Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Family Pictures

Sunday during the soccer tournament we took family pictures and developed and framed them. Then on Monday we hand delivered the pictures to the families and got to visit in their homes. Quirio, where we are ministering, is really a community built into the side of the Andes mountains- on the desert side. So the mountain is not green- it is brown- dirt and rocks. Many of the houses we delivered to on Monday involved quite a bit of stair climbing and then after the stairs ran out, climbing up rocks. Awesome Gospel conversations occurred. People were prayed for. People who had never heard the Gospel got to hear for the first time that they are loved infinitely by a God simply because of who He is. Amazing. Here is a short video about the photo delivery and if you are interested in seeing more about what has happened, check out this website, too. http://www.iwcstories.posterous.com :



Up High from imb connecting on Vimeo.


Monday, July 16, 2012

Peru

We have limited internet access here in Peru, but I just had to share some amazing things God is doing. Leaving the four precious kiddos at home was very difficult. I cried. A lot. But there is just no way I could not jump on the opportunity to minister with my best friend and husband for the Gospel. And I know our kiddos are in good hands. The best hands actually. Our parents are taking turns keeping them, but the hand I am speaking of are God's. They're His.

So, we are here in Peru. We are ministering in an area outside of Lima called Quirio. Basically, Quirio began as a squatter town/human settlement. People came from the jungles on the other side of the mountain and squatted on open land. Over the years as they had the money, the built houses and eventually the government recognized them as a community. Quirio has 5 zones and 20,000 people. Zone 1 is the oldest and most developed (I use that word loosely) and zone 5 is the newest, least developed and most squatter-like. There are not evangelical churches in Quirio. 20,000 people and no churches. There is a church in nearby Chosica, but most of the people have no transportation or money for a bus ride. So, this church's pastor recognize the need for a church in Quirio. He has raised up and with the IMB Missionary, John Pham, trained people from his church who are now prepared to go into Quirio and plant a house church in each of the 5 zones. Our mission this week is to penetrate Quirio with the gospel and drum up awareness for the new church plants who are just starting. Basically, make relationship, share the Gospel, point people to the new churches.

We have several projects in place to make this happen. Yesterday we sponsored a huge soccer tournament. Each zone put together a team, the Americans made a team and the Ecuidorian students who are here ministering with us made a team. We also took family pictures yesterday during the tournament. Today we delivered those pictures to the people, got to visit with them in their homes, build relationships and share the Gospel. Tomorrow we are doing English lessons in the schools and painting and repair work at the schools in Zones 1 and 2. Wednesday we are helping the community with the water pipeline that carries the water to Quirio. Thursday we are visiting with the students we meet in the schools at their homes- meeting their families and making relationships. And Friday we are putting on a block party.

I just have to share about one thing that happened yesterday at the soccer tournament. On Saturday afternoon, we walked around the community handing out flyers about the tournament and pictures. One of the students here with us noticed some boys playing a video game that he likes to play. Through a translator, he struck up a conversation about the video game and invited them to the tournament. The boys said that they had a soccer team and that they wanted to play in the tournament. The student told them that he wasn't sure how that would work, but that they should come anyway. Fast forward to Sunday. In the morning we conducted a kid's tournament while some of the crews were at church. A group of boys walked up to one of our leaders and said that they had a team and that they wanted to play in the men's tournament. They were told that unfortunately the teams had already been formed from each zone, but to hang around just in case a team didn't show. Of course, this team was formed by the two boys that our students had met the day before, but that student was at the church so he didn't even know the two boys- David and Jorge- had even come. Well, in God's complete sovereignty, the team from Zone 5 did not show. David and Jorge's team was invited to play in the tournament. Then during one of their team's breaks, some of the World Changers here were meeting the families and players at the tournament, making connections and sharing the Gospel. And some them sat down with David and Jorge's entire team to get to know them. They had the opportunity to share the Gospel with the entire team and to answer lots of questions and really talk with them for a while. In the end, David and Jorge gave their lives to Christ! Praise! And our team of students here really wanted to give them a Bible in Spanish, but the only Bibles at the stadium were the gifts for the winning team. You know where this story is going, I'm sure. David and Jorge's team tied with another team which lead to a kick-off of penalty kicks. David and Jorge's team won. They got their Bibles with their tropheys.

Don't you see the greatness of God in this? How stunningly like Him. The boys that were playing video games want to play in the tournament but can't. But for some reason the team from zone 5 doesn't show. So they get to play. Which means they get to hear the Gospel. And God opens their hearts to the truth and redeems them right there on that soccer field. And they need a Bible so they can grow and learn in their newfound faith. So they coincidentally win the tournament and get Bibles. Amazing. Our God is amazing.

And that is just one story. God is at work here. Keep praying! Soli Deo Gloria!!!!!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

And the years go by...

Happy 1st Birthday, Eden! My what a year it has been. I cannot believe you are already a year old. And yet, it feels like you've always been in this family. I don't know all of your stats yet, since we haven't been to the doctor yet, but you are doing great!
  • You are growing fast and so is your hair!! And it is growing in so beautifully. Several people have asked me if I've cut your hair because it looks so nice. It is a beautiful honey color and it is getting pretty long and starting to get in your eyes. I still wish you'd keep a bow in for more than a few minutes! 
  • You are pulling up and cruising all around. I don't think it will be long before you are walking, but there is no hurry! Take your time sweet girl. 
  • You babble all the time. Daddy says once you start saying words, it's gonna be all over cause you've got a lot to say! You can say "Daddy" "Mama" "Bye-bye" and the other day just as clear as could be you were holding your baby doll and you said "Baby." 
  • You are drinking out of a sippy cup now all the time, no more bottle! You are doing great with milk and you love to feed yourself. So far I think your favorite meal might be Chick-fil-a chicken nuggets.
  • You LOVE the pool. You are a little fish. You laugh and splash and are always putting your face in the water. You think it is hilarious when Caleb goes under water and then comes back up. 
  • You think all of your brothers are so funny and they can all make you laugh. But I think Josiah makes you laugh the most. Daddy and I love to hear you giggle. 
  • Your brothers fight over who gets to sit by you or play with you. They really do adore you. Remember this when they are teenagers and seem to just tolerate you. Deep down inside those smelly boys, they really do think you are the greatest.
Eden, I love you so much. You are such a precious little girl. You are so happy and you fill my heart with joy. I hear from everyone that you and I will probably have conflicts in your teenage years, and I know that is probably true. But I want you to always know how incredibly blessed I feel that you are my daughter. I pray everyday that you will grow to know and love Jesus and that God would bless us with a precious relationship. Everyday of this year has been so very wonderful having a little girl in this family. Your daddy is absolutely in love with you. I have loved watching him with you.You melt him. And truthfully, you melt me, too. We love you, baby girl! No matter what, forever and ever. Happy 1st Birthday Sugar Monkey!!














Monday, July 9, 2012

Zoo Trip

On Friday we took a day trip to the Riverbanks Zoo. We got up early and got to the zoo when it opened, hoping to beat the heat. We had a great time checking out the animals all morning. The kids were great and they really do love the zoo. So much so, in fact, we decided to go ahead and get a membership so we can go back as much as we want. We were all finished around 11:45, so we enjoyed our picnic lunch and got home in time for naps. We finished off our fun family day at the pool! I sure do love summer and my family!







Sunday, July 8, 2012

July 4th Fun

Last year we took a walk in our neighborhood. I was just a few days away from having Eden! And as we walked, we noticed lots of our neighbors putting lawn chairs in their front yards. Confusing... I wondered if there was some kind of parade. So we asked and yes, the neighborhood puts on a parade every year for the Fourth of July. I made a mental note to make sure we participated next time. And so, this year we did! The boys and I decorated their bikes so they could ride them in the parade and I decorated the stroller for Josiah and Eden. All the kids wore red, white and blue.

The parade was cute and fun. Lots of kids on bikes and scooters, some pulling wagons, other parents with strollers. One lady in our neighborhood dresses as Lady Liberty every year and rides in her convertible. They also crown a queen who rides in the convertible with her (not sure exactly how this works!). And the summer campers from the YMCA come dressed in their best red, white and blue to march in the parade singing and chanting. There was also a guy this year who played the trumpet. The boys had a great time, even though it was super hot. We've already bought decorations 70% off for next years parade!








Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Weekend in Virginia

Last weekend we went up to Virginia for a long weekend with Jack's family. Jack's sister, Bel, and her husband, Thomas, and their two kids were in town from Louisiana and we were not going to miss a chance to see them! We hadn't met Bel's kids and she hadn't met Josiah or Eden. Noah was a baby the last time we saw them, so we wanted to make sure to spend time with them while they were so close.

We had a wonderful weekend together. The kids played together really well. Well, the boys did- the girls are a little young for playing just yet. We went swimming, enjoyed the slip-n-slide, the boys went fishing and played some golf, too. The boys loved the pool! They loved going off of the diving board. Caleb did great jumping off without his life jacket and swimming to the ladder. He worked on perfecting his cannon ball. This kid really is like a fish! And Noah conquered his fears, too! He jumped off the diving board with his life jacket on, but he went under the water. He was so cute. He'd walk out to the end of the diving board, and stand there as he puffed out his cheeks to hold his breath and closed his eyes really tight, and then he jumped in.

And let me just tell you about the fishing. Jack's taken Caleb a few times and he has gotten really great at casting, but so far hasn't had much luck catching a fish. Until last weekend..... when that boys caught his first fish all by himself, he didn't mess around! He caught a 6 lb large mouth bass. The fish was huge!! And he reeled it in all by himself, with Paw-Paw right there to help hold the pole. I love the huge smile on his face in the pictures. Love. it.  And Noah didn't do too shabby either, catching his own large mouth bass with Daddy. What a fun weekend we had!













Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Weekend at the Lake

Two weekends ago, we met my family at the lake house in Georgia for a little mini-vacation/family weekend. We had a great time. The kids really loved playing together, and so did the adults! We enjoyed relaxing, the kids loved the huge inflatable pool/slide, the boys went fishing, took out a john boat (the lake was too low for the nice big boat!), played board games and took lots of pictures.




Oh and encountered our first ever mean, nasty caterpillar called the Buck Moth Caterpillar.

 http://blog.nola.com/cest-la-nola/2008/12/medium_buckmoth_caterpillar.jpg


 These caterpillars are covered in spikes that if they touch you, scratch you and inject venom! Apparently it feels much like a bee sting. Unfortunately, Caleb, Noah and Hayden were running around barefoot catching frogs (cause what else to little boys do at the lake?!?) and Hayden stepped on one of these nasty beasts. Not fun. But he recovered fairly well and now we all know to watch out for them, and wear shoes when stomping around after frogs!


All in all it was a fun weekend together. I sure do love watching these 7 cousins growing up together. They really do love each other, and they play so well together. They are all so different, but very much friends.