Saturday, February 22, 2014

Some Steps to Becoming a Self Sustaining Institute

A couple of weeks ago a missionary friend, Jesse Eggman, brought a visiting missionary team to the institute. 
{Jesse is in yellow}
They bought 254 lime trees and spent the day planting them. 
Silas and Jonah helped too!
 That one day of investment will provide a $2540 a year profit for the institute once they start producing in 4 years. 

Jesse then brought over a visiting family who spent a day painting the trees with lime. This protects against pests, mainly leaf cutter ants. Those ants could consume these little saplings in under an hour. Here is one that was struggling a bit. 
 Most are doing really well. You can see one behind Jonah and Silas in this photo:
{My kids love the bags of water they sell here. Why is water in a bag so fun?!}
This was the field that Samuel and the students spent 3 days clearing and burning, but now it is full of trees!
Pastor Andy is here this week with another one of his sons, Joseph. When Jimmy showed them around the institute I took a couple of photos. 
It's a long hike to see all of the projects. 
 Jimmy leased out our copal trees to a family that harvests the sap. It is like frankincense. 
{The white stuff is the copal}
Several months ago M (a single guy from our church) helped Jimmy start the Guano project.
There are 1900 of them.
These are the leaves used for the thatched roofs. 
We have the only legally registered Guano farm in Petén… I thought that was funny! 
While the Guano project belongs to the institute as a whole, each individual student has their own tomato, bell pepper, and jalapeño plants. As soon as we get a better water source at the farm, we will have more agriculture projects. 
{Tomato plants in between the corn}
The corn in the photo above was ready to eat as corn on the cob the same week the students arrived and now the rest of it that has dried is being used to make cornmeal for tortillas. 

We finally bought a girlfriend for our male pig, Sparky. Jimmy also purchased another female pig that is already pregnant. Hopefully soon we will have lots of little piglets running around. 
Each student built 4 chicken tractors. 
{Chicken tractors in progress}
Two are for raising meat chickens and the other 2 are for hens laying eggs. 
{P & one of his finished tractors}
There are 150 laying hens currently at the institute. Profit from their eggs is currently covering the students' food costs and giving them about $5 a week spending money from each of their earnings. 
At the advice from a farmer from the last team, Jimmy purchased 2 goats for the institute. Samuel and the students are standing in front of the new goat pen. The goats will be raised for milk and meat. 
Atz'i, the farm's ferocious guard dog (a boxer that was made for this job!) has to be introduced to the goats so just in case one got out of their pen, she wouldn't eat them… she really wanted to at first. 
 Eden loved the goats!
 This coming week is finals week at the institute. Please pray for the students, that they will finish up the semester strong! 
The morale seems to be high. They are as excited about each project that gets added as we are. They are living the improvements, doing a lot of the work and reaping the benefits! We hope this will help them believe in these methods enough to employ them once they start their ministries, so that they will be able to support their families with little struggle. Please pray that God will continue to bless and protect the institute and all of the different projects! 

Monday, February 10, 2014

Heard Around the House #11

Jimmy was in the car with the boys taking them to get haircuts. He was planning on finishing a sermon podcast on the way there, but his headphones died. The boys knew he was a little frustrated (they had just taken his headphones apart and we spent a while looking for all the pieces).
Silas - "Dada, everything dies. Somethings die and then other things die, but everything dies."
Jonah - "Yeah, Dada, don't be mad."
Silas - "It's just a toy, Dada."
(Whenever they get all worked up over something I make them repeat things like "It's just a game." So we get a bit of our own medicine sometimes!)

Every time my boys get a haircut, they look more and more grown up… it makes me sad.
Mama - "You guys need to stop growing!"
Jonah - "I can't help it, you keep making us food!"
{Grocery shopping with these 3 is a circus!}
Jonah - "What's that bottle on the counter?"
Mama - "Floor wax."
Jonah, "No, in English!"
(Now when they don't understand what I'm saying they tell me to speak in English!)

Mama - "Do you want to be a camel for the Christmas play?"
Silas - "No, I want to be Batman."

We were in the capital and bought a box of Frosted Mini Wheats. We ate them as a bedtime snack in the hotel.
Silas - "Mama, this cereal helps me bop!"

Jimmy leads the worship time at church and I play the guitar, so our kids sit without us during that time. Silas left during the worship time one Sunday to go potty (even though he's not allowed to.) Jonah often gets really into the worship and didn't notice until later and started to panic. He came up to me during one of the songs.
Jonah - "Mama... Mama, I lost my brother, named Silas!"

The boys really wanted to decorate the Christmas tree, but we all agreed to wait for daddy to get home.
Silas - It is 14 o'clock! Daddy should be home now.
Mama - "Clocks only go up to 12, you know that."
Silas - "Well you need to fix them and put a 13 and 14 on them."

After Silas' whole jumping off of the chair situation we were having a conversation about Superman and how he is pretend and not real. We've have these conversations a lot.
Jonah - "Yeah, Silas, Superman is pretend, Iron Man is pretend, the Hulk is pretend."
Silas - "No! Superman is real!"
Mama - "What you see on tv isn't real."
Silas - "Is Bolt real?"
Mama - "No"
Silas - (very disgusted) "Well!... Am I real? Is that light real? Is the window real?"
{Eden loves showers so much she has a hard time waiting for us to help her}
After asking Jonah to apologize to his brother for snatching something from him I sent him to time out.
Jonah - "Sorry means no time out!"

We were playing a game where I sing the 12 disciples song and when I stop they can name the next disciple for a jelly bean. We had just started learning the song when...
Mommy - "Simon Peter,..."
Silas - (yells out in excitement) "Pan"
He didn't get a jelly bean.

Silas - "Mama, there is something under the couch that I am not allowed to touch. And it has eyes and a very long tail."
I stood way back when I bent over to look under that couch! Thankfully it was just a really big lizard… bigger than the normal ones that reside in our house.
{Silas, the great lizard hunter}
Here he is after he finally crawled our of our recliner. All the big lizards here run on their back 2 legs, so it's always fun to watch them get in a hurry! 
We asked the boys before Papa and Kiki got here at Christmas, who wanted to sit by Kiki and who wanted to sit by Papa at the table.
Jonah - "Ummm, I want to sit by Kiki, Papa is a little silly."
(Jonah takes eating very seriously!)

So from then on Silas says, "I'm silly like Papa", whenever we laugh at him.

On that theme, here are some pictures I never posted from my parents' visit back in December:
{Pollo Campero in the city}
{The little granddaughter Papa prayed for} 
{The coolest train track ever!} 
{Poor Eden is the only one in a carseat at this party}
On our last full day together in Petén we all went on a boat ride to a little zoo for poached animals.

Our favorite part was the monkeys!
Everyone shook their hands right away except for Silas. I think he was more milking the situation than actually being afraid of them, because before we left he made sure he didn't miss out on the opportunity. He's our little drama boy!

{Cookies with Kiki one last time!}
{Morning in the hotel in Guate}
{Riding the train at our favorite mall in the capital}
{And riding it ONE MORE TIME}
Wouldn't it be fun to be a twin!

Friday, February 7, 2014

The Water Saga

When we first purchased the institute farm there were plans to connect to the village next door's well (that the government dug for them.) The mayor at the time tried to charge us a connection fee of $6,300, that he would personally pocket and also half of the overall water bill of their village. Over a year ago one of our supporting churches gave money for us to dig our own well. We have contacted people all over Guatemala, even well digging "ministries", but all want to charge an unfair amount of money except for one company that is actually based in Petén. Yes, there are well digging "ministries" here in Guatemala where people in the States have donated all of their equipment and they charge missionaries and villagers alike obscene amounts of money to turn a profit for themselves. Yikes!

 Anyway, so this one company that is fair is getting all the business, so we are way down on the list. So far we have been waiting for over a year. They currently have several government contracts (and governments overpay) so that is clogging things up.  

So what are we doing for water in the meantime? God provided this huge water tank on loan for free from our missionary friend, Jesse. This is such a blessing to KBI. Before Jimmy was hauling water in a cistern in the back of his pickup from our house. This water tank holds about 5 times more than that cistern.   
On top of the students' needs, lots of water is needed at the farm for all the crops and livestock too. God takes good care of us!

There has been another recent turn of events in this water saga. The town next door… you know, the one that poaches our wood, threatens us with guns, beat our old guard, threatened to squat on our land and take it over (that's how they got the land they are on now, they stole it from the guy we bought our land from) and tried to burn the whole farm down (the new guard put the fire out). I'd say they're pretty friendly neighbors as a whole. They got the mayor of San Pancho to fix up the dirt road that leads to the farm and their village… by threatening to kill him and burn the police station down. That benefitted us. See they're team players! 
{Poachers from our favorite village actively stealing from our farm}
Well several families from there have started attending our church (I posted about that before.) Then we found out that the new elected mayor claims to be a Christian. He is applying to study at the institute. (He obviously is far from being approved, since Jimmy hardly knows anything about him yet, but it's still interesting.) Well this new mayor offered to hook the farm up to their well for free and just pay based on how many houses are connected, but pay twice as much per house. That would be about $4 a month per house instead of $2. This would help subsidize their town's cost, which would be an incentive to keep us connected. The pipes that need to be laid for this to happen could later work for the well once it is dug too if we are ever cut off, so that money wouldn't be wasted. So please pray as Jimmy seeks direction and sorts out this possibility. Everything here has to be as complicated as possible! 

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

The Brave 4!

Classes at the institute started a month ago. 
{Putting the course books together}
 There are 4 students that live at the farm and 1 commuter. This is the perfect number for this first group. God knew! The 4 that live on campus are all single. Here were their welcome buckets!
They were just what we were praying for as far as their calling, passion, work ethic, and eagerness to be prepared for ministry! Jimmy, Juan and the guys have formed a good strong bond with them I think. Jimmy is teaching 3 classes a week and Juan is teaching 1. Each class is 3 hours. Here was Jimmy leaving the first morning. I was so excited! I got him a new satchel since his backpack was stolen. He was ready for his first day of school… the most exciting first day of school yet! We were both giddy that morning.
Here are some photos of the inaugural service, Jan 7th. It was SO abnormally cold that morning!
Several of the guys from the board of directors traveled to be there as well as a representative from the Kekchi Baptist Pastor's Association. 
Everyone spoke and gave a challenge to the students. I saw several creases on the dress shirts, you know the kind that are on them when they come folded brand new. I think they were super excited about their first day of school too! 

Each student said a few words. 
{Student RX}
Student RX grew up in church and had taken most of the basic classes available to him in Sayaxche in order to prepare for the ministry. He played the keyboard in his church and helped with the youth. He is 24. He is very articulate, prepared, and confident.
{Student RI}
RI is a new Christian. He has been a believer since October! He is a fireball. He got baptized Monday morning and was on a bus monday afternoon to come to the institute! His sincerity in his worship of God is an encouragement to me. He is a mason and quit his job to come. He came from the most rural village. He is 21.
{Student H}
H is another church kid. He played the drums in his church and also helped with the youth. He is the youngest at 18 and has the highest grade so far in every class after a month! 
{Student P}
Student P is the most shy one. He is the most uncomfortable with his Spanish when he really doesn't need to be. He also worked with the youth in his church. He is the oldest at 26. In their first class presentations, he was the best at making a practical application. 

Afterwards we all prayed for them.
 Yoli, is the institute cook. Love her! She is a very hard worker. Please pray for her. I keep asking her how she is doing, I don't want her to feel overwhelmed. See this wonderful caldo she made for everyone!
{Yoli and all her hard work}
 Yoli even made us flour tortillas! Those were so good. I would eat them every day… if someone would make them for me! (I'm really slow at making tortillas.)
Please pray for these 5 guys: H, RX, P, RI, & A! (A is the commuter. He is an older man from our church. He has pastored in the past and has a heart for church planting.) It ended up being the perfect number because of all the initial costs and time to get their housing and agricultural projects set up and to teach them how to do them. There are several more men who want to start next semester in March. These will always be the brave 4 though!!! 
{Their student ID cards}
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