Wednesday, June 30, 2010

seasons


i love summer and hate winter. always have. i remember growing up (who am i kidding, i still do it), wishing with frustration that the cold would hurry up and pass so we could enjoy 100 degree days again.

i am learning how our independent journey's with God are like seasons. suffering, blessing, rest, growth, etc, can all be seasons that God gives us at any given time.

there are so many things happening right now...

we leave tomorrow morning for a quick trip to the US - its a johnson family reunion in south florida. super excited to see everyone and relax for a few days.

but when we come back we've got steady back-to-back mission teams through the summer, until the end of august. there is lots to do and we've got some great projects lined up for the teams to help get some work done!

all this while the vision for the boys academy is truly beginning to take shape. we see the coming months closing on land, praying for funds, breaking ground on the facility, planning to move our family to buena vista, praying for more funds...

with so much going on, stress can creep in and be a buzz kill. while there is definitely a temptation to enter freak-out mode, it is pretty cool how God gives peace when you know the "busyness" was instigated by Him alone.

life is made up of seasons. i have had plenty of busy ones. but personally i prefer the simple seasons of life moving slowly, full of relationships and community, with lots of time to read. i can anticipate that the next few months won't be like that, but that's ok.

more important than anything is that we embrace the season that God gives, and seek to bring glory to His name whichever it might be. for now i am buckling up for a crazy next few months. praise God.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

train! milk! carrots!


anyone remember the 80's movie Stand By Me? if so, you'll remember the part when the kids are walking across the bridge and the train comes up behind them. hold that thought for a sec...

today me and my girls, along with our friend carter who is staying with us, went to deliver a food basket to a family. noelia is a single mom with 4 kids (pictured), and they have been sponsored to receive a new home but are still about a month away from their start date.

the sponsor for their home recently sent us some money and asked us to bring them some food. it was enough money for a huge basket of various things - probably a month to 6 weeks worth of food.

when we walked in the house, the mood was somber. it was raining hard outside, and all 4 kids were snugged up together on their only bed - cold and quiet. we talked for a while, then carter and i went out to get the food basket. when we walked back in, the mood changed completely.

with the same passion that the kid in Stand By Me stands up and yells "trrraaaain!", noelia's kids popped up and looked at the basket with bright eyes - one yelling "miiiilk!", another yelling "pineapple!", and another yelling "carrots!".

i successfully fought back my tears.

for the rest of our visit, as i watched my girls play and laugh with their kids, i thought about how excited they were to see food.

i thought about how animated their reactions were. easily as animated as when the kid from Stand By Me yelled "train."

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

stolen camera, God's grace

couple hard days working the jobsite. like always, it refreshes the respect that i have for my workers who do the same thing, day in and day out. i am feeling a sore back from digging and throwing shovels of dirt for a couple of days...

interesting thing happened yesterday. i left my camera on the jobsite, sitting on a window seal with a coffee mug. not worried about it, i returned today to find the coffee mug but no camera.

with almost 100% certainty, it turns out the very family we are building a new home for - stole my camera. while i do not think it was the older, widowed woman we are building a home for, it was undoubtedly one of her sons or other family members.

this was a camera my parents gave me for christmas. a great little camera with HD video that i have been using almost every day.

how am i supposed to handle this? i asked all the family members today if they had seen a camera, and of course they all said "no".

my flesh says stop construction until someone returns it. my spirit says explain to them that while i know one of them stole my camera, we will continue to love them anyway.

maybe a way to show them how unimaginable God's grace is towards us, despite our constant sin against him.

Monday, June 21, 2010

pacaya damage - francisco's new home


you may have already seen the pictures mark posted of some of the aftermath of the eruption of volcano pacaya. if not, you can check it out here.

we finally were able to make it up there and build a home for our friend francisco and his family. they lost everything in the disaster. their home was destroyed, along with their beds and practically all of their belongings. he explained that the damage was due to 50lb boulders that shot out from the volcano - where in the center they were filled with lava. the boulders would come down the mountain crashing into homes, and as they broke open the lava would destroy whatever it touched. he described it simply as "amazing."

anyway, along with carl bunso & carter jackson in town, we were able to spend a day in the rain building franciso, his mom, grandma, and one of his brother's (with wife and child) a new 2-bedroom home. they were extremely grateful. we are looking forward to coming back soon with a team to build 2 more homes.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

another close call with esbin

yesterday romulo and i were in a widowed lady's home, looking it over as a potential candidate for a 12x12 house. we were interrupted by mildred, esbin's sister, who was frantically explaining that esbin is having trouble breathing.

when we got there, esbin was clearly in trouble. he could not breath, and seemed to be moving in and out of consciousness, with his eyes frequently rolling back into is head. we called for help, and dr. carlos was there within 15 minutes.

according to the doc, we normally breath at 95-100%, and should never dip below 85%. he was breathing at 55%. his lungs are full of mucus and needed to be drained. the next couple of hours was spent doing this...

when we left he was feeling better. please keep him in your prayers. this is the 4th time this has happened in recent months, and the specialist from guatemala city doesn't seem to think he has much more time.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

co2 youth group


been a busy week with a youth group from lake city, FL in town. what an amazing week. this group of kids came down with the excitement and energy to pour themselves out in service. they had raised and donated 20k to purchase the land for the future Boys Academy! i was reminded by a friend how cool that is... that a group of "youth" from the US are laying the foundation for a ministry to the "youth" of guatemala! never underestimate what kids can do!

while here, these kids worked on building a home, brought running water to a family that has never had it before, repaired a family's roof, and brought donations, love, and hugs to orphaned kids with HIV. and these are just a few highlights....

you can watch a video from their trip by clicking here.

THANK YOU C02!!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

pacaya & agatha



in the last several days, guatemala has been nailed by 2 different natural disasters. first volcano pacaya erupted, killing several people including a cnn reporter. entire villages were wiped out by lava and avalanches. our friend franciso, who lives in a village on volcano pacaya, lost his house and all his belongings. we've got to do something...

then tropical storm agatha came. so far the storm has killed more than 180 people, with another 100 still missing. last report said over 35,000 homes have been destroyed, leaving approximately 300,000 people homeless.

we almost lost two of our 12x12 love project homes, as the edges of the mountains they were built on washed out right up to their front porches. all in all, our villages got through ok. others, just a few miles away, weren't so fortunate.

join us in prayer for these people.