Friday, January 29, 2010

Finding Gold in Goo!

What a crazy few days I've had.... living in a foreign country can leave you wondering ," how long will this feel foreign " more times than not... it seems like every day you see one more thing that you didn't know was here, a new word (hopefully in correct context) , a new challenge ..often spiritually that leaves you feeling like you're looking from the outside in. It always amazes me how the Lord, who has clearly called us here to work with the people here in Guatemala, is so faithful to give us "gold" with the "goo". For example, last week precious friends were here with us ..that's the Gold ... the Goo being that I felt like I had the flu all the way up until the last day that they were here. Then, a nagging tooth ache led to 2 fillings yesterday that are suspicious as to whether they will need root cannal (S) done on them. That is GOO ... The Gold is that God provided a friend to drive me to the appointment , she waited for me despite her dislike for drilling and brought TONS of laughs to my really uncomfortable and HUGE mouth ! Then (yes , there is more~ smile) ...GOO....I had a reaction to the novacain (sp?) and felt like my heart was going to jump out of my chest ALL night long... TONS of anxious thoughts that were really messing with my head. The GOLD was that I was able to struggle with some areas of my life that clearly need attention and I have been SLEEPING through them long enough... today, they feel dealt with.....there's more... GOO, today I backed into a motorcycle that was parked behind my car..(LITERALLY) almost right behind my car at my neighbors house... he had a propane tank on his bike.. As soon as I tipped it ( ok ..backed into it) .. Grayson and I watched it fall over at a SNAILS pace...terrified of the propane tank i ran to the neighbors house... DON"T know the Spanish for ..hey ! I've just hit your bike and will the gas tank explode??? ... therefore, I drug him out and showed him the bike .... all of the sudden the whole  bike didn't work... he wanted to take it to the shop and get an "estimate"... he had several pieces duck taped on ..seriously.... The GOLD...Frantic , I ran and got Cooper who tinkered around on it for about 30 minutes. He got the oil leak to stop and the guy on his way for the price of a new helmet and front light... I was sooo grateful... here and in other countries where it is every man for himself... I probably would have ended up having to buy him a new bike... thankfully, Cooper threw out an amount of money to replace the items..the man took it... and rode off... I only have to work through knowing that he knows where I live now~ smile~ somehow, looking back on the last few days...I am certain that God holds me in his hands and that his work will be done... I am safe dispite the obstacles.If nothing else comes of this.. my neighbor who was there watching the whole thing knows that David and I will not run from our responsibilities. I hit him and I was able to pay him for the damages and Cooper probably has his bike running better than it did....I am trying to remember that God wants to reach people around me with me being me. Whatever comes my way... bringing glory and HONOR to my king... it'll always be one thing to profess Jesus and another thing to LIVE Jesus... in my opinion, the really beautiful stuff is when people can hear and see both. In perspective of that... it's all GOLD!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Making Friends

This is my sweet friend (in the pink) and her family. She also works with  Food for the Hungry. Her family lives in Nabaj and she took me by her family home. This photo is her mother (in green ), two sisters left and right and both of her nieces. The baby is hers.

This is her father. What an amazing man. He lost is left eye to cancer and literally has no eye and yet gardens. He grows the most beautiful flowers. I asked him which were his favorite and these are the ones he chose...beautiful huh? !

This is a wood burning stove. They only cook bread in this and only during certain times of the year. At Easter they share this stove with their community of people and women bake bread socially together as part of their Easter celebration. I'm in for this Easter and can't wait !

This is their family stove. Myself and two other people showed up at their home right when they were finishing cooking their meal. I was so humbled as this elderly couple gave the food that they had cooked for themselves to me and my friend. They were so proud to have guest. They sat us at the table and then stood at the wall themselves while we at. I don't know if you can tell but inside the pot is a black trash bag. Inside the bag is a corn meal with HUGE kidney type beans rolled into a "roll" type food. Under the trash bag is some water and it acts as a steaming pot. They also served us coffee that was so delicious it tasted like chocolate milk!!!! Divine !

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Part 2 ...after the break

Everyone managed to be held "captive" by the snacks and fellowship. We all gathered around to see the candle come out of the mold.

This is the lady who is taking on the leadership in this project. She was so very excited to be the one to pull the candle out of the mold.

Ta- dahhhh

I was so proud of Odellia who taught this class in Ixel after only learning herself the day before. She is amazing ! They were ALL so amazed that this "really " worked and that they could DO THIS Project !! I wish that you could all have been there... what a great moment for me. I've NEVER witnessed something so simple to me be so life changing for another. very humbling experience.

This is David on the right. He is an FH staff person in the field. This is his community of people that he works with everyday. At the end of the candle making class we drew names to see which two women would get to take the candles home with them. This is one of the women on the left who won a prize that day...personally, I think we all came away with something new and beautiful.

This is a group photo of everyone of the women (and their children) who participated in the candle making class.... aren't they LOVELY!!!!

Monday, January 11, 2010

How and Who Made the Candels ?... Part 1

Many of you have received candles made from the women in Rio Azul , Guatemala. This is our first project through Food for the Hungry in economic development this past year. David has worked very hard in getting together these beautiful candles to scent and bring joy to your homes BUT not near as much work as the women of Rio Azul  . This has been a great eye opening joy for us both as we ventured out to learn how to make candles ourselves and then taught this to other women and men in the Food for the Hungry community. Then they traveled to out skirt communities and taught this to women in Ixil. (E-shil) . I thought that you would enjoy a photographic journey of the presenting and creating of these candles as well as photos of the people and land where they are made.

Before teaching others how to make candles David and I headed into the kitchen to figure it our for ourselves.

Art in progress.....

Next, I ( Melinda ) traveled to an area Nebaj where I met with regional workers of Food for the Hungry and taught them how to make candles WITH a TRANSLATOR (on the left). These are all Guatemalans who have a heart for combatting poverty in these outer regions...especially with the children.

Everyone lined up to see how the color and fragrance was added. The very next day, 2 of these people would take this candle making class to the people in the village area and teach it all in Ixel (E- shil)

This is the woman who took this on and did a beautiful job. She taught this class with one other person who had attended the class the day before. She is dressed in traditional clothing that is worn everyday by the Rio Azul women. We also took this time to share about the Lord and his plans for people every where and the provision of talents that he has given and the fruitfulness that can come from knowing and serving the Lord as well as living out the talents he's given each of us.

the women and children could not believe that the candles smelled as good as they did. It was amazing to watch their faces light up as we dyed the wax red and added the fragrance. They each took turns smelling the candle and rubbing the wet fragrance on their hands and arms...

No child care for this class.... no age limit.

After setting the candle we knew that it would be a while before we could remove our finished product. So many of the women had doubts about whether the "stuff" would harden and smell... We knew that we needed to hold their attention or else we would loose them back out into the community so..... we ran out for snacks!!!
Part 2 coming.... check back in and see how the candles turned out and photos of this beautiful people group here in Guatemala that we are blessed to be serving.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Cuties !

These are two excited boys

Looking so big ! Ready for school .

Monday, January 4, 2010

Food For Fellowship

One of my favorite blogs to read is Bobbie and Jessie Gill. They are busy in another part of the world , raising a family, embracing a new culture, etc. Bobbie must be a wonderful cook. She often will post photos of meals they have shared with family and friends. Her food always LOOKS sooo beautiful. Anyway, we are here in our new country and it can be hard to find ways to get to know our neighbors. On Christmas eve night, while all of the fire works were going off, I met a precious girl who is my neighbor on another street. She is expecting twins which is VERY unusual here. I thought ..hmmmm... I love cookies and I can say that in Spanish (smile) so I decided to bake her some and carry them to her home. Well, several dozen cookies later she still has not gotten her cookies. Apparently, she and her husband are very busy and seldom home. However, I have never come back home with my cookies. There is always someone out in the neighborhood to say hello to and pass them off to . One of the neatest things was one night (late) carrying these cookies to her house find that she wasn't home... Grayson and I decided to carry them to our KOREAN neighbors. The cool thing was there was no way for them to know that our finances were tight that week( like everyone else right at Christmas) and when I gave her our cookies she wanted to give me a gift. She quickly ran inside and came back with potatoes.. a basket of them.... I was THRILLED !!!!! There I was giving her something sweet and of all things she came back with POTATOES...something that I can stretch and enjoy for SEVERAL meals ! Only the Lord... so, David has had a coffee ministry when we lived in Antigua and now , maybe I will start a cookie ministry !

These are the turtle cookies that I made many times over the holidays.
Take your favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe and make balls on wax paper. Stick a pecan in the top, sides and bottom of the ball of dough. Bake at 375 for aprx. 10 min. Wah - lah !

These are the wonderful potatoes that our neighbors so generously shared with us.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Happy New Years !

We were given a grill for Christmas from David's parents. Words cannot describe the joy in finding barbeque sauce, chicken, black beans, tortillas, grilled corn on the table.... divine ... Southern Food !!

I just thought the chicken was so beautiful ... weird ...I know.

For anyone who lives in Rome... we also got RESA'S SALSA for Christmas ... thank you Theresa !!!

We're a bit obsessive about her salsa too... had to post one more photo of it... she sent us 4 jars and we cleared them out in a weekend.

Then, there were fireworks... not small fireworks.... HUGE ones !

They were shot off right in our street... we were cracking up.. no fire code or department approval required... they were so loud that all of the car alarms were going off just from the jolt of the boom !

I really should have taken video so that you can appreciate the joyful caos that was going on at midnight until about 2 or 3 in the morning in our neighborhood. There were so many fireworks that it looked like a war scene... down this street are about 10 houses... can you find them?

They started off small at 6 am .. they were just firing the cracker 6pm... they fired off small street fireworks.. then at about 10 min till midnight the huge ones began.... FUN!!!  Wishing you all a wonderful 2010 as exciting as fireworks at midnight in Guatemala ! Peace .