May 25, 2013

We Are Family - 5/25 (our last post from Roatan, Honduras)

When we first arrived at the Children's Home here at Sandy Bay, Orsy and Banessa said something that we all could see right from the beginning.  "This is not an orphanage, " Orsy conveyed with real compassion in his voice.   "No, this is a home," and he added as if right from a vinyl record out of the 1970s ......
"We are family!"

8 days later we have an even better idea of what that all means.  What a joy and a privilege it has been to be invited and so warmly received into their home and into their family.  Ask our students who are returning home today what they liked best about their trip and most will say the hugs every night from the children or just hanging out and playing with them.  That's what a family does, hang out, hug, play together.  Orsy, Banessa, even Blanca, the cook, love these children unconditionally as if they were their own.  The children in return are free and comfortable to share love with each other and with others through smiles and laughter and a continual barrage of hugs and high fives.  What a beautiful lesson.  God has lavished His love upon us how can we not open our arms to others?

Last night we got to take everyone out to Wendy's for a special farewell dinner.  Yes, they actually have a Wendy's here on the island, crazy I know. We all went - all the students, all the children, all the staff at the home - all of us one big (40+) happy family! But it wasn't the papas fritas, or the cold soft drinks that made the night great (though I've got to admit the Frosties were pretty good). It was just being together as a family, having fun, that's what made it so special.

As we are getting set to leave later today and return home to our own families in the States, it is this love and willingness to share that I am hopeful all of our Seniors will return with from Honduras.  More than just a Senior Project, I am hopeful that what the students learned here will stay with them for a lifetime.

Can't wait to see everyone soon.

God Bless!  Thanks for a wonderful trip!

*Orsy and Banessa will be coming to the States in September to have their annual meeting with the Children's Home board.  We are hopeful they'll be able to stay with us for a night or two and come to talk to John Carroll School (as we are hoping to bring another group here next year).  We'll make sure we send out an email to all our Seniors and their families about the date so you can come see them.

1.) Wednesday after Graduation Practice we'll all be meeting for an hour or two to set up our groups' Senior Project display for Thursday night.
2.) we've talked quite a bit about Senior Project Presentations but if anyone needs assistance please feel free to email or call at anytime next week.

* I woke up this morning at about 5 am with about 15 of the children singing happy birthday en Espanol outside my window! I thought what an amazing gift, so from the bottom of my heart I want to thank all the students and the parents for allowing Amy and I to be part of your Senior Project; it has been one of the best weeks of our lives.   Now the best part is coming home tonight to our own little family. Grace, Ellie, Manna, and Sojo you are God's most precious gift to us.  Love you girls, and we'll be sneaking in to give you a kiss tonight while you are sleeping.


  1. There are no adequate words to describe my feelings as I read this final post. My heart is so full of admiration, respect, wonder, and love for all of you. Jake, you should be writing for a living in addition to everything else that you do. You have done a wonderful job of capturing Roatan and bringing the group's experience to life for all of us America bound folks. All of you-adults and students alike should know that your posts have inspired many and I have already had current juniors tell me that they want to participate in this trip next year. I am not sure of your time frame for the return trip, but safe travels until you are back in the arms of your families who have missed you, but are so proud of you as am I. This trip and those of you who have been part of the entire experience both as prep and sewing participants and everything else that has gone into the experience are why I continue to teach and am so grateful to be part of the John Carroll family. Mrs G

  2. We feel the same way that Mrs. G. feels, the experience is one that none of you will ever forget and being there, we are certain, makes the return home that much more meaningful. Jake and Amy, we know how much you miss your girls. We are sitting at home right now watching the clock tick away waiting to get in the van to drive to the airport! We are so very happy for the wonderful experiences you all have had in Roatan but right now we are equally happy for your homecoming!
    Mike and Stephanie Ryan