Friday, June 27, 2014

A Whole House Full!

We are really excited about our discipleship group. Sometimes it's tough because you know all the things they are struggling with… more than you want to know maybe. Seeing God work in their lives though, makes me pay closer attention to my own. I want that to be a constant thing in my life too - growth. Nothing like a discipleship class or having your own kids that makes you constantly have to be honest about where you are at and where God wants to take you!
Another person in our discipleship class (2nd time this has happened Yay!), brought someone who needed Christ to church. The guard at the institute (who trusted Christ last year) called Jimmy one Sunday morning and said that there was a man in the village next door who really wanted to put his faith in Christ. The guard had been talking with him over the course of a couple weeks. (Very cool!) He wanted to know if he could bring him to our discipleship class. Well sure!

After class Jimmy went and visited the man's house. Jimmy wanted to council with him and see if he had any questions. The Holy Spirit had obviously been working in his heart. He wanted to put his faith in Christ and the only thing that was holding him back was that he wanted to make sure that everyone in his family wanted to as well. He didn't want to leave anyone behind. That is very Kekchi, to discuss something like this with your family for hours/days/weeks and then make the decision together. Well he and his wife, 3 daughters and 2 sons were ready to take that step of faith, putting their confidence in Christ for their eternity and beginning their new lives as children of God.
They are just the sweetest thing ever! They are smiling in the photo above because Jimmy told them to in Kekchi and they thought it was funny! The mother doesn't speak Spanish (which is pretty common in Kekchi villages), so P (one of the institute students) went with Jimmy to translate. A, the oldest daughter does speak Spanish and I just love her!
Domingo (white shirt) happened to be passing through town that night and came to our church service! He is a national missionary we work with very often to help plant churches in unreached villages. He is the president of the institute too. Jimmy presented the family to our church and then Domingo and several of the men prayed over them.

The village this family is from has no church. They ride the truck that brings the students to ours. That truck is packed usually, so very soon we will be sharing news of a new church plant for that village! So thankful for our God and how He does work in our lives! 

A couple Sundays back we found this when we arrived for our discipleship class that morning.
 That is our church building on the left. The whole street was blocked off and there were about a dozen large speakers behind that stack of tables. In Guatemala you take whatever number of speakers would suffice and then multiply that number by 10 and that's how many speakers you need.

 The neighbors across the street are very nice. Jimmy went to ask them what hours their party would be, just so we could make other plans for our evening service. The man said that the party would start at 1:00 and last for about 2 hours. He said, "We don't want to hinder anything the Lord is doing, so we will be done before your church service starts."

I know we are the crazy ones here. Have we learned nothing after 8 years. Did we really believe that a street party in Guatemala would last for 2 hours... seriously I am embarrassed.

Well when we got there at 6:00 that evening to set up for church, it wasn't even close to wrapping up. I'm surprised we couldn't hear the party from our house.
 It was pouring rain. Inside our building you couldn't hear what the person was shouting next to you. You don't know loud music until you come to Guatemala! Their party tent was tied to our gate. The party could not have been any closer. Well... we couldn't do anything but laugh.
We had to cancel church, there was no other place we could go to in the rain. But they did give us all cake as we were leaving. I love the sense of community here!

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Family Traditions #26: A Double Dose

My family spoils me good in May since it's my birthday month AND Mother's Day falls in there too. This year though, I felt extra spoiled all month long.

Mother's Day morning (Saturday here) I got to sleep in and then wake up to this:
Jonah bent down and looked right in my face and said with a big smile, "Mama, today is YOUR day, today is all about you!" Sweetie-pie!

Jimmy had been building the day up ahead of time and the boys were excited to participate. They helped Jimmy make waffles with pecans in them and then brought me breakfast in bed! 
They brought their little kiddy table to eat with me too! 

It's kind of a tradition for my kids to give me plants for Mother's Day. This year they did even more than that. This is a spot right in front of our front porch. We laid the stone path a month or two ago but hadn't landscaped yet, waiting for the rains to start. They fixed up our wheel barrow and moved some dirt to fill in a spot around our Fishtail tree and then we transplanted some mint!
 Mint makes a beautiful ground cover and since it spreads so fast and overtakes other things, this is a perfect spot for it. Plus it is a natural fly repellant (tried to type that without laughing... we have flies everywhere).
Our path is really beautiful, even more so before our dogs muddied it all up. Some opossums trashed our mini power washer, so until that's repaired it's keeping its green tinted charm. 

The kiddos went with Jimmy to the nursery to pick out their own flowers. Jonah said that he wanted to get me a red flower since he "looked around and I didn't have any red ones already." Red is Jonah's favorite color.
I love that Jonah and Silas both got me daisies, but different colored one. Twins, but different... kind of perfect! Silas said he wanted to find a yellow flower because "that is Mama's favorite color."
Eden picked out a purple lily which I planted next to our front gate. 

Guatemalan Mother's Day fell on a Saturday which is our Family Fun Day, so we had the whole day with no schedule. We played games together and just relaxed.
Jimmy made a delicious supper that evening. It was sausage stuffed vegetables from our garden.Yum!
And I didn't have to wash a single dish all day. Woot woot! 
The boys made me cards, which I'll keep forever! 
Closer to the end of the month was my birthday. Another day of no dishes!!! Jimmy made breakfast again too!
{Birthday morning. My 34th}
Jimmy got my Mom's Frozen Coconut Cake recipe and he and the kiddos whipped one up. (That is one ingredient I always pick up on furlough, sweetened coconut!)
 They had to substitute some of the other ingredients, but it still tasted just like my mom's!
The institute had a short break between semesters and Jimmy used 2 of those afternoons to build my present. The boys love being in the wood shop with Dada!
At the end of the second day there was a huge storm, so Jimmy didn't get to finish pollying everything yet. Eden was out in the shop with him and they both got stuck in the storm! 
 Here is my present! It is for our back porch! I love it! The backs of the chairs have a nice slant to them, so they are super comfy. It is hard wood, so the bugs won't eat it.
 It's perfect for watching the kids play in the backyard. I see many mornings in those chairs with some coffee... before the kids wake up!
My parents and Jimmy's parents always skype with us on our birthdays and send us cards and presents. Seriously, we are in our 30's and they still go out of their way to make us feel special from far away on our birthdays. It is SO sweet. My parents gave me money which I'm saving till our October furlough. Nice to know I have that set aside to pick up all kinds of things we can't find here. My Mother-in-law spent a lot of time putting together several really thoughtful bubble mailers full of all kinds of goodies she knew I would appreciate and enjoy and got them here on my birthday. It's not the things, but the way our parents intentionally stay connected in our lives and make us feel loved.

My family made me feel extra special this past month. I love them So much! Ordinary days with them are pretty fabulous too!

For some reason we keep having the same argument. How big is too big to just let the reptile roam free in the house? No one wants to take the time to catch them or chase them out.

Monday, June 2, 2014

When Will I Ever Use This?

The third semester of classes begin tomorrow! The four classes these 8 weeks are "Exodus through Deuteronomy", "Gospels", "Speech", and "Bees and Fish." Juan is teaching the first 2 and Jimmy is teaching the others. 

The first semester Jimmy chose the easiest classes for them as a kind of gentle warmup. They all got A's! Second semester was a different story. There wasn't a single A. Each semester gets progressively more challenging and there are more responsibilities placed upon them at the farm. 

We are learning a lot about exactly what all a seminary entails. There is a lot more into it than just teaching the material. There are tons of other jobs that just Jimmy and Juan are doing - groundskeeper, dorm supervisor, academic dean, disciplinary dean, nurse (haha), farmer, head of recruitment. Beyond that they are their pastors and mentors right now. The only other people helping are the cook and the guard. It gets tricky. They conquer a problem, just to have another come along! It's all well worth it though. We are grateful for this opportunity.
This last semester I got to teach Basic Math. It was an intro class to prepare them for other classes like Personal Finance.
We have a lot of resources for the classes we are teaching, but the things that would actually be practical for the students are very specific, so it takes a lot of editing through and hunting for supplemental resources to help make things meaningful and useful to them. 
As a math teacher in the States I always got the question, "When will I ever use this?" Now I realize just how vital that question is. Every student should ask that! The application should be taught with everything you learn. 
 They liked facts to memorize and reproduce, but it was completely separated from their everyday life. This was a challenge for me, how to get them to see the connection between the numbers on their paper and using it in everyday life. If they couldn't do that then this class was a waste.
We started with simple manipulatives like Skittles and Twizzlers (the Twizzlers I shared from our little imported stash!)
and eventually worked our way up to finding how many gallons of water our cistern holds just by measuring it ourselves.
We also divided land up and determined their profit based on what crop they planted. We also used fractions and mixed up fertilizer and pesticides. Math is everywhere!!! I love it!
{Their final exam}
These guys are super smart, but they were missing necessary pieces in their math education... and all of them were missing different pieces! I learned so much about where to start and how to present material to them. We covered things like place values, decimals, number lines, fractions, percentages, word problems, geometry, roman numerals, and basic algebra... in 8 weeks! They had to learn in 8 weeks what the rest of us have the opportunity to digest in the course of several years. They are superstars! I can't wait to teach this class again to the next group of students. Hopefully I will be a better teacher each time.
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