Psalm 34:8

Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in him. Psalm 34:8

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Get Ready, Get Ready!

Well, friends. I've been Stateside for a few weeks, and I have LOVED getting to see most of my friends and family. I've visited my sister in Little Rock, my best friends in Starkville, and my church family at Getwell Road UMC – Holla! And my favorite Great-Aunts came into town for Thanksgiving. They are always a hoot.

Pretty soon (January 24, to be exact) I will be back on a plane to Honduras for 10 months of teaching and discipling some of my favorite children at the Good Shepherd Children's Home. I can hardly wait! I bought my plane ticket just a few days ago, and I am currently preparing for GSCA Teacher Orientation, which is on December 4-5.

This stage of life is exciting (and scary).  I have been blessed with amazing support from my friends, family, and church. Y'all are awesome, and I see Christ in you so evidently! Please continue to pray for me and for all that God has in store for the teachers at the GSCH next year. I will teach English classes and Music classes (in both English and Spanish) to children from 4 years old to 9th grade!

If you are interested in joining me in ministry through financial support, please visit the link below. Under “Category and Funding” choose GSCA LEAD Teachers. Then choose my name – Bailey Wenger.  Your support will be greatly appreciated, and will go toward classroom supplies and personal needs throughout the year.

I love you!

BMDMI Donation link:

Some of my students:

Sixth Grade

Christian -- Sixth Grade

Seventh Grade

Seventh Grade

Marvin -- Seventh Grade

Enrykson -- Seventh Grade

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

"Busy, Busy, Busy"

“Busy, Busy, Busy

Busy all day long.

We work all day

And we have fun.”

The above lyrics are from a song I heard in July of this year.  I was observing Hayley Wilson as she taught the English classes that would soon be mine, and for some reason this song has been stuck in my head ever since! 

Life lately has been pretty busy and eventful. Here are some highlights:

Discipleship with Alexis

 I have started meeting with Alexis at least once a week to spend time with him in God's word. For those of you who don't know much about this boy, let me enlighten you. He stole my heart three years ago when I came to the GSCH for the first time. He is 12 years old, and he is just as rotten as he is sweet. Boy, do I love that boy! 
I have been so encouraged by these small teaching times. He even came up to me the other day and said, “Bailey, mas versiculos” which means, “Bailey, more verses.”

Tamales with Abner and Alisson! 

I had mentioned to Abner that I wanted to learn how to make tamales. He made me a deal: He would teach me if I promised to make them for my family during my time at home. Of course, I agreed! While Des and Joseph Ramsey and Tom and Alli Herring were visiting, he invited us all to his house to learn.  It was a complete blast! 
I can't tell you how much of a blessing Abner and Alisson are to the home. When I walked into their house that night, I saw Franklin and Luis – two teen boys from the home – in their kitchen helping.  I was SO impressed by Luis, who did whatever was needed without even having to be asked. Abner's taught them well, and both boys were enjoying their time there!
The tamales turned out great (and we even made baleadas afterwords!), but the best thing about the evening was spending time laughing and visiting with everyone.
These plantain leaves were picked freshly from our plantain trees!

Making Baleadas!  (Flour tortillas, refried beans, and mantequilla)

English Classes

My English classes have been going great! Last week, my 5th - 8th grade students created skits to present to the class. I was very proud of them and what they came up with. Their subjects ranged from “The Teacher and the Rebel Children” to a secret agent and a burglary. 
It's hard to believe my teaching time this year is almost over!  I'll be headed home for the holidays in just a couple of weeks.
7th Grade

6th Grade

8th Grade

Yay, Group Work!

This student cracks me up!  He is the youngest in the class, and is hilarious.  He's always smiling.

This little one (Viviana) is not in my English classes, but she wanted to hold my backpack during recess.  I am excited about the opportunity to teach her Music class next year!

Rain, Rain, Rain!

It has been raining a lot lately. It rained all night long for two nights in a row, which unfortunately flooded the bridge and caused all kinds of damage to the bridge and power lines. Men from the community have been working hard trying to repair everything. The bridge is now passable, and after three days in the dark, the power is now back on! 
The drop off you see is where the road is supposed to be (where you should be able to drive off the bridge.  There is about a two feet from the bridge to the top of the water, and about 3 feet from the top of the water to the ground underneath.  Workers were swimming in the water!

Other Little Things ... 

I got a package from my family – guitar chords and picks, goldfish crackers, Dove dark chocolate, Late Night with Jimmy Fallon playing cards (LOVE!), and dog treats for Julio! Julio says thank you for the dog treats, and the other teachers say thank you for the dark chocolate. Dark chocolate just makes everything better!

Seily and Lilly were hanging out by the teacher cabins after school one day, and they commented on my fingernail polish. I ended up painting their nails!
Thank you all for your continued prayers and support! I am excited to finish up these last few weeks and head home for some time with my friends and family for the holidays! It is so crazy that I'll be on a plane to come back here in just a few months (January 27). I am so humbled and giddy that God would allow me to serve him here. It is hard, but it is rewarding. Love yall!

"Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness.  When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.  Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few.  Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.”  (Matthew 9:35-38)

Friday, October 3, 2014

Kids, Kites, and Casitas

I had a wonderful time at the Casitas (the houses the kids live in) yesterday.  Everyone was in such a good mood! I assume this is because they didn't have a full school day yesterday. Most of the kids were outside playing in groups together, and I was happy to see everyone helping each other with the kites, and sharing the marbles – and no one was fighting! I loved it!

My first stop was Casita 3, where Julissa, Lluvia, and Yolanda listened to music and played games on my iPhone.  It was nice to just relax on their porch and sing songs with them.  Someone (Lester, I think) picked one of the big, red flowers that grows outside Casita 3 and brought it to me. Then Julissa, who is very talented at doing hair, arranged my hair in a pretty side bun and put the flower in it.  She somehow did this without a ponytail holder – that is talent!  When I decided to leave Casita 3, Julissa told me, “Don't take your hair down!” I told her I wouldn't, but unfortunately the wind didn't cooperate, and the up-do fell apart.

First I saw Julian trying to get his kite up. I tried to help him, but there was no wind. I eventually walked over to Carlos, who was making kite string from some string segments he pulled from a mop. I'm not sure if this was allowed, but the kids did it anyway. And I think it was an innovative use of their resources!

And it turned an un-usable kite into some fly-able fun!

Roberto had the string tied around his wrist for a while. I'm not 100% positive, but I think I saw him acting like he was Spiderman and the kite string was his web, shooting out from his wrists … Goober.

I was flying a kite with Lipzy for a while by the soccer field, and she yelled over to me, “Bailey, sing the 'This is real'” song. I didn't know what she was talking about at first, but then I realized she wanted me to sing the Camp Rock song. Once I started singing it, I realized that it describes my journey here pretty well.

“This is real.
This is me.
I'm exactly where I'm supposed to be now.
I'm gonna let the Light shine on me.
Now I've found who I am. There's no way to hold it in."

(That's as much of the song as I remembered, but it fits!)

I walked back over to Casita 3 and saw Yolanda sitting outside with a frisbee full of mud. Ana Melissa was gathering flowers for her, and she was arranging the petals very prettily on the mud-canvas. I sat, watching her create her nature art – I had no idea how creative she is!  She was using her resources to create something beautiful.

And now I'm off to teach!  Buenas Dias, World! 

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

The Facts

Here are some random facts of life:

  1. I wake up around 5:30 am, and I'm usually in bed by 9:00 pm.  But yesterday I splurged and was up until 10:00!  It was worth talking on the phone with my brother.
  2. What do we eat here?
    1. Breakfast – 6:30 am: hot cereal (I had to get used to that one), breakfast sandwiches, refried beans with corn tortillas, or oatmeal (They strain the oats out of the oatmeal, so it's like thick, hot milk. But it's not bad!)

      Chocolate Rice Krispies are my favorite cereal to have with hot milk, because after I finish the cereal, I have hot chocolate!

    2. Lunch – 12:10 pm: chicken and rice, stir fry noodle things, rice and beans, spaghetti, and sometimes we get an “American” meal of fried chicken, cole slaw, and mashed potatoes or french fries! Those days are my favorite!

    3. Dinner – 4:30 pm. Baleadas (refried beans, eggs, and mantequilla all wrapped up in a flour tortilla), sandwiches, hotdogs, pizza, or hamburgers.

      This is fried tortillas (tostadas, I think), with refried beans, cheese, and salsa.  The green jalopeno salsa Marta makes is delicious!
  3. In a mall in Tegucigalpa, there is a movie theater full of recliners -- for only $6.50/ticket.  The USA needs to get with the program and give the gift of lazy-boy seating to it's cinema-loving citizens.

  4. In many public restrooms here, you get the toilet paper you need BEFORE you enter the stall. I have finally started to remember this before someone has to remind me …
  5. Power outages are regular here, and the teacher's cabins is the only place without a generator. Living in the dark isn't always bad, though. It just means more stars and less bugs when you sit outside! 
    1. If I had a nickel for every bug bite I've gotten in Honduras ... 
  6. In Honduras, Pepsi is better than Coke. (That's coming from a girl who's been a die-hard Coke fan all her life!)
  7. Without constant internet or phone service, I have lots of down time, so I read. I sit on a chair outside or lay on my bed (those are pretty much my only two options), and I read.
    1. Books I've read/finished reading:
      1. Tortured for Christ, by Rev. Richard Wurmbrand
      2. Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus, by Nabeel Qureshi
      3. The Hiding Place, by Corrie Ten Boom
      4. Growing Up Duggar, by Jana, Jill, Jessa, and Jinger Duggar
      5. Sex, Dating, and Relationships, by Gerald Hiestand (I read this one a couple weeks ago, and I'm rereading it already! It's a great book about biblical dating in the modern world. Singles, go read it.)
    2. Books I am currently reading:
      1. (Rereading) The Hunger Games Trilogy, by Suzanne Collins
      2. Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austin
      3. Anything: The Prayer that Unlocked My God and My Soul, by Jennie Allen (for Wednesday afternoon Women's Bible study)
      4. The Circle Maker: Praying Circles Around Your Biggest Dreams and Greatest Fears, by Mark Batterson (for Monday night teachers' bible study)
      5. (Audiobook) One Thousand Gifts, by Ann Voskamp
  8. Marching bands have made it to Honduras, people!  A nearby school came to perform for the GSCA students.  They only had percussion instruments, but this former band student was grinning from ear to ear.   

    Some of my 4th grade students performed a traditional dance at the Independence Day program.
  9. Speaking of music, I'll be teaching music classes for the bilingual students next year!  I'm super excited about this opportunity, and I've been brainstorming ways to use the resources that will be available to me (since musical instruments are limited).  I was sitting outside yesterday (reading in my chair), when I started thumping my newly-finished Coke bottle on the arm rest.  Then I had an idea!  Not only could we use coke bottles as home-made percussion instruments (there are so many different percussive sounds that can come from one bottle), but we could also fill them with water and use them as melodic instruments (you know how when you blow across the top of a bottle, it makes a sound?).  So I spent a good hour in my bathroom trying to map out the notes on the Coke bottle.  It's not perfect (I had trouble with  G, G#, A, and E), but it's a start.  I even got two more bottles and made a chord with G, B, and D!  
Love you guys!  

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Accepting Introversion

It is May 2012, and I have been in Honduras, Central America for three weeks. Tomorrow, two of my three roommates will be leaving, and then it will be just myself and one other girl left for a week of service. The night has been filled with laughter, reminiscing, and comments to the departing girls such as, "The house will be so quiet without you!"  And it will be.  For the past three weeks, I have lived with these three loud girls, and my quiet, introverted personality has slipped into the background, almost invisible behind them. I have come out of my shell significantly, however, and I now consider them all my friends. 

I briefly leave the room to plug up my phone, and as I am walking down the hallway to rejoin them, I hear one of my new friends exclaim, "Now let's get a picture with the Trio!"  The other girls giggle in agreement and squeeze together for a picture, echoing "The Trio! We are the Trio!"  I have just entered the room when I realize. I am not in their Trio. I force a smile and sink into a chair at the foot of the dining room table. A guy friend sits down next to me and asks, "Why aren't you in the picture?" I shrug as I think of an appropriate response. 

I understand why I am not in the Trio.   

Although I have been living with them for three weeks, I cannot compete with the five that they have spent together.  By the time I arrived, they had already formed their tight-knit group, and I was intimidated. I struggled to find my place among the their giggly, energetic, and at-times-obnoxious personalities.  And for three weeks, I rarely spoke for a variety of reasons. For one, it was hard to get a word in between the Trio's chatter.  Their conversations blended together with little room for my quiet, unneeded input. For another, I worried about what would be said behind my back when I did offer input. Although I considered each of these girls as Christian friends, I also shared a room with them.  I heard every word they said behind closed doors about the people they were perfectly kind to in person. Nothing was meant to be mean, but what seemed like harmless jokes to them was only a source of insecurity for me.  I even awkwardly overheard a conversation they were having about me.  

"Nothing was meant to be mean, but what seemed like harmless jokes to them was only a source of insecurity for me."

It was the first week I was there, and I was walking down the dark, unlit hallway to a girl's movie night. I was excited about spending some time getting to know my new roommates. Only, before I opened the door I heard them discussing their reserved new house guest -- me. They became real quiet, real fast once I turned that door knob. I still remember their flustered, embarrassed faces when I entered the room.  I decided to let it slide, and I chose my seat for the movie.  But I never stopped feeling inferior, and as a whole, unwanted. 

I was young. I'd never been away from friends and family before. I was in a foreign country and I knew exactly zero of my ten housemates. I walked in intimidated. I was uncomfortable with my introversion, because to me it was a crutch. An obstacle that I, out of my own willpower, had to overcome.  I prayed for years, Lord, if You can just make me more outgoing, then I'll be able to make an impact for You. If you could help me be more extroverted, then people will like me more, and I'll fit in. But do you see the fault in that logic?  When God created me, he did not create an extrovert. He created an introvert, and he knew exactly what he was doing.  But I didn't. 

"I was uncomfortable with my introversion, because to me it was a crutch. An obstacle that I, out of my own willpower, had to overcome."

For years I tried to fit the mold of my mind's "Perfect Christian" -- an outgoing person who can always win over a crowd; who always knows the words to say; who can evangelize with ease.  The Christian who everyone loves to be around.  But in all of my discontentment, I missed the gift of my introverted Spirit.  One day God brought me to 1 Corinthians 12. It is a passage about the Body of Christ, and it was a welcomed wake-up call!

"Now the body is not made up of one part, but of many. If the foot should say, 'Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,' it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. And if the ear should say, 'Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,' it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be?  If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be?  But in fact, God has arranged the parts of the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be.  If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body. 
The eye cannot say to the hand, 'I don't need you!' And the head cannot say to the feet, 'I don't need you!'  On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable."  (1 Corinthians 12:14-22)

"But in all of my discontentment, I missed the gift of my introverted Spirit."

I spent so much of my life trying to be a part of the body that I was ill-fitted for.  God created me with his Kingdom in mind, and what I viewed as a weak aspect of my personality was, on the contrary, "indispensable"!  Although I had been walking with Christ for several years, I had absolutely no clue where I belonged!  

So I started to pray that God would reveal to me exactly where in his body he had created me to serve.  And he came through for me, as he always does. I realized that I am much more comfortable in the background of events -- setting up beforehand, washing dishes afterward, and being a welcoming friend to the outliers.  Once the pressure to be the "life" of the event was removed from my shoulders, I was able to embrace my true role. It came so naturally for me to spend my time seeking out those new, quiet, laying-low-to-avoid-looking-awkward faces in the crowd -- my kindred spirits!  It's was as if God was telling me,  "Bailey, I created you an introvert so that I could reach other introverts through you."  Once I learned to embrace this previously loathed facet of my personality, I had less insecurities, less intimidation, and a much clearer purpose for my life in Christ.  I no longer felt intimidated by "loud" personalities, because I accepted that they were created with a different purpose in the body than me.  We are, every one of us, valuable. 

"It's was as if God was telling me,  'Bailey, I created you an introvert so that I could reach other introverts through you.'" 

I am proud to be an introvert, because I am proud to be a creation of The Lord, God Almighty! He did not mess up when he formed me in my mother's womb, and he did not mess up on you, either.  Are you fighting a part of your personality that was meant to be a gift from God? Perhaps your quiet spirit or your boldness or your not-in-the-least-bit-athletic nature is not meant to be an obstacle to overcome, but a channel through which The Lord can move to accomplish His Kingdom plan.  After all, "God has arranged the parts of the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be."  (1 Corinthians 12:18) 

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

What's New in Honduras?

What's new?
  1. My first week of classes went really well!  I learned a lot, and I am excited for the next 3 months. It is a complete privilege to teach some of my favorite kids in the world.
  2. The cafeteria is still working wonderfully. I often stop to thank the Lord for my 3 meals a day. There are so many in this country (and all over the world) who live on next to nothing.
  3. Saturday afternoon I was walking to the casitas when I passed Alexis helping Tom water some plant sprouts. I snapped a quick picture of him and planned to keep walking, but I decided to stop and visit for a while. Pretty soon, Alexis had put the watering can into my hand and I was helping too! I enjoyed that quality time with him.  More than anything, I loved seeing the smile that seemed stuck to his face. He loves to help, and Tom was full of praise for his work ethic.  Unfortunately, I ended up accidentally knocking over a cilantro plant -- Oops!  I apologized multiple times to Tom.  I felt so bad!  I hope that maybe I was able to model to Alexis how to respond when you make a mistake.  Later, Alexis and I helped Tom pick snap peas and green beans from the garden.  It was a lot of fun, and I even saw them in our lunch a couple of days later!
  4. Stewart (one of the teachers here) was sick on Monday, so I ended up teaching his class.  What a challenge!  Thankfully, God provided me with activities to do with the students that filled up the school day.  I was also happy to receive help from one of the school administrators, Elia.  I have a new-found respect for substitute teachers.  What a job!
  5. Prayer request time! There's some kind of virus going around.  Most of the North American teachers have been hit by the "worst" of it at some point, but we are all feeling the effects.  Prayers for health would be much appreciated!

Now for everyone's favorite part: Pictures!
I got to eat lunch with this cutie the other day.  Jimena always seems to have enough energy for everyone in the room!

I pass the baby cow pasture multiple times a day.  They are so pretty!

When you don't have constant internet access, you find yourself with time on your hands.  And you draw.

Alexis watering the plant sprouts -- cilantro, tomato, brocolli, etc.

Aaaand, here's the result of my clumsiness.  I'm sorry to all cilantro lovers (myself, included!)

Alexis with the snap peas and green beans we picked.

On Sundays, the teachers get to go one of the malls in Tegucigalpa.  We got to eat at a Johnny Rockets this week, and the vanilla milkshake I had was HEAVEN! 
Love ya'll!  Until next time!