Thursday, June 27, 2013

Caldo, Concrete, and Entrance Stamps

This team spent 4 long hot days at the institute constructing student houses. The students will come with their families and live on the institute land for 3 years while they receive Biblical training to prepare them for ministry and some practical farming skills that they will use to support their families. Classes will start in January and we will be able to have as many students as we have houses. 
{Dinner at Maya International}
{Dinner at La Luna}

We try to feed them pretty well at night (in order to get as much work out of them as possible, haha), but their days are still exhausting! Here are some of the houses they were working on:
They finished boarding up 4 houses!
They also poured 2 concrete floors! Rob and Jimmy mixed the concrete with their shovels. That's hard, time consuming work. (Jimmy took all of these photos, that's why he isn't in any of them, but he was there.)
Unfortunately during their lunch break one day the guard's little girls ran through the wet cement in one of the houses. That was frustrating, but typical. Lico can add a small smooth coat to fix it later.

One of the existing Kekchi churches sent a group of 15 men to put on 2 of the thatched roofs. 
That must be really hard work too, because we had enough leaves for a third house, but they said their hands hurt too bad!
So Jimmy is paying to have the third roof finished today before the leaves dry out and are wasted. We really appreciate everyone working together!

I think some people on the team even learned how to use machetes!
 So if you are keeping track that is the walls of 4 houses, the floors for 2 and the roofs for 3!
So that is 4 houses at the institute that are completely finished, 2 that still need floors, and then we still have the little guard house that any single guys could live in. That is a long way away from our 20 house goal by January, but we have the money for 3 more, so that's 9. Each house cost $1,200, if the Lord is working in your heart to make an investment in this way in training these pastors.

We are so thankful for the 4 work teams who have helped us with the institute land so far and for the Kekchi men who have traveled to help. Some have helped plant trees, some have prepped the foundation, some have built houses. All made an investment that will produce fruit for years to come.

A sweet Christian family that lives in the village down and across from the institute often feeds our workers when they are there. That is where we all ate on Tuesday for lunch. 
They knew there were going to be gringos coming too this time, so they decorated the entry to their garden with the word "welcome" spelled out in English with some chalk. They also had some coconuts spelling the word "Petén". 
It was all really sweet! They have a beautiful garden with lots of mango trees. 

When the team arrived they washed their hands:
 Then they served us all caldo.
Flavor wise, this was some of the best I have ever tasted! It was my first caldo since furlough too. Of course they always give Jimmy the biggest bowl! 
 He was proud too! They usually have the rice and meat in the soup, but I think they served it "gringo style" (separately) for their guest.
Jonah has been running a fever off and on if you can't tell by his face! He is doing much better though since this photo. Silas is already into the tortillas, ha! The team left this morning. Their flight had some mechanical issues, so they got up real early to just sit at the airport, but I think they did fly out in time to not have to spend the night in Gaute.  I will share about their trip to the island of Livingston tomorrow. 

Jimmy just got a call from the team. They are in Guatemala City, but they weren't going to let them through immigration because 3 members on the team didn't have an entrance stamp in their passport (Kelsie, Kelly, & Josh). The airport in Guate really doesn't know what to do with flights going to and from Petén. I think they think there are custom and immigration agents in Petén, but there aren't. You usually have to ask someone to give you an entrance stamp in Guate or you end up getting in trouble when you try and leave, which they did last week, but somehow 3 passports got skipped. Anyway they got the immigration official to talk to Jimmy on the phone. Jimmy apologized a lot and asked real nicely if he would overlook it and after a little bit of a discussion he decided to let them through! This poor team... too much traveling drama. 

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Special Services on Sunday

Sunday morning the team came over to our home for a cook-out and a service in English. It is wonderful to be able to fellowship with the team in our home. They all fit into our great room and with the breeze coming in through our big windows it was really comfortable. I am very thankful for our new home!
{You can see Kelsie with Eden in this photo! Eden loves her!}
That evening we had a wonderful service at our church in San Pancho as well!
The team sang several songs in English and then we all learned one of them in Spanish! It was "One Thing Remains." 

There were several people standing outside and listening through the windows. We had 3 more families that wanted to come from SR, but didn't fit on the microbus... pretty good problem to have! We are going to start sending a school bus.
Then the team shared some testimonies. 
I think at least five of the guys shared their salvation testimony and why they wanted to come on this trip. About 50% of the people there that night weren't Christians. I think it is WONDERFUL that they got to here how other people came to know the Lord and how He is at work in their lives. 
I am praying that God would use these testimonies in the hearts of our church people. 
Adam played Amazing Grace on his trumpet. It was beautiful! I think it was a really special night for the families that came! Pastor Rob preached after that. I didn't get any photos since I was in with the kids, but the message he chose was perfect timing for some of the issues are church is facing right now! 
The 3 ladies on the team helped me in the kids time. We had fun too, learning about how Jesus fed the 5,000 with the boy's lunch. 

We are so thankful for Crossroads Baptist Church and for their support of our work in Petén! They have been a big encouragement to us this week!

Monday, June 24, 2013

Hard at Work

This team works hard and fast! So far they have put up the walls on 2 houses and poured one of the concrete floors. They are working on the second floor today and will start on a third house tomorrow! 
We are very thankful for their hard work. The amount of men we can accept in this first class of students is dependent upon how many houses we get built. This team is making a big investment that will continue to have fruit over the years as these pastors are trained and plugged into different unreached Kekchi villages. 

These team has gone out of their way to be sweet to my kids. I am grateful! It helps my children have a positive outlook about teams coming to visit us in the future. Even Eden loves this team! My kids will be sad to see them go... us too!

Saturday, June 22, 2013

The Daytona Team is Here!

The day after my kids got all of those bug bites, Eden started wheezing (on the day the team got here and the day the power was off until 1PM, haha!). She sounded awful! 
Jimmy took her to the doctor in the middle of all of the other stuff he was trying to get done before the team got here. We found out that Eden was having an allergic reaction to all of the bites. I didn't know that could happen, so next time I will look out for it. After some meds she is much better now!

Jonah has started a high fever. I can't tell if it is a virus or Dengue. No one else has it. He is uncomfortable though, poor little man. Just in case it is Dengue, I am only giving him Tylenol. 

Wednesday Jimmy took me to Las Raices for lunch in Santa Elena. It is right on the water and now that Las Puertas has closed it has become our celebration restaurant. 
They have the most delicious chicken kabobs! The boys like it too because it is the restaurant where we feed the fish our leftover tortillas. The waitress usually brings us old ones too for the boys to toss into the lake. 
We had a wonderful relaxing day together!
Both Jimmy and I have been talking about a tree that we saw that we really like and how we wanted to find one to plant in our yard. We had never seen the tree together though, so we weren't really sure if we were talking about the same one. Well we stopped at a nursery and I happened to see a sapling of the tree I liked. It turns out that it is the same tree Jimmy had been looking for... we are soul mate for sure!
{Love the big leaves!}
It is kind of a tradition to plant something in our yard on our anniversary. So it was perfect timing!

A construction team from Daytona arrived Thursday evening. Here they are taking a lunch break at our home: 
They are working hard and fast! I will post more pictures tomorrow of all they are accomplishing. We are very thankful for their willingness to help with the student housing. They are meeting a specific need in our ministry. 

Living a 5 minute drive from the institute now and a 20 minute drive from their hotel is so nice! It is all that we wanted it to be. The team can eat lunch at our house and Jimmy/our family gets back home at night at a decent time so that we are not all exhausted once the team leaves and we get to see each other while they are here too. Love it! It completely changes things for us and I am grateful!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

My Poor Bug Bitten Babies

It is so hard to seal your house here. We are fighting a mosquito battle... and we are losing! I spray my kids each night when they get out of the shower. Right now I think California Baby Bug Spray works the best. It doesn't have any DEET in it, which is good since we use it every day and my kids sleep with it on. I don't spray their faces however.
My kids' faces look awful. I tried to get a photo of Eden's face this morning. She was crying about not getting a pancake fast enough at breakfast. You can see the tear in her eye. Then she got a pancake and realized I was taking her picture and looked at me with a big smile and said, "Cheese!" Silly girl! 
My poor babies' faces are covered in bug bites. Two metal workers welded our last screen in yesterday and now we have a lot of caulking to do. We need to find some weather stripping too and then get some spray foam for other cracks. 
We are setting off some bug bombs today we brought back from the States and leaving for 4 hours. Today is our 9 year wedding anniversary, so we are headed to Santa Elena for a lunch together. Our baby sitter is on a trip to the States, so the kids are coming on our date too... we like them a lot, so that's ok! Plus this is a perfect time for the bug bombs!
Please pray we solve this problem. This many bites makes me worried about more Dengue. 

Monday, June 17, 2013

Novelas & Mangos

It is so good to be back at our church again. Juan did such a great job while we were gone keeping the church going. I'm sure it was tough. It's kind of like being the substitute teacher. Many days being the regular teacher is tough, but the substitute... horrible! He has only been here since January and then we just handed him everything in March and said "see ya later!"

Before when we would leave for furlough it would take us a month or two once we got back to build up our attendance again. This time, I haven't noticed that we have lost anyone. Juan is such a hard worker. There were some though that kind of gave him a hard time for being the new guy and he really had a great attitude about it all. A neighbor who doesn't even go to our church kept starting rumors about him, the poor guy. She's kind of know for that... watches too many novelas (soap operas) I think! Anyway it bothered him, but he has a great testimony, so it probably didn't harm him.
One of the young men who goes to our church was killed while we were gone. He had been involved in some bad things a while back, but we thought he was making better decisions. He has been coming faithfully, but hadn't put his faith in Christ yet. Jimmy even asked him one last time a couple days before we left and he said that he wasn't ready. Please pray for his family, that the Lord would comfort them. I just love his mom, she is such a sweetheart. His older brother has recently accepted Christ and his sister comes as well. His mom said that whenever she or her husband are alone in the house is when it hits them the hardest. They miss him terribly, I cannot even imagine. A husband of one of the ladies that comes to our church died with him. He had only ever come once I think and that was to the Christmas Play. Please pray for that family as well.

All of the details were pretty gruesome and it is really disturbing to the church. Some stopped coming for a while due to fear, but they are back now. It was disturbing to us as a family too. This was pretty close to all of us and we are really thankful that God protected the other people in our church and our family. There are so many evil things happening around us and I am thankful for God's protection and for all of you who pray for our safety. 

CUTE ITEMS OF THE DAY: (to make up for all the sad stuff in this post)

Here are my loves on Father's Day morning:
Jimmy got some new power tools, and the boys made him some adorable cards and gave him 2 t-shirts. One was an Iron Man shirt, which they thought was the coolest gift ever, and the other was a Duck Dynasty shirt that says, "Hap-pay Hap-pay Hap-pay".

Hugo, one of the teens from our church is here this morning working in the yard. He wanted a job to pay for a new cell phone. The boys think he is here JUST to entertain them! Here they are taking a mango break. LOVE mango season!

Saturday, June 15, 2013

More Student Houses At the Institute

Now that our house is livable Jimmy asked Lico (who built our house) to head up the construction at the institute while we save up again to work on something else at our house. Some skilled Kekchi workers from another part of Petén had been working there before we left for the States, but it is cheaper to hire Lico since he is close enough to home where we don't have to pay to feed him, so this works out well.

Please pray we find some good hard workers to help him. Some of the guys there this past week Jimmy let go because they were wasting time. Lico has been using wood from the land to set up the frame for more students houses. 
 We have a work team coming on Thursday to nail up the walls. We think they will be able to finish 3+ houses! Marcos, a Kekchi man from our church, is also prepping the roofs. There are 15 men committed to coming from one of the Kekchi churches to put on the thatched roofs. 
We will have 14 student houses left to finish before the end of the year! 2 of those are already paid for. Please keep praying for the institute! Thank you!

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Inching Along

Well we made it back home. We flew back to the capital last Wednesday and spent 2 nights there to finish up some paperwork for our ID's now that we have our Visas. It is all a long process because none of the officials can agree on what paperwork you need. 

It was a long ride back to Petén. We were eager though! We picked up a booster seat in Guate and then gave one of the boys' seats to Eden. She is a big front facing carseat girl now!
She sleeps like this a lot in her carseat... cracks me up.
We had another flat tire on the way home. (We have new tires being shipped to us from Belize, so hopefully this is the last one.) It was on a straightaway thankfully, but unfortunately it was pouring down rain. Jimmy drove the last 3+ hours soaking wet. Yuck! I forgot, so when I went to pick up some groceries the next day, I walked around with the back of me wet! 
 Wow, it is overwhelming to be away from home for 10 weeks, to come back to a house that wasn't exactly sealed, and also to be in the middle of a move and finishing a house during all of it. I am really worried about how my boys are processing all of this. They kept telling me that they wanted to come back home, but I think they were a little surprised at how unlike home our new house felt when they got here. There just hasn't been enough moments in it yet for it to feel like home. We were only in it 8 days before we left for furlough. 

Thankfully Juan had checked on the house a couple times for us. He ran off 6 rats one day and lost a 7th one, that Lucha later killed. (It is about time that one of our dogs killed a rat, it's not like that haven't had plenty of opportunities.) So there were NO live rats when we got home. I prayed for that and was extremely grateful!
There was 7 rats worth of poo in my pantry, but at least it's over now! My pantry is clean and I am not waiting to hear a rat trap go off or looking forward to waking up to the smell of dead rat. Juan saw where they were coming in at and sealed the hole. We just weren't finished with the doors and windows yet. This is the third attempt on some of them. They are just not being done right. No one around here uses bug screen or rat screen, so they don't know how to install it... one gap and it is all worthless! We really need to learn how to weld.

We do however have something living with us. There was a gap at the peak of our roof. There is part of our house still not finished yet, it probably won't be for a while since we are paying as we go. There are bars and screen up dividing that attic space. Those silly temporary bars were built better than the first version of my permanent windows, but that's another blog post. This is a picture of our attic space which we can see since Jimmy hasn't put all of our false ceiling up. You can see a gap in the concrete up in the top left corner.
Well some birds found it and built a nest on top of the wall in between our headboard and our bathroom. Before we plugged the hole Jimmy took a ladder into our bedroom and checked to make sure there were no eggs in the nest. (I asked him to do that.) Great! It was empty. But then I noticed a bird hopping around on our back porch all morning long with a worm in it's mouth. It looked really stressed. Do birds take worms back to their nest to eat them? Ugg! I walked into our bedroom, turned the ceiling fan off and listened. Sure enough there were very hungry baby birds chirping their little heads off. THIRD generation forever house birds. So now what do you do? I opened part of the temporary screen on our back porch.
It makes me so mad, but I don't want to be responsible for the little baby birds. See that dumb bird sitting on the screen. This has been going on for a week. She flies all over the house too picking up bugs and leaving droppings everywhere. 

I was sitting at breakfast watching that mama bird fly in and out over and over again. I said, "That stupid bird is pooping all over my house." Silas said that I get the pig because I talked about "poop" at the table! Unfortunately he also picked up on another word I had said because later when we went to the grocery store we all got separated and Silas said to Jimmy, "Where's, Mama?! Where is that stupid, Mama!" Oops. He later told us, "I never say that word again, ok?!"

Seriously how many weeks do baby birds stay in a nest. They are loud now. I can hear them over the ceiling fan at night.

So pretty much everything other than brick laying was done wrong in our house if Jimmy didn't do it himself. There is just not enough time to do every single thing yourself and besides that he thought hiring a plumber or electrician to do some things would be better because they know more about it. I'm not sure what the deal is. I don't know if they just have poor products here to work with or they just simply made mistakes, but nearly every single thing has been done wrong. All the drains in the floor were poured at the lowest point, but then when they put the actually drain cap in, they cemented it in higher then the rest of the floor. I trip over the completely dry drains! All of my sinks leak. My dishwasher was not hooked up right. 
Little by little Jimmy is going around redoing everything. There just has been A LOT of water in our house this past week. 

Rainy season started while we were gone and there have been some really bad storms. 
They shredded the boys' roof on their swing set. We have to make some adjustments still, but we are learning which way the wind usually blows when it rains. There are certain windows in our house that let a lot of water in. So there is lots of mildew right now. 
 Both of my couches look like this:
 The boys room actually flooded. Juan was kind and put a tarp over their window. Eventually we will have a front porch that will block the rain from that one, but it did do some damage. Here are some of the toy baskets that were in their room:
I am going to cut off all the wicker and save the metal part to reweave. Lots of their toys looked like this:
Jonah and Silas are really good at taking care of their toys and putting them back where they belong. We have been working at it since the beginning. So their messy room was killing me. Plus everything they touched got them dirty. They had dirt tans just from walking around inside our house the first couple days. So there room was one of the first things I tackled. I have used LOTS of white vinegar over the last week!
In there room we only had one casualty, a book. Not bad for what it looked like when we got home. I flipped their toy shelf over so that it can dry a little better. I think it will be ok too. 

Whenever we get overwhelmed it has become a tradition to stop and take a cupcake break! 
 Jonah said that these were Captain America shields. I thought that was pretty creative!
Eden likes this tradition too!
So there are lots of other issues, like bugs getting into the wood counter in our half bath:

Can you see the hundreds of holes?! Anyway little by little we will get everything cleaned up and fixed right. I invested about 20 minutes in my little secret garden outside our bedroom the other day during a nap time.  
 There are still a couple of rogue flowers, but at least there is progress. It was really more for morale every time I look at it. 
We did have a great service Sunday night and then again Thursday night. I loved being with everyone again! Jimmy loved preaching again too and already has construction going on down at the institute. We are so thankful to be home... mildew and all.

Oh... and I hate birds! 

Notice anything different about this photo? 
It is a "drive on the opposite side of the road" street in the capital. I have no idea why. There are no signs, just arrows midway through. 
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