Saturday, May 26, 2012

Carnival 2012 La Ceiba, Honduras

This is the 40th Anniversary of the Carnival in La Ceiba, Honduras.  It brings in over 500,000 people into the city and lasts for 2 weeks and end in the Grand Parade.  Enjoy this short video from the parade today.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Madison's first full-length animation

Madison has been working on this animation creation for three days.  Here it is...enjoy :-)

Monday, May 21, 2012

Life Changes

I would like to think that being (almost) 45 is young...I realize that it's all relative, at 20 years old, 40 seems "so old", and now that I'm there, 45 seems young.  With that in mind, I feel too young to have lost so many in my life.
During my college years, three of my four grandparents passed away (one of my grandpas died before I was born)
my Aunt (on my mother's side) passed away from skin cancer
my great-uncles passed away
In November, my sweet dear mother passed away
And just a few days ago, my other Aunt (on my mothers side) passed away.

My small little tiny family now seems very, very small.  In all of this, I can say, although my physical family is tiny tiny, my spiritual family is huge!  I serve a big God, and He has given me a BIG family.  I am so thankful for that.

In this time of loss and mourning, it's a reminder to me to love your physical family.  Love the people around you.  Life is a gift - treat it as such.  Eat better today, exercise a little more, kiss your loved ones, write a letter, pick up the phone, reach out to someone in your family you haven't talked to in a long time, forgive someone in your family that you've harbored ill will toward.  Just love them.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

And so it begins...

Don’t Think It’s Not Spiritual Warfare

Taken directly from my husbands blog - because don't think it isn't important enough to post twice, or three times, or even more.

Our mission team knows when we are doing things right. That is when Satan attacks. Last summer we were all simultaneously bombarded with attacks that really tore us down. If Tuesday is any indication, here we go again.

On Tuesday our eight-person mission team collectively had two cell phones stolen, two car accidents and one other car problem. To put that in perspective our team has had zero cell phones stolen in nearly four years, yet two stolen in the same day. Really?!?!

This, beloved reader of our humble post, is where you come in. It is time for you to pray. We do not again wish to be buffeted by Satan. We appeal to you to pray for us (Romans 15:30), at all times (Ephesians 6:18), for your prayers have power (James 5:16).

Pray we have dependence on God (Proverbs 3:5-6). Pray we give glory to God (Matthew 5:16). Pray we posses a spirit of unity (Romans 15:5). Pray we stand firm (2 Corinthians 4:17). And, pray we are willing to sacrifice even more. (Romans 12:1-2).

Thursday, May 10, 2012

A Reflection on Missions

As my daughter, Madison, will soon go off for her third mission trip (not including the one she currently is living in), I reflect back upon my missions experiences.  They were life-changing experiences.  I serve a BIG God, and am amazed at how He uses His children to do His work.

And as this is the beginning of "mission" season for us - short-term teams are finalizing plans to come, it made me think of some things...

God tells us to go.  This is not a request, it is a mandate.  For some, GO means to quite literally pack up their bags and go.  To others this means to send (financially support), so others may go.  And finally, for others, this means to pave the way and keep the path (through prayer) for fertile soil to be harvested and reaped.

"The smell of death almost overwhelmed me, as we drove through an area in Port au Prince, just 3 weeks after the earthquake.  It was clear that here lay the unmarked graves of hundreds if not thousands of people.  People that only a few weeks before were talking to their children about school, husbands to their wives about their day, and mothers singing as they lay their babies down for naps.  And yet, in a few seconds their lives were cut short by an incredible 7.1 earthquake that shattered their lives and their country forever."

This is one of my journal entries during the 3 weeks I spent in Haiti.  What did I do while I was there?  Worked, loved, wept, prayed (a LOT), and had hope.  Hope is what I saw in the broken people I was privileged to serve with.  Sadness in all they had lost, yet hope for what was to come - they had survived this craziness, and in that, the resilience to live.  Like most times, we go to serve, but are served in return.  We go to be the hands of Christ.  We go because we obey Him whom we serve.

"I spoke to a man who was the teacher at a local elementary school.  The only survivor.  All the students had perished.  But during the time he was buried, he heard the cries of so many children.  Knowing he could do nothing but reach them with his voice, he sang.  He sang to soothe their tears, to let them know they were not alone, and to let them die knowing someone knew they were there."

As I listened to this man speak, I realized, he did not bring them any physical thing.  He did not come bearing gifts, money, or construct them a new home.  He brought them the only thing he could - the presence of another human being.  I loved his story.  He taught me a lot.  I thanked him for what he could share.

So what do you see yourself doing this summer if you are going on a mission trip?  What will your reflection be at the end of the week?  Will you remember the house you built, the gifts you brought, the crafts you made?  Or will you instead reflect on the lives you touched, the snotty noses you wiped, the fatherless child you hugged?  Will you instead walk in Christ's path, the One who came to serve?

Be a servant.  What do you do when no one is watching?  When there is no one there to pat your back and say well done?!  Or do you only long for those words at the END of your life, when you enter the gates of heaven, and you long to hear the voice of God as He says, "Well done my good and faithful servant."

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

So what DOES $25.00 buy?

a LOT!....corn flour, wheat flour, salt, sugar, pasta, spaghetti sauce, cornflakes, oil, shortening, powdered milk, rice, beans, sugar, chicken bullion, baking soda, chlorine, dish soap, laundry soap, and napkins.

When my dad was here, I needed to do some grocery shopping.  While I was there, I was taking a second cart around the store and filling it with basic necessities.  My dad asked what I was doing.  I explained to him that once in awhile we provide a sack of food to very poor families.  Now I realize that that definition covers almost everyone in Armenia Bonito.  However, we do have a criteria we follow for selecting people, and usually it's through a local pastor.  So, I was purchasing these items and  my dad said, "tell me more."  And so I did.  I know this family well, her children are heavily involved in most of our ministries, and her husband was killed this time last year.  Needless to say, she's barely been getting by, and was currently without any food of any kind in her home.  He was so moved by this story that he purchased the food.  Then, once my dad returned home he called to tell me that he was going to be contributing $25.00 each month specifically targeted to these food baskets.  Today I purchased food to bring to another family.  Her name is Elida and she lives with her 1 1/2 year old son in a tiny little room and she rolls her mat out to sleep on the floor.

Elida and her son

her small little house with a mat she rolls out for a bed along with her entire belongings that fit into one bag