Monday, December 31, 2012

Heard Around the House #3

The boys were playing with some toy phones that Jimmy had picked up for them when he was in the States a couple months ago.
Daddy - "Do you like that phone? Do you want me to go back to the States and get you another phone?" (just wondering if it was worth it to him)
Silas - "No, Dada, I'll cry if you fly on a plane."
So sweet, he likes being with Daddy more than presents.

One Sunday afternoon the football game kept going off because of the poor signal. Sometimes we pray for the power to come back on, which makes the boys think that God is the one who turns the power off. Silas must have thought this was a similar situation.
(After there was no signal for a long time Silas walks up to the tv.)
Silas - "Hahaha... God... He's funny!"
(a couple seconds later)
Silas - "God, uh-ball? God, are you there?"
(Nothing happens so Silas walks away.)
Daddy - "Is God there?"
Silas - "No"
Daddy - "God is always there when we talk to Him."
(Silas walks back to the tv.)
Silas - "God, are you there?"
(Football game immediately comes back on!)

Silas tackled me and pulled my hair out of my ponytail, so I was fixing it right before we were going to put together a puzzle. 
Jonah - (impatiently) "No play with hair, Mama, puzzle!"

About 90% of the time Silas is the first one to wake up from a nap, but the other day Jonah came walking out first rubbing his sleepy eyes.
Mommy - "What woke you up?"
Jonah - "God"

After seeing a cut on Silas' hand.
Mommy - "What happened to your hand?"
Silas - "BIG bear came and me swing!"
(His Daddy tells wild bear stories that usually end with him swinging the bear around and around.)

When Nick was here I told the boys as they were going down for a nap one day,
Mommy - "When you wake up who is going to be hear to eat supper with you?"
Jonah - "Nick and Jimmy!"
(They have recently realized that Mommy and Daddy have names too.)

I was telling the boys about Thanksgiving...
Mommy - "We are going over to a friend's house tomorrow to celebrate Thanksgiving. We are going to meet a bunch of new people."
Silas - "No!"
Mommy - "Why don't you want to go?"
Silas - "Daddy, E...?
Mommy - "They are going too. We go everywhere together because we are...?" (fully expecting him to finish my sentence with "a family")
Silas - "Happy!"

We have been talking about moving to our forever house a lot with the boys so that it doesn't upset them when the time comes.
Mommy - "Soon we are all going to move to our other house and we are going to take everything with us. What are we going to take with us?"
Silas - "The potty!"
(I figured he would be more concerned about his bed or toys, but nope, the first thing he would take with him is the potty!)

We have this John Deere board game we were saving for when they were old enough to play. When I got it out one morning we sadly realized it was unplayable. The board didn't lay flat and the pieces were so light weight, they wouldn't stand on the spaces. Jonah especially was very disappointed.  After they went to sleep I mod podge the board to a piece of cardboard and laminated the cheap cards and playing pieces. I felt kind of ridiculous spending that much time on it. Anyway the next morning Jonah comes into the kitchen and sees it on the table.
Jonah - (very excited) "Thank you, Mama, fix my game!!!"
(My sweet boys make everything worth it!)

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Our Church's Christmas Outreach

Something good came out of something kind of bad... that happens a lot with God. Back when Jonah had Dengue we sat in the doctor's office waiting room with a lady, a young teenager, and 2 toddlers. They were very friendly. We found out that they were from a children's shelter here in Petén. It is for the abused and the abandoned. They get some support from a foundation in Spain, but they go out daily asking for food and trying to sell things they've made to survive. I didn't even realize there was something like this in Petén. 

We couldn't stop thinking about this place and really felt like God was putting them on our heart for a ministry opportunity for our church. Jimmy called our pediatrician and he gave us their address. Jimmy went by and found out that the lady at the doctor's office runs the place with her husband. The couple moved here from Guatemala City just to live with and take care of these kids. The love they have for these children is a beautiful thing to witness. 

Jimmy asked them of their specific needs and then got a list of how many boys and how many girls. Here are some of the kids he met that day:
We shared this idea with our church and for several weeks they brought in dry goods and clothing. Here are some of the things our people gave:
 If you knew our people's stories you would be even more challenged by these boxes. It was such a blessing to me to see people give so sacrificially. This will stick with me for a long time.

Our boys are at the just figuring things out stage, so this was a pretty meaningful Christmas for us as a family. We thought it would be great for them to get involved too. We went together and picked out presents for all the kids. 
We explained in general terms about these children's stories. Silas was very troubled. He kept asking if Jimmy and I were going to leave him. I appreciated his tender heart. Giving makes you grateful. Jonah and Silas were both excited about the toys they were going to give away. I was shocked that they didn't try to open anything or fuss about not playing with something. They helped me punch cards to label each present for a boy or girl and helped me cut ribbon. I think they were all in... as in as a little 3 year old can be! 
 The teens and workers got something too:
 This was the first outreach of our church, so we weren't sure how it was going to go. We had lots of people show up the Saturday before Christmas to take the gifts collected to the children.
 It really built a sense of community among our church family. That was a fun bus ride!

Here is Walter, the husband of the husband and wife team! He is explaining a little bit about the place to us.
 Our people were a little shy, but the kids there were even shyer. 
 They warmed up though!
 Some of our people got down at eye level and really took an interest in those kids.
 They helped them open presents and then helped them play with them!
I think they got out of it what they put into it.

I prayed that we would find things that the children would really like.
 This little girl opened her present and gasped, "Oh... a baby doll!"
 I am so proud of our teenagers! I hope we can really build a relationship with these children over time. 
 This is the one little boy who HATED his present! It was no secret! Thankfully there was an older kid who got a big red truck whose friend got tools and he was very eager to trade with this little guy. So he soon ended up much happier!
{Tool belts on and ready to build something!}
 I wanted to take this little boy in the orange home. He was naughty like Silas and he kept calling Jimmy "Papa". I can't imagine anyone being blessed with these children and not cherishing them forever. 
 My boys had fun playing with the kids too.
 Please pray as our church family continues to build a relationship with this children's shelter in the future. We all had a lot of fun that day. Hopefully there will be many more days like that!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Local Sweet Treats

Each year close to Christmas time the town of San Pancho (what will be our kids' home town... yay!) has a food festival. They call it Mesitas which is "little tables". San Pancho has lots of cultural events throughout the year. I just think it is the quaintest little town. It has a main square with a large grassy park, Catholic church and other things in the center and then another slightly smaller square a block over with a community center in the middle that people can rent for different events. Hundreds of booths are set up around both of these squares. You get to stroll around and look for yummy candy and desserts to try. 

In the past the boys have either been sick or we were busy somewhere else, so this is the first year that we have all gotten to go as a family. We didn't eat supper before we went (who eats supper before a food festival?) so we picked out some street food as soon as we arrived. 
{Jonah and Silas with their fried chicken}
 Jimmy did the chapin thing and picked out some type of chicken tortilla thingy, but this gringa wasn't touching that. I know how to pick my street food! When they break up chicken here for boneless meals they kind of separate it by beating it with something. Well bone chips get all mixed in with the meat. That's a cultural thing. What they do make that I LOVE is fried chicken! Jimmy was making fun of me for eating fried chicken and not being adventurous, but for an entire city block guess who was spitting out chicken bones?!
And here's Jimmy buying some fried chicken for himself!
There was homemade candy of every kind imaginable, preserves, pastries, and other yummy desserts. 
It was hard to pick what to try! We talked to each booth we bought things at and told them we were moving there soon. Everyone was so friendly. These ladies said, "Soon we will be neighbors!" 
They gave me a free poch... so nice! I cannot wait to live in this town. It is a nice size where you could really know almost everyone. 
 We will be the first US Americans to ever live there I think because Jimmy was required to go to the town hall for something to finish our visas a while back since that will be our permanent residence and no one there knew how to help us because they hadn't had foreign residents before. 

 We used our stroller for the first time in over a year. We don't go many places conducive to strollers!
{Jonah watching the musicians and Silas guarding his pop!}
Silas and Jonah loved all the sugar and music! They are fascinated right now with musical instruments. 
 There were several groups there. All had "walls" of speakers... my boys liked that too!
 Eden had fun too!
 I'm not sure who got more attention as we strolled along the streets, the twins or the "baby doll" with the big bow! 
 Here are the goodies we came home with:
 All the ones we asked about were made with boiled sugar cane. The white is coconut (that one was my favorite) and the brown one too. The one on the right is sesame seeds. They were all delicious!
We all had WAY too much sugar that night! San Pancho is looking like a really nice place to call home! I hope that one year our family can do a table together full of yummy treats. That would be a fun way to meet people!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Villages Ready for the Gospel

Update on David: He is recuperating well. He came to church Thursday night and looked really good! He's still moving slow obviously, but we are so thankful for everyone who prayed for him!

Last week we (our whole family, Domingo, and Nick) went to the village of Monte de Olivos. 
A Christian family has just moved there and they had asked for someone to come pray for their village. 
There are about 200 families in Monte de Olivos and counting this family there seems to be a total of 5 families that have accepted Christ. 
There is a small mission without a pastor. (I hope you are realizing there are a lot of these... thus the need for KBI.)
Of course they made us a wonderful meal. It had steamed cabbage as one of the sides. I LOVE cabbage! It was delicious.

Here are the men praying afterwards:
Our next stop that day was on the other side of Petén. 
It was the village of La Bendición (The Blessing). There is a small mission there that a pastor from a village down the road is trying to start.
 One family has accepted Christ so far in this village. That family served us supper! 
Jonah and Silas have the drill down by now. Before you eat someone usually brings a small bowl of water over to you to wash your hands. The water runs over your hands onto the dirt floor. Jonah and Silas stick out their hands waiting for this cultural norm. They are so cute. They will probably expect their grandmas to do this too, so have your bowls ready!
Afterwards we headed over to a thatched roof structure that the pastor and the Christian family had built to start their church under. You can see in the photo below where the pastor's wife had landscaped with flower beds (here it's colorful plant beds) and white rocks. I thought it was really beautiful! I know it took a lot of work and it was on a steep hill.
Here is the pastor's daughter. She was so sweet to Eden!
Here are more people coming for the movie.
There was a really great turnout. The Jesus Film played for 45 minutes...
and then the generator went out. We were so disappointed. It had just been repaired so we were excited to be able to use it again. It is the perfect size to travel with and it is super quiet for when you need it to play a film. It had gotten rained on when we had used it last and broke. Anyway we are still not sure what happened to it this time. 
The people were very kind about it. We have plans to return the first of the year to this village to show a film in it's entirety. Domingo preaches after films giving a clear presentation of the Gospel. Please pray for the village of La Bendición, for this new mission, and that more people will come to put their faith in Christ! Domingo said that anytime you go somewhere unreached, Satan is always fighting harder than ever. I think this was a good sign that God has plans for La Bendición! 

I had come down the hill to the road to help Jonah. (If anyone has any ideas on what to do with a very modest 3 year old who has to "bop" when there are no bathrooms or even outhouses for miles, let me know!) He was in distress. While I was trying to help Jonah with his problem a teenage girl was kindly holding Eden for me. A car with tinted windows was driving by with 2 guys inside (front window down). I noticed they had stopped to talk to this girl that had E. That made me nervous, but I was already very committed to Jonah's problem... if you know what I mean. I knew Jimmy was still up on the hill preoccupied with setting things up because I had just looked up at him trying to get his attention to let him know about Jonah and I with no luck. So I'm bent over helping Jonah, but closely watching this car next to my daughter about 25 feet in front of me. I then see one of the guys in the car reach out to take Eden inside the car. At that point I was willing to make a scene in order to protect E. I lunge forward about to yell at the top of my lungs and just as I'm forming the words in swoops Jimmy out of nowhere. I have no idea how he got down the hill that fast, but he grabbed E from the guy's grasp just as she was passing through the window! Who knows what would have happened, but I was very thankful for an observant Daddy. He was my hero!! It kind of made up for this gaffe. I was shaking pretty badly and VERY thankful that God had protected Eden and that it all took place without disturbing those who had already arrived for the film. 

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Looking Forward to a Wall

Where we live now, we have a chain link fence around our house. It's kind of secure, not really. I have more confidence in our dogs than that fence. Unfortunately our dogs are friends with some of our acquaintances that have no problem with stealing from us. Someone who we hired to feed our dogs while we were on furlough a couple years ago stole some things from our shed while we were gone. He had built up such a rapport with our dogs that even after we returned he was still jumping our fence and trying to take more stuff. Well last week Jimmy bought 2 storage tubs from a hardware store here in town. They were much cheaper than usual and had mismatched lids (the same colors that we have mismatched in reverse among the tubs we already own.) Well Jimmy opened one of the tubs when he got home and found an old door stop of ours. Yes people... we just bought back the tubs that were stolen from us a couple years earlier. Our life is so ironic, it makes me laugh all the time! At least they were cheaper this time around.  

We have another type of intruder. Our property has a ditch around it on three sides. These ditches are filled with weeds. Neighbors from all over tie up their goats and horses and all kinds of other 4 legged beasts to our fence to feed on our weeds. Well... that angers Lucha and Fije. There is one very ornery nanny goat that loves to irritate Lucha. She just eggs her on.
She was waiting at the gate one morning when I was leaving. As soon as I opened the gate she stepped inside the fence and immediately peed all over Lucha's territory. I know that was intentional. I then had to separate her and Lu before I could shut the gate. Then the dumb goat kept beating on the gate with her horns. Lucha bit her in the head several times and even grabbed her horns with her teeth to sling her around. But the dumb goat kept beating on the gate with her horns. I yelled at the goat a bit but then I decided if the goat dies it's her own fault, so I drove off. 

The fourth side of our yard is our neighbors. The owner of our house built it WAY too close to the fence. Our neighbors used to burn their garbage right outside our kitchen window. That was a little bit of culture shock for us! Thankfully they finally stopped. 
{My kitchen window}
Now they raise pigs in that area instead... I mean there are several litters of pigs about a meter from my kitchen window. Yes, we can smell them... and hear them! They attract a lot of gnats too. Our neighbors have a right to raise pigs. I'm glad they have that income, but I am either allergic to pig dander or the feed they use because ever since the pigs got here I sneeze and blow my nose whenever I'm home. I usually burn through about 4 boxes of tissues a week. Thankfully once we move I don't plan on living in close proximity to pigs! The other day some of the little piglets got into our yard. The whole thing was very ugly. I actually had a nightmare about it the next night. Before Jimmy could rescue them, both Lucha and Fije picked one up and flung it around. There was blood everywhere. It was squealing, I was screaming, and my kids slept through all of it! All the piglets lived.

With all this livestock surrounding us we can't keep the ticks off of our dogs. We have tried every treatment available here. We don't let our dogs inside anymore because they bring in ticks. Some are as big as the nail on your pinky finger... nasty! Two days ago Lucha came inside without me knowing and sat in the hallway for a couple minutes. (She jumps the little gate if there are fireworks and there are fireworks 24/7.) After we kicked her out we found thousands of baby ticks all over our walls.

This is what was behind one of my photo frames. I took all 8 frames off the wall and swept my wall down and then swept the dead ticks out the back door. I realize this might not change once we move, but I am hopeful since our dogs won't come into direct contact with livestock anymore.

Beyond no intruders it is just nice to be outside your house relaxing in your yard and not have people watching you. Polite passerby'rs are nice. Cars that stop and honk trying to get the little gringo twins to come outside so that they can take a picture, not as nice. Our new yard is private and secure. When the boys get a little older I will let them go outside without me and play. I would never do that where we are at now. We have already started to enjoy our yard: 
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