Tag Archive: friendships

post by carolnl | | Closed


We sat around the table after dinner, reminiscing. I recalled the time a friend of mine scared my little brother and his friend, who were home alone. Mom and Dad had an invitation out. Before I left for a youth group sing, I wrote down the number where I could be reached. “Call me if you need anything.”

About half an hour into our evening, the phone rang at the home where we met. “That’s for me,” I said as I walked toward the telephone. Sure enough, it was little Bob.

"our protection"

“our protection”

“We’re scared,” he started out. “Mark and I are sitting on the couch with the big black scissor.”

“What are you doing?”

"Telling each other ghost stories"

“Telling each other ghost stories”

“Telling each other ghost stories.”

“Well, cut it out.”

I continued, my heart touched by the picture of these two youngsters sitting side by side with a big black scissor as their protection. That in itself was frightening.

“Do you want me to come home?”

“Well,” said Bob’s young voice, “I don’t want to inconvenience anyone.”

“I’ll be home in five minutes,” I responded as I pulled out my car keys. I chuckled as I told Jim what had happened and that I was heading home.

I pulled into the driveway and walked into the house to pull two little boys into my arms. I put the big scissor out of the boys’ reach, put my pj’s and long robe on and calmed them with (what else) chocolate cake and ice cream. Suddenly both boys’ eyes widened and they pointed outside. “I heard something,” one said.

“Stay right here,” I demanded. Then I took the big black scissors and went out the front door – a pathetic figure walking past the bushes brandishing this crazy tool of destruction. “Who’s out here?”

I reentered the house and the boys were jumpy. “Up there,” and they pointed to the stairway. Now I was getting scared. I slowly walked up the steps, telling the boys to stay where they were. (Why didn’t I just call the police?) As I walked past my parents’ bedroom, Jim jumped out and grabbed me from behind.

“Do you know how close you got to being stabbed by a big, dull scissor?” I asked. “Don’t you ever scare these boys again. You can scare me (yeah, right–like I’m invincible), but not them. Now YOU calm them down.”

Jim settled the boys and put them to bed.

Memories–this a fond and funny one in retrospect; some are painful; some heartwarming. But all are a part of the fabric of our lives. This one showed me my own God-given protective instinct over those I love. It also taught me something about the value of forgiveness and communication and laughter with a friend who might terrify my little brother but then spend time calming him and helping him feel secure again.

What memories do you carry?

Do they set you free or do they hold you back?

What Awaits?


Sobeida (in white) and friendsLet’s see … toothbrush and paste, sleeping bags, pillows, clothes for layering … what else do I need? Oh yes, my IPad, pajamas …

Rancho Santa Marta (RSM) – a combination residence, school, chapel, place of education for learning disabled children. I can’t wait to see Sobeida, my precious “amigita” (little friend). Her soft brown eyes and radiant smile will greet us in church Sunday morning. This lovely 15-year-old is a talented artist, and each year I bring home a new treasure she’s drawn. Sobeida and I first became friends Sobeida four years ago. I’ve watched her shyness lessen as she has grown and matured; I’ve worked with her to decorate the chapel for missions month; and our friendship has deepened. Sobeida, her six brothers and sisters all grew up at RSM. Each has a learning disability. One of her younger sisters, 12-year-old Cassandra, hasn’t spoken for years. Last year I heard her speak–I think for the first time. Words!  Cassandra is using her words! With teachers trained to work with learning disabilities, special education resources and a room that focuses on sensory responses, these children’s lives are being changed for good. While some will continue their education, others will learn practical skills like animal husbandry, which they can use to provide for themselves. The ranch is an exciting place with a broad vision.


I took a very relaxing turn in the ball pool, above, which allows children to feel fully supported.

Victor has severe disabilities; nearing thirty, he’ll likely never leave the ranch. But he keeps busy and productive gardening for the school and property.

One of our team members (left) with Victor

One of our team members (left) with Victor

In addition to the forty-some resident children, many of whom have been removed from their homes because of abuse, another 120 or so are bused to school from up to 60 miles away.

We’ve worked on a variety of projects there. One year I learned a Bible story in Spanish and gave a flannelgraph lesson in the classrooms. And if you remember flannelgraph you’re probably of my generation. It was a little frightening, but fun, to use my limited Spanish and see the children respond to the pictures as I did when I was little.

Another team member brings her puppets; as soon as the children see Leola, it’s “Mon-key, Mon-key” (one of her puppets).

Our team men, under Don’s leadership, have put up structural wall support in a dining room, helped build a water drainage system, framed a staff duplex, and installed trusses and plywood roofing on a slaughterhouse. This year the main project is installing trusses and plywood roofing on a medical/dental clinic for the residents, staff, students and community.

Enjoying puppets

Enjoying puppets

Helen brings her hair styling tools, cuts and styles hair for the girls and staff (and sometimes, our team members). We’ll likely organize supplies, mend some clothing, and teach the children crafts. I’ll also photograph our projects and children. One day our group will divide into four groups, each of which will enjoy lunch in one of the four children’s homes, followed by a pinata party for the kids. 

What awaits us this year?  We anticipate how God will use us to help support this ministry while Don’s and my girls (Kelly and Paige, the dogs) stay home with wonderful housesitters.

For more information, see http://www.ranchosantamarta.org/