Sunday, August 28, 2016


Two of our oldest girls, who also happen to be sisters, were baptized today after church! Just over a year ago (I think... I could be way off), younger sister B. was with Danyelle and said she accepted Jesus into her heart. She hadn't been baptized yet and recently started asking about it quite a bit. She went to church with us for awhile, but over the past couple months had been going with the tía and some of the other kids to a different church. We hoped we could have her baptized one day at our church (she'd previously told us she wanted baptized there too), but to be honest, we never really looked into it much. 

A few weeks ago, Savannah arrived back to Cochabamba and Belinda talked to her about being baptized, too. Shyrlen had never told me she wanted to be baptized too, but after talking with Savannah and Pastor Fernando, it was decided that both girls would be baptized at Belén! 

Today was the much-awaited baptism. Most of the current tías (even a couple not working today) wanted to come as well as a few former tías who knew the girls when they were younger and all of the kids came to church with us today. It was quite the crowd for such a special event!

After church we invited a few of our friends over for lunch and to celebrate a little more. Sarah made a cake and we bought Bibles to give the girls. Everyone signed them and they received some really sweet, encouraging messages. I'm so happy we were able to be a part of such an important day for them!

Happy Baptism!

Saturday, August 27, 2016

August Happenings!

While school and tutoring basically consume my week, a lot has been happening on the weekends... I take pictures and then don't blog about it until the pictures start to pile up! Wish I could post all the cute pics we take of the kids, but these will have to do for now :)

As many of you have already heard, Casa de Amor changed names and administration over the past couple months. We're now known as the Sunshine House! Click here to visit our website and here to "like" us on Facebook... I've taken over child sponsorship, so please let me know if that's something you would like to be a part of... and send us your email so we can keep in touch!

 At the beginning of August, I fostered a dog for a week, thinking I would adopt her at the end of the week. Sofi was the sweetest little dog when I was home, but when left alone, she had severe separation anxiety. She tried to claw and chew through doors and I was so worried leaving her home alone every day. She was physically hurting herself in attempting to not be alone. One day I came home and she had clawed the wall trying to escape. It was at that point I could no longer ignore what was going on. It was getting worse by the day. Unfortunately I had to return her to the rescue group. She needs a family that has someone home during the day.

 Just a couple days after returning Sofi, I got a call by the director of the rescue group asking if I wanted to foster Princesa (left) and then adopt her if I wanted. I agreed and brought her home. She was such a great little dog! A couple days later, I received a call from another volunteer with the rescue group telling me about Miel (right). I ended up bringing her home for a test week too. Right now, I have both dogs. Princesa is no longer the nice, easy dog she once was (she isn't a huge fan of having Miel around), and Miel is a puppy in every sense of the word. She's super sweet and I'm planning on adopting her this coming week!

 J. turned two a couple weeks ago so we had to celebrate! I wish I could post pictures of a video I took of him and his big sister A... He "bit" his cake (really we just smeared some frosting on his face after helping him bite it) and A. couldn't stop laughing when she saw him! She was almost in tears she was laughing so hard!

 One Sunday afternoon consisted of organizing almost 3 full houses of furniture. Some of it was being taken away that night so we had to decide what needed to stay and what needed to go. It was quite the task! Big thanks to Savannah and the tías who did most of the work :)

 One of my students came over to me the other morning and handed me an envelope. When I opened it, I saw this note he had made me! It says "I love you Miss Hannah" and I'm assuming he wrote "Mm" because that's the letter we were practicing... My kids are too sweet!

 I've started tutoring four days a week after school. I brought these letter tiles back from the States with me, and they've become a big hit with my little student... One day before leaving, he asked if he could write a word "in English" that I could translate for him. He used every tile to write this massive jumble of letters... Any guesses on that translation?!

 It's always a good night when our "old" friends get together!

Tía Silvia will never fully trust us in the kitchen, no matter how long we've been here. The other night after dinner, Savannah washed the dishes. Tía Silvia hung out in the kitchen with us, but insisted she wasn't going to work as she had already finished her work for the day. Not long after Savannah left the kitchen, Silvia went over to the sink and rewashed some of the dishes!

This picture isn't mine and I wasn't even there to take my own pictures, but this one is too cute not to post... Savannah set up a Sunshine House Olympics this week! Each child and tía got a shirt with their own country on it and she set up all sorts of fun games for them to play outside!

***Make sure you come back tomorrow to read about a very special event happening at the Sunshine House this weekend!

Saturday, August 13, 2016

First Week of School!

This week we finished our first week of kindergarten! 

Although I taught last semester, I was a little nervous about starting with a group from the beginning of the school year. I have to say, my class this year is great! This is the first year we have 3 kinder classes, and I have 20 kids on my roll (two have never come though). After 30 kids in my class last year, the room feels a bit empty as we've had 16-18 kids each day.

The other kinder teachers are also enjoying their classes this year. We've all noticed how nice these kids are! We haven't had any name-calling or not wanting to be friends with certain kids, and they have been listening pretty well, too. 

Other than the 5:30am wakeup, it's been nice getting back into a routine every day. I remember being tired when I started teaching but I definitely wasn't this exhausted every day... I used to laugh at Sarah last year when she went to bed at 9pm, but I totally get it now! I've been in bed by about 8:30pm and asleep not longer after every night this week!

These aren't the best pictures but I wanted to show a few of my classroom...

Front of the room

Back corner has our owl word wall and the kids' cubbies and some materials. I bought the paper globes when I was in the States and planned on hanging them from the ceiling. We need to borrow a ladder from maintenance before we can hang them and just haven't gotten around to it yet!

 Other back corner... "My Family and I" is one of the first social studies themes we'll be doing and the kids will bring in pictures of their families. I'm hoping to use the half-table for small groups once we're able to start centers.

 View from the door

The disaster that was organizing their school supplies! We still have several who haven't brought their supplies yet but as I had no supplies for us to use (another teacher had to give me pencils... seriously, I had nothing), it was pretty important that we sorted out the stuff we did have!