Friday, October 31, 2014

It's A Miracle... I Blogged!

Recently, Austin & I have had the joy of re-connecting with several former students, interns, and team leaders. It is such a gift that we get to become friends with people all over the world because of our role in Nicaragua. In the past few weeks, we've received texts, e-mails, phone calls, and facebook messages from these friends updating us on how God is continuing to move in them and using them now that they are back in the States. They are involved in sharing Jesus with the hurting and broken where they are! It is incredible to hear about!! We love it, and we love them!

This morning, I was reading in II Corinthians 10, and Paul is expressing something similar. His desire was "as your faith increases, our area of influence may be greatly enlarged." That, too, is our prayer. Since we've joined the ministry with S.I., Austin and I have been especially passionate that for those who come down, their faith would increase and the influence of Christ be enlarged as the go back to their homes.

And because no one likes to read a blog that doesn't have pictures, here are a few of the lovely face of those we've recently heard from:

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Trust Without Borders

Recently, I've had Hillsong United's Zion album on repeat (thanks Brianne!). The Lord has certainly used it to speak to me. Although my words were never quite as eloquent, the song "Oceans" seems to have captured the cry of my heart. Check out these few lines....

Your grace abounds in deepest waters
Your sovereign hand will be my guide.
My feet may fail when fear surrounds me.
You've never failed,
and You won't start now.

Spirit, lead me where my trust is without borders.
Let me walk upon the waters, 
wherever You would call me.
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander,
that my faith would be made stronger 
in the Presence of my Savior.

That has been my cry since first encountering Jesus: "lead me where my trust is without borders." Let me tell ya... He answers that prayer! For me, it meant having to leave the comforts of the United States in order to truly trust Him. Often, the natural life circumstances while living in the States didn't require much dependency. Why do you need to walk on water when you can swim? Or you have a raft? Or it's shallow enough that you can reach the bottom? I didn't have to depend on the Lord because I could pretty much manage on my own. It isn't until I stepped into a place of uncertainty (where my feet could fail) that I could really understand how His grace abounds and that His sovereign hand will be my guide. Taking me deeper. Making my faith stronger. I know not everyone is called to live in a different country, but that's what it has taken for me. Many times I've heard "you have to step out of the boat to walk on water." While I'm usually irritated by such cliches, I can identify with this one. That step outside of the comforts into the unknown is always worth it when Jesus is the one calling you.  And guess what? He has never failed. And He won't start now.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Home Tour

We have lived in our house now for over a year... maybe it's time I invite you in!

L: Front porch
R: View from the front door.

and a few living room details (thanks Austin & mom for building the coffee table from an old pallet!)

our dining table is behind our little sitting area. here is a picture of it... we fell in love when we saw this table in a dark, dusty workshop.

Just off the dining area is our 8 ft x 8 ft kitchen. When we moved in, the only storage in the entire house was the two brown cabinets you see under the sink in this picture.

The shelves (pictured right) are to the left of the stove. We had to build them in front of a door to get more storage and counter space. Thanks mom for building them!

The bedrooms & bathrooms are located on the opposite side of the house. Here a a few of the master bedroom and bathroom.


Hallway between rooms, and guest bath.

Like I mentioned, storage has been our biggest obstacle.... so brace yourself for this picture of our "walk-in" closet. (aka extra bedroom turned storage room)

Somehow, we have no pictures of our actual guest bedroom. Guess you'll just have to come see that room for yourself! :)

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Except Jesus.

During a home visit two Fridays ago, we visited Irma. Upon first meeting her, I was caught off guard by her abrasiveness. It was obvious from day one that she has had a difficult life. Over the next couple weeks, Irma's heart seemed to soften and even opened a bit. She can't read or write, her now 22-year old son was born blind, she feels alone.  Her daughter moved out... because of an argument. Several weeks passed without seeing Irma, so we visited her. On that Friday I was sobered by the reality of her distress and her heavy heart-breaking home-life.

She shared with us about her husband who was paralyzed in an accident. His family took him away from her years ago because they didn't trust her to care for him.  She's been living with a boyfriend half her age for the last five years. He is drunk nearly every night and hasn't held a job since moving in. Irma works part-time cleaning houses and washing cloths in an attempt to make ends meet. Most nights she doesn't know if they'll have food for the next day. Since her daughter and son-in-law moved out after a fight over land, she told her live-in boyfriend he should leave, too.  She admitted there had been nights when there wasn't enough food for everyone, so instead of feeding her son, she fed her boyfriend. When Irma finally kicked him out, she said, "if I can handle my daughter leaving, I can handle you leaving, too." Now she still lives with her blind son, who also only has the mental capacity of a 10-year old... at best. When she works, her only option is to lock her son inside the house alone. There are many days she comes home to find him covered in urine, and at least once she found him with blood stained clothes from a nose bleed. She prefers to continue her part-time work and only eat every other night rather than to work full-time and leave her son alone everyday.

I was stunned. sobered. shocked.

I left with the overwhelming feeling of having nothing to offer her. Except Jesus. Money won't fix her brokenness. New shoes won't repair her soul. Food won't satisfy her hunger. There is nothing. Except Jesus. My American fix-it mentality was really confronted that day. Usually, I can fall back on my "really great ideas" or "innovative solutions" but I was reminded, rather punched in the face, with the fact that I have nothing. And really do I ever have anything to offer? Except Jesus. And He is enough. More than enough. And He is the only thing worth offering.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Team One: Check!

We moved into our house, and it's beginning to feel like home. We're still living out of suitcases, but our things are slowly finding their permanent place. Our kitchen cabinets are installed and painted... for some reason cabinets & closets are not typically in houses here.

We're still praying about a second mode of transportation... it is seeming more and more practical to buy a less-expensive second vehicle rather than a moto. We're also still praying about developing our sites (more on that below). It is obvious, still, that the Lord is ordering our steps and leading us into His righteousness. There is no way we could have dreamed up this life for ourselves!

Last week we hosted a team of 15 men who quickly constructed a dorm to double our capacity for hosting more teams in the future. You can see the video here! It was a blessing to have them here, and to get to know each of them.

Tomorrow we will be visiting five communities to potentially become rooted in. Our sweet friends, Lastman & Maria Jose (pictured below), will be working with us as we develop sites here in Nicaragua. Lastman will lead the sports ministry with Austin, and Maria Jose will lead a women's social work site with me.
Please pray for us! We love you guys!

Monday, February 20, 2012


We've done tons of things since arriving in Nicaragua last Wednesday night (Feb. 15th).  We had friends pick us up from the airport, and dinner was waiting for us when we returned to their guest house... talk about spoiled!

The next few days, we shopped for cars, bought necessities for our base, found a cell phone carrier, bought a bed, bought a couch, visited hardware stores, shopped for more supplies and appliances, began cleaning the base, and even found time for a siesta once.

We leave the guesthouse tomorrow, and will spend the day moving into the base! Fortunately, all the furniture and appliances will be delivered tomorrow, and all we'll need to transport are the 30-something suitcases that have been sitting in a warehouse the last 3 months. Unfortunately, we will not have very good internet service (if any at all) for quite some time.

Still no house, but we're hopeful & are checking out options. We are having so much fun on this adventure! Please continue to pray for us as we are in another stage of this transition.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

We're here!

We just wanted to let everyone know that we've safely arrived in Nicaragua with all of our suitcases! Tomorrow we will hit the ground running... purchasing phones, looking for vehicles, and beginning work at the Students International base.