Thursday, August 28, 2008

A tooth at last

Baby Joel is well into his ninth month, and while I very much enjoyed his adorable, toothless, gummy grin, I was beginning to wonder if the boy was going to sprout some teeth anytime soon!

Well, one finally broke the surface last week. These photos are my attempts at capturing the "breakthrough"...

Yep, he caught on to what I was doing...

C'mon, open up!

Aha! Got it!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

A lovely lunch at Marla's

Marla is one of the young people that attends the church in San Juan. Saturday her family invited us over for lunch at their house.

This is Marla's mama. Next to her is their woodburning stove, where our meal was cooked.

Here is some of the group that was there:

Left to right: Marla's mom; her sister Dora; friend's mom; friend whose name I can't remember; Marla; and another older sister who cooked our delicious meal.

Johanna's digging in!

We had chicken that reminded me of a Guatemalan dish called Pepian, but it wasn't exactly that. I would call it Chicken and Broccoli Yum!

We enjoyed the Guatemalan hospitality. Casual, comfortable, and so friendly...

And look what Jillian, our animal-lover, caught:

This little pigeon flew down to the patio, Jillian cornered it and caught it, and it seemed perfectly happy to come home with her!

Here are the photos I promised...

These are just some random pics of the Stansells' visit. You can see more at our ministry blog.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Fast and furious

The last few days were a whirl of activity, and I hardly had time to post about our visitors! As I write, Daniel is driving Bro. Stansell and Jonathan to the airport in Guatemala City. They fly out around 1 p.m. today. The children are a bit somber this morning; they got up early to see them off, and miss them already.

I have to apologize for the lack of photos in this post, but I don't have access to the camera. To me, posting without pictures is like talking without my hands! So I will post pics soon.

We enjoyed their visit very much! On the Lord's Day, Bro. Stansell preached to a crowd in Xela, then at the new church in La Esperanza, and then again at the church in San Juan. He and Jonathan were a great encouragement to the people, as well as to us missionaries.

Monday we met up with another missionary family, the Wilders, and headed out to visit the ruins at Huehuetenango. The weather was perfect, and the deep blue sky and ever-changing clouds were a dramatic backdrop to the ancient Mayan structures. We explored the palacial house, a sport arena, the temple of (pagan) worship, and other ruins. The history was fascinating.

Tuesday was the day for shopping and running errands. They visited the Centro Comercial, which has some of the best touristy shopping in town. The Stansells had brought down the parts we needed to get our van repaired, and the shop was working on it. Tuesday evening was prayer meeting in San Juan.

Wednesday morning, Daniel took the Stansells and our three oldest children up to Cerro Quemado, which is a huge dormant volcano south of town. I stayed home with the younger ones. When the phone rang later, it was Daniel saying he was calling from 9500 feet above sea level! In the afternoon they shopped some more, and in the evening there was the church meeting in La Esperanza.

There were thirteen present for church last night, in spite of the rain. The preaching was great, and we were exhorted that our life is but a vapor that appeareth for a little time, then it's gone. If we want our life to count for Christ, the time to do His work is right now, because tomorrow is not promised.

On the way home, I think that message was on all of our hearts. As we approached the central park of La Esperanza, it was spontaneously decided to stop and pass out gospel tracts. Even though it was dark and wet, there were many people out, and I think most all of them received a tract.

We did the same in San Juan. There was the sense that time is running short, partly because the Stansells were to leave the next morning, but mostly because life is short, and we don't know how long we have to work!

"Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.

For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that.

But now ye rejoice in your boastings: all such rejoicing is evil.

Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin."

James 4:14-17

Friday, August 15, 2008

Expecting guests

Daniel has gone to Guatemala City to pick up two guests who are to arrive at the airport tomorrow morning. We are excited to have Bro. Chris Stansell and his son Jonathan here! Their visit will be short, but we hope to get them in on some of the mission work here, as well as seeing some Mayan ruins and maybe hike a volcano or something...

We'll see what happens!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Latest project

We've had a project abrewin' at our house. Ever since we heard about the concept of a family closet, we have been excited about implementing the idea.

The beauty of having a family closet is that all of the clothes in the house are located in one room, so putting away laundry is MUCH easier. Another benefit is that there is more space in the bedrooms when you don't have a dresser in each.

Phase one of the Family Closet Project was to clean out a small room that used to be our boys' room. Daniel took out all of the furniture, then I cleaned and swept in there. After giving it a fresh coat of paint, we were ready to put in shelves.

Phase two was choosing and installing shelving. We had to assess how much space we had in there, what type of shelves to use, and how to put them in without crowding the clothing too much. We chose metal shelves over wood, because although they are not as pretty, the metal does not retain moisture, and humidity can be a problem here.

The skylight in this room will also help keep humidity at bay.

Daniel put the shelves together, then anchored them to the wall.

We put down some shelf lining, and now the closet is ready to move everyone's clothes in.

During this process, I've been sorting through the children's clothes, passing down what needed to be passed down, and tossing what is worn out.

Another nice thing about our new Family Closet is that it is right next to the laundry room. No more folding the laundry on the couch, then having to deliver the stacks to separate rooms. Woo-hoo!

Life without wheels

I've been scarce around blogland lately. I guess part of the reason is that we've been without a car since the end of June, and I tell you, everything seems to take a bit longer when you don't have a vehicle of your own! Thankfully, there is a bus stop within walking distance of our house.

When we head out for whatever errands we need to do, there is no need to stop and gas up the car, for it is safely tucked away at the shop. Once a week I take the bus to the bus terminal in town, then walk several blocks to the market to buy our fresh veggies and fruits. I take one of the girls with me to help carry the booty home, so I am forced to spend one-on-one time with one of my sweet daughters.

Daniel and our oldest son Joseph ride their bikes to prayer meeting each morning. When Daniel needs to go to La Esperanza or the big city Xela, he takes the bus and is obliged to converse with new and interesting people, some of whom hear the gospel right when they need it.

I tell you, being without wheels is the pits! As far as I can tell, we have 1) gotten more exercise, 2) saved on gas money, 3) spent quality time with each other, and 4) been able to meet more people who need Jesus.

Isn't that terrible?? :o)

Monday, August 4, 2008

Perfect peace

"Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee. Trust ye in the LORD forever: for in the LORD JEHOVAH is everlasting strength:" Isaiah 26:3,4

Thanks to my husband, I was awake at 5 a.m. this morning. Seriously, I really am thankful! I got up, fed the baby (who promptly fell back to sleep), saw my Sweetie and Son #1 off (they leave for men's prayer meeting at 5:30), showered and dressed, then enjoyed some time in my Bible that was much more leisurely than it would have been if I had risen at the usual later hour. If I hadn't been up so early, I might have missed what the Lord wanted to give me to prepare for this day.

And, boy, did I need it.

Thou wilt keep him... It is the LORD who holds me in His hand. I am not aimlessly wandering on this planet Earth for no reason, but have a Creator God who has all things under control. This is a comfort to me, that the One in control is also my loving Heavenly Father, who has my best interest at heart!

...whose mind is stayed on thee... What peace we can experience when our minds are "stayed" on Him. I've kept this verse in mind all day long, through all the "issues" that have come up, and it really helps me keep things in perspective.

...Especially when company arrives unexpected at 7 a.m.

Now, maybe your house is company-ready first thing Monday morning. But after a busy weekend and the Lord's Day when we have three church services and are home barely long enough to eat lunch and nap the children...well, my house isn't.

But on keeping my mind stayed on the Lord, a thought occurred to me: What is more important, nursing my wounded pride, or greeting our guest with a smile and a cheerful word? In light of eternity, what matters more?

Now with that kind of perspective, I have perfect peace, even through all the other "issues" that have presented themselves today. It's a lot better than being stressed-out and annoyed. :o)