How do you celebrate?

How do you celebrate what the Lord has done?  In Joshua the Israelite community just built a stone altar.  Amy and I have been digging in the yard to expand the garden, and we definitely could build a stone altar with all the rocks and such we have found.  However, I think that’s probably a bit impractical for trying to celebrate with all of our prayer partners in the States.

I was able to write a couple of weeks back about the awesomeness of our family time, VBS travels, beach vacation and no kids vacation.  We are still celebrating all the Lord did and is doing.  I wanted to take this post and share via pictures and briefly updating some highlights over the past month.

The fact of the matter is that we are in a new season.

  • With work
    • Vision / Mission and Passion – I am starting to make my rounds and visit all of our ministry partners from the past couple of years.  We are talking about how things went, how things are going currently, and where they are going in the future.  It is so awesome to sit at the feet of these leaders and hear their passion in vision and mission for their church and their community. Then we put our heads together and talk about how we can partner with them.
    • New Ministry Partners – Also with this time, we are identifying new ministry partners, all over the country.  In fact just last week I met with the denominational leader of a Nigerian mission that sent this Nigerian Pastor to start churches in Belize.  He has planted 14 Nigerian churches covering all the districts in Belize.  And today I am preparing to visit some new ministry partners again, including a Korean church planter who has been serving in Belize for 25 years!  Who knew Belize as a mission field for Koreans and Nigerians.  They are just obeying….going to “their ends of the earth”. Celebrate!
    • Facing Challenges head on – I sat one day with Burton in the car and I was lamenting the challenges of the local Belize church and specifically the Kriol Church in Belize.  I was mentioning that I feel the Kriol church is dying and many of the youth are falling away and getting caught in the violence, drugs, and prostitution strong-holds around the city. Burton looked at me and said “I felt the same and you know what the Lord said?  He said, ‘So what are you doing about it?'”  Boom….it’s like he punched me in …well somewhere that it would hurt really bad.  The fact of the matter was that I am not doing enough about it.  I have the awesome opportunity to
  • With home life
    • Putting down roots – We are slowly putting down roots :).  Amy painted a chalkboard wall for the kids. I purchased my first machete and file, and just yesterday we built some shelves.  I think with the DIY projects at the house, we may have opened pandora’s box.  I see the smoke coming out of Amy’s ears as she noodles more projects.  It looks like there is a water collection barrel in our future, gutter cleaning, and several trellises for the garden.  It’s been fun to be around the house to get some of this stuff done for her!
    • Kids – Jojo and Madeline are 1 week away from starting school.  We CAN”T WAIT!  And Elijah is just Elijah
    • Amy – has been praying for some time for “something to do” while the kids are in school a day or two a week.  Just yesterday I had a meeting with the Youth Hostel and they are asking for someone to come and teach them gardening.  God may have answered Amy’s prayer with this opportunity.
    • Heart Issues – Madeline and Jojo have been playing at Bella’s and Christopher’s house recently.  The first day they came home from their they told me all about it.  Madeline was sad.  I asked her what was wrong.  She mentioned that she (Madeline) had many Barbies and that Bella didn’t have any toys.  I asked Madeline what she was going to do.  She asked for plastic bag and then proceeded to pack up two barbies and several dresses to give to Bella so she had some toys.  Jojo then got a deck of cards and a couple of cards and then they wanted to go take those back to Bella and Christopher.  Part of my human heart wanted to protect them.  I wanted to say is this really the best thing?  Are they going to take advantage of my kids?  And then the Holy Spirit said “are you concerned about the things of this world?  I am concerned with their heart.”  And the reality is, my kids heart was broken for their friends, the same God’s heart breaks for His people.  Madeline and Jojo were doing whatever they could to meet a need.  Praise God and join me in praying for the same heart as them to address the needs The Lord reveals to me.

Praises / Prayer Requests:

  • Praise – We are meeting a lot of exciting new ministry partners.  Nigerian church planters, Korean church planters and pastors and leaders who are really pursuing God.  Praise God!
  • Praise- Madeline and Jojo heart to give and meet needs
  • Prayer Request – For Wisdom for Amy in potentially pursuing this opportunity with the Youth Hostel to teach gardening.
  • Prayer Request – Wisdom for me and Burton as we start to plan a pastoral conference to gather ministry leaders together and have Belizean leaders share vision and equip each other in ministry.  Pray specifically that we are able to have unity in the leaders the Lord brings to us to present.  And pray for open hearts to receive training.
  • Prayer Request – Pray for our local church.  We just got through with a week of praying for revival.  Pray for unity among the church and that the church would not continue to just do things in the traditions of the past.  – More on this in another post.

We love you guys!  We are encouraged to know that you lift us up and Celebrate with us as we see God move and labor with us in The Gospel and Petition the Lord with us as we seek His direction, His Will, and His Glory here in Belize.  We can’t wait to Celebrate more with you all!

At our no kids vacation! The Black Rock Lodge was AWESOME!

At our no kids vacation! The Black Rock Lodge was AWESOME!

our view from our cabana

our view from our cabana

On our hike.  It took longer than we thought.  So if we had to shelter down in the rain forest for the night.  I had found dinner.  Termites. Yum.  Taste like mint.

On our hike. It took longer than we thought. So if we had to shelter down in the rain forest for the night. I had found dinner. Termites. Yum. Taste like mint.

Just one of God's creations.  This one has spikes!  OUCH!

Just one of God’s creations. This one has spikes! OUCH!

View from the Top of the mountain.

View from the Top of the mountain.

Amy made it to the top of the climb!  3 hours.  It was intense!

Amy made it to the top of the climb! 3 hours. It was intense!

Madeline, Jojo, Bella, and Christopher walking back from their house.

Madeline, Jojo, Bella, and Christopher walking back from their house.

Ready for church  - the girls

Ready for church – the girls

Ready for church - the boys

Ready for church – the boys

Baking mommy's birthday cake

Baking mommy’s birthday cake

kids playing at the church bake sale

kids playing at the church bake sale

Amy and Kimbell just being them. Silly as always

Amy and Kimbell just being them. Silly as always

We found an instant coffee iced coffee recipe!  We are excited!

We found an instant coffee iced coffee recipe! We are excited!

Amy is serious about building her garden!

Amy is serious about building her garden!

just so everything is not sunshine and rainbows - this is the queen ant sitting beside the TABLESPOON.  We think we got it and stopped the colony.

just so everything is not sunshine and rainbows – this is the queen ant sitting beside the TABLESPOON. We think we got it and stopped the colony.

and our first scorpion kill!  Amy got it!

and our first scorpion kill! Amy got it!

Shelves built with Eustace

Shelves built with Eustace

The chalkboard wall

The chalkboard wall

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Update from the Field

The summer is winding down.  We just got through with our last busy week for the summer and now we have one more team kicking off before the summer shuts down.  As I said bye to one of our staff this morning, I really couldn’t believe it! I couldn’t believe that the summer is over.  It’s been a great summer, a summer full of laughter, love, tears, challenges, victories. It’s been a summer full of miracles.

And right there in the middle of it, our family served.  We got a front row seat to seeing the Lord move in Belize, in our teams, and in us. Let me take a moment to recap the last few weeks of our family activities and give some prayer requests as we head into the next season.

Travels

  • Beach – Aside from the daily stops at our teams’ Vacation Bible Schools and really just to hang out, the family and I went to the beach with some friends from Rob’s church for a few days.  It was awesome to hang out with Rob and his wife and really fun to play in the water with the kids.  Madeline seriously played in the water for 7 hours each day! I literally thought she was going to sprout gills!  Other fun things from that trip, bed barf from Jojo (Yuck!).  And Amy thinking the A/C in the hotel room was too cold so she turned UP the thermostat to 30 degrees Celsius AND the thermostat STUCK!  Ha!  We truly are Belizean I guess.
  • NO KIDS VACATION – Amy and I are heading to Western Belize for 3 nights with NO KIDS!!! Did you read that?  No kids!  It is literally our first vacation without any kids for more than 1 night since before we had Jojo (3 years!!!).  We are so excited!  We will eat and nap and eat and nap.  The place where we are staying is “off-the-grid” sustainable water, organic gardens, solar electricity, etc.  We are excited to see some of that stuff because well we are nerds!  And we plan to do a lot of hiking and tubing.  We are so excited!  Oh our kids??  They are going to stay at home with our great friend Leah!  Pray for Leah!
  • Adventures with Teams – The Hope Team was down in Belize, serving in Sandhill Baptist church, the site of our first mission trip in 2007.  They did some dynamic VBS (as always). In fact it was so dynamic that my kids are screaming “LUCKY!!!!” the tag-line from VBS every day now!  The team also did some leadership training with church identified leaders.  But Amy was most excited that the team went Cave Tubing and Amy got to go!  She said “hey perks of missionary life.” I couldn’t agree more.

Kids

  • Madeline – All of our kids are great and hilarious and challenging every day.  Madeline may say some of the funniest things.  The other day she called Jojo in the bathroom, pushed his head into the toilet and said “smell my poop.  it smells like cherries.  Ahhh.”  She wasn’t trying to be mean or anything, she just wanted Jojo to smell her poop.  And then she was talking with Amy the other day and said “I want my breasts to get big so then I can get married and feed all my babies.”  Really you don’t know what is next with Madeline!  She currently LOVES gardening with Amy and currently playing with Barbies!  Amy got down all her old-school Barbies and Madeline spends about an hour each day dressing them up and going through some activity with them.  Last night, she dressed two up for a wedding and then said and now they are tired from the wedding they are going to sleep for a long long time.  She is wise beyond her years.
  • Jojo – Jojo is a servant and a wild-man.  He still is the most tender-hearted of the troop!  He cries at every punishment (frustrating) but runs and hugs you the minute you walk in the door (heart-warming).  Jojo mostly just talks A LOT.  It is so weird to hear him with so many words!  School is just a few short-weeks away and we are excited to watch him blossom there.  Finally we have started to play football inside of the house.  I call plays and he runs as hard has he can to the couch, falls down, and then tries to catch the ball.  He drops it and then says “bad throw daddy”
    • A Jojo story for all time: SO…..We are at the beach and we are eating with Rob and his friends from his church, including his wife.  Jojo is playing around and then we get ready to leave and he is missing.  Like the place we are eating is on the beach so I literally start to make my way over to the water thinking to myself…just great.  And one of Rob’s friends goes around to the front of the place we are eating to see if Jojo is on Front street (the islands biggest street…think golf carts instead of cars).  Anyway, he goes up there and then Jojo comes kind of waddles up and says poop.  I said did you poop your pants?  He said yes.  I check them and there is NOT a lot of poop.  He said Poop over there.  SO he takes me to Front street, to a steaming pile of poop and it literally is in front of the busiest place to get ice cream on the island.  There was a HUGE building separating us when he was doing this and I can’t imagine what people buying ice cream thought of when he was dropping his pants then dropping a deuce in the middle of the street…amazing!
  • Elijah – We can’t believe that a year has gone by with Elijah.  We celebrated his birthday on the island at the beach and he celebrated by getting two more teeth and starting to take some steps.  We figure he will be walking by the time we get back from vacation!!  Elijah is a hoot.  He is trying so hard to play everything that his brother and sister play.  I want to move him into their room so they all can share a room and we have an open room for anyone that may want to come and live down here and nanny (hint, hint, if you are a certain former small group baby-sitter…).  But more sound parenting from Amy suggests otherwise.  Other than that, he is no longer a baby, no longer taking food from mommy, and no longer just a blob.  We have moved out….forever??…of the baby phase!

Other events:

  • VBS – SO VBS at our church.  SO we had VBS at our church.  Amy got the materials together and I was responsible for execution.  We had 60 kids, then 90, then 90, then 100, then 120.  On Thursday I was presenting the Gospel to the children and there was an adult that walked into church and just sat down and was listening to the presentation of the gospel.  I saw the glazed over look in his eyes and thought to myself he is drunk.  Sure enough right as I get ready to ask the kids to respond to the gospel presentation the dude projectile vomits everywhere.  HE threw up 4 times.  It was at least a gallon of throw up.  Everywhere in the church.  I kept the kids occupied and Amy had to mop it up.  Needless to say that I lost the kids attention after that.  Spiritual warfare is real.  Anyway, Amy and I were discouraged and we left for the beach.  But when we returned we learned that on Friday 48 people made decisions to accept Christ!  God is bigger than any obstacle Satan throws at us!
  • Work – I had the opportunity to take around a friend of Praying Pelican Missions, Marko.  Marko is a partner in an organization called The Youth Cartel where he works to train and equip youth ministry leaders.  He met PPM some time ago and spent some time last year blogging about our ministry in Haiti.  This year his ministry partner went to our newest location and Marko went to our oldest location (Belize).  Marko and I traveled around for 4 days visiting ministry leaders and teams.  Read his thoughts about Belize (here, here, here, and here).  It was a great opportunity to tell others about the ministry happening from GREAT PASTORS here in our country!

Prayer Requests:

  • Personal – Pray for vacation that it is an awesome time away from the kids.  Pray that we can rest and that the kids are GREAT for Leah. Pray for rest for Leah and that the Lord renews her as she is serving our family by keeping the kids!
  • Ministry – Pray for Pastor Ed and his team.  They are serving in Salvador and Guatemala this week doing two children’s ministry worker training.  He is ministering to over 100 churches in two different countries!  Pray that the Lord fills his team with energy and grows their ministry from this.
grown up and using a spoon

grown up and using a spoon

barbie sleeping after their wedding

barbie sleeping after their wedding

best friends

best friends

love my Elijah time

love my Elijah time

playing together at VBS

playing together at VBS

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older barbies can't handle Jojo's love

older barbies can’t handle Jojo’s love

photo 5 (1)

our troop

our troop

rare snuggles with the princess

rare snuggles with the princess

trying to fix the AC

trying to fix the AC

Awesome Icee from Ice and Beans

Awesome Icee from Ice and Beans

going swimming

going swimming

Batman!

Batman!

photo 3 (5) photo 2 (13)