The Day I Died A Giant

20131014-123512.jpgThe first time I went to Honduras I wanted to see it all. I wanted to help in every possible way, and understand every part of Orphanage Emanuel and how it all operates.

And I did just that. While I was there I helped teach a preschool class, I organized supplies at the school, I took toddlers on a walk through the mountains, I fed babies in a room with 20 babies in high chairs and 3 adults. But in addition to all those other activities from 2012 my most favorite was something that came to be known as “playing my brains out.” This is hours of running and/or shouting with a group of children called the “power toddlers” (boys too aggressive for the babies but not yet old enough for the older boys house).

So in 2013 as I prepared to return I was most excited about playing my brains out with the PT’s. Instead of spreading myself so thin I was able to expand upon those relationships I started last year. Because of their energy, this group of boys had somewhat fewer volunteers than other houses, but I gladly let them hold my hands and pull/drag me in the direction of anything stealing their attention. Some things they were captivated by include: goats, a horse lying down, a piñata, several frogs, and a man wearing a batman t-shirt. The frogs, by the way, quickly became dead frogs at the hands Continue reading

I Talk About Honduras All The Time

I talk about Honduras all the time. Like, every chance I get. I think about it every time I hear someone speak Spanish. Every time I am around children, every time I think about my vacation time. About once a week I get to thinking, “only 6 more months until we go back”. I went to Honduras September of 2012, and have basically been counting down the days until I can return since the moment we got back to Georgia.

I was telling a friend about my experiences just last week when a thought came to mind. Am I crazy for

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I Hate Kids

Jenny at Orphanage Emmanuel

No one would ever really describe me as a person with a passion for children.  I am rarely found in the nursery at church, and I often answer vaguely when asked when I will have children of my own. Chad says I only make three expressions: regular relaxed, fake smile, and that thing that happens to my face when someone suggests pregnancy. I haven’t seen it, but I’m sure it’s not pretty. All of that doesn’t exactly point to going on a trip to spend a week with children in Honduras.

So I signed up for the orphanage trip knowing construction would be involved. There was going to be digging, building, and sweating- and I wanted in on that team.

We arrived on a Sunday, so we started out with Continue reading

New Orleans


I was about to be a missionary.

As I was preparing to go to New Orleans for the summer I was scared out of my mind.  I just sat in my room and cried because I was so uncertain of the changes that were coming in almost all areas of my life.  But I knew I had to do this since I had such a strong urge to spend my summer living like a missionary.

The church I lived in was in a suburb of New Orleans that received the worst damage from Hurricane Katrina. I went 3 years after the hurricane and my expectations were that most things would have been cleaned up by then, but I couldn’t have been more wrong. The downtown part of the city was wealthy enough to rebuild and fix immediately, but the area where I stayed 20 minutes outside the city was a different world entirely. About one third of the homes were in the middle of an extremely slow reconstructive process that was dependent on depleting one’s savings and waiting for a volunteer plumber or electrician to come to town on mission, which rarely happened. The remaining two thirds of the homes I saw were abandoned or leveled down to the slab. Most of these homes had messages spray painted on their sides regarding damages or how many dead were found inside. Many of the families choosing to rebuild did so out of a fierce loyalty to their city, and I had never seen anything like it. One family that I helped had only one livable room out of a two story house due to the damage from the hurricane and the massive oil spill that came with it. We did a lot of work there, but I planted trees in their yard because they needed trees to feel Continue reading

Come Be A Missionary With Me

Young Jennifer

Jenny is a small group leader with Students at The Well. She is married to a beard.

I want to invite you to something. But I think you should know why first:

As a sixth grader I honestly would have said yes to going to an Elton John concert if it meant hanging out with friends. I was craving friends and acceptance of any kind. Peer pressure was kind of a staple for me back then.

But I wasn’t invited into a situation where learning the lyrics to Benny and The Jets was necessary. I was invited to a youth group gathering.

So I went to church on Wednesday nights and there were literally hundreds of other middle schoolers there. I ate pizza weekly. I met some boyfriends. I witnessed a cricket spitting contest. Over the course of three years I attended almost every week.  And then in high school, there was an abundance of crazy/awesome (or, crawsome) events- We went skiing every year, beach retreats every summer, and we even had one event where there was a concert with food, way too much candy, and inflatables. It was a sensory overload. I remember meeting really cool adults who were volunteering in an over-the-top excited way. It was clear to me, then and now, that the point of that youth group was to entertain.

I didn’t realize why at the time, but Continue reading