Wednesday, May 9, 2018

recent updates: rose stacy, brooke, baptisms, and the wilsons

allan & glendy with rose stacy
allan's wife glendy gave birth to a healthy baby girl!  rose stacy is the newest member of the rhino family!

these moments always remind me of God's faithfulness.  as we see young couples - young families - stepping out into the community of buena vista who are doing things differently... changing the culture around them...  loving God and loving their neighbors...  men honoring and respecting their wives... and cherishing their kids...  i can only say "thank you Jesus!"

i remember in 2011 when allan started in the academy.  he was T-R-O-U-B-L-E.  God is so good.

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brooke with me and matt, right after surgery
our daughter brooke was in town for the last 10 days - she came in to get her tonsils taken out.  i know, right...  came to a third world country to have a tonsillectomy?!  yeah, well, thats what missionaries do :)

in the states, without insurance, a tonsillectomy costs between 7-10k.  here, after all costs including plane ticket, we paid about 15% of that!  God is faithful.  he has blessed us with so many dear friends and contacts here in guatemala over the years.  and now we have a new friend in ENT doctor hugo motta.

praise Jesus, brooke is recovering well and back in jacksonville.  after over a year of off/on severe tonsillitis, struggling through the pain and sacrificing her love of singing, we are praying that she is fully healed.

her boyfriend matt came with her on the trip, and it ended up being a really special time...

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more baptisms to celebrate!  on a recent trip to honduras, darwin and jeff were baptized in the
caribbean sea.  jeff, our cfo at bvsa, had been baptized as a child but described it as being without any real meaning.  having made a true decision to follow Christ around 5 years ago, he decided it was time to proclaim his faith decision with baptism!

mynor and i baptizing jeff and darwin
darwin (better known as "mash") approached us a couple months ago after making a personal decision to be baptized.  he too was baptized in the catholic church as a child, and had been told by his parents that it was wrong to do it again.  even though mash was growing in his faith at the time, he decided out of respect for his parents not to do it.

but after a solid year of growing in his faith and truly giving his life to Jesus, he decided it was time. when he approached us, he said that he told his parents "i respect your opinion and all that you have done for me, but i have to make this decision for myself because my faith is my own."  to his surprise (and ours too), they were very understanding, and told him they respected his decision!  (pretty amazing for our legalistic "catholic vs evangelical" village!)

it was a beautiful time together with friends.  two great men from completely different lives and cultures, now forever connected by the blood-sealed bond of Jesus.  a little glimpse of heaven...

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wilson's donations for dr. carlos
our friends ryan and laura wilson recently visited for a few days.  only having been here twice, they are some of our new favorite peeps!  let me explain...

a big part of being a missionary is being a host.  in our case, our home is literally a revolving door of visitors.  between mission teams and in-home guests, we probably average 2 weeks per month of hosting!  add to that the families that often come live with us for a season, and the boys that live in our home... and, well, you get the point.

after years of living this way, you can't help but contrast all of the personalities.  we love being a small part of so many people's spiritual journey...

back to the wilsons.  after their first visit (last year) we were left refreshed.  not because they "poured into us", or brought gifts, or gave us special treatment.  but because of the way they dove in! sure, most people come on a "mission trip" to serve.  however, the different variables such as the language gap, culture shock, nerves, fear, etc, make it easier said than done.  simply put, we as "hosts" spend much of our effort helping create the situations so that people actually can serve.  

ryan and cesar
not necessary with the wilsons.  with no spanish skills whatsoever (except ryan's nacho libre attempts), and basically no experience in guatemala, they jumped in like they had been here a thousand times.  

they talk to the boys as if they understand!  just confidently look them in the face and converse.  "hi, whats your name?  how old are you?  tell me about your family.  what do you like to do?  do you like music?  how do you feel?  do you ever have stomach aches?  whats your favorite movie?"...

somehow it works.  the boys sometimes understand enough to respond, and from there its a mixed pot of spanglish, sign language, and charades that somehow works out!  

laura being a nurse and ryan a physical therapist, they also bring invaluable skills to the mission field. and when they are here, they work.  after a long day, they'll ask "anything else we can do? anyone else we can see?"

we're thankful for their giving spirit and refreshing energy.  sweet sweet people.