Tuesday, November 24, 2015

How to Start 2016 Encouraged

Although we're excited about spending the holidays with our families this year, Steve and I can't help but be a little anxious about our ministry funding. So we've decided to set a new goal to help us finish the year strong and encouraged!

We want to reach 60% of our funding by the end of 2015. And that means we need another $387 in monthly pledges by December 31. We need new partners in ministry and now is your chance to join in and be an encouragement as we look toward ministry in 2016.

So what does becoming a partner mean? It means making a prayer and financial commitment to see God's work in Honduras continue. It means coming alongside us (your missionaries) and our national co-workers as we work together to grow the Kingdom. And it means being an important part of a ministry that is transforming lives.

If God wants to use you to impact a nation, why not make a New Year's resolution that will make an eternal difference? All you have to do is click the button below and make your pledge. It's that simple to help us reach our goal and start 2016 blessed and encouraged.



Thank you so much for prayers and gifts. We are so glad that God chooses to use His people to bless us and the people of Honduras.


Friday, November 20, 2015

Shoebox Full Circle

While we've been back in the U.S., we've been trying to meet new missions-minded people to support the ministry in Honduras. But our greatest joy is when we get to meet with our current champions and thank them for making God's work possible. As you can imagine, both of these tasks get a little hard to accomplish as the holiday season approaches. Schedules are packed and it can be hard to get someone to sit down and talk for a moment. And that was certainly the case with one of our supporters.

So we had to get a little creative. Last night we met at a local church as she and her family volunteered at an Operation Christmas Child shoebox collection center. For us, the shoeboxes are a special reminder of our experiences in Honduras and the kids we left behind. We don't have to imagine a child's face when they open their special gift. We've seen it. We know their names and we have celebrated with them the generosity of God's people.

Last night's experience was a sweet reminder that the people that have come alongside us in Honduras are wonderfully connected to God's purposes around the globe. They're what allows us to be a part of something much larger than just one impoverished nation. In our role as missionaries, we get to be a little piece of what the Lord is doing through our amazing partners. And it was an honor to spend the evening serving side-by-side with these faith heroes.

Our experiences with the shoeboxes came full circle when we got to volunteer with these ladies at their collection center.

Read more about our experiences in Honduras with Operation Christmas Child here.



Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Let's Move!

Steve and I got new FitBits for my birthday this year. And I've been surprised at it's effectiveness. No, I've been amazed. I mean let's get real, the FitBit doesn't really do anything. But we are spending a lot of time strategizing and planning our day around advancing those little blinking lights. Suddenly, a rainy day is an obstacle that must be overcome. It's almost an obsession. Somehow the magic of FitBit has managed to motivate us to get up and move.

So what if there was a little device that could motivate the church to move? An honest, accurate little FitBit that reported our progress. Would it excite us and drive us to make a bigger difference? Would it galvanize our commitment to Kingdom work? Would it drive the church to obsession?

Almost every day we're hearing from pastors, missions boards and outreach leaders who say they are inundated with requests day-in and day-out. Of course, they'd love to be able to support everyone. And they would like to meet and talk about what God is doing around the world. But there just isn't time. And, probably more accurately, there just isn't money. You may have even thought the same things as you're faced with opportunities to give to various projects, organizations and causes. And while we certainly understand your position, I can't help but wonder what this means for us as a church. We have a God with infinite resources. Yet there are countless servants who are frustrated, discouraged and unable to fulfill God's call to minister to the world because His church is overwhelmed by need. Why?

I am convinced that God has not abandoned us to our own devices. Instead I've come to the conclusion that we, as the church body, have woefully mismanaged and underestimated God's resources. Well I say this is no time for us to be sidelined by small thinking. The world is hurting. People are dying. It's time to move. So it's up to us folks--you and me. We have to be the FitBit that gets our churches off the couch. We have to start planning our days and weeks around advancing God's Kingdom. We have to get our sick healed, our poor fed and our missionaries funded. If we don't, who will?



Wednesday, October 14, 2015

My Home Sweet Home

I've quit watching the news. I can't seem to stomach it anymore. The mere mention of current events other than the weather outside makes me queasy. I can't change the subject fast enough. So I'm out of touch. For example, I know that there's been outrage about police shootings, but I have no idea how it started or why. The news is discouraging and disheartening―hopeless. And to be quite honest, it frightens me. I'm quite content to focus my energies on the problems of a third-world country far away from here. Heartache is expected there. And somehow, that seems easier.

That's how my heart was hardened to the troubles in the U.S. But God wants to re-ignite a love for my home. And He began in Korea. Oh, I'm sure there were plenty of reasons for the Lord to bring the Korean Children's Choir to the Steer, Inc. Missions Conference in Bismarck, North Dakota. Afterall, they are a well-renowned international performance group. But in my heart, I know they were there to sing just for me―and just one song. Those precious kids probably didn't even understand the words they were singing. But when the long-forgotten chorus of "God Bless America" rang out, I couldn't stop the tears from forming in my eyes or the words from forming on my lips. I was on my feet and singing with the rest of the crowd before I had time to think.

The Korean Children's Choir sings at the Steer, Inc. Missions Conference in Bismarck, ND.

That moment brought back a memory―not of an event, but of an intense feeling. We've spent so much time focusing on our love for new home in Honduras that it was almost lost to me. But God is restoring it. From the recesses of my brain I remember the pride, passion and tender devotion I used to feel my country. Without my even knowing it, I've slowly been replacing those emotions with bitterness, frustration and fear. But isn't just like Our Father to use little children from another far away land to remind me of my blessing here in the U.S.?

Over the last months, we've learned that Homeland Ministry Assignment (HMA) is giving us an unexpected gift. Steve and I get to travel all over the country together. We've been in seven states in the last four weeks (that's over 4,000 miles, for those who are counting). It's like the ultimate road trip we always dreamed about. So we've decided to take advantage of this unique opportunity. We've committed to specifically pray for each state we travel through this year. We should be able to cover most of the Midwest and some significant southern states in prayer over the next weeks and months. And it makes me laugh when I think that since we made this prayer commitment, our calendar has been filled with two different opportunities that will take us through at least six new states that we wouldn't have visited otherwise! I guess the Lord is taking us up on our prayer offer.

God so loves the nations. And He gave us a great one. No matter what's on the news tonight, there's hope for us, my friends.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

The Open Road

This morning we set of on our first big road trip of HMA. We're excited about what God is going to do over the next few weeks!

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

9 Unexpected Culture Shock Moments

We're back in Minnesota to begin our Home Ministry Assignment (HMA). As you might expect, life in the U.S. is a little different from our lives in Honduras. And that's meant some interesting cultural re-discoveries over the last two weeks. Here's some of the highlights.

1. The open road. Even in congested areas of the Twin Cities where traffic used to drive us crazy, the roads are organized and everyone follows the rules. And no one tries to cross the freeway on foot with a baby on one hip and five toddlers in tow. It's all so...sensible!

2. We have to pump our own gas. It's not so bad now, but in January we're definitely going to miss that carside service!


3. Wal-Mart. OK. We do have a Wal-Mart in Tegucigalpa, but it's not the same mecca of selection as it is here. We spent five hours there our first day just in awe of the all the options!

4. It's cold. It may be be the middle of August, but the constant whir of the air conditioner keeps every public place in a constant climate of chilly with a chance of frigid. I may have to dig out my coat a little early!

5. Dishwashers are awesome. We even have tiny one in our basement living space and it's my new best friend.


6. Hugging is awkward. And kissing on the cheek is just weird. 

7. Credit card readers are convenient...and strange. We're a little clumsy in the check-out lanes as we try to remember how to pay for groceries in the digital age.

8. 2-liters are small. It's bad enough that we have to live more than 500 yards from the nearest pulperia (convenience store), but now we also have to make do with puny 2-liters of Pepsi rather than the much more gratifying 3-liters we've grown to love. Come on America! We can do better!


9. We don't have to travel in packs. While Nick has taken to going off on his own unsurprisingly well, Steve and I have taken a little more time to realize the sweet joy of going to the grocery store without an entourage.

Friday, July 24, 2015

TGIF Halconcitos

Today was our last day with the little ones in El Nido (the rec room). It's been such a joy to spend our Friday afternoons getting to know these kids. We hope we gave them something to look forward to every week and we pray that they saw God's love for them through us. We're sure going to miss the Halconcitos (Little Hawks)!








Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Celebrating Honduras

When we traveled to the Discipling Nations Alliance Conference in Panama last year, one of the lessons that really stuck in my brain is the idea that the Lord loves the diversity among our different cultures. In fact, he created our cultures in order to glorify Himself. And one day each and every culture that has ever been or ever will be will kneel before the Lord and present its very best from arts to language to innovations as an offering before the throne. I am absolutely enamored by that thought.

So it's no wonder that today that picture was fresh and vibrant in my mind as we commemorated Day of the Honduran with the students and staff of El Sembrador. Each class was assigned a region and people group to represent. They built and decorated elaborate kiosks to showcase their region's characteristics and prepared native cuisine to sell. The event was accented by dance performances, dramas and even a fancy horse show. It was an honor to be able to walk through the exhibits and see the best of what Honduras has to offer. And it reminded us of all the reasons we love our adopted home.

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A class of children was invited to perform a traditional dance routine at the celebration.



Each booth was built and decorated to reflect the culture of the region which it represented.

Native foods were sold at each booth, like this coconut.

Music performances and dramas added to the festive atmosphere.




Tuesday, July 14, 2015

A Tisket, A Tasket, Yahir's Special Basket

When Nick was little, he used to come home from school and proudly present me with his latest construction paper masterpiece. It was his life's work and he was more than thrilled to give it away. To a mom, those crayon scribbles and drops of glitter glue are precious. Of course, its not the value of the components or the artistry of the work. No, the joy of such a gift is knowing that someone that you care about thought of you. It's confirmation of precious and meaningful relationship.

As passionate as I am about the importance of our ministry in El Nido, I must admit that I sometimes question if it really makes a difference―if I make a difference. This thought is especially on my mind as we prepare to leave El Sembrador. We've had such precious few moments with the students and I can't help but wonder if they've even mattered. It can be an overwhelming and heart-breaking reflection at times. Thankfully, the Lord knows my thoughts and my insecurities. So this week He sent Yahir bounding into El Nido with a little treasure in his pocket. With a big grin, Yahir pulled out a tiny handmade basket and offered it to me. "I made this for you," he exclaimed before hurrying past the desk to meet his friends at the ping pong table.

I don't know what kind of impact we've had at El Sembrador, much less the nation of Honduras. But now I know that God has used us this year. And I have a little basket on my coffee table that reminds me that we've been building more than a rec room. We've been building relationships.




Friday, June 26, 2015

Our Town

For this afternoon's activity with the "Little Hawks", we took the fun outside. And after talking about what amenities every town needs, we set to work creating our own...in chalk. From a giant flower shop to a tiny circus, this is one exciting place to visit!








Wednesday, June 24, 2015

What We Don't Understand

Last week, we asked our students what they thought adults didn't understand about youth. Check out some of our favorite answers below.



What is one thing that adults don't understand about teenagers?
  • Today's fashion
  • Action movies
  • To have a girlfriend
  • They understand everything
  • That we don't think the same
  • Our way of having fun
  • That we want to reach our dreams
  • Music
  • That we are powerful
  • :,(
  • Playing all day
  • Everything

Friday, June 12, 2015

Bubbles

This afternoon we made our own bubble wands from pipe cleaners with the little kids in El Nido. Thankfully the rain held off for a little while and we were able to spend some time chasing bubbles outside.









Thursday, June 04, 2015

An Epic Celebration

On May 30, the day we thought would never get here finally arrived. Nick graduated high school and we celebrated with an epic ceremony and party with all our friends in Honduras. Check out the highlights and photos in this video:




Or if you want a front-row seat to the complete ceremony including the entire inspiring commencement address by one of our favorite pastors in Honduras and Nick's full speech, check out this video:

Wednesday, June 03, 2015

Spring Fever in Honduras

One thing we definitely miss about spring is the start of baseball season. But Nick's been busy trying to start a new Escuela El Sembrador baseball team with the students. This afternoon, he was out warming up and our friend, Andi, couldn't resist giving it a try. Check out this adorable video of Andi trying to hit a baseball for the very first time!

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Monday, June 01, 2015

Down at the River

This Sunday, El Sembrador had the honor of sharing a special day with a nearby church. The entire congregation joined us for Sunday services and then we all headed to the river for a baptism ceremony. What a blessing it was to see these young Christian women taking this faithful step!

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Sunday, May 24, 2015

The Fruits of Patience

After months of waiting and watching the trees fill with mangoes, the announcement in church this morning that three fruit trees were ready with ripened mangoes was met with cheers. Finally, this afternoon permission was finally given to pick and enjoy the fruits and the boys wasted no time with their delicious harvest!


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Thursday, April 30, 2015

Watercolors

It started as an art project designed to show the difference between cool and warm colors. But, as they always do, the students in El Nido made this watercolor experiment their own. They were enthusiastic and I had to run to town to purchase additional paint to accommodate our budding artists. But the result is a new art installation on the rec room walls.

This was the example I made to show the boys how to use the different colors to make a pattern stand out.


They went to work drawing the grids.

Many of the kids decided to forego using the grids and created their own watercolor paintings.


  
And some kids used the grids as a background for some pretty awesome pieces.


We certainly discovered some talent with this project.

The finished works of art have become decoration for our wall.