*ahem* Anyone still out there?

Yes, I know.  The last time I posted about our family on this blog was about 3.5 months ago.  There have been numerous times when I’ve thought about sitting down to write, but it just hasn’t happened.  It’s not like I haven’t had a moment, but honestly it’s felt like it would take more energy than what I wanted to give each time I thought of it.  Newborns are great and all, but they sort of zap your energy. 🙂

I have no specific plan for this post (scary thought, I know), so I guess I will begin with this.  Justin got me a Kindle this past Mother’s Day.  Because I’m just so sweet and sensitive, I gave him a bit of a hard time about it (wink, wink).  See…we’re not really big gift givers on days like Mother’s Day.  In fact, if I’m completely honest, we sometimes do a horrible job (both of us) of planning ahead for things like Christmas.  I know.  That’s horrible.  Not every Christmas…or every birthday…or every *insert big deal day of your choice* do we drop the ball, but there have been years that have come and gone when we’ve just given a card or maybe gone out on a date (which is obviously better than nothing!) for some of those bigger special occasions.  When it comes right down to it, neither of us is overly bothered by this, but I do think both of us would like to be a bit more consistent with our gift giving for those special days.  Just so I won’t totally embarrass myself, I feel the need to say that we DO give each other gifts…don’t get me wrong.  AND…I think we’re both actually pretty good gift givers (if I do say so myself).  If I think about it some more, I feel like living here in Peru has sort of taken us down this road.  Half the time, the gift that we both might want isn’t even available here.  The other half of the time, the gift we might want/want to give costs literally double the price due to it being an imported item or something like that.  So there…it’s not ALL our fault. (haha).  ANYWHOOOO…(just so you all know, none of that has anything to do with what I was intending to write).  Needless to say, I sort of made fun of Justin for getting me a Kindle (which I considered a big deal) for Mother’s Day when we had sort of not even given each other much last Christmas.  There.  I said it.

Don’t worry folks.  I’ve repented for the fact that I kind of thought a Kindle was a bad gift.  That Kindle (you know, the one I didn’t even think I needed) has become my best friend.  OH.MY.WORD.  So…EASY!  I have probably read like 6 or 7 books since this past Mother’s Day, which is equal to the amount of books I’ve probably read in the whole time I’ve been a mother.  That would be 5+ years.  I LOVE my Kindle!

My point: I have recently been reading a short book called “Hope for the Weary Mom: Where God Meets You in Your Mess” by Brooke McGlothlin and Stacey Thacker.  Yes, friends, I have certainly found myself in moments/days/weeks of weariness.  Even before Carter was ever born.  Parenting is just a challenge, right?!  It is fun and rewarding, but to be honest, it’s also plain old tiring.  To top it off, I’m not perfect at, and sometimes I find myself REALLY messing things up.  And that’s hard to swallow in those times when I reflect on how a day has gone or how any one given moment of our day unfolded and it’s obvious that it didn’t play out well.  I am just so thankful that I know and have the support of a loving God.  I would be a complete mess with no hope if God wasn’t on my side.  Seriously, people.

In this book, one of the things one of the authors writes about is her experience with the hymn, “I Need Thee Every Hour”.  It touched me, because one of my favorite songs is “Lord I Need You” by Chris Tomlin.  You can listen to it here if you’ve never heard it before: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ESWGYf–tMw.  Obviously it’s a bit different than the hymn, but the idea is much the same.  In the book it mentions the history of this hymn and that it was written by a housewife, Annie Hawks, in 1872.  I looked it up some more, and I came across something that Annie Hawks wrote about the song:

“For myself, the hymn, at its writing, was prophetic rather than expressive of my own experiences, for it was

wafted out to the world on the wings of love and joy, instead of under the stress of great personal sorrow,
with which it has often been associated.At first I did not understand why the hymn so greatly touched the throbbing heart of humanity. Years later,
however, under the shadow of a great loss, I came to understand something of the comforting power of the
words I had been permitted to give out to others in my hours of sweet serenity and peace.”
Like Annie Hawks, I deeply desire to have this mindset about Christ in my life – even every hour of my life.  I don’t just want to be singing this song because I’m weary.  I want to be acknowledging my need for Him even when my cup is overflowing!  Another verse the authors point out is 2 Chronicles 16:9a, NASB:
“For the eyes of the LORD move to and fro throughout the earth
that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His.”
Sign.Me.Up!
I guess what I’m trying to say is just that I deeply desire the support from the Lord that 2 Chronicles talks about, but it is painfully obvious to me that if I’m not living to the tune of the song “I Need Thee Every Hour”, my heart cannot be completely His.  I’ve tried.  It’s impossible, and the mess isn’t just mine.  It affects my entire family.
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On a completely new note.  I am LOVING having a newborn in the house!  Carter is just literally precious, and he couldn’t be a better baby except for when we’re in the car (haha).  He pretty much doesn’t like his carseat unless he’s sleeping, and those days when he sleeps all the time are fading fast!  Here’s the little cutie at just about 4 months old (in his 9m old outfit…what?!)
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Here are a few things we’ve had happen since Carter’s birth (about the last time I posted)…
Both Cailyn and Corban fell on the same day a couple of months ago and both had to get stitches.  Cailyn fell from a hammock at a friend’s house and once Justin was back from the ER with her, Corban fell that late afternoon when Justin took him to ride his scooter outside.  It was a great day.
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We had a little Halloween shindig with our teammates, and I thought you all might get a kick out of a couple of pictures we got.
Our crazy crew…
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One of the first houses we went by for candy had this sign.  It basically says, “Don’t bother us.  Electric fence.”  Geez.
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For the last few years we’ve really gotten a kick out of how careful the people here are when they hand out candy.  Many people just crack their doors, hand candy out of the corner of their window, or put up signs like the one above.  It really is fairly funny, although we probably shouldn’t laugh too hard seeing as last year there really was an incident in front of our home that involved a guy with a gun on Halloween night.  Still, this next picture just makes me laugh.  The kids were too short to reach this tiny window (and what is this hole for normally anyway?!), and the lady inside just stuck her hand out and dropped candy on to them.  We adults were literally laughing our heads off.  It’s things like this that make great memories, right?
IMG_0398When it was all said and done, we probably found about 5 houses in numerous blocks walked that were even handing out candy, and we all agreed that it’s a good thing our kids have no clue what snickers, skittles, butterfingers, laffy taffy, etc. are, or they would be SORELY disappointed in Halloween here. 🙂  It’s things like this that make you aware again that much of what you feel your kids are “missing out on” occasionally by living in another country is really only about what you were used to as a child as opposed to them actually knowing they have “missed out” on anything.  For all of these kids, their reality is Peru, and that includes all of the 80 different types of hard candy that get passed out at Halloween or put in party goodie bags.  They’re probably healthier for it anyway, right?
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We had a great Thanksgiving with our team and some new friends as well.  I have no pictures of that day.  Our camera has sort of gone nuts on us, and I’ve not been great at taking pictures – something I hope to change soon!  We had a ton of food, and we enjoyed spending nearly our entire day together being thankful for a lot!
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Another sweet photo of the tiny one in the house…
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This next picture cracks me up, because despite the attempts Corban makes to be really sweet, Carter is learning already that he needs to be on the watch for his busy, energetic big brother!  He’s showing his uncertainty well in this picture. 🙂
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I had some good helpers at Thanksgiving to make all of our food…
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You can find pumpkins here, but they are not really common.  We chose to just paint ours this year since we don’t really have a great space to carve them now in our apartment.  The kids thought this was super fun, and it was certainly less messy!
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My other helper who was really more of a mess-maker.  But he’s cute, so I let it slide this year …
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We put up our Christmas decorations a couple of days after Thanksgiving, and with that comes all of our Christmas books!  My parents had Christmas books under our tree each year when I was growing up, so it’s fun to keep that tradition with our kids.  
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We stopped our decorating for a bit and dressed the kids up to get a quick festive photo…of course Carter smiled in between each flash.  I was a bit sad we didn’t grab one with his cute little grin, but I was happy with this one just the same…
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We took our first beach trip of the “summer” a couple of weeks ago, and we actually just went again today.  It’s beginning (NOT to look a lot like Christmas around these parts) to get really hot, and we wanted to get the kids to the beach at least once before we leave (THIS TUESDAY!!) for our furlough in the States.  They have been asking about the beach pretty much since last summer, and we’ll unfortunately be gone for most of beach season here while in the States.  It’s a little bittersweet.  Anyway, Carter really loved it, as you can tell. 🙂
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Actually, it was a bit windy and slightly chilly that day unfortunately, so Carter  didn’t like the wind.  The kids had a blast despite it not being super sunny.  We were glad to get a day in at the beach nonetheless.
Carter is really into Praise Baby DVDs, which is huge for me since Cailyn officially started Kindergarten with me in our homeschooling venture back in October.  He enjoys sitting at the table with us, but  after a while there’s just so much I can do with him in my lap.  Anyway, he’s an angel baby, really, and he is very content to sit and watch/listen to the great praise songs they have on those DVDs.  It saves me on some days!
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Cailyn has done really well with homeschooling so far.  I know the year technically starts in August or so, but I was 10 days from having a baby when August hit.  So, I preplanned several weeks of lessons and activities that coincided with a K4 curriculum that I am sort of loosely using with Cailyn, and I made a goal of starting October 1st with her K year.  She actually just finished her PreK year at the school we had her enrolled in this year on Friday the 14th, and it could not have been a better experience.  There is a small part of my heart that is sad that she will no longer have the opportunity to be in a Spanish speaking environment in that capacity, but Justin and I agreed the other night that we do not regret in any way our decision to homeschool the kids. So, there is also an excitement that comes with knowing that from here on out, or at least until God changes our schooling path, we have adventures waiting for us with her (and the boys as well) as a homeschooling family.  Here is a picture of her with her 3 teachers on the last day along with the kids that had made it to school by the time we dropped her off.  Somehow when I said, “Una foto Cailyn!”, the other kids thought that meant all of them, too. 🙂
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Santa came to the class Christmas party Cailyn’s class had.  I thought these pictures were hilarious.  The party was at a club near the beach, and the reflection of the sun off the ocean was SO BRIGHT!  So, Cailyn naturally needed her sunglasses.  Makes you really feel like Christmas.  Justin and I decided Santa was probably going to lose a few lbs. by the time the evening was over since it was so hot in his suit!
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Little brothers and sisters got presents, too (you know, if mom and dad brought them something), so Corban got his picture as well.  He wasn’t too sure about wanting to get too close. 🙂
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Corban has his last day of classes at his Nido (preschool) on Monday, and we let him ride his scooter a few blocks to school as a “last week of school” treat.  Since we moved, it’s hard to do things like this (being so far now and all), and one of his classmates gets to ride his scooter every day.  After Corban asking and begging to do this for days, we thought we had a great opportunity to make a treat out of it as well as learn a little bit about not being jealous of our friends who “ALLLLLways get to ride their scooter to school EEEEEvery day!” (according to Corbs).
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Today we had a super time at the beach one last time before we head out.  Our teammates, Lee and Stephanie Fletcher, have a 7 year old daughter, Sofia, who has taken up surfing this year, and she is great at it!  She goes each Saturday for her lesson, and today many of our team joined her in the water.  Of course, we’re big enough in numbers that it also meant that many were on the shore enjoying watching them and playing in the sand!  Below is a picture of Derek Yoakum (4 years old – the blonde duh, right?) and Corban (3) playing together.  It is honestly one of the biggest blessings to see our kids growing together and developing relationships with one another as they get older.  Derek and Corban are becoming close, and I think it mostly has to do with the fact that they can both hold their own in a wrestling match as well as enjoy being a bit more rough and tumble than some of the others do.  They make a good pair. 🙂  This little pool of ocean water on the rocks was their paradise for a while this morning.  It is certainly fun to live just 15 min. from this!
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The Fletcher family is contagiously fun, and Cailyn’s Tío Lee  (“uncle”) was awesome enough to take her out into the water on his surf board.  Cailyn has been saying she wants to learn how to surf, but this child typically is way not into the ocean water.  She is fine building sand castles BEHIND where we set up our chairs (hah!).  But, at the end of last summer and as this summer is approaching, she has shown some more nerve when it comes to getting wet!  Today it BLEW.MY.MIND that she let Lee take her out.  I saw him motion to her, and she jumped all over the opportunity to go.  It is fun to see your kids grow out of fears and learn and experience new things.  It was yet again a moment when I praised God for having other family-like adults in her life that will take moments to have fun with her and teach her something new.  Here’s a picture Justin got…a little hard to see, but she’s out there!  Looks like Parker D., her sweet friend, is either cheering her on or yelling that she wants to join them!  Parker’s another influence in Cailyn’s life when it comes to breaking out of her shy or timid shell. 🙂
Well, I think I about covered the main events since about the time Carter was born (haha).  I know I’ve already said it, but we couldn’t be any more excited to be seeing family in a few days as well as getting to meet many of the new friends and supporters we have at the Littleton Church of Christ in Colorado who have begun to support our family just this year!  Leaving your home for a couple of months can be a little crazy, and there’s a part of me that fears I might come back to a few things having molded while I’m gone (haha…i’m not kidding), but there’s just something about our life as missionaries that allows for so much reflection and renewal when you leave and then come back again.  Leaving for 2 months and returning kind of gives you an opportunity to regroup, reprioritize, start new, make new goals, etc.  It is a fresh start in some ways, and I don’t know about the rest of you, but I need that sometimes!  So, the next time I post something, I plan for it to be accompanied by some pictures of us with friends and family in Texas!!  Thanks again to all of you who keep up with us here on the blog!

Settling in…

Well, we’re about to begin our 5th day back in Lima (tomorrow), and we’ve officially named it “Finish Unpacking/Organize it/Buy the bin you need for it/De-clutter” Day.  Justin and I hit the ground running when it came to unpacking, and that is almost all we did Friday and Saturday.  Well…at least that’s all we did in between the times we were making sure the kids weren’t being ignored. 🙂  But, we still just have a few (well, a few plus some) more things to accomplish.  Therefore, Justin is taking a personal day (THANK YOU!!!) instead of going out with the guys tomorrow for work.  I SO appreciate a husband who can see my need and is willing to do what he can to fulfill it!  I feel like my days are sort of a half-hearted mess.  I can only give so much to the kids because there are piles to step over and things I must get done, and yet I can’t quite get those piles cleared and to-do lists finished because the kids need me.  That’s always sort of how it is when we have to pack to go to the States or unpack after returning, although this time we have 4 months worth of stuff to organize.  Plus, the kids closets are full of winter clothes from when we left, but it’s blazing hot here now.  Oh…and they’ve both grown a size.  So, not only am I unpacking their things, but I have to go through everything in their closets to make sure we’ve got the right season and size going on.  I-‘-m.A-l-m-o-s-t.D-o-n-e. (that’s about how slow it feels)

Tomorrow.  That’s my day!

On another note.  We were welcomed home by a leaky kitchen sink (there was water all over the kitchen floor Saturday morning), a house phone that would receive calls but not make them (why is it that the phone company can’t quite figure out how to merge themselves with someone else without messing everyone’s phone up for a good 24hours?),  some more leaking in our car…on the inside…maybe from the AC??, and TERRIBLE cracking/peeling/puffing up spots ALL over our house where the concrete has just gotten wet somehow (probably bad pipe jobs in the house) and caused our house paint to peel/puff up/grow fuzzy stuff on it.  That whole last thing has happened since we’ve lived here, but it looks absolutely horrible now…oh, joy.  Add to list:  #25: call landlord and ask about them paying for someone to come and fix our walls since justin can’t afford to spend another 3 weeks in personal days so that he can peel, scrape, lather on some goop to help the walls, and re-paint…in.every.room. of the house.

Honestly, all of this doesn’t surprise me.  I am sort of laughing about it.

In other news.  One of our 4 interns had a spill at the beach, and he broke his collar bone.  Sad times for Kyle Westbrook for sure.  He had to have surgery to do all sorts of plating and screwing in there, and now it looks like he might just have to recover at home in Texas for quite a while.  Please, please pray for him.  I know he’s in pain, but I’m sure it’s also emotionally difficult to let go of the expectations he had for his time here in Peru.  Pray for all of us that we can be supportive for him as well as Kyle G., Taylor, and Jenny who will be left here without their good friend…at least for a while.

The kids are LOVING our yard these days.  Today they basically got dirty and had to be hosed down about 4 different times due to how dusty and dirty it is when they play outside.  They loved it, though.  And I love that they can both sit at our kid table on our back patio for lunch in between waterhose/pool time.  Lovin’ this summer thing!

Did I mention that we’re so glad to be back?!

Here are a few “first days back” photos. 🙂

Chillin’ outside in his yard…

dirty face…

Corban’s ball pit missed us…

Our great teammates, the Davidsons, welcomed us in many ways (one being that they hired a mariachi band to greet us in song at the airport!)…these brownies they brought us, that might or might not almost be all gone, are TO.DIE.FOR!

our taste testers approved!…

another month down…

OH MY GOODNESS!  I am having trouble keeping this blog thing going.  Why?  I have no idea.  I mean, it’s not like I don’t have grandparents around who play with my kids all the time now! 🙂  Anyway, I just decided to suck it up and WRITE!

We are in College Station now for Thanksgiving.  We’ve been here since this past Friday evening.  It’s been great so far!  We got in town at like 7pm, and by 8pm we were at Muldoon’s…this coffee shop in CS…AND…WE…WERE…SEEING THE DAVIDSONS!!!!

I know.  Lots of exclamation points.

BUT…that’s how I felt!  It was like I could take a deep breath again.  We were seeing our teammates!  It felt like they made some of our worry die for a bit.  It was refreshing, fun, we laughed, we shared stories, and we totally loved being together.  AND…thanks to grandparents, all of our kids were home either sleeping or enjoying grandparent time!  It was heaven.

I cannot forget to mention why we were at Muldoon’s, though!  January 6th is an important day for our team in Lima.  There are 4 AFC students that will be flying to Lima for a 6 month internship with us beginning then!  This is the first set of interns we will have, so it’s a very exciting time.  God orchestrated it to be that the 4 of them planned a night of music and coffee at Muldoon’s as a fundraiser in order to finalize all of their funds for Peru on a night that TWO of our team families were in TEXAS!  How cool is that?!  So, we went to grab ourselves a Peru Latte and listen to the 2 guy interns play it up (with a few others as well) in an effort to make it to Peru!  It was great fun, and it was also the first time that I had met all 4 of them.  It was a special moment, and if you want to check out pictures from that as well as a breakfast we all attended the next morning together, check out their blog!  Also, feel free to follow their blog as they spend their 6 months with our team this next year.  Once again, that’s… http://www.thelima4.blogspot.com/.

FUNDRAISING UPDATE:  (just because we gotta have one, right?)

We are still in search of a church that can be our main support beginning in 2012!  PLEASE, if you know anyone or any church that is searching for a family to support in Peru…connect us!

We have a couple of churches that we are hopeful and praying about, and we ask that you join us in prayer that God will quickly open a door for us to go back to Peru.

As far as 2011 goes, we are still piecing the year together.  We have received enough money so far for a little over 7 months, and we have about 5 more months to go!  If you are interested in helping us out, please contact us or feel free to send your gift to the Hope Church of Christ in Abilene, TX.

Hope Church of Christ

Attn: Thompson mission fund

P.O. Box 3775

Abilene, Texas 79604

ON TO OTHER THINGS:

Basically I haven’t posted about any of our Halloween fun.  I won’t be doing that, though…haha.  Feel free to check out our pictures on facebook. 🙂

Also, we traveled to North Dakota and back to Texas.   I will post about our time there in a few days, but if you want to see car pictures from our 18 hour drive there, they are on facebook as well.

As far as our future plans.  Only God knows.  We are hesitant to plan much at this point, and we are at a point that we MUST fully rely on God to make things happen.  That’s good for us, though.  We have learned quite a bit about waiting on the Lord even through frustration and eagerness.

In the meantime…here are a few LEaF PilE pIcTUrES!

Getting the pile ready…

On your mark, get set, . . .

Now brother’s trying to find his way out of the pile…

Cailyn…clearly thinking up her next move on brother…

…”yes, I do believe I’ll lean back here…”

“…hmmmmm…nice and comfortable.  is that screaming i hear coming from somewhere??”

Things weren’t the same for him from there on out…

Well…at least until a bit later. 🙂

Car trips

Well, tomorrow marks a month since we left to come back to the States.  Part of me feels like I will be saying that again next month…there goes 2 months.  But…who knows.  There are moments when it feels like yesterday that we came, and in other moments I feel like we’ve been here forever.  Yeah, the slice-and-bake cookies, trips to Wal-Mart, great restaurants, and rootbeers are totally welcome in many respects, but I am definitely beginning to pack on some extra weight that is most definitely NOT welcome!  I’m missing my intense latin-ish Full Body workout classes at Peru’s Gold’s Gym right about now…not just for my weight, but for my insanity, too! 🙂

All in all, we are good.  The last two weekends consisted of lots of traveling.  We went to the DFW area two weekends ago for 4 nights, and we were in Austin/Bastrop this past weekend for 2 nights.  We have it on the calendar to head to Lubbock this next weekend for a couple of nights, but thanks to my parents, the kids get to stay behind for that trip.  The traveling is just hard with them.  They do well, but sleeping in a new bed every few nights is just hard.  We spent the night with my grandparents this past Sunday night, and the next day, after her nap, as I was telling Cailyn we needed to get our things together since we were leaving to go back to Honey and Daddy-O’s house that night, she asks me,

“Is this not going to be our bedroom anymore?”

Hmm.  I sort of wanted to cry.

Today in the Dr.’s office (yes, we’ve been to the Dr. like 3 times in the past 2 weeks), we were talking about dogs and their names, and Cailyn pointed out that we had met several new dogs recently.  That is a sign that you’ve been in too many different people’s homes…haha.  I sat there and thought about it, and I came up with 5 new doggie friends we’d made in the last 2 weeks.  Too. Many.

And, just to share one last thing about Cailyn.  She’s been talking a lot about her team friends in Peru, and we’ve talked a lot about “when we see them…this” or “when we see them…that”.  So, finally, a week or so ago, she just came out and asked the BIG question.

“Are we even going back to Peru?”

It’s hard to know how to explain all of this to her, but it has presented a good opportunity for us to talk about waiting on the Lord, listening for his leading, and provision.  She accepts those explanations, thankfully.

SOOOOO…not to make this a downer post.  Here are some of the things that I LOOOOVE about being here!!

  • Corban has learned how to say “puppy” and use it till he’s B.L.U.E.IN.THE FACE.  (or, maybe just till we’re blue in the face!)
  • We get to trick-or-treat here…so fun!
  • We’ve enjoyed the public library several times, and they have an adorable Tot Time on Tuesdays
  • I have 2 extra sets of hands for the kids!
  • I have gotten to spend time with some LONG time girlfriends since being here…so refreshing!
  • I am learning just how much I love my teammates since being gone from them so long!
  • I am also learning just how great Peru is in many ways…I can walk into my pediatrician’s office there and be seen within 5-10 min. EVERY time!
  • Dad and Mom have introduced us to the board game Settlers of Catan (well, we had played like once before), and we LOVE it!
  • Oh…and so much more.

Just a short and tiny update on what we’re doing in the way of FUN-raising (as our teammate, Wes calls it) 🙂

God seems to have revealed to us in the past few weeks that we will most likely be piecing together our salary and working fund for 2011.  We feel good about this, and God has already used many of you to help make that amount of money seem more manageable.  We are currently seeking one-time gifts in order to help us make it through the end of next year.  If any of you desire to help us do this, or if you know someone or a group of someones that would like to help, please let us know!  Aside from this, we are in the process of having conversations with some churches about the possibility of them being our main supporting church for the year 2012.  In the same way, if you attend a church or know of a church that might be a good fit for us and our work in Peru, contact us!  We welcome any ideas or leads!

We would very much appreciate your prayers as we continue to work through what our future support might look like.  God has used SO many of you out there to abundantly bless our lives already.  We cannot say thank you enough, honestly.

And, just so I don’t stop without any pictures…

Notice the small yellow tube in Cailyn’s hands…it’s holding Mini M&M’s.  The perfect car trip treat, right?

Well, perfect for a 3 year old…not a 1 year old with chubby hands and an inability to keep from dumping his snack all down in his carseat…that would be a mess, right?  Chocolate all melted down there.  Not happening.  So, we bought him one, too, but we left the plastic seal on it.  He thought shaking it was all the fun there was to be had…oh, until he realized that Sister’s had something coming out of it!

Don’t worry, she shared. 🙂  Well, all of about 3 of those mini M&M’s.  We didn’t show him how many were actually in there…

It takes some skill on both of their parts to pass one of those tiny things between the two of them.  I was proud…we had NO chocolate residue on either chair.  We’ve got 2 VERY talented kids! 😉 (haha)

Has it really been that long?

It is hard to imagine that it’s been since Corban’s birthday that I have posted anything here.  As more time goes by, it makes it harder and harder to think about catching up…SO…here it goes.  I would just start from where life is now, but there is just way too much in our life that has changed for me to ignore writing about it…well, updating those of you that actually read this. 🙂

Because there’s no other way to really introduce this, I figure it’s just as well I go ahead and say it.  Unfortunately, a couple of weeks ago, the church that we were nearly fully supported by chose to immediately cut off all financial support that they gave us.  Seeing as it was a few days into September and October 1st would come quickly, we were not really given much choice but to immediately come back to the States in order to try and secure something new so that our bills could be paid when the 1st hit.  So, here we are.  In Abilene, Texas.

The story doesn’t end there, though.  Just a couple of days upon hearing the news that we didn’t have the support of our former church, the A&M Church of Christ, in College Station, Texas (where I grew up) came to us saying they desired to step in and allow God to use them to bless our family.  We are proud to say that our family is being supported for up to 6 months if we need it by the A&M CofC.  Not only this, but the members there have truly showered us with blessings.  We have borrowed car seats and high chairs, been given goodie buckets for the kids, had groceries bought for us, been picked up and transported from the airport, been given a car to use while we are in the States, been invited into homes for encouragement, and the list goes on.  We have also had people give us the gift of traveling cash…so helpful!  We have LOVED being loved on, and it has been a humbling experience.  This help made it possible for us to nearly forget the stress we felt in those first hours of receiving the news of losing our support.  Definitely a blessing from God.

On September 14th, we boarded a plane (or two) for Houston, TX.  I packed about a week’s worth of clothes for both of the kids, because I knew I would be able to make that last 2-4 weeks if I had to.  Justin and I sort of agreed that we would stay in the States for 2-3 weeks, because I have a plane ticket (even as I write this) from Peru to Brazil for October 2nd.  There is a Missionary Women’s Conference in Brazil that I have been planning on attending.  God has just shown us over the past week and a half that our time here is in his hands.  His timing is perfect.  While it hurts to think about not being home in Peru for an indefinite amount of time, we have put our emotions in God’s hands.  I reminded God the other morning (haha) that I have looked forward to this conference for a while.  He seems to be reminding me that he always has the best plan.  Therefore, we will stay here until we feel God has secured something new for us.

Some people have asked us if we plan to return to Peru.  Without sounding rude, my first thought is…”DUH!” haha.  Ok, that’s rude.  No, honestly, that is a fair question, but it just hasn’t been one we’ve asked ourselves.  Our home is there.  Literally…our furniture is just as if we left for the weekend.  Yenny, who helps us around the house, is expecting us back.  Our landlords have a contract with us.  MORE IMPORTANTLY, Luis JUST got baptized and is hopefully expecting Justin to return so that they can continue studying the book of Mark when he shows up to work outside of our house each evening.  Jose and Maribel just told us they want to participate in a Bible study with us on a weekly basis.  I meet with Stacy and Anna each week to encourage one another and study Scripture.  The kids’ friends are there.  Our pediatrician is expecting us to drop by for Corban’s 13m shots soon.  Get the picture?  Our life is there.  We haven’t felt God saying in any way that we are done with our work there.

At this point, we have been in Abilene since last Thursday.  It has been an amazing blessing to be here, because Abilene Christian University just ended their annual Lectureships, called Summit.  Justin and I were able to connect with so many people, and God provided a place for us to be where tons of church leaders were all at once.  What a gas saver! 🙂

This past week has been one that we needed.  We have been reaffirmed by loved ones and close friends, and it has been a reminder of how blessed we are to have such influential and encouraging people in our lives.  It wasn’t a week full of only fundraising and connecting with churches, but it was a week full of seeing old friends.  So great!

At this point, God has put numerous possibilities in our path.  We (well, Justin, really) are working hard to do our part, and while that is draining in moments, we are learning more about ourselves and the God we serve.  Thanks to all who have cared for us, jumped in to say, “WE WANT TO GIVE TO YOU!”, connected us with the right people, encouraged us with your words, prayed for us, put hands on us and prayed over us, helped us put things into perspective, allowed us to borrow things, sent money without even letting us know, continued to support us, and so much more.  We are beyond blessed.

Here are a few pictures that have come out of our time here.

pretty sure she’s calling some spirits in this next one…

this is just kind of a norm for corban…it all goes in the mouth

my attempt at a group photo…no such luck. 🙂

cailyn loves her some sprinkler!

corban: not so sure…

he had more fun doing this…

Hurting Hearts

Some of you may have already checked out the Fletcher’s blog, but in case you haven’t, we wanted to let you know that they did, in fact, lose their sweet baby.  Stephanie will go through with a procedure tomorrow (DNC) in Abilene, and they will then head back to be with family in Brenham, TX.

Thank you all for praying for them, thinking about them, and even commenting on their blog.  All of this is encouraging, and we appreciate it.  Please continue to pray for  them.  Below, I copied the small update they put on their blog for you to read in case you wanted to.  Thanks again for your continued prayers…we honestly cannot say that enough.

From the Fletcher’s Blog:

“We just got back from our doctors appointment and I wanted to write a quick note to let everyone know what is going on. My heart is hurting when I tell you that we have lost another child. We spent a lot of time talking with our doctor about what to do because my body had already begun the miscarrige process without my knowledge. We have decided to go ahead and have a procedure (DNC) done here in Abilene before we go back to Brenham . We will be having the procedure tomorrow, will rest for the day and go back to Brenham on Tuesday. Thank you again for all your prayers. Please continue to pray for our family, for renewed hope and peace.”

God is Good!

So, we have officially spent every night this week so far with a different group of people from Fairlane Church of Christ.  We had a wonderful time with a group of people over at the Garrell family’s home for Memorial Day.  They live in an amazing and greatly historic home.  This home has been lived in by their family for years, it was built in 1866, and the land that it is on was once owned by a soldier who fought in the Revolutionary War.  He is actually buried on their land.  Mr. Garrell is a retired Lieutenant Colonel from the military.  Their family really helped us celebrate Monday in a different way than we have in the past.  Not only did we have a great time eating the delicious meal that everyone put together as well as enjoy the outside games everyone played, but we were reminded of why we really have this holiday.  It was a fun evening.  The only sad part is that we forgot our camera, so we don’t have any pictures.  Horrible, I know.

Tuesday night we went to the Family Builders Class cookout at Shelbyville Park.  Mr. Richard Bobo grilled some tasty pork chops (and hot dogs for the kids), and we enjoyed some great fellowship, singing, and more outdoor games!  Justin and I played something called “corn hole” for the first time.  Well, I am pretty sure that’s what it’s called.  Basically it’s like horseshoes but with bean bag sort of things.  You try and toss them into a hole.  My team lost to Justin’s team…but not by much!  We have pictures, but I just realized they aren’t on the computer yet.  Sorry, this post is going down hill with each new paragraph I write.  🙂

Wednesday night we got the pleasure of attending the Iglesia de Cristo’s Wednesday night class at church.  It was all in Spanish, so we didn’t completely know what all went on (haha…some day), but we were able to sing along with them and follow along in our English Bibles.  This group of people is so welcoming and very kind.  They sang this cool song about welcoming us, and everyone stood up during the chorus and walked around to shake everyone’s hand.  Why don’t we do this in English services?  We should.  We really enjoyed this.

Finally, tonight we attended a Bible Study at the Koonce’s house.  There was a potluck beforehand, and boy did we potluck!  I ate so much.  Cailyn had meatloaf for the first time, and she loved it!  We studied John 6:1-40, and it was very insightful.  There was a pretty big group there, and we were uplifted.  Afterward, we sang a lot of songs.  So fun.  (I just read this paragraph and realize I wrote like only simple sentences…sounds funny…sorry).

Well, I have a couple of pictures to share.  Hannah gave Cailyn some adorable red shoes this past Christmas.  They are a size 4, so her foot is just now big enough to really stay in them.  She wore them to church this past Sunday for the first time, and I couldn’t help but take her picture.  She looked so cute!

Thanks Aunt Hannah!!!

Cailyn has totally not skipped a beat since our move here.  I watched her play the other day and wondered if her little brain had wrapped around anything we have been through in the past month.  It was slightly emotional thinking about how much more change she is about to go through in the next 6 months.  Well, longer than that really.  Anyway, my point is that she has done amazingly well adjusting to our new home.  Her room literally opens up to our living room, so it makes for a large area to play in during the day.  I like it this way.  It is easy to keep an eye on her.  I thought she looked so cute the other day playing in her room.  We pull these bins down from her dresser every day, so she does a pretty good job of going through them.  I am proud to admit that she is actually really good at helping to clean up.  I sing that clean up song every time we pick up, and she is so good at picking things up on her own to put back into the bins.  If you can’t tell, I’m proud.  Anyway, you don’t probably care about that…here are the pictures…

Well, that’s what our week has looked like so far.  My parents and sister begin driving here tomorrow.  They plan to drive through the night and get here to Shelbyville Saturday morning really early.  Well, not early for us.  Cailyn is an early riser.  They will be here all week until Friday, June 6th…CAILYN’S 1st BIRTHDAY!!!  I cannot believe she is practically one.  Wow.  Some more exciting news is that Justin’s mom and sister will also be coming this next Wednesday.  We are going to have an actual family-attended birthday party for her.  That was something that I sort of worried about when we found out we were moving out of TX for a while.  God has blessed us to have family that loves Cailyn and us so much that they will drive here to help us celebrate!

What else can we say God is Good!