asurprisecalling

Following our calling to the Dominican Republic


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A Wall of Warriors

warriorOne thing that I hope everyone knows about me is that I am real.  What you see on social media will be the same thing that you see in my “real life”.  You won’t hear spiritual platitudes coming from my mouth.  I won’t say things just to placate you.  That is both a blessing and a curse.

The reason that I am saying this is because I need all of you to know that.  I hope to show as much of the good, bad, and ugly of me that is socially acceptable.  (Let’s all face it…only your closest of friends see it all!) My hope is that by being honest and vulnerable that you can see God at work.  My hope is that through my own personal struggles and angst that you can see God working in and through me.  My hope is that this gives you hope and points you to the one that seeks your heart!

Yesterday, I posted a plea for prayer on FB.  Over the past month, we have been getting attacked from all sides in ways that we have not made public.  The same thing happened when we were entering the mission field.  We have been a bit shocked that it is happening as we are leaving the field to enter a season of rest and healing. We feel that we aren’t much of a threat right now and couldn’t understand why we were under siege.

Hermanas en Cristo has been doing the War Room bible study, and our recent Women’s Retreat’s theme was “This is War!”, with our focus on becoming Prayer Warriors.  For anyone that has not read Priscilla Shirer’s book, Fervent, she talks about how satan attacks us in all areas of our life to distract us so that we will lose our focus on God. He uses problems in our marriage, our relationships and our finances to distract us.  He wants to take away our passion and our energy so we won’t have the strength to fight.  He uses others to remind us of who we were in our past. Once he distracts and weakens us, then he goes in for the kill.

That is where I was yesterday…distracted and depleted!

How can we fight against that?  Through prayer and scripture!!!

I heard God say, “Ask for help!  Surround your family with a Wall of Prayer Warriors!”.

I needed to “practice what I preach”.

As I reached out on FB, I was nervous for laying it out there for all to see.  I was weak, vulnerable, and sinking! I was nervous about being judged for “being weak in my faith” (<—don’t get me started on that! That is for another day, another post).

We were overwhelmed by love and support! We received so many private messages and words of encouragement, and so many people began praying for us. It did feel like we had a Wall of Prayer Warriors all around us.  It gave us strength to refocus on Him.

There are going to be times in our lives where we don’t have strength to fight alone.  God is always with us and always faithful.  I believe that is why He also provides us with Prayer Warriors to surround us and protect us as we refocus on Him.  God also uses these times to grow and mold us.  He will never let our pain occur in vain.  He always uses that for His good.  God is teaching me to be vulnerable, bold, and to live without fear of judgment. He is teaching me not to listen to what others say about who I am, but to believe who He says I am.  He is showing me that I am not the sum of all of my past mistakes and failures. I hope that my moments of weakness can serve as a testament for Him.  I hope that you can see that no one is perfect in their walk with Christ.  Yes, I definitely hope that you do not see a “perfect Christian”, but that you see a broken person that NEEDS Jesus! I hope that you can see the new story that God is beginning to weave into our lives. I hope to continue to focus and rest in Him.  I hope that you can see that He will always turn something beautiful from the ashes to glorify His name!


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Punta Cana

IMG_6464We have been planning a vacation for our family, which includes the K’s, for several months now.  We knew that it would be the last time that we would all be able to get away as a family before Keely returned to the states in July.  We had all been setting aside our money and had planned to go the last week of May.

God had an even greater plan for us though!

About a month before our trip, I had lunch with a missionary friend named Jodi.  She asked me if we got an invitation from CHN for the missionary retreat in Punta Cana.  I told her that I knew nothing about it.  She said, “Let me see if I can get you an invitation”.  Long story short, she was able to get us one, and they gave one to the K’s too!

Get this…IT WAS THE EXACT WEEK that we had planned our trip.

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Worship was in this room each night. All of those people in the front in the dark shirts were our angels. Can you see their wings?

Let me explain what the CHN Getaway is, to the best of my knowledge.  CHN (CHRISTIAN HOSPITALITY NETWORK) is a group of angels that God sent down to earth to provide a respite to those who are working on the mission field.  Each year, these angels gather at a 4-or-5 star resort and invite all the missionaries from far and wide.  They give them 4 days and 3 nights to relax, rest, and rejuvenate.  During that time, they bring other angels that have names like “Counselor”, “Hair stylist”, “Photographer”, “Chiropractor”, “Masseuse”, “Pastor”, “Worship leader”, “Handmaiden”, “Helper”, and “Babysitter”.  Let’s also not forget all of the angels that stayed back in the States to help coordinate all of this, and those that donate money to make all of this possible.  All of these angels come together, in one form or another, to love and serve all the missionaries! Each night, we are able to worship in ENGLISH!  This year, the members of DALLAS BAY BAPTIST CHURCH came to sponsor and serve at this retreat.

Did I mention…that ALL OF THIS WAS FREE to us?!

IMG_6477 We stayed at the MELIA TROPICAL CARIBE RESORT. It was a beautiful resort with tons of restaurant options and a huge pool right by the beach.  It was so wonderful to sleep in air conditioning, watch cable TV, and shower with water pressure and hot water!  The staff at the Melia was very helpful, and many were able to speak English.  There was a gym available, as well as a spa with a steam room, sauna, and hot tub.  The  food was wonderful.  We loved all of the options available: Thai, Japanese, Italian, American, Dominican, Mexican, and French, as well as several buffets with numerous options. IMG_6503

The main goal of these Getaways is to pour into the missionaries.  Our team had not truly had time away from the community since February.  My family took a two day getaway recently to get logistics together for the Surf Camp in June, which was a working getaway.  The K’s, on the other hand, had not gotten away at all since February, and were running on what little reserve that they had left.  This trip could not have come at a better time.

“For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me”  Matthew 25:35

That was us…and so many other missionaries that joined us this week.  We all came thirsty and were given ‘a cold drink of water”.  We were filled to overflowing, so that we are now able to return to our work and fill others with our overflow! All because of these angels that came to show us God’s love!  “Thank you” does not begin to show our gratitude for the love that each of these individuals gave to us!  We left feeling loved and appreciated…and relaxed and rejuvenated!

IMG_6475 God calls us to be His hands and feet here on earth

In Matthew 9, we see Jesus helping others and performing miracles. This was His way of showing us SINCERE LOVE.  His living example taught us how to go out and offer that to others. The Kingdom of God needs more “workers”, and God needs us to be His hands and feet more today than ever before. IMG_6474

For our retreat, the Chik-Fil-A company donated money to hire the team of masseuse at the resort to give daily foot massages.  There were also volunteers that were called “Handmaidens” that gave daily hand massages, while loving on and praying over us.  Seriously, these people have amazing hearts!  I love the imagery of this as well…The hands and feet of Jesus massaging the hands and feet of His children!

If anyone would like to get involved with CHN, click here for their website –>The Christian Hospitality Network.  The work that they are doing, their vision, and their love is truly a blessing for those of us on the mission field.

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That crazy, stressed out peacock at the top looks a little worse for the wear.  I am fearful that we looked a whole lot bit like him when we arrived at the resort.  Now, that fella on the bottom…the one with the beautiful, relaxed feathers…I am certain that we looked a whole lot more like him when we left!

 It’s much easier (and less scary looking) when we are serving our community if we look like the bottom fella than the top one!

“Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.”

Matthew 11:28

And He does…because God is faithful to His promises!


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You had me at juice…

IMG_4487This has been the best Valentine’s weekend ever!  It began by Mo surprising me with a night away together SIN KIDDOS in Santo Domingo on Friday night.  We don’t get dates very often here, so we get pretty excited when it happens.  I am afraid that we may have offended our kids a bit by peeling out of our driveway so quickly.  In hindsight, maybe we should have been a little more subtle…

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Due to some very kind people and being rewards’ members, we were able to stay at the Marriott in Santo Domingo.  We seriously felt like celebrities!

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We had lunch together and planned to have a nice dinner that night but we didn’t want to leave our room.  It was so luxurious and it smelled SO good and it had this humongous television.  I was having major cognitive dissonance!  Seriously, our two worlds were colliding!

The next day, after breakfast, we worked out at the hotel gym IN AIR CONDITIONING!  I think that I may go back and live there.

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We enjoy spending Valentine’s Day with our kiddos.  It’s just something that we usually do as a family.  In the states, we would cook a nice meal, use the nice china, sit at the formal dining room table, and wear fancy clothes.  Celebrating it here looks a little different.

When Mo and I returned on Saturday, the girls had made us the sweetest Valentine’s surprise.

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Then I made plates of sweet treats to give to my family my bible study ladies, and some of our friends in the community.

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On Sunday, Mo took the boys surfing.  After cleaning the house, the girls and I packed a picnic lunch, and went for a hike into the mountains.

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We also took our books and enos, and spent a couple of hours just relaxing where we were.  Seriously, when it was time to go, none of us wanted to leave!  Definitely something that we need to do again!

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Can you see the girls hanging in the background?

Monday nights are pretty busy in our house.  We moved our women’s bible study to 4:30 on Mondays, instead of Tuesdays.  Then, the Surf Ministry is at 6:30.  Normally, for bible study, I serve coffee/tea and some sort of sweet treat to the ladies.  Tonight, my sweet ladies got together before group and made natural juice and empanadas as a Valentine’s surprise for me.  A few of them brought gifts as well.  I could not believe it and felt so special and honored!

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This week is the week that Mo cooks dinner for the boys.  When he saw what the ladies had done, he jokingly said, “It’s because God loves you more.  My boys show up wondering what I am cooking for them!”  He cracks me up because this is one of his jokes.  Like, we are in competition for God’s love. Like, if something good happens, it’s because God loves that person more.

After the meeting, Mo told me that almost 40 boys came tonight and a couple of new boys joined the group.  One of the boys told him that he didn’t really care about going surfing. He came because he heard that he could learn more about God and the Bible.  Seriously…SUPER COOL!!!

God must love Mo more! :O)


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Experiencing God

For months, I have been feeling God pulling pushing me into leading a women’s bible study in our community.  This is something that I would not have felt worthy of doing even in the states…in English.  Now, God was asking me to do it here in the DR..in SPANISH!  Aye, mi Dios!!!  As I have stated before, my Spanish is not quite where I wish it were.  I often compare my Spanish to that of the other Domericans here, and I always fall short.  Of course, we all know…comparison My word for this year is Intention (which I will discuss more about this on another post).  One area that I really want to be intentional is my relationship with Christ and with other women.  A women’s bible study is the perfect place to practice this intentionality!  Although I prayed that God would just bypass me on leading this, He never did.  After finally surrendering, I prayed that He would calm my nerves and give me the courage to pursue this.  Once again, He did not fail me.  (Seriously, EVERY SINGLE TIME, I doubt!  When will I learn?)  My fear of not speaking Spanish well was holding me back.  But God knew better!  He replaced my fear with excitement and expectation.  Not expectation of the ladies that are attending, or even expectation of myself, but of the expectation that God is going to do something wonderful in this!

IMG_4323After praying and seeking counsel, I finally settled on the study by Henry and Richard Blackaby and Claude King, Experiencing God.  It’s about learning what God’s will is for your life and doing it.  It is also about developing a deeper relationship with Him. This excites me because half of the women that are invited are not currently attending church.  I remember being that woman.  I was lost for so many years.  I remember friends inviting me to church and truly experiencing God’s love for the first time.  I remember finally understanding that it had nothing to do with religion and EVERYTHING to do with a relationship with Him.  I want this for these ladies!  I want them to know how much God truly does love them, and how He has a plan for their lives.

When I first knew which ladies that God wanted me to invited, I was SO nervous to ask them.  Because half of these women are not currently attending church, I had no idea what they would say to me.  Imagine my surprise when each woman immediately said “yes” with a smile!

Yesterday, when I was passing out the workbooks, one of my friends, that is part of the group, asked who else was coming.  As I was telling her, she said “But they don’t go to church”.  I smiled and said, “I know!  Are you still coming?”.  She got so excited and, with a huge smile on her face, said “Claro!”, which means “Of course!”

Here’s another cool thing…when ordering the books, I miscounted and ordered one extra.  Of course, we all know that there are no accidents.  I am not sure, yet, which lady this extra book belongs to, but am waiting for God to point her out!

Tonight is just a meet and greet, and develop a plan.  I am so crazy excited!  I am making coffee and cookies!!!  We will be meeting on Tuesdays at 4:30.  We are on Atlantic time, which is one hour ahead of Eastern time and two hours ahead of Central time.   Could you guys stop and pray the following for us at that time, please?:

1)  That God comes before us and opens minds and hearts to hear His word

2)  That God deafens our ears to satan’s nasty lies so that we will not be discouraged.

3)  That God breaks down any language barrier so that we can all learn from one another

4)  That God fills each of us with the courage to carry out His will for our lives

5)  That God shows us the lady to which this extra book belongs

Thank you!!!


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When it’s overwhelmingly hard…

Often, when we get away from our community for a break, I will post pictures of us relaxing on the beach.  It never fails that someone will make a comment like, “Oh yeah, your life is so hard”!

For the most part, we are incredibly grateful to be living here.  We have wonderful neighbors that genuinely love us.  We have numerous beaches within an hour and a half away.  We get to host so many fascinating people that come here to serve our community.  I love working with the kids in the library at the school.  Plus, we have really cute goats, chickens, and dogs.  Seriously, how can we not be grateful for all of those things…and more?

Yes, all of that is awesome.  And those pics on the beach…well…those don’t tell the whole story.  Those are pics of us relaxing…of us “checking out”…of us recharging.  You typically won’t find photos of our “real” life.  Those photos aren’t always very pretty, like when I am sending photos of goat poop to my goat guru, Arden.  Yeah, those would definitely not make for a nice glossy photo.

The thing about living in the middle of nowhere in a 3rd world country is sometimes…it’s overwhelmingly hard!  This week I have had a sadness that I cannot even put into words.  It has literally been a paralyzing sadness.  Sometimes we forget that we live with poverty.  Poverty is not just a state of one’s bank account.  Poverty is a way of life and a way of thinking.  Almost always…Poverty sucks!  Poverty breaks our hearts.  This week has reminded of us of how our neighbors, who have become like family, have lived their entire lives.

First, we are in one of the worst droughts they have had here in years.  When we are low on rainfall, the community typically does not have water.  For over a week, there has not been water in my neighbors’ houses.  Because our church had the money to put in a cistern, my family was only without water for one day.  My neighbors didn’t have that luxury, and we never heard them complain.  They were bathing and doing laundry in what little water was left in the river.  This is something that, because of poverty, they are accustomed to.  We were very glad that we were able to offer jugs of water to them.  However, it still broke our hearts that this is the 21st century, and people are still living, at times, without running water in their homes.

Then we had a situation with a family in the community.  I really don’t want to go into details to protect their privacy.  I will say that it is a situation that literally hurt our hearts.  Mo and the dad were able to sit down and talk, and, hopefully, find a solution.  So much of this could be different if poverty thinking was not in place.  As the saying goes,

“When you know better, you do better”

Please pray that this will be the outcome for this particular situation because our hearts are aching for them.

Then, we had 2 goats get sick.  One of them was our pregnant momma goat.  We have tried NUMEROUS times to find a vet to come out here.  Due to living in the middle of nowhere, no one wants to come help.  We have gotten by fairly well by using Google, books, and texting pictures of EVERYTHING goat to our goat guru in the states.  That was working fine until yesterday, when I walked into the goat house to see four precious little dead baby goats laying all over the floor, with my momma goat confused and trying to care for them.  Then she started getting sicker and sicker.  We frantically tried to get a vet to come help.  About 9:00 last night, a young man in the community found a vet that could come today around 8:30.  We woke up this morning to a goat that was progressively getting worse and worse…and a vet that never showed up.  We tried to call a few vets but they didn’t answer.  We can’t leave messages because our cell phones only work in certain areas in the community.  In order to receive calls, we have to be in those areas, which are not near our home.  We couldn’t take our goat anywhere because our truck is in the shop AGAIN.  We literally felt helpless.  It made me question how many times have our neighbors felt like this because options are limited when funds are limited as well.

The capital city is about an hour or so away from our house.  I asked Mo and Lauren, “Please go into the city and don’t come back until you have a vet.”.  Literally…that was the only option that we had!  After much begging and pleading by Lauren at the Agrovet, we had a vet at our house around 6:00 pm.  He was wonderful and helpful and kind and understanding.  He was our lifesaver…and quite possibly, Ribo’s lifesaver.  She is not out of the woods yet.  He said that the next 48 hours are crucial.  Had it not been for his willingness to come out here, she definitely would have died.

This entire week has been overwhelmingly hard!  This week I have had a difficult time finding the silver lining in many things.  I know God has a plan for everything.  I know that God carried me through the entire week because, honestly, I could not have made it on my own.  I am definitely a 1st world girl learning how to live through these 3rd world issues.   Along the way, my heart is being broken into a million pieces…not just for my family, but all of those that we are doing life with in this community.  My neighbors and friends that live this life every day of their life inspire me to lean more and more into our Lord and Savior for my strength every single day.  Please pray for our community and that our family continues to see life through their eyes.

Oh…and BOTH of our propane tanks just ran out of gas.

Oh my word…what am I going to do about coffee in the morning?…..


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Watch for the Helpers!

mr-rogersI have been sitting here staring at this blinking cursor trying to find the words to describe everything that has happened today.  I have prayed that God’s words fill me so that He can be glorified in all of this.  He has truly showed off, and I hope that I share it in a way that you can see His greatness.

We left Tennessee yesterday and drove down to Georgia, staying in a hotel in Stockbridge.  We only brought an overnight bag into the hotel with us with pajamas, a change of clothes, and minimal toiletries.  This morning, Mo went out to the car to get my tennis shoes.  He noticed the handle to the driver’s side looked a little janky but didn’t notice anything askew inside the car.  He thought that someone tried to break in, but they saw there was nothing inside to take and left.  Then, he popped the truck and walked around the back of the car.  As soon as he opened it, he realized how wrong he was!  ALL of our suitcases were gone.  Four large, overpacked suitcases filled with all of our clothes, 3 computers, and all of our Christmas gifts had been taken.

For reasons that can ONLY be described as God’s grace, Mo and I were immediately filled with peace.  It felt as if God said, “It will be ok.  It’s just stuff”.  Unfortunately, and way too often, our initial response in situations like this is anger, but, this time, God filled us with peace.  The girls, however, were distraught.  They felt violated and were so sad that ALL of their Christmas presents were gone.

As Mo was taking care of all of the phone calls, reports, and responsibilities, my job was to comfort the girls. God really showed up here by giving me a peace that was not of me, and giving me the words to help calm their hearts.  I told them,

“Just watch because you are about to witness God’s goodness”!

I just knew that God would take care of us and comfort us.  Immediately, I felt everyone’s prayers surrounding us.  Immediately, we started getting phone calls and comments on Facebook with people saying, “How can we help?”.  Throughout the day, we continued to be in awe and amazement as He weaved people into our lives that would envelope us in His love.

We were in tears all day…not from sadness, but humility.  I just want to share some of the ways that God showed off today!  I want to shout this from the rooftops so that He can be glorified for all to see!

*He gave my family laughter!  We had an incident in TN in which I ended up with only one boot.  When it happened, I was so frustrated and annoyed, but had to just let it go.  Well…the thieves now have that one boot in my suitcase.  PLUS, they only took ONE of my tennis shoes out of the trunk.  So, now, those idiots have one boot and one tennis shoe.  Ha! Ha!

*When we stopped to use the restroom at a rest stop, I locked the car doors.  Unfortunately, there is only ONE place that you can unlock the car…the door handle that was broken!  We were now locked out of the car.  We called Roadside Assistance but they never showed up.  For two hours, person after person tried to help us break into our rental car.  How ironic is that?  Over twenty people couldn’t break into our car, but the thieves were in and out in a blink of an eye.  (Special shoutout to Brian with GDOT who finally was able to get us into our car!)

*We met amazing people!  At the rest stop, we met an older couple that stayed around to help us.  They offered their cell phones, since ours were locked inside our car.  When I went into the information center, the lady came in with me.  She grabbed my hand and put money in it.  When I refused the money, she said this,

“When I was young, I was very poor.  Since then, I have always said that I wanted to help those that were in need.  It’s not    much but we want to help your family.  My husband and I are retired.  Each week, we help someone.  We love what your family is doing as missionaries.  Please, allow me to do this.”

I said, “But I don’t even know your name.”  

To which she replied, “It’s Sherry but that’s not important.”

With tears in my eyes, all I could say was “Thank you”.  My girls got to witness this!  What a gift that God gave them through this sweet old lady!

*I spoke with my friend, Lisa, throughout the day.  She kept saying, “You are so calm, and you are laughing.  I would not be so calm.”  I couldn’t be sad!  God was shining through every person that came into contact with us.  Soooo many people called or messaged us.  Soooo many people donated money to help us replace all of our missing items.  Sooo many people shared our post on Facebook to try to get help.  How could I be sad about that?  It was ONLY stuff!  God was using everyone to show my daughters that those things were not important.  It’s people…and it’s love…and it’s about community coming together to help those in need that are important.  It’s about showing satan that he will NOT win!

What satan meant for evil, God used for good!

*Pastor Brady (our senior pastor) and Pastor Daniel (our missions’ pastor) both called us and said, “We are here to help with anything that you need.”  Neither of them probably realize how much that meant us!  So many people from our church messaged us asking to help.  I just love my church family!

Tomorrow is our last day in the states.  We were hoping to be able to rest and spend the day relaxing with Mo’s parents.  Instead, we will be spending the day shopping and attempting to replace all of our missing items.  Once again, I can’t be sad about this.  Because of so many people’s goodness, we have money to help with this.

I want to end with this:

Matthew 6:25 states, “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?”

Sometimes it feels like we don’t have enough.  Sometimes relationships are hard.  Sometimes life feels completely overwhelming.  Sometimes we are overcome with depression and illness.  Sometimes it feels like we are all alone and no one cares.  I have spent so much of my life feeling like people were doing life AT me, but they weren’t.  Everyone is fighting a hard battle of their own.  We need to be gentle with each other and show compassion when possible.

I encourage each one of you to know that God promises that He will take care of His children.  He showed us today that we need not worry, and we need to put all of our trust in Him.  He will provide, whether it be spiritual, emotional, or physical needs.  He wants to fill our hearts with His love so that we are filled to overflowing…because, when we are overflowing, that love pours out to all of those around us.


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Deviled eggs and sweet tea

I haven’t written in quite some time.  I could give numerous reasons why but the truth is…I haven’t been able to find the words.  Life is settling in.  We are experiencing some of the challenges that come from living in a 3rd world country…as well as numerous blessings.  Many times I don’t write because I am not sure that my words can do this experience justice.  Other times…it’s because…I want to keep it to myself…the good, the bad, and the ugly.

Recently, my heart was convicted on this thought process. I felt God saying

“I sent your family there to help me serve this community…as well as your community in the US.  Keeping this to yourself does not glorify me and how I am using your family for MY will.”

So…

…here it goes…

Living in a third world country is not easy.  However, we LOVE it here!  God has been using these challenges to show us where we are weak and areas of our hearts that we are not giving to Him.  We cannot imagine being anywhere but here at this time in our lives.

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*Electricity is quite a challenge.  Here is how it works:  city power is only on for a couple of hours during the daytime and usually comes back on at night from 11:00pm or 12:00pm and stays on until around 6:00am or 7:00am.  When city power is off, our electricity is run by an inverter with 8 batteries.  We have a refrigerator that uses a lot of power.  We started here with 4 batteries but were not able to use the refrigerator and lights with only that amount of power.  When that battery power is gone, we have no electricity at all!  The batteries are recharged by the city power.  We have recently been having issues with the “transformer” that brings city power into our house.  Basically, the transformer has blown twice and we have not been receiving city power at all during those times!  No city power means the batteries do not get charged…which means no electricity at all for us.

~The blessing?  WE HAVE 8 BATTERIES AND AN INVERTER!!! Some of the houses around us ONLY rely on city power!  Remember, city power is only on for a couple of hours during the day.  Otherwise, it is only on at night while we sleep.  Can you imagine NEVER having electricity at night while sitting around with your family?  Can you imagine always cooking by candlelight or a lampara?

Yeah, I seriously just put pictures of our festering wounds on our blog! Gross!

Yeah, I seriously just put pictures of our festering wounds on our blog! Gross!

*Clean water is another issue.  The water that comes into our home comes straight from the river.  It has not been purified and none of the little parasites in the water have been zapped with any kind of chemical.  Thus, we are unable to drink our water.  The water that we drink and cook with comes from large bottles of purified water that we buy.  (Luckily, our church helped set up a water purification center a couple of years ago.  Many people in the community have benefited from it!)  About a month after we moved here, we would get an infection any time that we got an open wound.  We were covered with infections all over our bodies because of all of our bug bites. Our water is held in a big tank, called a tanaka, on our roof. Apparently, we were suppose to put bleach in it to kill the parasites.  We didn’t know this at the time, so we were basically bathing in parasites!  Yeah, that’s super nasty, right?

*Note:  We have put bleach in the tanaka and are having NO problems with parasites and festering wounds now.

~The blessing?  WE HAVE RUNNING WATER IN OUR HOME AND *MOST* OF THE TIME HOT WATER!  Many of the homes in this area still do not have running water.  You will see people going down to the river to do their laundry.  You will also see families bringing empty jugs to pipes in the community with water running from them.  They then have to carry these full jugs of water back to their home. That is ALOT of work.  In our home, we only have to turn on the faucet.  Seriously, the fact that we have a hot water heater is unheard of!

Spanish Class

*Understanding the culture and the language is SO. HARD!!!  There are so many people that we want to help.  We know that we can’t and shouldn’t help everyone that wants our help.  We have really been praying for discernment in this area.  Those that have come before us have created a system that is based on relationships, not what Americans can give to them.  We want to be respectful of that and want to build on that, not mess it up.

This language barrier is TOUGH STUFF!  Since Mo spent much of his formative years in the canal zone of Panama, he definitely has a leg up on us in this department.  He is able to sit and have conversations with others.  The girls have been going to Dominican school in the afternoon. I am AMAZED at how much Spanish they are speaking.  And then there’s me…

There were a couple of days a few weeks ago that I was on the verge of depression.  I was discouraged and sad and felt like a failure and didn’t feel accepted.  Yeah, all of that and more.  I would see the ladies sitting on their porches chatting and having coffee.  In the beginning, I would sit with them and attempt to have conversation.   Suddenly, it just felt too frustrating for everyone involved.  I began to listen to Satan’s lies that I was a burden to them and had nothing to offer because I couldn’t speak the language…

…and then, as always, God spoke to my heart…

For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.

What I heard him say was…“This is hard!  I have called your family here and came ahead of you to prepare this way.  You can do good things, but you will have to rely on me for your strength.  I will bridge this language barrier if you will trust me and rely on me.”

deviled eggs 1

A few days later, we had two families over for dinner.  We made a traditional American meal to share a bit of our culture with them.  Two of the things that we made were deviled eggs and sweet tea.  These were a HUGE HIT!!!  Mo seriously makes the best sweet tea in the world!!!

All that know me would not use “good cook” as a way to describe me.  However…word has gotten out here in the village that I am a good cook!  Praises and to His name be the glory!!!  I have now shared sweet tea and deviled eggs (aka los hueves a la diabla) with several of the women here…

…and then we sit on their porch and muddle through this crazy language called Spanish!!!

Who would have thought that God would use deviled eggs and sweet tea to bridge this language barrier?