Friday, November 29, 2013

thank you: bvsa christmas wish-list

THANK YOU for your response to the christmas wish-list email we sent out a couple weeks ago!!  it has been amazing to see the donations come
in!!  such a blessing for all of us here at the academy.

there are still several items not yet sponsored...  so if you are interested in giving a christmas gift to the boys academy this year, check out this link!

attaching the email we sent out below:
we recently asked our ministry team what their "wish list" would be for 2014, in order to do their jobs better, and help the academy run more efficiently.  some items were normal, end-of-year things that we always need, and others were new ideas.  

the ladies all had needs for the classrooms, hector had "wishes" for his job, johanna in the kitchen, and of course for soccer and facilities.  in addition, our teams-hosting ministry has some needs!

if you are interested in sending the boys academy a christmas gift this year, there are still several items yet to be sponsored.  please check out our 2013 BVSA Christmas Wish List!

bvsa is a 501c3 nonprofit, run and operated 100% by donations.  all gifts are fully tax deductible!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

axel can drive!

if you have ever visited the boy's academy since the day we opened, you have met axel.

he graduated from the academy last year, and has been working with us (while studying) ever since.  he says the academy changed his life.  he told me yesterday, "after learning the bible, and how to be a man of integrity from my coaches, my life will never be the same."

he is studying to be a school teacher, and has already received the promise from a close friend and supporter of BVSA to pay his full-time salary with us if he graduates.

all of us at the boy's academy love and trust axel.  he's truly a special young man.

recently, with some help from a sponsor, we were able to put him through driving school.  and yesterday, he received his license!

he told us that he is the first person ever in his family to have a driver's license.  in fact, he said he doesn't even know anyone (other than us) that has ever had a driver's license!

it's a simple thing, but another sign that things are moving forward.

congratulations axel!  (and no, you can't borrow my car yet)

Friday, November 15, 2013

friendship and faithfulness

last weekend we had the pleasure, thanks to a couple generous donations, to host the leiva family (mynor, walda, and noah) to a trip to new york city.

the trip was for my brother's surprise 40th birthday party, who lives just outside of the city.  so we were able to spend a couple days in NYC, and then a couple days with my family at my brother's place.

when we invited mynor and walda, we were unaware that visiting NYC was one of walda's dreams. having grown up in guatemala, a trip to new york would be an unlikely occurrence for both of them, so it was amazing to be a part of it!

we did it all.  we stayed in the heart of Times Square, toured Grand Central, took a boat to Lady Liberty, visited Rockefeller Center, went to the Top of the Rock, saw Empire State, the Chrysler Bldg, the new World Trade Center, Broadway, etc, etc.  and all of that while strolling our 1 year olds!  they had a blast!

even more special than getting to watch them enjoy NYC, was the time we spent together as friends.

i met mynor almost 6 years ago - in april of 2008.  we had just arrived in guatemala, and were staying at another missionary's house in the city on our first night.  our hosts (now good friends of ours) had to run to their kid's school for an event, and we stayed behind at their home.

their instructions:  "don't go outside, and don't answer the door."

a couple hours later, the doorbell rang.  i answered it.  it was mynor.

he was the first guatemalan i ever met!  crazy, right?  in light of where we are today, that still amazes me.

he was there to deliver coffee for the family that we were staying with.  we had a short conversation there on the front porch, but it was enough for us to both sense God at work.  i will never forget going inside and telling my wife "something just happened."

its a long story from there, full of ups and downs, celebrations, tears, and literal miracles.  but above all, its a story of faith and friendship.

in september of 2010, we broke ground on the boys academy.  since then, sharing life with the leivas has been incredible.  we have grown together, worked through issues together, studied God's word together, prayed together, leaned on one another, cried together, laughed together, and parented 30 boys together.

this last trip with the leivas reminded me how important our friendship is.  it is family.  its parenting one another's kids.  its talking through decisions together.  its being there for one another, loving one another through life's ups and downs, and carrying one another's burdens.

today i very deeply and sincerely thank God for this relationship.  i love how obvious it is that God alone orchestrated it!

for my family, it was a long, difficult, stressful, but exciting journey that got us to guatemala.  the most our faith had been stretched to that point in our lives, by far.

but literally only a few hours after our plane landed, God began proving himself faithful.  he knew (before the beginning of time!) that we would be there when mynor knocked on the door.  he knew i would answer.  he knew that through that short conversation, the buena vista boys academy, and a deep friendship, was in the making.

i can only imagine what lies ahead.  but one thing i know is that i am honored to be serving God together, raising these boys together, and doing life together, with such great people.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

dance revolution

its been something we've talked about a lot, and really enjoyed being a part of over the past few years.

its the evolution of the boys' willingness to express themselves freely.

sadly, free expression and wide-open childlike fun is not very acceptable around our village.  in the home, overbearing, addicted, and/or abusive men in the home tend to choke out any chance of that.

besides, if you are over 5 years old, its time to start working.  no time for dancing, full-out laughter, pretending, daydreaming, acting, or singing...

at the boy's academy, while we do run a disciplined and structured program, we work hard to create an environment that encourages the boys to open up, be free, and express themselves.

time and time again, music and dancing has been something that has captivated the boys and encouraged freedom and fun.

WATCH THIS SHORT VIDEO that shows some highlights from our living room in the academy house the past few nights...

Saturday, November 2, 2013

kerrie's birthday

kerrie's birthday was tuesday. we had a team in town, so we waited until friday to celebrate. friday is a national holiday here, so the academy is closed and we had a complete day to do whatever kerrie wanted.

i asked her "if we could do anything you want to do, what would it be?"

she said "a bike ride.  but not just a stroll.  a challenging one."

we don't own bikes, so i contacted a friend who referred me to a friend of his who owns an outdoor excursions company in antigua.  gina watched andrea for us, and off we went.

it was a beautiful, challenging, bike ride through the surrounding areas of antigua. normally a 4 hour ride, we took out the rest stops and cut it to 2.5 to make it more difficult.

other than a small panic attack from brooke as we fought a 1.5 mile uphill...  and a near-vomit-attack from madi at one point, we had a blast!!  the trek included off-road trails, cobblestone streets, highway, dirt roads, and lots of hills.

at one of our 60-second rest stops, madi made a comment (while gasping for air): "mom, you're crazy. you have to be the only mom i know who would call this a birthday present."

afterwards we stopped for lunch at a roof-top terrace spot in antigua. we celebrated, joked, and laughed harder than we have in a long time.

just before we fell asleep, kerrie told me that it was a perfect day.

that was great to hear, because no one deserves a perfect day as much as she does.