Saturday, October 29, 2011

A Little Technology in the Jungle Goes a Long Way

Louis Powell has now been down twice to visit us. We first met him when he tagged along with the group from LifeWord radio ministry last March.
It was then we began planning several more ways to reach Kekchi people, specifically centering on more Bible training for those unable to get training. Louis has designed the T-Box for just this purpose. It is a small speaker box that accepts a micro-SD chip and/or a USB drive. It also is equipped with a radio tuner and it's speaker is loud enough for at least 25 people to hear easily. In November I (Jimmy) will be giving the 22 boxes Louis brought down to the national missionaries here in Petén. They will placing these boxes in villages with men who desire to be pastors but cannot come to our training. We are putting together a Kekchi mp3 library with teaching on various subjects. Every month I will be giving the new month's USB to the national missionaries who will in turn switch them out with the old ones in each village. Each month we will have a new theme and the men can listen to the training in a correspondence course format. You can see a picture of one below (on the left).
However the box above is not only proving training in just one house, it is running a radio station! Louis also brought along this trip a radio transmitter and antennae. Every village we work in is a result of the radio station in the southwest corner of Petén, therefore every village already has a radio presence. Except that last December we helped Mateo Botzok start a church in the city of Poptún, where the big radio station doesn't reach. We began paying for him to be on a local, spanish radio station for one hour each week in Kekchi, and with this his work began to grow quickly.

When Louis mentioned to me about his small radio station I immediately thought of Pastor Mateo and the work in Poptún. Mateo previously worked an even larger Kekchi Baptist radio station for 5 years in another department. With his prior knowledge and good radio voice, we knew that this could be very successful.

On the 18th I took the gear to Mateo's house and we began setting it up for a trial run. 3 hours later we were broadcasting the book of Matthew in Kekchi on 100.1 FM.
{Please excuse the cellphone photos}
Mateo supports his family by working as a carpenter. As such, he had all the tools needed to set up a makeshift tower.
Again, this is just a temporary set up until we build a more fixed tower, but it worked well for testing.
You can see here that it is not very high above his house. After getting it stable and setting up the T-Box to play we began looking for a frequency that was not being used by somebody else. Then we started driving to see how far it would reach. As we drove we would pass Kekchi house after Kekchi house that is currently not involved in the work, but now has the Gospel available to them. With just this short tower we had a range of 2km. At full height we should reach 3 miles or 5km. Beyond that range will be difficult to convince people to walk to church anyways.

The purpose of this is to strengthen the church there. First we will be able to give the current members more Bible training each week. Mateo plans to run the radio for 2 hours in the morning and 2 hours in the evening. Secondly this will be a great outreach to the Kekchi families that don't know about the church yet. It gives us something to put on flyers and pass out door to door and there is no other form of Kekchi language entertainment besides this radio station. We have a good monopoly in that regard.
Besides having our programs, he also has Kekchi music and the entire Kekchi New Testament already on the T-Box. Pray for Pastor Mateo Botzok as he works with this in addition to his growing church and his carpentry business.
Sunday after church we all gathered inside Mateo's house for prayer to ask God to use this new station.
{Mateo's son, Gamaliel, setting up the radio transmitter}
{Praying for the station}

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Family Traditions #7: Happy 2nd Birthday Jonah & Silas!

"Family traditions give identity and belonging to each member." - James Dobson

Nothing holds Jonah and Silas' attention like books. Because of my baby nausea I spent a lot of the last 3 months snuggled with them on the rug in their room reading books. They listen until I stop. They love flipping through their board books on their own too. I would say books are their favorite toy right now. So I thought we should choose one of their favorite books as a semi-theme for their birthday party. I chose Dear Zoo by Rod Campbell.

This year since our forever house isn't finished and all the families we wanted to invite wouldn't fit in our rental house, we decided to hold the party at the Burger King in Santa Elena. Jonah and Silas giggle with delight when we pull into the parking lot there because they like the jungle gym so much, so we figured they would approve.

We hadn't been there since before we left for furlough. Jonah and Silas have gotten so much bigger and braver. They don't need any help at all getting around this thing. All of us did make sure they didn't fall off though!

Happy 2nd Birthday Jonah and Silas! Your second year of life flew by. You have to slow down from this point on. If you weren't so much fun at this age I would be upset with you for already being 2.

{This is Silas' cheesy camera smile. I pulled Jonah's thumb out of his mouth, so that is why he looks startled.}

This is where Jimmy asked Domingo to say a special prayer, thanking God for our 2 healthy boys who bless our lives every day!

Game Time!

We had a couple games to go along with some of the animals in the book. This is a snake game. You had to make the longest snake with bubbles.


Silas & Jonah love bubbles!


This one they had to yank the lion's tail.

I should have played this game at home with the boys a couple times to make sure they understood it because...

Silas & Jonah did NOT appreciate getting their "tails" yanked. We all thought it was funny!
Here the kids had to feed the elephant peanuts. Jimmy freehanded this elephant for me!
Silas would pick up the ones that missed and put them in the elephant's trunk.
{Jonah feeding the elephant}

Cake Time!

They actually knew how to blow out their candles since we make them blow on their food when it's hot.
Piñata Time!

{The piñata was a dog}

Silas did not like that dog the whole time we had him in our house. He kept barking at it and yelling "bad dog".

{Jonah wacking the piñata}

Jonah and Silas thought they only got one wack and then they would pass the stick to someone else. I thought it was really sweet that they shared without me asking them to. When we only have one of something at home they know they get one "turn" and then they hand it to their brother... it is working!

Picking up the candy!

{Samuel with his bag of candy!}

Everyone got bubbles, a balloon, and a bag of candy from the piñata.

This is Delmi. She works at BK and helped out so much. BK was about $20 to rent for 2 hours and they decorated the entire play area with balloons and had anything on hand we would ever need for a party. They had Delmi there helping just us the whole time too.

It is a very Kekchi thing to have entire families come to birthday parties. I really like that. I like our entire family knowing their entire family. They are very family oriented. (Not everyone we invited was Kekchi.) We are very thankful for all of these families that God has brought into our lives.

These were our guests:

Mateo, the pastor in Poptún, his wife Teresa, and kids, Gamaliel, Santiago, & Lourdes.

Lico, our close friend who is now building our house, Elda, Paola, & Luis... plus baby #3, Elda is expecting!

Luis, the vet that saved Lucha's life, Sandra (who I could talk to all day), & Javi.

Domingo, the national missionary we work with, Candelaria, Zoila, Samuel, & baby Candi.

Candi is the little baby whose birth story I shared here. They ended up making my name her middle name. I thought that was sweet. So I sort of have a tocaya.

Tutor #4, our Kekchi tutor and who we are going to start a Kekchi church with in San Pancho. His poor wife had Dengue, so she and the kids stayed home.

Luis, Mayumi, and their girls were invited too, but there was a bad storm and they live all the way over at the border of Belize.

The day after their party was their real birthday. We took them to Pizza Hut in Santa Elena for lunch. Jonah and Silas love pizza (Silas doesn't like Burger King food, he thinks it's fake food... Mama couldn't be prouder!)

We were sure to skype with both sets of grandparents so that they could tell them Happy Birthday in person!

We don't always skype upside down!

This is what their Grandparents got them for their birthday:

Papa & Kiki got them this water play area. We opened it a couple weeks early since it was so hot here. They have enjoyed it several times already.

It never gets old. They play until they eventually splash all the water out of it.

A toy perfect for Petén.

G-Dawg and Grandma got them their own wheel barrows and tools.

This is perfect for their new sandbox (mentioned below). What little boy doesn't love dirt!

After watching Lico and his workers build our house, they feel like big boys now with their own tools!
It's a good thing the sand is 2 feet deep.

Now on to our Family Traditions! These are the ones we started last year for the boys' first birthday.

1. Pavers with their footprints: These will be part of our forever house. I'm still not sure where I want to put them, in the front or the back yard. The back yard is sort of our family fun spot, so they might go there.
{Lico built the molds and prepared the concrete for us. He is the one holding Silas}

2. Face smashed in cake: Oops... this does not work well with fondant. Not sure if we will keep this one or not.

3. Individual Cakes: Check! This was my first time trying fondant. I like working with it much better than icing... especially here where everything melts.
Jonah likes lions, so that is the animal out of Dear Zoo I chose for him and his color is green, so he got a green cage around his cake. Ever since the boys were old enough to favor certain colors we color coded a lot of their stuff, like sippy cups. Jonah knows he is green and Silas knows he is blue.
Silas has loved elephants ever since his Papa showed him how to put his arm in front of his face and raise it like and elephant's trunk. So that's the animal out of the book he got and then of course a blue cage.

4. & 5. Family Birthday Banner and Birthday Wreath: The balloons on the wreath didn't melt together in our storage room, I was surprised. Hopefully it will last from now on for us to use on all of our birthdays.

6. Handmade Gifts: Like I mentioned last year, growing up, My mom made so many things for me and it made me feel extra special. Maybe for the time invested or the design so specific to me, I don't know, but I always cherished those things. Besides that, handmade things inspire creativity and a desire to learn to do something new, both traits I want my boys to have.

While in Guatemala City, we came across a bright yellow slide in one of the hardware stores. That was it, Jimmy decided he was building the boys a swing set.
He downloaded some free plans online and then ordered some treated lumber.
{The finished swing set. It even has a swing for the baby!}

The boys didn't see it until their birthday since it is at our forever house. Unfortunately it was pouring down rain, so the first time they saw it they got to play on it for a total of about 4 minutes.
They were so thrilled when they saw it. They loved their little bench in the fort area.
They were less than thrilled with us when we told them we had to leave because of the rain.

We went back another day... a dryer one.
They both play on the whole thing, but it is clear that Jonah's favorite part is the fort and slide and Silas' favorite part is the sandbox.

7. Birthday Breakfast: This is a new one we added this year. Everyone gets to pick their favorite breakfast for the morning of their birthday. Jonah and Silas love blueberry muffins, so that's what they got! They like muffins so much it is one of the few words they actually use regularly.
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