Monthly Archives: April 2015
Well hello there dear friend…. its been a while. Many have asked if a blog was coming soon. Apparently people enjoy reading as much as I enjoy writing. Im sorry… its been busy and time has a funny way of getting away from me. When I finally fall into the couch at night, writing has been, quite frankly, the last thing I have wanted to do. Its not even that I have been tired. Tired is a perpetual state of the Doppenberg Family during our volunteer season… I am used to that. Its more that I have been avoiding writing. Writing is hard. Not going to lie. VERY, very hard. I sit and stare at the blank screen and wonder how I can put into words the things I feel and experience here. Those that follow this blog know that its more of a journal. My thoughts and feelings placed here so others can get a glimpse into how things are here… Its raw and ugly at times… and beautiful at other times….
Honestly, so much of the beauty has escaped me in the past while. You know how life goes through seasons? Things come in threes? etc etc. All the things we make up to let us know that there is an end in sight… light at the end of the proverbial tunnel. Well, sometimes for us, things come in the 333’s. These are times its difficult to write. How am I supposed to be full of happy thoughts, hope etc in the times where I feel very lost and alone. Even my relationship with God has been a bit off. With so much in my head I feel empty when I hear words like “God’s plan” etc. Its ok though… I know my God understands and can handle my questions. He is bigger than all of it and I know He has my back so to speak even when I feel like screaming.
But, with all that being said.. here I am. I am writing again. Writing because I have a renewed sense of joy and hope. Its taken me a while to get here to be honest. The past weeks have been full of those “things come in 3’s moments”… Lots of losses…. children dying from the families lack of the money needed for simple cheap antibiotics. People knocking on our door to help them pay for funerals for children who died for similar reasons…. Taking blind children over and over to specialists to see if they can regain sight…. One is a young girl who had an infection… this infection could have been cured for $5.00 worth of medicine… they couldn’t afford it…. she is now blind for life. The other is Bryan…. Bryan came into our lives by accident. A tiny 3 year old boy born without eyes… his lids fused shut. Bryan is one of the happiest little guys we have ever met. Him and his mom stay at our home the nights before the many trips to the city to see the doctors. Doctors that gave us hope that he indeed did have eyes behind those fused lids… and that those eyes could be surgically worked on to give him sight…. Those same doctors last week became the ones to tell us they were wrong. Bryan did need surgery but it would only be a surgery to help him grow properly since the situation with his facial bones is not conducive to allowing proper growth. Bryan would never see. A devastating loss for us at a time in our work where we could have used a win.
We cried… all of us. Bryan blew us kisses and hugged us. Bryan didn’t get what all the fuss was about. Bryan was ok. It was us that were hurt beyond words. To have so much hope and then to be so brutally let down. I honestly felt like I was falling off a cliff with no one to catch me.
Things kept up this way for a bit. So many things have happened these past weeks. Much too numerous to mention here. Problems upon problems upon problems. Seems this is the season we are to have right now. Its gotten so bad that I have been afraid to open either my email or my front door. I just don’t know who’s going to be writing or knocking with more bad news.
I have to admit I’ve been a baby. A suck. The very thing I teach my children to not be. I gave a dear friend some joking advice the other day… She is going through things that make mine look like a trip to Disney. She spoke about whether the glass was half full or half empty…. I told her to smash the stupid glass and dance on the shards while screaming. It made her laugh. Heck it made me laugh…. What it also did was tell me to suck it up and get over myself. This is not about me. It never was. How on earth can I be so down and so defeated when I see so much around me that is good.
A 15 yr old boy is building a school here bringing the village of El Salitrillo so much hope and joy. This school will be the first generation of children from this village that can read and write. Let me make this clear… this boy is 15! He raised the money for this school. This illiterate village will become literate bringing with it the opportunity for so much in the future. Absolutely incredible.
Bryan doesn’t care if he can see or not. He has no idea what he lost, because he never had it. He touched lives… our lives and the lives of those that met him…. Who knows why… who cares… We will take what we have been given and work with Bryan to be all that he can be, blind or not. Absolutely incredible.
Our Community Empowerment program is changing lives. Less kids in the Malnutrition Hospital… better health… access to healthy food… access to light which is helping everyone but especially kids because they can do homework, get better grades and secure a better future. Absolutely incredible.
We have begun construction on the DIG school #3. A preschool for JK and SK. This has always been a dream of ours since hearing Guatemala has done away with preschool in some regions because they see it as unnecessary. We have always wanted to build one and do a study to prove that education at a young age is so very important. This is happening thanks to like minded donors. These children WILL receive education at an early age and this will help them to build a better future. Absolutely incredible.
Our incredibly talented Dave Tebbutt has completed a documentary that features our family. It is his hope to show people how precious time is and how much joy can be found in service to others. That we all have a responsibility to help those in need and “perhaps it is us who need to change”. We are hoping that this movie gains a wide audience and can help people to see that we need to change the world together… and united in this common goal, we all can! Absolutely incredible.
Last week, we opened our door to the surprise of the week, month, year, decade…. Friends, Elaine and Libro were set to celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary…. They were at our door to surprise us…. in their words… “we looked at doing an all-inclusive but felt that there was no where else we wanted to be than with you guys”. I don’t think anyone can truly understand what that meant to us… in a time we were at a very deep low and had our ‘bucket’ completely full of holes. I tried to explain this once to friends… Imagine being away… not being able to share joys and sorrows in person with people… always relegated to a blurry screen over skype. Our friends ‘surprise’ was a blessing to us that I can never begin to put into words….. Absolutely incredible.
We got word yesterday that someone very special to us is doing something HUGE. A bucket list type of thing… and planning on using that to help us. While its still in planning stages and a large secret I cannot elaborate… All I can say is summer 2016, God Willing, is going to see something that makes me so proud to call her my family. You know who you are… and you are…. Absolutely incredible.
The past months have seen health problems and tragedy within our family and friends across Canada and the USA. It is so difficult as I said above to witness these things from afar and feel powerless to help. BUT…. we have seen incredible miracles and watched as people from all over the world have stood united in prayer for those that suffer. To us this is simply, absolutely incredible.
Our volunteer season has come to an end…. this season we saw family, friends, strangers, young, old, etc etc come through the doors of our new home. We saw our son get married and gain a wife and a step-son. WE gained a daughter, sister, grandson, and nephew. I’ve watched my other 2 sons grow and thrive… finding their own way here and be such a great example of love toward others. I’ve had my marriage grow and thrive here in ways I could have never imagined. All because my husband and I are ‘on the same page’ and together united in our common goals. He and I are better than we have ever been before and I am so in love with him… and so very thankful for him. Absolutely incredible.
We had the privilege of spending tons of time in Salitrillo with the building of the school there. Last week, Good Friday, we headed there with visiting family to work. It ended up that the people there wanted us to spend time with them, in prayer, in community, in fellowship and in friendship. We scrapped our work plans and spent the day just ‘being’ with them. Normally so wrapped up in helping people we forget to take our own advice and spend time in relationship with them. It was a perfect day filled with joy and laughter and quiet reflection. This single day taught our family so very much. Its not always about the money, the funding, the projects… its about the people. They need us… and we need them. A lesson learned and one we will not forget. Absolutely incredible.
Our family made some decisions this past week. Decisions that have already impacted us for the better…. decisions that we needed to make a long time ago but avoided because we were focused on the wrong things. This isn’t about us…. even in our troubles and sorrows we find learning… learning about our work here… learning about ourselves… Learning from others… the joys in the little… Who cares if the glass is half empty or half full… I think its like our proverbial bucket I speak about all the time. The bucket is ours to fill or empty. When holes get poked in that bucket its up to us to figure out how to plug them and keep filling it, one drop at a time.