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.
- 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.
- 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!
- 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!
- 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.