Monday, August 25, 2014

From Carrot Cake to Lemon Pie

Our weekend got started with a drive over to Copan, Honduras.  We went for supper and to visit with our Ag partner Dan Watson who had just returned for a 2 week stay.  He's a busy guy these days.  He'll spend about two weeks in Honduras overseeing the work there.  He'll then spend about two weeks in Haiti helping get Ag work started there.  Then he'll return home to Arkansas for about two weeks and start all over again.  We try to make it a point to meet at least once when he's in town to talk about the work in Honduras and Guatemala.

Anyway, we've not been over to Honduras since we got back from the States so a drive over and a meal sounded inviting. 
"Welcome to Honduras"
This was taken at the border crossing.  Of course Cruz had a million questions about the whole crossing the border process.  "why does daddy have to go inside", "why do we have to show our passports", "why do we have to pay them money", "why do the police have to look in our car"...  why, why, why?  It turned into an educational experience for him.  He's learning early about visas, passport stamps, and entering other countries. 

We met Dan for supper at Jim's Pizza.  We always enjoy eating there.  The owner, Jim, is from the States so we enjoy visiting with him also.  The boys love to run around, look at everything, and play in the fish pond.  Can you spot Jim photobombing us in the picture below? ha.
Our family at Jim's Pizza in Copan, Honduras

After eating we all walked to the Central Park to continue visiting.  It's a large open space so the boys got to run around and burn off some energy while we chatted.  Before we left for home we made a stop by Cafe Welchez to get me a piece of carrot cake to-go.  Yum!  It's one of my favorite desserts.

carrot cake from Cafe Welchez in Copan, Honduras

Saturday morning we got an early start- as in 5:10 a.m. thanks to our oldest, early rising son.  That's not the way I had planned to get our Saturday started but it happened none the less.  So, we were up, dressed, fed, and ready to go early.  We have been needing to make a visit to the village of Chanco and had made plans to do it on Saturday.  One of the partnerships we are taking over is between this village and FBC Mt. Pleasant, SC.  The next team they are sending down to work in this village is in October. We will be hosting them.  I'll share more about that down the road.  Anyway, there is a believer there, Miguel, that we wanted to see and talk with.  Among other things we shared with him our desire to start a Bible study in that area.  We asked him to check around to see if there was any interest and get back with us.  We even offered just to come and disciple him if he was interested.  We'll wait to hear back from him.  Expect to hear more about this village and ways you can specifically pray for us as we begin to work there.  

Not long after we got on the road that morning Cruz told me "mama, when I get home I am going to take a LONG nap!".  He was tired (we all were, ha).  I looked back a few minutes later and saw him like this.  Poor baby.  Ben on the other hand was well rested and as you can see ready to go. 
in the car on the way to the village of Chanco

David and Cruz walking down the hill to Miguel's house.  This picture makes me smile.

sweet brothers in the village of Chanco

Cruz said, "mama, take my picture standing on this rock". 

We came home, ate lunch, and all took LONG, much needed afternoon naps.  We then spent the rest of the day playing.

There's just something about a palette of brightly colored paints that makes me smile.  Does it you?
my boys love painting and we spend a lot of time doing it

That night we grilled hot dogs and ate supper outside.  Fun!

Sunday morning started with a platter of French toast and then we sent David off to do Bible study in the village of Nearar.  I forgot to send my camera with him so I have no photos to share but he said it went really well.  He was able to share with them some about death and encourage them after the sudden passing of the young guy last week.   He was 27.

After naptime we took the boys to a local gas station to jump on the trampoline.  Cruz asks us to go almost daily.  He loves it.  
my boys jumping on the trampoline in Jocotan, Guatemala

We also spent some time up the hill from our house letting the boys ride their bikes.  A few of the neighbors came out to join us and played with the boys.  These two don't look rowdy at all do they?  my oh my!

Cruz took this photo of us while riding his bike.

And we ended the weekend with a special treat- frozen lemon pie.  I finally got around to making one for Cruz.  He loves it!  It's a great cool dessert on these muggy hot afternoons.
lemon pie- it just lacks the whipped topping

And just for fun I'll leave you with a few shots from Sunday night bathtime.  These two are a MESS!!!

We are looking forward to the week ahead.  The Ag team will be coming over to check on the projects in the villages of Lagunetas and Pacren.  David will be joining them.  We will also be hosting some IMB colleagues for a few days.  They are coming to share more with us about the U.S. partnerships and turn all of the team information over to us.   In addition to work, we always have a great time of fellowship with them so I anticipate a wonderful visit.  I'll be sure to update you on all of this and more as the week unfolds.

Happy Monday!  I hope your week gets off to a great start!

Friday, August 22, 2014

Mostly Ben

Well hello Friday! I for one am glad to see you. What is it about Friday that makes you feel all happy inside? I just seem to get up on Friday's with a little more energy and pep in my step. Do you?

Anyway today's post is just a bunch of random photos mostly of our sweet little Ben. Keeping him entertained while Cruz is at school in the mornings is a chore. He is a lot more calm when Cruz is not around but boy is he busy! Here are some photos from our week-

While Cruz is away learning Spanish I've been working on colors with Ben.  He is learning them quickly and loves doing games and activities while learning.
One of his favorites is sorting colored noodles into his stacking cups.  I colored the noodles for Cruz when he was 2 and we played the same game.  Both of my boys have enjoyed this activity. 

He has always been a little OCD about things being in order.  Often times throughout the day we will find him putting his toys in a line like above.  He lines up everything!  That boy is just like his daddy, ha.

We also spend a lot of time with these magnetic letters.  All of our doors are metal so if I am in a specific room (like the kitchen) I can give Ben the letters and he will sit and sort them by colors on the door.  He loves it and it is also helping him learn. 

That sweet smile just melts my heart.

This was one of the best purchases we have made for our boys.  They LOVE this car.

On Wednesday of this week we dropped Cruz off at school and drove into Chiquimula to get our teeth cleaned.  We took Ben with us.  We expected to take turns entertaining him in the waiting room while the other got their teeth cleaned.  But, the clinic has a play station for kids inside the room so Ben got to go back and play while we were in the chair.  He never made a peep and you almost could forget that he was in the room.  We were AMAZED how well he did.  It was a proud parent moment (and believe me we don't have many of those, ha).  We both made reference to how we thought the other brother would have done.  Oh my, that room would have been torn apart! 

sweet Ben playing while we got our teeth cleaned

David getting his teeth cleaned in Chiquimula

Once we were done the dentist invited Ben to sit in the chair.  At first he was a little hesitant but he climbed in.  She took a few of her instruments and looked around in his mouth just for fun.  She immediately noticed his front teeth are moved and asked about it.  Yes, unfortunately he's a thumb sucker and we'll pay dearly for it one day.  He'll have his first real dentist visit next month with Cruz in Guatemala City.  I hope he'll sit as still and be as good there as he was here.  I'm not so sure about that though.

Ben with our dentist in Chiquimula

More letter sorting.  He did this all by himself.  Look at how neat they are lined up.  He gets it honest.

He also spends a lot of time each day changing outfits.  He gets that from watching his big brother.

This one just cracks me up!  Here he is wearing Cruz's scrub pants over his romper, his scrub hat, and a pair of 3D glasses from when I took Cruz to see Frozen while in the States.  He's a mess.

Lastly I'll leave you with a few food items.   The home where we meet for Bible study in Lagunetas gave us a sack of corn last Saturday to take home.  We have eaten it several times this week.  It's not like sweet corn in the States but we have grown to like it.  We clean it, season it with olive oil, salt, pepper, and fresh cilantro, wrap it in tin foil and cook it on the grill.  It's pretty good! 

our yummy corn

I also tried a new recipe this week for Toasted Chicken Philly Cheesesteak Sandwiches.  They were very delicious.  We added a little avocado to ours and they were oh so good!   I'll be putting that recipe on my rotation list for sure.  Check it out.

Have a great weekend y'all.  Pray for our Bible study Sunday in Nearar.  

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Pray For Tunuco Arriba

John and Diana Lubeck are the Chorti Bible translation team that work in the Chorti area. They have translated the entire New Testament, four books of the Old Testament, and are currently working on more. They have also been working on a Chorti hymnal for quite some time now. Mrs. Diana has put many hours into getting it written and printed. While we were in the States they completed the project and had a special dedication service. We were sad to not be here to be able to participate.

They are currently working to get it out into the village areas and encouraging Chorti speakers to start using it. The hymnal comes with a set of CD's for those who cannot read so they can still listen to the music. 
The new Chorti hymnal
(This photo was taken in the village of Tunuco Arriba on our last visit there with the Lubeck's) 

A former pastor friend of theirs, Bro. Javier, is their promoter for the hymn book.  He has been traveling out to many villages showing the hymn book and teaching the songs.  He along with the Lubeck's have done several workshops in different villages teaching the hymns.  The Lubeck's told him about us and one day out of the blue he showed up at our gate wanting to talk with us about working together.  He is specifically wanting to help us get into the village of Tunuco Arriba.  We had a great meeting with him and he and David made plans to make their first trip together up the mountain to visit there.

Bro. Javier, David, and Ben

They made that first visit this past Tuesday.  They were able to talk and share with several people that day.  They visited with the teachers in the school and reconfirmed our desire to start working with the children in November when the Lubeck's return from the States.  That seems to be something secure that we will for sure be starting.  They also promoted the women's Bible study that we hope to start there soon as well.  

Bro. Javier brought along a megaphone that they hooked up to our car.  He spent some time sharing scripture in both Spanish and Chorti and also played some music.  Many of the people in Tunuco Arriba are Chorti speakers and most of the women are monolingual.  Bro. Javier is a Chorti speaker.  

They made plans to return again in a few weeks and will be making a few more trips up there to visit before November.  We are looking forward to the Lubeck's return and our partnering together to share Christ in this area.  There is no evangelical work whatsoever in this village. 

Bro. Javier reading scripture from the Chorti Bible in the village of Tunuco Arriba. 

Would you pray for all of us as we try to begin a work in this village?  God is putting together a great team to reach it and we are all anxious to see how He is going to work!

Monday, August 18, 2014

The Weekend

Friday afternoon we drove into Chiquimula.  Cruz needed some black school shoes.   Uniforms are used by most all of the schools here in Guatemala and they are very particular about them.  Cruz has to wear his polo shirt, gray pants, apron/vest, black belt, socks, and black shoes everyday except P.E. day.  They supposedly charge a fine if you do not wear your "complete" uniform.  Cruz had everything but black shoes.  We were waiting to make sure he was going to stay in school before we bought them. When we got a note last week reminding us about the fine for not having a complete uniform we decided it was time to make a purchase.  Our first stop was at the shoe store to get him some black school shoes. 
They had two options- a lace up and a slip on.  He quickly chose the lace up pair.  That was easy!

Afterwards we let the boys ride a few things at the mall before heading upstairs to the food court for supper.  The annual fair is going on in Chiquimula and town was busier than usual.
they love riding this monster truck

Cruz especially loved this Harley Davidson motorcycle!

We met our friends Josh and Jessica at the food court for supper.  We ate McDonald's and Pollo Campero.  It was fun visiting with them before they head to the States later this week for a few months. We'll miss them while they are gone!
my boys love Mr. Josh!

one more ride on the motorcycle before heading home

On Saturday morning we headed up the mountain to do Bible study in the village of Lagunetas.  It was our first time back since returning from the States.  I was super excited to see the kids and spend some time with them.

On our way to "go tell it on the mountain".  I love being on mission as a family!

It had been 9 months since we last taught there.  You would not know it from the way my boys jumped out of the car, hiked up the hill, and made themselves at home.  They were not nervous in the least and did great.

Me and Ben inside the house where David teaches the adults and youth. 

Before we left for the States Ben was always fascinated by the chickens.  So much so that the family gave him a chicken to take home one day.  Here he is doing what he always did best- checking out the chickens.  Unfortunately he stuck his finger in the fence and one pecked him.  So, he learned to watch them but from a distance.

Cruz went right back to climbing trees.  That's something he always did there in the past.  Everything just seemed to pick right back up where we left off.

Here we are with the Bible study kids.  I had 16 which is one of the biggest groups I've had yet.  I normally only have about 10- 12.  I wasn't expecting that the first time back.  I hope we will continue to grow and more children will feel comfortable to come.  Would you pray for that?

Look at that sweet, happy face!  This is little Kevin.  Saturday was his first birthday.  He had grown a lot since we last saw him.  We meet at his parent's home.
This was me and newborn Kevin last August.  What a sweetie!

David had planned to do Bible study Sunday morning in the village of Nearar but it was cancelled due to a death.  He got a call early on Friday asking to help get a young guy to the hospital in Chiquimula.  He drove up the mountain to pick him up.  When he got there he saw two men carrying the young guy up the mountain trail.  He was wrapped in a hammock and tied to a stick.  That is how they carried him up the mountain. Anyway they put him in our vehicle and David drove him to town.  He stayed there with him for several hours before leaving.  He was under the impression that he would be okay, but he ended up dying in the night.  It was sad.  Would you pray for his family?  

Since we didn't have Bible study that morning we just hung out at home.  It was actually a long, boring day for us but we made the best of it.

the boys played doctor and took turns taking care of all of us

That afternoon the Discovery Channel was running a marathon of "World's Deadliest".  We watched it for several hours.  We saw shows on hammerhead sharks (Cruz loves sharks!), whales, snakes, alligators, and "big cats".  During the cats segment we learned about tigers, lions, jaguars, leopards, cougars, and more.  My boys watched it without hardly moving..  They spent some time the rest of the afternoon reenacting all of the animals they had seen.  They put on their tiger suits and did a show for us.

my little tigers

At one point in the show a lion attacks a zebra, kills it, and eats it.  Cruz pretended that his Cozy Coup car was a zebra and "attacked it".  We laughed, a lot.

We ended the day with a tamale supper.  A vendor comes around our street almost every Friday afternoon selling them.  From time to time we buy some.  I had a few in the freezer that I heated up for supper.  We love them!
tamales are another Guatemalan staple food

We hope you had a good weekend too.  We are looking forward to a great week ahead.  David will be making a visit to the village of Tunuco Arriba on Tuesday to try to make contacts and build relationships.  Would you pray for his trip there?  I'll update you on how it goes soon.
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