Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Children's Day 2019

In Guatemala they celebrate Día del niño on October 1.  It is a big celebration day honoring the kids.  They have parties, activities, cakes, piñatas, gifts, and games. It is a lot of fun and the kids all look forward to it.

David was out of town with a team and it rained most of the day.  Because of that we had a simple celebration. Here is how we spent the day.

Dunkin Donuts advertised several cute donuts for the day.  We went and picked up a few the night before to have for breakfast.  We love donuts!!!

Cruz with his Spiderman donut.  They also requested bananas with yogurt.

We had a full morning of school and then went out for lunch at Pollo Campero.  They wanted to eat at the Sunset Terrace but it is currently closed and moving to a new location.  Bummer! Ninja Turtle themed kid's meals at Pollo Campero was just as fun though.  

I have made a cake like this on Children's Day for several years now.  We might change up the flavor and M&M colors but the overall idea is still the same.  The boys will ask me when the day gets close "are you going to make that smiley face cake this year?"  I always do and they love it.  This year we had lemon cake with lemon icing.  Yummy!

 The boys with our cake.  We had already cut it before I remembered to take their picture.

  My sweet boys on Children's Day.

The following day they had a party at their karate class.  After class they got to enjoy cake, games, candy, and a piñata.  Here they are grabbing more candy from the piñata.  How do you break a piñata at karate class?  You put on boxing gloves and take turns punching it until it breaks.  It was so much fun for the kids!!!  I was laughing so much I did not even think to get a picture.  My boys will always remember that.  
karate class celebrating Children's Day

It was a fun time of celebrating two of my greatest blessings.  I am so glad that God allowed me to have children.  Days like this remind me of just how much joy kids can bring.

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

October 2019 Newsletter

September was a busy month with teams.  We began the month hosting a team from Life Church in Culver City, CA.  This team worked in the Antigua area.  We partnered with two local pastors and helped them do outreach in their communities.  They were able to minister to a lot of hurting families and share words of encouragement with them. They also participated in two worship services with these pastors. It was a great week and we really enjoyed working alongside this church.

They flew out on a Saturday and then David left the following day to join another team from Denver Baptist Church in Denver, NC.  That team worked in the town of Soloma which is in the Western side of Guatemala in the municipality of Huehuetenango.  It is about a 10 hour drive from where we live.  They spent the week doing a health fair in an area where there is very little Baptist work.  Pray for the advancement of the gospel in this part of Guatemala.  Pray that more churches would catch a vision to help reach it.

He had a little less than two weeks at home before he headed out again this past Friday.  He is currently helping host a team from Georgia and South Carolina.  They are working in Quetzaltenango and Ixchiguán doing evangelism and outreach.  Pray for them this week as they serve on mission together.
team from Life Church Culver City, CA
team from Denver Baptist Church Denver, North Carolina
Missions College is an annual IMB training event for US churches, both pastors and lay people, engaging in short-term, mid-term, and long-term missions. This is an intense week with a lot of opportunities for learning, networking, and strategizing.  Whether you have been doing mission trips for years or are just getting started, there is something for everyone.

You will leave encouraged and excited about how God is at work among the nations and with practical tools for how you can be involved in what He is doing.

Registration is now open. Visit imb.org/missions-college to learn more.

Here is a video highlighting the 2019 Summer Sojourner students who served in the Americas. Summer Sojourner is a program for college age students to spend six weeks of their summer working alongside career IMB missionaries.

Job requests for summer 2020 students are now posted. There is even one to serve alongside us here in Guatemala.  If you or a student you know is interested in missions, Summer Sojourner would be a great opportunity.  Visit www.imb.org/students for more information.
On the 24th of this month we will celebrate 13 years of missionary service with the IMB.  It has been a joy and honor to represent Southern Baptists on the mission field here in Guatemala.  Thank you for the way you have partnered with us through prayer and lifted us up every step of the way.  We could not do it without you.  Thank you for your faithful prayers!!!  
Our family celebrating Guatemala's Independence Day 
September 15, 2019

Monday, September 30, 2019

Our First Nine Weeks of School (2019-2020)

Last Friday we completed our first nine weeks of school. Here is a glimpse of some of the things we have been doing.

Here is my sweet little Ben doing a reading lesson on a recent school day. 

One of the reading curriculums I use for him is Sonlight.  His first reader this school year is The Beginner's Bible.  He reads a story a day.  We also use Sing Spell Read and Write for reading.  In that program he begins a trip around the United States reading about a different State each week.  We are starting off going along the Southern border.  So far he has read about California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Louisiana, and Mississippi.  There are some fun songs that go along with this reading curriculum too.

Cruz also does Sonlight reading.  Here are the chapter books he has read already.  He is currently about half way through Henry and  Ribsy.  His favorite so far has been Marco Polo. 

He also takes a literature class at co-op.  They will read three books this year and discuss them in class.  He has several worksheets each week that he also has to fill out after he reads.  The first book they are doing is Because of Winn-Dixie.

Sonlight assigns me read alouds to do too.  Here are the books we have read so far.  We are currently still reading through The Door in the Wall.  My favorite has been Sticks Across the Chimney.  It tied in perfectly with our history lessons on the Vikings.

Speaking of History, this is one of the books we are using.  We are on year 2 of World History.  We started out the school year learning all about the Vikings (which the boys loved!!)  We are currently studying knights and castles.  This is a really fun, interesting book.

One of my favorites from Sonlight this year is this book- Window on the World.    Each week we read about different countries and people groups around the world.  It uses stories, information, maps, flags, and photos to help paint the picture of what life is like in those places.  It gives us information about the gospel presence there and some ways to pray.  We then spend some time praying for that area and people that the good news will become more widely known there.  What a joy to get to regularly pray for lostness with my boys in school. 

The boys have always loved maps.  This year we are doing geography through Sonlight.  We have fun songs that are helping us learn the names of the countries in the different regions.  We started off learning the continents and oceans.  We have since learned the countries in the Middle East, the British Isles, Scandinavia, Western Europe, Southern Europe, and we are currently learning Eastern Europe.  We all love geography.

Something else they love is art.  This year we are using Take Time for Art.  It is an art history curriculum.  It uses on-line streaming videos to teach the history lessons and then step by step videos to show us how to do the art projects that go along with it.  They have different history periods.  I chose the Middle Ages because it was the one that best went along with our Sonlight history this year.  Here they are with their Anglo-Saxon Fibulas.  This was our first project.

They also made a Byzantine Mosaic.

One of their favorite projects (for obvious reasons) was making catapults. 

It has been a few weeks now and they are still playing with them.

Ben doing a language lesson.

They have been going to karate for a month now and are loving it.  They go two afternoons a week for an hour each.  It has been a lot of fun for them.  The best part is that they come home really tired.

Our first day of co-op.  We have been four weeks now total and love it.  We meet every Thursday.  The boys are having fun, making friends, and learning.  I am enjoying the science classes that I help teach.  We do our daily lessons at home and then review together at co-op.  We also do several experiments together each week in class.  So far the favorites have been lava lamps and frozen sorbet.  There are 19 kids between the two classes (eleven K- 2nd graders and eight 4th-6th graders).

A musical instrument Ben made one week at his co-op music class.

Ben's co-op art project

The boys doing a science experiment at home.  It was called Overflow Beans.  It was an activity on water displacement. 

We each had to guess how many beans we could add to the cup before it made the water overflow.  Once we made a guess we then tested it out. 

Look at that water bulging! 

So much fun!

We also do grammar, math, handwriting, Bible, keyboarding, spelling, and writing.  My days are FULL but they are spent doing something I truly love.

Friday, September 20, 2019

Guatemala's Independence Day 2019

Last weekend we celebrated Guatemala's Independence Day.  It actually fell on Sunday, Sept. 15 but the activities began on Thursday with the torch runs.  The boys and I passed several groups running as we drove home from Co-Op in San Lucas that day.

We saw several more groups running throughout Antigua on Friday when we joined the team in town for lunch.  It was fun for the team to get to see a little bit of the celebration.  It began raining on Friday afternoon and rained most of the night. We went back into town that evening but did not see much going on because of the rains. 

We spent all of Saturday afternoon in town.  There were tons of torch runners and even a few bands marching through the streets. We enjoyed a festive parade and just walking around among the people.  Town was bustling and fun.

Saturday afternoon at Burger King in Antigua.  The boys bought hand bands that vendors were selling for the runners.  They tied them around their hats and wore them all weekend long.

A "Happy Birthday Guatemala" sign inside Burger King.

The torch runners from all around came to the Central Park to light their torches.  Here you can see several groups lined up ready to get theirs lit. 

a group of torch runners

Photos from the Saturday afternoon parade-

The Guatemala flag (blue and white) and the Antigua flag (green and white) flying above the municipal building.

me and the boys enjoying the parade

family fun!

Before going home that evening we stopped by a new favorite spot, Glacy, for some ice cream.

My current favorite flavor is pineapple basil.  I know it might sound gross but it really is delicious.  Another flavor I like is lemon ginger. 

Sunday morning was the actual "Quince".  We always eat a typical Guatemalan breakfast on that day.  This year I made scrambled eggs, black beans, and fried plantains.  I picked up some yummy Guatemala flag decorated donuts from Dunkin' Donuts the day before to go with it.  Don't they look cute!  Dunkin' does a great job with holiday themed donuts that you know I cannot resist.  I am glad to live close enough now to include them on our holidays. 

My little Guatemalan born, hair cut needing son ready for breakfast on Sunday morning.

After eating we took our annual family photo dressed in the flag colors.  I love looking back at these over the years.   After that we headed out to church.

As soon as church was over we were right back in the middle of town to try to catch as much of the parades as we could. 

Five Latin American countries celebrate their independence on the same day.  In addition to Guatemala there is Honduras, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, and El Salvador. 

With the exception of 2017 when we were on Stateside Assignment (furlough) we have spent the past seven years celebrating the Quince in the Department of Chiquimula. I have taken a picture of Cruz in the Camotan Central Park each year.  I was a little sad to miss that this year and also to miss all of our normal celebration activities that we have done there over the years.

I kept my park picture tradition and this year took his picture in the Antigua Central Park instead.  I forgot my flag at home though which really aggravated me.  Oh my, how he has grown over the years!

Another tradition we kept was eating lunch at Pollo Campero. This year we stepped right off the parade route into the one on the arch street.  We could still hear the bands from inside while we ate.

We went home for a little rest time and enjoyed our annual Guatemala flag cake for dessert.  The Quince would not be complete without it.

We also enjoyed our flag themed jello jigglers.

You would think we would have had enough of the bands and parades but I could not wait to get back into town that evening for more of it.  To me they were even more fun to watch at night.  Town was packed though!  It felt like Semana Santa.  I loved it!  David, not so much. ha

The lights above the municipal building said 1821.  Guatemala was celebrating 198 years of independence. 

town is so pretty at night

Watching the bands around the Central Park. 

As the finale, the bands lined up all around the Central Park and were all playing at the same time.  It was so loud, so festive, and oh so fun!!!

You know I love a good celebration and Antigua is the best place to be for that.  We had a wonderful weekend and enjoyed getting to celebrate a country that is so dear to our hearts.  I cannot wait to do it again next year.
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