Saturday, February 27, 2010

A Story in 360

While my mom was still here the Stoltzfus family (4 out of 10 of them) came over to meet the boys. Virgil and Dara live about an hour away from us in Sayaxche. Virgil's family has been in Guatemala since 1972. They are a great resource to us, plus I really enjoy Dara's friendship! They have been a big blessing to our family.

While they were here, Lico and his family stopped by. We hadn't seen them since we've been back. If you are new to our blog, Lico was the first person Jimmy led to the Lord in New Horizon. New Horizon is a community of ex-guerrillas from the civil war that ended in '96

Here is where it gets good! When Virgil was a teenager guerrillas came to his family's mission compound one night with orders to kill him. They succeeded in kidnapping him. While he was on a boat headed down the Passion River, with his parents' home burning in the distance, one of the guerrillas carelessly put down his gun. Virgil quickly picked it up and had the opportunity to kill those who had taken him captive and escape. Virgil, with only seconds to make a decision that no one would have ever questioned, chose their eternities over is own life.
Well Lico was part of the guerrilla unit that night and this was the first time that he and Virgil got to meet. They talked for hours and Virgil got to ask Lico all kinds of questions about that night and the war.
Dara has written a book about this incident and many others from Virgil's family's time here in Petén. It's a powerful read. We would highly recommend it.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Shaking in the jungle

We don't often feel earthquakes here in Petén, but this morning was the exception. We've only ever felt one here before today. It wasn't strong enough to wake up Shelley (but nothing really is except a crying baby) and the boys enjoyed the gentle rocking. The lights danced back and forth and the couch I was on was doing a little jiggling. It lasted a few minutes though, which is different. On the map we live halfway between San Benito and Poptun.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Who Needs Bread and Butter

Like different parts of the States vary in culture, different areas of Guatemala do as well. We have lived in the second largest city, we visit the capital often, we live in a very small town now and we minister in even smaller villages. Each place is different. We feel pretty comfortable in all of them, and try to adjust accordingly. Still, we are constantly learning new things and entertaining others I'm sure in the mean time!

This was a "I should have known better" moment... I have a lot of those. Hind sight is 20/20!

Well for the Kid's Bible study today we learned about the Narrow Door and the Wide Door. I think the teaching objective was accomplished, but the craft was definitely a Craft Fail!

Every once in a while I do an edible craft. They are usually a little more expensive than the average craft, and Jimmy is all about budgets... which I love, so I spread them out. This makes them more memorable anyway.

So with 2 adults and 35+ kids I got craft time down to a science. The first week in a village is chaos, but each week gets better as they learn new skills and what is expected.
I really thought this was going to be one of the easiest crafts ever... naive of me I know, but it's a wonderful world to live in! All they had to do was take a whole graham cracker for the wide door, part of a graham cracker for the narrow door, ice them, and put a Skittle on them for a doorknob. Then they were to take them home and share the story with someone in their family before they were allowed to eat them.

Have you guessed the problem yet? It took me a while.

I went to the first table, showed them my example crackers and all the neon colored icings to choose from and they just stared at me blankly. Usually they barely let me get through the explanation before they start jumping in. So I explained it again. I thought their little mouths would be watering with excitement, but still, I got nothing! Finally I scooped out a chunk of icing with a plastic knife and placed it in one of their hands. They hesitantly started to move it in the direction of the cracker. Then Jimmy and I started going around one by one basically icing about every other cracker for them. I just didn't get it. Then Jimmy figured it out. He said, "They don't know how to butter bread." They don't eat bread, they eat corn tortillas. In fact in this community they don't eat anything that requires spreading something with a knife... the poor kids being subjected to the crazy gringa's ideas!

You know every single kid left with two iced doors!
Well... except this one!

Please pray for the Adult Bible study tomorrow. It is the first one since we moved it to Tuesdays and Jimmy will be all by himself. Thanks!

CRAZY ITEM OF THE DAY: Honestly I could do an entire post on dumb things I've done in the last 24 hours, but I'll just pick one... more. Last night I kept commenting to Jimmy that it felt warmer than normal in our house. (We have to close the doors at 6PM because of the mosquitos.) He said, "No, this was just a hot day." About midnight while I was in the kitchen painting my visuals for todays lesson, I realized that I had left the oven on since supper. I was actually paying to heat my house.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Happy 27th!

We celebrated Jimmy's birthday by having dinner at the Pizza Hut in Santa Elena. He's 27. We have been together for 26% of his life... pretty neat! The internet is a little faster there, so we got to Skype with Jimmy's parents (Jimmy's mom's birthday is the day before his.) It wasn't very clear, but they still got to see the boys and they sang happy bday to Jimmy! Of course the waiters sang too, but I only told them it was his birthday so that he would get some free ice cream... no such luck! Ha! They did bring Jonah and Silas both a red balloon and made a long formal speech... it was kind of funny! Jimmy got some homemade German chocolate birthday cake tonight, that's better than ice cream. The three of us are very thankful for our Jimmy!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

So Much For Block

Jimmy did our taxes last week and we found out that we were going to get a very nice tax refund... which we have been affectionately referring to as Jonah and Silas! We were already figuring up how much block we could purchase with it to get started on our home in San Francisco... the one here in Petén, not the one in CA. That is the place where we want to raise our family.

Well... guess what? You get a tax refund with twins for a reason... duh! They are expensive!

We drove my mom back to Guatemala City (rather than her flying) because we had to go there for the boys' 4 month check up.
They both got 2 shots, for a total of 8 vaccinations each... for which they only put up a brief protest. Jonah turned on the charm for the nice doctor and proceeded to make the biggest diaper to date as soon as we sat down. I'm blaming it on the change in altitude. It went all over his clothes and of course Mommy didn't have any extras with her so we baby wiped those things down and put them right back on him... that's one way to keep people from asking to hold the blue-eyed gringitos!
This pediatrician was recommended by a missionary friend. He spent almost 2 hours with us. Even though he is in Guatemala City he still will be their doctor long-distance. We discussed different scenarios and what we should do in case of an emergency in Petén. He said for us to call him and he would send a plane or helicopter... pretty comforting! He said the boys looked healthy. He is happy with their weights, but since their appetites will increase he laughed when I said that I wanted to nurse them for at least 6 months... now I'm really motivated! He wants them to gain 2 pounds this month. That's a tall order! I feel like mommy milk is what is keeping them from getting sick, with all its antibodies. We bought a kid EpiPen in case they have an allergic reaction to some crazy Petén bug. He prescribed Silas some medicine for his reflux issues... the poor kid and we got another iron supplement. I haven't been giving them the one we had... I know bad Mommy. I think man made vitamins go straight through you, plus the smell of iron tainted vomit is disgusting and it stains. But I will listen to the good doctor. For the record, they are not anemic after all this time without it.

So the appointment was expensive, having to multiply everything times 2, but worth it. We are very thankful to have such a good doctor for our boys!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Saying Goodbye Again

Jonah and Silas have been so blessed to be able to spend the first 4 months of their lives with their Grandparents around... yes, today they are 4 months old!

It was such a help having my mom here. The last 2 weeks flew by. We took her to the airport this morning.
The boys love spending time with their Grandma Kiki. I am so glad she got to see them again now that they grin back! Jonah knows what a smile is without you even saying anything. He can focus on our faces enough to see when we are smiling at him and he smiles back! Silas will just sit and talk to you all day long. He sounds like he is really trying to tell us something!
We are back in Petén now, we drove home from the capital today. This is our first go as a family of 4... plus a Lab... plus a Boxer... and the mouse that was in our kitchen when we got home. We will work on getting rid of him tomorrow!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Update On Quincho

Quincho, along with us, got kicked out of New Horizon while we were gone. (Which we though was the best thing for him.) He guarded our house and fed our dogs for the 5 months we were in the States, so he had a nice junk of change coming to him when we got back. Jimmy intentionally held on to most of it until we got back so that Quincho wouldn't spend it all on silly things. Money burns a whole in his pocket.

We talked about several things he could spend it on, but determined the best idea would be a small piece of land in the town next to New Horizon since he no longer has a place to live. Well he kept spending a little bit of it here and a little bit of it there until he didn't have enough for land. Plus since his large family (grown brothers and sisters) know that he is "friends with the gringo" they are constantly asking him for money. They think he can just ask Jimmy for more; they don't realize that he works for it.

Quincho did not get any encouragement or godly direction while we were gone. Please pray for him. Right now he is basically homeless and jobless. One of his nephews has cancer and he is helping that family out right now babysitting in Guatemala City. We are not sure what his plans are and neither is he last time we talked.

We will be in the Guate tomorrow and have plans to meet up with him. Please pray that we can be an encouragement to him. This is really a make it or break it time in his life right now. He is choosing the way he will go.
His mom came by to meet Jonah and Silas. She thought it was a dumb decision not to buy land too. (Although I know he is constantly giving large amounts of his paychecks to her). He is a good son. He is being pulled in a lot of directions.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

A Donkey, a Whale, & a Handlebar Mustache

We went to Santa Rita 2 different days before the Bible studies to announce, but still only made it through about 20% of the village... we kept getting stuck catching up with people! Still we had great turnouts. We even had a couple of first timers.
My lesson was on the Good Samaritan.
José was the priest that didn't stop.
Fredi was going to be the Levite, but I knew he would never make it to that part of the story, he's too naughty... cute, but naughty! He had to give his beard to someone else.
And here is the Samaritan. Didn't you know he sported a handlebar mustache?
Jimmy was the burro. In Guatemala it is offensive to ever refer to someone as an animal, e.g. 'messy as a pig', 'hungry as a horse'. So when I asked for volunteers to be the Samaritan's donkey, they loved it when I picked Jimmy!
Jonah was strapped to me for the kids time and just slept. I looked down at him one time and he was all red. It scared me because I thought he was sunburned, but he was just hot. We kept him hydrated, so he was fine. My mom had Silas.
Lots of times we have parents stand and watch too. I like them to see us love on their kids. I appreciate the same.
This is what it's all about, where Jimmy and Shelley aren't even needed. I want them to see THEMSELVES + GOD not THEMSELVES + US + GOD. We are just the messengers, not the intermediaries.
Jimmy started teaching on the book of Jonah... I wonder where he got the inspiration for that? He has a neat visual aid using ballon animals (whale), so he got everyone to attempt a balloon dog to start of the study.
They were eager to try it!
Even Fabio gave it a go. His looked great when he finished!
It was fun to watch!
For the adult time I thought I could put the boys in a packnplay while I helped Jimmy with getting everyone's names, passing out drinks and worksheets, the praise and worship time, and entertaining the little kids that have to come with their parents. Well this didn't work very well. The Kids time plus the Adult time was a little much for our boys. I fed them in the middle, but with all the attention, the heat, plus the bugs, it still was too long for them to be out. It looks like we will have to put the Bible studies on two different days and I might not come with Jimmy for the adult time until the boys are a little older (6 or 7 months old). I am disappointed, but I think it is the best things for our boys right now. We still are figuring it all out.

We love being back and are so thankful that we still have a ministry to come back to! Several times a day I catch myself just thinking about how blessed we are as a family and as servants of God!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Taking the Boys to Santa Rita

I love watching Jimmy when we take our boys places he is so proud of his sons! Last week we went to Santa Rita with Jimmy's parents and then we went back again as soon as my mom arrived.
The first place we stopped was Marcos' house! It was so good to visit with them again. They are just the nicest people.
Jonah smiled real big when Marcos spoke to him in Kekchi. I think he likes the clicking noise.
We ran into Lety (holding Jonah). She is a lady that lives in New Horizon that attends our Bible studies. She did not know that we had been kicked out. That's usually how it goes. Our friends are never aware of the town meetings when we are being discussed or voted on. She was excited to hear about us starting up a Bible study/church in our home for the people in New Horizon. She said that she would definitely come!
I made a photo book with pictures of my huge belly and the boys when they were born and their time in the hospital just to show our people. They love photos!
I cannot describe how good it was to be back!
I missed my girls so much!
(in front of our building)
It just feels right!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Where's Our Shipment

Why is our living room couch in our nursery? Because our rocking chairs that were supposed to be here 2 weeks ago must be in the same place our container was hanging out for the month after we moved to Guatemala. Not even the shipping company knows where that is. Our baby swings are in the same boxes. These items would make life with twins much easier... especially once I am on my own during the day. Please pray that our shipment makes it soon. Thanks!

Grandma is going to love this one!
We thought the window in the nursery was sealed. Well this is what we caught crawling in yesterday. Jimmy went to get his big bug killing kit which includes a broom, one flip flop, and a can of hairspray (we were afraid to use bug spray inside the nursery). He was successful!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Grandma Kiki Is Here!

We are so thankful that my mom was able to come and spend 2 weeks with us in Petén. Jonah and Silas are having loads of fun. They have grown so much in the month and a half since she saw them last. Jimmy's parents were here while we got our lives and home back in order and now my mom will be here while we start our Bible studies back up. We would not have been able to do this without all the help.
We never picked up an ornament for their first Christmas and Grandma Kiki surprised them with these! Love green tractors!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Saying Goodbye

Today was more difficult than I thought it would be. Jonah and Silas had to say goodbye to their Grandma and G-Dawg. They don't understand distance, but they will understand when their Grandma and G-Dawg don't show up to play during their awake time tomorrow morning. They have already grown attached. We are going to do everything we can to keep them connected. Instead of waking up and watching Saturday morning cartoons, maybe sometimes they will have video messages from Grandparents in the States! Can babies Skype?

Monday, February 1, 2010

Ministry Micro

Here it is! Jimmy was able to purchase it last Wednesday. We bought it from our friend Luis. He owns the travel business that we rent vehicles from when teams are here. It is a manual transmission, turbo diesel with seat belts for 16, although it could easily hold 30 Guatemalans! It doesn't have power locks or windows, so that is one thing less to break. It is a very common vehicle here, so we should easily be able to find a knowledgeable mechanic, which was our main problem with the automatic Chevy.

$585 extra came in over the $15,000 we asked for, so we are going to put that towards new tires, getting all the fluids changed, and replacing the windshield which is cracked. Anything left over will be used for maintenance. Thank you to everyone who gave towards this need. Again we are overwhelmed! God definitely still has plans for New Horizon!!

Prayer Request: Jimmy is pretty good at driving a stick thanks to Pastor Andy teaching him about 2 years ago, but I'm not. Melissa, Jimmy's mom, is going to take me driving tomorrow to give me a crash course. I haven't driven one since I was on a missions trip in Africa about 9 years ago. The missionary told me I would need to know how and he was right! We will stay in their hotel parking lot until it is safe for all.
Believe it or not, Luis wanted my Blazer. That is a blessing in itself because we were not sure who would want to buy an automatic Chevy here in Petén, that the Guatemala mechanics had slowly destroyed. Even in its current condition letting go of the Blazer was a little sad... silly I know, but still sad. I bought it my senior year in college and drove it off the lot brand new! It was so exciting... and clean!!! I knew then that would be the last time that would happen in my life, so I savored it. There has been a lot of memories created in that Blazer, like living in it for 10 months on deputation!! Several people have accepted Christ inside it too while on visitation, both in the States and here in Petén. All good memories! We took one last photo with it before Jimmy dropped it off. I'm ready to move on to what God has planned with our next vehicle!

CRAZY ITEM OF THE DAY: Here microbuses are almost exclusively used for taxis from one town to the next. You stand on the side of the road any time of day and every 30 minutes or so a micro will come by that is headed to your destination. That is how most people get around. In our new micro we constantly have people waving us down trying to get a ride and appear insulted when we don’t stop. As we were entering Santa Rita for the first time since we’ve been back we noticed the mayor on the side of the highway waving us down. Eager to see him, we stopped. He quickly opened the door and hopped in. But when he looked around... it was full of gringos! Then he said, “I’m confused!” We all started laughing! He was excited to see our boys. We weren’t what he was expecting, but he did give us a great greeting!
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