Monday, December 18, 2006
I am not sure how it feels to be here in the good old US of A. I mean I am glad to be here for the holidays, and I am SO enjoying my family and the very cold weather. I like the food and the ease of living (like microwave noodle dishes) as well as flushing my toilet paper.
I miss Spanish. I miss my friends there. I miss the mountains and the walks to the bread store and well...I miss Guatemala.
Really, I don't want to take any steps back in terms of our adjustment to the language and the culture. Everyone said that we would, and I really don't want to.
So, for the moment, I will enjoy where I am. I will enjoy my family and the fellowship and the Holiday season.
And then, I will enjoy going home after the holidays.
Please tell me where you are, and tell me why you enjoy it! I look forward to hearing about it!
Saturday, December 09, 2006
This post was written yesterday: Saturday
Ok, so we don't actually have a fort. It's more like a hideout, but I'm holding it down as best as I can.
Brandon and the Coreanos left yesterday morning to go to Comi to do some work with some sister churches and to have some meetings. Honestly, at first I didn't want to go because if I did, then either Marissa or Deacon would have to go with out a car seat (not room). I struggled and struggled with whether or not I should go. I asked the Lord for clear direction, I sought wise council...but still I struggled with the decision.
Well, the day before they had to leave, I woke up with this incredible sense of clarity! There was no way I could go, because we are leaving for the US on Monday, and that would only leave me Thursday (Brandon and I are both in school that day) and Sunday to get ready to leave the country. There just wasn't time for me to go. (Brandon ended up skipping school that afternoon and we went on a date - need to write about that soon - it was fantastic!)
Anyway, I am still no clearer about the car seat thing. A wise old man (wink) told me that car seats are a false sense of security. Do I trust in the car seat, or in my God to take care of His children? I struggle with this point...why isn't the car seat God's provision for safety, and it is foolish to not use one unless absolutely necessary? This wasn't a necessary trip. Anyway....I would love your thoughts on that. I am not sure if I am just lacking faith in this area or not.
That was really a side bar. I am here alone in the guest house (last night there was not another person here) and the power goes out. I had just put Deacon to bed and I was standing in the bathroom (PITCH BLACK) when I remembered my brilliant husband had put a candle and matches in there just in case. Yeah! I was saved. The power came on and off many times, and finally stayed off for a couple of hours until I went to bed.
Then, Deacon woke me up at 7 with throw up all over his sheets, his blankets, his stuffed toy, his hair and his pajamas. Le-sigh.
The only other person here was still asleep, and Deacon needed his sheet washed (I only have one) and a bath. Then...the power goes out again.
We're all O.K. now, and God provided the help I needed with Eloisa (the woman who owns the guest house)
Deacon is feeling better since the Advil took the fever away, the sheets are washed, Deacon got a bath, and Brandon is coming home tonight! Yeah! I even got a tad bit of laundry done! (and obviously time to blog)
These days keep me dependent. I would take them any time. For the moment, I am holding down the fort, thanking God that I have a husband who is alive and well and a part of our lives and who will be home soon.
P.S. For all of the single mom's out there, my heart goes out to you, I pray for you, and I am proud of you.
Monday, December 04, 2006
Why is it that I, being a redeemed child of the light, with the Living God dwelling in me, sin so often. And yet, I can be so critical of the unregenerate person living in darkness who sins?
All it takes is some time around judged people who are scared of you when you say you are a Christian to get you out of your "splinter in other person's eye" state of mind.
I was chatting with a girl at the language school who in all honesty didn't really look much like a girl (I had already made some judgments about her based on that). I was trying to get to know her because I am the "good missionary." She seemed closed off and timid around me. She had already heard that I was a missionary.
Then she asks why I am here, to which I tell her that I work with evangelical churches in the US and here in Guatemala, to which she says "so, tell me about your religion".
WHAT? HAS ANY PAGAN EVER ASKED YOU THAT QUESTION?? What a great question. That gave me an opportunity to tell her the entire gospel...not the legalistic get your life "good" to be acceptable to God crap of her past, but the true gospel of freedom and life and blessing in the fold of God.
She told me that evangelicals scared the F*** out of her (sorry for the language, that is what she said) because they are the ones who abuse her and protest her very existence. That is when her lesbian friend joined her and chimed in with a hearty agreement. My heart broke.
Their problem is NOT their attraction to other females. It isn't any promiscuity that they exhibit or the blatent sexual undertones to their daily lives.
Their problem is that they don't know Jesus the Savior and Redeemer. They don't know the freedom that they can have from themselves in a life of submission to Christ. Geez!
Well, I told them truth. The Spirit of God spoke to their hearts (and I don't say that lightly) and they opened up to me. They lost the fear of me when they knew that I wasn't there to bring condemnation, but good news.
They did not repent of their unbelief or their homosexuality, but they now know at least one evangelical Christian that is not protesting them, but loving them.
Grace at it's core is letting people be. Not being the world's personal Holy Spirit and letting God do the convicting and us the loving.
Sunday, December 03, 2006
Ok, there are two new blogs to read, so make sure to look at both. This first video is of my precious baby reading. Books are his toy of choice right now, and sometimes if he is playing by himself we will "catch" him with a book open, pointing to the pictures and blah-dah-ing. It is sooo cute!
I also wanted to tell you guys about our Thanksgiving here. It was really fun and really strange. It did make me feel a real sense of longing for my family and friends in the states. Like, we had to explain what cranberry sauce is for because they don't eat it!
It was fun though because we got to explain to a bunch of Guatemalans the reasons we celebrate Thanksgiving, and got to basically share the gospel with people over turkey and black beans.
It just really makes one appreciate things.
Ok, I shared the gospel of Jesus with two lesbians the other day and with one 45 year old bachelor non practicing catholic (in English). All in one day! I will write all about that (hopefully) tomorrow or the next day. That was very cool.
The second video is of the second largest market in Central America in a town called San Fransisco. That may have been the strangest thing I have ever seen. So many things made me so sad, like the this particular part of the market. They were selling live animals, and this may sound strange, but the animals just looked sad. Even my teacher who was with me said so.
Anyway, it was cool, and I rode a "chicken bus" which is basically a school bus with a BUNCH of people, some chickens (listen carefully in the video and you can hear them), and a pig on the roof.
The best part was that I didn't get car sick because God is good and spared me. It is the only explanation.
Saturday, November 25, 2006
This is Deacon and Marissa at the Guest House where we live. My mom said she wants an adult version. The kids love it! You can see that it is pretty cold here.
We have not officially started Sister Church work with our mission agency because we are in language training, but boy do we feel like missionaries. Most of the teachers at our language school are Catholics and may or may not be believers. There is a dutch girl who lives in the guest house as well, and she is a self proclaimed "non religious person". There are lost people all around us.
Brandon had the brilliant idea of reading the Bible with his Spanish teacher in order to practice Bible vocabulary words and such. They are going to read for 10 min. every day. I am going to steal his idea.
I feel like I never have before the burden to evangelize and serve in the name of Christ.
I find myself looking for ways to make life better and easier for the people I know here so that they will know more about the character of the True and Living God.
Why did it take me coming here to get that. What a shame that so much time was wasted in the states where I had neighbors who spoke the same language.
Please let that be an exhortation to you. Don't waste the time that you have in the spheres of influence that you are in.
This is not our home...it is easier to be a missionary on the mission field, but the reality is that we are all missionaries.
We love you.
Wednesday, November 22, 2006
It is strange to be in a place where they don't celebrate Thanksgiving. We sort of forgot that it was coming because there was no paper turkey's in the windows, no plastic pilgrim centerpieces or bags of colorful gourds in the store. (they have all kinds of gourds and melons in the market but not packaged for fall decorative purposes)
But, boy I am thankful. Really, really thankful.
I mean we are here in Guatemala in maybe the most beautiful country in the world and we have been provided with everything that we could need and most of what we could want. Like today, I had Deacon by myself while Brandon was in school. I was in my sock feet and was holding Deacon as I walked from one room to the other on tile floors. I slipped and fell pretty hard, but the way I was holding Deacon, he was perfectly OK. I mean, he fussed because it scared him, but it could have been a disaster, but the Lord was with me, and kept Deacon from harm. Will God always keep him from harm? Most likely no, but today He did, and I am thankful.
We are actually going to have a full fledged international Thanksgiving Dinner with the inhabitants and guests of the guest house where we live. I am cooking the turkey (for the first time in my life, so I will let you know how it turns out) and the dressing (if we can find the ingredients at the market here) and I am so excited. We will have dutch food as well as the obvious Guatemalan food.
It is a little surreal, but we can't wait. I know this is probably tradition in all of your homes, but since we are not with the rest of our family I would like to do it here...let us know what you are thankful for. I want to hear how God has provided for you!
Tuesday, November 21, 2006
Ok...it's been a while but I'm still here. Things are actually great! Language school is so fantastic. It is 5 hours of one on one language study and there is absolutely no English! I mean, I guess I can look up words in a dictionary that has English in it, but no speaking English. I am amazed at how little and how much I know. I am picking up the vocabulary pretty well, but I still can only talk in present tense with regular verbs. None of that future subjunctive cr*p, whatever that is.
Anyway I want to talk a bit about this amazing country. It is certainly a land of contrast! (see picture) Like...you can get free high-speed internet at the McDonald's, but you can't find pasturized milk!
The water is basically poison, but you can buy bleach at the Hiper (Wal-mart) a few miles away.
You can't flush the scented toilet paper, but at least it smells pretty (the TP that is.)
A bag of chips is like 7 cents, but pepto costs a fortune!
at 9 a.m. you need a sweatshirt and hat, at 1 p.m. you are sweating in a t-shirt, and at 4 pm you need your winter hat again.
You can get prescription drugs at the pharmacy with out a prescription but you can't buy baking soda or corn meal at the grocery store. (no sage that I can find, either...and I need it for Thanksgiving dinner!)
We bathe deacon in bottled water so that he won't die from parasites (possibly an overstatement, but maybe not)
He-He... All that to say, every day is an adventure. We like it here. We are making it our home. Deacon is making friends "Que LINDO!" (literally "it's nice" but it loses something in the translation because it means..."he is so cute!")
Tuesday, November 07, 2006
We went for a walk today around Comi. This is a Mayan town. The signs around town read in both Spanish and Mam. (TXAQ TE K'OK' SBI'L: "spices" in Mam)
It was only a 20 minute walk, but it was so cool to see this world in such a different way. I have walked through Parker Square and looked in windows and walked around the block where we lived in Flower Mound, and never really noticed what I was looking at.
It is easier to notice when you are a foreigner. Here, everyone stares at us and some smile expectantly and some shrink back timidly and some beg you with their eyes.
We watched a soccer game and bought a bag of cheese puffs for cinquenta centavos (like $0.07 US) and tried not to get lost.
I can't help but wonder if we will always get those looks. Maybe someday these people with know us and love us and share their lives with us. I hope so.
But at the same time, I don't think I ever want to stop noticing.
Seriously...go to www.skype.com and download skype! We can talk or video phone for free! Then send us your skype name.
Monday, November 06, 2006
I have blogged some now about our trip and the events that we have encountered. I wanted to write a bit about what is going on in my heart.
I am more conflicted now than I have ever been. I get these glimpses of the beauty and need of this country and I desire to stay and work and love and give. And then there are the times that I just feel alone, and out of place, and sort of like a baby sister that gets taken around because the parents say it must be so.
My pride is swollen and injured here where I can't do really anything for myself and am at the mercy of everyone else. I know exactly what the problem is. I am self centered and self indulgent and prideful. I don't want to need others. Boy, am I the picture of the holy missionary or what?
Now to the good news.
I know that the Lord brought our little family here for His purpose. I expected this to be difficult, but I have been surprised in that I wasn't expecting it to be difficult in the areas that it has been.
Spiritually I find myself struggling to stay dependent. Is that happening in your life in the states? (I almost said your life at home, but that isn't home anymore...this is)
We are here for the long hall, and I am excited about that as well as aprehensive, and I know that I have barely scratched the surface. Praise God for the Coreanos that they are here to be our friends and our helpers and His provision for us. Their difficulty has made it possible for us to avoid them. Please pray God's blessings on them as they have served us here in the past 6 months by paving the way.
Sunday, November 05, 2006
Well...all that to say that we are sitting here at the guest house in Xela boiling water for Deacon's bath and typing on our blog.
I forgot to take Dramamine until we were already on the road and so I started feeling very sick very soon. Apparently Deacon also gets car sick because He threw up about 15 minutes outside Guatemala City...all over his car seat...strawberry yogurt...so nasty.
After we got him and the car seat sort of cleaned up, (Thanks Chrissie and Enrique) we started back on the road. I started feeling more than puny. I was worried that I had a bug. I threw up in some town 1 1/2 hour outside of Xela. At least I didn't eat strawberry yogurt. The next 1 and one half hours were the longest that I can remember. Labor was shorter I think!
We decided not to drive the next two hours to Comi today, and will attempt it again in the morning. The rest of the team went on and Chrissie and Marissa (their one year old) stayed here with us.
The good news is that we got to see the apartment...you read that right...the apartment that we will be living in as soon as it is finished. Oh,my gosh, it is cool. More on that another day.
I actually started feeling much better once I was out of the vehicle for 30 minutes or so, and Deacon never got sick again, Praise Yahweh!
All is well. We are blessed to be here in this GORGEOUS town (we are right now sitting on a screened in porch in 55 degree weather drinking tea) and able to rest.
I am looking forward to making this our home. I love you and miss you.
Saturday, November 04, 2006
Sigh. I don't have the energy to retype the whole thing. Here's a summary
We had to pay for 2 extra bags that we shouldn't have had to pay for.
We got here safe.
We have eaten at a chili's, an Italian food restaurant, and McDonald's a few times, as well as one incredibly amazing steak placed "Hacienda Real" if you ever come. So yummy!
Deacon has the runs.
We leave for a little town called Comitancillo (or Comi) in the morning.
We will either have internet access there, or not until next Sunday.
I miss you desperately.
Deacon is sleeping through the night.
They don't have baby food here that isn't loaded with sugar.
We're tired and Deacon still doesn't nap.
We REALLY need to learn Spanish.
God is so good and I love Him more now, but please pray that I would live dependently on Him.
Can't wait to blog more. Please drop us a line (a blog comment that is or an e-mail) as we feel very isolated here.
Download Skype on your computers from Skype.com and send us your skype name and we will try to skype you!
We love you all so much.
Monday, October 23, 2006
Saturday, October 21, 2006
We leave a week from this next Monday. A WEEK!! This last week, Brandon got sick (sort of just really super tired and zapped of energy kind of sickness), Deacon got sick first with a fever (103.6 at it's peak) then with a monster diaper rash that made him cry when we changed his diaper, and then a cough and runny nose, my disabled dad broke his leg and was going to have to have surgery to fix it (meaning spending our last weekend in the country with my family with my parents living in the hospital and Deacon not able to visit because of his cold), the vehicle we are supposed to buy when we get to Guatemala won't be available until January at the earliest and therefore will be with out a car for the first 2 months of living there, and we had to pack up our entire life to move.
This is not a pitty party...keep reading.
Anyway, we were starting to wonder if it was possible for us to leave next Monday. Really, it was like everything was getting in the way of us going. You probably know that one of a woman's most needed aspects of life is security, and my security (what little I had with the idea of moving my life and my baby to Guatemala) was in question.
Is it possible that we really are under some kind of spiritual attack? Not 1 day later, Brandon was reading some of e-mail responses that we received to the news that we had a move date aloud to me, and we were set on fire with the encouragement to keep moving forward in faith. Forward in Faith. In the midst of turmoil and seeming disruption we must move forward in faith.
Then...we get to Lubbock (where my father is in the hospital) and it turns out that the surgeons don't think that he needs surgery and he gets to come home today and spend the weekend with our whole family together. PRAISE GOD! I mean, right when I am so frustrated that God is not making this easier for us (because you know that ultimately our convenience is of God's utmost concern...sigh) He answers the prayers of my family so my dad doesn't have to have an incredibly painful and dangerous surgery.
Not only am I humbled as I realize AGAIN that I am not the center of the universe but also at God the Sustainer that He would love me and that He would allow me to be a part of His plan for the ages in Guatemala. How privileged we are.
Update added Sunday:
We woke up this morning to my mom pounding on the bedroom door. We got up and my dad was mummbling some kind of gibberish "momahhnmomahhmomahh" over and over and over with out responding to anything we said.
Mom called 911 and they took my dad via ambulance back to the hospital. They have no idea what is wrong and they are going to admit him for observation. So it seems like we have taken a couple of steps back.
Is God still faithful? Does this new development change God or His plans? I know the answers.
Anybody have a clue why this is so difficult?
Friday, October 13, 2006
My baby won't nap.
He wakes up at 6am or so (he actually woke up at 4am to eat and then went back to sleep - I think - because I actually turned the baby monitor down) and he is still sleepy. He is grouchy and screamy, and he may be teething. Le sigh.
Boy, if I didn't get enough sleep and acted like he has been acting someone would slap me. Hopefully.
So, I will just have to endure what every other mother on the planet endures for an appointed time until he is back to his smiley, happy, laughing self.
Thursday, October 12, 2006
All that to say, I have been struggling through this question: What promises does God make that I can claim in expectation? Basically, what can I have faith in? Well, in answer to prayer, the Lord took me to Hebrews 11:1. At this point, if you want to follow along more specifically with my thinking, you might grab your Bible!
Heb. 11:1 "Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see."
This is really just a clarifying definition given in the context of the previous chapter. The motivation for continuing in the Christian walk is reward! The reward of receiving what he has promised in terms of eternity. The writer then gives you some examples in verses 3-12 (Abel, Noah, Abraham, etc).
Then, he gives clarification of the earlier definition in verses 13-16 where he says that these people died living by faith and that many of them did not even receive the things promised while still alive! What!! I mean, I have held onto the idea that I will receive...I don't know...I guess I just didn't think about living everyday by faith totally motivated by the realization of the promises of heavenly glorification, etc.
He then gives other examples of this faith in certain promises all the way through verse 35. Now some of these people did see promises fulfilled, but more did not. Actually, what they got on earth is "jeers, and flogging...chained and put in prison...stoned...sawed in two...put to death...destitue, persecuted and mistreated" (36-38)
Geez...so what is faith? What are the promises of God that I can claim in expectation? Well, ponder that and let me know what you think.
I do know this...Hebrews continues the discussion in Chapter 12 and tells me how to step out in faith as I seek these answers.
Too deep? Sorry!
Wednesday, October 11, 2006
I am learning more and more that submitting to Brandon is synonymous with submitting to the Lord. The question for me to answer is...do I really believe that God placed Brandon as authority in my life. If so, then why wouldn't I submit with joy and enthusiasm. Brandon has been historically easy to submit to, so up until recently this has been a purely theoretical discussion. Now that we are getting ready to go to Guatemala there are some procedural things that I want to get done. Here is the issue at hand: Brandon is a ruminator. He can be very proactive, but he is not impulsive or rash. I am often both of those things, so when I think something needs to be done, I want to just DO IT! If I go ahead and "just do" all the things that I feel need to get done, then I am robbing from Brandon the opportunity to lead our family through the process. Instead of being the helpmate, I am the driving force. I don't want to go to Guatemala that way. I want to be a helpmate.
Ok, as I struggle with what that looks like, I would love to know what you think. If any of you have any wisdom, please share it with me. Praise God for his faithfulness in giving me what I desperately need in a husband. Praise Him for teaching me how to submit to God's authority while I learn to submit to Brandon's.
I sort of feel like I am giving in. For some unknown reason I have avoided blogging for quite a while. I guess I wasn't sure anyone would want to read it if I did start one. Who the heck cares? :) I also sort of resent the shift from paper to monitor. In 50 years, this blog will be long forgotten, but my hand written notes (unless someone chunks it!) at least have the potential for still being around. Especially if I become some really important person like Secretary of State or something! Funny! Really, this morning as I was journaling in my antiquated leather journal with a writing instrument filled with ink called a pen (for those who haven't used one for some time), I decided that I wanted to share what God is teaching me. This way, if someone is interested they can read it and we can Praise God together and if they don't want to read it, they don't have to click on my little link! Anyway, not all posts will be deep in nature, at least I don't think they will. Please comment if you feel like it! All of you bloggers, give me your thoughts on why you blog. I am more than curious, and I may just need the encouragement!