Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Our Life Lately

It's starting to really warm up around here.  Last week was H-O-T!  We had a few days in a row where we reached 100 degrees.  So to combat the heat we decided to visit a nearby pool to cool off.  As you can see from the smiles below our boys were thrilled about that!!!
ready for a little splishing and splashing

ahhhh... what a refreshing afternoon we had!

We have begun working on some Easter crafts.  I recently took the hearts off of our tree from Valentine's and decided instead of taking the tree down, we would add eggs to it for Easter. On Sunday (the first of March) we started adding an egg a day with the name of someone that we would like to pray for.  We write their name on the egg and then pray for them throughout the day.  It's a great way to teach the boys to pray for others.

Ben painting some of the eggs

Here's our tree.  Ben chose our dear friend Reagan as our first person to pray for.  He loves "Mr. Ray".  We hope to fill it up over the next few weeks and pray for lots of precious people.

Cruz has two  projects to complete this week for school.  One of them is in his Habits and Hygiene class.  He has to make a poster and tell one thing that he does in the morning, afternoon, and night.  He said for his night activity that he likes to brush his teeth.  I am taking a photo of him doing his three things and we'll make a poster of it.  He'll have to give an oral presentation to his class about it at the end of the week.  His other project is also an oral presentation and is about urban communities. 

I've mentioned before that Cruz loves colored/ decorative socks.  He also loves to mix and match them.  Here are his feet after he got himself dressed this past Saturday morning.  When I asked him why he had on two different socks he said, "because I look cool like that".  He is all about looking cool these days. I am already having the "it's not about the outward appearance" talks with him.  Lord, help me. ha

Here's Ben helping David water the grass on Saturday morning.

The boys spent a lot of time that morning playing in their costumes (as you can tell by the way they are thrown all over the living room floor).  They love to dress up and pretend.

We spent some time mid-Saturday morning walking around downtown Chiquimula looking in several of the shops there.  It was a fun outing and the boys did well so before leaving we let them pick out an ice cream from one of the stores.  We sat out on the sidewalk and let them eat it.  They love ice cream!

and this was Ben's shirt by the time we returned to the car.  That would be grease that he got on his hands and decided to rub all over his clean shirt.  I struggle every single day to teach them to use napkins to clean their hands whether we are out and about or sitting around the table enjoying a meal.  They both always wipe their hands on their clothes.  It drives me nuts and is a habit I am trying to break. 

Saturday afternoon we went for another swim.

Then for supper we went out for some shrimp fried rice.  We love the Chinese restaurant in Chiquimula. 

We played a few rounds of Dominos on Saturday evening before the boys bedtime.  Cruz loves it.

Ben clowning around in his daddy's shoes. 

Once they were in bed we enjoyed watching back to back episodes of 48 Hours.  We love those type of shows and thanks to ustvnow.com we get to watch them.

Sunday morning David led Bible study in the village of Nearar.  We always pray over him before he leaves and then the boys like to watch him drive away and wave at him.
"bye Daddy"

Here they are riding their bikes on Sunday afternoon.

And we ended the weekend with some play time in the dirt pile and another ice cream treat.  What fun that is!

We have a pretty busy week going so far.  We'll be in the village of Lagunetas today, Tunuco Arriba on Wednesday, and Muyurco on Thursday.  Would you pray for traveling grace as we go up and down the mountain roads this week?  Pray for good visits and study times in the villages.   Have a great week everyone! 

Monday, March 2, 2015

March 2015 Newsletter

Greetings from Guatemala!  During the month of February we were able to start two new Bible studies.  The first one was in the village of Muyurco.  We had two studies there during February.  The first week we all met together and then the next time we met I taught the children and David taught the adults.  We have plans to return there every other Thursday afternoon for Bible study.  Our next scheduled time is this Thursday, March 5.  Would you pray for this new Bible study, for the people of Muyurco, and for us as we travel there and teach?

We began partnering with the Chorti Bible Translation team to do a Bible study in the village of Tunuco Arriba.  We have been given permission to teach a Bible class every Wednesday morning.  We have an hour with the K-5 and 1st graders and then an hour with the 2nd- 6th graders.  Since all of the children there speak and understand Chorti Mrs. Diana Lubeck is doing the teaching time in the Mayan language.  Our first class was last week and we'll continue again on this Wednesday morning.  Would you pray for this new opportunity to be a weekly presence in that village by sharing God's Word in the local school?  

Also during the month of February David held two Bible studies in the village of Nearar.   He teaches there on Sunday mornings.  We made two visits to the village of Lagunetas.  Our Bible study there has been put on hold because most of the males are away working.  We would really like to get it back going again so please pray for that to happen.  We made two visits to the village of Churischan and one visit to the village of Chanco.  

March looks to be much of the same with a minimum of eight Bible study times planned as of now.  We will be hosting a youth team from First Baptist Church Mount Pleasant, SC the end of the month.  They will be working in the village of Chanco.  Pray for us as we finalize plans for them and get ready to partner together to share the Gospel in that village.  I will be attending a week-long homeschool conference in Lima, Peru this month.  It will be a time for me to learn more about it and hopefully help me finalize my plans for beginning in the fall.  David would appreciate your prayers for him during my absence as he will be "holding down the fort" with the boys at home.  It will be a challenging week for him I am sure.  

Overall things are going great.  We are certain that is a result of your praying for us.  We cannot tell you enough just how important your prayers are and how much we appreciate them.  You keep praying, we'll keep serving, and together we'll see God do great things for His kingdom through it all. 

Friday, February 27, 2015

Hello 43

It's been a pretty fun week around our house.  I celebrated a birthday which meant I got some special treatment from my guys.  Sometimes it's not so bad being the only female in the house, ha.

I love to bake so on Tuesday morning while Cruz was at school and David was in the village I baked a cake for us to enjoy for my birthday.  A few weeks ago a friend had posted a recipe on facebook for an Old Fashioned Butter Cake with homemade Hershey's chocolate icing.  I thought it sounded yummy so I wrote the recipe down and made plans to bake it for my birthday cake.  It turned out pretty good.

my birthday cake
The candles are from Cruz's 3rd and 4th birthdays.  I love to reuse them for all of our birthdays.  I'll use that #3 again in April for Ben.  Oh my, is my baby really about to turn three!!!

That afternoon when the boys got up from their naps David took them shopping to pick me out a gift.  David and I do not normally buy each other gifts but Cruz insisted that I have a present to open.  I think from now on it will be our tradition to take the kids shopping and let them pick something out for us.  Regardless of gifts I always get flowers for every special occasion.  I love flowers!

I heard them drive up so I knew to grab my camera.  Here they are coming in the door with my flowers.  This year I got two bouquets- one from each boy.

I think they get just as excited as I do.

my little loves!

aren't they pretty!

my flowers and my birthday banner

these two make every day fun but especially my birthday

I cooked supper on Tuesday evening and afterwards we ate cake.  I knew Wednesday (my original birthday) would be busy so we started celebrating a little early.

me with my birthday cake

the boys singing "Happy Birthday" to me before helping me blow out my candles

My birthday morning got started early as in a 5:30 a.m. alarm going off.  We had a busy morning and had to get an early start.  I made banana pancakes for our breakfast.

My birthday breakfast on our Celebration Plate and my birthday gift waiting to be opened.

 opening my presents
(I didn't notice until I loaded these photos that I am wearing very similar shirts on both days.  I did change clothes y'all, ha)

my gifts

The boys always make us homemade cards for special occasions.  Here is Cruz's card to me for my birthday.  He wrote the letters but it made me laugh that he wrote his M's upside down and they look like W's.  HAPPY BIRTHDAY WAWA, ha. The green letters he said were his jokes.  I was supposed to laugh at them.

After eating and getting dressed we headed out for a morning adventure.  We had plans to pick up Mrs. Diana Lubeck in Camotan and then travel on to the village of Tunuco Arriba.   We were starting a new Bible class in the village school that day.  We have been given permission to have class there in the school every Wednesday morning.  

Our family on my birthday morning on our way to the village of Tunuco Arriba.  It's an hour and 40 minutes from our house to get there.  That's 30 minutes on pavement and an hour and ten minutes up the mountain road.

me and my boys after we arrived in the village

We have an hour long class with the K-5 and first graders and then an hour long class with the 2nd- 6th graders.  We had 24 in the first class and 27 in the second class. 

Since the children there all speak and understand Chorti Mrs. Diana is doing the teaching in the Mayan language.  Here she is sharing the Bible story with the kids.

They did a song, story, and memory verse.  Afterwards they got a coloring sheet to color.   Mrs. Diana is putting their sheets into a folder and will make a booklet for them the receive at the end of the school year.

some of the 2nd- 6th graders

The first day went very well.   We had a fun time and look forward to getting to return each week and teach again.

When we returned to the Lubeck's house they asked us to get out for a minute.  She surprised me with a birthday cake and we took some time to eat and fellowship together.

Me and Mrs. Diana on my birthday.  She is a precious lady and I am thankful to call her my friend.  I also love that I am getting to work alongside her with this Bible study..  God has always been faithful to place others in our path while on the mission field to help us along the way.   I had Miss Fran Eachus and Mrs. Jane Parker when we worked with the Kekchi and now Mrs. Diana has been my helpmate since moving to this area.  She's a gem (they all are)! 

 my birthday cake from the Lubeck's

 Here's Mr. John showing the boys around his work shop.  They were fascinated with all of his tools.

We returned home for a little time to catch our breath before heading out again.  For our late afternoon/ evening entertainment we headed out to the bowling alley for some family fun.  We love bowling and it's a fun thing to do on special occasions.

Here's my boys singing "Happy Birthday" to me in the car on the way to the bowling alley.  It's a tradition to video them singing to me on my birthday.  These will be precious to me in the years to come.

me and my boys ready to bowl

We had fun!  And, I beat David.  We are very competitive with each other so anytime I can beat him at something it is a good day, ha.

We let the boys play a few games before leaving which included mine and Cruz's favorite- air hockey.

We enjoyed some pizza and cheese fries for our supper before returning home.  While driving back home I saw this gorgeous sunset in the distance. 
What a beautiful way to end my day!!!

The boys were in bed asleep before 8:00 and we were not far behind them.  It had been a long day for all of us but was one that I enjoyed thoroughly!  Birthdays are my favorite days of the year.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Intermissions Conference Weekend 2015

We took a little road trip over the weekend to attend the annual Intermissions Conference that is held in Panajachel, Guatemala.  It is a conference for all English speaking full time missionaries serving in Guatemala.  It's not just IMB folks but missionaries from all organizations who serve here.  It begins on Friday evening and ends after lunch on Sunday.  During our time there we get to attend worship services in English led by a volunteer team from the States.  We attend breakout sessions on various topics related to mission work and family life.  There is a servant team that comes down and does things for us like haircuts, foot massages, counseling, family portraits, and eye exams.  I was thrilled to get a much needed trim on my hair!  We had coffee breaks and free time to mingle with the other families and learn about what others are doing around the country.  It was a fun relaxing weekend and we loved getting to be a part of it.

We had traveled into Guatemala City on Thursday afternoon and stayed the night at our  mission house.  The boys have been sleeping much better lately (and by better I mean they have slept until at least 6:30 regularly).  BUT, on Friday morning when we had no reason whatsoever to be up early, they were up at 5:10 a.m. and 5:40 a.m.  It always makes for a long trip when we start off tired.  We decided to put them a movie on to watch in the bed and it allowed us a few more minutes to just lay in bed but there was no hope of going back to sleep.

Here they are watching Madagascar in the bed.  Don't let those closed eyes fool you.  They were trying to be funny.  Believe me they were WIDE awake and eager to get the day started.

We got up, got dressed, and headed out for breakfast.  We drove to IHOP and had a delicious meal.  And, while the boys played on the playland we sat back and drank coffee- lots and lots of coffee, ha.

We had some running around to do in the Capital that morning which included picking up some curtains for our house.  I now have curtains in every room and I am very happy about that. 

We then headed out to finish our drive to Panajachel.  It didn't take long before I looked back and saw both boys sound asleep. That has got to be the most peaceful sight ever.

We stopped along the way for lunch at a rustic little place called Rincon Suiza.  We had a good meal and met a few others that were also headed to the conference.
our lunch stop on the way to Panajachel

We had made a mental note to stop there on our last trip to Panajachel to celebrate Thanksgiving back in November.   We noticed their large playground area and thought it would be a fun place for the boys to stretch their legs.  They had fun playing both before and after our meal. 

David and Cruz waiting on our food

Our boys LOVE gumballs!!!  The restaurant had a gumball machine by the door so we promised them if they ate well we would get them one.  They were tickled when it came time to put their coins in the machine.

After checking into the conference hotel and unloading our bags the first thing we did was grab some coffee and head to the book fair.  Each year everyone is asked to bring extra books and materials to give away to someone who might need or want them.  We always look forward to picking up a few new things.  I got the boys several kid books in English and David found lots of Spanish materials.

David with an armload of new books for us to enjoy.

Afterwards the kids enjoyed playing on the hotel playground until supper time.

This was the beautiful sunrise view we saw from our hotel room balcony on Saturday morning.  Isn't it gorgeous!

I took this photo of our boys on the balcony before we headed out to breakfast.  I love those sweet smiles!

This was our boys at the conference back in February 2013 (we missed last year because we were in the States).  They've grown just a bit don't you think?  

All of our meals were served buffet style.  Here we are eating breakfast on Saturday morning in the hotel dining room.  Notice how apart from the waitstaff we are just about the only other ones in there.  Yes, it was another early morning for us.

Cruz took this photo of me and David.  It's rare for us to take a picture without the kids anymore.

Here's Cruz leaning over the balcony watching the boats cross the lake.  He really enjoyed doing that.

We took this family photo down by the lake on Sunday morning before attending our last sessions.

Our family at Intermissions 2015.  I had just given the boys a gumball for smiling so well in our portraits we had made so they were done with taking pictures, ha.

and here's our family at Intermissions Conference 2013.  This one was taken on my 41st birthday.

I took this photo during our Sunday morning coffee break.  We sat poolside under an umbrella and enjoyed a few still, quiet moments.

So what did our boys do while we were in worship services, breakout sessions, relaxing and such?  They were in their own classes having themselves a blast.   A volunteer team from Arizona comes down to work with their age group and had lots of fun things planned for them to do.  Cruz could not wait for the drop-off time so he could go to "school".  He loved it!  Both of our boys did.

Ben with two of his "teachers"

Cruz with some of his "teachers"
These volunteers were so great with our boys, and it made our time there even more enjoyable knowing they were happy and having a great time.  Cruz is already asking when we are going back.

We checked out and left after the Sunday sessions.  It was a 6.5 hour drive back home for us.  It was a long day on the road and we were all glad when we pulled in the driveway of our home.

We did make a few stops along the way though and one of those was for ice cream at Sarita's in El Rancho.  Yum!

We love the Intermissions Conference and already have it on our calendar to attend next year.  I know it will be fun and we can't wait! 
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