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.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

A good kick in the pants

Well, Austin and I received a healthy beating for three weeks in Colorado. Our training was completely different than we expected.... and exactly what we needed. Missions Training International (MTI) was intense, draining, invigorating, exciting, scary, sad, and fun. We talked a lot about the paradox of emotions, which is ironically how I would describe our time there: a paradox, a good hurt.

We woke up to sunrises like this....

And this....

And this...

We visited Pikes Peak, Garden of the Gods, the Air Force Academy and stayed in the mountains of Colorado. Gorgeous!

Then we were in a hostage simulation to reveal how we truly are under high stress. We discovered just how ignorant our frame of reference can make us, and overall did some extremely deep soul-searching evaluation.Our sessions included: healthy resilient families, transition, grief & loss, managing stress, conflict handling, moral purity, and good-byes. Each session uncovered new issues that we'll most likely face, but hadn't thought to discuss. 

We've come away from our time at MTI feeling more prepared for what's to come, but shockingly aware of our shortcomings as well. Most of all, Austin and I grew closer, and for that we are forever grateful!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Blog Famine: My Apologies

Let me start by saying I am so sorry for the famine that hit my blog. Our time back in the states has been wonderful and extremely busy. So maybe the best way to recap is a top ten list:

10. Seeing family & friends (obviously!)
9. Austin is so glad to be driving again
8. I'm glad to be cooking & baking again
7. American food-- aka bacon, burgers, ice cream, and basically anything unhealthy
6. Returning to our church, Traders Point
5. New Staff Orientation in Cali... we got to meet new friends AND see the Redwoods!

4. Missions Training in Colorado... we've been here one day and can already tell how impacting it will be on our spiritual lives. (pictures and more to come)

3. Visiting Birmingham

2. Spending holidays with family

1. Seeing family & friends... so wonderful we had to say it twice!! (and sorry no pics of the other side of the family OR the friends that we've been blessed to spend time with)