Saturday, May 30, 2009

A Look at Our Week

It is difficult to believe another week is finished! Here's some pictures to give you an idea of what we did this week :)

Kristen and Ellen are continually "moving" around the yard. They make new houses every day. Here they are enjoying afternoon tea.
Lauren is sometimes allowed to play as well....if she behaves :)

Ryan loves the sandbox!

Monday morning we went to the city. We had driven about an hour when the traffic came to a dead stop. A large truck had rolled over and caught fire about three miles up the road. The fellow in front of us estimated it would take several hours before traffic would move again. Once, in the the fall, Wilf had taken an alternate route into the city with Nico. We decided to try it! We had to backtrack about fifteen minutes, then we had an adventure! Most of the road was paved (sort of!), but other parts were pretty rough. Thankfully we drive a 4x4 truck!

We saw this dead python along the road. Pretty exciting stuff for the kids!

The scenery was very beautiful and it was really neat to see some new mountains for a change. Even though it took us longer to get to the city, we all agreed we were thankful for the opportunity to see new things!

We arrived at Seteca (the seminary we stay at while in the city) just as they were starting up a soccer game. It was really fun to watch!

The next day we went to the zoo...again! It is very inexpensive to get into the zoo and it is a lovely park. We don't know of any other park land in the city! We brought along a picnic lunch and enjoyed the morning.

We don't have any photos of the dentist visits, multiple shopping trips or other errands we did in the city! Wednesday, we went to a restaurant that has an awesome aquarium in it. God has certainly made a lot of beautiful underwater creatures.

It ws really neat because they had a tube where you can stand and see the fish all around you!

Ryan's all ready to go swimming with the fish!

Wednesday afternoon we headed home! It was a really nice drive home too-even though we lost the cooler lid somewhere along the way. Thankfully it didn't rain (which is does almost every afternoon!), and thankfully the kids didn't get car sick (which they do almost every trip!).

The last hour of the drive is especially twisty. We make our way up one mountain range and down the other side. The road is paved (which we are very thankful for!), but the drop off is rather close. I tried my best to give you an idea....

The Lord willing, that is our last trip to the city until we fly home! Seems hard to believe in some ways. We thank the Lord for safety once again and pray for God's grace to finish our time here well!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Sunday Service

This past Sunday was a special day for our church. We had a Presbyterian pastor come and preach for us! This is the first time the church has had a pastor preach for over a year.
We had a special service including profession of faith, a baptism and celebration of the Lord's supper!
Wilf has been teaching a profession of faith class to these three ladies for most of our time here. It has been a great blessing for the ladies and for Wilf! He had the privilege of being a part of their public profession of faith. The two ladies standing are sisters and the elderly lady is their mother. Please keep these ladies in your prayers. The mother is a widow, but the two younger ladies both have very dificult marriages.

These ladies (along with another sister, who is already a member of our church) have asked Wilf if they could continue meeting, but use the time now to go and speak with their neighbours about Christ. Of course Wilf was only too happy to accompany them!

The Pastor speaking about baptism before he baptizes the little girl.

To celebrate the Lord's supper, everyone makes a circle around the table.

After the service, we had lunch together. Some ladies from the church had gotten up at six in the morning to prepare the soup. Of course we had it with tortillas!

Marcella was one of those helpful ladies. I thought this was a great picture of her because the people here rarely smile for the camera. She liked it too and asked for a copy :)

It was a real blessing to have the Pastor with us for the day. There is a possibility that he will be returning here in the fall to be the pastor of this church for a couple of years. We are excited about this and are praying for the Lord's leading.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Dia de Madre

Mother's Day is a big holiday here. My kids made it pretty special for me! The week before Mother's Day, Nate and Kris spent a lot of time in the closet making me cards and presents. Nathan made me this beautiful card and even wrote me a poem.
Just after six o'clock Sunday morning, I heard someone banging the pans in the kitchen. I quickly realized what was going on and gently encouraged Wilf to go out and tell Kris it was too early to begin making breakfast! She managed to wait until seven o'clock, then she brought me a meal that she had made totally on her own. It was wonderful!

Kids on a low budget have to be creative! I was really impressed with the things the kids made for me. I was especially thankful to see them do all these things without any prompting from me or Dad. A friend wrote me to me recently expressing how thankful she was to be a mother and the joy she had in raising her children and supporting her husband. And although most days run very far from smoothly, I would whole heartedly agree! This year in Guat. has given me time to think about my task as a wife and mother. I have not been able to be very involved in the work here because of the language barrier. But I can find a lot of joy and fulfillment by supporting and encouraging Wilf in his work and by being a "joyful mother of children. Praise the Lord!"

On Monday, the village of Pichal had a big celebration for Dia de Madre. Wilf headed out first thing in the morning with Nico, little Nico, Ellen, Nate, Kris and Brad. This was Brad's first big hike and he did great!! The hike only takes about an hour, but some parts of it are pretty steep!

The arrival of the rainy season makes the hiking a lot messier, but it also makes it a lot more beautiful.
A big part of the celebration was a soccer tournament!

The soccer field is a bit challenging. I suppose they are happy that the majority of the field is flat-considering all the mountains surrounding them! After the soccer tournament, a lunch was served up the moutain side at the village school. Our group left shortly after the lunch but the festivies continued for the rest of the day.
The kids crossing the bridge on the way back home. It is interesting because we just started the rainy season so the river is still really low. The fertile river bank is all planted with corn. The river looks totally different from when I saw it last!
It has been good to experience the different holidays and how they are celebrated in another country. I think Father's Day is the only one left....:)

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Excerpts from the kids journals

It hasn't been too diffiuclt to think of journal topics this year!
As part of their school work, Nate and Kris write in a journal a couple times a week.
I thought I would include a few of their writings (with their permission) to let you have a peek into our life here!

Kris writing about one of the hikes she's gone on with Wilf:
Wed. Sept 24, 2008

"On Tuesday, me and my Dad and Nate went on a hike to a house far up in the mountains. Uncle Nico and Uncle Ken came with us. It took an hour to get to the house. There were only two dogs. That's a little unusual for a house here. But there were lots of chickens and roosters walking around. It was a dirty house. While we were hiking we saw a beautiful house. It was swept and they had a cage for the chickens. I thought it was quite a nice house."

One of Nate's experiences:
Oct. 29, 2008

"We went to a village called Pichal the other day. Me, little Nico, Kristen and Ellen booked it. Well, actually Kristen and Ellen fell behind to where the slow poke Dads were. When we first got there, we couldn't find any thing to do, But later we found a place where there was a straight log that we tried to cross. Every time we fell, everyone laughed. I never fell, only Ellen, Nico and Kristen fell. Soon it was lunch time. They gave us soup with chicken in it. After lunch, me and Nico played we were enemies and we had to try to fight eachother with sticks. It was soon time for the party to begin. It was so packed that we had to sit on the floor. After a long service and some loud music, it was over and we had to eat tamales, except me and Kristen didn't have to eat any. By the time we reached home it was 12:00, so we went right to bed."

Note: the people here have services for all sorts of occasions-new house being built, renovations done, first birthdays... Wilf is going to a service tomorrow to thank the Lord that a lady's husband has been released from jail in the states!

Nate writing about a typical day for him (before they went to school for most of the morning!):
Nov. 14,2008

"I get up at 6:00 every morning. It depends on the weather-if the weather is cold I lay in bed and read. But if it is a warm morning, I get out of bed and start my school. At 7:00 we eat breakfast. It takes us a half an hour to eat and another half an hour to clean up before school starts. After school, Mom starts to make lunch. While Mom is making lunch all the kids play outside-rain or shine. When lunch is over we go outside to play. After an hour of playing, I come inside and have my computer time, grab an apple, and go outside again. Soon Mom calls us in for supper. For supper we have bread or leftovers from lunch. and for dessert we have yogurt. After supper my Dad reads us a story. Then we go to bed."

Kris's description of Cubulco:
Wed. Oct. 22, 2008

"The city that we live in is called Cubulco. We have mountains surrounding us. We have an ice cream store close by us. And instead of grocery stores, we have a market. There are lots of dogs in the market. There are lots of dogs on the streets. People don't have cars so they ride horses. And when we go some where, then people always hop in the back of the truck. We bring them to town, that's why they jump in the back. We have a bread store close to us. We also have a pool close by us. I really like it because I love to swim."

Nate writing about some of our activities here:
March 31, 2009

"Over the week-end our family did some visiting. On Saturday, Kristen, Dad and I went and talked to people. Frist Dad asks if they go to church. If they do, Dad asks them what church they go to and how often they go. We visited 7 houses. Out of those seven houses, 1 person did not go to church and all the rest went to church! On Sunday the whole family went to see Celestino's new house. Dad and Mom talked and read the Bible with them. When we were done, we went to our maid's house becuase my mom had locked us out of our house!! We stayed there for a long time talking and reading the Bible with them. Her house is very small. They have one room where they all sleep, they have a main room and they have a kitchen. We can learn from these visits that we are very blessed."

Kristen writing about Wilf's work here:
Fri. Oct. 10, 1008

"My Dad has lots of jobs here. He has to go on hikes with Uncle Nico and Uncle Ken. Some times, if me or Nate or someone else in our family is lucky, they get to go with him on his hikes. he goes on hikes because he has to preach to people and tell them about Jesus. He also preaches in the church here too. He teaches Sunday school at church to the young people. He makes lots of trips to places to teach people. He goes to the city to buy food and to go to the doctor and other things. I'm happy to have a Dad who likes to preach the gospel."

Nate on the same subject:
March 17, 2008

"My Dad's work here is very interesting. My Dad's job is to preach and he also visits people in the mountains. Somes times I get to go with him. On Saturdays my Dad has a class with some of the ladies from our church. In the church, Dad plays the piano and he sings at the same time. On Dad's visits, he encourages people to come to church and those that do go to church he kind of gives them a Bible study. My Mom does not do as much as my Dad but what she does is still important."

I hope you enjoyed "seeing" our life here through the eyes of our two oldest kids!

Nate (10 years old) and Kris (8 years old) on their way to school. They have to be out of the house before 7:30 every morning! Thankfully they are always eager to go and don't need any nagging :)

Friday, May 1, 2009

Effects of the Landslide

Back in January, I wrote a post about a giant landslide that occured not too far from us. Sadly, many men were buried alive when a huge part of the mountian came down on them.
These men were all from small villages in the mountains, and they were making their way to the coast to work. I also mentioned one family in particular and the opportunity Wilf had to visit with them.
This is Agupito and his wife. They live in one of the villages where we have a small church, although he and his family are not Christians. Agupito had polio as a child and the disease left him quite crippled. He has difficulty supporting his family as the only real employment for men in these villages is farming.

Agupito and his wife have seven children. Wilf is uncertain of how many people live in the family home. Unlike many, even in this remote village, this house is not made of adobe brick, but sticks.
Imagine living in this stick house with many other people-especially in the rainy season we are in now!
Agupito's eldest son, with his wife and children, live right beside the parents and he has always been a big help to his father. Two of Agupito's daughters are married as well but still live with their parents--with their children as well.

Sadly, Agupito's oldest son, as well as his two sons-in-law were all buried in the landslide back in January. Miraculously, his son survived but was very badly injured. Wilf visited the family earlier this week and he was happy to see that the son is able to hobble around a bit now. It is still uncertain how much of a recovery he will make. He was able to stand with his wife and two daughters for the picture!

This woman and her sister below, are left as widows and now dependent on their crippled father for support.

Agupito appealed to the obrero in his village for some help! We had a food collection for the family in our church in town and in the other village churches as well.
Also, the school where Wilf used to teach (BCS) is having a fund raiser to help buy new clothes for the entire family!

Juan, the obrero in the village, came into town and purchased the new clothes. He had quite a heavy load (he did have some help carrying it the 2 and a half hours back to the village!)

We are thankful that we could help this family out in a very small way. We are also thankful for the opportunities Wilf has had to read and pray with them.
It is a sober reminder once again of the power of God, and His awesome goodness and grace to us!