Friday, February 22, 2013

Back To Bendición

We went to this village back before Christmas to show the Jesus Film. 
It is a new church plant that a pastor from a neighboring town has been starting. About 45 minutes into the film our generator fizzled. This is our favorite little red generator because it is the perfect size for travel and it doesn't make much noise to disturb the movie. It got wet by rain that leaked through our roof several years ago and we have made multiple attempts to get it fixed. We thought it was fixed this time but I guess not. It's like a vehicle in Petén, once it's broke, it's never going to be right again. You just get it back with more problems than you started with.

So anyway, Satan must really not wanted any Gospel to be shared in that village because that morning Jimmy was ready with TWO working generators. Still, we are used to Petén. Most of the time our plan B breaks about the same time as our plan A... kind of like our hard drives! Jimmy tested both generators one last time before we left and guess what, one only ran for 5 minutes and the other wouldn't start... and they were both fresh from the repair shop! Jimmy took one to the mechanic in our town but after an hour the only difference was that someone ripped off the pull cord. Awesome. 

We have 2 other large generators, one for our house when there is no power for several hours (to save our freezer and fridge and run our water pump) and the other is at the institute. These are not made for travel though. They wouldn't fit in our vehicles with all of us in there. 

Jimmy had also spent the other half of his morning getting the roof rack repaired from trying to transport our generator up there last time. He had taken it to the city the day before but their hour and a half estimate that morning turned into them not even looking at it by the end of the day. This is not unusual, haha!

We knew someone in the village had a generator before but we just didn't have the right gas with us to run it, so we decided to go and take our chances on renting that one. 
{Moving the borrowed generator!}
 So we got there with a jug of two cycle gas ready for the generator they had last time only to find out that that one had broken too the week before. So we found somebody else who would rent us their generator for $5, but we had to drive to the next town and buy a little jug of gasoline since this one wasn't two-cycle of course. 
The one family in the village that have become Christians cooked us supper. Here is the mother in her kitchen!
And her daughters making tortillas!

They brought water to wash our hands:
 And served us a very delicious rice drink. 
They served us scrambled eggs and tortillas. They were very kind. Kekchi people really have the gift of hospitality, sadly I think that's a dying art in the States. 
{Domingo getting comfortable}
Here's the only time anyone wearing an Obama t-shirt will be allowed to hold my daughter, haha:
There are always corn cobs all over from where they make the corn meal. Silas didn't believe me that it was corn. After dinner one of the ladies showed Jonah and Silas just how that process works!
Then we headed down the hill to set up for the movie. 
 This was our first village outreach with Juan! This is what he is passionate about, mapping out villages, finding ones in need of a church and those in need of a pastor and then prepping them for a church plant or finding a pastor from the institute to plug in there. 

All 3 of my children were running low grade fevers that day, except for E's her fever was pretty high. They really wanted to go though. All morning Jonah kept saying, "Me no sick, Dada, me go to work with you!" I love that they want to go to the villages and work. I really want to consciously  foster that so that we don't lose it along the way. I love serving with my whole family!

There was not one complaint while we were there about them feeling bad, although I did notice them laying down before the movie started, this is NOT like my children!
{Silas laying down before the movie}
Once the movie started I took Eden down to our truck and she slept the whole time. Jonah soon followed and fell asleep too... poor sick babies. Silas sat the whole time with Daddy. After it was over, Silas came to the truck and said, "Mama, people killed Jesus." I asked why did Jesus die and He said, "So we could go Heaven with God and Nita." (Nita was my grandma who recently went to be with Jesus.) Beautiful how he's putting it all together!

There was a great turnout for the movie. Domingo shares the Gospel again afterwards once the movie ends. It is really an introduction that gives them a frame of reference to build on and start talking about the Gospel.
Please pray for the village of La Bendición! That more will come to put their faith in Christ!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Missions Trip to Huehue

I mentioned before that our church was raising money to send Lico on a missions trip to Huehuetenango. His bus ticket round trip and his hotel was $160. Well they raised that and then some! It was a blessing to our hearts to see our people give towards this. 
Two Sunday nights ago we had a send off service for Lico!
 Jimmy had several of the Christian men in our church come up front and pray over Lico. He is giving up 2 weeks without pay and time with his family. There were tears in his family's eyes when they said goodbye that night. We drove him to the bus station directly from our Sunday evening service. 
 He has been working hard laying the foundation for the church building in the village of Capellania. He is working at a much higher altitude (by about 6,000 feet) than he is used too. His face is burnt from the sun and wind and it is extremely cold. The building is for a church plant out of Pastor Luis Batz' church.  

Our family left Monday morning to head to Solola (10 hours away). Then we met up with Pastor Tim, Dan, and their missions team, and Larry Boggs, and his son-in-law Pedro. From Solola they left this morning to head to Huehuetenango to help with the church building construction. Jimmy was excited about just being on a missions team instead of leading one! 
There's Lico... he's still alive and not frozen solid! It's hard to travel to cold places after acclimating to Petén. And here's the team working!
Please pray for Pastor Luis and this young church, along with everyone working on this project!

Here is a photo from when our family stopped at Pollo Campero on the way into Guatemala City. It was Eden's first time in a ball pit. She thought it was great, especially when her brothers jumped in too!
The kids and I are staying in Solola at Larry and Claire's Eagle's Nest (since we wouldn't be much help with the construction.) Jimmy will stay through Thursday and then our family is off to Intermissions in Panajachel. It is a conference for missionaries all over Guatemala. They have it every year, but this is our first time going. If you think about it could you say a prayer for my kids. I really want them to enjoy it and their Mama is a little worried about them. Thanks!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Handmade Home #10

Soon after we moved into our rental house (almost 5) years ago a friend was moving and offered to sell us her hutch. I jumped at the chance to have more storage in my kitchen which still mainly consists of plastic tubs under my countertops. 
I thought the dark stain was beautiful, but it had never been polyed, so it had a little bit of wear on it. We never polyed it either because I kept planning to clean it up first. You can see in the photo below all the calcium on the shelves from me not drying my dishes off before I put them away:
{The right drawer front had been refinished in this shot to test the stain}
I couldn't stand taking it to our forever house in it's current condition, so one Saturday morning I got Jimmy to move it to the patio for me to sand and re-stain. I'm pretty slow at projects, breaking them down into naptime sized time spots that I can work on them. Jimmy didn't want to live with me while I lived with dishes strewn all over my kitchen, so he took ownership of the project and finished it that afternoon. 

No more calcium stains!!!
It's so purdee! I love it! It is all nice and polyed now too. I cannot believe we found this stain. Usually the ones here in Petén are either tinted orange or purple. I haven't found this color since.
Jimmy really did a beautiful job!
Once we move I am going to just store my white serving dishes on it. Yay for future storage!!!

I finally finished reupholstering my desk chair I found at the new thrift store in Santa Elena. I loved the chair because there isn't a piece of plastic on it. It probably ways about 50 pounds... almost as much as Eden, haha! It took about 10 nap-times to finish, but they weren't consecutive. When the boys would wake up from their naps they would often wander into the office and ask me about my chair. They really wanted to help me spray paint it! 
First I made some patchwork fabric out of the leftover scraps from the sample pack of corduroy I used for Jonah and Silas' owls
Then I took the seat and back apart to use as a pattern. I found this in the process... pretty cool:
I have never made piping before. I used the rope that was inside the old one. It was fun to learn something new. This was a nice simple project, perfect for a beginner.
Here's the finished chair:
Since Christmas I've had a little more time to sit in that chair and sew! I still haven't gotten my hard drive back, so I only have instagram photos. I made some more Bible story finger puppets for the boys. 
Can you tell what Bible story this is from?! It has thugs and bears in it, perfect for Jonah and Silas! (Thanks, Amy, for the idea!)
I've made Eden some things too. This one is my favorite:

Monday, February 11, 2013

Starting a Youth Group

We have a pretty good group of teens that come to our services on Sundays and Thursdays. For a while we have been wanting to start a service that would be just for them (13 and up) which would give us a chance to cover some very important topics that might help them navigate all the important decisions coming up in their lives. 

This past Sunday morning we had our first youth service. It is a long way for teens to ride a micro by themselves for those coming from SR or NH, so we figured we might just have the teens from San Pancho there, and that's what happened. We had 3: Hugo, Wendy, and Mariela. Next week we are moving the the service to the patio of our house for a cookout. I think it might be good to have it there every Sunday morning.
{Our first meeting}
 We had a really great time. It was more intimate. We sat in a circle and discussed things over Coke and cookies. Juan led the study. I think this will be a great way to get them talking and more involved. One of the girls was already talking with me more that evening. Please pray that our youth group will grow!

We have seen a great need for some marriage counseling in our church as well. We hope to start some couples classes and then some singles classes here soon. There are 3 of us now, so that helps, but our people are still spread out over 3 towns and we still have our itty bitty building with the sound issues. We are going to be working on hanging some foam boards this week to improve things for when we split off into groups. Our team of three is very excited about strategizing and working to help our church grow in number and just as importantly to help our members grow in their walk with the Lord! 

 This little iguana looking guy was on my mic stand during the entire music service Sunday night. I think he was enjoying the serenade! You can't tell his size, but he could have eaten one of those little FL lizards that live in my house without any problem. 

Saturday, February 9, 2013

An Update on Juan

Juan appears to be adjusting to his new home very well. He has preached the past 2 Thursday nights. Both Juan and Jimmy have gotten really good feedback about his messages from our church family. I think they are as excited to have him in our church as much and we are. 

Thank you to everyone who prayed for him to find a place to rent. It is really difficult in our town. The prices are pretty ridiculous for what you get. Most of the time it does't include a bathroom and there is a huge gap between the walls and the roof which leads to all types of lovely intruders. Well, Juan found a one room, one bath duplex. 

And there is only a slight gap which he could probably seal when it becomes a problem. He doesn't have a lot of food yet since he doesn't have a fridge or stove, which cuts down on the rats! I was teasing him because he is mostly living on bananas and cereal until he gets set up and he has the best attitude about it. His neighbors are friendly. He has already started repairing people's computers as a side business to supplement his support. 
Our welcoming present was a new mattress. When we move next week we are lending him our old stove until he finds one he likes better and then we will move it to the church. He borrowed a table and some chairs from the church, but he still needs a fridge. He downloaded some desk plans online and Jimmy told him he could use his wood shop and any wood he has laying around in there. I think he is almost finished... I'm telling you he is very resourceful! 

He still needed a way to get around, so he and Jimmy have been looking for a good deal on a motorcycle. Jimmy's friend Stephen heard about this and made him a way more than fair offer on a bike he has. 
It was very nice of him. Juan plans to use the bike to get to rural villages when mapping out unreached areas and showing evangelistic movies. This bike will be perfect for that. It is really is a big blessing to Juan and the institute. 

We are starting a youth group this Sunday at our church. With Juan here, and with us moving to San Pancho this next week, it is going to make outreaches at our church so much more easier. We are all excited about the youth group. Up until now, they have just been a part of the main service. Please pray for this ministry! Thank you!

Monday, February 4, 2013

Forever House #14: Kitchen Island & Countertops

...our journey to rent free living, all the entertainment minus the headaches.

When designing the layout of our house we wanted to make it so that we all were together as much as possible. That's why we have the great room. Our current rental house has our kitchen and living room on opposite ends of the house. It's small enough where you could shout back and forth, but you still feel alone in the kitchen. Since I spend A LOT of time in the kitchen I wanted to be able to cook and clean up after a meal and still be WITH my family. 

Jimmy usually sits at the kitchen table while I'm making breakfast in the mornings reading news and emails. Jonah and Silas are so cute. They like being with us, so almost every morning they sit at the table and do puzzles or draw until it's time to eat. I love it! 

So I wanted my entire kitchen to be in an island where I could work facing my family. It is L-shaped. My stove faces our dining room table and my sink faces the living room area. I will have drawers across the front wall under the windows too that will have all of our small appliances on top. Here is a photo with Lico standing where my stove will be:
Poor Jimmy... they started my island and then I worried it came out too far, so they move it.  Then they started it again and I thought what crazy lady would make her counter area smaller, so they moved it back some and started again. I think I am losing my mind with all the decisions. Anyway my indecisiveness left a mark in the floor, so Jimmy surprised me and carved our initials in it to make me think sweet thoughts of him instead of frustration with myself every time I see it! 
We have been talking about countertop options for years. I wanted something on which I could roll out dough. I knew I didn't want tile. Granite is available here and it is significantly cheaper than the States, but it was still more money than we wanted to pay. I love the look of concrete, but we just didn't think it would be done right. At Thanksgiving we just happened to be talking about construction and Stephen (our friend who helped us with the floors in the great room) convinced us that a concrete countertop just might be possible.  He also had the right tools to vibrate all the bubbles out and make it smooth and offered to help. Jimmy read up on it and ordered a couple of finishing things to be sent down in a bubble mailer and I blinked and then all of a sudden I had beautiful concrete countertops! (That's probably not how Jimmy and Stephen would describe it.) But it was seriously the fastest thing from talking about it to having it finished that has happened in our house yet! 

Jimmy and Lico took a lot of time building the forms. They had to be perfectly level. My stove is a drop in stove top and my sink is an undermount, so they had to measure everything exactly. Here you can see the opening for my stovetop and all the steel that reinforces the concrete: (My hard drive crashed, so I only could find a fuzzy instagram shot) 
Jimmy and Stephen spent an entire day pouring our counters. 
We are so thankful for Stephen's generosity in giving a whole day to this. 
He and Jimmy did a WONDERFUL job. Here is a shot of the next day: 
Jimmy kept adding water to help them dry slowly. Here is what they look like with the forms taken down: 
They are nice and chunky, 3 inches thick!
This is what they looked like untouched:
 Until Jimmy spent several hours with this:
 He sanded and buffed and sanded and buffed. Then he used this:
It's car wax but it is made from some type of palm. It is food safe and seals the counters with a waterproof, heatproof coating. You originally do several coats and then maybe once a month after that. Here is kind of a comparison shot. The island has been cleaned up, but doesn't have wax, the back counter does.
Jimmy keeps going back and tweaking things. He's funny. He won't stop messing with it. I love it! It is so smooth. It feels exactly like if you were touching granite, but it has more of an esthetic that fits our house. It even sparkles like granite:
 Our mason said the sand comes from a river where they find silver. So there may be actual silver flecks in there. It is pretty whatever it is. In this shot you can really see how they shine:
 I'm telling you these are show stopping countertops!!!
{The lights are in temporary spots}
Can you tell these girls are happy with their kitchen?!
This was right after Jimmy dropped in my stovetop!
Jonah and Silas have already hopped up there. I think we are going to have lots of fun cooking around that stove. And here is the money shot:
Jimmy was very proud of this. I may or may not have complained A LOT about my other stove that I cannot get level. 

As for the cost, it was right under $200 for all of the materials and labor (what we paid Lico to do the forms). I am so thankful for all the hard work Jimmy has put into creating such a great kitchen for me. Last night we got to use it for our Super Bowl party!
 We had such a great time with our missionary friends! There aren't very many missionaries in Petén, but the ones that are, are pretty special!
Our living room furniture is there! Just a couple more doors to finish and some screen to put up and we are in!!! Maybe by next week... 

We were driving home from church yesterday and we were a block away from our house on a dirt road. A very nice large pickup came tearing around the corner without looking and just missed us. Jimmy swerved as fast as he could and honked his horn to try to get the guy to stop before he crashed into us. It would have been on mine and E's side. I think there was a guardian angel in between our 2 vehicles and he definitely got smushed. We have tinted windows and he had tinted windows, so we couldn't see who was in the vehicle. He backed up so we could keep driving down the road, but then he turned the opposite way he was going to turn and started following us... what! Honestly nice vehicles in our neighborhood are usually involved in some shady things. Who knows what he was up to following us, but I doubt it was apologizing. So we drove past our house and then he turned onto a different street. So... very scary followed by a dose of creepy. I am so thankful that God protected our family. 
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