Monday, March 30, 2020

Life Lately

It has been a while since I have updated my blog. Like everywhere else in the world, life is turned upside down lately.  This post will be a mixture of what we are doing now and a little of what we were doing before we went on restrictions and a curfew due to the corona virus.

Thankfully, the one thing that is keeping us going and on a normal routine is homeschool.   It keeps us occupied for most of the day and our minds off the current situation around us.  We are currently on two weeks of being in and the President just announced this weekend that he is extending it two more weeks.  I keep relating life to Groundhog Day.  It sure feels like it.

Here is a recent photo of Cruz in school.  All I can think of is "when did he get so big?"  I will share more down below of some of the extra things we are doing in school these days to keep us busy since we are not getting out. 

This is a group photo taken of their karate class in late February.  At the time they were working on their upcoming exams that should have taken place this past Saturday (March 28).  The boys were looking forward to performing and getting new stripes on their belts.  We have no idea now when that might take place.

Thankfully, their karate instructor started offering classes on Zoom to all of the students.  That is giving the boys something to look forward to and is a great form of exercise a few days a week.  Here are a few photos of a recent class.

Isn't technology great!

We had gone into town for lunch one February Sunday after church.  While walking back to the car Cruz ran into a metal garbage box and cut his eyelid.  Antigua has these on poles all over town.  They were just the same height as his eye.  He now has another scar to add to his face.  He is getting quite the collection.

Just like in the States, churches here are now closed as well.  We cannot have any gatherings of any kind or size.   Instead, we have enjoyed getting to worship with several of you online.  If your church does a live broadcast, thank you! What a blessing you are to many.
Prior to the virus, we had been spending a lot of time scouting out a few back up hotels and restaurants for upcoming teams.   At one particular hotel we loved this sign they have on the rooftop patio.  We do love Antigua!!! and the views from this terrace were amazing.

I cannot tell you how excited we were about all the teams we had lined up this year.  Just last week our mission board, IMB, announced that all volunteer trips were cancelled through June 30.  I may have shed a few tears when I read that.  Mission teams bring life to us in so many ways.  Having to cancel some was very hard.  On another sad note, that announcement also meant that we can no longer host our two Summer Sojourner students that were coming to work with us for six weeks this summer.  Our hearts are sad, but we are praying that we will be able to pick back up in July with the rest of our teams.

That same evening, while out scouting, we ate supper at one of the boys favorite restaurants.  I think they would eat their chili bean nachos every day if we let them.

A conversation we are now having often in our home is "Where are you looking forward to eating at when this is all over?"  Sunset Terrace is definitely on their list.

We hosted a team from our home church in early March.  I will try to post about that week soon.  We had no idea when they left that they would be our last group for a while.  Just a few days after they flew out things started shutting down around here.  That included the airport and borders.

We are missing our co-op classes that meet every Thursday.  We are keeping in touch through a Facebook page but really miss the weekly face to face interaction.  We recently had the upper elementary science kids record one of their experiments and post it on our group page.  We were learning about electricity.  Here are a few photos I took of the boys doing theirs.

watching pepper jump from the plate onto the balloon 

We are doing this 30 day LEGO challenge.   The boys are loving it.  Below are a few photos of some of the things they have made.

We did this indoor scavenger hunt.  We asked another family to do it with us and then we video called them and showed each other what we found.  It was a fun activity for the kids.  This same family gave us a fort challenge.  We had 30 minutes to build a fort and then we showed each other what we built via video call.  Thank goodness for technology and how it is helping us pass the time these days.

Every afternoon at 1:00, our time, we are tuning in to the Cincinnati Zoo's live videos where they feature a different animal each day.  We have learned so many cool animal facts by watching these.  After each video they give you an activity to do.  On this particular day we were learning about a cheetah cub named Kris.  This is the cheetah Ben made.  You can watch these videos on Facebook by visiting the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden's page.

The boys made these yarn wrapped letters one afternoon.  I saw the idea on Facebook.

Another fun thing we are doing are these table talk conversation starter questions.  I feel like we are all cooking more these days.  That means more opportunities to enjoy meals around the table.  I am trying to keep the topics light by adding in these questions.  It has provided us with a lot of laughter.  It has also kept the topic off of the corona virus at least during meal times.

We are starting week 32 of our school year today.  Hopefully, if we all stay well, we should finish strong by early May.  

Lastly, Cruz came down for breakfast one morning last week dressed like this-
He said he was ready to fight the corona virus if it came to our house.  I had to laugh.  The boys are keeping us very entertained these days.

We send you all a big hug and wish you good health and peace of mind.  Pray for us as we are praying for all of you. 

Tuesday, March 3, 2020

My Birthday 2020

The older my boys get, the sweeter my birthday becomes. This year was another fun one. It began the night before when they sent me to my room right after supper.  That in itself was a treat!  I had a quiet evening all to myself.

While I was relaxing, they got busy decorating.  They hung banners, balloons, and streamers all over the house.  I could hear them laughing and talking.  They seemed to be enjoying themselves.  They even decorated my bedroom door which made it a little hard for David to come to bed.

They were waiting with a camera the next morning for me to "break out".

They were like little puppies running around saying "Come and see, Mama!  Come and see!"  It was so sweet!

They had some of my favorite candies laid out for me.

I got these beautiful roses.

We had chocolate chip banana pancakes for breakfast.

It was a fun morning.

We had a normal school day.  The boys kept saying that it wasn't fair for me to have to teach school on my birthday.  I do not think it actually had anything to do with it being my birthday.  I think they just wanted the day off!

When we finished our lessons we headed out for lunch.  We had eaten at Cerro San Cristobal back on New Year's Eve.  I had said then that I wanted to return for my birthday.  I was looking forward to it.

If you look really close on top of that mountain you will see where the restaurant is.

This is the reason I wanted to return there for my birthday lunch.  The views are breathtaking!

The boys being silly at the table while we waited for our food.

birthday lunch overlooking Antigua

My shrimp quesadillas were delicious, but what I was eager to try was their creme brulee.  It is one of my favorite desserts.  Theirs was okay but not as good as others I have had.

David and the boys shared this yummy cheesecake.

We spent the afternoon at home.  That evening we had Papa Johns pizza for supper.  My current favorite pizza is their BBQ Chicken Pizza.  It is so good!

We also had cake.  It was chocolate with white icing.

Happy birthday to me!

We curled up on the couch and watched a movie while we ate.  It was a fun way to end the day.  I do not necessarily like getting older but these two young ones make life fun.  They definitely keep me young at heart.

Sunday, March 1, 2020

March 2020 Newsletter

Can you spot Cruz and Ben in this Sunday School photo?  Every Sunday, at the end of the worship services, the kids all go up front and present what they learned that day.  It always includes a song, a memory verse, and a review of their lesson.  I love hearing them sing and talk about the Bible.

This month will you join us in praying for Sunday School teachers everywhere who patiently invest in children each week.  I taught children's Sunday School for many years.  I know that it is not always easy.  Let's specifically lift up the teachers this month and pray for the hearts of the children they are sharing the Gospel with.

We visit different churches regularly trying to build relationships with the pastors and congregations. Pray for us as we make connections in different areas and look for ways to best partner our US churches there.  Pray that we would be a great source of encouragement to the pastors and their wives.  As we invest in them, our prayer is that they would be more refreshed to invest in others.
Our February team ended up having to postpone so instead we spent that week hosting two of our IMB leaders.  They represent the two roles that we currently serve under.  We are still a part of the Indigenous Team and continue our work with the Chorti from a distance.  We also serve on the Connections Team and host US volunteers through Americas Connect. We try our best to keep a balance between the two.

They spent several days with us seeing our work area, offering advice, wisdom, and greatly encouraging our family.  We are thankful for the time our leaders take to pour into the families they serve.
We enjoyed a restful weekend in Panajachel, Guatemala attending an annual missions conference for all English speaking missionaries serving in Guatemala.  It is a great time to make connections with others who serve here as well as for our kids to get to play together.  You can read more about our weekend at the Intermissions Conference on a recent blog post I wrote.
We ended the month celebrating my birthday. My guys made me feel extra special all day long.
We are making preparations for an upcoming team from our home church, Harmony Baptist in Crystal Springs, MS.  We are looking forward to their arrival and getting to work alongside them.  Pray for a safe, healthy week for each of them.  They will be here serving with us March 6-12.

As of now, all of our 2020 team dates have been booked.  Beginning in early June we will have a team almost every other week until late October.  It is going to be busy days ahead!!  This will take a lot of planning, preparing, organizing, and praying on our end.

Pray for us as we look for places to partner these groups, line up logistics for them, and get them registered and prepared to come.

We are excited about all of the volunteers that will be coming down to serve this year!  What a great opportunity we will have to expose them to missions and help them find ways to go deeper in their missions involvement.  Join us in praying that God would call out full time servants from these short term volunteers.

Our calendar is wide open for Spring and Summer 2021.  If you think you might be interested in coming please get in touch with us.  We would love to help plan your trip.
Every church. Every nation. from IMB on Vimeo.
Every church.  Every nation.
We are able to do so much more together than if we were chasing this vision alone. 
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