Sunday, March 22, 2009

Happy Birthday to Our Baby Girl!

On Friday, Lauren had her first birthday. She celebrated it by learning to walk!!

She had been taking steps for a few weeks, but finally decided to quit crawling and we now have a toddler. It is such a delight to see her roaming around the house :)

We celebrated the event by having lunch at the pool. There is a little restaurant there that we enjoy for most of our special occasions. Cubulco has only two restaurants we feel are safe to eat at so there isn't a lot of choice. :)

Afterward, we had cake and just a very small party.

It was a cold day, at the end of Wilf's March break last year, when Lauren was born. We were so thankful to the Lord for the safe arrival of another precious, healthy baby.

During this past year, she has meant so much to us and brought us so much joy.

Lauren loves to stand by the door and see all the kids outside. Although she can walk now, she is not quite ready for the great outdoors :) It's a bit of a jungle out in our yard!

I would love to keep this baby as my baby for many years yet, but the days march on, don't they? We will just enjoy each day, and thank the Lord for His wonderful gifts to us!

"There is only one person like you, in all of this great big world,

and you are just who God made you to be, whether a boy or a girl.

Whether you are black or white, or some beautiful color inbetween.

No matter your shape or size, you're as perfect as anything I've ever seen.

Your Mom and your Dad, they are so glad, you are a part of their family.

There is only one, who loves you more, He is your Father in heaven.

He is the Lord."

by Twila Paris

Sunday, March 15, 2009


For many months, Wilf and I had been praying about opportunities for the kids to be able to get off of the compound a bit more. There are no organized sports in town and the kids rarely had a chance to leave the compound. We had really hoped that they would learn Spanish during our time here, but they just were not hearing it often enough to learn much at all. When we returned from Mexico, Wilf went to talk to the principal of the Christian school just around the corner from our house. We wanted the kids to only attend part time because it was important that they keep up with their homeschooling as well.
Praise God, the school has been very kind and accomodating!! The normal school day for grade school children here is from 7:30 to 12:30. Our kids join the classes from 7:30 to 10:30, every day. The teachers even changed their schedules around!
The school is only a block away and when the kids come home, we do our homeschooling.

I think on the first day, only Brad and I were really nervous! Nate and Kris were so excited about the opportunity and they loved it right away.
Brad took only a few hours longer :)

Brad's teacher is very kind and so good about the language barrier. She is very patient with him...and with me :Z
He loves going now!
The kids are there for recess and of course that is the highlight! Nate plays soccer every day. Most often they play in the court yard inside the school. The class rooms are all around the outside.

During recess, ladies come in and sell snacks to the kids. It is truely amazing that these people who are really quite poor, give their kids so much money every day to buy snacks! Our kids are the odd ones who bring their snacks every day except for one (for a treat!).
A popular snack is fruit on a stick, covered with chocolate. Kristen bought this choco-mango and loved it!
The kids are definitely picking up more Spanish, although they are not fluent yet! We hope that they will learn a lot more in our remaining months here. It is amazing though, how they make friends without being able to say much! Kristen has a lot of friends and plays "house" even during recess.
Isn't God good?
He provided this opportunity both for language training and recreation for our kids in a wonderful way.
How we praise and thank Him!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Visiting Maria

Maria (on the right in the family picture) is the wonderful girl who works for Lia and Nico. Last Saturday she invited us all to her home to help celebrate her sister's 15th birthday.
Getting there was a bit of a challenge! After a bumpy trip on the "main" road, we had to turn down a lane way that was really narrow. It would have been alright except that both sides were lined with barbed wire fencing! We were just able to squeeze through with our pickup, but taking the corners was quite interesting.

Maria lives with her Mom and Dad (who sadly drinks a lot), her three younger siblings (only two in this photo) and the seven children of her older sister. Sadly, just over a year ago, Maria's sister was brutally murdered by her own husband. It has been a very difficult year for Maria and her family.

Five of the older sisters children. The baby was just over a year old when her mother was killed.

Maria's brother and her Dad (when he is sober) are in the middle of building an "addition" to their house. The boys are standing in Maria's parents new bedroom.

All the kids love Maria. She is very cheerful and has a beautiful smile.

Maria's family had a very small piece of property. However, thanks to some help from friends in Canada, and Lia and Nico, they were able to buy the lot next to them. Now they have more room for the kids to play as well as room to plant a garden.

Today may be the last day we see Maria! She has an opportunity to get a good job working for a family in the city. Sadly (for all of us-especially for Nico and Lia since she has been like part of their family for many years now) she has to start her new job on Saturday. It is a difficult move for Maria because her mother depends on her very much, and yet it is difficult to get a good job in town here and Maria helps to support the family.

How we pray for Maria as we go our separate ways! Please, let us all pray that she will continue to seek the Lord.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

More Visitors

For the past week, we have had some visitors from the mission board. It was a real blessing and encouragement to have them and we were sad to see them go!All the men: Ken, Wilf, Pastor Bergsma, Mike, Eric and Nico
Most of their week here was full of meetings and visits.

Enjoying a delicious lunch (made by Lia) with the obreros.

On the week-end, the other two families headed to Antigua for an intermissions conference. That meant the men were left with only us! We had a bit more of a relaxed pace and showed them some of the sights around town.
Saturday morning, they came to the market with me. It is difficult to describe the market here. It is open all week long, but there are really only people selling fruits and vegetables on Thursdays and Saturdays. On Saturdays especially, a lot of ladies come in from the mountians and sit with their big baskets (which they carried on their heads into town-often a long distance). Most of the mountain ladies are selling tomatoes, potatoes, chickens or turkeys-live ones! It is a very crowded, dirty and not-so-nice smelling place. It is certainly vastly different then getting everything you need at NoFrills or Fortinos!
Most visitors find it fascinating. I must admit that the fascination has run out a bit for me and the kids :)
I buy most of my produce from this friendly lady. She is very kind and gracious with my fumblings in the language.

Outside the main market building, venders line the streets as well.

Our church has a small bookstore where we sell Bibles in Spanish and the New Testament in the local dialect, Achi.

In the afternoon, it was warm enough to take them to the only tourist spot in town :). We all enjoyed the pool, both for swimming and a taco supper.

We are thankful to these men for coming! Wilf and I were very encouraged and the kids loved having guests as well.
All the men left for the city yesterday to do some sightseeing and to have some more meetings. Tomorrow morning the men fly home and "our" men will make the drive back here. We pray that the visit will spur us all on to "abound in the work of the Lord"!