Monday, November 6, 2017

The Most Difficult Part

This time of year is the hardest for me in the area of faith. I feel like we have so much control over other things... things once students arrive and even a little bit once they graduate. Jimmy and I both like having control, it makes us feel safe. Let's say it's an area where we are growing! But the temporary confidence we have from feeling in-control is not as durable as the peace that comes because of faith. What is obvious that we have zero control over is bringing student to the institute. That is all 100% a work the Holy Spirit does in the hearts of the ones He has chosen to use to reach the rest of Petén. 
First day of the last semester of the year
 The existing students have done an excellent job sharing about the institute. A current Kekchi student's personal experience goes much further than a foreigner's word. They have done lots of live announcements in Petén and Alta Verapaz and then recorded radio announcements for stations that reach different places around both departments. 
Celebrating the cook's (who's also our friend;) birthday
 Our goal, which we feel we can handle well as teachers is 15 new students each year. Several men have called in and Jimmy has been able to talk to 13 men personally that have reserved their spot. 3 of them have families with kids. The semester starts in January and we have seen in the past as soon as someone says they are moving their entire family to go study at the farm they start being attacked. Anything the devil will do to discourage, bring doubt, or distract, he will do.
Celebrating October birthdays
 I wanted to share some of the conversations Jimmy has had with these future students:

One asked several times exactly what he would be learning at the institute. Jimmy said that after he finished he would know how to study the Bible for himself to be able to find the answers to any of his questions. He replied, "Good, because I don't understand the Bible and I want to be able to read a Bible verse and know what it means for myself."

Another said today after calling again to confirm, "I want you to know this isn't a decision my wife and I made today based on a radio announcement, it was born in our hearts 8 months ago to be a pastor."

God laughs at our radio announcements! We have no control. This isn't our institute. We didn't come up with it, it was God. We didn't provide for it or protect it... all God. It's His possession. Please pray for these 13 men, the 3 wives, 4 children (under age 4) and any others He is calling. We'll be here waiting!
Rodrigo sharing his testimony
Rodrigo, a first year student spoke for the first time in youth group 2 weeks ago. He shared his personal testimony. He said, "I was so glad when I came here and learned that Salvation is for everyone and that it's for forever."

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Our First Annual Singing Competition

One of the students at the institute took the initiative to plan a singing competition. It what such a great idea and turned out to be a lot of fun! 
It brought many people onto the property that I think would normally be too shy to come.
 This was an outreach of our youth group. Our heart is to build relationships with people, especially teens, who do not know Jesus Christ. 
Besides, the messages in the songs, they did such a good job sharing the truth of Jesus Christ before they would even start singing. I was so proud of their God given boldness and clarity!
There's my Momma! She was with us for this event!
Jimmy and I got to be some of the judges. It was very difficult! 
I was shocked by the poise and confidence that many of them had. It made the competition a very tight one!
Jimmy did a great job MC'ing and announcing the winners!
There was a finals round where the top 3 competed with new songs. Then we had trophies for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place!
 It was so well received that we have decided to make this an annual event for our youth group!
 It was a very memorable night!

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Our Ministry Overview Video

Last December/January a very talented couple from our home church in Wichita, KS came to Petén to put a ministry video together for us.
This was unexpected and such a beautiful gift! We are more than thrilled with how they told our story and what we believe God put in our hearts for the work here.
We were saving it to share with churches on our furlough back in March, but then I forgot to post it on here once we got back in April. So now it has its own page and you can watch it here if you would like!
We enjoyed having Jonah and Grace here and celebrating New Years with them! We had our traditional fondue/game night for New Years Eve, so they will forever be a part of our family memories. 

Saturday, August 12, 2017

My Favorite Things About Titus

The poor 4th kid gets no memories. I have so many moments recorded of Jonah and Silas and Eden's baby milestones. I think this is Titus' first since his birth story. 
I want to post about his first 15 months and all of my favorite things about this sweet little wonderful surprise God blessed us with!  

I love Titus' personality. He is very hard headed and knows exactly what he wants, yet extremely affectionate. I like the strong personality with the gentle side. When he was little he only wanted to be held, then he went through several months where he wouldn't let you hold him at all. Now, he wants to snuggle again and gives lots of kisses. I just adore it!
 Our homeschool year during his first year was VERY difficult. He was pretty horrible at homeschool, haha! 
He wants to use all the pencils and books the kiddos do, but in a dangerously destructive way. We hide all the colored pencils but somehow he finds them.
 Now he goes down for a nearly 3 hour nap right as we are starting which gives us the perfect amount of time to do school.

He has probably been the most difficult of all of our babies as far as sleeping or taking him anywhere (he doesn't just sit, he wants to RUN!), but since I'm guessing he is the last, I cherish all of our time together more, so it's alright.
Now he is super easy and really good at nap time. 

He started walking really well around his first birthday but this is a memorable moment from when he was just 8 months. He started trying to walk earlier than any of our other kiddos. 

It is a lot of fun having a 4th baby (really he is more like our 3rd) because you don't stress as much as you did with the first. I get to enjoy him more.
Jonah, Silas, and E had so many boundaries. Titus just gets to roam free in whatever part of the house we are in. Like most boys, he looks for the naughtiest most dangerous thing he can do in any situation!   

He loves the kitchen drawers. Several times a day he unloads the sippy cup drawer, all over the house!
 The beaters for my mixer are another favorite of his.
 I regularly have to hunt the house for them. My kitchen timer has been missing for 3 months. Usually we find things in other drawers but there are a couple items that we are waiting until he can talk to find, haha!
He really hasn't had very many booboos. This incident was probably the only big one but it was scary. He was just walking around the living room while I cooked supper and fell into the edge of the stump table. 
 We drove to Santa Elena for that one to make sure he was ok. (Actually a very nice missionary friend drove us, thank you Jim if you are reading this!) Titus healed up perfectly.
He is just now getting old enough to interact with the other little boys at church. It is super cute!
 He gets so much love. I really like that about this culture. No one in our church is afraid to just come and pick up your baby. With the twins that was hard for me, but now I really value that. Titus loves our church!
I'm an only child, so sibling interactions fascinate me.
 It has to be one of the best things ever to be born into a family of kids who celebrate every thing you do!

Morning hugs!
Titus thinks his siblings are hilarious!
He is very interested in helping daddy with things, but he is terrified of the hammer drill. He trembles. I have to pick him up and hold him before Jimmy turns it on.
His favorite little hideout spot is under the counter next to or inside the stools.
His favorite foods are fresh cooked beans (red beans, chick peas and lentils) and buttermilk biscuits! He thinks he needs a biscuit for each hand. We try to hide them from him for the beginning of the meal so he will eat some vegetables first. Once he sees the biscuits, he's done with everything else!

I think he looks more like Jimmy than any of the others. Here is one of Jimmy's baby photos:
I'm obviously Titus' favorite (haha!) but he is very much attached to Jimmy.
 I already knew Jimmy was a wonderful Daddy, but 4 kids take a lot of time to build a strong relationship with each!
 Our family regularly has large nerf wars. Titus started off watching from his high chair while eating a snack. Now I think he is ready to participate!
 Every morning when Jimmy leaves for class, Titus stands right here for his daddy to say goodbye one last time and then he watches him drive off.
Titus loved Lucha. She was so gentle with him. Now Titus loves dogs because of her. (He detests cats.) Our sweet Lucha died right after Titus' 1st birthday, she was 10.5 years old.
 Jimmy often plays football with Titus. He got a little one easy for him to grab for Christmas. He started throwing balls before he could walk and it remains one of his favorite things. 
That's why we picked that for his cake for his birthday.
 While we were squatting down there for the photo, he gave us a smooch without us asking.
He is the most affectionate child!
Somehow over the last year during our Peek a Boo games Titus started thinking that the point was to hold your hands over your ears, since that's where you hold them when you have a blanket in your hands to cover up your face... except he missed the blanket part. Still, even now, when he plays Peek a Boo with us he puts his hands over his ears and waits for us to say "Where's Titus?!" Unfortunately while Titus was eating his smash cake, Daddy yells, "Where's Titus?!" 
And we ended up with lots of cake in the ears!
 To celebrate his birthday we decided to have a little worship service with the students to thank God for all that He had done in Titus' life. We have not had a single breakthrough (tachycardia) since his first month of life. If you don't know, Titus has WPW syndrome and gets medicine to keep his heart rate down 6 times a day.
They don't sell pediatric doses here, but the heart hospital in the capital taught Jimmy how to mix it and adjust it to his weight. This keeps us from traveling to the capital once a month. That is a big praise in itself! God really protected Titus when he was born and before we knew that he had a heart condition. You can read that story here.
The fire was WAY too big at first. No one could get close enough to cook their hot dog, haha!
 We invited all of the students to a cookout. Afterwards we sang to God and shared testimonies of His faithfulness. It was beautiful! 
We are SO thankful to God for this Sweetheart of a blessing He chose to give to our family. He brightens every day!
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