Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Our First Services In San Pancho!!!

To kick off this new church plant we had a campaña last weekend. This is very normal for a Kekchi church plant, especially one in a city. It is where you have a series of services and invite special guests to build excitement. We have been a part of something like this a couple times, mainly the church plant in Poptún. This one was a little different to us though, because it will be "our" church. We are planning on living in San Pancho for the rest of our lives, so when we are not ministering somewhere else on the weekends, we will attend this church. We are not just getting it started, we want to remain a part of it.
We asked Tutor #4 to be the pastor. He is Kekchi and is also completely fluent in Spanish. I will have to share Tutor #4's story in another post and how God brought his family and ours together for this specific task and how God affirmed it to Pastor, that this was the job that God had for him. It is beautifully specific how God works!
{Tutor #4 with his parents. They gave their testimonies}

It has become a trend to invite an evangelist to preach the campañas. The evangelists here have a ridiculous fee. We sort of see it as a racket. They have deep booming voices and are fluent in Spanish (which the Kekchi think is necessary for a campaña), but they are sort of dramatic and over the top. They are nothing like the pastors of these churches, but for some reason the pastors feel like it is expected of them to invite them.

So here is the nitty gritty of a church plant in another culture. The big question: "When do you go with culture and when do you ask are we doing something just because it has always been done that way?" It is tricky. You want to be respectful and culturally relevant, but you want to work together and improve. We weren't the only ones financing this church plant (which represent offerings from gringo churches). Many of the other Kekchi churches gave offerings for this too. Since several other pastors would be attending this campaña Jimmy suggested that we save our money and ask them to preach. Plus this would be the style that visistors would hear if they chose to return. Tutor #4 loved that idea!
{Domingo preaching one of the services}

There were other issues like this as well, but sometimes once the cultural reason was explained, we understood better and went with it. It is a delicate balance and learning experience for all of us. It think it is very positive even though at times it can be frustrating. It helps us all grow and will lead to a more effective church plant with all the backgrounds contributing. Domingo was a big part of this kick off service too, so that was helpful. He and Jimmy have been working together for years now, so they understand each other. It made it a lot easier to discuss stuff.
{Domingo's daughter Candi. I had made her some hairbows and she was wearing one! We love his family!}

Several members from the church in Ebenezer came to support this new plant. Another church sent their praise band.
The band had matching shirts for each service! They were really very talented and added a lot to the worship service. Tutor #4's sons are musical and will help with the worship part of the service for regular services.
{Tutor #4's wife sang and her sons played for her}

Here is a clip of "How Great Thou Art" in Kekchi (the speakers are a little loud for my camera, so it is not as clear as if you were there):
We sing a lot of the same hymns.

The couple that accepted Christ a couple weeks ago in Sayaxche came all the way here for the services too! The pastor in Sayaxche has been following up on them and I know that he has seen them there at least one service since then. It is a large church so they could have been missed other times.
Among several singles, there were at least 5 families that were attending from San Pancho that want to keep coming. The first family that we visited who said they were moving soon was even there... guess they haven't moved yet. One teenage girl accepted Christ the last service. We met her on that first day of visitation too. I will share her story in another blog. It was a big learning experience for me.
Please keep this church plant in your prayers! We will be having services on Sundays and Thursdays. Please pray that it will grow and that many Kekchi families will come to know the Lord. And pray for all of us as we work together!

CRAZY ITEM OF THE DAY: It is very Guatemalan to take the number of speakers necessary for a crowd and then multiply that number by 6! The entire village/bario must "feel" the music and hear the message clearly! Well I have two little gringo boys who love music and singing and are infatuated with speakers.

This is where Silas stood for most of the worship service. (Services here are much more laid back than the States. Kids walk around everywhere. I usually don't let my kids roam, but he was genuinely interested in the band, so I let it fly this time.)

This was taken after the service was over. Jonah couldn't get enough. They have been reinacting the band ever since. They flip one of the tubs for their blocks over and pretend it is a keyboard. They sing at the top of their lungs and then of course pray afterwards!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

San Pancho Church Plant Starting Tonight!!!

Tonight is the first service for our Kekchi church plant in San Pancho. There are no other Kekchi works there. It is at 6:30. Please pray that it doesn't rain since it will be held outside. Groups from several other Kekchi churches are coming to help out with music and such. There are 2 services tomorrow as well. We mentioned in our newsletter that the first service was going to be last week, but we had to bump it a week. So thank you if you prayed, but please keep praying!!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Working Together

The team's trip coordinated perfectly with the yearly General Assembly of the Kekchi Baptist Churches of Petén. This was a great event for the guys to attend to be able to meet the pastors that we are working with, and for the pastors to put some faces with the name of the church I have been talking about helping us. Also, US groups love to cross the river on the ferry...

{Pastor Tim on the ferry}

There were 250 men in attendance representing the 72 churches and missions in Petén. These were pastors, deacons and Sunday school teachers who brought their churches' yearly love offerings to set the association's budget for the year. They use these funds to support their missionaries and support new missions with building projects and land purchases.

They were thrilled to find out that these gringos not only gave the money to buy the land (close to the same amount as the associations' yearly budget) but that they came and were hauling block and rocks just like each of these men do for their own building projects. Pastor Tim gave a greeting but the men also wanted to hear from the other members of the church as well. Only Dan was fast enough to escape through a side door!

Here are the guys with Mateo Botzok. Last year they were in his church that was one month old. They recognized him from across the aisle and he came outside with us to give the guys an update. He has 45 people that have been saved and are part of his church and in addition to the main church (still in his house) he has another preaching point on the other side of town he visits each month.

These are the members of the KBI board of directors. We just found out yesterday that we need to add 5 more people to this board due to a change in the law.

The team was here for 10 days.

That is a long time in this heat, so we gave them breaks every once in a while...

We took them to a new place for us. It has hanging bridges. They said it was a really nice experience. We will have to start taking more teams there.
{Matt on the hanging bridges tour of the jungle}

Jimmy also suckered the team (I think that is the word the team would choose) into a cave excursion. We have only taken one other gringo team there before. It is pretty intense.
Jimmy claimed that it is very cool underground and would be a nice break from the heat. Jimmy didn't go... haha. Evidently it was extremely hot and muggy. Oops! It is an experience though.

The team thoughtfully offered to watch Jonah and Silas for us one afternoon so that Jimmy and I could go on a date. (This was before the cave incident!) Jimmy took me to the market real quick to show me a store that he had found with all kinds of sewing notions. There is no way I would have ever found it myself... he is so sweet like that. He knows how to get points! Afterwards we just went and had coffee and dessert in the air conditioning at Pizza Hut. (It is incredibly hot here right now if you aren't picking up on that.) It was so nice just to talk. I love spending time with my husband!

Jonah and Silas really had a good time at the hotel with the guys while we were on our date. Silas loved their pool. (This team stayed on Flores in a different hotel than we normally use... we are trying all kinds of new things lately.)

These guys were so sweet to our boys. We really appreciated it.

{Clint, Silas, & Tim watching a parade passing the hotel}

Ladies from the church sent presents for Jonah, Silas, and even Eden. Once again, just so thoughtful.

Here is Jonah playing with some new legos. Evidently my boys are very into legos now!

Sunday we all went to San Jose Pinares to hold a small service and show a film. This would have been our third outreach in this village where we want to start a church. It is 10 minutes past the institute land. We were going to hold the service in this couple's home.

{The wife boiling us some rice drink over her stove}

They were the first Christians in the village. A second family accepted Christ on the first outreach Jimmy and Tutor #4 did in December. This family though heard the Gospel as a result of the church in Ebenezer (even closer to the institute land). That village had no Christians in it 4 years ago when we showed a film there one evening after the village that hates us wouldn't let us in. Now there is a church there, not as a result of our work, that was started by a Nazarene national. They feel secluded and have asked for our help and want to become Baptist. They need some mentoring and want to get connected with the other Kekchi Baptist churches for fellowship. Did you get all that?!

Unfortunately the new mayor was throwing a party, so all of the village was attending that. We ended up just having a time of fellowship with this sweet family... well as much fellowship as you can have with 2 language barriers. The team smiled a lot though!
{Matt and Pastor Tim}
The husband told Jimmy that he wants to become a pastor and is interested in attending the institute! Please pray for this family of new believers and that a church will be started here in Ebenezer very soon!

We were sad to see this team go. People like them are just such an encouragement to be around. They are excited about what is going on in Petén and are genuinely behind what God is doing here. We are so thankful for them!

CRAZY ITEM OF THE DAY: We had some wild restaurant experiences with this team. A new restaurant had been recommended several times by some missionaries that used to live here, so we finally decided to try it. The food was delicious, but while we were sitting there we saw a rat come up several times and eat some of the tortillas on the counter in their little tortilla making nook. We told several people that worked there and they just laughed... they didn't throw any away, they just laughed. We didn't eat any tortillas!

{Tortilla nook in background}
{Feeding the fish tortillas after the meal.}

Then later on in the week they went to my favorite restaurant and ordered strawberry licuados (strawberry smoothies), the same ones we always get. This time they found little pieces of glass mixed in with their ice. That's not dangerous or anything... The owner wasn't there, but the workers said that they had run out of ice and had bought a bag from someone down the street... nice!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Today Was the Day

Today was the day in my pregnancy that I gave birth to the boys... so glad Eden is staying put for a little longer!!

We were flipping through photos this morning of the boys at 32 weeks thinking about what she looks like now. The boys were almost 4.5 pounds when they were born. That is pretty good for 32 weeks.

This is a 3D photo of her back at 29 weeks:
She has her knees up at her chin and her hand in front of her nose. You can see her eyes and a dimple though... all my kids have dimples! We move to Guatemala City in 3 weeks. Please pray that she stays snug inside until then. She also needs to move since she is currently breeched.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Under Construction!

We have had a construction team here for the last 10 days. They flew home this morning. I have so much to share. They were from a supporting church of ours in Topeka, KS and have visited several times now. They are 100% behind the Kekchi pastors' institute (KBI) and we appreciate all that they have invested in it.
This is the view of the main entrance from the main road. The classrooms will be a rectangular building in the front, with an entrance on either side.
The first 3 days the team built a house for our guard, Manuel.
{Silas sitting inside the house}
{Matt & Pastor Time cutting wood for the doors.}
{Clint and Dan working on a door.}
This is Manuel! He has proven himself to be a great worker so far. We are very happy with him. Jimmy even gave him a raise after all the extra construction work he did even though that wasn't part of his job. He is a Christian and from a village, 2 villages past the institute. He is a single man and his mom brings him meals... so sweet!
Jimmy hired some Kekchi men to cut the wood boards out of the jungle for the house. They do it free-hand with a chainsaw. I think they are very talented! The tree in the above picture is where they got most of the wood. We have a lot of stump pieces left over that we will buy from the institute and use at our house for tables.
{Silas & Jonah love construction sites!}
Everything has already been surveyed and marked for the student housing as well. It will be behind the classrooms with nice neat dirt roads. We might even put up street signs named after the churches (Kekchi & Gringo) who helped!
{The foundation for the classrooms}
Unfortunately the rest of their time here wasn't very glamorous. They did a lot of filling in of the foundation, hauling block, and other stuff that isn't that rewarding in this much heat!
They built the forms for the foundation for the posts.
They worked hard! We really appreciate it. They have taken ownership of this institute. Beyond the work they did even, their presence and involvement during this phase was very important. It went a long way with the Kekchi pastors. I will share more about that later.

We just loved having them here. They are so encouraging to be around and really get the long term vision for the institute. We were blessed these past 2 weeks in so many ways.

CRAZY ITEM OF THE DAY: We found this on the road close to the Kekchi land. It was a fresh kill by a truck tire.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Handmade Home #7: Twin Big Boy Beds!

I probably would have kept them in their cribs longer, but there is no way we were going to own 3 cribs, and Jonah and Silas needed to transition into big boy beds so that Eden could have one of theirs in March. They were ready for big boy beds, I was the one that wasn't. Thanks to the super heavy duty cribs that their daddy built them they could have lasted in them a while longer. They didn't have the thin slats that you can rap your toes around and climb out of, so we never had issues like that. With all the bouncing and jumping they did together, I don't think a regular store bought one would have lasted a year with these monkeys!
I showed Jimmy a picture of what I wanted and he built 2 beds for me! I am so thankful for all the nice things he builds for us. I asked for large bolts and he made that happen too! I didn't want any headboards, so that they could feel connected.

I was having a little anxiety about the transition. I wanted them to have beds in the same spot as their cribs... in this house before we moved, so they wouldn't get new beds and a new room... and before Eden got here, so they wouldn't associate the change with her.
We made the swap on Christmas day before nap time. The whole thing was quite exciting to them! For a while I think they thought we swapped their beds for 2 play tables!

Once we got the mattress and sheets on them they realized it was like Mommy & Daddy's bed... that we wrestle and have pillow fights on = Party all the time!
They bounced around between the 2 beds for a while.
At first it looked like they had decided to switch spots...
but that only lasted until about 10 minutes into their nap time. They couldn't stand it, they had to switch back.
{Their first nap time!}

Until this point I had been insistent on there not being as much as a bumper in their crib. I was afraid of suffocation. I just dressed them warm if we were somewhere cold. They have never slept with a blanket, a pillow, or a plush toy. Once they got older if we ever gave them a stuffed animal they would launch it out of their cribs, so I guess they didn't mind... they had a brother to keep them company.

With their beds we presented it to them with pillows, a quilt, and monkeys from Becca. They accepted it all... but the monkeys have to sleep in the crack though!

Their quilts were the first ones I ever made. It was literally blood, sweat, and tears! I used this tutorial and had to use a lot of plan C and D's in order to make it work with what I had... but I finished them, and I love them! There is no way I would be able to find bedding down here that I liked, especially 2, that were similar but different. I wanted fluffy batting so it would be nice and comfy (which is good since that is all I could find!). The batting wouldn't fit through my machine, so I ended up tying them. Thankfully my friend Holly loaned me the largest embroidery hoop I have ever seen to be able to tie them. She saved the day... I was at a very low point by then and ready to chuck it all. I really like the look of the back of them.
{It is with red yarn, so it's hard to see in a photo}

As you can tell from the photo above, Silas chose the gray and red and Jonah the blue and red. They know whose is whose and I like that! The transition was incredibly smooth, not the traumatic event I was expecting at all!

Here are some other things we made/put together for them for Christmas... I say "we" because Jimmy diligently helped me scavenger all the pieces!

Stick horses:

I got the tutorial from here. I think their favorite part of these is that they jingle when they ride them.
{Silas riding his horsy}

Grandma & G-Dawg sent guns, holsters, and sheriff badges to complete the outfit. I made the vest from a pattern downloaded here. Mine are out of suede like material though since my boys would rip felt apart at this age.
They love the guns, but I don't think they understand the vest/sherif badges quite yet. I thought they would get it from watching Veggietales' "Moe and the Big Exit", but maybe soon.

We bought the leather tool holder part from the hardware store and then made the belts with their favorite claps on them... they love snapping them for some reason. We found the toy tools in Guatemala City and then Jimmy had some dummy keys made for them complete with a whistle keychain... like all toddlers, they LOVE keys!
{Jonah loading his tool belt}

They got some regular toys too, but I hope these will inspire imaginary play. We hope to add to the collection each year.

CRAZY ITEM OF THE DAY: This is what Jonah and Silas were doing when they woke up from their nap one day. Because of our night night routine they think that after you sing a song you are always supposed to pray! I didn't realize it at the time, but it was one of their last nap times in their cribs. I am so thankful I got it on video!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...