Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Handmade Home #6: Nose Piercing

When we ordered doors for the inside of our house we didn't get one for our bathroom. A door would have made it pretty tight in there and since it is in the office, we just would shut the office door. Unfortunately there is also a window right outside the bathroom, so we had too keep it closed. That makes for an even warmer office.

Back when we were having the bamboo around the temporary building in Santa Rita redone Jimmy brought home a couple pieces of bamboo. We thought it would be great to have a door that served as a sort of screen to block the window so that we could have a breeze in the office again.
So Jimmy used his machete and cut the bamboo in half and then built a door. It looks nice closed, but most of the time we still close the office door and have it open at an angle to block the now open window.

I love the texture of the bamboo and hope to find more ways to incorporate it into our forever house. It was a pretty easy build until Jimmy went to hang it. He was in a hurry that day and wasn't being very careful. He was drilling into concrete (which is hard enough anyway) above his head and unfortunately also in the direction of his face. The drill slipped and before he could take his finger off the button, it made contact with his nose.

I was at the other side of the house and heard a painful "Ugh!" Followed by the groan, "Shelley... I hurt my nose."

When I came to see what had happened this is what I found:
Poor Jimmy had pierced his nose. A philips head drill bit went all the way through... while it was still spinning.
You can see the "x" shape in this picture. (I'm not sure how he was still smiling.) He drove himself to the Mennonite clinic in our town. They said, "Yep, you have a hole in your nose!" and warned him not to blow his nose. All they could do was put a bandaid on it.

This all happened before we went on furlough, so since then it has healed very nicely and only left a faint scar. The memory will last forever though!

Besides a new door, our office also got a new light fixture.
This is not an idea that originated with us. I have seen several tutorials for this online, but never could find the right glue. I did find some puzzle glue, so I decided to try that.

I used one of the boys' bouncy balls and then gooped up the jute as I wrapped it around the ball. I let it dry for several days and then deflated the ball. It kept its shape... I was shocked. It has been hanging in our office for several months with all the heat and hasn't melted. I have been very happy with it.
When we hang it in our forever house I will cover the cords with something like we did in the boys' room.
I think we are going to have a lot of fun creating things for our forever house in the years to come.

Monday, June 27, 2011

The Story's Not Over Yet...

Coming back from furlough I was a little discouraged. I felt like we might as well be going to a different field. We were almost starting from the same place as when we arrived 5 years ago... learning a new language, starting a new work, knowing hardly anyone. We had already invested into 2 communities only to be rejected in the end. Now we would be working with the Kekchi exclusively. That meant that until I finished learning the language I wouldn't be able to have what I thought of as hands on ministry, so what good was I. Jimmy at least had the pastors' training, but I had nothing but an out of date Kekchi grammar book who no one could help me understand. Plus all of my national friends were in a village I was no longer allowed to enter and the two missionary families we were friends with would be leaving Petén soon. So that was my mind's talk, not from the Lord or even true, but still in there none the less.

Jimmy and Lico had to run an errand together the other day which provided them with lots of time to talk. We knew Lico had been going to church somewhere while we were gone because last week he called from the hospital where he was visiting someone from his "church".
{The church in Santa Ana Vieja}

This church he mentioned is located in Santa Ana Vieja, about a 40 minute walk from New Horizon. We found out that now there are 5 families attending this church from New Horizon, all families from our Bible Study! Alquilino is one of the men who takes his family. The first time we met him he was wearing a hat because he didn't want Jimmy to sneak up on him and put 666 on his forehead and after the Bible Study was over he asked Jimmy to prove to him that he wasn't the Anti-Christ. Didn't have a course on that in Bible College! Walking his family 40 minutes one way on the highway to church is a long way from that day and we are so thankful.

Jimmy also found out that Lico is taking classes so that he can be baptized next month (something we were not allowed to do in NH)! Then he casually said, "I don't know exactly why, but I just have this feeling that I should be a pastor," and he asked Jimmy to teach him how! So now they will have weekly lessons at our forever house to give more foundational doctrines.

Then we found out that since these families are coming to the church Lico is attending, the church felt led to try and reach out to the rest of New Horizon. Churches and even Bible studies now are illegal, BUT... the farm next door has recently become available to buy in small pieces and the church got a piece. Brilliant! Remember, we had tried to get a piece of the farmland across the street from NH and were turned down.
It's about a 15 minute walk from the houses, but still much closer. On his days off Lico has been helping put up a covered area on that spot so that soon they can start holding outreaches just for New Horizon.

This is so unbelievable to me. I honestly thought God was done with New Horizon. I thought that they all had rejected God for the last time. I had no desire to go back into that dark place, so I figured God didn't either. Why does God let me be a missionary?... because God is as long-suffering with me as He is with those in NH!

Because of all this Jimmy stopped by with Lico to meet the pastor. He immediately knew who Jimmy was and our story with New Horizon. (Is it good to be known as the ones crazy enough to work in NH... haha!) He is even going to let Jimmy baptize Lico next month, so that is very special to us. We offered to help in any way we can with the church's outreaches to New Horizon. Be looking for more posts about this endeavor in the months to come. We are excited that God isn't finished with this story and has brought somebody else alongside to reach out to these very hard-hearted people. We are also excited about Lico's tremendous growth and his future in ministry. (You can read more about Lico's story here.)

CUTE ITEM OF THE DAY: Ever since Jonah and Silas were little when we ride in the car they like for me to be touching them.
When they were younger I would hold the sides of their heads and then they could fall asleep.
Now I guess they are "big boys" so they just reach over and grab my hand instead. Wherever we go I usually have a hand in each of mine. I know this will end one day, so I absolutely cherish it now.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Guess What's In Guatemala

Yes that is a Walmart sign. All the Hiper Paizes in Guatemala City turned into Walmarts while we were gone. It didn't really change anything about the inside of the store or the products it carries. We were only in there a minute when we flew into the capital, so maybe I missed something. It sort of makes me sad. I'm all for capitalism, but I think I just like my 2 worlds separate for some reason.
When we got to Petén we saw that they opened a new grocery store in Santa Elena. It is inside a new mall like structure. Most of the stores are outside and right on lake Flores.
It has a beautiful view. Most of the mall is still empty and the stores that have opened aren't any different than what you would find in the market. I didn't see any store that I recognized.
For those of you that have been here it is right next to the Burger King. It sort of kills whatever ambiance was left after the Burger King went up. My beautiful world is changing and I can't make it stop. I'll take the grocery store though!
This was the flooring inside... gorgeous! It looks like travertine. There is going to be something like this going on in our forever house somewhere with all the reject pieces we purchased from the mine. Probably on the walls though and not the floor.

This is the cute little grocery store. It is SO clean, I hope it stays that way. It is smaller than the Maxi Bodega, but has nearly all of the things we would buy at the Maxi plus some extra treasures we found!
Another plus is that they didn't have music playing on the loud speaker the whole time and it wasn't very crowded. It was so peaceful and relaxing!

Here are some of the products we found that we haven't been able to find in Petén before (not saying they don't exist here in some form, but we couldn't find them). Many of you have brought us some of these things down in your suitcases before!
Tabasco Sauce
Desitin (It works better here for some reason than Butt Paste.)
String Cheese
Nice toilet paper!!!!
Sprite (The only soda we drink. We mix it with Orange juice sometimes.)
Brownie mix (And it wasn't expired!)
Jif (It was expensive, but still cheaper than poundage on a plane.)
Baking cups
Cheerios... even Honey Nut ones. (They use to carry Cheerios here, but then quit.)
Quaker Oatmeal Squares
Campbell's Tomato, Minestrone, & Clam Chouder Soup (The Maxi recently started carrying Cream of Chicken, Mushroom, & Chicken Broth)
Wheat Flour
Dijon Mustard (Can you tell my camera died?)
Blue Cheese Dressing

After we finished grocery shopping we took the boys on their first ride in their new wagon! We walked all the way around the island of Flores. They kept their hats and sunglasses on the whole time... they know they're cute!

CRAZY ITEM OF THE DAY: This is on a main street in Guatemala City. It is a company that bullet proofs vehicle. Evidently this is a service that is in high demand here... enough demand to put their business on a prime piece of real estate. You can see the example car doors on the left with bullet holes in them. The sad part is we know people with bullet proof vehicles and yes they need them.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Our History Revisited

Our Anniversary was this past Sunday (also Father's Day), our first whole day in Petén. Since we spent that day dealing with rats, of which we have killed 9 inside our house as of last night, we were thankful that we celebrated it while we were in the States.

We decided to celebrate before we left because we wanted to revisit the spot where Jimmy proposed. It was under a gazebo right on the water next to the Bridge of Lions in St Augustine, FL.
He proposed in December at night, so it was all beautifully lit with white lights at the time.

Just for nostalgia sake we decided to eat at the same restaurant we did 7.5 years ago right before we took a walk and Jimmy proposed. In order to understand why this restaurant was special you have to know the whole backstory. At that time we had only been dating for 6 months and I was still planning on starting nursing school (I had been finishing up some random prerequisites that I was lacking) and Jimmy had been planning on starting deputation in the Fall, single. We were both still talking about going to 2 different mission fields.

Well earlier that day I had been over at my parents house. For some reason my dad was real smiley and made the comment to me, "Your ship has come in!!" What does that mean? I thought something strange was going on. It turns out that Jimmy had asked my parents' permission several days earlier and they knew that he was going to ask me that night. By the way, we now know that all 4 of our parents are incapable of keeping any good news a secret. That has been proven several times over the last 7 years!
{The restaurant where we ate}

The restaurant that evening was very cold. Being polite Jimmy offered me his jacket and I took it. Then remembering what was in his jacket pocket, he immediately snatched it back. That was it. I knew at that moment there was only one thing that could be in his pocket that would make him act this way... a ring. He was all nervousy anyway, that was another clue. So then I started getting nervous! After dinner we went for a walk and that is when Jimmy proposed under the gazebo, on one knee. It was very sweet and unexpected until a couple hours before it happened!

Here is a word of advise though, when involving a restaurant in some memorable moment in your life, don't pick a new place, go somewhere tried and true! We don't remember it being all that nice of a place but we thought that maybe it was just our nerves the first time.
It is on a pier and looks all nice and quaint. I think its that once you walk that far to get to the restaurant they know you are not going to walk all the way back without food. The place is just awful and expensive. The workers look dirtier than the sweaty tourist that come in there to eat.
The best part is their claim to fame. See the sign behind our heads. It says, "Feed the fish while you dine." There are NO fish. There were none 7.5 years ago and there still aren't any today. They bring you old bread and you are suppose to lift up this trap door by your table and drop it into the water below. Birds don't even come by and eat that bread! So our special restaurant is just as bad as we remembered, but it was still fun reliving it. We did agreed that twice was enough and we will just keep it as a nice memory and not revisit it again in the future!

We had a wonderful time walking around St. Augustine just the 2 of us. I am so thankful for the mate that God gave me! We definitely wanted to remember this date, so we picked up our traditional souvenir, a Christmas ornament. It is a wood cutout of the Bridge of Lions.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Welcome Home!

We had a lot of luggage flying back. We bought 3 seats since you can only have one person holding a baby per row, so that we could all sit together. (We used sky miles for 2 of them.) That gave us 6 bags plus we cashed in some of our sky miles for 2 more.
We always fly Taca out of Miami because it's the cheapest and a straight shot to Guatemala City so we were going to have to either rent a very large van to get all of our luggage to Miami or ask my parents to drive 2 vehicles 6 hours there and back.
My home church, Trinity Baptist Church, was so nice and let us use one of their vans to get to Miami. It was a fun road trip. Both my parents went with us and Becca too!
See our wagon box?! The boys loved the wagons here so much that we decided to take one back with us. Jimmy is putting it together today and we are going to take it to Flores and walk around the island after we go grocery shopping.
{Miami airport}
We flew into Guatemala City Friday afternoon.
We had a great flight. Silas slept in my arms for almost 2 hours. He is not much of a snuggler most of the time, so I absolutely loved that! All 8 checked bags and 6 carry-ons plus a double stroller made it in tacked.

For some reason any time we enter or leave the country of Guatemala things start going wrong for us. Here what happened this time:

1. The boys' dvd player broke that their Papa had gotten them about 10 minutes into our 6.5 hour drive to Petén. Nothing happened to it, I carry it in its own padded bag if we ever take it anywhere. No one touched it, it just broke.

2. On our drive home we started smelling paint fumes. We had brought back some magnetic paint to use in our forever house. All the way home I was picturing it spilled out all over the boys' 2T clothes that I was bringing back for them. When we unloaded the micro it had spilled out on the floor and on our stroller. Somehow the only casualty inside the piece of luggage it was in was a hand towel... not bad.

3. My backpack fell over on the drive (are you sensing some crazy driving going on?) bending our one working internet modem. It's a first generation and works so much better than any of the new ones that have come out since then and you can't get another one like it... sad.

4. When we got home we found out that an entire rat family had been living in our house. (It was about 8:15pm by that time.) There was rat poo all over our entire house... on everything.
I can not exaggerate how much of it there was. This is Silas' crib. I have no idea why they went into the boys' room. There was nothing in there for them to eat, so they chewed up some of their wooden blocks. There was poo on all of our beds. We found out why there was so much feces because there were entire shelves in our pantry that were completely empty. They ate all of the contents... even the packaging, entire bags of crackers, boxes of cereal, packages of beaf jerky.

5. Next, while I was cleaning, the kitchen sink started leaking all over the kitchen floor. I cleaned it up with all of my towels. It didn't matter anyway, it wasn't like they were clean since all of our linens had been covered in rat poo.

6. When I went to go wash all of our dirty linens, I realized that the rats had eaten something important in my washing machine. They broke it. I didn't want to be in the laundry room anyway since I could still hear the rats moving around in there and it smelled like rat pee.

7. The dogs were very happy to see us and us them, but they were so nasty I didn't want to touch them. Our poor dogs have mange, worms, ticks, and Lucha has a cough so bad I didn't recognize her bark.

8. Before we left we had closed all the doors inside our house hoping that if a rat got in, it couldn't scavenge from room to room... silly us. Somehow rats had gotten into every room, but we thought the office/bathroom was safe. Hahaha! Our bathroom is very tiny, even tinier when a rat makes his presence known when you are in there. Its so small that if you sit down, your knees hit the door. So that's how we knew there were rats in the office. One of us made contact with their little beady eyes while we were doing our business. It peaked its little head under the door. Those office/bathroom rats were aggressive little suckers. It took us 2 days to kill them all and until then whenever we took our showers or used the bathroom the other person was on rat watch. Which basically means you stand in the doorway with a broom or for Jimmy it meant playing games on his phone and yelling periodically, "Still no rat".
I have no idea how they got into the office, but we did see how they tried to leave. They chewed through the door.

So we are slowly taking back our house... from the rats. We have killed 5 so far, 6 if you count the one that we caught while we were gone, that the other rats ate. I know there is at least 1 more left, maybe more. We have shop vacced up most of the droppings, that's how we killed 1 of them. Do you know what a rat sounds like being shop vacced up a tube... lovely! Sort of like Silas when you tickle his feet. I have Lysoled almost every square inch of my house including all of our belongings. I plan on doing the rest over the next 2 days.
These were the droppings I swept up into a pile inside my washing machine. Why would it be in there and how did they get out? We were really worried that we were going to have to buy a new washer and they are very expensive here. I love my washer too. It is simple and reliable, I always miss it when we are in the States. This was a big blessing - Jimmy took our washer to the city and got it fixed for $20! My clothes line is full now, that is super comforting.

So we have had a couple crazy days since we have been back. We are so thankful though that all of it is really nothing in the grand scheme of things. First, we are so happy to be back. All 3 of our dogs are alive, no matter how bad they look and smell! I have a washing machine, an indoor sink, and a modem that could break in the first place. No one had broken into our house. Our friend Luis had our micro cleaned while we were gone and even repaired a couple things. Then had it waiting in Guatemala City for us to drive back to Petén. We are so blessed! God is taking good care of us and providing us with a lot of laughter along the way.

As soon as the boys heard Jimmy opening the gate, they recognized this place as being familiar. They greeted the dogs and ran inside and hopped on their firetrucks. All their toys are like new again since they haven't seen them in 3 months. They were vey happy to be back in their cribs after we cleaned them up! We are doing great and are excited about jumping back in as soon as possible. Domingo came over for breakfast this morning and we are already making plans for our next outreach and for KBI!
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