Saturday, November 23, 2013

Victories on the Banks of Lake Itzá

Last month we had a special baptismal service down on the banks of Lake Itzá. It has taken me so long to post about it because that day was pretty difficult and I didn't even want to go back and look at photos. There was lots going on afterwards, so Jimmy and I didn't even get a chance to process the day's events together. The service was a huge victory, so that is what I am trying to remember in my mind and block out all of the other junk that Satan sent our way. 

Once Jimmy and I did sit down and talk we realized that the last baptismal service was a personally discouraging day for us too. I honestly believe that Satan tries to rob us of the joy of experiencing the blessing and significance of these special days where people we have worked with for so long want to boldly declare their faith in Christ. There is so much spiritual warfare that takes place it is exhausting! 

I won't share all the ickiness of the events just because I truly don't want to relive them in my mind, but what got everything going in a negative direction was the bus situation. This was the only thing that effected anyone other than Jimmy and I, so for that I am thankful. We rented a school bus from the man we usually rent micros from to pick people up for church. (We have been sending a school bus each week to SR instead of a micro because so many people are coming... blessing!) 
{This was taken when just SR was on the bus and the tense situation was happening outside}
He went to SR first. Jimmy had already communicated with the church that there wasn't going to be a lot of room on the bus, so this day was for our church family only and personal family members of those being baptized. In other words it wasn't an outreach event that they were to invite visitors too... there just wasn't space. Plus Jimmy was going to buy pizza for everyone afterwards. Juan went with the bus to SR and like Jimmy had asked him to, he made sure only our church people got on the bus. The problem is that once people found out that there was a free ride to the "beach", people in the community who are vocally against our church started getting on the bus. Juan did his best and was very polite, but some people refused to get off. So by the time it got to San Pancho to pick up the SP people and the NH people, it was already standing room only. 

What do you do? Unfortunately it was awkward, but we couldn't leave our faithful people behind because of destructive freeloaders. (These aren't visitors, they weren't going to be a part of our service, they actively tried to destroy our Bible study in SR.) Jimmy asked them to get off the bus and then we waited and waited for people to start moving. Well eventually they did and then after making a bunch of threats to us, one got back on and made a big speech about how horrible Jimmy was and wanted everyone on the bus to leave with her... nobody did! There was one casualty though. While this tense situation was happening, one lady who had been once before left quietly without us realizing, I think because she thought we were asking her to leave since she wasn't a regular, but we weren't. Anyway, I'm not sure where she lives, but if you could pray that I find her so I can invite her back. The whole situation did probably make our people feel more united and identified as our church, but that is not how we wanted to do it. Ugggh! Ok, I never want to think on this incident again! 
We sang all the way to the lake and once we got there it was a beautiful day by the water!
 We had a time of worship and prayer. We prayed for those being baptized that day specifically. 
 Saturnino wanted to be baptized that day too! Jimmy helped him into the water.
 There are so many stories here in this group! T and his daughter K were baptized that day! Jimmy led them to the Lord a couple weeks ago at the institute. I am so thankful for them. I want to share more of this family's testimony later. I just love being around them! His wife, Y, is one of the nicest, most hilarious people you could ever meet. She always make me smile! 
Do you see the rainbow God gave us?! He was with us!
 This is O, Marcos' son.
 Lico's kids were baptized that day too, L and P. There are several kids now that live in a communist communities where they have tried to keep God out. Well now there are many kids from those communities whose testimony will be, "I grew up in church." What a different world view they will have! They have Hope! 
 8 people were baptized that day: S, A, P, L, T, K, O, and Saturnino. We are so thankful for all of them and what God is doing in their lives. Please pray for them!
 The victories are what I want to take with me from this day! 

Thursday, November 21, 2013

4 More

There are 4 students currently enrolled in the institute. 2 more men want to come, but haven't submitted their applications yet. Jimmy really felt like God put the number 10 in his heart for this first group of students. The 62 existing Kekchi churches are spread out all over the southwest part of Petén, hours and hours of travel in all directions. We have our own church plant that we are working in, so it is difficult to get to all of these churches for services. Jimmy was really counting on the pastors to communicate with the men called to preach in their own churches. They were all given booklets about the institute and Jimmy has been announcing it for several months at the pastors meetings, but there are still a lot of questions as to how the school is laid out. The concept is brand new here, so someone would not only have to have a call to preach, but a pioneering spirit to move to San Pancho and invest in this for 3 years. The 4 students enrolled are all single men. Men with families are concerned they won't have a way to feed them... even though Jimmy has explained to them how everything is set up and how they won't starve, still I realize it is scary. 

Everything is new and new is hard to get people to accept. Also, this first group of students has to be fluent in Spanish as well, that is another thing that is hurting us. Jimmy hopes to have all of the class material ready for the second group in Kekchi (he's already put it all into Spanish), but starting in Kekchi with all of the other variables regarding the agricultural projects was just too much at first. Maybe young single guys is the way it is going to be, and that's fine. They don't have a family to worry about and that age group usually speaks more Spanish. They will prove the concept! 

This Tuesday, Kekchi young people from all of the existing churches are getting together for a Youth Conference in Sayaxché. They are expecting about 500 young people. Jimmy is going to get to personally present the institute and answer questions. This is a huge opportunity! Please be in prayer for this meeting on Tuesday, the 26th! We really feel there are 4 more out there that are supposed to be part of the institute. Please pray with us for those 4. Thanks! 

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Heard Around the House #10

Mama - I'm so sad that ya'll are going to be 4 tomorrow.
Silas - "It's ok, Mama, I'll still be your baby!"
Jonah saw a thimble on the kitchen table.
Jonah - "Mama, what is this, a little trash can?"

After our church work day that the kids spent playing in the courtyard with all the other kids.
Silas - "That white girl is really nice."
Mommy - "What did you just say?!" 
Silas - "That girl with the white shirt was really nice, she always threw the ball back to us." (He later talked about a nice blue man too.)
{Eden and her friend Yumeli}
One evening when Daddy wasn't home yet we heard a loud scratching noise on the screen in one of our windows.
Mommy - "What is that?"
Silas - (very seriously) "Mama, I think it is the talking dog."
(Silas talks about this talking dog a lot)
Mommy - "When have you ever seen the talking dog?"
Silas - "One day I came into the kitchen with my eyes like this (squinting them like in a dream) and that mean dog was talking to me."
Poor Silas has had several nightmares about a mean gray golden retreaverish dog that is in our kitchen sometimes and talks to him. To get rid of the dreams Daddy came home one day and told us all that unfortunately he had ran over the talking dog. It worked!

E's hair is finally long enough for a ponytail. She loves getting her hair brushed and loves wearing hair bows:
 Daddy and the boys were having leftovers one day for lunch.
Silas - "Jonah, do you want some of my pineapple pizza?"
Jonah - "No, thank you."
Silas - "Jonah, you need to try it... just try a bite!"
Jonah - "No Silas, pineapple pizza makes me vomit."
Silas - "Well try a bite and make sure you vomit in the potty."

The other night Eden kept yelling at us saying that she wasn't tired and then she got quiet all of a sudden. She had fallen asleep standing up in her bed:

I have been running around the perimeter of our wall a couple times each day. I try to get the boys to run with me. The first day I was telling them what it meant to be "in shape" by saying that if you don't exercise your muscles get weak and droopy. I didn't explain it very eloquently. The next day...
Mommy - "Let's run around the house."
Jonah - "Why?!"
Silas - "So our muscles don't drip."
{J&S working on their Narrow Door/Wide Door craft}
One day during lunch...
Silas - "Mama, is there any candy corn in our pantry?"
Mama - "What? What is candy corn?" (Thinking he didn't know what that was.)
Silas - "You know, it looks like mountains!"
Mama - "They don't sell that here. Maybe Kiki and Papa will bring you some."
(They're coming for Christmas!!!!)
Silas - "Will you call them and ask?"
(I call them and no one answers.)
Silas - "I think they're not pushing the button (like Skype). They must be on the plane!"

Jonah can flat put away some food. He would eat his weight in corn tortillas!

We went over to some missionary friends house for dinner in the next city over.
Jonah - "Mama, I have to potty."
Mama - "Ok, the bathroom is this way."
Jonah - (very excitedly) "Jim and Bonnie have a potty?!!!!" (You might be a missionary kid if...)

Jonah and Silas want to be like Spiderman. Eden wants to be like her brothers:

Monday, November 11, 2013

All That the Team Did Part 2

We enjoyed all the mealtimes with this team! They were really great to spend time with. 
They accomplished a lot at the farm. Roy and Maxie will forever be remembered as the two men that boarded up a student house in one day!
This team also poured 3 floors. 
If anyone from our other work teams read this blog they are not going to appreciate this next photo. Sometimes we can borrow a cement mixer and sometimes they are not available! It does make a big difference.
We really appreciate all the hard work so many different churches have put into this institute! 
It is great to have so many people behind this project! We are getting close to the start date... January 7th. Please keep praying! 

This team also checked out our Nissan Patrol. The gas gauge has been broken since we purchased it. We thought a new float would fix it, but it didn't. Besides running out of gas several times we have run out of shops to take it to, to try and figure out the problem. Well... Roy and Maxie did. 
That was a personal blessing to us!
 Another very personal gift was that Mrs. Barb decided to take on a huge project for me. When we visited her home on furlough she had a beautiful braided rug that I asked about. I was hoping to learn how to make one too. She didn't tell me at the time, but somehow she bought all the fabric it would take, got lots of sweet ladies together to cut it all into strips and then brought it all down in her suitcase.  
We started working on it while she was here. 
She called it a prayer rug because she said that they prayed for us while they cut. That is seriously one of the nicest things anyone has ever done for me. So thoughtful! If you know me you know I love handmade things. I have been working on it more since the team left... you know in the 5 minute mommy intervals that we get to actually focus on anything, haha! It is going to take me a while to finish, but it will be something that I treasure forever!  

Thank you so much Victory Chapel Baptist Church for all of the many ways you blessed our work and family! 

I went to buy some tarp from the hardware store in our town to go under one of the floors they poured at the institute. The roll it comes off of is real heavy. I thought they would measure and re-roll as they went. Nope! They drug it out to the road and asked me to move my truck so that they could measure it, haha! Glad I only needed 16 meters or we would have ended up in the intersection. I think the guy that usually works there was gone. 

Friday, November 8, 2013

All That the Team Did Part 1

Two weeks ago we had an awesome missions team here from Victory Chapel Baptist Church in SC. This is their second trip down here. If ever there was a church with a heart for missions it is this place. They aren't in it for the fuzzy feeling, they really make a difference in the places they choose to invest their time and energy. 
They affected so many parts of our life while they were here.  
Our kids fell in love with them.
Jonah and Silas kept talking about how sad they were after they left. 
They were supposed to be just a work team for KBI which is lot, but they kept looking for more things to do!

Pastor Rick, the missions pastor, changed out all the locks at our new church building so all the doors use the same key! 
The ladies wanted to work too so they painted the outside wall of our property. This is a NASTY job because it had been painted with chalk before, so you have to scrape it off with a wire brush. 
It gets all in your eyeballs and lungs. The fresh white wall makes our church look so nice! I will share a better pic soon once we have our new metal sign up. It is already made, just needs to be concreted in!
 They also painted the kitchen, which we use for our ladies ministry, and the kids classroom. 
I was really surprised about how much they got done. Jimmy spent a lot of time painting the sanctuary, so these ladies knocking out these other 3 large jobs is super helpful.
I can't wait to finish getting everything on the walls to show a true "after" photo. I have lots of church activity photos to hang in the kitchen. The kids classroom already has stuff up, but I'm finishing a timeline for that class where we will hang something each week to remember what we have studied. 

They helped out in our services while they were here too. 
 We had a ladies meeting which Barb taught and a mens meeting where Pastor Rick taught. 
 We had about half the amount of ladies we usually have, but they had a great time! Sometimes with a smaller group you end up getting to talk more with certain ones that you would've been able to other wise. 
This was the service that a lady from the first guerrilla community we worked in came for the first time in 5 years. She was VERY against us before. She did everything she could to destroy our work there. I have no idea what changed, but she has been back 3 times more since that service. I pray that she keeps coming. She's not quiet either. We talk a lot each time and I really enjoy her being there. Please pray for this lady. We will call her Lady M... Jimmy and I refer to her as the last person on earth that would ever come to our church, haha! So thankful. Only God could work in that heart. 

Pastor Rick had a good group of men. I wished I had taken a photo of their class. He taught about being a leader in the home.

The team also shared some testimonies and songs. They would sing a verse in English and then we would sing one in Spanish! 
 That is Dr. Bob in the photo above. He is the one that taught a KBI module with Jimmy this week too, which I posted about here

The days teams get here are always full ones. Jimmy had about 15 minutes once he showered before he had to leave for the airport that evening. This is how he spent those 15 min!
This is how Eden spent the next 15 after her Daddy left!
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