Tuesday, December 17, 2013


This precious, 32 year-old, mother of 6 was in a horrific accident in late August.  She was cranking up a machine that grinds corn and her hair got caught in the axle and torn off 90% of her scalp, one ear and half of the other.   Her whole entire family (mother, father, sister, brother, husband, kids) and people in the village rushed to help only to find her laying on the ground unconscious.  They thought she was dead and were afraid to touch her, so she laid there for about 30 minutes unattended.  When they realized she was alive, she was put in a truck and driven 30 minutes to the nearest "town".  (They live in a very remote village in the mountains).  There, she was transported by ambulance to a hospital in the city - over an hour away.  Now you are probably thinking that once she got to the ambulance, she was stabilized and given pain medication, etc., but I highly doubt it.  Where they were, I am sure the ambulance wasn't much more than a means of transportation.

Marcedona spent 2 months in the national hospital.  She had several skin graft surgeries and a surgery  to insert a tube where her ear was to keep the ear canal open so she would not lose hearing.  When Chris went to visit her family shortly after the accident, they were very concerned about the skin grafts because they had never heard of that before.  He explained it to them and that helped them to understand that she needed it to survive.  They live in a small remote place and have little knowledge of "modern" things.  In all, skin was taken from 7 places on her thighs - very painful she said.   She still needs one more surgery and possibly one that will give her a prosthetic ear.

Her youngest daughters
We went to visit her at home and she is doing well.  One of the most difficult parts of the whole ordeal was being away from her 6 children and the rest of her family.  The memory has left a lasting impression on everyone and we are praying that God will heal that so they can move on.  She is grateful to God and how He has provided for her and her family.

We shared her accident with our prayer team,  the hearts of a couple of people were touched to help.   As a result, bus fare was provided for her dad, husband, and brother to go see her when she was in the hospital.  They've been blessed with food, the medicine she needs until her wounds heal, and a water filter so she can wash her head with clean water.  Some folks sent sterile bandages and gauze that we could not get here in Guatemala.  The timing was perfect because she needed the gauze and a team was coming a few days later.  During our visit we explained that it's not the "Gringo's" who have helped, it's God who has provided and He has a plan for her life.  He brought her through this terrible ordeal and she's a miracle.

Please keep Marcedona in your prayers.  Pray that she would be healed mentally, emotionally, spiritually and physically from all that she has gone through.  Thank you!!

Thursday, November 28, 2013


Took a quick picture of Holly today while we were out in Buena Vista celebrating Thanksgiving with some friends.  What a great picture!  I've been married to this beautiful lady for 21 years today! Thankful for such a loving wife and mother to our children.  How appropriate that today is Thanksgiving...  Happy Anniversary Babe

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Baby Eddy

A cutie!
Baby Eddy was born on September 10th.  Right before he was born we helped his parents build a block room.  They lived in a cornstalk shack and wanted (really needed) a better place for their baby.  We brought Baby Eddy, his dad Eddy, and his mom Miriam, and a few relatives home from the hospital and have kept up with him every since.  Miriam had a c-section, not something you ever want to do in Guatemala, and took awhile to recover.  This little guy has struggled with nursing and gaining weight from the start.  He was born at 6lbs, 5oz and at 6 weeks he weighed 5lbs, 8oz.   He's 10 weeks now and weighs 7lbs,11oz.  He is being seen my Dra. Sara, a local pediatrician, and Lesbia, a local lady who is going to school to finish her nursing degree so she can work with moms and babies.   Lesbia and I are visiting twice a week to weigh him and encourage Miriam with her first baby.  She started supplementing with formula a couple of weeks ago and Eddy is gaining weight!  She's 19 and can't read so Lesbia takes the time to explain things to her - how to care for herself and the baby, nursing, how to mix the formula, etc.  I just hold him and listen to all of the new spanish vocabulary words I am learning relating to babies.  He smiled at me today and it just melted my heart.  He's a sweet baby!

Lesbia and Miriam

A little smile

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Fun With Books

We had friends visiting from Jacksonville this weekend.  They came with loads of books in Spanish to share with kids here.  It was tons of fun and the kids had a blast!  They started out reading "The Little Red Hen" ("La Gallinita Roja").  The moral of the story was to help one another. After the story, they had a craft and got to take home a book at their reading level.  It was a great way to encourage kids to read.  Thanks Lisa and Ashleigh!!!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

If You Move, They Will Find You....

We moved the week before last.  We have been blessed with a house that is more "open" and has a little more space for the boys to do their crazy boy thing.  It's been good for our spirits to feel like we live outside more than feeling like we live in a cave.  The kitchen, dining room, office, living room and a half bath are on the first floor.  There are 2 bathrooms, 2 bedrooms and a family room on the second floor.  The third floor has a patio and 2 team rooms.  It's a great house with a lot of character.  After ALOT of work and cleaning and gallons and gallons of paint, we were ready to move in.

Here is where we (I) wash dishes.  For those of you who know me, I don't mind dishes in the sink.  Sometimes I have more important things to do like water my plants, referee boys, or answer the door a million times day.  Don't worry, I will get to them as soon as I am done writing this - I am waiting for the water to come in.  :)

This is the cute little sink in the kitchen but you would have to be 4 feet tall to use it so it's the hand washing sink for the kids.   Not sure what the thought was on that.   I know Guatemalans are short but not always that short.  

This is the 2nd floor.  Both floors have a nice patio or as my sister would say "veranda" outside the rooms.  We've had one rain so far and this area stayed dry so that is nice.  

This is looking down onto the patio where the boys can play and be "outside" since we are really outside all the time now.  

 We have 2 team/guest rooms on the 3rd floor and a nice sized patio area too.  

While we don't have a yard, I got a little dirt patch to plant some things in.  Yay!

The house is a little off the beaten path so we thought it would be a little quieter over here.  So far, not so much.  I think if we moved to Mars, people would turn a chicken bus into a rocket, powered by tortillas or manure, and find a way to get to us.  We've had more people knocking in the last few days than we've had in the last few weeks at the other place.  Their needs don't change and it's still a privilege to help them no matter where we live.

P.S.  I did the dishes.  If you have a dishwasher, hot water at your kitchen sink or even a faucet, be thankful!  :) 

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Going Without Food

Miriam was over a couple of weeks ago and I notice that she looked a little thin.  She's pretty thin anyway but she seemed even more so that day.  In the last couple of weeks, I have seen her several times and each time, I've noticed it.  She was over late last week and as she was leaving, I looked at her calves and she has no muscle, her legs are just sticks.  Yesterday, I saw her in the street (the weather was warm so she was wearing a sleeveless top) and she looked emaciated to me.  I mentioned it to Chris and said that we needed to talk to them.  Selvin has been sick so I went to their house this morning to check on him but he was at school.  Since it was just "us girls" (me, Miriam and Kelly) I thought I would ask her why she's so much thinner and the answer caught me off guard.  She explained that since Kelly is eating more and nursing less, there isn't enough food for everyone so she doesn't eat as much. It's more important for Kelly and Selvin to have enough food than her.  Her husband Marco has not had regular work so they don't have much money for food.   I wanted to cry right there.  She goes without food so her kids can have enough when there is so little to begin with.

We have seen our share of malnutrition in kids here and the results of it, even death.   I haven't encountered it in an adult until now.  Cargo trucks leave ours and the surrounding villages daily, loaded with fruits and vegetables for export and there are hungry/starving people all around us.  It's one thing to miss a few meals but for an adult woman to get to the point where it's noticeable that she's not eating enough isn't good.  I explained to her the importance of her getting food too but what else can I say when there isn't enough.  If she had it, she'd eat it I'm sure.  All they had in their house to eat this morning was a corn drink - nothing else.  Later, I took them some food and told her to come to us if they are ever without and we will help.  

I wish I could give Marco a regular job so he could provide for his family better.  He's a hard worker and he doesn't drink like alot of men here do.  It's hard when you can't help people the way they need it.  Praying for God's provision for their family and wisdom for how we can help them.  

Here are links to other blogs about Miriam and her family.......

Marco and Miriam

Miriams's Wedding

Selvin's Education

Friday, February 15, 2013

Remember The Lord Your God...

Remember The Lord Your God... because He will remember you.   Those were the words Pastor Mario spoke to David's family.  He then quoted Deuteronomy 8:18...

"But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your ancestors, as it is today".

We celebrated David and Roselia's home.  This was one of those special ones where the story might sound far fetched unless you were on the ground here to witness it.  We didn't even realize all that happened until we heard the whole story at the key ceremony.  

David came to us in need of a home years ago.  He has a small plot of land but no means to build a home for his wife and four daughters. They were living with a relative at the time.  Fast forward to the Sunday before Thanksgiving, when the Stevens family was visiting us from Indiana.  Chris and the family were on the way back from Buena Vista.  (We had one more house to build before the end of the year and Chris needed to decide between 2 families, David's being one of them). They were on their way to see the other family so Chris could get a feel of which one to do next.  As they were getting ready to round a corner, Chris saw David and Roselia walking toward them in the street.  This, in and of itself, is a miracle because Chris usually drives past people we know on the street and never "sees" them and we had not seen this family in 2-3 months.  He stopped and discovered that they were out looking for wood to build a shack on their land which was nearby.  The family member told them they had to leave so they were essentially homeless at that point.  We knew immediately that they would get the next home and our friends visiting knew this was the family they wanted to sponsor a home for.  Pretty neat story but that's just our side of it.  For David, he learned on Saturday that they would have to leave and find another place to live. They prayed and asked for God to provide a place for them and Mario suggested they build a little shack on their land - they were praying for God to provide what they needed to build the shack - wood or cornstalk.  That night, David had a dream that he was out cutting wood from trees.  They got up Sunday morning and went out looking for pieces of wood to buy from people near their land. On the way they passed a little church so they stood outside and sang songs for a few minutes, worshipping God and praying for His provision.  As they walked away from the church, they met Chris in the street.  

The key ceremony was one of those moments where we could feel the presence of God and the communion between Him, David and Roselia and their family.  It was a special moment.  

In the midst of their need, they stopped to sing praises to their Lord.  Chances are, had they not sang, they would not have seen Chris and he would have gone to the other family and decided to build that house first.  

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Education Project Video

In case you haven't seen it here is a short thank you video for everyone that helped with the education project back in October & November.  In the last few weeks the Children here began their school year. The project supplied several families with whom we are working school uniforms & supplies.  It's hard to believe these are the things that keep kids from going to school here!  We hope you enjoy the video.

Thursday, January 24, 2013



Haide's family has a 12x12 home, that's how we know them.  They live way down the bottom of a hill in Buena Vista.  When visiting them last year in February, Haide had quit school which only started in January.  She was 11 at the time and was frustrated from kids making fun of her but that's all we got.  Gladys (her mom) told us they needed supplies and uniforms. They got some help with all that and Haide went back.  In September we visited them again to let them know we were going to ask people in the US to help with school supplies the next year and see if they would need help again (we knew they would).  This time we learned that Haide will be going into the 5th grade but......she can't read.  Of course this was one of those God appointed moments where we knew we had to help this girl with school.  Otherwise, she doesn't stand a chance at having a better life.  We left that day wondering how she was going to get help and praying that she would.  There is no way she would get any help from the school there.  How is this going to happen?  

Some time passes, our school supply/uniform fundraiser in the States was truly blessed and many kids were going to get help with school.  We asked the family that sponsored Haide's home to sponsor  their supplies/uniforms, we never mentioned the reading issue.  Not only did they send money for the supplies, they sent 3 times what we needed!  This will give Haide the opportunity to go to a small private school here in Magdalena to get the help she needs with reading.  

The school is called Colegio de Memorial Norma De Monroy.  We took Haide, her mom and baby brother there yesterday to get registered.  I could tell she was nervous.  What I thought would be a short registration process turned out to be a longer talk.  The Director came out to see Haide and took her back to a room to see if she really could read (I don't think she believed her) and how much.  While she was there, the assistant asked Gladys if they ever hit Haide or if she is punished for not reading.  She asked if she hugs her kids and loves on them.  Is their home a happy environment - some really blunt questions.  When the Director returned with Haide, some more personal things came out and the questions got more blunt.  It was a little awkward and there were tears but we left knowing this school would be a good place for a young girl who is timid and feels bad about herself for not being able to read.  Turns out, she's 12 and doesn't even know her letters....and she was going to 5th grade.  

Talking with the Assistant Director

The verse for this story is the same as many others:

Ephesians 3:20

20Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.


In getting an education, the odds are stacked against kids in Buena Vista. There are kids who graduate from 6th grade who can't read and write.  It's baffling to us but there is hope for them!  
Educate BV  is there and doing incredible things to help the students further their education and helping the community.  Check out their website. The Schmidt's and Harman's are doing great things for Buena Vista!