Thursday, August 31, 2006

Thank you for your prayers...

Thank you to all who have been praying for us and our housing situation. God answered your prayers with an apartment here in Panajachel that we can rent month-to-month. It is small (no problem) and comes unfurnished. Unfurnished here in Guatemala also means no stove, refrigerator, cabinets or anything. There is a kitchen sink and fixtures in the bathroom. That's about it! But it is a place we can stay until the Camp house is ready. And, short of a disaster, we won't have to move again until we move to the Camp.

The homesickness continues, but is better with thoughts of not having to move an indefinite number of times. Besides, an upcoming trip home always helps! Thank you for your prayers, emails and calls in this regard. And thanks for allowing me to have a "pity-party" online!

Johnny has worked for the last week and a half at the Camp, almost completing the garage. We still need garage doors and an interior door, along with a few other minor things, but it looks great! I have also started planting bouganvilia along the fence, which will be beautiful, not to mention colorful, as it grows.

I'll post pictures soon!


Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Prayer needs

Thanks to Arlene Grimm, I now have to keep the blog up-to-date!!! Seriously, there are several folks out there that keep up with our blog faithfully, our daughters included, so that's incentive right there. Thank you for caring enough to want to check on us.

I read the First Bible newsletter online this morning and got homesick again. (It's happening alot lately!) We are looking so forward to our visit home in October. It will be a whirlwind of travel, but we will be having "Christmas in October" with our family. We will be visiting Lindsay and Micah in Nashville, then a brief visit to Decatur (sorry guys, it will be brief), then on to Sylacauga/Birmingham for visits with my mother and family there, and finally to Tallahassee to visit with Jennifer and Andy (first time to see the new couple since the wedding). We can't wait!

Please pray for us. Part of our homesickness is our "nomadic" lifestyle of recent weeks. Having just settled into Las Buenas Nuevas the first of July, we now have to move again. We knew it would be short, but were hoping that we could move to Centennial Camp from here. Unless there is a miracle out there, we will not have an electrical transformer or well finished by the middle of September. Things move slowly here - good in some cases, not good in others. Unfortunately, this is one of those cases that we really could use some speed! So we move again the first of next week for two weeks only. From there...who knows? Pray that the house at Centennial Camp will be completed enough to move into (ideal) or that we find a place for the next 4-6 months.

Thank you for your prayers and support. It helps knowing that there are folks back home that care.


Tuesday, August 22, 2006

A difference or two...

As I write this, the power has gone off a couple of times, and with that, we lose the internet connection. We are getting used to coming home and finding the alarm clock blinking, a sign the power has been off. A time or two, we ate supper by candlelight...romantic if there is just two of you, but twice now, it has been with teams of 20 or so! We adjust to the outages, although I have discovered a need for a battery powered clock - something to reset all the electric ones by!

Sunday, we went to church by boat - 45 minutes across the lake to the CAM church in Santiago. (See the volcano in the background? We went around behind it.) They have a thriving church with many daughter churches and a missions program that supports 8 missionaries! This is unusual. Most of the churches barely support themselves, let alone missions. But the Alpha y Omega church has taken the Great Commission to heart and are thriving because of it!

We found the church services were in the evening, so we attended Sunday School instead. The women and men were split, so Mike Stephenson and Johnny went one way and I went another - alone. Most of the lesson was taught in Tzutujil with a little Spanish thrown in for good measure. I could keep up with the lesson from the Spanish words and the Bible references the teacher gave. But I must have missed something - I heard the teacher say that the "sister didn't understand anything!" (He said this in Spanish) I announced that I did understand...all the Spanish parts! Although most of the people of the church speak and understand Spanish, all of the classes and sermons are done in Tzutujil. It reminded me of when we first arrived in Guatemala and didn't understand anything said in church. We opted to come home and put in a CD from First Bible Church that afternoon. The music and teaching was so comforting!

On our way back across the lake, we met Andrea, a 10 year-old from Santiago. She was curious about us and talked much of the way back, until the rocking of the boat lulled her to sleep. (She's looking at Johnny who is making faces at her to get her to smile!) Pray for the children of Guatemala. Since 70% of the population of Guatemala is under age 28, they are the future of this country.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

How can anyone be homesick with beauty like this surrounding you? As we went to the Capital on Monday, here is a little of what we saw:

Beautiful flame trees at one of the lookouts on the mountain. If I'm not mistaken, several of the ladies from First Bible did some shopping here. (Oh, was I not supposed to tell?)

A view of the lake (Lake Atitlan) from above Solola. We get to look at this everyday, only from a little lower.

A great view as we climb out of the valley of the lake. No, Mother, I don't get too close to the edge!

Combine all this with some of the best coffee and the friendliest people in the world! A great place to spend your retirement! Come visit us!


Monday, August 14, 2006

A day of music

Yesterday was a busy day for us - we attended the Panajachel church for Sunday morning, then a quick lunch and an hour drive to the Pamezebal church for a "musical event". Getsemeni (Pamezebal) has a worship leader that was trained in music and yesterday was the program for all the groups. There were several groups, but the men's quartet was great! They could not rival Bruce and the guys at First Bible, but they were good! (I want a group to come and sing in this church!) During the children's songs, there were three little boys on the second row acting up and paying no attention whatsoever to the director. Being around 5-6 years old, I figure we will see them at the Camp one day and they will be our mischief-makers! Two other songs of note were "Shout to the Lord" (in Spanish) by a ladies group and "The Hallelujah Chorus" by the church choir. It was an enjoyable afternoon!

Then we were off again, another hour back to Panajachel to the church there for a musical group from the States and Canada. These were late teens and early twenties kids that are part of a ministry named "Carpenter's Tools" and sang in English and Spanish. They were excited to hear us speaking English and we had a nice chat afterward. We finally got home around 10 o'clock and fell into the bed with the rain and thunder pounding outside.

After all the rain, we awoke to quite chilly temperatures this morning. Knowing that Panajachel is warm compared to Solola, I can only imagine what the temperature was at the Camp this morning! I need to collect up sweatpants and sweaters when we are home in October!

Before closing, I want to tell my new son-in-law, Andy, Happy Birthday! We heard from them this morning and they made it to Tallahassee yesterday, after an enjoyable trip cross country, a visit with Lindsay and Micah in Nashville and a lunch at Bib Gibson's in Decatur! Andy really liked the ribs at Bob Gibson's!


Thursday, August 10, 2006

A couple of cuties...

Remember when I mentioned taking a group from the church and picking pine needles two weeks ago? Well, this little cutie, Lilliana, joined her family in the outing. As you can tell, she was adorable, even if a little messy eating black beans with her fingers! Mom kept her very neat and clean, though, I have photos of her in three different outfits that day!

This is for Candie - here's your little angel, Jacqueline. We got to see several of the babies again that we first met when we worked at Eagle's Nest with the First Bible team. An amazing 85% of these children are already spoken for - even the ones with disabilities and deformities! The orphanage is run by an American couple with a foundation in the US. The place is one of the cleanest I have seen and it is obvious that the girls who take care of the children love them as if they were their own. It is touching to see a family get to claim their child, but there are as many tears on the side of the workers as there are with the new families. Pray for the orphaned and abandoned children of Guatemala. There are many in less desirable orphanages and many who still roam the streets.


Monday, August 07, 2006

God is good

God was gracious to us yet again. We dropped off the Hastie family yesterday evening for them to fly out today. This morning we got up to car problems. Two praises: 1)no car problems while we were transporting the team around, and 2)an excellent mechanic here in the capital that also speaks English! Some things we just don't have all the vocabulary for yet.

As we traveled around this past week with the Hastie family, my car was the designated "Hill" vehicle. Shelley Hill is the granddaughter of George and Mary Ruth Hastie, and she, her husband and two small children made the trip with the family. My car had seatbelts (with shoulder harnesses) in the back seat for the two kids. Problem was that the shoulder strap hit the kids across the face! What do you do when confronted with this problem? You flip over the buckets bought to wash dishes in and use them as booster seats! We can get creative when we have to!

We made great contacts in the Solola area churches for the Camp ministry and future projects. I made contact with a choir director at one of the churches and he wants to do a "concert" with me! (Bruce, I continue to get in practice but I wonder if he will be as demanding as you?) We are excited to be beginning our work, even though we are not living at the Camp yet. Pray for our preparation of our "casita" there for our final move.

Please pray for Jennifer and Andy as they begin their cross-country move from Seattle, WA, to Tallahassee, FL. They leave today, hoping to arrive in Nashville to visit Lindsay and Micah on Friday night, then on to Birmingham to visit Jennifer's mother, before settling in their new apartment in Tallahassee, close to the FSU campus. Andy will begin law school there on August 16th.

We are always thankful for your prayers on our behalf. God has been gracious and, even when we are tired, gives us a renewed spirit. We have continued affirmation that we are exactly where God wants us to be!


Saturday, August 05, 2006

Another work week draws to an end

This week was spent with the Hastie family of Texas. The work we completed included the floor of the garage and the field lines for the sewer. More digging!!! But it all looks great!

Lunch one day was provided by the La Cienega church. The ladies supplied not only us, but the
extra workers we had for the day. It was a good day.

We had so much rain that the gravel truck had to dump part of his load to be able to get out of there!

Included in the plans for the week was the baptism in Lake Atitlan of one of George and Mary Ruth's granddaughters.

Of course, we visited the Eagle's Nest Orphanage again and worked for the day. Some of the older girls liked to help.

Besides getting fed by the La Cienega church, we had supper at the home of Juan Aju, parents of Ruth and Santos. It was a joyous evening, if not a little tight!

I'm still working on how to get everything to look "professional" on the blog, but haven't worked out all of the bugs. Bear with me as I learn!