Friday, December 26, 2014

Looking back...

2014 has been a year of growth.
The spiritual warfare has been intense, but we keep fighting the good fight.
Its been trying, and God had taught me so much.
Looking back and counting my blessings I see all the ways God has manifested in my life and in Village of Hope.
Village of Hope has grown so much and now has 4 homes and 36 children. 
Our kids blow me away with how much they have grown and learned, and I am so blessed to be a part of that.
Our Pure Hope program is developing and we are seeing success as the mothers learn to care for their children. 
I have started raising funds through Commission to every nation and will soon be moving into an apartment.
32 Guatemalans have been trained on how to protect our kids and prevent sexual abuse.
12 kids at Village of Hope accepted Jesus as their personal savior, as well as many in our outreach program.
Guatemalans are learning about adoption and that family is what is best for every child. 
We now have 10 families that we deliver food to and minister to each week. 
Shoes, bunk beds, water filters, food and homes have been given in the surrounding villages.
Every single one of the kids at Village of Hope is now undetectable for HIV.

Its not too late to partner with us!
*Year end giving? All donations made through CTEN are tax-deductible. Contributions mailed to CTEN must be postmarked no later than December 31st.  Online credit card donations must be posted through the CTEN website no later than December 31st.
*Please specify if the gift is for Village of Hope or for the Block Family

Thursday, December 11, 2014

"The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away."
William Shakespeare

Monday, November 17, 2014

Why Family?

Before starting Village of Hope, God gave us a vision- His vision. He showed us His perfect design to care for children.

To give them a family.

"God sets the lonely in families" Psalm 68:6

Because of the family setting at Village at Hope, kids are truly being healed, instead of just receiving a band-aid. Boys are growing up to be men of God with a father to show them how, and girls are bring taught how to love themselves and to care for a family. Our kids are taught how a family acts, because that is something they have never seen before. They are taught how to treat each other, and how they deserve to be treated.

I could go on and on about why the family as God created it is the perfect design, and how amazing our kids are and everything they are learning because of it, but instead I decided to ask them. I asked several of them what it means to them to have a family, and their answers left me standing in awe.

"The family is so important because they take care of us, they educate us, they correct us... even when we have some type of worry, they are there for us... They even teach us to love ourselves and they teach us good and bad. Also how to have a good attitude and they give us love, care, and they give us their time. " - Yesenia age 14

"Before, I didn't have a family that appreciated me. They didn't visit me when I was in the hospital. Now I am so happy here at Village of Hope because I have a good family." - Moises age 12

"The family is so important because they can take care of us and teach us to do good things and how to behave.  They teach us good habits like how to respect others, just as they respect us. But what's most important is that they talk about that someone loves us and they teach us about the love of God and his promises." - David age 14

"In Village of Hope the best that could have happened is to have a family. And mom and a dad that care about us. To have a family and a house is so good because a lot of us in the home didn't have good families before and now we are so happy to have a family. In a lot of other homes there are no families, but here there is." - Jessica age 16

"I feel so good in my family because I know that they love me a lot."- Kimberly age 14

"I have a daughter named Rubi and she is two years and three months old. For her and for me it is very important to have a family. I know that our parents are responsible and loving  and that we will grow up happy and with faith in God... I have been in other homes where they don't take care of kids. Thanks to God I now live in this home."- Jessica age 16

"What does is mean to have this family? It means that they help me and I don't feel alone with my daughter." - Michel age 14

"I was living in another children's home and I didn't like it because they didn't treat me good and the other kids hit me. Where I live now in Village of Hope I like it because they help me and support me and give me what I need. There are parents here who teach me good things. I wouldn't want to go back to where I was. I like it here a lot." - Gustavo age 13

"The truth is that before I couldn't have a family like I have now. I thank God because I am at Village of Hope. They gave me a family like I had dreamed of. I have a dad who I can ask for help. I have a mom who listens to me." - Elizabeth age 14

So what does family mean to you?

Friday, October 24, 2014

What Hope brings...

She climbed into the van with her baby boy clutched to her chest. Her eyes wide open, wondering if she could trust these people she had only met yesterday, and worried about the answers she was about to receive. She knew her son was sick, she just didn’t know how sick. 

That was a year ago on October 23. 

Stefany was the first teenager we received at Village of Hope, and I have to be honest- we were scared. Everyone had warned us- telling us to stick with little kids because they were easier. The second day she was there, we woke up really early to go with Stefany and her son Angel to the hospital. I sat with her for 12 hours that day outside of the intensive care unit, and we talked. She was just like any other 16 year old. She liked listening to One Direction and watching TV. She wanted to be an attorney when she grows up, and she loves eating pizza with her friends. 

The more we talked and she shared her story, the more I saw her scars and just how deep they were. She told me about her childhood and the abuse that had become normal. Expected. Taught. She shared with me how she felt unwanted, and that she looked everywhere- anywhere- for love. Those same abusive qualities that she had grown up with- she found in a boy. She didn’t know what love meant anymore. She told me about finding out that her baby growing inside of her had trisomy13, and how everyone told her that she should have an abortion, but she chose life. 

On November 19, 2013, at just 5 months old, Angel passed away.

I hugged her as she received the news. I will never forget the sound of her sobbing. We walked side by side into the morgue, where she hugged her baby boy for the last time. Her strength amazed me. I held her as her son was laid to rest- something no mom should ever have to go through. 

For several months after that, Stefany struggled, feeling like she had no purpose. There were times when she would cut herself out of desperation, or she would run off and hide, saying she wanted to escape. Sometimes I wondered if things would ever change, and I worried if we really could make a difference, knowing that time was the limit.

But, sometimes, in order to heal, you just need someone who will pick you up when you’ve hit rock bottom and be there to point you to the Rock. 

So I would find her, and we would talk. I told her that God had a plan for her life. I told her about the opportunity God had given her, but it was up to her to take advantage of it- to use the gifts He had given her. We talked about boys and finding the right one. One who treats you like a princess. We talked about love. We talked about second chances. We talked about forgiveness.

In February 2014, Stefany gave her life to Christ and was later baptized. She now has hope and purpose. She has learned how to put others before herself, and her joy is unexplainable. She loves using her talents of singing and dancing for the Lord, and she tells everyone of what He did in her.  Stefany radiates His love. 

Stefany will soon be 18, which means she will be given the freedom to decide what happens and where she goes. Last week we talked about her thoughts and her decisions. We had both been praying hard about it. She cried as she told me how she had come to Village of Hope with Angel and was now facing leaving without him.  We assured her that she was always welcome here, that no matter what she has a family and that we love her. She told me that she will never forget the lessons she learned, and the relationships she made, that if she leaves the first things she will do are to find a church and enroll in school, and she promised me that she wouldn’t settle for less than what she deserves in any relationship. I knew she was torn. She shared how much she would miss Village of Hope if she leaves, but that she misses her mom while she’s here. We prayed the same thing we had since the beginning- that God’s will be done. I stand confident knowing that Stefany had been given all the tools she needs. She knows what is safe, she knows what is right, and she has people that will love her and support her no matter what. I know that God is using her for great things. 

A lot can happen when someone is willing to walk with you and show you truth. A lot can happen when someone believes in you and patiently and lovingly lets you heal.

That’s where I fit in at Village of Hope. I’ve been provided a unique experience that enables me to understand both the American and the Guatemalan culture. The past three years that I have served in Guatemala I’ve seen more pain than most people do in a lifetime, and I have been privileged to walk alongside many on the road to healing. I have wept with those who weep and I have mourned with those who mourn, but mostly, I have loved. And I have seen tremendous healing come through love.

After graduating high school, I prayed a lot about what I was supposed to do. Most of my friends were walking across their college campus for the first time; I was walking across the mission field. I was already doing what I wanted to do for the rest of my life- using my life to point others to Christ.  So I am staying in Guatemala to continue serving and walking alongside the least, the lost, and the lonely. They may be in a crisis, but I believe that crisis’s can refine life. In the midst of the crisis you discover who you are and what you live for if only you have someone to help you make it through.
So now it time to step out as an adult missionary. My role will be as a crisis counselor-ministering to Guatemalan and American youth- to show them the One who carries them through the storm.

As I continue on this journey, I would love for you to partner with me. 

To make a donation go to:

Friday, October 17, 2014

There’s something really special about a kid who has come full circle, a kid who was once the one being helped, but is now helping others. I can’t help but feel that way when I am around these precious kiddos. Their hearts amaze me. They had everything against them, every reason to hurt and to hurt others. If anyone had an excuse it was them. But that’s not who they are. 

They see others and they have compassion. 

They look for the outcasts and they include them. 

They identify the desperate and give them hope. 


They notice the poor and they share what they have. 


They recognize the hurting and show them love. 

That’s who they are, and I couldn’t be more proud. 

Thursday, August 21, 2014

That's what friends do.

This is my friend Alisia.

 (Photo courtesy of her big sister who wants to be a photographer.)

Alisia and her 3 older siblings live in Chixolis where we deliver food each week. Whenever the see the 15 passenger vans drive through they run outside yelling my name. I yell back for them, and they latch onto my side proudly trailing the group throughout their village.

Alicia and her siblings are being raised by their widowed grandmother in a simple house with no electricity and one shared bed. They have been abandoned and are normally cared for by whatever neighbor is around because their grandmother is old and has bad vision.

But they are my friends now.

Every week we bring them extra cookies along with their weekly food basket and every week they take me around introducing me to new friends and teaching me about the plants they grow. I teach them new English words and encourage them to be whatever God wants them to be. They tell me about their favorites ice cream and warn me about how to avoid the dogs. We laugh together as we walk hand in hand and take funny pictures, pausing to pray for a neighbor or a friend.

Last week before we said good-bye they told me that I'm no longer a gringa- a foreigner. They told me that I may be lighter than them, but they accept me as one of them.

That's what friends do. 

Friday, June 20, 2014

Love changes everything.

"I know it was wrong, but I just wanted someone to love me. My mom and dad never did."

I sat at a table across from her looking into her eyes. She was so young, but so tired and worn. I could see the pain wearing on her tiny body. How could anyone have tried to hurt her?

Some things don't make sense to me. I don't think I will ever understand why someone would abuse a child in this way, but its not my job to know. Its not my job to sit around asking questions. Its my job to act and to change things. 

We can't make a difference in the life of everyone, but for one- her life was changed because she has found the Father who will always love her, more than she will ever know.

When Michel first came to Village of Hope she told me that her mom went to church, but that she didn't want to turn out like her mom did. She didn't want anything to do with Jesus. 

Last week, Michel was baptized. 

Love changes everything.
"We think sometimes that poverty is only being hungry, naked and homeless. The poverty of being unwanted, unloved and uncared for is the greatest poverty." - Mother Teresa

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Worth the Wait.

So many people want to settle into something that has already been established.

It the easy thing to do.

To just magically appear into the pre-cleared out promised land.

To move into the house that's already built and furnished.

To serve at the ministry that is already started and supported.

To marry the man that already has his careers and life plans figured out.

To preach to the congregation that is already there.

To work at the company that is already running.

None of those are bad things.

In fact, they're all really good.

But lately, God's been teaching me that some things are worth the effort, and sometimes the rewards are so much bigger if you wait, and work for them, and build with them.

So many times throughout the bible and especially in the old testament we can see examples of times when God promised something, yet for a long time, nothing seemed to be happening.

Its so easy to give up during those times, doubting ourselves and doubting God.

"Surely I must have make a mistake."

"Maybe God didn't really tell me that."

"God must have shut that door."

"Did He forget about me?"

Waiting is hard, especially for someone like me who doesn't have much patience. 

God easily could have brought the Israelites from Egypt to the promised land in a matter of minutes, but 40 years of waiting and praying made it so much more valuable when the goal was finally reached.

Joseph was sold into slavery and imprisoned for 13 years. God easily could sent him to the King immediately, but those 13 years were used to prepare him and teach him. Because of the wait, his story is so much more amazing. The wait made it so much more valuable. 

It could have been so much easier for my family to serve at a ministry that was already founded and funded, but being at Village of Hope since the very start and being a part and seeing it come together makes it so much more rewarding when we see lives changed. Because we know where we come from.

Some things might are easy to give up on, but if you stick through with it. It will be so much more valuable in the end.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Small things.

Some days I'm floating on clouds. I can't believe I get to live this life, yet other days I just want to go back to being comfortable. I'm not sure those feeling will ever go away- no matter how long I live here- but through all of the hard times I have seen God move mountains.

Lately, we have been attacked at every angle, and that excites me. It excites me because I know that every time Satan starts moving, God moves more. Its been hard and many times I have thought about giving up, but I won't quit. I know what lies ahead for me. I know who wins. So I celebrate the small victories like when Yesenia starts calling her houseparents mommy and daddy

and when Andres gets his first tooth

when Carlos learns to forgive

when Jessica realizes she never has to be alone

when Michel hears her baby's heart beat for the first time

when Vilma learns to write her name

when Stefany gets up the courage to dance for the Lord

when Griselda takes communion

and when Kimberly understands that she is valuable. 

The Holy Spirit is working here and lives are being changed, even when it hurts- not all at once, but through the small things. So I choose to praise Him.

Monday, March 17, 2014

“We must know that we have been created for greater things, not just to be a number in the world, not just to go for diplomas and degrees, this work and that work. We have been created in order to love and to be loved.” -Mother Teresa

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Give future.

 When you give up your lunch and give to someone else, you are not only helping provide a year of education, you are giving something that will last much longer than that. You are giving a child that has lost all hope the chance to move forward.

You are giving the little girl who was gang raped the chance to forget her past and build a future.

You are giving the 13 year old mother the chance to learn how to provide for her child.

You are giving the 16 year old deaf boy the chance to learn to communicate.

You are giving the girl who was locked in a room for 6 years the chance to heal.

You are giving the burn victim the chance to show his face without fear of judgement.

You are giving the prostitute's daughter the chance to break  the cycle and be the first to work for something better.

You are giving the 16 year old second grader the chance to learn at her own pace without being embarassed.

You are giving the 6 year old severely abused boy the chance to learn in a safe environment.

You are giving future. You are giving life.

Let me share with you the story of David. Since David was just two years old he has lived in an institution. Because of the scars on his face, he has always been made fun of by the other students, making him not want to go to school and not want to learn. Now, he is thriving. He loves being homeschooled and learning in a place where he feels comfortable.In order to be able to afford for David to continue his homeschooling we need your help. Can you spare your lunch to give kids like David a chance?

"John replied, "If you have two shirts, give one to the poor. If you have food, share it with those who are hungry."- Luke 3:11

 Join me in giving up your lunch to invest in a child like David. You can make a difference that will last a lifetime. All it takes is One Day-One Lunch.

To give click here:

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Meet Jessica.

This year, Jessica will be homeschooled so that she can catch up without being made  fun of and so that she can care for her daughter. Will you be a part of her future? Join me for One Day-One Lunch.

To make a difference give to:

Thursday, January 9, 2014

All day today children have been skipping up to me and asking me how many more days until they get to go to school. We had a team this week bring school supplies which has made them very anxious to be able to use their new backpacks. I watch as their eyes light up when they look at their folders and pencils ready to be used, and I realize that I don't know how I will tell them if they can't go to the schools they need to be in. In order for them to be able to be homeschooled at Village of Hope so that they will not once again be rejected for their disease, once again not be made fun of because they are pregnant at 13, deaf, scarred, and for the first time attending school at age 16- we need your help. To be able to provide them with that kind of schooling it will cost $10,000 in a years time- something a new ministry just doesn't have. We need your help. Will you help to provide more than just and education, but a hope and a future. You can make a difference. All it takes is one day-one lunch.

  To give to a better future click here.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

One Day-One Lunch-One Friend.

Its that time of the year again. February 3rd will mark the 4th annual One Day-One Lunch! (Click here to read how it all got started.)

Our mission at Village of Hope is to provide faith, family, and a future to those in need. Many of the children at Village of Hope have never been to school before. Some because they could never afford it, others because they weren't allowed in because of their disease. Some of our children are 16 and in second grade, others are teenage moms and had to drop out to take care of their babies. When I ask them what their plans are for their future they tell me they want to be doctors and lawyers and teachers. Fashion designers and police men. Each and every one of them has a dream, and it includes finishing school first.

These kids may come from some of the hardest and saddest circumstances I have ever heard of- but stil they have goals just like any other kid. They want to leave their past in the past and move on to their future. At Village of Hope-they have been given a new beginning.

We have found schools that can help them to achieve their goals- deaf schools, schools where they can finish two grades in one year, a homeschool program so some can study here because their circumstances make it hard for them to be in a normal school. We want to help them to have the best future they can have, because we know that God has big plans for them, but because they require special schools, our expenses rise.

This year, the money raised from One Day-One Lunch will go towards future for our kids.

Will you join me in giving up your lunch and investing in someone's future? This year we have a bit of a twist- we want YOU to invite a friend out to not do LUNCH. Share the mission. Give future.

John replied, "If you have two shirts, give on to the poor. If you have food, share it with those who are hungry." - Luke 3:11

 To give go to: