trip…he was always working and I was the one to take the kids. So he was a little worried about this 50th birthday trip. I told him it would be awesome…but he would have to chill out and just relax. Honduras is a place without a tight schedule and you can never really be in a hurry! So he trusted me and we went…HE LOVED IT!… He loved the kids, which I knew he would…and he even told me he now totally understood when some dear friends of ours sold everything and moved their entire family to Bangkok, Thailand to do missions. He thought they were crazy for doing that until the Angels at Copprome came into his life!
So…financially how could I help the kids at Copprome. I knew with the economy and most of my friends living like we were…very tightly…we had to start out small and just raise awareness. So I , with the help of Sister Teresita, figured up the cost of educating the kids at Copprome. They go to school and there are school supply costs, books and uniforms. (you should see these precious kids in their starched navy skirts/pants and white button down blouses and shirts when they go to school!) The cost to educate them is about $150 per year per child. I thought, well surely we Americans can afford to educated these kids. At least this would free up more money for food and utilities. You see, I looked at the financial statements and the orphanage was running in the “red”. It only took 2 months (mostly on facebook) to get every child sponsored! I was so excited. Now…what? Not sure…but I know God will show me!
I leave in 4 days to go back to plan mission trips for the summer. We are planning at least 3 or 4 trips and plan to paint…build a playground…and do some fix up work at a couple of homework shelters Sister Teresita runs for the kids in the poor areas who need help with their homework….this also serves to keep the kids off the streets!