Thursday, April 25, 2013

My life is really funny. I’m writing this blog in Word sitting outside the Charlotte Health Center in Meghan’s car while she goes to the chiropractor. Our lives are funny. I’m grateful for her and a free night to drive and laugh and ry and live together.

This time next week I’ll know what the next few years of my life potentially looks like. That is exciting and fun and scary! Not scary mostly just fun and exciting.
I may not move to Brazil but the process leading up to brazil has been really crazy. God has been so involved (as he should be ya know) and its been so good. If nothing else comes of this I still want to write it down and set up Ebenezer’s in my life to remember this time. So I went to Brazil. Then came home and asked Paige when I could move there as a joke. She replied and said she has a job for me and wants me there. I freak out. She says she and Mark have been praying about it since I was in Brazil and they think I’d be such a good fit and good asset for the Lar. She wants me to work in the office because I have good writing skills (in all my emails and messages to her I actually wrote articulately unlike I do in blog form). She wants me to help write grants and scholarship letters and do office things. I inform her that I’ve worked in an office for almost 2 years now and have written grants and gotten them and I love office work. (God thing number one- she asked about office work before I even told her my experience). She said I’d have to learn Portuguese and Portuguese sign language and to drive a stick shift. I’m game. So I see my parents in Chapel Hill the next weekend. I tell my mom and dad and for some reason my mom is literally ecstatic. She says this is what I should do and how do we start and where do we go from here. I tell her to slow down. (God thing number two- no convincing had to happen, my mom wants me to go. She is so good at trusting the Lord with me. It blows my mind) My dad is logical and asks about health insurance. I don’t know. Then I get sick and go to the dr and my dad emails me a lot and tells me he is worried because I’m sick often and what will I do in Brazil. I still don’t know. I tell Paige that and she tells me about health insurance she has. It doesn’t accept pre-existing conditions. Paige goes to a retreat in Sao Paulo and meets the Latin America director of Action International (the organization they are missionaries through) Action provides health insurance for missionaries and they accept pre-existing conditions. She tells the director about me and he is excited and says he is almost positive they would accept me if I became a missionary through them. They accepted a man who was diagnosed with cancer last year. The same day Paige tells me this exciting development my dad emails me about health insurance. He is switching jobs or companies and gets new health insurance soon. Health insurance that somehow has international coverage and acknowledges that on a case by case basis they accept pre-existing conditions. (God thing number 3—two developments on health insurance in one day. Two new options we didn’t have before.) I tell my boss at the vet I may be staying here in August to work until December. They say I can probably have my job back and work full time. Then the started interviewing people and maybe hired someone this week. Womp womp. I prayed about living with Leigh Ann and Brandon and I felt like I should ask them. They happened to ask me to clean their house last week so I’ve been a lot more involved in their lives lately than I usually am. I approach Leigh Ann and Brandon at a t-ball game on Monday night and tell them my situation. I’ve heard they aren’t letting any new people live with them but I figured it was worth a shot. They listen to me and they say yes. I tell them to pray about it and they say no you can live with us from August to February if I need to for free. (God thing number 4—free housing if I need it with a good family. Praise God.)

It has been a crazy fun adventure so far. I think it should be a lot harder than this but it hasn’t been. Paige said I could live at the Lar for free and I would just need spending money and transportation money so even support raising isn’t daunting.
I’ve been thinking about grad school since I got into Radford and I don’t know about VCU yet. I cried to Maggie on Saturday and asked her if I was throwing my life away by not going to grad school and moving to Brazil. She said no, she knows my heart isn’t to be a government social worker. My heart is to help kids. Particularly kids with disabilities. She said I should seize this opportunity. I was nervous to tell Sarah Thomas about it this week but I did. She looked at me and said I should go. She said I can go to grad school anytime (including online in Brazil) and I should do it now while I’m young and single and can.

I might move to Brazil. I’ll know next week. It’s crazy and exciting and so fun. The Lord is just doing all of it. None of this is Hannah Vaughn planning. The Lord is just laying stuff down fast and I’m overwhelmed but not frightened by it. 

Sunday, April 14, 2013

i have goals. i have options.

these are the two things zach has told me over and over since i applied to grad school. these are the two things he yelled at me on the phone last night when he ash and brian opened up my radford letter and told me i got in. i got into grad school. instantly my heart sank and later in the evening i cried on the phone to my mom. i was surrounded with love and my best friends though and they assured me that nothing about getting it was a sign. it doesn't mean i have to go or that i can't move to richmond or that i can't move to brazil.

"don't look for signs- if you are looking for signs you aren't looking for God you are looking for affirmation for decisions or choices you are making or aren't making."

i was reminded over and over this weekend by sweet women that the goal in life isn't to achieve my dreams it's to love the Lord well. to love people well. to love my family and friends and maybe future husband well. if i love people well but don't achieve dreams of grad school or being a consultant for non profits or being a missionary my life isn't wasted or in vain. it will still be a race run well.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

i think i have to write day by day about brazil before i can write how i feel about it.

  • left saturday the 23rd at noon, got sick, got to atl and played a lot of bananagrams.
  • got to fortaleza after a long overnight flight plus another flight. got picked up in a vw van and headed to the lar (the orphanage) 
  • unpacked changed into church clothes and walked down the street to church.
  • church hung out went to bed in a hammock after killing a lot of salamanders and cockroaches. 
  • monday mindy and i cleaned out a room full of donated toys and put them in piles and laughed a lot and then monday evening the 6 of us and paige (the lar director) went for a walk with 5 of the older girls from the lar. the girls ended up running and meghan and i decided to run (in toms and with backpacks on our backs) and we've never felt so free.  came back and played soccer and made up funny portuguese cheers and felt full.
  • tuesday mindy and i cleaned more rooms that were filthy and organized stuff and lounged at the pool with the kids. we went for another walk/run tuesday night and i outran the girls and they were impressed. came back and played soccer until i felt like i was going to fall over then had a dance party. 
  • wednesday we went to the beach and ate fish we watched being caught and got sunburnt and rock climbed and got a piece of plywood and waxed it and went dune surfing. reid broke his toe. 
  • sunburn continues and turns into sun poisoning. reid makes fun of me a lot for this and i vow to not complain about it even when my skin is so tight i can't get in my hammock.
  • after lunch we go to the school and watch the passion play. nalison is jesus! the play involved a lot of walking but it was so good. loved seeing our kids with their peers and acting out the easter story. it was really powerful. 
  • after this we go home and eat then we go to the city with the girls do play music in the town square and do things called vaccinations. this is where we play music and some of the older girls from the lar approach people who are drawn in by our musical abilities and talk to people about sex trafficking. these girls have been trafficked themselves. they raise awareness of how many girls and boys in fortaleza get trafficked and ask people to sign a petition saying they vow to never be involved in sex trafficking or exploitation of children in fortaleza. then we come home and lead devotions. we act out the lady giving two coins to jesus because that is all she had. ingrid became a christian. 
  • we go to bed after killing two tarantulas who were getting it on ontop of my towel.
  • thursday we go to the slums. we do more vaccinations and then gather kids and hike up to the top of the slums and do a vbs type service. we tell them the story of easter then tell them the entire gospel. it's hot. we go to another slum and do it again. after this we go back to the transition home and rest and chill and laugh until we cry with the girls. then we go out to eat at a steak place and eat chicken hearts and fish eyes and laugh until we cry some more. then we go shopping! 
  • friday it is easter celebration time. we kill chickens. literally. josh caught them then you hold them upside down and they pass out then you pull their necks until they snap then you stick them in hot water then you pull their feathers out then you take out their insides. it's unreal. then we dyed eggs and laughed a lot. 
  • then we had an easter service and told them the easter story and we got to hide eggs house by house and laugh really hard and eat a lot of candy. 
  • then we play a lot more soccer and swim in the pool and hang out. we dye strips of our hair purple and hold girls tightly and wish we didn't have to leave. 
  • Saturday-Sunday afternoon we travel and laugh and sleep a lot.

so that is the like schedule. now commentary and funny facts

  • d's are g's in portuguese so mindy became mingy which became mange. she embraced it
  • reid and i became friends on wednesday when i got sunburnt and he decided to mock me the rest of the trip and is still continuing to do so. i told him our friendship had to evolve past mockery and he said it could and he wanted it to but he'd still mock me. josh and i became friends thursday when we rode from slum to slum and sat next to each other in the van and i said funny things under my breath and he could finally understand everything i said and appreciate it and thought i was funny and we became bffs. 
  • on the first overnight flight to brazil the flight attendent moved the man next to meghan and i and i yelled SEE YA really loud and so anytime we left eachother we said see ya really loudly. 
  • reid broke his toe, josh got electrocuted, sarah didn't poop for 9 days, mange got 1st degree burns, meghan got a rash, and i had a little sun poisoning. 
  • monkeys live in trees, cows and donkeys live on the streets and highways, salamanders, poisonous frogs, tarantulas, cockroaches, beetles, and hornets lived in our house
  • i could sleep in a hammock the rest of my life, i may not buy a bed next year and just sleep somewhere i can hang my hammock.
  • h's and r's are switched so rihanna becomes hiranna which is really really funny
  • justin beiber can bond people together
  • running makes friends in all countries
  • if you don't know how to communicate just say musica and dance really loudly and funny

facts about the lar

  • 80% of children at the lar have been abused or trafficked or exploited. 
  • there are 4 parts to the lar. the little to older girls home (where we stayed) with 3 houses (little, middle, and older girls houses each with a house mom [tia] ), the little to middle boys home right down the street from the girls complex with 2 boys houses, an older boys home, and a transition home where girls in college stay
  • the lar is open for anyone who is considered an orphan which is a child with 1 or 0 parents according to the UN. there isn't an age limit and as long as they are progressing they can stay there. there are no locks on doors. they are brought to the lar by social workers. 
  • one of the biggest things we learned and appreciated is the joy the kids have. with all the junk they have had in their lives they still run to strangers arms and hold our hands and kiss our heads. how do you do that? how do you trust a stranger when you've been abused or mistreated or seen your family killed? the lord is bigger than all that, that's all i know. 
how i feel
  • i'm ready to go back. i want to live there. 
  • things that felt burdensome and heavy here the past few weeks didn't feel heavy there. it was thursday when i realized i hadn't thought about situations or people and was so surprised i hadn't thought about anything bad all week.
  • i ran freely and lightly through the streets of brazil guided by street lights eating cherries off trees with girls until our sides hurt. 
  • the lord was gentle and good to me and i can see his renewal working through the girls i spent time with. 
this is janielle. she haunts me in a beautiful way. she took to me really quick and is so sweet. as you can kinda see in this picture she has tattoos on her arms. 4 in total all over her forearms. one says crazy life, one says her moms name, one says another word, and one is a heart with an S in it. Paige can't tell us details of kids pasts but she said janielle literally has the worst past you can imagine. she said think of the worst things you can ever think of and that is janielles life. so i can't even imagine what she's been through but literally just the thought of someone sitting down and putting tattoos on her little arms makes me sick. i just can't imagine. she is so joyful though. she cried when she hugged me goodbye and wrote me a letter. i can't handle it. 

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