Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Things that make me smile

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  

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

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.