April was busy, but great! It was a lot of preparation work. Prepping the downstairs to host teams, spending many days working on finding medication for the medical teams, getting our vehicles all operational, ordering and picking up (then moving to storage) a huge load of buckets for water filtration, etc.
Often times, preparing for a team means a scouting trip to whichever jungle we'll be taking the team to. That happened in April as well. Our original idea was that we could all go together as a family on this scouting trip, but I got really sick just 48 hrs before we were supposed to leave. A few of our kids came down with it as well (a rather violent stomach bug) right after me. So Nathan ended up having to run out there without us :-( Though he did recruit a friend to go with him last-minute, so that made it more fun. They drove all over the Ch'ol jungle, making contacts and arranging details for the upcoming dental and medical clinics. It was a packed few days for them, but considered a success in the end.
Our April missionary ladies brunch was the biggest brunch we've had yet! There were a dozen of us, and we had a great time of fellowship and getting to know one-another. It's amazing how so many of us have lived in the same town (in some cases for years!) and have never met. It's one of my dreams-come-true to see all these missionaries coming together, denominational lines being erased, and just loving on and praying for one another. Another neat thing we've hosted a few times is an evening of English praise and worship. I never would have anticipated how much I would miss praying and singing with fellow believers in my own language. While I have (finally) become comfortable with Spanish, my heart language is English. So having a time for group praying and worshipping in my heart language has been really cool. Not to mention the added bonus of my children being able to hear and be part of English worship!
There have been some exciting developments at Casa Hogaar Canaan (the orphanage we work with here) in the last several weeks. One of them being that they have decided to start a petting zoo there on the property! We are trying to help get things worked out and set up for that. Another big one is that ONE family has donated enough money for us to finish the contruction on their school house!! I was getting discouraged at the progress (or lack thereof) on the fund-raising, and then this generous family came along and blew us away. We are waiting on quotes for materials right now, but *so* very excited to get going on that project. Any further funds that we can raise will go towards finishing the upstairs of the schoolhouse, which they are hoping to make into a bunk house for the older boys.
The last part of April was quite possibly my favorite!! Our sending church back home (Redeemer Baptist in Aurora, CO) sent a group of 5 men down for a visit! I love it when people come to visit. But having our own church family here was extra special! Their arriving flight was delayed by 12 hrs, so our time was a tad shorter than we planned. But we made the most of it. They had an afternoon and evening here in San Cris with us, then left early the next morning for the jungle! Over the course of their 5 days in the jungle, they accomplished so much! Our dentist, Dr. Randy, was part of the team. So they were able to see about 140 patients in 3 different villages for the dental clinic. Our friends the Rivas family (from Villa Hermosa) joined the team as well, and held a medical clinic that saw about 230 patients. The rest of the team kept busy installing 6 smokeless stoves, and 4 water filtration systems... not to mention working as support staff for the clinics! One very exciting part of the week is that they were able to work in 2 villages we had never been in before. This is great news! That means all of the soccer games, laughing, visiting, and smiling that this team did laid down some wonderful ground-work for future work.
Let me take just a moment here to use this team as an example for you. We often hear from friends or family: "I'd love to come on a mission trip, but I can't do construction or anything." As if building orphanages is the only thing that needs doing here! If you can play patty-cake with a kid, cut hair, weild a paint brush, kick a ball, hold a baby, pray, wash dishes, pull weeds, cook, or just about anything else... you can do that on the mission field! Whatever abilities God has given you, they can be used here. So if you have been wanting to come to Chiapas but thought you had to have a special skill set, think again. And start saving for a plane ticket. :)
Thanks for being interested enough in our lives and ministry to read our updates.
By His grace,
(for Nathan, Cloe, Gabi, Brennah, and William too!)