Thursday, March 19, 2020

Eden Turns 8!

Her 2nd Grade Classmates
Last Saturday we threw a party just hours before the president of Guatemala’s announcement to lay low. Not sure when E will get to see her classmates again but so thankful they all came that day to celebrate her 8th birthday with her! 
She picked a Cinderella theme with a Cinderella cupcake cake. I don't usually need to make any suggestions, she has a head full of ideas at all times! 
Looking for the key to unlock the attic!
 My favorite part about E's birthday parties are planning them out with her and all the excitement leading up to them! 
 There was also a Cinderella manicure!
I had my normal ups and downs while making her cake, trying to get Cinderella blue. Eden said in her typical encouraging way, "Mommy, I don't know why you don't like it, but I love it, and that's all that matters!" Eden has a nurturing, encouraging spirit always. I just love her! 
  As usual, Jimmy was very supportive of our party planning. It's a tradition that he carves something out of a watermelon. This time it was a crown!
Eden wanted her brothers to celebrate with her too!
 We played lots of games like Princess Bingo and roll the dice to Build Cinderella's pink dress that the mice made for her.
Pin the slipper on Cinderella.
None of the girls would hit the Cinderella piñata hard enough to break her open, so E's brothers finished her off!
We are so thankful for our sweet little princess God blessed us with. She is such a bright loving nurturing smart sparkly part of our family. We all had a blast putting this together for her.

Friday, January 24, 2020

Profesor Henry

Today was Henry’s first day of teaching at the institute. He is a very gifted communicator that we believe will be a great blessing to the students!! (He is a graduate.) My first day teaching classes I was SO nervous. I remember praying out loud all the way to the farm. Jimmy actually was physically ill his first day. This pic is completely staged because they finished before my class was over and very kindly posed for this pic. They said someone’s going to see this photo and think those students don’t even have any books. Don’t worry we have books and notebooks to spare. Also these are all the first year students! If you only knew how hard the devil fought to keep each one from coming. These are the ones that persevered.

Thursday, January 16, 2020

First Day of Spanish 2nd and 4th Grade

 I'm so thankful my kids have the opportunity to go to a great school in our town. The director/founder has a beautiful heart and wants all of “her kids” to have the very best.
J, S, and E have been counting down the days! Eden was especially excited that she will have the same teacher as last year.
Jimmy was invited to kick off the year in prayer again so he sent me a couple pics from this morning. This is their second year at this school and its third year in existence, it truly is a gift from God for my kiddos.

They attend school from 7AM to noon. We still homeschool in the afternoons for about 2.5 hours but this offers them friendships, fluency, and lovely cultural experiences.

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Preparing for New Students

Jimmy was able to find a lumberyard opened that was stocked which is quite a task in January (It took up most of Monday) when many businesses are still closed for the holidays. 
He and several men at the farm have been building more bunk beds for the single guys’ house! Elias has been doing a wonderful job managing the construction of new houses for families. (I’ll have to take more photos of the new and redone houses.) 
We are praying for all the men calling in who said God was drawing them to study and the institute! Please pray that they will persevere through all that the devil will use to try and discourage them. Each one represents and entire village that will have the opportunity to hear the truth!

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Bible Studies Have Begun

Rodrigo and Mari have already been hosting Bible studies in their new home in Agua Chiquita. We are so excited for them. Please pray as they share the truth, that God would draw more people in the village to a true understanding of His love and the freedom that He offers. Their hope is that with the first couple families that put their faith in Christ they can become a mission and then grow into a reproducing church.

 Last night a believer from a village we visited several times before the institute existed called and wanted to either have his son come and study to be their pastor or have a graduate come... they are so hungry for more about God! His son is a little young still but his village is close enough to Rodrigo and Mari that they will be able to visit their too. Maybe that will be the first spot for a 2020 graduate. We will see!! Villages like that are what God used to show us the need for the institute - Discipled families that can go and disciple other families!

Saturday, January 4, 2020

The 2019 KBI Graduation

At the end of the year we had our 3rd graduation at Kekchi Bible Institute!
Mari, Rodrigo, Henry, Gerson, Angelina, Giovani
I wanted to share a little bit about each graduate's plans. Mari and Rodrigo each completed the full 3 year program of 60 courses. In mid December they moved to the unreached village of Agua Chiquita. They have a son whom Titus will miss very much.
Jackson and Titus
Giovani came to the farm as a single student, met the cook and got married! He completed the 3 year program and Angelina didn't begin studying until later, but completed the certificate program of 20 classes (she actually completed 35 classes). They also moved in December to the unreached village of Se Pur. They have one son as well. Since moving they have already faced some opposition among the village leadership but God cleared the way for them to remain in the village. 
Graduates with all of the men and women who teach at the institute. (Oscar's face is behind Eulalia, but we really appreciate him too.)
Henry was in the first group of students to ever come to the farm. Besides Elias, Jimmy has probably spent the most time with and feels the closest to Henry. When he left 3 years ago, with one semester to go, that was a very low point for us personally. He returned this past year, with his wife Ana. She is still completing the program, so he will stay here for a while. He will be teaching some first year classes at the institute and is our translator for all of our materials that we want to be put into Kekchi. He is a gifted teacher and translator, so we wouldn't mind if God's plan for him was to partner with us long-term, but God will reveal that in His own time. When I try to predict things like this, I'm always wrong!
There are a couple missing from this photo, but these are the other men beginning their 2nd and 3rd year at the institute, plus Gerson and his brother.
 Gerson is the first student to graduate single. Like Jimmy said in the graduation video he made for the students, it isn't for lack of options, haha! Gerson is waiting for a girl that wants to serve God along side him. He lives the farthest away out of anyone and is one of the only students who had a dad that truly supported him studying at the institute. His dad is a pastor in the department south of here and Gerson returned to his church to take over the youth ministry he start during breaks at the institute. He spoke of coming back once he is married to partner with our association to begin a church plant in Petén. (It is just an association to be legal in Guatemala, each mission once it becomes a self supporting church will file paperwork to become it's own association.) Can't wait to see what God has for him!

 Each year we learn so much about how to better prepare each student. We adjust and readjust constantly. This is the first year we worked outside the umbrella of an existing association for the church plants. These 2 families are pioneers. If they persevere and are successful, this will serve as proof of concept for other graduates who want to be autonomous. Please pray for them!

Another adjustment for the upcoming year is we have learned that many students (not all) move out of their parents' or inlaws' house to move onto the farm property. That means that when they leave the institute, it is their first time truly outside of a big family situation (We consider the farm community a big family!) where they are setting up their own house and won't have someone around to help them all the time. It can be overwhelming. Day one at the institute will be different for new families. It's hard because you want to fix everyone's problem immediately if you can but in some cases that will stifle their future. Please pray for our upcoming year!
This upcoming year will be our first where the ladies have a uniform too. We were all pretty excited about it!
It is such an honor to share 3 years with these individuals who sacrifice so much to follow God's call. The farm is such a unique environment. Everyone is there to grow, us included!

Saturday, October 5, 2019


I remember when the first family left the institute to go begin pastoring a new work. We were all on our front porch saying goodbye and praying over them. I remember not knowing what to say to the wife. Her husband began his journey at the institute as a single student and she came later. I never really connected with her, she was so shy and probably still felt like the new girl when she left.

That day I purposed in my heart to do better. I wanted to build a strong sense of community with the ladies at the farm even though sometimes there seems like overwhelming obstacles to a true connection. When they graduate these families go to areas where there are no other Christians, I want them to have a strong support system of people who know what they are going through. I want them to always be part of our community.

Then God sent Mari. She is one of those friends who you never struggle with what to talk about. Building that friendship was easy. I probably have never been around her when we didn’t laugh at least a couple times. She leaves in a few weeks to move to their new village, her journey here is coming to an end. I’m so happy for her family. They are going to be wonderful partners in ministry. Still, thinking about them leaving makes me sad.

I appreciate Mari. I feel like God used her friendliness to show this introvert it’s possible! I have nothing more in common with Mari than any other lady at the institute, but God offers us this beautiful gift of family and friendship that overcomes any shortcomings on my part inside His community. Connection is something I will work at forever, here where God has placed me, but I know it’s possible.

Last night we celebrated Mari’s little boy’s 3rd birthday. Tito is going to cry as much as me when they leave.
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