Wednesday, January 29, 2014

A Special Guest and $300,000 Worth of Cocaine

We have a 19 year old intern/friend that is staying with us for 5 weeks. He feels like the Lord is calling him to missions. 5 weeks sounds like a long time for everyone (haha), but Samuel is really thoughtful when it comes to our family and he is a hard worker when it comes to our ministry. He is Pastor Andy's son. We are so thankful for Pastor Andy and his family. They have been a big part of our ministry and are always personally encouraging to us. 

Our boys were so excited about Samuel coming… and it has been everything they were hoping it would be! 
Poor Samuel is their gringo piñata! He knows how to dish it right back though, he has 6 siblings.

Of course Petén had to welcome him! One of the first evening he was here was spent without power!
We had s'mores that night. Lesson learned: don't give children s'mores in the dark because when the power comes back on, your couch will be covered in surprises! 
 The first 3 days Samuel was here he worked on clearing a field and burning it off, for a project I'll share about later. He also plays the piano extremely well. One of the strings broke on my guitar Sunday night and he jumped right up and finished the worship service on the keyboard! 
Here is another testimony of God's care and protection! Samuel was supposed to stay in the hotel across the street from us (there is a house in between, so it is really across a small field and a street from us). Several months ago, Pastor Andy's church sent us money specifically designated for our house. They didn't know what we were going to spend it on, but we used part of it to finish our guest room. It is on the side of our house that isn't finished, so it still needed a floor, stucco, bars on the windows and doors. Since it's finished now, Samuel stays in our home instead of that hotel. (SO much easier for everyone!) Well, Monday I was driving home from the institute and there were about 5 police cars kind of barricading that hotel. There have been lots of wild parties there on a nightly basis with shots being fired. The news around the neighborhood is that the police decided to do a sting there Sunday night and arrested everyone in the hotel. There are only about 7 or so rooms, so it's not like you could stay there and not be in the middle of whatever was going on. I didn't see anything in our national newspaper, but I did find this article that said they confiscated a pickup with over $300,000 worth of cocaine inside, but didn't know who it belonged to… and I wouldn't have expected it to end any other way. 
Welcome to Petén!

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Family Traditions #23: Christmas 2013

This year, the night we decorated our tree together, Jimmy made hot chocolate with the kids. The San Martin bakery in the capital sells the best hot chocolate blocks! I am going to figure out the spice blend, because that stuff is yummy and I want it year round! 
Eden has to do what the boys do!
We had fun going through our ornaments and talking about the places we went together. This year we had several new ones from all of our fun stops on furlough. 
 They already know all of Mommy's favorite stories... here is Silas telling me about when we found out that we were have 2 baby boys!
The boys' handprints from their first Christmas have mildew on them now... broke my heart. I'm not sure how to fix them, but I'm going to try.
 We had lots of sparkly Christmas decorations from since before we had children. 
Other than ornaments, we didn't put any out. I think we are going to transition to homemade more durable decorations. Eden took out half a dozen of these balls:
as in shattered them! I think our style is more rustic now anyway. We made lots of new decorations this year. You can kind of see our twig garland and our Star of David wreath here that we made with branches from the farm. 
Here is our snowman fridge:
 When it was time to take down the tree, my boys didn't care, but they put up a big protest over this snowman getting packed away!  
{Our tree all decorated!}
We took a family photo for our yearly ornament!
I think this is my favorite one so far!
Jonah especially liked telling the Christmas story with the kiddos' flannel graph board. Jonah likes manipulatives and Silas likes telling the story only if he has someone to interact with, no maniluptatives needed. Silas is all about the social experience. All helpful information for homeschooling! 
We did our Advent Devos all month. 
{Glad Jonah brought his sword to family devos... you never know what could happen!}
 Even Eden participated! 
{Eden in her brothers' pjs, adding baby Jesus on  Christmas Day to our advent tree.}
{Devos with Papa & Kiki}
My boys really get excited about our advent devos. 
I love that!
We got to serve together as a family in a couple different outreaches this year. Here they are caroling with our church. Jonah is looking a little tired!
Right now my boys love our church. They always want to help and they pray for it each night, that more people will come. I hope to guard that desire to be a part of the reason why we are here. I pray that their sweet attitudes never change. (I wouldn't mind if they were a little better behaved during the actual services though... we are working on that, haha!)
It is a family tradition to open one present on Christmas Eve. It is always a game that we can play together. 
This year I found a set of Dominos in the capital! It was perfect since the boys have been doing really well learning their numbers!
Papa and Daddy helped them find all kind of other things to do with Dominos too! There were LOTS and LOTS of towers around our house for a while. 
 Silas won the first game!
Here he is telling Papa that he gets a kiss for winning... another tradition of ours!
 With my mom here, all the stuff that I wanted to make for Eden for Christmas got finished. That lady can sew! Here is some doll bedding with lace on it that my Great Grandmother Kennedy tatted. 
My mom made a beautiful tablecloth for Eden's tea parties. And I made her a felt magnetic strawberry cake with interchangeable candles and toppings, a cake stand, and a cupcake stand. I tried to make felt cupcakes, cookies and tarts too, but I don't have the patience for things that small (As you can tell there are only 2) Thankfully MaG ended up sending fabric cupcakes in the mail... yay! 
My mom also made a doll dress for every single doll that Eden owns! 
Here is our tree Christmas Eve, complete with our soccer sock stockings! The boys' big present this year was bikes!
Silas ran into the living room Christmas morning and probably had already done 3 laps around the great room...
before Jonah ever made it on his bike. Jonah is like his mommy, he needs about 45 minutes to completely wake up!
Poor Jonah. All day long Jonah struggled riding his bike. He just thought he wasn't very good at it. I kept thinking he would eventually get the hang of it. Finally about 7pm, Mommy paid close enough attention to realize his tires were flat. 
Once they got aired up he rode no problem! I felt pretty bad. He was so happy!

Eden felt left out when everyone would go outside to watch the boys ride bikes, so Kiki put her in the stroller and pushed her and that spoiled little girl loved it of course! She would lay all the way back and just ride and ride. (She doesn't hardly ever get to use a stroller here, so I think that's why she likes it.)
Next we moved on to stockings. 
This is my "how did you find all this" face. Jimmy filled my stocking with dark chocolate, Root Beers, and Cherry Cokes that he had found in the capital when he went to pick up my parents... sneaky! 
My mom and I got matching necklaces with Proverbs 6:20-22 engraved on them. 
Those verses are about keeping your parents' teachings in your heart and tying them around your neck and how their council will lead you. I thought it was perfect since now I get to be a mom and my children are part of my parents' investment.  Love my parents!
My dad got mostly musician related things in his stocking, but Jonah and Silas did get him his own train engine to use on their train set!
It was an old steam engine named, "Rusty Stephen"! (Papa's name is Stephen.) That was a hit!
The doll dresses were a hit too... if you can't tell!
 She also got some pretend baby wipes. The girl loves baby wipes.

We got to skype with MaG and G and open the presents they had sent! Our parents are always so sweet to include us in holidays from far away. The boys got action heroes and Eden got girly stuff like nail polish (that she adores) and they all got a set of wooden veggies that you can pretend cut. Those ended up being a favorite!
 When Eden got her baby doll bedding, she immediately wrapped up one of her babies and went and sat in the swing to rock it!
 The rest of the day we played with toys! Everyone also got a good long nap while Kiki and I made Christmas dinner. It's fun to cook with my mom! Everyone was kind of sick Christmas Day, we all had a flu bug or something, so the naps really helped. 
 I picked up a doctor's set in the States and hid it in my closet all these months. I knew they would love it! Papa was their sick patient for the rest of his trip! 
Kiki brought Iron Man and Superman legos! Yes, my boys have entered the world of tiny legos!!! As if nerf bullets all over my house weren't enough. They have about 7 sets now and we currently have 3 pieces unaccounted for. A lizard crawled up our recliner yesterday and we flipped it over and shook it and found one of Eden's toys that has been missing for the last 6 months, so there is always hope. 
I think another favorite gift was a coffee pot that Kiki found for them. It uses real water. It is a porch toy for sure. They all get soaked and have a good time. 

Eden loves all of her tea party stuff, I'm so glad! 
 I think she likes putting sugar in the cups the best. My mom brought down little muffin tins so that we can have real tea parties too!
The boys love the candles. They had been singing "Happy Birthday to Jesus", but their cousin just had a birthday so now they are singing "Happy Birthday to Lennon."
{Eden likes to pull clothes off the clothesline and wear them around her neck!}
Christmas Night we had a real birthday cake for Jesus!
It was the usual Angel Food Cake with strawberries and whip cream. 
We are so thankful that we got to have Papa and Kiki with us for Christmas this year! We made lots of wonderful memories!

CRAZY ITEM OF THE DAY:
We went to an activity in our town. One of the decorations was an inflatable tree with a Santa and 2 reindeers attached going around and around. Santa isn't part of the culture here, so my kids don't recognize him.
Jonah - (laughing) "Someone is riding that Christmas tree!"
Silas - "He looks like Uncle Silas with a beard."
(They have seen Duck Dynasty a couple times and that is what they call Uncle Si.)
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