Friday, August 24, 2012

Inspire Me: Streetlights to Stars

I am always on the look out for inspiration, and I can find it in a lot of different places. Lately I've been wanting to start a new segment here on the blog, so I can share some inspirational people with all of you. Today I'm sharing Erin's story, which is nothing short of amazing. I love reading about her adventures on her blog, and she's such a great person! So read her story, then check out her blog, she's definitely going to inspire you!

In case people don't know about you and your blog, tell us a bit about yourself.

Well, I’m a 23-year old wanderer, graduated from college last year and have spent most of the time since living in Honduras working at a kid’s home. I started my blog to document just that -- life overseas, inspiration and thoughts on faith. I’ve been “home” for almost a month now and seeing what else I can get into.
What is Give Hope 2 Kids?
Give Hope 2 Kids is a non-profit organization that  focuses on community education, taking in abandoned and orphaned children, and agriculture. Right now they are taking care of ten kids who, over the past few months, have become part of a family. It was started by Jason and Sarah Furrow, a couple from Minnesota, who had big dreams to make change happen for kid’s with no hope. Adoption in Honduras is nearly impossible (there were less than 10 kids successfully adopted in the whole country last year), so this 100-acre property serves as their permanent home until they become adults. You can read more on their website.
Can you tell us a bit about the work you did for Give Hope 2 Kids?
My volunteer work at Give Hope 2 Kids was a bit of almost everything. Most of my focus was on teaching English for four grades at the local elementary school and being in charge of the library “after school” program open to all the kids in our village. I was also a part of running the volunteer house, hosting groups and visitors, and helped with a bit of the administrative work. Of course, the focus and motivation for doing all of those things was being part of a family for the kids who never had one. Spending time with them was the most valuable thing I did there.
You lived in Honduras for a while, what was the most amazing thing about living there?
Being in the Honduran countryside, all up in the mountains is the most beautiful  place I’ve ever lived. What makes it more amazing is how much I felt part of the family in our village and community on our property. We cooked together, shared stories, worked hard together and dreamed about future plans with a common desire to be a family for these kids and raise them to be fulfilled, functional and faithful adults.
How did you adjust to living in a different country?
Although this wasn't my first experience living overseas, it was difficult at times. Living in the countryside was definitely the most dramatic thing to get used to. I had never killed (or seen) a scorpion, dealt with other Jurassic Park-sized critters in the house, used cold water for so long, wore farmer boots as part of my daily attire (yes I wore them with my skirts :) ), traveled an hour and half to the nearest grocery store, or thought of a machete as the most useful tool around. But...somehow your perspective changes when your environment does and suddenly all those things seem part of your daily life, and you embrace it, knowing that what you wake up to do every morning is so meaningful and way worth some of the hard stuff.
You're back in the states now, what do you miss the most about Honduras, and how have you adjusted to life "back home"?
I SO miss my community in Honduras, getting to spend time with all those people I love  and lived with, and making sure those kids know that they are such a precious gift. (Thank God for Skype!)
Life back home is a bit chaotic, trying to find a job, move to a new city, and make it look like I’ve got my act together. But overall I’ve really enjoyed it. I’ve loved getting to reconnect with family and friends, go shopping at Target (!), speak English to everyone (although I do miss Spanish,) and Instagram the crap out of my life.
Do you plan on returning to Honduras anytime soon?
I fully intend on visiting everyone there...possibly next summer.
What advice do you have for someone who’s wanting to volunteer with an organization like Give Hope 2 Kids?
Do it!! Make sure it is something you are passionate about and want to put your whole life into, at least for a little while (because you will.) Be open to opportunity and differences, love those around you, and pack light. Real light. :)
What is your life motto?
“Go out into the world today and love the people you meet. Let your presence light new light in the hearts of people.” -- Mother Theresa
(This is where the name of my blog comes from, actually.)
Another good one that I’ve recently started applying to every life situation is “under-promise and over-deliver.” You can ask me about that one sometime if you’d like :)
What inspires you?
So many things! Mainly stories of people who are doing what they are passionate about, the entire blog community filled with people finding the brilliance in the ordinary, the life of Jesus, and, well, a good, strong, cup of coffee.
Anything else you’d like to add?
Just want to thank J for this awesome opportunity to share with all of you something I really care about. Hope to see you around!
See, told you she's inspiring! You can read more of Erin's story over at her blog, and visit the Give Hope 2 Kids website for more information on this great organization,


Ruby S said...

New follower here. I'd love to live in another country for a while, in the meantime I'll just live vicariously through posts like this hehe.
Girlfriends Are Like Shoes

Melonie said...

What an awesome story! Very inspirational!! :)

English Anderson said...

What a great series! She's definitely an inspiration to us all, with a wonderful story. Can't wait to see more!

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