with the young men who are living with us in our home and participating in the one-year leadership program, we recently did a very special project. after completing a 6-month bible study we've been doing every morning, each of the boys worked for 2 weeks on their "life mission" project, then presented it to the group. the project included big themes, such as envisioning your "future self" and sharing who you hope he is (as a man, father, husband)... choosing and explaining your "life verses"... writing out what you hope might be said about you after you die, or even written on your tombstone, and much more. it was a very personal project! each young man presented for about 20 minutes and its fair to say there were plenty of tears shared together :)
Alex & Rosibel
we continue to mentor the marriage of rosibel and alex ("pastor") mendez. both have been like our own children over the years, and its pretty special to see them as a young married couple and as parents. like many of us did, they are stumbling through it :) but overall doing great. this picture is
from their daughter madison's 1st birthday.
the Rhinos have had a great 11v11 season so far. we've played in various tournaments all over guatemala. between several injuries, and some boys leaving the program, we've had to play short-handed, but its been a fantastic opportunity for guys to step up. we couldn't be happier with how the boys are playing.
as usual, we will always come across teams who may be bigger and more talented, but we rarely find a team that can "run" with us. full pressure for 90 straight minutes keeps us in a lot of games where we are otherwise outmatched. RhinoStrong!
we're getting ready to switch to 5v5, which is very popular in guatemala. we'll be joining some tournaments that typically play every friday night or saturday morning, which is always fun.
every wednesday night, mynor (along with axel, allan, nicho, jake, or whoever else can help) coaches our little rhinos. open to the young kids (ages 4-8) in the village, sometimes we have 4 kids and sometimes 15! its always a treat to see these little chicos & chicas running around, learning to play soccer, and having a blast.
Cesar & Andrea
our friends cesar and andrea continue fighting the good fight. cesar's condition continues to take away his bodily functions, but nothing ever touches his zeal for life. always clinging to God's word for his daily strength, he remains an inspiration to all who meet him. recently we've been able to open up his room with a large sliding glass door so he can see outside... build andrea a washing station outside (to allow more room for him to be carried in and out of the bathroom), fix their drainage system, and upgrade their TV and stereo. cesar LOVES to listen to worship music. one of the more powerful representations of joy in suffering you'll ever witness happens daily in florencia park, as at times during the day you can stop to hear the sounds of cesar garcia's voice praising Jesus with all of his might. God has been so faithful to answer the only "me prayer" I've ever heard cesar pray (and its not really even a "me prayer"): God, if its your will, please allow me to keep my voice so i can sing your praises until my very last breath.
Style Family Visit
we were recently visited by our friends the style family. we had a great time together with the rhinos, out in the village, and at lake atitlan in panajachel. i love how much they desire to be with the boys, get to know them deeper, and be invested in their lives. such a mixture of laughs and tears when they come to town! as always - thanks for the visit...
Johnson Family Vacation
we recently returned home from a big family reunion vacation. my side of the family tries to do something together every 2-3 years... this year we went to riviera maya, mexico!
we had a blast... swimming, surfing, 4-wheeling in the jungle, swimming in underground caves, and best of all just being together. big thanks to mimi & papa for making it happen, and for insisting that we do this every few years! our families are spread out all over the place, and its always so great when we can all come together.
for those who have been connected with our guatemala ministry since the beginning, you'll remember that name - blanca suzanna. we met blanca when she was 13 years old. (please watch this video about her story, made in 2009). suffering from rape and abuse from a young age, she has now grown into a loving young mother. today she is 22 years old, and we just recently signed her home and land over from my name into hers. a very special moment, and a little surreal, as it took us back down memory lane! i can't help but remember blanca in her beautiful blue quinceñera dress when she turned 15...
Prosthetic leg for Aldothanks for our friends at Conpassion Christian Church for sending our friend David Puckett from Savannah, GA. david spend a few days with us recently and gave his time and expertise to build a prosthetic leg for Aldo. in just a couple days, he was able to have Aldo up on his feet for the first time. when Aldo took his first step (and all of erupted in applause) his dad Leonardo was overcome with emotion. it was a powerful example of a father's love for his boy - and of our Father's love for us.
Fun with the Rhinosdespite tragedies, challenges, and all of the emotional ups and downs that come with this life, we try to "keep things light" as often as we can. as dirty, mischievous, and full of nonsense that these boys are, they can absolutely light up your day! today they were trying to tell us they needed to miss the following day in the academy because of dance practice for a school play. we said they could only miss if they could prove to us that they could dance. i'll let you decide...