Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Wagons, Doggie Doors and a Bunch of Gringos

We have had the best time so far in Jax. We have already done so many things.
The boys got to visit with their Great Grandma Wootton.
They met Bella and learned how to use her doggie door.
Silas even says "Baba" when he's looking for her.
We have gone on walks.
Silas likes to walk Bella.
My aunt sent us this wagon to use while the boys are here, they love it! I actually have 2 aunts that were so nice to send all kinds of toys, clothes, car seats, and even another crib for us to use while we are here. Add on top of that all the goodies their Kiki had for them, they haven't even played with all of the toys yet.
Poor Jonah came down with a fever the night before we flew out of Guatemala City. He has been running a temp off and on for days now. Silas just starting with one yesterday. It hasn't slowed them down much.
They love playing with Kiki and Papa. They explore their new surroundings all day long.
They love Kiki's cooking!
In the Petén they always wear sandals, but we decided to spring for some dressier shoes while we are here... socks and all. I love seeing them in their little boat shoes. They look so grown up.
Sunday we went to our home church. Jimmy got to speak in the Spanish ministry. The singles class has been really supportive of us. We enjoyed visiting with them!
I was really nervous about the boys being in the nursery. They have never experienced something like that. They have pretty much spent every waking moment with their mommy since birth. Jonah walked right in and found a piano and never looked back. Silas was a little timid. He cried at first, but this man was so sweet and sat with him. I am so thankful for the workers who were so nice to my boys!
After church Silas was at the door waiting for his mommy. I couldn't find Jonah, he was busy exploring! It's funny because I thought they were going to be the opposite of this. Ever since we got to the States they have switched. Jonah is less bashful around gringos and Silas, my little outgoing boy, doesn't want anything to do with them.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

I Always Wanted to Go To Belize

Last Wednesday we made the 6+ hour trek to Guatemala City to fly back to the States for our 2 month furlough. We found out at the last minute that we were going to have to pay $800 to leave our vehicle there while we were gone. There are a lot of micros getting stolen right now, so that was the only safe option we could find. About the same time we found out about that price our friend Luis called and said that he insisted on driving us to Guatemala City and then picking us up when we get back. (For those of you who have been down here it's the coaster driver Luis.) At the last minute we also changed who was going to be watching our dogs. We were going to leave them at our forever house and have Lico feed them, but instead the mini zoo keeper from the hotel in our town said that he could watch them. This lets them stay at our house which is added securing for us. We had just recently gotten to know him. He is very good with animals. Both of these things were a specific need that God met for us that I am very thankful for. No need is too small for God to take care of.
{At Taca check-in Thursday morning}
Thursday morning we flew to Miami. For the boys' sake we were so excited about having a direct flight.
When we got to the gate we were casually informed that we would be landing in Belize to refuel. All the tourists were thrilled, but we go to Belize all the time, so to us it just meant another hour to our flight. They told us some story about a gas tank fire in Miami but honestly I think Taca was too cheap to buy Guatemalan gas (that had just gone up substantially).
So 2 hours into what we thought was going to be a quick direct flight we were sitting on a runway in Belize (about an hour drive from our house lol). The boys had just fallen asleep, but of course this mini layover woke them up.
{Silas with his ring pop}
We had 3 seats, 2 had been purchased with sky miles! That means we get 6 pieces of luggage to come back with!

I was really worried about how the boys would behave on the plane, so I had tons of things planned for them on the flight. We had gotten them headphones and they watched videos of themselves. We colored, snacked, looked at the magazines, sang (very quietly), and had several toys we kept rotating. Someone suggested suckers to us to help the boys with the pressure change. Genius I tell you... genius! I will never fly again without suckers. The boys did so good on the flight, even the lady in front of us commented as we were getting off about how good they had been. I am so thankful (and relieved)!

CRAZY ITEM OF THE DAY: Jimmy was in possession of the ring pops when we got on the plane. We had 4 carry-ons plus 2 boys, so understandably he dropped one (a ring pop, not a boy). Unfortunately it landed in the middle of the aisle full of boarding passengers. He was going to wait to get it, but the ring pop never would have survived. It most definitely would have been trampled. I saw Jimmy's face and knew what he was thinking. All hopes of a peaceful flight were about to be lost. Without hesitating Jimmy threw himself over the ring pop in a full body block. The only casualty was the man across the aisle from us who was innocently placing his bag in the overhead compartment. His personal space had definitely been violated. The man disgustedly looked over his shoulder knowing nothing of the ring pop that had just been saved. I was laughing out loud by this point, but before we could explain the poor man asked for another seat and was moved to the front of the plane. I have never seen Jimmy get that close to another male... proof that there is little a father of twins won't do to preserve a little sanity.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

New Materials

We leave for a 2 month furlough in less than 48 hours. Can you sense the anxiety? In the last couple days we have been checking things off of our "To-do list". We've done fun things like go to the dentist, lay a leach field at our forever house, take a family photo, clean up baby vomit (not on the list), get Atzi fixed... all the super fun things you put off until you're about to leave your life for an extended period of time.

In the midst of those things I have 2 very good nap takers, so I was able to update our materials in time for our furlough. I reworked our website with a new program that loads much faster than iWeb (Goodbye MobileMe!) and is googleable. Our website is what brought us into contact with Pastor Andy, James Yoder, and Jay the temp intern, all blessings to our ministry, so we think it is pretty important. If you had the other one bookmarked you may need to redo it with just this address:

So all of our materials have our new logo on them now. I even had time to make a favicon! The boards that are the background on everything are the boards from our building in Santa Rita... kind of sentimental.

We ordered new and improved prayer cards... improved because they have adorable twins on them!
The family photo was an ordeal. We had the camera with a timer on our tripod. We had ordered a remote just for occasions like these, but once we were all dressed for the photo we realized the batteries had melted in the remote... it's that hot here. It started pouring down rain as we were walking out the door too, that is why the photo was taken on our patio. We put Jimmy's laptop on a table in front of the camera with family videos playing to get J & S to look in that direction. It helped, but still after 100+ photos I didn't have a single photo with 4 pleasant faces looking at the camera. So...
I stole Jonah's head from the photo above and...
photoshopped it on top of this one for our final photo (the one on the prayer card). Jonah had been a sweetheart the whole time we were snapping photos, so I thought he deserved a happy face.

Anyway, that's what is going on around here. Jimmy is meeting with José and Domingo right now about radio stuff. When the boys wake up we are going to Santa Rita for one last visit. Then it is off to Guatemala City. Thankfully we only have one flight, a straight shot to Miami. It's good to be from FL, it saves you a lot on airfare.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Handmade Home #5: Coconuts

A couple of days ago we were at José's house and he gave us about a dozen coconuts. There are signs for "coco frios" all along the roads here. They machete them down and then stick a hole in it for you to drink from. I have only ever had lukewarm coconut water in people's homes. I really do not care for it. But 12 coconuts... there was no way we were letting this gift go to waste.

I did not realize that coconut water had recently become popular in the States until I started googling what to make with 12 coconuts. It's some very healthy stuff. Turns out that it tastes a whole lot better when it is cold too.

So Jimmy drained 8+ coconuts with his machete... yeah right, with his drill. We ended up with a gallon of coconut water. It will last about a week in the refrigerator.

So far we have tried pineapple and mango smoothies. Both were delicious, but our favorite was the pineapple. We now plan on planting a coconut tree at our forever house and we probably will start picking up a couple "coco frios" now and then too.

Here is the recipe Jimmy came up with if you have any fresh coconuts:

Coconut Water Pineapple Smoothies
2 cups coconut water
2 cups ice
1 large can of pineapple (juice too)
1 T sugar
Yields 36 oz.

Here are some piggy banks Jimmy found for the boys made out of coconuts. There are some very creative people in this country. The eyes and feet are made out of seeds.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The Topeka Team

You could not ask for a better team than this one. All of them had a great attitude 100% of the time. They were doing hard labor during the hottest time of year here. After they finished all that work, they got to witness us being kicked out of the village... yay. We believe their hard work on that building will pay off though, we just have to be patient.
{Lico & Matt}
Lico (from New Horizon) normally works at our forever house. He is in charge of all of the construction and does an excellent job. While the team was here, Jimmy had him in Santa Rita leading the group. He told Jimmy that he wanted to work those days for free. I was really impressed by that. He believed in what God is doing in Santa Rita so much that it moved him to make a personal sacrifice... a big one I would say. I am challenged almost daily by what I see around me. There are so many people here with so much less, making much more of a sacrifice than I ever have.
{Jacob, Ian, Jordan, & Clint}
{Clint, Jordan, & Jacob}
{Matt & Gordo installing the wood above the doors, they are the doors off the building in New Horizon}
{The finished walls... and Pastor Tim!}
The team stood outside the town hall and sweated listened to the long 2.5 hour meeting. Afterwards we all came down to the building and prayed before we left.
{Last meal with this team at Maya International}
{Jonah with his new buddy Jacob}
This team was so sweet to my boys. Jonah and Silas had so much fun with all of them.

The building has a roof now. We have only been back in once to take this photo. We also talked to Fabio to let him know that we have not forsaken him and to tell him not to lose hope... it ended up being more like him telling us that! He said that things have calmed down a lot in there. We took that as good news... us being old news.
Some things never change...
{Jonah at 6 days old}
{Jonah at 5 months}
{Jonah at 16 months}

Friday, March 11, 2011

Radio Team

I haven't finished sharing about the Topeka team and we've already had another team come and go. This one was from an organization called Lifeword. We met them through Pastor Andy. We sort of became their middle men to be able to work with the Kekchi nationals here. They are helping the Kekchi radio station "Berea" that the national pastors had started. They provide more equipment, broadcast material, gas money for the missionaries following up on those who call in, and are working on some repeaters since this station does not reach all of Petén yet. We are very thankful for the investment they are making in reaching the Kekchi. This is a video from their first trip down here (when we met them) 2 years ago. I can't wait for Domingo and José to see themselves in this video!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Teaching in Poptún

Since we are presently waiting on the door to reopen in Santa Rita, we wanted to get more involved in the Kekchi church plant in Poptún. By the way, the roof is on the Bible study building now: proof we are not giving up!

Last Sunday we asked pastor Mateo how we could help. He was excited about advertising a childrens' program, he thought that would be a great way for the church to grow. All they had up to this point was an adult service. So we headed down there this past Sunday to kick off a kids' class. There are some teenagers who already attend, who would probably make great teachers, so we are looking at this with the idea of training someone to take our place soon.
We had 12 come for the first week (not counting a cute little pair of twins)! It was like being in a different country compared to where we have worked in the past.
When I passed out the scissors, instead of hearing "No, give me the red one, no... I want blue", I heard "thank you". I had almost forgotten how to say "you're welcome".
When I set the bags of crayons on the table, instead of dumping them all out grabbing a wad and guarding it with their life, they each chose one crayon and when they were finished with that one they put it back in the bag and took out another one.
No one ducked under the table when someone walked passed so they wouldn't be seen with us.
No one dug through my diaper bag and ate the boys' snacks or tossed out all of their toys.
I only had to explain things one time.
It was like we were in a polite parallel universe... weird, but at the same time completely delightful.
I'm not sure what caused this, but there was something about the environment that they grew up in that made them different.
Pastor Mateo did advertise about the kids' class. The lady in the back, Gloria, came for the first time just to bring her son (he is in the white shirt). He can hear, but he cannot speak. He was so sweet. They both seemed to have a good time.

We had so much fun! I cannot wait till next week!

That morning Jonah didn't want any breakfast, but we thought is was just because we woke him up so early. We arrived in Poptún before everyone else to get setup. We sat for a while talking with pastor Mateo, he was holding Jonah. With no warning at all, Jonah starts vomiting all over him. I was so embarrassed and felt SO bad. Nothing like puking on the pastor... our first week too. He was very nice about it, but you know he smelled vomit for the rest of the day.

Monday, March 7, 2011

What God is Doing in Poptún

Two Sundays ago we took the team to the Sunday morning service at the new Kekchi church plant in Poptún.
Pastor Tim shared with the group why they had come and how they were excited about this new church plant.
Kim shared her testimony. The ladies loved it when she said she was a mom of 5 boys and 1 grandson... they can relate to that!
The team sang a song in English. That is a common request. It's beautiful to hear your God worshiped in a language different from your own.
Teresa, pastor Mateo's wife, served everyone tostadas.
I'm not normally a fan of goat cheese, but with the homemade sauce it was delicious. I would have eaten more if I hadn't been chasing 2 little boys!
The services are held on their patio and the sun was extra bright, so this photo is a little grainy, but it is of the pastor's entire family: Pastor Mateo, Teresa, Gamaliel, Santiago, & Lourdes.
This is a new family that was their that day. They had heard through the radio broadcast about this new church in Kekchi. They accepted Christ and came from an hour away to attend the service. (They were there this Sunday too.)
After the service we all walked down to see the new land that they had just purchased on which to build a permanent building. They along with all the other Kekchi pastors have been raising money for this new church building.
{Jimmy, Mateo, and Jonah}
{Silas, still wearing pastor Tim's hat, with his buddy Jacob}
{I love little girls in the traditional dress... so cute!}
Here are some of the families from the church in front of their newly purchased land. It is very close to the main highway. They are going to put up a large sign that can be easily seen from that road... free advertising! We all prayed together before we walked back, thanking God for the land and asking Him to continue to bless this church so that more Kekchi people will be reached and discipled for Him.
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