"...great joy which will be to all people."

Luke 2:10 Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people."

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Jude's Class Field Trip

How adorable are these Pre-K kids?  I can't believe Jude will finish the school year mid-October!  On Friday, they learned all about the fire department (Los Bomberos) here!























PS  Can you tell which one is Jude?  I will give you a hint:  his mama did not wash his uniform last night so he's not wearing grey pants, nor the correct school shirt.  Mom of the year, here.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Just a Few Numbers!

Last month we wrote a blog post about our one year anniversary living in Guatemala.  A dear friend encouraged us to share some more specific numbers with you.

In the past year:

  • Approximately 100 houses have been prefabricated by the guys in the shop.
  • 67 houses have been built by the IDC building team.
  • 67 families have heard the Gospel and 40% know Christ as their Savior.
  • Over 4000 water filters have been distributed to families living in villages surrounding La Antigua.
  • With your help, we have personally raised $15,000 to build 5 homes through donations from friends and family in the states.

Thank you for following our blog.  It is such an encouragement to receive emails and messages from friends and family.  




Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Pacaya

We live in a beautiful country with enormous mountains.  Our city, La Antigua, is surrounded by three amazing volcanoes, Aqua, Fuego (active) and Acatenango.  The most popular volcano to climb is Pacaya, located about an hour and half from La Antigua.  When friends and family come to visit, we invite them to climb (or ride a horse) up Pacaya (8,373 feet) with us.  It's a gorgeous site to behold.







Monday, August 24, 2015

When Family Visits, Houses Go Up!

I know I say it a lot but for real, we have the BEST family and friends EVER.  It is such an honor to have people visit from the U.S., raise money to build a house and work their tails off when they come.



Here are some pictures of the hard workers and the new house!



My nephews, Ethan and Logan, jumped right in with a great attitude!




My brother-in-law, Mitch, working on the roof!  




The Ramirez family has a beautiful view from their new rooftop!




Jack up high!





It was a hot day!  Everyone had to drink lots of water and take breaks.  I am so proud of these kids!




My sister, Michele, did a great job on the windows!  This is the second house my parents have built.  They are becoming pros!  



My mom loves the time after the house is finished, when we hand over the keys to the family and lift them up in prayer.  The Ramirez family is incredibly special.  Mom is a cook and dad cuts fire wood.  They have four children and all are in school!    




The Ramirez family is in need of one more bunk bed so after we raise the funds (Bible Baptist church camp is busy raising funds this week) we will be back to install another set.  We always enjoy follow up visit trips to have more fellowship time with the family!





Thank you, Mom, Dad, Chele, Mitch, Ethan, Logan, and Betty for making this possible!

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Boots!

In June, we wrote a blog post highlighting some amazing young men, who work with the building ministry, who were in desperate need of new boots.   Thank you, dear friends for contributing to purchasing boots for three hard workers!  Fernando, Mardoqueo and Aaron went to a store in Guatemala City where they purchased a brand new pair of work boots.  They were extremely appreciative. 







As always, we are just so thankful for the support we receive from our great friends back home.


Monday, July 6, 2015

12 Months and a Trip to Mexico

It's hard to believe we have lived in Guatemala for one year.  That went by super fast!

As I shared a few months ago, we have to apply for a new 90 day visa every three months and then every six months, we need to leave the country to get an exit stamp on our passports.  The timing worked best for us to leave last week and the quickest (and least expensive) route for us was a trip to Tapachula, Mexico.




We decided to be adventurous this time, so we drove our car instead of taking the leisure bus ride.  What an exciting trip!  The kids were absolutely amazing and we all enjoyed the family time away.  The drive to the Southwestern tip of Mexico was only 5 hours but when it's really, really hot in a Dodge Durango without air conditioning, filled with 8 people and lots of luggage, it just might feel like a 12 hour drive.  Ha!  We were dodging potholes, oncoming cars and motorcylces most of the way.  Not to mention the plethora of speed bumps that try to jar the tires off your car.

Part of the reason we keep a blog is to inform our friends and family of the ministry work happening in Guatemala and the other part is to keep a diary of our life.  Hopefully one day we'll read back through this blog and fondly remember these adventures.  Don't get me wrong, I do believe our kids will look back at this last trip to Mexico and remember the 101 degree weather, driving in that really, really hot car but I am certain they'll also look at these pictures and share a good laugh while remembering those sweaty times, as well.



How about that time we got pulled over (randomly) and were asked to pay $690 pesos?  Jack negotiated the officer down to $345 pesos, though I have a feeling that gentleman won't be handing in any paperwork.  #didwejustpayabribe?




Who needs a bathroom sink at the Mexico Immigration office?  Just use a bucket of clean water to wash your hands!




Hopefully you can click and zoom in on this picture and see the young boys/men pulling items across the river from Mexico into Guatemala (Mexico on the right bank, Guatemala on the left bank).  Surely this isn't legal but it's clearly happening out in the open, in the middle of the day.  I read on Lonely Planet that they focus more on vehicle entry for financial reasons (see paragraph above about being pulled over), so they don't care too much about foot traffic.  I also read that some people are stowed away in those containers.




When we decided to drive ourselves, we were determined to take a day to check out the Pacific Ocean.  We only had to drive 20 minutes outside of Tapachula, though it felt like we were driving away from all civilization.  Just when we thought we would drive straight into the ocean, we saw Playa Linda.  This beach is not for your average tourist.   As soon as we drove into this beach area, 4 or 5 men start waving us over to their own parking lot.  They promised us a free parking spot, free umbrella, and free chairs, IF we purchased some food from their restaurant.  I only wish I could give you an accurate description of their "restaurant" but it was basically a shack with a grill outdoors and comal for making tortillas.  No sugar coating here, when we realized we were the ONLY beach bums, we started questioning our decision.   But when we saw the "umbrella" they so kindly offered, we just started laughing.  We had such a blast making up stories of our demise.  In the end, we had a safe day with lots of laughs.  And we would totally go back and do it again!  See our free "umbrellas" in the last two beach pictures.  :)








We also had a chance to visit some Mayan ruins that dated from 1200 BC.  They aren't the largest around, but they were perfect for a family with little ones to visit.  Did I mention how really, really hot it was in Mexico?






Before we knew it, our visa run was over and it was time to head back into Guatemala.  Our reentry into Guatemala was much easier than our entry into Mexico.  They did question why we had a Chapina (Pearl) on board, but Jack explained that she was one of the very reasons we love this country and we were on our way home.

A Guatemalan guard sleeps on duty...




A worker is spraying our car for any Mexican bugs...




Home Sweet Home. 








PS  We drove back into Guatemala on July 4th so we were in the car most of the day.  The kids LOVE celebrating Independence Day in America with their cousins, so it was a bitter sweet day.  How is it possible to love two countries so much?