Thursday, January 13, 2011

On Our Way

DSCF9030Finally, after over a year-and-a-half of working, praying, and waiting, we are on our way to Guatemala! It all seems like a dream.

I returned from our team trip on Sunday, January 2nd to be greeted by a flurry of work to prepare for our move. Sorting and packing culminated in a massive sale on Friday and Saturday when we saw the majority of our remaining possessions leave our home (followed by two days of sitting, eating, and sleeping on the floor since we no longer had furniture).

DSCF6061On Sunday, we had a nice break as we worshipped with our home church one last time and were commissioned. After the service they threw a “Hello Guatemala Party” to send our family off. What a wonderful afternoon we had as so many people showed up to wish us well and say goodbye, often through tears. What a blessing our HeartLand and Crosspoint families have been to us! They will be greatly missed!

DSCF6073On Monday we returned to packing and was able to reduce our possessions down to two suitcases and a carry-on each. Believe it or not, when you have a family of 11 people moving, that is still quite a bit of stuff! On Tuesday morning we loaded those cases onto a borrowed trailer (Thanks, Smiths!) and said goodbye to our home on Tamplin Drive as we drove off into a snowstorm.

We arrived safely in NC that evening where we are now enjoying time with my mom, sister, brother, and their families. We will stay here until the 18th when we travel to PA to be with Wanda’s family for a week.

DSCF6098Over the last week, I have found my faith challenged several times. Those challenges were greatest as I saw my children’s tears in the midst of their goodbyes to friends. During those moments I found myself asking if I am doing the wrong thing. Would God really want me to rip my children away from so many that they love and everything that is familiar? I felt like a horrible father. But then my children amazed me by wiping their tears and expressing excitement for our move and coming ministry. God also reminded me that one day we will have eternity to be with the family and friends we love. For now, we have work to do.

Soon there it will be time to pack up and head out again, but for now we are resting and enjoying our time with one another. We are also rejoicing in how far God has brought us and how close we are to our new home. Thanks for your continued prayers for us in all our travels!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Life and Death

(Blogged December 31st, but posted on January 1st due to internet problems.)

DSCF5956Today was spent at Amor del Nino, a wonderful orphanage run by Steve and Shyrel Osborn. As you enter their home, you find lots of little one, lots of laughter, and lots of love. But in the midst of the happiness, there was some grief. Steve and Shyrel’s granddaughter, Abby, passed away suddenly this morning at the age of 2 1/2. She has had severe special needs since birth, but this was unexpected. Please pray for their family during this time.

DSCF5998In spite of grieving with the family, we were still able to enjoy the children. Nails were painted, hair was styled, swings were pushed, and everyone had a blast. We also held a New Year’s Eve party with cake, candy, and decorations.

This evening we returned to Antigua which is in full party mood for New Years Eve. Street performers, fireworks, concerts and more combine to create an environment that is somewhat overwhelming yet wonderful. So, Happy New Year from Guatemala!

Here are a few photos of our day: