Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Humbled

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This holiday season has been different from those in years past, but different is not always bad.   I would say in this case it has actually been humbling.   You see there are no lights, tree, or ornament, no oversized overpirced yard decorations, no last minute shopping or famous must have item, it has been about survival.   This is what I would believe is the hardest time of year, there are no crops, work is scarce and the weather is wet and chilled.   This means that bellies are hungry, money is scarce and loved ones are sick.   Through all that add in the hopelessness of a life without Christ and the world seems pretty dark. 

This month we have had the opportuntiy to share the love of Christ with several people.    Three of those are small children that come almost daily to our home to hear the stories from the Bible and learn of a God who loves them.   There father is gone and their mother works 7 days a week for 12 hours each day, they are so excited about this baby that was sent here so humbly in a not so different inviornment than themselves, they can relate to no one having room.   Please join us in praying for them and for the people of La Moskitia that they too will find peace through Christ.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Season's Greetings

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Wow. It has been quite a while since we have updated anything. It seems like it has been a whirl wind of activity around here. Sorry, for such a long break from the blogging, but hopefully we can update more often now.


We just finished our first Thanksgiving here and it was a blessing of a time. Mr. Mike from MS joined us for our feast and is working with Ryan for the next few weeks until he returns home. They have been working on our little house (casita) and are working with the maps looking at areas for research. They hope to head out in a week or so and visit several areas.

Yesterday, we started our Jesse tree for the Advent seasons and what a great tool that has been. Every person that comes into our home sees it and generally asks questions about it. We have been able to share with so many about Christ just through our Advent tree. God is so amazing, isn’t He? I can’t wait as each day we have our scripture reading and devotion time and then make our daily decoration for the tree, it will be one more story we can share with the people around us.

We have a young girl staying with us for a few days, so our house has been quite full, not to mention the youngsters that have found our home to be a great play area during the day now that school is out. It seems that we have had around 5-10 kids here each day from sun up to sun down. I love seeing the kids come together and forming such great relationships with one another. The kids have been swimming, fishing, coloring, playing football (soccer), and reading Bible stories each day. It is so fun to see them all enjoying their free time.

I have been busy with our kids’ school each day and with cooking for the large amount of kiddos we have running around. It seems like the days were running together and I was getting so worn down, in a good way and just when I really needed a day of rest God blessed me with it. You see it is raining something fierce today, so that means we can basically sit inside and do nothing. During a lull in the storm Ryan and I ran to little store to get some rainy day snacks, but other than that we rest. God knows just what we need when we need it. We simply have to rely on Him and He will provide in His time.

To all our family and friends we love you and are praying for you daily. We can’t wait to see you in the upcoming year. Take care and remember Christ as you go through this busy season.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Newsletter October 2011

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This blog is a little different.   I know alot of you do not recieve our monthly newsletter and wanted to make sure we shared with you the changes we will be making.   The following is the newsletter we sent out for October 2011:


Wow!   I cannot believe it is already October.   I am sure everyone back in the States is enjoying some type of fall festivities.   I really do miss the fall decorations and fall festivities from back home.   We are in full mode rainy season, but I must admit I really enjoy it.   The weather has cooled down and walks in the rain are always great fun.  Like the change of our seasons we are also having some changes in our lives here in Honduras.   Change is good and we are even reminded in Ecclesiastes 3:1

There is a time for everything and a season for every activity under heaven.

In September, the missionaries we are working with presented us with the direction of the ministry for 2012.   There were many great changes being made, but there were a few that we could just not agree on and they were all issues with doctrine.   We took time to pray about it and met again with them a few weeks later to discuss the changes being suggested and at that time we all agreed that the issues of doctrine were too great and Ryan and I would not change our beliefs.   At the end of the meeting it was agreed that we would no longer continue working with them after our one year commitment.  This however left Ryan and I with lots of questions and searching for answers.   We sought council of those wiser than us and devoted ourselves to prayer and seeking God’s will on our lives and our future.  

During this time we were presented with 3 options and with none of them seeming to be any better than the other.   We continued to seek God’s will and I (Natalie) even prayed and asked God for one of those easy buttons.   During the week we saw one of the options go away and the other two needed drastic things to happen to see either one come to realization.   As the week ended God put all the pieces together for us to remain in Honduras.   Our time with the other group may be done, but our work here is not.   God provided us with a house and land, He sent people to us confirming His calling on our lives, and He spoke through our son Walker and the work he was doing.

Ryan will continue church planting and working with pastors and Natalie will continue home schooling the kids and will also start a Nutrition and Education program.   The program that Natalie will be working on creates a great way for Ryan to work in closed areas as well as allows us to develop personal relationships with those we are working with.  During the next several months Ryan will be refurbishing our new home; it comes with a little too much of the local flare…i.e. holes in the walls and dirt floors, no indoor plumbing, you get the picture. 

These changes also mean that we will be returning to States on furlough a few months early.   We will be heading to the States sometime in January and returning sometime March/April.   We will be spending this time with our family and friends as well as raising additional support.  We are so excited about getting to spend time with everyone even if it such a short while. 

I know this is a lot of information so if you have any questions or would like more information please send us an email.   We would love to hear from you or answer any questions you might have. Also, if you would like to contribute to the house refurbishing cost ($1,000) or help with our airfare ($2,500) please just let us know.  

In His Service,

Ryan, Natalie, Walker, Mari-Madeline and Lorelai McGehee

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Paul's Missionary Journeys

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I have been reading a book detailing the journeys of Paul from his conversion experience through the end of his ministry.  As a missionary with a young, developing ministry it is encouraging to see the way that his ministry developed and grew in complexity over the course of several years.  It is so easy to get caught up in the story when reading Acts and think that he did all of his work in a short amount of time.  When we read the accounts of Pauls missionary journeys in the various books of the New Testament you recognize the enormity of the task Paul was given, but you do not recognize the time that was required to complete this task.  He spent several years preparing, and then several more years during his missionary journeys.  Between his journeys, he spent several years planning/praying/growing. 
Paul was a rabbi that was very well trained in Old Testament theology and he also had a profound understanding of the people groups in the different regions in Asia Minor and Europe, be it Jews, Gentiles, Romans, or others.  He recognized that there were culturally relevant ways that each group would have to be taught to acurately understand the message he was bringing to them.  Studying the different strategies he used and why he used them has helped me tremendously to prepare the work in Honduras.  You see we live among three distinctly different people groups, the Miskito Indians, the Ladino's, and the Garifuna, a African tribal culture.  Paul recognized cultural issues with each group he came into contact with and used those issues to teach the message of Christ.  We too have to learn the cultural issues that are a hinderance/door to sharing the gospel with the individual groups we work amongst.  Please pray for us to recognize these barriers and doorways so that we may better teach the gospel in our region of the world. 
The task at hand here is truly enormous, but the reward is even greater.  We recognize that the time required to effectively reach the Rio Platano Biosphere Region is a long commitment, but with your prayers and Paul's church planting manual-The Bible, we know that no matter the size of the task, it is possible.

"I can do all things through Christ who strenghtens me" Phillipians 4:13
Ryan

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Blessings and Answered Prayers

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Wow.   This past week we had a great and much enjoyed visit with Ryan parents.   The kids were so excited and so were we!   While they were here they also challenged Ryan and I in some amazing conversations we had with them.   One of those conversations led to Ryan and I later talking about what God has been doing.   So often we get caught up in everything we are doing that we do not take the time to just look around.   Ryan and I talked for about an hour and at the end of that time I was honestly shocked at what all God had been doing.   I know right, it is God we are talking about.  I should not be shocked, but I was.   I just wanted to share a few of these with you.   You are all a part of our lives even though we live so far away.   Through your prayers and support you are partnering with us in furthering the Kingdom of God. 

An odd sort of Bible study was started in the truck of a truck driver.  I know it is odd.  

We have been invited to work in a village near our home that has 500 people in it with about 8-10 Christians.   There is already a church in place, but they need training in how to evangelize their community. 
Daily we are able to pour ourselves into 6 little children and share the gospel with them.   God has answered so many prayers within these children’s lives.
Ryan has been able to do hut to hut ministry and A LOT of truck ministry.

God has opened so many doors for us to be welcomed into so many places that it is overwhelmingly amazing.
Ryan has been investing in a local youth and God has done amazing things through him.
Relationships, this is such a key part of what we are doing.   Without relationships with the people around us we will miss so many opportunities to share the Word of God.
Since our first month here Ryan has been working with a local teacher.  The teacher in the past has run off all other missionaries who have talked to him.   Ryan met with him daily for weeks and then they began meeting as the teachers schedule allowed.   After 8 months he asked Ryan for a book to read in English.   Ryan informed him we had Bibles and Christian literature only.   He agreed to take a book.   On their next meeting the teacher opened the book to a chapter talking about inviting Jesus into your life.   The teacher had never heard this before; he assumed Jesus forced Himself on you.  With this new knowledge came lots of questions.  
Our own personal growth and growth in our children, it seems like we have all grown in so many ways.   We are all hungry to grow more and daily we are challenged in this.
We have had the opportunity to work with a medical team in a neighboring village providing eye care and medical care.  God orchestrated so many amazing things during those two days.
We have been able to work with the widows in our community.  
Natalie was able to lead a Bible study with a teacher and another missionary once a week.
Natalie has been given the material to start training on basic hygiene and nutrition; this will help us develop relationships in the villages we are working in.

These are just a few of the things that have been going on.   We spend a lot of time learning the language and just building healthy relationships among the people we live with.  Isn’t it amazing?   God is good!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

A rough week

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So, I generally try and keep a positive and uplifting attitude when posting, but this one is a little different. You see if I am going to be real then I have to be honest. This past week has been a major struggle for me (Natalie.) I never expected anything to be easy, but come on we are all human and can dream right? This past week it seems like so many things have come to be at one time.


The first was a major hurt. You see it was our first BIG miss since we have lived here. Ryan’s sister got married. We missed it. Our kids were hurt we were hurt, but that is all part of it. Sacrifice. As of right now it does not even feel like they are married. It seems like Ryan and I have watched both of them grow up over the years and now there is a huge void. I love what we are doing and know that this is what God had planned for us, because of that I can make it through.

The second is kind of funny from the outside looking in, but ask Ryan and it was a miserable day. This weekend I was just all out of sorts. I was miserable and felt awful. Ryan and I were talking it all out and came to realize that I had had no protein in almost a week. You see Ryan and the kids have had fish and crab all week and since I don’t eat it I was just eating rice and tortillas. One chicken later I was a happy person again. It is amazing how something like your diet can completely change everything.

The third is something we are still processing. Bidiac, a teenager from a village farther south, is leaving. Over the time we have been here he has become like a son and brother in our family. We have not even told the kids that he is going back home yet. There are many things that he is struggling with and he just needs to trust in God. He needs eye surgery, he needs passing grades in school, he has to work in order to live at the mission, but he recently allowed his work and school to fall by the wayside. He is now going back home to his village. The doors are always open here and we will pray for him through this time. It is so difficult to have a part of your heart broken off.

Through all of this I have been reading the book of Job. Coincidence, I think not. God preparing me for what was coming, yes. Unwavering faith in God is necessary and required. I am so thankful for a God that prepares us for what lies ahead. However; that cannot happen if we are not in the Word and seeking out God’s will for our lives. This week has been very difficult and I pray that I do not have a repeat anytime soon, but my faith in God is what carried me through this horrible week

Friday, August 19, 2011

Medical Missions

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This past week a team from Alabama/Honduras Medical and Educational Network visited our village and Natalie got to work along with them in a 2 day medical clinic. You can read more about AHMEN here. The team that was here worked in a neighboring village called Pueblo Nuevo. They did a medical clinic and a vision clinic in the village as well as did a clinic at the school where Ryan and Natalie have been working. The team consisted of a Doctor, a husband/wife team trained in vision screening and a Honduran native who served as a translator and assistant to everyone.


On their first day of clinic the husband and wife team were forced to remain in the dorms on the mission compound due to illness. Mary, had become ill and needed some hydration and rest her husband stayed with her while the others went on to continue the clinic. God was already blessing this team with a local who was able to step in their role and continue with the clinic. Ryan and I were able to spend several hours talking with the Guffey’s and learning about their ministry. What a selfless couple they are, praise God they are doing God’s work.

When the rest of the team came in for their siesta (lunch and nap) it was decided that the Guffey’s were still going to rest and allow Mary to regain her strength. Ryan and I returned home and as we were eating with the kids and getting ready for rest time I kept feeling the Lord encouraging me go visit the clinic. I talked with Ryan and we both agreed that I would talk with the team leader and ask if I could go watch and observe. The leader told me I could go, but would be put to work! Yes, I will work that is what God wants of us.

When we reached our destination of Pueblo Nuevo it was decided I would work in the medical clinic, imagine my surprise when I saw about 50 people waiting for us. Again, God was blessing this team. A nurse from San Pedro Sula was on vacation in this village and was volunteering her time, her uncle was also there and he was able to serve as an extra translator! God is good all the time. I was able to translate some, fill prescriptions, and observe the basic needs most of these people had. The common problems seemed to be High Blood Pressure, parasites, skin rashes, stomach pain and poor nutrition. Ultimately I am not sure how many people we saw that afternoon, but God knows each and every one of them. I could only pray for them as we worked with them. It was so amazing to see God working through the team that He put together. It was not the original team, but a group of people brought together to fit the needs of this clinic.

Day two started a little different, it was time to examine the school kids. It was found that several of the students needed glasses for reading and three of the student had a nasty upper respitory infection. The kids were able to receive glass and medication! What a blessing the glasses are. Most of the families here cannot afford a trip to see and eye doctor, a day away, much less afford the glasses. I am so grateful that they were able to spend a morning working in the school alongside us. After finishing up we were all able to head back to Pueblo Nuevo for day two of clinic and vision screening. Imagine my surprise when I see God’s hand in this AGAIN!! As we arrive at the temporary clinic I notice on of our local doctors who is on rotation at the clinic where we live. He had heard about the team and decided he could spare his morning to help treat patients! How awesome is that? Now we could see twice as many patients and he did not need a translator! We were able to get right to work and begin treating people. Again, I was so grateful to translate and fill prescriptions, what a great job. When we borke for lunch we dropped the local doctor off and as he was leaving he said he was coming back after lunch! Wow! God is good all the time. So, that is how it went. This team that was put together by the hands of God was able to reach out to the people in Pueblo Nuevo and show the love of God.

I wish I could say that nothing major was wrong with anyone and that no one was critically ill, but that is just not life. A very young toddler was brought in the first day and she was not alert. She had a very serious condition and needed the attention of a hospital. Her grandmother already knew this, but did not have the money to take her. The money was secured, but transportation is not easy. The child needed to leave then, but there was no truck leaving until the next morning. I cried out to God, I prayed with the grandmother and encouraged her to find someone to take them immediately. When she walked away from that clinic I could only turn them over to God. The next day we inquired about this family and learned that they were able to leave the day before. As we were told this I could only cry out Gracias A Dios over and over. Thank you God! As I write this we have still not been able to get an update. It has been a week and there is still no news. I can only pray that this family knows of the Love of God.

Not every case was medical. The one that I believe will have the most impact on me and my family is one of vision. If you have read our blog you have read about Bidiac. He is a Miskito teenager that lives at the mission so he can further his education. Our family has adopted him as a son and brother. The kids introduce him as their big brother. Bidiac asked me if the team could look at hiseyes. He said they were bothering him and wanted them checked. I assured him that was not a problem. On the last night that the team was here Bidiac met us at the dorms and the Guffeys were able to examine his eyes. It did not take but a second to realize something was very wrong. I may not be his mother, but I am a mother and I know that look when there is a problem. It is believed that he has cataracts. I know, he is only 17 years old. I wish I could say I handled it well, but like any mother I cried like a baby when we got home. Bidiac has goals and dreams, he is an amazing kid and he can learn Bible stories like no one we have ever met. He loves God and wants to help Ryan with church planting. He also wants to go into the Air Force. His family lives in a small village about 2 hours from here. In the next month we will make arrangements for him to see a specialist. We have spoken with them and if he has cataracts they will do surgery in the same day. The cost for this is $1,000 US. Today, he is going home to talk with his mom to see what money they can come up with. Ryan and I have offered to take him and pay for his travel expenses. I pray for him. God is bigger than this and there is a lesson here. Bidiac and I both need to turn to God! We talked to Walker about this today and as he crumbled in tears we were able direct his sorrow to God. Walker loves Bidiac and he also knows how hard this will be for him.

Even here in the jungle we can build ourselves nice clean areas to live in, but that is not representative of what is really out there. I believe in what AHMEN is doing and the education they are providing. You see they are making this so that the local people can reproduce it and better their lives. At the same time they are bringing the word of God. So many people are sick and dying without the eternal life in Christ Jesus. I pray that as my family works with the people here in Honduras that we are attentive to God’s will and seek out people that are thirsty for God’s word.



Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Please read

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Please read the next three post in reverse order.   They are labeled 1,2 and 3.   Love to all.

The rest of the story....POST THREE

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This is Natalie again.   Wow what a story. 

It was just as tense here at home.   When Walker called I was holding a very sick child with a very high fever.   I had to leave her and run for help.   There is one house between us and the Navy station.   I stopped there and asked for help.   The men then ran with me to the Navy station where I was able to tell them what Walker had told me.   They were in their boat in seconds and I was able to tell Walker everything would be alright.   His phone then died leaving this very worried wife and mother in a very helpless state.   I felt drawn to stay at the Navy station, but I also had Mari-Madeline at home alone sick.    I told the remaing Navy guy that I had to come check on here.    When I walked in my door, there were several women taking care of her and feeding her.    One lady sat with her till she slept and then young girls took turns sitting here.   I know felt like I could devote my attention to prayers and watching the mouth of the river for my family.    Another friend of ours sent a boat out to aid in the search.   It was an hour before we heard any news.   Praise God the news was that all were safe!

It was still another hour before I was able to put my eyes on them.    They were all three in our boat with some gentlemen from the Navy driving them.   I was only able to put my hands on Lorelai, there was such a crowd of people.    We fianally all made it in our house where Ryan sat in a chair and cried his heart out.   Walker was just quiet and Lorelai was in my lap.    It was not until a while late when we all calmed down that I began asking about bumps and bruises and Lorelai said she hit her head.   When she showed me it was a mass of hair and blood.   I began to rinse it, but realized she needed to see a doctor.   She and I set out on our 40 minute walk to the jungle clinic.    She has a shaved spot on her head and sports some stitches and lots of bruises, but she is fine.  

That day is a day I will never forget, but it has also been a day for God's glory.   I have already been able to share with some about not having fear as a Christian.   You see we live in a fear based society where the people are afraid of everything.   Through Christ they no longer need to fear, but have hope and peace. 

God has big things in store for the village we are working in and this in no way deters us from doing His work.  Walker and I talked about how God is bigger than everything.   We also talked about his salvation in Christ and how he was assured of his eternal life, but in the same instance there are about 400 people in this village that can not say the same thing.  God is bigger than that and we have been given the opportunity to bring the light into darkness.  
The Lord said to Abraham, "Leave your country, your people and your 
father's household and go to the land I will show you." 
Genesis 12:1

A day of Abundant Blessings POST TWO

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This is Ryan:

Church service was wonderful.  The church is a Southern Baptist Church, consisting primarily of the pastors extended family.  It is in a Garifuna village and the service is in Garifuna, Moskito, and Spanish.  The pastor spoke about false prophets.  The music was a nice mix of traditional hymns and original music that is culturally relevant.  After service we spent some time in the village talking with others and letting the kids play soccer with other village children. 
Around one hour later, we decided it was time to head home, about 18 minutes away.  On the way Walker asked if we could run the ocean.  It is much quicker, but we have to check the wave height before we go out.  It has been calm the past few days so I told him we would look and see.  At the river mouth, the waves were very choppy, but small, only 1-2 ft swells.  We decided that it would be a good day to go and we headed out the mouth.  This ended up being a very bad decision on my part.  You have to run out the mouth several hundred yards to get out of the breakers and then it is smooth water after that until you are ready to enter the next river mouth.  About 3/4ths of the way out the mouth a large wave set popped up and the seas went from 1-2 ft. to 8-10 ft in one set.  The waves began crashing over the bow of my boat and Lorelai got scared so when I saw a break in sets I made a quick decision to turn around and head back into the mouth.  I didn't realize how fast the next set was coming in.  We could have drove into the waves, got real wet and made it home safe, but instead I tried turning around quickly.  The next set caught the side of my boat, picked it up, and threw Lorelai and I out into a very rough ocean.  Lorelai was wearing her lifejacket, but I dont have one here yet b/c you can't buy adult ones in Honduras.  I swam to Lorelai and calmed her down.  The water was deep and the waves were pounding us.  Slowly we began trying to swim toward land, yet initially I felt like we were getting further away.  I tried swimming in another direction, thinking that we were getting pulled out in the river channel, and we started making headway.  I immediately began to pray that nothing would happen to my little girl and that I could get her safely to shore.  As the minutes wore on, my strength began to wane.  I am not a strong swimmer to begin with, so doing it with no life jacket and a 4 year old hanging on to her Daddy for dear life was almost too much to handle.  However, the Lord was definitely with us Sunday.  Everytime I would think that I could go no more, my toes could touch when the low part of a swell would come.  Eventually I was able to stand flat footed for half of the wave.  The waves were still very large and were crashing down on us constantly.  I looked up and realized that we were on the first sandbar.  This was great news for the time, b/c I didn't have any more energy to give.  However, a sandbar means that it gets deep again.  On most of the sandbars around here the water may be only a few feet deep, but the water never got more shallow than my shoulders so we never had a real good chance to rest.  The waves eventually pushed us off of the sandbar into deep water again about 30 m from shore.  Halfway across I thought that the end was near for me and I began to push Lorelai out in front of me so I could keep her heading to shore in case something bad happened.  That was the hardest thing that I have ever had to do and hope to never be in the situtation to have to do it again.  Once again, God was with us b/c the moment I had all but given up, my toes touched.  This time it was the slope towards the beach.  Walker was on shore screaming for us as we finally came to shore.  He told me that he had called Natalie and the Navy (like US Coast Guard) was on the way.  They are our neighbors and were wonderful.  I fell to the sand and couldn't move my legs.  I know without a doubt that God is real, He is there for us when we need Him, and that He has something big in store for my life and my families life.  There were so many times that my life could have ended Sunday, yet I am here, in Honduras, getting the opportunity to tell you this story of answered prayers.  I prayed to Him while afloat that there was so much work still to be done in this area and to please let me live so I could continue what He had brought me here to do. 
The only thing that was lost on this day was my shirt, which I somehow took off in the ocean.  I took off my sandals as well, but they floated literally into my hands on the beach while I was laying down.  We found Lorelai's sandals further down the beach on the walk home.
The Navy took my boat around to the mouth of our lagoon and several of the guys walked us back, helping us swim across a small mouth along the way.  We then got in my boat and drove home the last 2 minutes of the trip.  It was an amazing feeling pulling up to my house and seeing along the fence, in my yard and down the street the number of our friends that came out to make sure we were ok.  Just another instance that confirms what we already know; We are where God has called us."
My son was our HERO that day!  After Lorelai and I went overboard, he instinctly jumped to the back of the boat to make sure that the motor was shut off and that I had been attached to the kill switch.  The very next thing he did was calmly call Natalie and tell her that he was ok, but didn't know where we were and that we needed help.  He was able to ride the waves into the beach in the boat and then he searched the water looking for us while awaiting help to arrive.  It was another God moment that he was able to make a call at all, b/c his phone was submerged in water and shouldn't have worked.  In fact, Natalie said that it cut off the minute he reached the beach. 
To be continued...

The Story of our First Worship in our new village POST ONE

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This is Natalie,
Ryan and I are going to both write in the next few blogs together.   A little background to get us started on the past Sunday's experience.  

Ryan has been researching villages and was given the opportunity to come work alongside another pastor in a village that is about a 15 minute boat ride from our house.    While meeting with the pastor and talking about the needs of the village it came to light that there were only 8-10 Christians in the village and that most people had never even heard of Jesus, the Bible or the One True God.   The pastor has been praying for someone to come and help him and to train him.    We as a family made arrangements to begin coming to the small worship service on Sunday mornings and to work with him during the week and on Saturdays.  

This past Sunday we were all excited about going to the village, but Mari-Madeline had a fever so we decided that she and I would stay home.   Ryan, Walker and Lorelai headed out for a great time of worship and fellowship.    Walker called me when he was done with children's church and was excited to report that there were 5 snakes slithering around while they were in class.   He also informed me that the main service was in Garifuna and Spanish and that children's church was in Miskito!    We laughed at having to learn 2 new languages and how fun that would be.   He told me that Ryan and Lorelai were still and church and he thought they had about another hour to got.....It is normal for worship service to last 2-4 hours here.   We were so excited about the opportunity to work in this village and Walker was so excited about sharing the gospel with other kids in the area.  

Now, that is the beginning of the best, worst, most incredibly blessed day that this family of 5 has ever had.   Ryan is going to pick up from here in a new post....

Saturday, August 6, 2011

God's Word in many languages

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The past 6 weeks the children have been learning and commiting to memory 1 Samuel.   We are still only part way through the book.   Suprisingly, Lorelai is the best story teller of the bunch.   She has listend to every word from the Bible and is able to retell it in her own words.   She needs little correction even after only hearing it one time.  The other two are amazing as well, but it just seems easier for Lorelai.   

Mari-Madeline suprised us the other day by telling the story in Spanish!    She translated it all on her own and was able to tell it to someone else.    What an amazing gift she has!

All three children have been sharing the story, they have some friends who speak English so it has worked out well.   Ryan and I are convicted of sharing the Gospel through Bible Storytelling and this was even more affirmation to see our children being able to do it.   It was even more amazing to hear it told in another language by our children.   I pray that one day they will know all the Chronilogical Bible Stories and be able to tell them in Spanish to the children we are working with.

Yesterday, Ryan and I were looking at some school curriculum for the kids and we were blown away by the wording for one school's wording regarding Bible and Foriegn language classes:
"To know that one day people will stand at judgement seat of Christ as redeemed souls-all beacause of our burden to reach those who do not speak our language-will be our greatest reward." `LBC
How true is that statement.  I pray that we continue to share God's word in the native tongue of the people we are working with.   Right now we are learning 3 language due to the fact that we are working with three groups of people in the same village.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Waiting and waiting

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This past week at over 4 and a half years Lorelai finally gave up her pacifier.    She told us she would scream and she did for about an hour.   She then decided life was still great and moved on.    That pacifier has been the object of many conversations between family, friends, doctors, dentist, and complete strangers.   Honestly, the only opion we ever valued was that of the dentist and doctor.  They all agreed that the pacifier was fine, but try telling that to the rest of the world.   We were constanlty persecuted because we waited.   Glory to God that we listened to Him and raised our children in a way we saw fit.  The benifit to this was that our child was ready emotionally when we she parted with her pacifier.  We agree the wait was worth it.

So, what does this story have to do with anything?   Well, we have learned over the past 5 years that everything is in God's time.   When you try and schedule things on your own you will be disapointed and desperate.  There have been so many times that we have waited, knowing that God had something in store for us, but we just had to wait.   I can't tell you how frustrating that is.   These past 6 months have been so hard waiting while we learn a language and a culture.   All that changed yesterday with a boat stop in a village we were starting research in.

Ryan had already made contact with a pastor there, but do to rain, schedules and illnesses he was not able to return until yesterday.    Ryan, the girls and I stopped by after we had helped another family.    What a blessing and humbling experience it was.   Ryan met with the pastor while the girls and I played with the local kids.   The pastor said there are about 500 people in the village with about 8 Christians and that no one else has even heard Jesus Christ name.  You see this pastor has only had limited training and does not have any knowledge of how to reach out to his own people.   He was so excited to have Ryan there willing to train him. help him outreach and was even more excited to learn how to plant house churches!

You see, had we not waited and been patient we could have very easily missed this entire village.   I am so grateful for God's guidance and direction.  

Please join us in praying for this village.   We will not be sharing the name of the village for security reason, just know it is Gracias A Dios, Honduras.    Very ironic that the name of our state in Honduras is Thanks to God!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Princessa Lorelai

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Princessa Lorelai came to Ryan and I the other day and announced she was leaving.   She told us that she was calling our truck driver to come get her in the boat and take her to the city.    She said she wanted to go see her friend that was sick and in the city at the doctor.   She told us she new were to sleep, at the safe hote.   She then told us where she would eat and how she would travel.   She showed us her packed bag and all her city clothes in it along with clean panties.    Ryan and I were struggling not to laugh while at the same time we were very suprised at all her knowledge.   She was determined she was going to go see her friend!

So, how did we get her stay?   With the promise of a sucker!    Glad she is still little enough for bribes.  On our way to get her sucker we stoped to see her friends mom and Lorelai found out that her friend had just returned that day!  Glory to God for that precious gift of a friend. 

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Our House---A picture post

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Some of you may wonder where we live, so we are inviting you on in.   Our house was built by a missionary and when he left the field he gave it to the mission group.   We are able to live in while we prepare for the future. 

This is our kitchen. The very first thing you see.   This is all the counter space.

This is the stove and mini fridge


The pantry and a partial view of the bathroom

The living room

The living room/ school room


This is a shelf Ryan built us.   It is home to all our letters and cards of love.

The open stairs going up to the bedrooms

The cross at the top is one Ryan made and it is now used to lock the window!

This is the first thing you see upstairs.  It is the only closet in the house.

Lorelai's room.   That is the mosquito netting we all sleep under.

Walker's room

Mari-Madeline's room

Our room
The hammock room off our room

Well that is about all.   Thanks for stopping by.  Love you all.

Blessings amid trial

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We have so much to be thankful for.   We already feel abundantly blessed already, but have been blessed even more as of late.   We live in an area where you depend on each other for everything.   There is nothing convienent about anything and there is no easy way of getting anything if you need it.   You depend on your neighbors when you are in need and they on you also.   I want to share some of the ways we have been blessed.

Our house is directly on the water, think house on stilts.   We also have land that is on the waterside also.   The land has been over grown and breeding bugs and snakes.   Ryan took our machete and began hacking away.   Lorelai and I stood near to offer moral support.   While he was working away one of our neighbors came over and told Ryan to stop.   Thinking we had somehow offended them by cutting the "jungle" Ryan stops and makes an effort to smooth things over.   It turns out that the family wanted to offer the service of one of their workers to come cut it for us!    What a blessing.   Not only in the physical sense, but this is a family we have been seeking the Lord's guidance on how to meet them on a more personal level.   Praise God for that over grown land and the timing for clearing it. 

Fresh meet and fruits are something you would think are easily obtained in the jungle.   Well, not here.   Fruit is non existant and meat, well lets just say I'm not fond of food poisoning.   This same neighbor I mentioned above brough a large pig in for slaughter.   Ryan saw them on butcher day and went to inquire about the price of meat.   He was told there was none for sale and that it was a family gathering.   Later, that day a man shows up at our house carrying a large slab of meat.   Ryan ask how much and is told nothing, it is a gift!    Thanking the man he takes the meat and brings it in only to realize it is a slab of ribs, bacon and pork fat.   He goes down the street and ask again if he can pay for it, only to be told it is a gift!   What a blessing, we have not had something like bacon in 7 months.   Not, to mention RIBS!   We immediatly begin to figure out ways to preserve it.   We ate ribs for a few meals, bacon for snacks and made salt pork with the rest.   What a blessing!!!!!

We have been in dire need of fruit.   One of our students moms came for a visit one day and told us she was selling some vegetables and we told her to stop buy with them on the weekend.   We somehow missed her and figured we were out of luck.   On Monday her son came to school and brought us MANGOS!!!!!   She gave us some to have until she could come back by.   Needless to say when they came to sell them we bought them all.   Who would think something like a Mango would be such an answered prayer!

This next one moves me to tears to even begin.   In the past 16 days we have had two men murdered and one child.   These did not happen here, but in the city.   The boy and father were just yesterady.   We went today to visit with some of the family and offer support and help.    It is one of my dear friends, and I recall from the last time how much she had to cook and the people she had to house that came for the services.   When Ryan and I got there we sat and talked for a while, but were getting ready to excuse ourselves to leave for the store.   You see the small store here has not had groceries lately.   We were out of everything, but flour and beans.   As we were leaving my dear friend amongst her lost ministered to us.  She gaves us beef, chicken, vegetables for soups and most of all love.   I could not hold back my tears as we walked home.   Tonight the kids ate beef and the girls did not even know what this dark meat was.  Lorelai asked why the chicken bones were so big. 

There are so many other blessings, and I could write about them all day.   I try and make an effort to be a blessing to those around me, because you never know when you may be the one in need.   It is nothing more than Christian love.   I just pray that we are obediently looking for the doors that Christ opens for us.   He has opened so many doors in this closed community and is continually allowing us to glorify Him.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Great Suprises

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So this weekend we received our first care packages!   Lorelai described best "It's Christmas, It's our birthday, This is way cool!"   It was so much fun to open those packages and have no clue what was in them.   It was such a blessing.   Our first aid kit was restocked, thank you Pat Oden, that is something we use all the time.   Ryan was blessed by several people with gear for fishing so he can provide us with meat.   Ed and Shelly and Gale and Tommy filled it with so many other great things.   Our pantry now sports beef jerky, peanut butter, crackers, oatmeal, and many other items.   The kids each had speacial treats to open as well Natalie and Mari-Madeline's precious birthday gifts.   I must say that as amazing as it all was the funnest suprise was for the kids....ICE CREAM SANDWICHES!!!!!!   How you ask, think NASA, Tommy found them in the camping department and got them for the kiddos!   Way to go Tommy, the kids we so thrilled.

I am not sure the joy of this will wear off any time soon.   We are so blessed to have so many people caring for us.   Thank you to everyone who contributed to the packages.   We could not have asked for anything better!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Our crazy fun week

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This past week has been so much fun.  I am not sure why, it was pretty busy and fairly typical, but none the less it was fun.   I have been halping at the mission school and Lorelai has been going to class with Ryan.   Walker and Mari-Madeline had a great week of school.  Mari-Madeline has finally felt comfortable at school.   The afternoons have been busy with lots of work and lots of house repairs.   The house we live in was vacant for many years and had several repairs to be made.   Today we will hopefully finish these up.

We met a lot of new people this week and are prayerful of ministry opportunities with them.  

Walker has developed a great friendship with a boy from the mission school and they are tied at the hip.   Walker has been able to minister to and help this young man in ways that adults just can't.   Last night the mission showed a movie on a projector and because the two boy had worked for Ryan all day they were able to attend.   They had so much fun.  

Mari-Madeline and Lorelai have been grounded all week.   Lorelai's began when she decided she was going to jump on the canoe as Walker and his friend shoved off.   Oh, that naughty fearless girl.   Then in the same afternoon she and Mari-Madeline along with their friend Danesi decided to take a hike, without permission from any of the parents.   Thankfully the gringitats (white girls) stand out here and Ryan was able to track them to another friends house about 3 miles away.   They were never in any danger except that it was near dark time and would not have been able to get back home.   Let's just say none of the girls will be going anywhere alone again.  

We just love being able to do God's will and share the Good news with the people we encounter.   It seems that so many barriers have been removed and the people in the communtiy have begun to accept us and welcome us.   It has been a long five months of being on the outside, but something just changed this week.   Praise God.   I have been singing a hymn in my head all week...To God be the glory great things He hath done....

Ms. M

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I know the title seems a little odd, but there is no better title.   I want to introduce you all to Ms. M.   She is a widow with five children.   Three of the five are still young and live at home.   Her husband was killed just a month ago in an unfortunate way.   You see there is no life insurance policies out here.   When you are widowed if you have older boys they take care of you, if not the church does.   Ms. M did not have anyone to help her and there is not an area here in which women can work in.   Her husand had some family that she could move in with, but they are strict Catholic and Ms. M is an evangelical christian and did not want her children in that inviornment.   I honestly can not blame her.   Her pastor counseled her and his family has been watching over her.   He urged her to seek God's will and that the Lord would provide.

So, how does she fit into our life?   We have been praying about a house helper.   We talked with the other missionary family and they did not know of anyone, so we put feelers out in the community.   A few days ago, Ms. M went to the other missionary family seeking employment, but they already have a helper.   They encouraged her with prayer and a promise to help her find work.   They immediatly called us and explained the sitituation and asked us to pray about it and meet her.   Ryan and I were really looking for someone younger that did not have kids, but we hiked the trails to her house and met with her.   Ryan and I knew the moment we met her that she was the one.   We met with her and then her pastor and we all agreed on her job and she starts on Monday.  

I am just asking all of you to pray for her and her family.   They are probably one of the poorest families we have met since we have been here.  The smallest child had no clothes at all and the other two go to school with our kids and were not there.   I can not imagine how desperate she must feel as a mother to provide for her children and how alone in this world she must feel.   Please pray that she continues to seek God and that she feels His presence in every moment of her day.   Please pray that we can be a blessing to this woman and her children and show them the Love of Christ.    Pray that our family is humbled by this experience.  

Honor widows, who are widows indeed.  1 Timothy 5:3

Monday, June 20, 2011

Baha! Ryan's Father's Day

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So, what do you do for dad when you live in the jungle?   You take him on down to the local beauty salon.   Yes, we have a beauty salon.   It is pretty fancy for this area.   I has barber chairs, running water (cold), and a generator to run the hairdryer and flat iron!    So, what was my husband doing there?????

He got a manicure, pedicure and facial!   YES!!!!   He did not allow me to take pictures, but he did give me permission to blog about it.   He and I spent a day at the salon while the kids played on the airstrio with their friends.   I got my hair cut and a pedicure while he got the full service.   As funny as it is he actually anjoied it.   He even said he would go back again!    It was a really fun time for all of us and it was a great way to relax.

So, you may be wondering how much this all cost.   In the States it would be well over $100, but here in the jungle...$25 total.    I thought it was a great deal and while we will not be doing another spa day as a family it was fun to enjoy it just once.

The IPod Saga

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Oh my!   What a crazy past few days.   Ryan and I have and IPod that we have Rosetta Stone, a Bible, and many sermons downloaded on as well as books for me to read.   It has really been a great tool for us to carry around.   We have been very careful with it and have not let people know that we have it.  

The other day we got a call from a friend to come see her.   So, we locked up and left.   The only problem was I had been outside in the hammock reading and I left the IPod in the hammock.   Normally this is not a big deal.   People do not use our back porch and since we were not home no one would have any reason to come around.   When we got home the IPod was gone!   I was so upset to the point I made myself ill.   We tore the house apart looking for it on the chance that I brought it in.   I was so upset, bcause in my haste I did not lock it up and now it was gone.    I even spent most of the next day being upset over it.

Imagine my suprise when some youth tell me a guy is trying to sell it for 200 Lempiras or about $11 US.   I mean really at least sell it for what it is worth!   We have now spread the word that anyone who will buy we will buy it from them.   This is a time when living in completly lawless place stinks.   The only bright side is that the person who took it can read the Bible and listen to George Ross bringing the Word as well as many other great pastors.   Perhaps one of those seroms deals with Thou Shal Not Steal!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Seasons are changing

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There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under heaven...
Ecclesiastes 3:1


We have been so blessed with 6 months of beautiful weather.   The seasons are changing and I am finding more of God's beauty as the rain refreshes the jungles.   It seems like things are coming alive in front of our eyes.   It is such an amazing experience.   The colors are so vivid and the wild life so prevelaint that you can't help, but be in awe of God's creation.

The people here have so many fears related to animals, rain, and the land.   It breaks my heart that they are living in fear of something that is so magnificantly created.

God saw all that he had made, 
and it was very good.   
Genesis 1:31

Even the Christians we work with, when asked will admitt to still being in bondage to these fears and falsehoods.   They have not truly found their freedom in Christ.  My heart breaks for these people.   I pray that their eyes will be opened and their hearts opened to the truth!

As the season changes here and rainy season begins to settle in the lagoon in front of our house at times turns a bright red/orange color.   We have heard so many reasons for this that are so far from the truth.   The children are terrified of it.   They fear birdhouses because they could house a dwarf that steals the children.   Owls are feared as well.   It is so sad to live in a fear based culture where they can not enjoy the pleasant things that God has given us.

Please join me in praying for these people held in a bondange that only true faith in Christ can save them from.   Pray that those that already have the knowledge of Christ will come to completly understand what a relationship with Christ means. 
  
The Lord is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear?  
The Lord is the defense of my life. Whom shall I dread?
When evildoers came upon me to devour my flesh,
My adversaries and my enemies, they stumbled and fell.
Though a host encamp against me, My heart will not fear;
Though war arise against me, In spite of this I shall be confident.
One thing I have asked from the Lord, that I shall seek:
That I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life,
To behold the beauty of the Lord and to meditate in His temple.
For in the day of trouble, He will hide me in His tabernacle;
In the secret place of His tent He will hide me;
He will lift me up on a rock.
And now my head will be lifted up above my enemies around me,
And I will offer in His tent sacrafices with shouts of joy;
I will sing, yes, I will sing praises to the Lord.
Hear, O Lord, when I cry with my voice, And be gracious to me and answer me.
When You said "Seek My face," my heart said to You 
"Your face, O Lord, I shall seek." ...
Psalms 27: 1-8

Thursday, June 16, 2011

God At Work

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I have been wanting to give everyone an update on how things are going and I struggle finding the time to get on here and write when I can focus.  You see, my laptop is dead right now.  It has to get shipped back to the states for warranty repairs.  Another one is being shipped to me right now, but until that happens I can only use the computer when the generator is on, 2 hours during daylight hours, of which 1 1/2 I am teaching.  Today it is raining so I filled the generator up so we could update everyone on life.  Today, I am going to tell a story about how God works.

Our first trip out we were riding in the truck about to get on the beach for the final 1 hour ride to Palacios when we came across a broken down truck.  There are about 15 trucks (Toyota Hilux, Nissan Frontiers, etc.) that drive back and forth everyday from the city to Batalla, the village across the lagoon from Palacios.  The truck drivers are all like family to one another even though they compete for business daily.  One of our regular drivers, Palulo, pulls over to check on the broken down truck and we all get out to stretch after 8 hours.  Walker is watching the guys pull the back end out from under this truck to do a major repair (one that would take 2 weeks and thousands of $$$$ in the states) on this dirt "road" and a guy notices his Texas hat and asks in English where he is from.  Now, we are in the middle of Honduras a long way from nowhere and there are not a lot of people that speak English.  Walker and I talk to him for a while and find out he lived in NC and worked for a long time in Spring Hill, TN.  We thought that was cool, and figured we would never see the guy again.
Fast forward 2 1/2 months and it was time for me to go to town for groceries.  I am at the truck stop in Batalla, waiting to ride in with our driver and I recognize him standing beside me.  I begin to talk to him in broken Spanish and he replied in English.  My driver didn't have a full truck that day and was only going to take me so he told me to ride with Noel, my new friend.  I bring my Bible and storying tracks with me everywhere I go b/c you have a lot of free time in a truck for 9 hours with no one to communicate.  This trip was different!  I had the opportunity to witness to Noel the entire trip.  He had such a desire to learn more about Jesus and what it meant to follow Him.  He grew up Catholic but told me he became Christian while in NC.  He was deported for driving without ID shortly after, leaving his American wife and daughter behind.  He mentioned since his arrival back in Honduras, he has not found a church in the city he lives that felt like his church in the states.  I talked to him about the house church planting model.  I spent the last 3 hours of our ride explaining everything to him, showing him the story model, and teaching him how to implement it in his own network of friends.  I was teaching him, thinking that I would be able to get him my Spanish training notes the next day in Palacios, and he told me he prefers to read the Bible and comprehends at a higher level what he reads in English.  WOW!!!!  I had the entire kit with me and I left it with him to begin teaching a house church in Tocoa.  There was no doubt in my mind that God crossed our paths that first day out with His greater good in mind.  Who would think that the first person I taught in Honduras would speak English fluently and would have lived and worked 10 miles from my "home" in the states?

Please pray for the continued growth of Noel and that he will be a light for those around him in Tocoa and his family both in Honduras and the States.

And the word of the Lord was being spread through the whole region...Acts 14:49

God Bless,
Ryan

Updates

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Wow.  It has been a really long time since we have been on here.   We have had computer problems and have been very busy.   Sometimes we need to just take a moment and catch up on things.   There have been a lot of things going on in our family as well as our ministry.   I am going to try and just hit the highlights of it all so as not to bore you all. 

Ministry

This month we had a missionary teacher return home 6 months earlier than anticipated.   This was dificult on us all and it really brought the struggles of ministry to the surface for many of us here.   With her return to the states the mission school here was without a teacher for 6 kinder students.   After much prayer and discussion Ryan has stepped into this role as he completes his language studies.   Ryan will work at the school in the morning and continue language training in the afternoon.   He will spend the evenings and weekends working in the community and other villages.    Ryan is also working with another missionary teaching him Bible storytelling so that he can teach the people he is working with.   Ryan is also teaching this same missionary T4T (training on mentoring) so that the local pastors can be trained in this and begin outreach in their own community.   Ryan continues to mentor a local youth and continues to teach him bible stories.   Ryan spent sevarl days in May on the river and in a local village doing minstry work.   During June and July he will have the opportunity to go to a village 25 hours away up the river.   Part of this will be a research opportunity for an unreached people group.   This is a group we hope to work with in the future.

Natalie has been able to start a bible study with another missionary wife here.   She is working in the communtiy building relationships in hopes of starting a bible study with the ladies.   Ryan and Natalie also believe that one of these families would be a great host for a house church.   Praying that God opens more doors and opens the hearts of the people.

Walker has started working with a youth group in a Spanish bible study.   He is being challenged now to translate scripture from Spanish to English.  So that he can better understand biblical Spanish.

Family:

We celebrated two birthdays in May.   Walker and Mari-Madeline continue to go to the local school here.  Walker loves it and and is so excited to go.  Mari-Madeline loves school, but does not like being away from home.   We have been praying about what she will do.  Her teacher is amazing and so patient, I had to go get MM from school one day and as we were leaving her teacher encouraged her just to stay for a short period of time each day. 

Lorelai stays with mom most of the day.   Amazing enough her Spanish is probably better that Walker's.  Mari-Madeline has begun to correct Ryan and I in our pronnunciations.   She has also had to help Ryan with translating.    The kids have so many friends here and this is truly their home for now.   I am not sure that they will ever be at home in the States again.   Life is so simple here and so uncomplicated.   They value relationships and time with family over anything else. 

 Natalie and the kids made thier first trip to the city since February.  While we all had fun, the hustle and bustle of the city was overwhelming and we were all excited to come home.   We had to make a quick return trip to the city with Mari-Madeline.   She was very sick and her malaria test were negative, but the local clinic did not know how to treat her.   So we packed up and made the 9 hour trip, by boat and truck back to the city.   Just as we were taking her to the hospital we met a doctor from the states who is a missionary at a clinic there.   He was able to tell us what labwork to have done and how treat her.   What a blessing from God that was. 

While in the city we also met another missionary couple that was able to connect us with a a network of missionaries that have a yearly conference and yearly kids camp in Honduras!   How amazing is that.   We are so excited about this.  Gods blessing are so simple yet so amazing all at the same time.   He knows just what we need! 

We are still working as a family on building relationships and learning abour our neighbors.   We live among three different people groups and each group functions very different.   One group the men are the leaders of the family and function more similar to us, another group the women are the leaders and are very aggresive about their postition in the family, and yet another it seems that both man and women are in charge.   It is also not uncommon for the men to leave the family and go for months and even years looking for work.   We saw one such family this past week.  The wife and kids had gone to the city and were visiting dad and the morning the family was returning was the same we were coming home.   It was so difficult to see the father and children in tears, because they know it may be 6 months before they see each other again.

We are so happy here and pray that we can be blessing to these people.   We pray that God can use us reach these people.
 
1 Peter 4:11
Whoever speaks is to do so as one who is speaking the utterances of God; whoever serves is to do so as one who is serving by the strength wich God supplies; so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever.  Amen.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Things that make me smile

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If you had asked me a year ago what made me smile my answer would have been drastically different than it is today.   It is not that I don't enjoy the same things, but rather what has become more special to me and my loved ones.   Just because we choose to do what God has commanded and asked of us does not make us any different that the average person.  We still have emotions and we still have wants and needs.   I honestly have struggled with many things in the past two months and most of them are people related and some of them have to do with things that we as a family never thought to pack.

I have known for about two weeks that we were going to host a team on our own and honestly I was not excited.   I dreaded being responsible for others, when I can barely cook rice and beans for us.   I can cook here, but you must remember I am still in the baby stage.   We had crunchy rice again the other day....Oh well.  I complained and cried and talked to God and anyone else who got caught listening to me on the phone.   I just was not ready, didn't God know that?  

In the meantime while dealing with this I realized that aside from a small football we brought from Tennessee the kids had no other outdoor toys.   What to do?   I began making plans to get the kids a soccer ball just as soon as we could get to the city.   I mean every kid should have a ball right?  

Lisa, who the kids call the "fun" grandmother, helped me get ready for the team.   She was a gift from God who knew how to make coffee to boot!    Won't the team be glad for her coffee and not my syrupy mess I would have made.   She along with Ryan and I saw to all the last minute details and meal plans.   Thankful for her forsight on many things.   Remeber, I am not ready to do this and by the way where is the instruction manuel on How to Host a Team?   I missed that book at Amazon.com.  

The day the team arrived I must admitt I was excited.   It was a group of 4 men, a missionary from another part of the country, a doctor, a pharmacist and a mechanical engineer.     They arrived with smiles and were full of good humor.   They were not even settled in when Walker saw one of them in an Ole Miss shirt and yells out "Ole Miss, I love Ole Miss!"   So what do the oh so sweet man do, but dig in his bag and give Walker an Ole Miss Rebels shirt!   I must say I cried.   The team was from Mississippi and it was like a gift from God and all I could do was SMILE!     They proceeded to produce a SOCCER BALL!   Yes, the very thing I wanted for my children they were giving to them.   They had several other items for the kids as well and I am the proud mother of muscial band of children.  One of the guys even ministered to Ryan by the way of hammock designs and ministry ideas in a way he will never know.   God new that even my husband needed someone and provided him.  The guys were like a balm for my soul.   God did know.   He knew what I needed and when I needed it.

As we saw the guys off this morning I shed a few more tears, but am excited because they will be back in a few days.   Now that is what makes me smile...Relationships!    God is always abundant in His love and He takes care of us even when we feel like we have been ignored.   Right down to the simple things that make a person smile and ease our time while serving Him.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Random things about life

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I though that I (Natalie) would just share a few of the things going on around here.  

Walker and Mari-Madeline started school this week in our village.   They were very excited and are learning more Spanish.   Mari-Madeline has come early everyday so far because she misses home.   She is having culture shock.  She really enjoys school, but it has been overwhelming.  She is also a grade above so the work is very hard, but she likes the challange.   Walker is doing great and even ask to go to school, what an answer to prayer!

Lorelai has been hanging out with mom.   She and I work around the house, go to the mission for an hour or so, and then she has a playdate every day for an hour.   Lorelai has an 7-8amazing Spanish vocabulary, but also has a crazy Lorelai vocabulary, words she has made up to suit her purpose.   Lorelai can even walk to the store across from our house and buy her snack! 

Ryan is just BUSY!   He works at the mission all morning, has Spanish class in the afternoon, and then is building relationships in the evening when not doing repairs on the house.  

Some of my days are crazier than others, but I will share a typical day:
5-7 wake up and get kids off to school
7-9 wash clothes  by hand and hang on line to dry
9-10 at the mission with Lorelai
10-11 clean house
11-12 prepare lunch-from scratch
12-3 kids home, ryan home, lunch and siesta
3-6 take clothes in, make dinner
6-7 ready for bed
7-8 bedtime

We stay pretty busy just keeping the house run and the family fed.   We love it though.   We have electricty for about 2 hours midday and then from about 6-12 at night.   We don't really miss it and could really live without it.  

This next week is Semana Santa here and we have 2 people staying with us as well as we are hosting our first team from the United States.  They are staying with us for a night before they head off deeper in the jungle on medical missions.   It is going to be a very busy week!

We have been researching a village to begin working on a house church.   On Friday we are going over to one not far from here to meet with leaders.  Please pray that this is a great meeting and that their hearts are open.   On Saturday we will be traveling several hours away in the boat to another village to meet with the missionary team.  On Sunday we will be going to a church in a village near our village.   Please pray for safe travels this weekend.  

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Life is Good, God is Great, All the Time

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Well, This is the first post to our blog since our arrival at our new home!  We are slowly adjusting to the new lifestyle and the people.  We love it here!  I am working on my language daily, we are both helping teach in the English school ran by Nathan and Rebecca Lloyd-Jones in Palacios.  The original plan was for us to stay in Palacios for a month or two at the most and then move to Belen to build our home.  Upon our arrival and with discussion with Frank Monterroso, the missionary we are working with, it was decided that we will probably be moving 30 hrs up river in 1 1/2 yrs or so.  There is an indigeneous group that has never heard the gospel and I want to go teach them.  They are the Tawaka Indians and there are around 5000 of them we think.  The plan had been for us to move to Belen, get settled, learn the culture and begin working with local church plants.  After discussion with Frank, Dr. Neal Creecy and others, we are now going to be staying in Palacios.  We purchased a boat and motor to be able to travel more efficiently and will begin looking for a receptive village with no regional churches currently.  We are looking to establish a network of house churches in the lagoon and river region between Palacios and Belen over the next few years.  I will be teaching the concept to the local house churches we establish and working with them to ensure reproducibility for each generation of house church.  After this is established, my family and I will move to Kurpa to establish the same network in that region with the Tawakan's as well as the Mosquite and Latin villages.  Please pray for us as we follow the Lord and teach the gospel to the people groups of Honduras.
On the personal side of things:
Natalie and the kids are adjusting well.  We love the locals in Palacios.  It is a large village with a mix of Latin, Misquite and Garifuna Indian influences everywhere.  We have made meny lifelong friends already and are happy that it will be our extended home.  A picture of the house we are staying in is on my Facebook page under Honduras:Palacios.  It is right on the water, overlooking the Lagoon and the mouth leading out to the ocean.  The girls are learning Spanish quickly, Natalie is learning the different terminology used in the area and is beginning to incorporate that into her existing Spanish training.  Walker is picking up things as well.  I am adding to my vocabulary daily. 
Walker and I crab fish late in the evening on our dock to catch supper a few times a week with a Mosquite high school student that lives in the mission dorms.  His name is Bediak and he is a new christian.  Please pray for him as he comes to further his knowledge of the Lord.  He cooked us fish soup, Snook (Roballo is Spanish) and Mullet, a few days ago with fresh squeezed coconut milk and a little pepper.  It was some of the best fish I've ever ate.  He made fun of Natalie because she doesn't eat fish.  He proceeded to tell her that Jesus ate fish and she should because of that if nothing else.  She said He also ate bread and she would stick with it.  We have several kindergarten children that we taught for a few weeks that we have grown to love.  They come and give us hugs daily and play with our kids.  My favorite one, Ibor, told me that I cant conjugate in Spanish and I need to stop trying. haha  Ibor is special to me.  His father was killed several years ago in Nicuragua in the drug trade and he doesn't have a Father figure in his life at all.  I am trying to spend time with him and have grown to love him.  He is also the most mischevious of all of the kids.
If the servers are working at the TIGO (ATT in Honduras) store, I will be able to purchase an internet card for the computer.  The TIGO modem works in Palacios which means that we will have internet at home!!!!!!!  It is very cheap and pretty slow(in american connectivity, very very slow)  which means we dont know if we can upload photos or not but at least we can update weekly.  It is strange, no electricity, no running water unless the tank is filled up by generator, but by golly we have internet.  In fact, many people in Palacios have cable tv.  They cant afford anything and dont make enough money to put a good meal on the table, but they have a flatscreen and cable tv. Does this sound familiar?  We dont and we dont miss it.  You dont realize how much time it takes from your day until its gone.  If you are one of the people reading this that says, "Oh we dont watch tv!" then go turn your cable off, save the money and cut the cord to the tv.  I guarantee you will have more time to read your Bible, spend time with your family or serve the Lord. 
Please continue to pray for us and we hoep to keep you updated regularly.
 
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