Thursday, September 29, 2011

The Story of San Miguel Alto Uno

Last week we went back to the village of San Miguel Alto Uno. They invited us for a baptismal service and for the dedication of their church building.

First a little history...

*This was one of the first Kekchi villages we ever went to. Our first visit was in July 2008. We showed a film.

*Pastor/Doctor Andy was there too and held a medical clinic.

*We returned again and showed a 2nd movie.

*The youth team from Daytona held an outreach there.

*Jimmy returned by himself and showed a 3rd movie.

*The last team we had held an outreach there.
*A year and a half ago one family accepted Christ.

*A year after that Manuel and his family accepted Christ. He wants to study to be the pastor.

*Besides outreaches we have helped out with Bibles, hymnals and the sheet metal for the roof of their new church. (They built the rest of the building themselves!)

It is so wonderful to see things finally taking off now. When we got there the mission's leaders were having a meeting.
Silas spotted Domingo from across the room and went right over to him. They are buds!
Lots of the kids who were playing outside came in to see Jonah and Silas.
Jimmy signed the church charter as one of the founders.
It hadn't rained in a while which made it one of the hottest days we have experienced in Petén.
Jonah and Silas were a sweaty mess, but they still had fun!

We got to go see the building since by the time the service would start it would be dark.
They were painting the sign: Jericho Baptist Mission. Once it becomes self-supporting they will change that sign to church.
Another established church from 5 hours away sort of adopted them as their mission the month before. They brought a truck full of people to celebrate the building's dedication. They were going to spend the night and attend another celebration service the next day. All the women from the mission were preparing all the meals for the next two days.
There were two pots full of tamales wrapped in banana leaves. There are more banana leaves thrown on top to trap the steam and then wood to hold it all in there.

You want to know what was for lunch the next day?... Well these people are looking at it.
We saw a man pull up with a bull in the back of his truck. I knew his fate as soon as I saw him. Now I believe God made that bull for these people to eat, but I didn't want to watch it happen... especially with a machete. That is why this photo is taken from far away!

I thought I was spared the gruesome details and then the next day I was flipping through my iPhoto of pics of the boys playing when all of a sudden what pops on my screen?... a bull being gutted!!! James walked all the way down there, took up close photos with his fancy camera, and then dumped them on my computer. My life without knowing how they slaughter a bull in a village... yeah, I will never get that back.

After lunch we all headed to the river for a baptismal service!
The members of the mission would sing in between each baptism. The whole atmosphere was really beautiful!
14 people were baptized that day!
Domingo prayed with each person before he baptized them.
Manuel got baptized too!
After dinner they had a special service to dedicate their building.
There was a time a prayer before we entered. They asked Jimmy to cut the ribbon.
Each visiting pastor there received a piece of the ribbon.
Then they held a celebratory service thanking the Lord inside their new building!
Please pray for Jericho Baptist Mission as they continue to grow and reach the rest of their village.

CRAZY ITEM OF THE DAY: Jimmy returned Sunday afternoon for another service. (I think he just wanted to try the bull.) This village is a few hours out in the middle of nowhere. On his way home some cattle ranchers decided to tear up the dirt road in order to divert some water to another pasture and build a small bridge. Unfortunately they made the road impassable before all the supplies had arrived to build the bridge. The workers had stopped and were asking all those waiting to pass for money to help finish the bridge! Jimmy called and said that he might not be home until the next day. So we prayed that God would make a way for him to get home sooner. A few minutes later a Mennonite friend showed up on the other side of the big trench wanting to go in the opposite direction. They ended up trading vehicles and Jimmy made it home in time for lunch. We know maybe 5 people in all of Petén that own vehicles and even fewer that we would trust with ours. We get to see God work like this all the time! He takes such good care of us.
{This is a photo of that spot from the day before. We thought it was deep then!}

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Happy Birthday Tutor #4's Wife!

Yesterday we were invited to our Kekchi tutor's (Tutor #4) wife's birthday party. We love Kekchi birthday celebrations. It is really beautiful because they get all of their friends together and thank God publicly for all that God has done in their life. Then we all pray that they will continue to follow God and that He will continue to bless their life. They acknowledge God in everything. He is the center of their lives now that they are Christians just like all of their spiritual beliefs before when they didn't know the Truth.

It is hard to know what to get people for presents in a different culture... even harder when there aren't any nice stores around here to find quality things.

I ended up choosing a burgundy table cloth and I found a glass dish that we put some flowers in. I hope she liked it. They don't usually open presents in front of people.

Tutor #4's wife, made us all a wonderful meal of tamales and tostadas. We sat outside on the porch while the tamales were cooking. As soon as she served the meal it started pouring down rain. I didn't realize this when I lived in an air conditioned house in the States, but there is nothing that clears out a smell and freshens up a house like hard rain with all the windows open. I couldn't smell anything and was able to enjoy the meal! Hopefully I only have one more week of morning sickness.

We had a wonderful time! We met a new Christian Spanish speaking couple. Honestly we are mostly around lost people or new Christians, except for the Kekchi nationals we work with. It was nice to be able to fellowship with Christians that we could communicate easily with. I hope we can get to know this family better. They have a little boy Jonah and Silas' age. I was so proud of my boys. There were a couple of other children there and we had brought some little toys. Jonah and Silas kept handing their toys to the other kids to play with. They had a blast and came home filthy thanks to the rain and mud... but very much worth it!

CRAZY ITEM OF THE DAY: One of Tutor #4's neighbors who works at the school where he teaches, turned him in to the head of the school as a narco. He said that Tutor #4 comes home at 11PM several nights a week, gets dropped off by someone in a dark truck, and then he goes straight into his house. Poor Tutor #4, he is out late for our Kekchi class. For the first month and a half of our classes, his vehicle was in the shop and Jimmy had to give him a ride home in his black pickup! He was able to defend himself and keep his job. It seems like the nicest people have the worst things said about them.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Forever House #7

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

I think my two favorite things about our forever house will be no rats and the plumbing. I will post about the no rats thing later and all that we are doing to insure that. For now the first part of the plumbing is finished! 

I think my boys build better structures out of their mega blocks than our current rental home was built. The people who built this thing had no idea what they were doing. Everything was done wrong and unfortunately you pay for it every day. I really feel sorry for the owners. I think they are going to be very disappointed when they move in. 

The plumbing is probably the worse part of it. It something that is harder to fix. For example our toilet still flushes into our shower. That shouldn't be possible. The drain isn't the lowest point either, so before you shower you get to sweep all the water out and then clean it. We have come to the conclusion that an avocado must have fallen into the vent pipe from the septic tank. Also there are no air traps on anything, so our kitchen sink, and shower reek. Being pregnant I can smell it now more than ever. I hold my nose most of the time walking through my house and pray for rain. Both doors open when it rains is the only thing that seems to freshen things up. 
The sewer lines are installed... by a plumber. One who knew what he was doing! These will be in our floors. Jimmy is going this week to check everything one last time before the floors are poured. This photo is of our kids' bathroom. It is a jack and jill style one behind our 2 kids' rooms. The boys will probably always share a room, but we might have girls one day! This is the bathroom that will have a bathtub for the boys... yay! 
The masons have been focusing on the other side of the house, so its walls are lower. We hope to finish one side with the roof and floor so that Jimmy can start working on shelves in our pantry and the carpenters can put the drawers in our kitchen before the skeleton of our entire house is finished. We hope to be starting on the roof for that side in 2 weeks! 
This is the gravel that will fill in the floors before the concrete is poured. 
The sad part is the gravel is where our okra plants used to be. I miss them! We have a gardener coming with a tractor to level our our land before we do more landscaping. He was suppose to come 2 weeks ago. That's the way things work here. We really like him though when he shows up. 
This is our finished leach field! Soon it will be covered with green grass for our boys to run and play on. You know the grass is always greener... over the leach field!
As far as landscaping Jimmy has planted a couple things. He put 3 palms in the back corner of the yard for us to hang hammocks on to sit and watch the boys play! They were just replanted, so they will perk up soon.
He also planted a couple of palms in the front yard. You can see the taller walls in this picture and it was taken about 2 weeks ago. Our yard is a mess right now. 
Unfortunately we decided to cut down several trees that were along our front wall. We were thinking we would save them. When we first bought the property they were covered in light pink flowers. For the majority of the year, they just look like naked scrawny trees. 
Old picture, but you can see some of the trees
They are used as fence posts to tree off properties here. You can just stick a branch in the ground and they grow really fast. I hate cutting down trees, but they were ugly. We have twice as many plants and trees that will go in their place. 

Without the trees blocking the sun our ivy is finally starting to grow!

The conduit is in place for our wiring.

Here is an update on our creepy hallway. As the walls get taller, it gets creepier!

Since the floors aren't filled in yet, it is hard to get photos of the taller side of the house. You have to climb up and down makeshift wooden ladders to get in and out of rooms right now. This is one room I got to though. It is the little mudroom off of our carport entry. It will have a little half bath in it for guests. Before we even mentioned it to the plumber he suggested that we should put a drain in the floor for friends who are not used to using a flushable toilet. We have learned that from experience. We had our entire office flood and had to throw away our rug. That is the whole point for this bathroom.

A salesman stopped by our land the other day (which happens a lot since there is construction going on) and asked if he could leave some stucco samples. We wanted to have white stucco, but were concerned that once you mix the white chalk into the sand it would make it weaker and wouldn't be even throughout all the batches. Well this stuff comes already white in premixed bags, so the ratio is always the same. Each part of the wall won't look different depending on who mixed that batch of stucco. The one in the photo above is a textured finish that we have chosen for the outside of our house.
The one on the far left in the photo above is chalkboard smooth and for now this will be the walls inside our house. I think the textured would look beautiful inside, but I might appreciate the smooth walls more over time. Now when we run into our walls it can really scratch you up. The nice part is we don't have to paint right away or ever if we decide we like the simplicity of the white walls. If they get chipped a little they are white underneath. Also if we need to patch a hole, the consistency will be the same since it is already premixed. We were thrilled about this product. 

CUTE ITEM OF THE DAY: On one of our trips to our forever house Silas saw a pile of wet concrete and a shovel and knew exactly what to do! He went to work mixing it. He must have been watching Lico and the other workers all the other times we have been there. Lico thought it was great! 

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Another Peek At Our Baby

We made another trip to Guate last week for another appointment. It is a long winding 7.5 hour trip, but the boys are very sweet. They love their VeggieTale sing-a-longs and we pack all kinds of fun snacks. There aren't any good places to stop and eat, so we always have PB&J sandwiches for lunch.
By the time we get to the hotel, it's dark and we are all ready for something more substantial to eat. Jimmy drops us off at the hotel. Two sleepy boys suddenly become wide awake when presented with a new hotel room to play in. They love the radio and I unplug the phone for them to talk on. They are very serious about their phone calls. They raid all the little complimentary toiletries too. Jimmy takes a taxi to either Chili's or Applebee's which is close to our hotel and brings us back something warm and yummy and we have a picnic on the bed!

Our second appointment went great. Our little baby looks beautiful! You can see their eyes in the image below.
He/She had their hands in front of their face for awhile, so we had to wait to get this view. 11 weeks is very early, too early really, to find out the sex, but Dr. Najarro volunteered that he thinks it's another boy. I took that as we still don't know yet, but Jimmy has declared it a boy. I'm happy either way, but Jimmy would be happy about not having to buy any more baby stuff since we have so many boy things. We don't know anything about little girls, so that territory is a little scary too.

I posted part of our ultrasound for the grandparents. At the end was when he was telling us he thought it was a boy... but it still could be a girl! I love how that in Guatemala you get to see your baby at every visit and your doctor is the one giving you the ultrasound and talks you all the way through it. I missed that when we went to the States to have the twins. I didn't realize how spoiled I was!

I am in my 13th week now and am still nauseous all day. Please pray that it leaves soon. Jimmy has been on double duty the last 8 weeks taking care of all 3 of us. I feel bad for him and want things to get back to normal soon.

We almost always go to Pricemart which is similar to a Sam's in the States. They have 2 seater carts there which the boys get a kick out of... hugs!
We found out that Silas is a big fan of Chili's chips and salsa... like his mommy! He thinks everything needs to be dipped in something before you eat it, so that makes sense.
We usually make one stop going and coming to stretch the boys' legs. This time we bought some cold drinks. Jonah was determined to carry them himself!
On the way home we also passed a military check point where they had just made a big Zeta bust on the side of the road. You can read about it here in the paper. They found lots of grenades, ammunition, anti aircraft weapons and other lovelies.

CRAZY ITEM OF THE DAY: When we eat at restaurants now Jimmy usually leaves a larger tip than when it was just the 2 of us. These boys can be sort of messy, not ridiculous, but it looks like 2 little boys ate at our table. At this point we had not even gotten food yet. We were just trying to keep crayons and straw papers off the floor when we notice the waiter had already put up a caution sign warning people about our table!
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