I’m sorry that I dropped off the face of the earth on Thursday. Even sorrier for the reason why. I went to bed that night, not feeling really well, had chills all night long and woke up with diarrhea and vomiting. I wanted so badly to go the center for our last day to tell the children and workers goodbye and give them so little gifts, but there was no way I could get out of bed much less expose them all to whatever I had. I will never know my illness’ cause. It could have come from accidentally using tap water to brush my teeth, not once, but twice. I could have caught it from a child. We wore gloves when we changed diapers, but when Bree threw up on Monday, I went into Mommy mode and wiped it up with a paper towel without thinking of sanitary precautions. I quit using hand sanitizer because it was making my skin cracked and bloody. I could have gotten it from some food I ate. Or, it could have simply been caused by exposure to the church bus driver who drove us to Miami and then, came down with the flu. Whatever its cause, I have not been that sick in a very long time and to be thousands of miles away from home in a hotel room made it even worse. The Spanish speaking maid was so kind to me, bringing me 7-up every time I waved an empty bottle in her direction and trying to get me to eat soup which I could only stare at before getting sick again. That evening, it was clear I was not going to be able to get on the plane the next day without divine intervention or modern medicine so took a team mates prescription anti nausea pill, slept like a dead person all night long and drug myself onto the plane Saturday morning. I made it through our travels home without being sick, but did not eat anything but a dry English muffin for 48 hours. Sunday morning, found me ill once again and I spent all day in the bathroom or the bed. Today, I did not go to work as I was still feeling queasy, but think I am over whatever bug hit me so hard. At least I hope so. Someone asked me if I would go back to Guatemala after getting so sick on the trip. With the memory of the inside of the hotel room toilet still fresh in my mind, I can’t say for sure. But, as I see it even with my stomach still reeling, if God calls me to go again, I won’t have much choice but to obey. For each of us, the trip involved some hardship. Many of our men are self employed so they lost a week’s wages while serving. Some lost the possibility of future work because they were not at their office to respond to requests for bids. I was not the only one to endure illness while in Guatemala. Three others also had stomach issues though none as severe as mine. Others had problems with allergies. The emotional toil was also hard, not only to leave the people and children we have come to love, but to know that the suffering will continue for them. So, why did I go in the first place? Why will I do it again if God allows? Because He has blessed me so greatly I cannot help but share that love with others and because of children like Reynolda. The pictures here are from her arrival at the Malnutrition Center and after time spent there. The workers are making sure that she is well fed and clean, but they do not have the time to shower her with love and affection that she also needs to be healthy and thrive. Here is a challenge to all of us. What will we do for Reynolda? Or Marta? Or Jose? Sure, we can send money or supplies, but what these children and the families who received new homes this week need is us. If you have hands to change a diaper or hammer a nail, then you need to go. If you have arms to carry wood or hug a child, you need to go. If you have a mouth to whisper, “Jesus te ama,” to a sleeping child, you need to go. Let the feet God gave you carry you to a place where you can build something that will last for Christ. A home or a hug can change lives. No more excuses. Just go.