Saturday, April 11, 2015

Blessings Flowing at 30 Gallons Per Minute!

Just a couple weeks ago we were at a real low point in our ministry. We had a need for water at the pastor's institute/farm property and had no idea how this need would be met without God working a miracle. You can read of our water troubles here. This is just another beautiful story written by God that brings Him glory and gives us a little glimpse of who He is (Job 42:5). Experiences like these make us feel extra loved on by God and even more compelled to share His truth with others. 
We sent out our prayer letter for February asking people to pray for our water situation. Less than 24 hours later a Mennonite friend of ours called and said that on his way back from the capital he saw what he thought to be a well drilling rig (pictured above). 

He gave Jimmy the km marker number. It was about a 2 hour drive from our house. Jimmy left as soon as classes were over that week and headed off in search for this rig. He had no idea if they would still be there, but he left hoping this might be God's answer to our prayers. 

It was a horrible trip. Jimmy had a flat tire. Not knowing that the emergency brake wasn't working, the trucked rolled while Jimmy was under it, almost getting him. There was definitely a guardian angel involved! 

Well, when he arrived the rig was still there and Jimmy found some volunteer well drillers from the States working it. They were with an Adventist ministry called Water for Life. A couple days later, the man who heads up this ministry came to our house in San Pancho. Jimmy gave him a tour of the farm and explained the purpose of the institute and our water situation. He was so kind and encouraging. He told Jimmy that he believed that they would be able to dig our well. They work in seasons and would be able to fit us in the schedule maybe next January or February. 

This was the most promising option we had found. We had already been waiting over a year for the other, more expensive private company, with no hope of them coming anytime soon. We were really thankful for a January/February commitment. 

Then a new mayor was elected in the village next door to the institute (where the well we were using is located) and the threats of them turning our water back off returned. There are currently 3 families that live on the farm, plus 5 single guys, plus all the crops and animals. Jimmy made the commitment to provide water for them all before they moved here. These constant threats that had been actually realized before are very burdensome to live with on a daily basis.
Soon after the new mayor was elected, Jimmy got a call from Water for Life. They had a couple with a few days left in the country who wanted to come and get started on our well and asked us if that was ok... Well sure! 
{The sludge that came out}
It was a super nice Christian couple from the state of Washington name Jon and Chris Hansen who own their own well drilling company, along with Jon's brother. Can you imagine showing up in Petén from Washington?! That is a climate shock. Jon worked on the rig all alone every day, all day long in crazy heat with no shade, in the dry season for 8 days. He had a little help the last 2 days, but Jon was the only skilled laborer.
They stayed in our guest room during that time. I kept saying we couldn't have nicer strangers come and stay with us for a week. They aren't strangers anymore!
The kids loved it too! Ms Chris was so great with Jonah, Silas, and Eden. They loved all the artsy stuff she had them get into. And, I'm pretty sure Silas met his story telling match! I really enjoyed my time with Chris too. I hope they come through our town every year on the way to villages!
We figured they were just going to get started good before they had to leave, but on the last possible day for Jon to have enough time to hook up a pump, he was at 115 feet, with 12 feet of water in the hole. Jon was very cautious because sometimes there is water but it doesn't replenish itself. He measured and timed the water. For 45 minutes he took out 13 gallons a minute and couldn't get the water level to go down. 

Jon and Chris have been coming to Guatemala for 6 years. They had been here this time since the beginning of March, working hard the whole time. They had 2 days planned at the end of their trip,  at a bed and breakfast just as a little rest before flying back to work in the States. Well, they gave up those days to help us.  

Usually when a pump gets hooked up to a well the first time they use a generator and then hook up electricity later. Well on the way to the hardware store the last morning Jimmy ran into the electrician who installed our transformer. (Jimmy had tried to call him, but his number had changed.) The electrician said that his client for the day canceled and he had the entire day free. So, while Jon was hooking up the pump the electrician ran the wires underground for the 220 to run the pump. Are you seeing that this is God's well?!

Here is the pump all wired up, the first time it's turned on:
 That is 30 gallons a minute! It's crazy! Only God could bring all of this together and provide this for the farm!
 The students were super happy! There is water every day now, with a lot more pressure, and no threats of it being taken away. It's pure water too!
 One of our second year students was laughing remembering last year when there was no water and they had to bathe in the ditch!
 Cute little Nacho got a bath first thing!
 So basically a Mennonite friend saw an Adventist ministry who ended up sending a Non-denominational couple to drill a well for some Baptists. Do what you want with that, I think it's real interesting. Many times that's how missions works!
 We love these guys! They are a beautiful testimony of God using people who follow Him!
I hope God blesses their socks off!

We want to thank Metro Baptist Church in Goodlettsville, TN who paid for the well (almost 2 years before it was drilled!), and Pastor Andy Schalchlin and his family in AR and Fellowship Baptist Church in Thonotosassa, FL for paying for the pump and the reservoir. I'd say this was a team effort!

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Remebering the Day You Died

Ever since the angry water meetings, the people who attend the church at the farm have really been treated poorly in their village. All kinds of lies are being spread about them for being members. Some stopped coming, but others started coming more faithfully. Nearly all who come now have been saved and baptized. In our past Bible studies or services the curious people outnumbered the Christians. Now the majority are people who have defined themselves as Christians. Everyone knows it. They aren't trying something for a while, they are Christ Followers!
Our church family wanted to remember Good Friday in a way that would bring Glory to God and give us a chance to really reflect on what Christ did for us. We moved our midweek service to Friday. We put a huge cross in the front of the church and Rigo made a crown of thorns to hang from it. Jimmy announced that we were all going to follow Christ's example of serving others and also remember with this activity the beautiful visual it gives of how the King of Glory humbled himself and washed us of our filthy sins.
 Everyone kind of giggled at first, me included. This was something new for all of us! Jimmy had 6 basins of soapy water with wash clothes and towels and we all went down the row, one by one washing each others feet.
 It was as beautiful as Christ intended when He encouraged it.
No one was joking around, not even then kids, but they all had a big smile on their face!
{Eden washing Sandra's feet!}
{Sandra washing E's}
 It brought us all together as a church family.
And it was a beautiful reminder of Christ's love for us. 
Afterwards Henry (not the student Henry) read a passage about the Last Supper.
And then all who had been saved and baptized celebrated the Lord's Supper. 
 Rigo preach a message about Christ's suffering and all He went through for us.
 We all lit candles and turned off the lights while we listened. You could hear the reaction to how beautiful the room was when we turned the lights off.
 Kekchi kids are really good with candles. They grow up knowing how to use them and respect them. Little gringitos, not so much. I turned around about the time one of my boys was lighting his brother's hair on fire. Even if I don't give them candles, someone else does. Thankfully he wasn't harmed, he just has a nice burnt patch of hair about the size of the palm of my hand. I have no idea how my kids survive... maybe their grandmas' prayers.
 It was a wonderful service and a shared memory with our church family, remembering and thanking Christ for dying to give us new life!
Thank you to Newspring Church in Wichita, KS who gave us money to pour the floor in this room. This service would have been a muddy mess just a few weeks ago! 

Sunday, March 29, 2015

October Fulrough Pt. 2: Time at Open Door and with Kiki and Papa

For the second half of our trip last October we drove to my parents house in Jacksonville.
 My mom had all kinds of fun things planned for the kiddos! They each had these cute little activity books. They LOVE using scissors. They fuss at me if we go too many days in school without using them.
 Papa's house is full of musical instruments!
 We got about one full day with Kiki and Papa before it was time to head to Louisiana for a missions conference and we packed as much into that day as possible.
 Then we drove a pretty long ways!
 This long:
 To be a part of Open Door Baptist Church's mission conference in Denham Springs, LA.

We had never visited their church before, but they called and invited us... what a honor! We were really excited about getting to be there!
 The boys' 5th birthday just happened to fall on a day during conference. Jimmy's grandparents drove from KS to LA to be at the hotel with us the morning of the boys' birthday. SO Sweet!
 Great Grandma Helen brought balloons, candles, and presents!
 Jonah and Silas felt very special!
They got them a really cool glow in the dark art set where you paint with a light pen. It is awesome and stays up permanently in the school room, thus getting used a lot. They also got a slip and slide. It just warmed up in Petén again, so we are going to have to try that out this week during Semana Santa. 
  Jimmy and I got them ninja turtle gear.
 As you can tell, they hated it!
Who in their right mind would give Silas nunchucks? 
What an awesome birthday memory with their great grandparents that they will have forever! I am so grateful that they traveled so far to be with us. 
 Pastor Dennis took all the missionaries to the Global Wildlife Center. It's a wildlife preserve where you get to drive through and feed the animals. It was such a neat experience. He invited Jimmy's grandparents too. This church was so generous and kind to us the whole time we were there. 
 It was hilarious interacting with the animals!
I enjoyed it as much as the kiddos!
 I remember this from deputation, but besides being at a church long enough to actually build some relationships, I liked conferences because I got to meet other missionaries. I always learn things and enjoy interrogating MK's, haha, finding out how their parents helped them along their truly unique path.
 On this trip I learned that zebras are pretty aggressive, still beautiful though!
Yes, that is our child halfway inside the feed bag!
{Great Grandma Helen and Grandpa Jim gave Eden that pretty purple dress!}

 The day at the wildlife reserve was THIS much fun:
 We had the best time at this church. We knew several couples from college, but had not seen them in a decade, so it was neat to kind of have the same history and then reconnect after some time in ministry.
 Everyone in the whole church was so friendly and super sweet to our kids. We instantly felt part of their church family!
{The finished pen and then a piece of wood similar to what they started with.}
 We were invited over to a couples house from the church who took the boys' through the process in making wooden pens! He had a awesome workshop and is a skilled craftsman. I'm so glad my boys got this experience! He sent Jimmy home with a couple woodworking tools, some of which he has already used several times since being back!
Basically we were invited to a church to share about our ministry. They took us on for support right as new families were arriving at the institute! AND they thoroughly spoiled us while we were there.
Beyond celebrating our boy's birthday, they had a service celebrating all of our birthdays. It was overwhelming!
{Jonah and Silas didn't know what to think. They asked me a million times to make sure I packed all the goodies they got to bring back!}
{Princess E!}
Even the young people in the church reached out to my kids. I didn't take a photo of any of our meals, but they were all REAL food that people in the church prepared. We ate sooo good! I wish someone would send me the recipe to the potato salad with pickles in it!!!
If we lived anywhere close to Denham Springs, we would love being members of this church! I really enjoyed the fellowship with the sweet ladies while I was there. Many of them really reached out to me during my short time with them and I appreciated getting to know them a little. The pastor and his family are so kind! We are so thankful for the friendship and partnership we now have with this church. I hope they will come to visit us soon!
While there the boys receive a Batman costume and a Spiderman costume for their birthday. We headed back to Jacksonville after the Sunday morning service. Poor Jimmy, I ask him to stop all the time when we are in the States. Here there is nothing to stop when traveling for hours and hours, in the States... well I am going to take advantage. There isn't a Loft Outlet or cherry slushy machine I have ever not asked Jimmy to stop for! Just saying all that because the boys made us promise that no matter what hour we were getting into Jacksonville, that we would wake them up to change into their costumes for Papa. So there we were, at a gas station at 2 in the morning putting on Batman and Spiderman costumes! Worth it!
I asked the boys several times beforehand what kind of cake they wanted for their birthday. They both decided that they wanted to make Elmo cupcakes together instead of Mommy making them one. It's all about the fun, not the end result, right!
 Kiki figured out that if you cut the large marshmallows in half, the cut side is sticky enough to hold on the chocolate chip eye. SO much easier than when we tried it last time.
I don't think these boys got enough birthday celebrating in... it's like a birthday Stateside tour!
 They all got matching Batman masks!
 My sweet aunt and cousins gave us these really cool bikes to keep at Kiki and Papa's house!
 This wasn't surprising! That Papa is a "little bit silly" as Jonah says.
Of course before we left Florida we got in some serious train watching!
 And we can't leave the States without a Krispy Kreme stop, lunch at Aunt Catfish, and then Papa John's for supper... perfect!
I don't think we could have squeezed in one more thing during those 18 days! Fort Lauderdale, Denham Springs, Jacksonville, all 3 were great trips. Thank you to everyone who made our furlough and the boy's birthday so special!
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