Tuesday, February 24, 2015

And the Second Year Begins

Soon after Christmas we went to P's wedding. He is one of the first year students. I shared the story about him and his fiancee here,when he asked Jimmy to go and be a witness at his legal wedding. 

For Christians in Guatemala you have a legal wedding and then you usually have one in the church too. I could do a whole separate post about how much money culturally they are expected to spend and how difficult that makes it on many of these couples, so I will save my opinion for another time. 
P saved up for over a year for this church wedding. It was beautiful. He fed nearly everyone in the village a huge meal... even the gringitos that show up.
 We love his wife. He did good... real good. God blessed him with just what he needed! 
P's village was on the side of a mountain. I felt like we were repelling wherever we went but with no ropes. I kept thinking, why would anyone stay in a village that was this hard to get around in and then I remembered that some people in the States choose to live places where it snows, haha! Not everyone in the world gets to live in Florida!
N, his wife, has settled into the farm very well. She is a very diligent student and usually has the highest scores in the first year students classes. 
 We had two men come for this new semester in January, well 3 actually, but one was pretty young and so nervous about being away from home that he went home the next day. I tell you, it is hard to move several hours away from somewhere you have lived your whole life and trust a foreigner that you don't know that you won't starve. These guys in the photo below have a pioneering spirit and are trusting the God who called them. We have several more students arriving in March.

The other 2 men are doing great! One is a single student and the other is married with a son. His wife attends the classes too. 
I will share more of their stories later, but we are so thankful for these guys and their wives! They really seem to have a heart for serving God and a passion to reach more villages in Petén with the Gospel. Please pray for them! If you do not know the purpose of the pastor's institute you can find more about it here.

Like last year's new students they are all a little shy. We are enjoying getting to know them! We are a month and a half into it now and everyone has settled in nice.  Here are some photos from our inauguration dinner and also a cookout we had at our house to kick off the new school year:
{I love how Jonah has his turtle shell on!}

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Family Traditions #29: New Year's Eve 2014

Last year we spent New Years Eve in a hotel in Guate because we were dropping my parents off at the airport the next day. It would be awesome if we could make THAT a tradition! But this year, since it was just us, we picked up with the traditions we started 2 years before, only thing is, the kids were too young to remember them!

I decorated our back door like this while they were sleeping:
{The instagram filter isn't doing any favors for the stains on my couches;)}
Each hour starting at noon on New Years Eve there was a balloon to pop. 
 I don't think Jonah ever actually popped a balloon in this photo. He has always been kind of sensitive to loud noises. E would dramatically act like she was scared and then giggle afterwards, so Silas popped all the balloons for us.
 Once supper time hit, the party started!
It was a night of fondue. We had Teriyaki Beef, potatoes, and green onions. The kiddos think it is super cool to cook their own food. The potatoes take forever, so we decided to dump them in and cook them all at once. Once we spooned them out, it was easy for us to all cook the meat and onions on our own since they cook so fast.  
After supper we watched Davy Crockett. Then we had chocolate fondue. I forgot to buy strawberries, but it didn't matter because we used marshmallows instead and they were super yummy!!!
As you can tell in this video, it was the "Best Night Ever!" Haha!

Then we played some Old Maid. Eden loves getting the "Old Man" card as she calls it!
Then we watched the old Doctor Doolittle since we had just read the book. I had forgotten how long that movie was!

Then we worked on our little family new years book.
There are lots of ideas online for these, but these are the questions we decided on that we though would be fun to go back and read about each of us as we grow.

We keep them in a little burlap covered scrapbooking notebook. (Side note, I cannot imagine any hobby more stressful than scrapbooking, lol! I would be eternally behind, so the blog and this book are as close as I get.)

Both Jonah and Silas said that the thing they were most thankful for this year was that they are a Christian now! Jonah said his biggest goal was to be able to read a book all by himself and Silas said his biggest goal for next year was to drink pop, lol! Eden probably isn't ready for these questions yet. We asked her what she wanted to learn or get better at this coming year and she said, "at the doctor place". Of course, because that is where you go to "get better"! 

We were hungry again by the time we finished all these deep questions, so we ate more fondue! This time it was cheesy bacon fondue with homemade bread!
 I was a little worried that once it got real late, the kiddos would turn into whiny messes, but it never happened. Maybe because of all the sugar! Any other night of the week you can tell what time it is by the attitudes.
 Sometime between 11:50 and midnight, Eden fell sleep... so close!
We had a fun evening together as a family. I love the family God has blessed me with so much and am thankful for all the special memories God gives us together!

Monday, February 9, 2015

A Little Helpful Dose

This past month we went over 2 weeks without the city turning on the water to our neighborhood. The transformer blew up that runs the pump connected to the well for this area. The town normally turns the water on twice a day for a couple hours. Everyone around here uses an outdoor sink with a cistern in the center that probably holds about 15 gallons. They usually just leave the facet on all the time and if water overflows it isn't a big deal since it is outside, but that way they never miss an opportunity to fill up their cistern when the water comes on. (This cultural trait of always leaving faucets on has flooded things in our life more than once, haha!) If someone has a little more money they have an additional barrel that they keep full for incidences like this one!

Our neighborhood looked like the photo above for awhile. After about a week, the town started hiring a water truck to come around and fill up everyone's buckets about ever other day or so. People kept their front yards lined with every empty bucket they could find. The one above even put their wheel barrel out there.
 We have a spare cistern (110 gal), that is 1/6 of the size of the one attached to our house. In our world a spare cistern gets used a lot! Plus we had a 55 gal barrel. The first week Jimmy was driving to a well and filling up this spare cistern in the back of his truck when we would run low. Just to put it in perspective, the average family of 4 in the States uses almost 400 gallons of water a day. Jimmy was sharing this water with our neighbors too because they don't have pickups to go get water, let alone a large cistern to put it in. Are you seeing how hard it is to complain in this country?! Once you leave your gate, you look around and can't really say anything. Even silent I feel kind of like a spoiled brat for getting frustrated. Petén is like an instant cure for the grumbles, just go outside and let reality slap you around a little bit.
{Jimmy would pump the water from outside into our house cistern.}
So Jimmy was burning hours on this water situation, hours that he did not have because it was going on the same time as the new students were arriving and classes were starting. One Saturday he made several trips right in a row so that I could catch up on laundry. See... I am spoiled. 

The power company would have immediately been able to come and fix the problem, but the town was several months behind paying the power bill. Then to fix the problem they would have to purchase a new transformer plus wire. Once I heard that, I figured it would be months until we had water again. How were they going to get that money?

Then one day Jimmy got a call asking if he would help pay for the new transformer and wire. We have been paying our bill, but we didn't want to set a precedent that we would pay to fix problems, so Jimmy said "no". So then I REALLY thought this situation was hopeless.

And then the day after the phone call, SURPRISE the water came back on. I have no idea how, but I am SUPER thankful that we have water again. Each time I do laundry I remember just how thankful I am! Water makes me smile just looking at it coming out of the tap. 

Poor Silas. I had been on him about flushing the potty for that last several months and he was getting really good about it, until this water situation. Each time he would flush we would all yell, "NOOOO!" So here we go again, from scratch!
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