Sunday, May 31, 2015

One Part of My Life

Our ministry focus here has become the Kekchi Pastors Institute (KBI). We believe the is what will fulfill the goal God put into our hearts of reaching all of the unreached Kekchi villages in Petén with the Gospel. This provides a self sustaining church for each village with a trained pastor that can reach and disciple new Christ followers. Over the course of the 3 year pastors program that includes 60 classes I get to teach 6, so that isn't many but it helps out a little bit.
{My 6 classes}
More than anything else it keeps me connected to Jimmy. Without those 6 classes I would never get to know the students very well or be able to understand a lot of the things that go on at the farm. I wouldn't get to have any meaningful conversations with Jimmy about his goals, our be someone he bounces off ideas and solutions. I love sharing in this purpose that God has given him. God's timing is perfect as well. Once my kiddos start elementary school, I think I would be too overwhelmed with taking care of my family, communicating for our ministry, church stuff AND homeschool to be able to put together my curriculum for these classes. The way it is now I will have already taught all of my courses at least once and some twice before my kids enter elementary school. That is the most I would be able to handle. God knows! So the work load right now is the reason I haven't been sharing as much about our ministry here lately. Hopefully I will get my system down soon and free time will appear again!
{Even my highlighters have mold.}
The quality of the education the students get by coming to the institute is extremely important to us. We have gathered lots of materials and resources, but everything is chopped up, edited, sorted, supplemented and always re-translated into curriculum that will be the most practical and meaningful for them. It is a lot of work! I totally get why God had us live here 6 years before we ever started this phase. We have learned (and are still learning everyday) so much about their culture and the words they use for things. When we first got here, someone made the comment to Jimmy that "the Kekchi wouldn't be able to understand the deeper truths of the Bible like you and I can." Jimmy thought that was absurd. It was! The Bible curriculum Jimmy puts together starts extremely basic, but by the time they finish they have the tools to be able to study for themselves whatever topic they please, as deep as they want to go. Opportunity doesn't equal intelligence. That is what we have come for, to give them opportunity, the opportunity to get to know God for themselves and reach their own people for Christ!

Here are some photos from my Art of Teaching class, it lasts 2 semesters. It is taught in the context of teaching children, but the concepts can be applied to whatever age group. No one wants to hear truth presented in a boring, irrelevant way, even when they're old! 
{Jael & Sisera}
When they first came to the farm, they were all really nervous. There was little eye contact, lots of reading, and not much confidence. We covered things like learning styles, how the brain receives and remembers information, classroom management, attention spans and understanding your audience's culture and history. They are so different now. They have taken everything and have run with it, adding so much of their own creativity and passion. I'm writing ideas down all the time I get from them.
{Wise man & foolish man}
  At the end of he first semester the students had to prepare a presentation of the Gospel, that could be used in an unreached village or at the end of any lesson. We tried to cover different things people are searching for in life, like freedom from guilt, freedom from shame, fear of eternity, unconditional love, freedom from the fear of evil spirits, hope. It's easy to memorize a simple plan of Salvation that is meaningful to you, but the Gospel is so much larger than that, it covers all cultures and backgrounds. I loved all 3 of their presentations!

Henry got the highest grade, so he was invited to present the Gospel in an unreached village where the first year students have begun working.

I believe God honors preparation. Henry's presentation was very powerful!

The 3 main "P's" of my class were being Prepared, having Proof from the Bible and having one clear Purpose or objective. Thankfully they all neatly start with "P" in Spanish too. This was one of my object lessons on being prepared. I baked a chocolate cake and hid it under my desk until it was time. Unfortunately Atzi, our farm dog, found it during one of my other class activities when I wasn't paying attention.
 Naughty dog! She survived the chocolate, but deserved the stomachache. Anyway, I pulled the cake out and asked the students if they wanted some. They have had it before and all said yes! (Chocolate cake is always a nice surprise in the middle of a 3 hour class.) I told them I didn't plan a way for me to actually serve it to them. Then I stuck my fingers in the cake and plopped a fistful down on the table in front of each of them. They were shocked!! Especially after Jimmy's class on germs! Pedro yelled "germs"! Then they all started laughing. The point was I could have something wonderful to share with them (like truths from God's Word), but if I don't prepare a way to share it with them, it's wasted.
We did a lot of hands-on activities and covered different tools that may help illiterate learners. 
{Our Bible timeline}
We did a lot of artsy stuff to, just to get the ideas flowing. I don't want them to ever not attempt an idea they have. 

 We made larger things like a tomb.
 This tomb was made with supplies available to them for under $5.
 It would be a great tool for a sermon series or Bible study around Easter time. On their own they made this crown of thorns for one of their sermons.
{Easter Service}
 We made a tree too. We covered different theme ideas they could use to help reiterate truths and make Bible studies memorable. 
 One day I will finish adding the leaves. That part takes forever.
{Rigo telling the story of creation}
{Geronimo helped out and was Adam}
We covered review game ideas and how to move something from short term memory to long term and how to keep it there. 
We covered skits and dramas. They really liked that week. This was their first time ever doing a skit, it was for one of our youth meetings:
 I was a little worried they may not put the same effort into their lesson or sermons that they weren't receiving a grade for, but I have been thrilled to see the things we have learned taken even further.
There isn't anything more rewarding than seeing God's work multiplied. 

Saturday, May 16, 2015

My Baby Girl is 3

Eden's birthday was March 13th. We needed to go to the US Embassy in Guatemala City to renew the boys' passports. There is a 2 week break between every 8 weeks of classes at the pastor's institute and that goes year round. (If you are adding up 52 weeks, there is another week off for Easter and one week for Independence Day.) So, we have 2 weeks every 8 weeks if we need to run any errands outside of Petén. Eden's birthday was during a break, but it was while we were in Guatemala City.
{Our 7 hour drive to the capital}
Guatemala City can be a fun place to celebrate a birthday. We didn't get to invite any of her friends, but with all the fun activities, I don't think she minded... plus she's 3! 
One of our stops the first day we were there was at MonkiBu. It is a really neat place for imaginative play. While we were there I took lots of photos of the back of Eden's head!
And pictures of my boys... sorry E! She basically just played babies the whole time. She LOVES babies!
We got to go to several play places while we were in the city for a couple days. Our kids talk about Guatemala City kind of like it's the States, minus grand parents. It is a little vacation for us really. There are lots of errands and long lines, but all of those are sprinkled with special treats for all of us like this:
 ICEE is in the capital now! I have no personal discipline when it come to a cherry cola ICEE, so thankfully there are no slushy machines in Petén. And they didn't get some off brand, they got ICEE. You couldn't ask for more. My kids call it "cold pop". We were all celebrating like a bunch of foreign weirdos when we found this.
And then this:
Yeah, I'll wait at the mess of a US embassy for several hours with 3 kids and no electronic devices if you give me Papa Johns afterwards!
There are lots of little play places that the kids love to stop at too (Except Eden is still afraid of this ball pit.).

 On the actual day of Eden's birthday we went to Chuck E Cheese. The boys had heard about this place before and were really excited. Eden had no idea what was going on! 
 We were almost the only ones there the whole time. The workers were super nice. I think the air was broken though (or they didn't turn it on to save money... probably the latter). We were sweating like we were in Petén. It was like 85 degrees inside there, but I couldn't get the boys to take their hoodies off, because they only get to wear them in the capital where it is cold and they LOVE shirts with hats.
I picked up some party hats and horns. We had a nice little party just the 5 of us!
The boys had gone to the dollar store with Dada to pick out little gifts to give Eden for themselves. 
Silas picked out a Princess Sofia doll for her and Jonah got her a Hello Kitty purse. I'm shocked to say that they were a pretty good quality and are still intact.

Jimmy and I got her a puzzle and some baby doll accessories.
Just about the time Eden got the hang of playing the games she walked past this!  
Eden had a violent reaction when she saw this guy. She doesn't care for large fake animals... like the Chik-fil-a cow or Chuck E Cheese, haha!
This is her keeping an eye on that shady mouse. 

Chuck E Cheese did come out and sing happy birthday to her. It was a little tense at first, but she handled it pretty well. 
She enjoyed the piece of cake they brought out to her too.
{Sweaty red Jonah still with the hoodie on, lol!}
 Jonah and Silas were hoping to see Chuck E Cheese, so they were thrilled!
They also worked hard to help Eden relax. They were sweet big brothers. 
I think Eden really did have a wonderful time. She knew we were all celebrating her, so she felt special!
This was Eden at TGI Friday's that night. 

The night we got back from Guatemala City we skyped with MaG and G. It was really late. Eden was so tired and chatty, it was a perfect time to get our traditional birthday interview.
{Eating pizza and opening her presents from MaG &G}
Here is Eden dancing in one of her new dresses from MaG and G:
Birthday skype/interview pt.1:
Birthday Interview pt.2:
Birthday Interview pt. 3:
Eden still hadn't gotten a cake other than the one slice of cake from Chuck E Cheese, so we decided to have one last birthday hurrah with a cake! The kiddos love picking out their cakes and planning them. Eden basically just wanted something pink and purple and girly!
Everyone likes to taste tests!
I have learned from other years that you can't put fondant cakes in the fridge here because they sweat like crazy when you take them out and bleed everywhere. You also can't leave them on the counter because a rat will find its way to them and destroy destroy destroy. So, I always put them in my room overnight so Petén can't get me.
 Eden was really happy when she woke up!
We had a couple more presents from Eden's great grandparents and also my parents for her to open too... I know, it's the never ending birthday.
Our kiddos love skyping with their grandparents!
Kiki and Papa got her a pool set for her dollhouse. Eden's favorite part of it still is the umbrella!

Then we sang Happy Birthday over skype.
 I'm so thankful we get to share all these memories with our parents! Skype and ICEE's... we have an easy life.

Every time I look at E I just see God's love for our family. We really didn't think we could get pregnant again and then God said, "Here ya go, I'm giving you a delightful little surprise from Me." (Eden means delight.) There is no other way to explain it. I don't deserve such a gift, but God chose to bless us and I am so SO thankful He did. She is assertive, determined, always says "thank you", fearless, girly, and very mothering. I pray that as she grows up and learns more about God, she will allow Him to use all the character traits He gave her to bring glory to Him. Eden is a true delight!
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