Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Busy Season

So this has been a pretty busy season in our life, somewhere right behind the first couple months with preemie twins. 
 We celebrated several milestones this month, like 10 years of marriage and 8 years in Guatemala. We had lots of visitors and our church and youth group is growing, along with projects at the institute! The best news though is those two precious twins put their faith in Jesus this month! (Post coming soon.)
 We made new missionary friends this past month or so too. It is really great for missionary kids to get to be around other missionary kids once in a while!  
{Celebrating July 4th}
 We also had interns with us for 3 weeks, 
followed by an awesome youth team... the next day, haha! 
Then after that team flew out we had a sweet family fly in that will be staying with us for about a week and a half. 
{Working on hymnals}
We are really blessed to have so many people wanting to make an investment into the work here in Guatemala!
So there are lost of stories and victories to share. And since my power just came back on, also lots of laundry to do! 

There have been some sad moments too. We said goodbye to my beautiful Labrador, Fijese, who has been with us since we got here. An irreplaceable, gift from God. Jimmy already picked us out another puppy, guard dog in the making... I think he was sad too. I really want to dislike her, but she's ok, no Fije, but ok.
{Skyping with Kiki and Papa right after she was delivered.}
Another milestone - 
our garage door that has been broken for the past 14 months finally got fixed! I can't open it myself when the opener is broken, so it is a big deal for me and the kiddos getting around. Jimmy called the welder several times a week for the last year... that's just how things work here. He is a really good welder!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Heard Around the House #13

 The kids' 2 bedrooms are going to be finished in the next couple of twelve months. The boys sleep in what will be my parents room when they move here (Yay!) and Eden sleeps in our closet. We were discussing who would sleep in which room. Silas felt bad for Eden because she would be alone in her room. (I predict she will end up sleeping in the boys' room for the first couple of months.)
Dada - "Well Eden isn't a twin."
Jonah - "Yeah, me and Silas are twins, he takes care of me and I take care of him."
Beautiful definition of twins!
Eden is VERY independent. Much more than even the boys are now. It started with her pushing us away so she could do it herself and she would yell "Got it!" Now it has evolved into her saying, "I do it!!!" She gets so disgusted with me if I try to help her... with her shoes, getting into the car, filling up her water cup, anything really. She always wants to help ME though, so I don't feel completely rejected!
{We were trying to make cupcakes that looked like the ones in Eden's book.}
{"No Mama, I'm an angel I would never eat another cupcake if you told me not to!"}
Eden wouldn't let us help her potty train either. I explained it to her and she did not like the idea at all at first. She fussed at me when I put cute little pink panties on her. Then I said big girls use a potty and that only big girls could help me in the kitchen. (That is our thing. She sits on the counter and helps me with nearly every meal.) That rule broke my heart, but it only took a couple days. Soon she started asking for panties. The first time she used the potty (she wouldn't use it with either one of us in there helping her... HARD-HEADED!)
I was in the laundry room and I heard her start to cry, not a painful cry, but an angry one. Then she yelled, "Mama, bop!" Sure enough she had bopped in the potty and she was not happy about that being what she was expected to do now. Then she said, "Candy?!" Soon after that she started waking up, taking off her diaper and putting on panties herself. She goes on her own now and gets her own candy afterwards. She doesn't use diapers for naptime but I'm waiting till she gets her big girl bed until we try all night. Killin me! She is a year ahead of when the boys were finally potty trained. I'm grateful about how ridiculously easy this was compared to them, but I am SO sad that she is so big.
Jonah came up to me the other day very serious and kind of whispered - "Mama, I'm growing right now." I guess sometimes you can feel it, lol! 
{Like feeding a bunch of monkeys}
Silas doesn't have a lot of patience with Jonah in the mornings. He really wants to play, but his internal clock is about 2 hours ahead of Jonah. Even if Jonah wakes up with everyone else, that doesn't mean he is functional yet. Silas was just fussing at him for every little thing one morning.
Mama - "Silas, you worry about Silas."
Silas - "Mama, if I worry about Silas then that means that I don't believe in God."
{Silas' depiction of our family... I love Dada's big head! Silas and Dada are also carrying backpacks.}
The kids were squished in the back of the pickup the other day and Silas was stating that he didn't have room to sit. 
Jonah - "Just deal with it!"
MaG was thinking about flying here and picking up the grandkids to spend a week in the States with her and G. I was worried about Eden missing us. Very excited about the idea, Jonah and Silas immediately started reassuring me that they would all be ok and not miss us. Silas took it a little far and said -"Mama, I won't miss you AT ALL!" That got Mama really upset. Jonah caught on immediately and was very diplomatic about the whole thing. Finally he was tired of me and Silas going back and forth and said very frustratedly - "Come on Silas! Just say you will miss Mama!"
Jonah came into our room one morning to snuggle. His head was on my tummy and he must have heard something. He looked up at me and said, "Mama, God is talking to your heart. I don't know what He is saying, but He is saying something."
{Snuggling on the bed with a pile of books!}
One night after our night-night routine, Jonah got all worked up about something. He was crying and getting more worked up by the second. I went into their room and said very seriously - "You need to stop this Boobooing!" I meant to say boohooing, but once it left my mouth, Jonah immediately started cracking up laughing! Now whenever anyone is having a bad attitude, which we all suffer from once in a while, we say, "Stop your Boobooing" and it helps lighten the mood.
{We love board games in this house!}
Lucha, Jimmy's boxer keeps tearing up the rat screen on our back door trying to get inside the house whenever she hears fireworks. (Which happens multiple times a day here.) Jimmy has fixed it dozens of times. One night he was really upset with her and saying he was going to do anything from putting her down, to taking her out into a field and just letting her go. Silas was upset about it. It was his turn to pray that night as part of their night-night routine. He prayed, "God, please help Lucha be good and please help Dada fix his attitude!"
{Popsicle too!}
I was sitting in the living room having a very serious conversation with Silas. I was thinking, this is great, he is really getting what I am trying to explain to him. Then he leans over and whispers with a grin in my ear, "Mama, I just tooted on the couch two times."
{Silas' first sight word... thank you, Dada!}
Eden AND Silas were on the bed one morning with us and Silas said, "Shhhh, I hear something!" Eden looked at me and whispered, "Bad guys." I think she plays pretend with her brothers a lot! 
{Dada got us pop for movie night!}
Jimmy was sharing with the kids a verse from Proverbs. He was explaining was a hypocrite was. He gave them all superhero mask and then explained that who you are is what you are when you take your mask off.
Dada - "Silas, right now you look like iron man. Take your mask off. Now, who are you really?"
Silas - "Batman".
{How Jonah brushes his teeth!}
Out of nowhere one day.
Silas - "Mama, I love you more than catching... I don't really like catching at all." (Nice!)
Mama - "Catching what?"
Silas - "You know, catching balls, catching fish." 
{So thankful for these guys!}
Silas is very serious about pie... any type of pie. Dada promised Silas a piece of pumpkin pie after church one night, so he had been waiting a while only to find this:

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Not At All What I Pictured

Out of the 4 students at the farm, Ro has the most education. H has the same amount Ro did at his age, but he is younger. Knowing that going in, I probably had the least amount of mercy and the highest expectations for him in my class. He did really well, but I kind of expected it or assumed he really didn't have to try as hard as the others. Maybe I missed an opportunity to celebrate with him on his achievements. His confidence led me to assume lots of things. I pictured his house, his family, his life story...

Well, this past week his family came to visit him. When they arrived, they were so excited to see their son, that they couldn't even speak for the tears. They are very supportive of their son being at the institute. While Ro was in class, his mom and sister went right to cleaning his house and doing his laundry. Moms are the same all over the world! They were here only a couple days, but I was able to learn so much more about Ro.
Neither one of Ro's parents can read. That in and of itself is a very large barrier to overcome. We learn so much as children being read to by our parents, things that lay the foundation for all of our future learning. Illiterate parents tend to either not place as high of a value on higher education, or don't know how to make it available to their kids. How would they provide the support system they need to succeed. How would illiterate parents go about helping their kids with their schoolwork? Illiterate people learn in different ways. They file things away in their minds differently, thus recalling them differently when it is time to relate to something new in order to learn more. I have no idea how Ro got to where he is at other than the sheer determination of his parents. 
Education in Guatemala is free, other than basic school supplies until you finish an equivalent to (in years) Jr High. That is where kids usually get lost. Either they don't see the value to pay to continue their education, they live in such rural areas that there aren't jobs for their parents to get to be able to pay for higher education, or they aren't counseled to choose the right school where there will be a job for them afterwards where they live. 

[Here in Sr High you choose your general field like we would do in college. In our area for $40 a month you can be a teacher, nurse or accountant. Only those three schools are offered. Then if you want to do something else you go to college with that as your foundation- so an accountant would go on to study business or law.]

It is the fathers whose sole income is their corn fields, rather than having an outside stable job that have the hardest time. Again, the ruralness of where people live limits their opportunities to have jobs. Ro's dad works at a palm plantation. That means he travels from his rural home to work in a larger town. He provided the means for Ro to get a higher education and then rallied behind him!

I didn't realize Ro's background before. I pictured him as a privileged city boy (because he is educated) and that wasn't the case at all! With the help of his father he removed obstacles that usually take more than one generation to overcome. I was humbled to see his real story. Because of what his father sacrificed his son will be a very well prepared pastor one day, influencing the next generation for Christ! 

CUTE ITEM OF THE DAY: Sparky's girlfriend gave birth to 8 piglets this past week at the institute farm! Our herd is growing!

Friday, June 27, 2014

A Whole House Full!

We are really excited about our discipleship group. Sometimes it's tough because you know all the things they are struggling with… more than you want to know maybe. Seeing God work in their lives though, makes me pay closer attention to my own. I want that to be a constant thing in my life too - growth. Nothing like a discipleship class or having your own kids that makes you constantly have to be honest about where you are at and where God wants to take you!
Another person in our discipleship class (2nd time this has happened Yay!), brought someone who needed Christ to church. The guard at the institute (who trusted Christ last year) called Jimmy one Sunday morning and said that there was a man in the village next door who really wanted to put his faith in Christ. The guard had been talking with him over the course of a couple weeks. (Very cool!) He wanted to know if he could bring him to our discipleship class. Well sure!

After class Jimmy went and visited the man's house. Jimmy wanted to council with him and see if he had any questions. The Holy Spirit had obviously been working in his heart. He wanted to put his faith in Christ and the only thing that was holding him back was that he wanted to make sure that everyone in his family wanted to as well. He didn't want to leave anyone behind. That is very Kekchi, to discuss something like this with your family for hours/days/weeks and then make the decision together. Well he and his wife, 3 daughters and 2 sons were ready to take that step of faith, putting their confidence in Christ for their eternity and beginning their new lives as children of God.
They are just the sweetest thing ever! They are smiling in the photo above because Jimmy told them to in Kekchi and they thought it was funny! The mother doesn't speak Spanish (which is pretty common in Kekchi villages), so P (one of the institute students) went with Jimmy to translate. A, the oldest daughter does speak Spanish and I just love her!
Domingo (white shirt) happened to be passing through town that night and came to our church service! He is a national missionary we work with very often to help plant churches in unreached villages. He is the president of the institute too. Jimmy presented the family to our church and then Domingo and several of the men prayed over them.

The village this family is from has no church. They ride the truck that brings the students to ours. That truck is packed usually, so very soon we will be sharing news of a new church plant for that village! So thankful for our God and how He does work in our lives! 

A couple Sundays back we found this when we arrived for our discipleship class that morning.
 That is our church building on the left. The whole street was blocked off and there were about a dozen large speakers behind that stack of tables. In Guatemala you take whatever number of speakers would suffice and then multiply that number by 10 and that's how many speakers you need.

 The neighbors across the street are very nice. Jimmy went to ask them what hours their party would be, just so we could make other plans for our evening service. The man said that the party would start at 1:00 and last for about 2 hours. He said, "We don't want to hinder anything the Lord is doing, so we will be done before your church service starts."

I know we are the crazy ones here. Have we learned nothing after 8 years. Did we really believe that a street party in Guatemala would last for 2 hours... seriously I am embarrassed.

Well when we got there at 6:00 that evening to set up for church, it wasn't even close to wrapping up. I'm surprised we couldn't hear the party from our house.
 It was pouring rain. Inside our building you couldn't hear what the person was shouting next to you. You don't know loud music until you come to Guatemala! Their party tent was tied to our gate. The party could not have been any closer. Well... we couldn't do anything but laugh.
We had to cancel church, there was no other place we could go to in the rain. But they did give us all cake as we were leaving!

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Family Traditions #26: A Double Dose

My family spoils me good in May since it's my birthday month AND Mother's Day falls in there too. This year though, I felt extra spoiled all month long.

Mother's Day morning (Saturday here) I got to sleep in and then wake up to this:
Jonah bent down and looked right in my face and said with a big smile, "Mama, today is YOUR day, today is all about you!" Sweetie-pie!

Jimmy had been building the day up ahead of time and the boys were excited to participate. They helped Jimmy make waffles with pecans in them and then brought me breakfast in bed! 
They brought their little kiddy table to eat with me too! 

It's kind of a tradition for my kids to give me plants for Mother's Day. This year they did even more than that. This is a spot right in front of our front porch. We laid the stone path a month or two ago but hadn't landscaped yet, waiting for the rains to start. They fixed up our wheel barrow and moved some dirt to fill in a spot around our Fishtail tree and then we transplanted some mint!
 Mint makes a beautiful ground cover and since it spreads so fast and overtakes other things, this is a perfect spot for it. Plus it is a natural fly repellant (tried to type that without laughing... we have flies everywhere).
Our path is really beautiful, even more so before our dogs muddied it all up. Some opossums trashed our mini power washer, so until that's repaired it's keeping its green tinted charm. 

The kiddos went with Jimmy to the nursery to pick out their own flowers. Jonah said that he wanted to get me a red flower since he "looked around and I didn't have any red ones already." Red is Jonah's favorite color.
I love that Jonah and Silas both got me daisies, but different colored one. Twins, but different... kind of perfect! Silas said he wanted to find a yellow flower because "that is Mama's favorite color."
Eden picked out a purple lily which I planted next to our front gate. 

Guatemalan Mother's Day fell on a Saturday which is our Family Fun Day, so we had the whole day with no schedule. We played games together and just relaxed.
Jimmy made a delicious supper that evening. It was sausage stuffed vegetables from our garden.Yum!
And I didn't have to wash a single dish all day. Woot woot! 
The boys made me cards, which I'll keep forever! 
Closer to the end of the month was my birthday. Another day of no dishes!!! Jimmy made breakfast again too!
{Birthday morning. My 34th}
Jimmy got my Mom's Frozen Coconut Cake recipe and he and the kiddos whipped one up. (That is one ingredient I always pick up on furlough, sweetened coconut!)
 They had to substitute some of the other ingredients, but it still tasted just like my mom's!
The institute had a short break between semesters and Jimmy used 2 of those afternoons to build my present. The boys love being in the wood shop with Dada!
At the end of the second day there was a huge storm, so Jimmy didn't get to finish pollying everything yet. Eden was out in the shop with him and they both got stuck in the storm! 
 Here is my present! It is for our back porch! I love it! The backs of the chairs have a nice slant to them, so they are super comfy. It is hard wood, so the bugs won't eat it.
 It's perfect for watching the kids play in the backyard. I see many mornings in those chairs with some coffee... before the kids wake up!
My parents and Jimmy's parents always skype with us on our birthdays and send us cards and presents. Seriously, we are in our 30's and they still go out of their way to make us feel special from far away on our birthdays. It is SO sweet. My parents gave me money which I'm saving till our October furlough. Nice to know I have that set aside to pick up all kinds of things we can't find here. My Mother-in-law spent a lot of time putting together several really thoughtful bubble mailers full of all kinds of goodies she knew I would appreciate and enjoy and got them here on my birthday. It's not the things, but the way our parents intentionally stay connected in our lives and make us feel loved.

My family made me feel extra special this past month. I love them So much! Ordinary days with them are pretty fabulous too!

For some reason we keep having the same argument. How big is too big to just let the reptile roam free in the house? No one wants to take the time to catch them or chase them out.
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