Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Una casa para Sandra

(A house for Sandra)

Yesterday we were to start a house for a family in Buena Vista but a few complications arose over the weekend and we had to move quickly Monday morning to secure a new 12x12 family because the timing for other families in que was not right.  Brock sent me a note that there was a family that was on his heart that he had visited in the past that lived in a small cornstalk hut.  Yesterday at 9am we set out to find the house and see what God had in store.  We found it pretty quickly and the cornstalk hut was still there.  Once we found Sandra, the wife and mother, and her three year old son Jose Daniel we asked if we could come in and talk to her.  It was one of the cleanest little houses with a dirt floor I've seen.  We asked how they were doing and how the house was holding up. Seems like an odd question for someone living in a cornstalk shack but she answered that all was well and they were content.  We asked what happens when it rains there (the house sits in the middle of a steep incline) she said of course the rain and water runs right through the house..  It's hard to imagine that "normal" is sleeping on a bed a few inches off of the ground and waking up to water running underneath you and over the floor of your entire house.  The rainy season here  means daily heavy downpours for several months.

Brock and I looked at each other and said "let's do this".  We told her that we wanted to build her a house and that we needed to start in a few hours.  She looked at us as if to say "Are you serious?"  After a few quiet minutes I asked her if that sounded like a good thing.  She couldn't hide her smile any longer as she told us yes - this is very good!  When we were leaving she hugged Brock tightly and cried.  He told me later she said "We thought you had forgotten us"  He reassured her that God never forgets us and that His love was great for us.  I came back a few hours later to take pictures before we started to take down their old house and her husband Juan was home for lunch and they had already begun to take the house down.  They were so excited and thankful.  They thanked us several times.  I told them that we were excited for them and more so to be used of God to show His love.

I'd like to introduce you to our newest 12x12 family:
Sandra, Jose Daniel and Juan

el cocina

la estufa

They had just moved the bed out before I arrived to take the picture but this is the one room cornstalk house with blue tarps to hold back the cold.  Last night the low was 51 here.

Sandra and Jose Daniel at their front door

beautiful flowers in front of the house

Jose daniel next to the house

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Missing Home

This has been a tough week.  I am really missing all our friends and family.  I miss home.  I miss all the people in our life that were always so close but now are so far away.  It's lonely here and I would love to go home.  Jon is feeling it too.  I'm sure one day we will love it here and never want to leave just not right now.

Other than being homesick and trying to learn Spanish, I do ALOT of laundry and am thankful for a washing machine!

Jack, Jon and a friend named Elvis

Jed enjoying the dirt

Jon and some dirt

There are cats here!

A family's pet named Luis

What kids do for fun - slide down the hill on 3 liter bottles 

Jed and some local men 

Jon aka "Chicken Chaser"  trying not to squeeze the chick

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Journey Team

  We had a great week with the team from our home church.  We got to visit several 12X12 families and potential families.  The team painted a house, visited an orphanage, had a cookout for a couple of families, loved on a bunch of kids, attended a soccer banquet for a local school, and lots more.  Our family got to hang out with them and join in on alot of their activities.

House Painting
Visiting the orphanage
Cookout for a few families

Pinata fun at the cookout

12X12 Key Ceremony 

Had a birthday party for a boy who has never had one

Journey team on their way back to the US
Visited with Caesar and his family

Monday, March 7, 2011

Spanish, Spanish and more Spanish

Several times through out this journey, Chris and I have looked at each other and asked "Are we too old for this?"  Sitting around a table with our Spanish teacher trying to learn this language makes me think "YES, I'm too old for this!!"  My poor brain is trying to grasp it but it's slow going.  Have you ever heard a Latin person talk?  Muy rapido means very fast and they talk faster than that!  Do their brains actually go that fast?  Mine doesn't.  Most people here are nice and will talk "slow" for the gringo but that is still too fast for me.  It's as confusing to learn as English and they have just as many exceptions to their language rules.  I know we are only 2 weeks into a 8-9 month process but we really want to be fluent by now.  :)

Some things we did last week:

We went to a plant place nearby and bought some plants.  I LOVE plants - I don't think I can live without them.  Living in Guatemala is perfect because they grow alot of flowers/plants here and the people seem to like plants too.  No matter how poor someone is they have flowers and plants growing somewhere - in a container or in the ground.  And you can buy cut flowers all around our town.  My heart is a teeny weeny bit more at peace with some plants around the house. 

We took the boys to a barber down the street.  His name is Rocky (we also know a little boy named Elvis). He did a good job cutting thin gringo hair.  It was funny because after their cuts there was alot of black hair on the floor and then all this blonde hair - something you probably never see at his shop.

We are excited about a store in Guatemala City called  PriceMart.  It's exactly like Costco but 1/3 of the size and they even have the chicken bake in the food court.  We found a great deal on filet mignon.  Granted, missionaries probably shouldn't tell people they are eating filet mignon but you haven't heard the rest of the story.  It was extremely cheap (cheaper than what we consider regular cuts) because I don't think it's considered a prime cut of meat here.  Anyway we made it for dinner and let me tell you, it was not at all the same as in the states.  Jack and Jon said it tasted like a hot dog.  Nobody was real excited about it and the following morning all 3 boys had belly aches.  Meat is definitely different - I don't think cows are corn fed or something.  Anyway, now we know why meat tenderizer is sold more than milk here. 

In 2 days a team from Journey Church will be here.  It's like our family is coming and we couldn't be more excited!!  I might even give Vic a hug - I don't think I have ever hugged him.  :)  We are busy cleaning and trying to hide 20+ bins of our stuff so they have a place to hang out. Oh and did I mention that we are trying to learn Spanish?  ;)

We miss home and everyone more than we can express.  We've been here a month already and in some ways it seems like forever.  Being foreigners is something we are trying to adjust to and it's hard.  Next time you see someone from another county welcome them to America and ask them if there is anything you can do to help them.  They might not understand you but they will feel the love and it will make all the difference to them.