Monday, June 29, 2009

Just for fun...what do you think?

Just for fun.... we have started to look for the house where we will live for several years (prayerfully so anyway. Contracts are pretty losely written in any foreign country I believe) Anyway, so for the fun of it and due to the enormous stress of it all I thought that I would throw out the question to you all and share some of the STRESS that this is causing me (sort of  kidding but mostely NOT) : 
house option 1 : huge house, needs LOTS of work , has a very small yard , a gate , no guard , no neighbors but a school on one side of it

house option 2: smaller house, very tidy and new, neighbors are close enough to sit on a VERY TINY balcony and share a meal with us without ever coming over to our house... we could just sit and pass food, N. American neighbors, guard

Wait you say... we need photos to help make such a decision.... I opted for no photos because that is a little of our life here. You see a home that you like after you've tracked down somebody that knows somebody so you could get in to see it and then you've found another somebody with a house and so on.... after two or three houses you get them all mixed up but there is no "agent " to get you back in , etc..... and so you're left with your mind all crazy because you have so many other things to consider other than the actual house... I could go on but for the fun of it  WHAT DO YOU THINK? ... opt 1 or 2

Sunday, June 21, 2009

This could have been sooo much worse ! ......

How many times as parents do we walk away from a situation gasping for air and thanking the Lord for his provision of mercy .... we declare outloud ... "oh Lord , this could have been so much worse ! Thank you for your mercy on my child and us as parents and our family??? To many to count (atleast in our case -smile) . I wanted to share with you a little boo boo that Eli received the other day when he fell from HIS BUNK BED (yes, these beds save space but are they REALLY worth it ?! ) . Friday after classes (when my brain is dead) I had put the little guys in their bed with toys and books for some "independent" time. I use this time to get my home work done, catch up with the older kids, get stuff ready for dinner ( which is a HUGE deal here - no complaints- just the way it goes) .... anyway, I heard Eli crying and remembered that he was in his room alone that day so WHY would he be crying ? ???? hmmm.... I went to check it out and when I got to his room he was back up on his bunk and so goes the following photos. We are grateful  for Gods' mercy that he has poured out on us while we are here. Our dependency on him is INFINETLY greater and we are seeing him be POWERFULLY clearer as he goes before us, over us , around us and behind us making way for himself to be used and clear in our lives. SO.... while we grieve that Eli has had to have this fall we are greatful for Gods protection and the testimony to share with others of Gods' faithfulness. Would God have still been faithful if he had chosen a different outcome for Eli. ABSOLUTELY ! ,So many times already we have thought through this fall of Eli's and the fact that we have no vehicle yet and no real means of hospital that we have found yet so a simple fall seems to have a greater sense of protection when you make it through with no major results. We are still in training to serve the people of Guatemala on a deeper relationship level. How can we have a heart to serve these people when we have not had to walk in the rain, have water splashed on you by vehicles/motorcycles on the way to school, shopping  from the market(NOT a super market), almost no language which equals illiteracy,Eli's fall from the bed with moments of hmm...what should we do right now(quickly)....the list could go on forever.... our training goes on forever and our opportunities to relate to the Guatemalan people will go on forever!  We are SO GRATEFUL ! How blessed is this life that God has chosen for us. On days when things go nuts and I can't tell the difference between a bannana and a much different funky fruit(photo for another day-smile) I still KNOW that we are so blessed to have THIS life with THESE people ! 
Praise be to God for his protection for Eli ! Praise be to God for his protection from the things that none of us ever see ! 
Love you all-

Friday, June 19, 2009

I am having trouble uploading photos today and so you just get a bunch of words-smile. I will definetly post some photos as soon as I can. While I'm on the subject of internet challenges in a foreign country, I wanted to say that I am SO SORRY that I am not sending out a newsletter yet. We are swamped with the challenges of full time (4 hours a day + aprox 1 -2 hours of homework), walking, walking,walking(smile), market, cooking, washing, washing, getting to know our people group by being out and about WHEW ! its TONS of transition. My newsletter list of emails has gotten all scrambled up and finding the 3 + hours that I need to work on it is not appearing as of yet but I am HOPEFUL that I will have it soon. We are finishing our two weeks of being here and everyday things seem easier and more "normal". Unfortunetly, there are just so time consuming as well. Anyway, PLEASE be patient with us and we will have a newsletter very soon ! 

Some neat things that have happened :
* I am starting to hear some of the language that I am learning in school being used on the streets. I know that sounds crazy but the Guatemalan people talk so fast that it is hard to catch really even one word ( people say that we talk fast in the south- whew- I don't know about that anymore) 
* I only cried to myself (in the school bathroom) twice this week because I just get exhauseted trying to hear and speak Spanish for 4 hours everyday. I even go to bed hearing my vocabulary list going on and on in my head. David woke up the other day and asked me if I kept hearing Spanish words all night so I must not be crazy. 
*Grayson and I were in a shop yesterday and I recognized the words Hallelujah being sung in a song. I asked the lady in VERY choppy Spanish first What is your name( atleast that was my intention) After she answered me Good I realized that I had asked her How are you (tooo funny ! ) Anyway, somehow by the Lords grace I was able to ask her if it was Christian music on the radio and she said yes. I asked her if she was a Christian and she said yes. Before I knew it there were 3 girls standing there wanting to hear/speak English. One of the girls said that she knew English because she had been adopted by North Americans when she was younger. She has now moved back to Guatemala and misses her family. I left the store so excited ! I feel like these girls are some young ladies that I can reach out to and encourage using my Spanish in a way that can really bring glory to the Lord. 

*some challenges that we have:
1) traveling around: Yesterday, Grayson, myself and the three little guys were walking to meet David after language class. It is about a 2 mile walk one way. We headed out and the weather was fine. Not long into our walk (but to far into it to turn and go home) the bottom fell out of the sky. YEP! All of us were drenched ! We never made it to David. We had gone about a mile and then turned to go home (still pouring down rain) . We reached the house and realized that the only two keys to the house were with David and Cooper. (That was not a being deal before the rain because we were meeting up with both of them ) There is no porch here. Not even on anyone elses house to get under so we turned and headed back towards town. All of my frustration was put into perspective though when we reached the road. There were men in business suits and briefcases, women on their husbands handlebars of bikes, children soaking wet(like mine) but ALL of this put together that this is their life... We will eventually have a car... they more than likely won't. So.... all of the sudden it was just okay to be walking in the pouring down rain soaked to the bone. We weren't alone..not physically or spiritually. God is with the weary, down trodden and soaked to the bone. Even on days that just seem to give us rain and more rain we can be sure of two things.... the sun WILL come out and God IS with us! 
Love to you all from Central American (during rain season-smile), 

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

This is the "outside" in the "inside" of our house. It is very peaceful out here at night. There are a lot of lights out there and it is a great place to just come in and sit after the CRAZINESS of LANGUAGE SCHOOL.
These photos do not do the McDonalds here any justice at all. This bench is in a garden that is groomed by an employee that wears pleated pants, a starched shirt and tie. Why? because GOOD jobs are VALUABLE here and this is considered a top notch job for sure! 
One of the many cozy areas at the McDonalds. It still cracks me up to think that I retreat to Mickey - D's to catch up on the day with David and the kids when they pick me up from language school. It is honestly SO peaceful and beautiful ! You'll just have to come and see it for yourself -smile
La casa . 
This is our home temporarily while we study our Espanol through the summer. This is a very peaceful place to retreat to as well after the craziness of the crowded streets . 

Antigua is surrounded by several volcanoes. This is the volcano Agua. Our van driver drove is to this lookout spot Sunday after church. I thought that you would enjoy seeing it because it looks out over all of Antigua. I love this picture and have dubbed it my "prayer pic" because it covers the people that God has sent us to for the days ahead. 

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

This is a tuk - tuk (took -took) that we used to get home from the market. It was VERY HOT on this day.The flowers that Sarah Joy has in her hand were a huge bundle (3 dozen roses) . We are able to buy these fresh on market days. They are VERY inexpensive and Sarah Joy's FAVORITE thing in the world ! (flowers and ice cream that is). 
A typical street scene. These women carry anything from food to babies in their bundles. 
Cooper, Darby(our van driver for church on Sundays) and Jacob at one of the many volcanoes that surround us here in Antigua.
Poverty and its effects always catch my breath. 

The umbrellas in this photo are little mini market booths set up to sell everything from local food items(we haven't tried anything yet...but you should smell the grilled corn - yummm! )to little trinket toys and newspapers. Market day on Saturdays are always exciting. This is the same day that we took our tuk tuk home. It has the feeling of being at a festival every Saturday. 

Friday, June 12, 2009

So sorry...still no photos !

We have gotten internet connection in our house which is sketchy at best as to when it wants to work but it is here and we are thankful ! I STILL have no photos to post and I am so sorry. Tonight David , Cooper, Jacob and Grayson went on a search to find something adventurous to do since we are without a car and have pretty much the same routine this week. So, they are all hiking a VOLCANO ! Yep, for 6$ a piece they have gone on a "guided" tour of one of the MANY volcanoes here. When we leave our home in the morning we use one of the volcanoes that is behind our house as a marker and way to find our way home. Anyway, Grayson has my camera. I couldn't send here that close to LAVA and her not get it on film. The little guys and I had a pretty calm afternoon opting for something fun but not THAT adventurous (yet). They played outside (but were inside) our house. I unpacked and sorted my SCRAPBOOK tub. It felt like Christmas. Amy and Cristin , thank you for all of the extra goodies ! I'm working on one of my albums tonight and can't wait ! It is so hot inside the house (no A/C ) this afternoon but tonight it will be awesome. 

Some funny things about our new culture :
*when shopping in the Piaz (Guatemalan Wal Mart) you MUST open your boxes and make sure that everything that you are paying for is in the box. Seriously, we bought chocolate squares. I got to the register and felt the box of the squares was missing... hard to be frustrated though. Three bars or four , I was thanking the Lord that I had found the chocolate to start with. Then, we had to purchase a dvd player for the TV and got it all of the way home and there was a dvd player but no CORD .... (who wants just a cord ? ...well, us now I guess- smile) . 
*motorcycles DO NOT stop or yield to people walking ! 
*cars DO NOT stop or yield to the motorcycles or the the people ! 
*BUSES will run over ANYTHING here - people, bikes, motorcycles, cars, dogs, (you get the picture ) .. They are HUGE and FAST ! The term "public transportation" should be used loosely) 
*McDonalds is a five star restaurant including a formal garden, coffee shop that puts the swankiest Star bucks to shame, and pergola with outdoor dining to classical spanish music.Quite the ambiance. 
*stray dogs and cats are no where to been seen here (hhmmm). 
* it is dark every night and all year long at aprox. 6:30 -7:00 and the sun comes up at about 4:30-4:45 and SO DOES ELI!!!!!!! (yuck). Since our house is open in the middle it is sort of like a glorified tent and you wake up to the sky. Beautiful but early ! 
* one wrong turn to the market can cost you a 4 1/2 mile walk(instead of 1  1/s or 2 miles) but WITH groceries and CHILDREN ! 

Things that we LOVE about our new culture:
*the people, the people , the people
*our new home
*the language
*God's amazing art work that surrounds us.
*our team members 
*the CONSTANT confirmation that God sends us to remind us WHY and by WHOM we are here ! 
*the weather (a constant 70-79 degrees all year -at least here in Antigua)

So, there is a lot of information but still no photos so I will go to work on that this weekend. We start language school on Monday which will bring us a whole new twist to doing things here. Should be interesting ! 

Love to you all from Central America,

Monday, June 8, 2009

First news from Guatemala

THANK YOU for your PRAYERS ! Our family has NEVER taken a flight with 32 pieces of luggage  and 3 1/2 hours of flight time ...(of course...who would be crazy enough to do that for fun -smile) and we KNEW that many people were praying because it was SOOOO smooth. Things were a bit crazy feeling trying to get that many pieces of luggage checked but we survived thanks to Stephanie (an old pro at that )  and both of our parents who watched little ones for us while we taped and weighted everything. Our field director met us at the airport when we landed and it took us two vehicles to get everything to our house.... no, I don't have photos of our house yet. But I will get those out quickly. The Lord has blessed us so much and our temporary housing is no exception. It is so unique. It is a square shape house with big wooden "castle" style doors in the front. It is attached to other houses on the sides. You go in the doors and instead of being inside the house you are standing in a courtyard that has the other rooms lining up around it. I will try to make a video and post it because it is a far cry from a southern style house - smile- Also, yesterday it poured rain ( this is the rain season for us) and because the middle of the house is open .....YES it rained in the center of our HOUSE ! I will also try to video tape that . 
* I am so tired from doing everyday things that take FOREVER to do, groceries.... Cooper and I took aprx 45 minutes to buy aprox 10 items and had to carry them back to our home on foot for about 1 1/2 miles. (whew) ... It was not a quick spin to Kroger or Walmart. But I wouldn't trade this for anything! I sat for a few minutes today and tried to think back to when the exact time was that God must have called me individually into this role and foreign country and I couldn't . There are so many things in my life personally that have given me the faith to do this amazing work ! I am humbled. David and I both feel like our entire marriage journey has been in preparation for this country. I have never felt so immediately at "home" and been so far from "home" all at the same time. Please forgive me for not emailing anyone individually yet. It is very difficult to get to the cafe and then due to safety and night curfew we must leave in a minute. (We are very safe where we are living but need to be aware just the same.) The children are doing well and there adjustments are coming at a different speed than David and I . We are encouraged that God is covering us in both protection and plan. We would gratefully and humbly ask that you continue to pray for us all. Especially our children. We are easily homesick and the reality that we are not on vacation is present but the truth of God's call is so much louder in our ears. We are in love with the notion of being here with the Lord and waiting on the difficulties to pass ... confident that God will bring great measures of peace and grace. 

Thank you to each person who is a part of our team. Even if you are simply reading this blog you are on our team. Thank you for your prayers and comments. I was so encouraged and my spirits lifted at reading them. 
Good night from Guatemala ! You are all dearly loved by us -

Saturday, June 6, 2009

We're off to Guatemala in the morning. We are still packing at a very late hour and will leave for the airport before dawn SO .... not much time for details but we WILL be blogging from Guatemala as soon as we can get a connection. 

Please pray for safe travel and for all 18 of our bags to make it with us.... Thank you very much ! 

'night !

*next post from Guatemala ! WHoo-hooo!