Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Promoting the Institute

Today we went to a large youth meeting in Sayaxché. This is an annual meeting among all the Kekchi Baptist churches that are part of the association. These churches are scattered over the SW part of Petén.

This was the meeting where Jimmy met R (one of the students) last year. Now he got to go with us this year to share about what the institute is all about. The students have been very excited about this meeting. I think they are proud to be identified with KBI.

So we all loaded up in the Nissan and drove the 45 minutes + unpredictable time waiting on the ferry, to Sayaxché. 
{Here the ferry was already leaving, but the ramp was still down, so they told us to hurry and get on as the boat is moving... it kind of scared me.}
We have formed a praise band with the students in our church, so we planned a couple songs to share. H plays the drums, R is learning the keyboard and sings with Jimmy, P plays the rhythm thingy, who knows what that is in English, and I play the guitar. 

 Here we are singing in the car making sure we remembered all the words!
Can you tell what the song is? H is playing the rhythm thingy in the video, not P. 

When we got there, the service was in a building under construction, on the 2nd floor.
And that was the stairs/ramp we used to get up there... with 3 kids. Jimmy, Silas, and Eden are like mountain goats, but Jonah and I, who struggle with regular stairs, really struggled getting up this rickety steep ramp... like I was basically panicked, crawling on my hands and knees in my long skirt for the last part trying to keep Jonah and me alive. It was embarrassing for everyone. 
{Still not P holding the rhythm thingy}
All cultures are the same, none of them have any cellphone etiquette. Here's a sign I saw on stage, "TURN OFF YOUR PHONE".
We had 10 minutes to present KBI. We sang a song, then Jimmy spoke a bit. In the middle of what he was saying, the power went out!
I think that was strategically to our advantage since everyone immediately got quiet when the sound system wasn't blaring anymore.
 We played one more song after that. They asked us to play more, but we wanted to respect the leadership's request for just 10 minutes. I think the whole thing went well.

Here are some more photos I took before we left.
{The kitchen for the conference}
 Everyone is always so nice to our kids. Eden has gotten pretty used to it. A little girl walked by and gave her this popsicle. I think Eden secretly speaks Kekchi, because she is constantly ending up with people's food.
At least she shares with her brothers.
H's dad was there. He brought the young people from their church. This was the first time we got to meet him. I know they are close. H is the only son. They were excited to see each other, but they were playing it cool in front of so many people. I thought it was cute!
 We were thankful for this opportunity to promote the institute to so many young people at one time. Please pray that more men will be called and that more will come to be trained at the institute.

I'm very saddened to say that two weeks ago KBI had to ask one of the students to leave the institute. Jimmy and Domingo determined based on the code of conduct and the requirements for pastors in I Timothy, that due to moral failure this student was no longer fit to hold the office of pastor. The institute is to help train, disciple, and equip men to be a pastor and sadly sometimes even to weed them out for the sake of the church.

I think while losing one wounded us all, it ended up making those who remain even stronger. Each student reaffirmed how serious their callings are to them and how they want to protect themselves. As the culture here even in churches is not to take moral failures like this very seriously, we are able to start raising the bar and setting a new standard for these young pastors that will hopefully influence the generations to come.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

The Flyover

Before I finish sharing about our furlough I wanted to share some more currents things. I think I will try to do shorter more frequent post so that all the things I want our family to remember when we look back in the years to come actually get on here, instead being of lost in my head while I'm waiting for free time to write a big post full of photos. 

Yesterday Jimmy went up with our missionary pilot friend Paul to take some aerial photos of the farm, where the pastor institute is located (KBI). 
{Paul with the students}
 It is 180 acres. These photos will be used for a couple things, the first being to map off zones for the students to work. Each student will have their own land to farm which for now includes: crops, turkeys, pigs, and chickens. All the fish ponds will be towards the front of the property. Projects that belong to the institute will also be mapped off, like the lime trees and palm plantation.  It was nice to get an overall view to understand which parts are still dense jungle and which are somewhat cleared off.
None of the students had ever flown before, so it was a pretty exciting day!
{H telling R to "ssshhh" because he didn't know everyone could hear him now that he had his headset on, haha!}
Here is the farm. I didn't sort through all the photos Jimmy took, so these are not the very best ones but you know... I'm not spending a hour or two on a post anymore!
The property starts from the horizontal road up and then you can see the village of Zapotal on the left side of the vertical road. The property extends all the way past to the brief clearing on the right. 

 Things to find for fun. (You know this teacher loves worksheets!)
  1. The current students fields where they farm on the left. There is a diagonal waterpipe going through all 3 field. 
  2. There are 8 student houses (one is kind of shaded by trees), 4 on either side of the main concrete building that houses the classrooms. The classroom building only has a roof on two rooms right now, the last two on the right.
  3. The main entrance is to the right of those classrooms with the roofs.
  4. There are 4 fish ponds in the bottom left corner, only 2 have water in them with fish right now.
  5. There is a clearing at the very bottom of that bottom left corner that is for the future church building where all the people from Zapotal can attend that currently ride the bus to our church in San Pancho, yay!
Did you find everything?! Well if you were here I would give you a happy face stamp!

The photo above is taken from the opposite direction, so that is the back half of the property. It is not a perfect square or rectangle, it is inside that v.

Since our house is close by, Jimmy texted us during our class and told us to come outside. 
We ran out into the back yard to wave at Dada! Eden was very upset that he didn't yell "Hi" back. 
Jimmy took a photo of our house too. We live on an undeveloped outskirt of town.
    We hear all the howler monkeys that live in that dense jungle on the left from our back porch. There is a chicken farm on the left along with other stuff growing in those fields. Becca owns the property to our right and the property behind our house is for sale, FYI! We are standing in our back yard, but you can't really see us. I'm the speck to the right of the kids' yellow roofed swing set. (That was for my dad, because I'm sure he will ask!)

    For the record, this post took less than one nap time. I'm liking this new plan!

    Saturday, November 8, 2014

    Furlough Pt. 1: Time With G and MaG

    Yes, that is our kid at the bottom of a Target buggy and NO, sadly they have not built a Target in Guatemala yet! We were in the States for 18 days this past month. We were invited to a conference in LA. Not often do missionaries get called and invited to a church, usually the missionary does the calling, so that was really nice. We want to take a month furlough every year and a half. This one was 18 days, but it fit nicely into the break at the institute without us missing to many things here, so we decided to go with it.
    {I think this photo is perfect. If you tell the boys to smile, these are their "go to" faces! It makes me laugh.}
    For us to fly home, it is only one flight because we drive 8 hours to the capital and then usually fly to Miami and drive up to Jacksonville. This time, we flew into Ft Lauderdale and Jimmy's parents flew there from KS and we spent the week together. They say they used their Marriott points for all of us to stay in a really nice resort for a week, but I know they sacrificed a lot to make all of this come together. It was a wonderful, truly relaxing week. It was healthy for our family to have that break and we made so many memories with MaG and G!  
    There was lots of swimming, sand, legos, and princess dresses!
    It also was Jonah and Silas' 5th birthday!
    So what do you do when twin mk's turn 5 while on furlough? You go to Lego Land of course!
    {There were lots of car games being played with MaG!}
    It was a long drive.
    Jimmy had told the boys months ago that a place like this existed. They thought that was super cool! Then when they found out their G and MaG were going to take them there, I think their brains almost exploded. 

    Jonah, Silas, G, and Jimmy went on a roller coaster first thing. Eden really wanted to go, but she was too short. After that roller coaster Jonah was a little more cautious about agreeing to go on rides! Silas likes crazy rides, but if they spin too much there will be vomit. Then there is Eden... the scarier the better! I think their faces below tell it all:
    Jonah looks like he is holding on for his life!

     The boys played a shooting game with Dada and MaG.
    Can you tell who won?
    They both got bears as a prize. They have joined the few treasures that stay on their pillow.  
     The boats were a hit!
     Well with everyone but E. It seemed like the hours in the park flew by, but I think it was the perfect amount of time for what they could handle in one day.
    Someone turned this ride into bumper boats!
    Out of all the exciting rides, I think possibly their favorite attraction was building race cars with everyone.  
    There were lots of neat tracks to try. 
    The last 30 minutes there was a mad dash to ride as many things as possible before the park closed. Everyone was the good kind of exhausted afterwards.
    Most of my pictures during that week are from Lego Land,
    maybe because all the rest of our moments were way too relaxing to mess up with photos.  
     Lots of memories were made. So thankful we all got to share that time together! And we are super thankful to G and MaG for coming all the way to FL and giving us such a wonderful week!
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