Sunday, August 31, 2008

Kids Stuff

The kids and I spend most of our time at home. We don't venture into town very often becuase the sun is very hot during the day and there are not a lot of places to walk to! I am thankful that the kids have entertained themselves well, so far. Nate and Kris have been able to accompany Wilf on some of his trips and that has been really interesting for them.
We did bring along our K'nex and the lego and that keeps them occupied often. Nate made this great windmill a few weeks ago. He is also working on landing his front flip on the tampoline and enjoys playing soccer with Uncle Nico, who is a great soccer player!
We also thank the Lord for the provision of the pool just down the road. The owners let us pay a "membership" for the year and we head over there often to cool off. All of the kids have improved in their swimming! It is a great source of recreation for us and a way to get out of the four walls once in a while :)
This is the rainy season so most days, later in the afternoon, the skies cloud over. We may get a lot of rain, or just a quick shower. The kids love going out in the rain and jumping on the trampoline. It is a great way to cool off!

Kristen is the best "player" in our family! She is continually thinking up fun things to do with either Ellen or Brad. These pictures are of her and Ellen's Tortilleria. This shop was open for quite a few days!

Pretty creative hey?

The K's have these great trikes for their twins. Brad loves to peddle around the yard!
Our kids get along great with the kids next door and we are thankful for that. Nico and Lia have been away this past week and we will be thankful to see them again tomorrow.
. On September 10th, we will be adding 3 more kids to the mix when the V's arrive! It will be a busy place, but we are thankful for the company.
Our kids would love to have some friends from the town. However, the language is a barrier as well as lack of oppotunity. There are some kids in our church but they only come for Sunday school Sunday mornings and there isn't much time for socializing. Hopefully, opportunities will arise for them to make some new friends!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

This Weeks Hike

Tuesday morning, bright and early, Wilf and Nico headed out to the mountains again. This week they did the longest hike yet. After the hour's drive to the bridge, they hiked for four hours before reaching the first village. Tuesday afternoon they held a service in the first village and they spent the night in the church. Wednesday morning they hiked down a valley flanked on either side by steep canyon walls. The trail crossed the river many times. The guys used whatever was there. Sometimes by jumping from stone to stone, sometimes by suspension bridge and sometimes by wading up to your waist!

At one place, the river had carved out tunnels through the rock, which wonderfully serves as part of the trail.

By midday, they arrived at the next village, where they held an afternoon service. Then they started the long hike home again!
Two of the church workers accompanied Wilf and Nico for the trip. Here they are starting a fire to cook breakfast along the river.
We thank the Lord for His work in these Christian's lives and we continue to pray for spiritual maturity and growth in light of many obstacles.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Last week, Wilf went visiting in the mountains several times. Earlier in the week, he went with Nico and visited two different villages. They did some Bible teaching and spent the night in one of the churches. On Friday, they headed out again and this time Nate, Kris and little Nico went along. They drove to the bridge (pictured in an earlier post) and then hiked for an hour.
I was a bit concerned for them becuase shortly after they left, we had a major thunder storm in town. Thankfully, they didn't have a storm, but they did take shelter in this church building during a passing rain shower. This is actually the church building for the village they were visiting. They didn't have the service here though because it was too small to hold all the visitors who had come from a neighbouring village.
The service was held at this man's house. Not really in the house, but under his "porch" :)
They made a big event of the service and had a meal before and tamales after the three hour service! Nate is helping the Bible teacher for this town, Santos, keep the fire going for the tamales.
Behind Kris you can see the people sitting under the porch waiting for the service to begin. The service was supposed to begin at 4:00, but it didn't actually start until 7:00-after the neighbouring village brought in their sound system on a mule! Santos has a generator, so they were able to hook up some keyboards and enjoy some singing....for a long time and very loudly! The service went until 10:00, then they still had to eat tamales, and hike back to the truck by moonlight. I was thankful that there was a bright moon becuase earlier that week, Wilf had hiked for over an hour in the dark and rain. This made the bridge crossing quite dangerous.
Of course, at home here, I had thought they would be home by 10:00. When they didn't come in until after midnight I was quite concerned!!
All of the ladies who live in the mountians and the majority of ladies in town, wear this type of outfit that you see in these pictures. The skirt is a colourful, large piece of material that they wrap around their waist several times. The shirts are very lacy, with a lot of bead work on them.
Although the service was very long and they couldn't understand any of it (they didn't even know any of the songs because they were all sung differently than we are familiar with), Nate and Kris still enjoyed going along and are asking to go again-even for an overnight trip!
Wilf is heading out again early tomorrow morning. The kids can't go along this time because they will be visiting two villages that are even further away and the hiking is difficult. Please pray for him as he travels and for the Word as it goes forth. And pray for us at home here. He will be away over night again and the days are long without him.
"How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, "Your God reigns!""
Isaiah 52:7

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Ladies Bible Study

The Ladies Bible Study group meets every Wednesday afternoon. Lia drives around and picks up different people because they don't have vehicles and they live a distance away from each other. Driving around to pick up the ladies is a real adventure in itself becuase the roads are pretty rough!
This is a house up the mountainside just outside of town. A group of ladies meet here to catch a ride to the study.

The road goes right through this river and since this is where we meet the ladies, it is also the place where we need to turn around to head back to town. Lia is great at turning around in the river!
This house is right next to the road and I took this picture as we were driving by to give an idea of what some of the houses look like. This house is really quite nice for this area.

I took this from our backyard. In the afternoon there are some really lovely clouds in the sky. It is very beautiful to see the sun shining on different parts of the mountains. I can't quite capture the beauty with our camera.
Somedays the four walls of the compound can feel confining and we can feel a bit low in spirits, but the words of Psalm 121 are so appropriate and comforting for us:
"I will lift up my eyes to the hills-from whence comes my help?
My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth."
I won't quote the whole Psalm here, although the entire Psalm brings wonderful joy and peace!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Welcome to our home

Welcome! For all of you who asked to see some pictures of our home--here they are!! Enter at the front door and I will do my best to show you around.
When you enter the front door above, you immediately enter the main living area. It is a very large room that has lots of windows and a nice high ceiling. I took a picture of the four corners of the room to let you see where we live every day.
The windows above the couch are looking out into the back yard and the door to the back yard is right by the blue mat seen in the lower left hand corner.

The door way you see in this picture leads into Nate's wing of the house :) There are two bedrooms on this side of the house-Nate's and a spare room/office (pictures below). There is also a nice bathroom with a shower, and a large storage room.

Our dining area looks out into the back yard as well.
And the kitchen! Complete with pictures on the fridge of all our family and friends. The kitchen is well supplied so we don't miss too many things we left at home. There is even an old bread maker that makes a half decent loaf of bread-although it sounds a bit sick when it is mixing the dough, hopefully it will last us the whole year....
We also have a water filter by the kitchen sink so we can drink that water and we don't have to buy any. That is very handy even if it only trickles out most of the time :)
Now for the west wing of the house (actually I have no idea what direction our house is facing! It may be the north wing...)
The first room in this wing of the house is our main floor laundry. Since we only have one floor, it is not surprising, but I am thankful for it. We have both a washer and a dryer but so far we haven't needed the dryer because things dry really quickly outside.

I am standing by the laundry room door to take this great picture of Nate :) Our room is to the left and Kris and Lauren's room to the right. Ryan and Brad's room is just around the corner.

I even took a picture of the bathroom becuase I think it is really very nice. We have a lovely bathtub, which is quite a luxury in this country. It is much nicer than the bathtub we had at our old house :)
Kris and Lauren's room.

The boy's room

And our room.
Nate's room (which is on the other side of the house, as I mentioned earlier)
And the doorway to the spare room-which we hope both of our dear parents will come and occupy one day!
The house is a bit bare. We didn't bring a lot of homey things with us-just a few picture frames and of course our clothes. I didn't even bring very many of the kid's toys.
But this feels like home and we are thankful to be here. The weeks before we arrived here were busy with visits and traveling. We slept in many different places. Even in G.C. when we first arrived everyone was feeling unsettled and displaced. But after we arrived here we all felt like we were home. The little boys never asked when we were going to go "home", like they often have in our other travels. We thank the Lord for answering our prayers.
"Home is a comfort, and home is a light,
A place to leave the darkness outside.
Home is a peaceful and and ever full feeling
a place where the soul safely hides.
And being at home should remind you that still,
there's a place that's prepared just for you;
and I think my home is just heaven's reflection,
as long as my home's here with you."
Michael Card

Friday, August 8, 2008

The Bridge to the aldeas (or villages)

Today, Wilf and Nico had to go to "the bridge" for a meeting with the men who teach in the aldeas (or villages) in the mountains surrounding us here. They meet at "the bridge" because the men have to hike from their villages to get together. Lia and I took the kids and joined them at the end of the meeting. The bridge is about a 45 minute drive from town. Here the road ends and there is a cable bridge that crosses a fairly large river. On the other side of the bridge, there are only trails to get to the different villages. Part of Wilf's work here will be hiking out to these villages and meeting with the Christians.
The road was in pretty good shape on the whole, though at one point we did have to cross this small stream.

The scenery was really beautiful and I wish we could have stopped more often to take pictures (I'm just like my Dad :)), but of course the road is very curvy and quite narrow so it is not a good idea to sit too long.

Once in a while we would see a little home built into the mountain side. And of course there is a lot of corn planted on almost any bare surface-no matter how steep it may be at times!

Here is a picture of the cable bridge as we are approaching it.

When the road ends, there are basically three homes and of course a little store for thirsty travellers who have hiked out from their village. The kids all went across the bridge with a bit of trepidation because it sways a bit and also, as you can see, more then a few boards are missing. Nico says that the bridge is in pretty good shape right now. He has had to walk on the cables at times when too many boards were missing in one spot.

It was very interesting to meet the Bible teachers and get a sense of how different things are for them in these remote villages. Please pray for these men as they teach the people about the Lord and His Word.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

A walk in town and fun at home :)

So far getting fresh fruit in town here has been very challenging! There are no big grocery stores in town. Only little stores that sell some basic groceries.
There is also a market that supposedly has fresh fruit for sale. We were running a bit low on fruit so we made the walk to the market on Thursday but there was nothing worthwhile available! Someone told us that Saturday mornings were best for fresh fruit so we headed out again today.
At first I was quite disappointed to only get some apples. But as we walked home we first ran into a man selling watermelon out of the back of his truck and then another man selling cantaloupe. So now we have some other fruit besides the oranges that are right in our own back yard!
Our neighbours have these large wheeled tricyles for their twins. Brad loves to peddle through town on the blue one :) (they have a boy and a girl so the other tricycle is pink!)

Of course Kris is often busy playing one of her favorite things-setting up a house. I think Brad has come over for dinner....

Kristen and her friend Ellen on the trampoline.
Brad and his friend "little" Nico (his Dad is "big" Nico) in the hammock by our back door.