Thursday, November 27, 2014

Pre-Thanksgiving Travels 2014

We've been on the go this week.  We left home on Monday afternoon driving into Guatemala City.  We had a few things to do in the Capital before heading to our Thanksgiving gathering with our Baptist mission family in Panajachel.  Here's a look at our week in pictures so far.

A quick photo before we got on the road to begin our Thanksgiving week travel.  Road trips with those two little back seat riders is always an adventure!
We planned to leave in the afternoon so the boys would nap most of the way.  WELL, wouldn't you know we would encounter problems in the road that caused us a delay and caused them to wake up after only being asleep for around 40 minutes.  UGH!  just ugh, ugh, ugh!

We were stopped while some road workers were trying to remove a landslide.  Landslides are very common here.

What road trip would not be complete without a fun gas station stop.  Here's the boys enjoying a snack and leg stretch break along the way.  They both picked out Cheetos and a strawberry yogurt drink for their snack.  Ben is showing me his very orange fingers from his chips.

After arriving and dropping our things off at our mission house we headed to a local mall for haircuts.  All three guys got a trim and then we enjoyed supper at Pizza Hut before calling it a night.

 I think what my boys like best about getting their haircut is the sucker and balloon they always get when it's over.  They love suckers!

Tuesday morning we got an early start to get across town to a few doctor appointments for the boys.  Cruz had to see the dentist and Ben needed a booster vaccine.
Here they are walking hand in hand to the dental clinic.

my sweet boys 
After lunch, a little shopping, and naptime we headed over to the Guatemala Baptist Seminary to visit with a dear, sweet friend.  We first met Kathy Kelly back in July 2008 when she was still serving as an IMB Trustee and made a visit to Guatemala.  We hosted her and another Trustee and spouse for several days in Coban and took them out to visit several Kekchi villages.  You can see photos of our time together HERE.  We loved her from day one and have stayed in regular contact with her ever since.  She is one of our faithful prayer warriors and encouragers.  We will always be thankful that God placed her in our lives.  She has been a blessing to us! 
David, Kathy, and me
It was wonderful to get to spend a little time with her and hug her sweet neck in person. 

The reason she is in Guatemala this week is to teach at a women's conference that Southwestern Seminary is putting on at the Guatemala Baptist Seminary.  Here's a photo of some of the ladies gathered for a session.

My boys enjoyed petting a rabbit at the seminary before we left. 

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas everywhere we go!  Here's my boys before supper on Tuesday night.

After breakfast on Wednesday morning we loaded our things again and continued on to Panajachel for our Thanksgiving gathering. 
here's the boys before we left our mission house on Wednesday morning (Thanksgiving Eve)

We made a stop along the way at this restaurant for a mid-morning meal.  All the Baptist missionaries like to eat here.

Cruz about to enjoy his watermelon milkshake.

The boys playing games while we waited on our food.  Notice our jackets.  It is COLD here!!!  It was in the 90's when we left our house, but not in this part of the country.  Brrrr.....

cheese omelet, black beans, and a fruit platter

Ben's favorite thing about the meal was the tortillas.  He loved them (and the red jelly too as you can see by his dirty face). ha

One of my Thanksgiving traditions is stopping at the mirador (lookout) to take a family picture overlooking Lake Attitlan and the three volcanoes that surround it.  This year it almost didn't happen because when we got out of the car to do it we nearly froze to death.  The winds were terrible!  In spite of it though we still took photos.  It was like a ghost town at the shops and we saw no-one moving around.  The only person I could find to take our picture was an eight year old looking little boy.  So, I didn't get very good shots but I still have the photos for memory.  What I think I'll remember most is the cold this year.

I love my little family!
(and I also love that they are most always easy going when it comes to me wanting to take photos) 

Another tradition is letting the boys pick out a homemade toy at the market before we leave.  It's always fun to see what they choose and it gives them something new to play with over the holiday.

The next few shots are of the lake and volcanoes as we drove down the mountain between Solola and Panajachel.  It is amazingly beautiful and most definitely one of my favorite views in all of Guatemala.

Here's a short video I took of the drive down.  It gives you a little idea of the beauty of this place.

We got settled into our mission house in Pana and waited for all the other missionary families to arrive before going out to eat supper together that night. 
Here's the beautiful sunset and volcano view we saw as we walked to a local restaurant.

Thanksgiving Eve supper at the Circus Bar Restaurant in Panajachel is a Baptist mission family tradition.  They have delicious pizzas!  Here's the adults (and Cruz and Ben).  The older MK's sat together at another table.  What a fun time we had laughing around the table together!  We are blessed with a wonderful mission family.
Do you see those smiles?   You think those two are having a great time?  You bet!  They are loving being around all these English speaking North Americans and all the love and attention they are getting from them.  They are not going to want to leave! 

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!  My next post will be about our Thanksgiving day celebration.

Monday, November 24, 2014

I'll Look Back And Smile On These One Day

Good Monday morning everyone! I hope each of you had a wonderful weekend. Here's a recap of how we spent ours.  These weekend review posts can get a little long but I want to remember the little details of our lives that we can so easily forget. 

Fridays are probably my favorite days.  I think it's because of the ending of the week and the anticipation of the weekend ahead.  It's also the one day of the week that we drive into town and eat out as a family.  I look forward to it all week long and am just more relaxed that day knowing I don't have to cook or clean that evening.  One advantage of living out rural is that trips into town are always a big deal.  We all get excited.
We had a few errands to run before we ate supper.  Here are the boys and I hanging outside the hardware store while David was shopping.  These two are a hoot!

Here's Ben entertaining all the locals with his dance moves.  My little guys love to dance!

We split up when we went into the grocery store.  I took Cruz and David took Ben.  Here's Cruz getting to enjoy a ride while I picked out some produce.  They have this inside the store right next to the produce section.  I think they did it on purpose, ha. 

After completing our errands we drove over to the Pizza Burger Diner for supper.  That was two Friday nights in a row to eat there but we like it.  Notice Ben using a highchair to help him reach the swing.  I just know that the workers there think my two boys are the wildest two to ever pass through their doors. 

Cruz rarely asks for anything special when we eat out but this particular week he asked for a frozen lemonade drink.  We got it for him and he squealed.  They both enjoyed it.

playing on the carousel at the restaurant

We enjoyed our normal Saturday biscuit breakfast and while I was cleaning the kitchen I looked out and saw this.  The boys were sitting down and Cruz was "reading" a book to Ben.  What a precious sight!

We then got dressed and headed up the mountain to lead our Bible studies in the village of Lagunetas.  I am always amazed to see the things that the village kids come up with to entertain themselves.  When we arrived we saw them out on the soccer field playing. 

They had made these two wooden things and were pushing each other around on them.  How creative!

It was just a stick and a wheel.  At first I thought the wheel might be from an old skateboard but when I got a closer look I saw that it was hand carved wood.  They cut a groove in the stick to sit the wheel in and played their hearts out.

How fun is that?

They even rode two at a time.  Here's Cruz getting a turn.  Notice he is all smiles.

Here's a little video of them in action.

After playing a while I gathered them all up for our story time.  My lesson was on Zacchaeus and titled "Jesus is a Friend to All". 
Here's Cruz working on his coloring sheet after our lesson.  I love that tongue hanging out, ha.  He's sitting on a rock, using a board that's propped up on a rock, and has an old dried up corn cob as a stopper to keep his colors from rolling away.  Village life is fun y'all.

Here we are on the ride home down the mountain.  I occasionally let Cruz sit in my lap and look out the window until we get down to the bottom pavement.  He loves it (and most of the time I do too). 

Here's a short video of our ride down.  You can tell how bumpy it is by the way the camera is shaking.  It gives you an idea of our roads and also of the BEAUTIFUL views that we get to experience here regularly.  I love living in the mountains!

Here's a photo of some men carrying wood on their backs down the mountain.  There were two of them and they had heavy loads. 

The boys spent the afternoon playing while we watched a little football.  We watched the Ole Miss vs. Arkansas game which didn't end too well for us Mississippi folks.  We could not pick up the MS State vs. Vanderbuilt game but we followed the live stats online.  Way to go Bulldogs!!!

here's my silly boys that afternoon

At one point I heard Cruz say "come on Ben", followed by some mumbling, and then the word "zipline".  When I looked out to check on them this is what I saw.  Does it get dull around here?  Never!!!

Here they are playing on Saturday night while I got their movie ready to watch.

 watching their movie

Sunday morning began with a French toast and bacon breakfast and then we sent David off to Bible study. 

Most of my day was spent washing clothes and getting our things packed for our upcoming Thanksgiving trip.  Part of our Thanksgiving tradition is watching the movie "A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving".  I am sure we'll watch it again later in the week but just in case we get too busy and can't squeeze it in I had us watch it early.  We LOVE outdoor movie nights anyway so it was a fun way to end the weekend. 

Do you think they were excited?  You bet!

This is definitely one of my most favorite things to do and living in a warm climate we get to enjoy it year round.

We'll be traveling this week.  I'm looking forward to some time away to relax, enjoy some fellowship with our IMB colleagues, and remember the reason for the season.  We have much to be thankful for and it's good to set some time aside to reflect on that. 

Friday, November 21, 2014

Moving Forward in the Village of Chanco

As a result of us doing some follow-up visits last Saturday in the village of Chanco we got an invitation to return and do a children's Bible study.  We were pretty excited and made plans to do it on Thursday of this week (better plan it quick before they change their minds, ha). 

I spent some time this week studying and preparing and all I lacked was a good nights sleep so I'd have a fresh mind to teach.  Well, thanks to my boys, that did not happen.  Ben was up at 4:30 and Cruz was up at 5:15 that morning.  ugh!  I was soo tired by the time we actually arrived in the village that I could not hardly think straight in English much less teach a Bible lesson in Spanish.  Some days are just hard, but you learn to shake it off and move on.  (and pray, a lot)

this is what getting up before the sun looks like once you hit the rocky mountain roads

The lady of the house, Teresa, served us coffee and sweet bread when we arrived.  We let the kids play a bit before we got started.  We sang a few Bible songs and then I taught a story.  My lesson was on "Jesus Loves the Little Children".  I made this game below for the kids to do after our story time.  It was a visual reminder that Jesus loves children and the best place to be is close to Him. 
my "Pin the Children at the Feet of Jesus" game

We blindfolded them and they took turns putting a child on the poster.  They loved it!

poor Cruz, ha

Afterwards I gave them each a coloring sheet of Jesus loving on the children and a scripture that went with our story.  They had the best time coloring, laughing, and comparing each others pages.  We just sat back and smiled.

my boys coloring in the village of Chanco

proud of their work

We had a really fun morning and in spite of being tired I think it went very well.  The best part was before we left they asked us to come back and teach again.  Yahoo!!!  We'll be traveling next week for Thanksgiving so we made plans to return the first week of December.  I'm already excited about it!  Would you look at the faces of these precious children and pray specifically for them?  Pray also for us as we begin to share Christ with them. 

God is working and we are extremely grateful for the way He is giving us opportunities to share the Gospel here in Eastern Guatemala.  Your prayers are a big part of that.  Thank you for praying for us!
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