Tuesday, September 24, 2013

some recent favorite pics - click to enlarge!





it has been a blast watching the boys respond to luci.  she spends every day up in the academy, bouncing back between me and kerrie. sometimes the boys just grab her and go play. joni in particular seems to always snag her.  i love it.









sort of a "where's waldo" pic ("where's gringo") from my son jake's recent independence day celebration at his school.  kerrie is pinning on his "distinguished alumni" banner, for having the best grades in his class.










enrique checking out a jaguar on our last excursion - a jungle safari!








noah smacking andrea on the head with a bouncy ball.  really, they love playing together!!











luci playing at the playground with mom and dad.











vielman ("cheeks") checking out a giraffe from the bus on the safari.









for those of you that know him... yep, that's "dirty bryan" - distinguished alumni for the highest grades in his class!!













my two, beautiful, grown-up daughters - brooke and madi.
















WE'RE HAVING SO MUCH FUN WITH LUCIANA ANDREA.  SHE IS AN ABSOLUTE JOY!!
SO MANY OTHER GREAT PICTURES OF HER TO INCLUDE, BUT HERE'S JUST A FEW...




























Friday, September 6, 2013

sometimes i wish....

more often than not, i love living in guatemala.  especially after i've been in the US for a while.  thats when i really miss home.  i miss the people.  the lack of technology.  less luxuries.  less marketing, commercials, stuff, stuff, stuff...

but i can't lie...sometimes i hate living here. 

the traffic situation is enough to make me want to crash my head into my steering wheel on some days.  with the recent additions, we now have 34 (large) speed-bumps just to get out of the village onto the main road.  add the recent mudslides, maneuvering around 12 chicken buses, 8 tuk-tuk's (mini taxi's), 9 horses, a massive herd of cows (and all the waste they leave behind)...  and it makes every single trip outside of our village a considerable headache.

but that's just scratching the surface.  there are lots of things about guatemala that make me want to go insane on a regular basis.

there are so many amazing moments, though.  so much so, that i feel like i am the most blessed guy in the world.  maybe that doesn't make sense.

here's a few simple examples:

sometimes i wish i could go kill an hour running some errands, like to Home Depot and grabbing a burger at Five Guys...  then i get a text from 16yr old Wilmer at 10:30pm, while he's out in the street with his buddies, saying "i love you dad, thanks for being the only dad i've ever had."

Melsar
sometimes i wish my wife could just go to the store by herself without worrying that she may get attacked/robbed/kidnapped...  but then i see Melsar, a kid abandoned at birth by his mother and father, sliding across the field on his knees with an ear-to-ear-grin after scoring a goal.

sometimes i wish my daughters could walk through our village without being harassed and yelled at by local men...  then i imagine our village years down the road, when the men are respectful and kind.

sometimes i wish i could see my kids' names on my caller ID and my first thought not be that they've been kidnapped or are in some kind of danger...  but then i see my girls growing in their faith, and loving on the boys in the academy like they are their own brothers.
Denilson

sometimes i just crave a Dunkin Donuts coffee with hazelnut creamer, the way i always used to get them...  then Denilson tells me he wants to be a pastor so that he can help his community.

sometimes i wish my son Jake was playing little league baseball and basketball...  then i see him for the man of God he is becoming, and dream about what amazing things lie ahead of him in light of all he's given up.

sometimes i want to be able to be in public and not have to be in security mode, scanning everything around me constantly...  then i watch Pato devour his dinner, and ask for seconds in English ("may...I...have...more...please?), like he does every night in our home.

sometime i just want to drive on a smooth road - just once!...  then i think of some of our boys in the Academy who say they want to become engineers, and i imagine them one day working to make guatemala's roads better!
 
Luciana Andrea with our friend Cesar
sometimes i want to cruise around in our village with my new baby girl without thinking in the back of my mind about the bacterial diseases that are rampant here, as everyone touches and kisses her...then i think of the incredible life - full of experiences - that lies ahead of her.

sometimes i just want to let my wife get away by herself or with a friend like she used to - grab lunch, run some errands, or whatever...  then i watch "joni bravo" - with his classic, confused-looking smile on his face - spend an entire day learning how to swim.
 
sometimes i want to murder the internet guy, after consecutive weeks of no service and not showing up as promised...  then i witness Julio opening up and confessing a sin in his life to God and to his teammates.

Dirty Bryan
sometimes i want to assume that a policeman is on the good side (they are almost all corrupt here)...  then "Dirty Bryan" says he wants to be a policeman when he grows up, and - despite his nickname being "Dirty" - i am filled with hope!

sometimes i want to be able to "come home" from work and be DONE...  then i walk downstairs to let the dogs out at 10pm and find Alex sitting there, using our computer to work on a project that's due the next day - fighting to graduate from high school (one of the few from our village that has ever gone that far).

yeah, i can't lie... i hate a lot of things about living here.  but if i dwell on those things, just look at what i would miss!  so many things each day that are worth celebrating.

its a daily battle for all of us to remember that life isn't about us!  its about giving all we have to Christ and what he's called us to do.  its about loving and helping people with our time and resources.

in my case, God is reminding me that if i were living for myself, i would have all the things i mentioned above.  little league.  safe malls.  great restaurants.  peace of mind.

but i would be missing out on the great stuff - like Melsar sliding across the field in his Rhino uniform, as happy and free as he's ever been.

John 13:38 - Then Jesus replied, "will you really lay down your life for me?"