Monday, July 27, 2015

homesick...

When the hurt and the pain feel unbearable...

After a week of a dear friend losing her life tragically, the reminder of the blessing we have that so many do not, and the stories of extreme pain and poverty, I'm more homesick than ever.

Not for a place on this earth (although I do miss my friends and family back in IL).
I'm homesick for the day I will run into the arms of Jesus.
We are not of this world friends.
Our hearts long for more.

"Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him." 1 John 2:15

"But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself." Philippians 3:20-21


Friday, July 24, 2015

barely a teenager...

I walked into that familiar place, that place that feels more like a home than any other orphanage I've ever visited. My kids and I are greeted with smiles, hugs, kisses on the cheeks, and lots of "donde esta mi tio?" (asking where Dan's at)! The amount of words I could write on the impact that man is having to orphaned and vulnerable children is just unreal and I'm not really a writer (like you didn't know that already)... I digress.

We went just for a short visit today as my kiddos have appointments and school and a host of other things going on. The main purpose of our visit was to catch up and to deliver a blessing... a blessing from a 9 year old girl that chose to forego gifts for her birthday to buy groceries, specifically meat, for an orphanage where the children aren't getting much protein in their diets.

I turned the corner, arms full of children and groceries, and there he was... this TINY little package swaddled with blankets, a tiny baby cap on his head, and his little bitty face barely peaking out. I drew closer wanting to scoop him up, but knowing that he was fast asleep, I quickly asked the caregiver who he was...

Her response: he's 8 days old... he and his mother "R" came to live at the home because she's barely a teenager, had just brought forth life, and the system stepped in while she was at the hospital and brought her to the orphanage.

Barely a teenager...
Giving birth in what I imagine to be a poor facility...
The fear of giving birth to a grown, married, resourceful, woman living in the US is intense...
But her... I can't find the words...

I walked to the kitchen, greeted her clearly sore body, we met eyes, and I fought back the tears. Her world just changed drastically... I can't imagine what she must be feeling. We chatted briefly, but she clearly did not trust this new person she had never seen. She observed our interactions with the other girls and their babies. She observed my interactions with my children.

What must she be thinking...
I imagine she felt much like Mary before, during, and after giving life to Jesus. Betrayed. Abandoned. Cast out. Hopeless.

Abba, Father... I cry out to you on behalf of this BEAUTIFUL mother and the AMAZING new life you have just blessed her with. I pray that she would find peace and rest in her new home. I pray that You would draw her near to Yourself. I pray that she would trust quickly. I pray that she would come to know you soon. I pray that anger and fear would not overcome her or affect her relationship with this tiny tiny baby whom she has yet to name. I pray, God of the UNIVERSE, that YOU could preserve this family, that YOU can teach her how to mother from a place of grace and love and complete surrender. I have no words Lord. You know her heart. You know her scars, visible and invisible. I PRAISE you that she chose life. I PRAISE you that he is healthy and loved. Heal her Lord. Redeem her Lord.


(*info has intentionally been left out to protect the privacy of these precious children and the place they call home)

Monday, July 20, 2015

Nothing is wasted

Sometimes with all of the chaos of life, we wonder if what we are doing is making a difference? I have thought this many times in our time serving here in Guatemala. Am I really making an impact for Christ? I have been struggling with this for the last few days and as I was driving to church this morning this song came on the radio.



Then, this afternoon we ran into a girl who was in one of the homes that we serve at and has since gone to live with her family members. We talked for a while and then said goodbye. I just couldn't help but wonder how God may use the little things, the small amount of time that we had to pour into her life to change her future. Nothing is wasted!

I was reminded that even when we feel that what we are doing may not be impactful, that God will not waste it. Every touch, every smile, every conversation...they are not wasted in the hands of our Redeemer.

~Dan

Sunday, July 19, 2015

more family pics!

I just had to share some of the sweet photos we captured last week! We were all dressed and ready to take photos, just waiting for Dan to arrive home... when all of a sudden.... CRACK... BOOM... thunder... downpour! So, we improvised and went for the indoor shoot! :)








































Thursday, July 16, 2015

Long time...

Friends,
We are so excited about the new look of our blog with brand new photos just taken yesterday. LOOK at those babies... they melt me!

So, what's been going on here...

A huge part of our ministry is relational, which we are so blessed by. Pouring into, mentoring, discipling, and encouraging not only the children we serve, but the caregivers is something the Lord clearly put on our hearts. We truly believe that this is an extremely important part of what God has called us to this country to do.





We are in the middle of the 'busy season' of hosting teams. Dan has been able to travel with several teams and Christi tries to serve with them as she is able. We were so thrilled to host Atlanta Christian Church from IL, one of our supporting churches since before our family moved to Guatemala in 2012.









We both oversee the sponsorship program in Guatemala. We have the privilege of delivering photos and letters to the children and seeing the joy on their faces. It's an honor to be able to show them tangibly how much the Lord loves them and provides for their needs through people all over the world. Recently, we have been working with the kids to write letters back to all of their sponsors.



Part of ending the orphan cycle is ministering to the families of the children we serve. In Chimaltenango, we serve at a school for children who have parents working in the garbage dump. As we sought the Lord for ways to reach out to the parents, we've been able to partner with a ministry called HELPS where we have been helping these families by installing stoves and water filters in their homes. This may not seem like a big deal to most people, but it means cleaner, healthier living, less expenses for fire wood, and no more being sick due to smoke-filled homes. This also provides a great opportunity to get to know the families and share Jesus with them.



It's hard to put into words the work we are allowed to be a part of and all that we see the Lord doing in Guatemala. It is truly a privilege to serve these beautiful people in this beautiful country alongside amazing co-laborers in Christ!