Sunday, December 25, 2016

Christmas Update

As we think about the many blessings of Christmas, we are very grateful for all of our prayer partners or donors.  God is using each of you just as He wants to use you and it makes it possible for us to be here in Honduras.

Last week we had a generous donor contact us about providing a year-end matching grant of up to $2,000.  This week, we want to share a quick update so everyone knows where we stand with that matching grant.  We are still receiving funds, but have been notified that $1,340 is either already given or on the way by 12/28.  This leaves us $660 between now and the end of 12/28/2016 to complete the matching grant.  We know with Christmas and many other important ministries and gifts that you all have already committed to it can be a difficult time to add one more ministry to give to, but we are extremely thankful for each of you for making sacrifices to help us take full advantage of this matching grant!

For those that may have missed the original post last week, any new money donated by 12/28/2016 is being matched up to a maximum of $2,000.  This means if you are a new donor, anything you give by that date counts towards the grant.  If you are an existing regular donor, any one-time gift above your normal donation or an increase in monthly giving counts towards the grant.  In order to count the donation has to be received online by the end of 12/28/2016 or the check postmarked by 12/28/2016.

We also want to share a picture of this cute nativity set we picked up in Copan Ruinas while we were still there.  It is made entirely of corn husks and is made by the indigenous peoples of the rural mountains outside of Copan.  For those that have seen the corn husk doll that Austin and Taylor purchased in Copan, this is a full nativity set made by hand by the same people.


Blessings to You All!

The Agee Family

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Opportunities Abound

We just completed our second full week in Gracias, Lempira, Honduras.  We are still early learners of the language, yet God is opening doors and it is exciting.  Most days this week some of us were working with the Sowers to hand out backpacks with school supplies in their Manna 4 Lempira (Click to read more about Manna 4 Lempira) program.  The Sowers (and the Halls!) do an awesome job of running this ministry that opens the doors for some of the poorest children in the mountains of Western Honduras to go to school.  In addition to the opportunity to help out the Sowers, we can announce that there are two awesome ministries that we have been invited to be a part of and another significant one we have been asked to pray about starting.  We will be sharing more details in the coming weeks as details are flushed out, but I want to share what we know at this point so you can join us in prayer and celebrate the opportunities God is bringing to us.






The first ministry is an at-cost Bible and Christian bookstore.  The Sowers are currently running it, but since Russell and Iris moved up the mountain with Allen and Trish (Russell's parents), it is more difficult for the pastors to get to them.  Russell was running the bookstore out of his home in town.  Because we rented a house with enough room to grow into the ministry God has in store for us, we currently have a spare room that I am using as an office that can double as the bookstore and will put the bookstore back in town with easier access to the pastors in a more central location.  As soon as Russell and Allen work out the details with us as to how to run the bookstore, we will run it for them from our home.  This is awesome for several reasons -- first of which is that it helps the Sowers by providing someone to run the bookstore and let them focus on other important ministries that they have; second, it helps the pastors by making the bookstore more accessible again; third, it helps us by introducing us to a large number of pastors in Gracias and the surrounding area; fourth, it helps us by forcing us to learn more Spanish and practice it with the people that we plan to be working with in ministry.

The second ministry is a Pastor's Training School.  Several missionaries are in a partnership to run a  inter-denominational Pastor's Training School for local pastors.  The program provides some much needed Bible College type of education to over 40 pastors in the mountains around Gracias.  Many of these pastors have a 3rd grade level education so any training we can give them to properly handle God's Word and how to minister to their flock is a tremendous benefit to them.  The program is 8 to 9 months (outside of coffee season) and is 3 (sometimes 4) full days each month.  I have been invited to participate and partner with these other missionaries in this important ministry.  In the partnership, we will have a responsibility to raise some of the funds to help cover the costs of the Pastors attending the workshops, so if this something that interests you please be in prayer about it and let us know.  We will be meeting sometimes in the new few weeks to iron out the details of exactly what will be taught in 2017 and who will teach each subject.  Here are a couple of pictures from last year's workshops.



The third ministry opportunity is way too early in the development stage to talk about at this point, but please join us as we pray about the possibilities and whether it is something that God would have us pursue.

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As 2016 winds down and we all prepare for a new year, we know that some of you are praying about how to best use some special year-end charitable donations you want to make in this tax year.  I want to share with you that we were offered another matching grant to help close out our fiscal year.  A very generous donor has offered a $2,000 matching grant for all new donations that are given online between today and 12/28/2016 (or postmarked between those dates if you mail a check).  Regular givers will not have their regular donations matched, but anything above and beyond normal giving will be matched.  Also, if you make a new monthly (or quarterly) commitment to give and send your first donation before 12/28/2016, and entire year of your donations will be matched.  If you are already a monthly donor and increase your monthly donation, the increase will be matched.  If you are giving as a part of the matching grant, please e-mail me at ben.agee@newbeginningshonduras.org and let me know what you are giving towards the grant so we can track it.

Click Here to Donate Online

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We are very excited to announce that Ms. Emma Caitlyn Agee was born Friday December 16th, 2016 at 5;45pm CST. She weighed 5lbs 2oz, is 16.9 inches long. Little Emma, mamma, and daddy are doing great, just a little sleep deprived. We are ready to start our new beginning with her.




Blessings!

-- The Agee Family

Sunday, December 11, 2016

The Verb: to be

Before I lose you--This is NOT an English lesson!!  ­čśë



But today we are getting (to be).

Getting to be ...

the hands,

the feet,

a smile,

a hug,

a new friend!

Today when you read this, we will be out in the mountains about 45 minutes from Gracias participating with Sowers4pastors Ministries (sowers4pastors.blogspot.com).  They have a team here this week and needed an extra driver, so we got the opportunity to join them--and we did.

One of the aspects of their ministry is to provide new shoes and backpacks with school supplies to the children of families who are unable to meet these needs.

Today we are helping them match children to their backpacks and fit shoes to their feet.

AND

of course ...

play with kids along the way.

We are loving this life God has provided!

Sunday, December 4, 2016

We are now in Gracias Lempira, Honduras!


Austin and Taylor finished their 12th (and final) week of language school in Copan on Thursday.  Ben and Julie finished their 6th week of language school in Copan on Friday.  All of us have much more Spanish to learn, but we feel it is important to get settled in Gracias and begin making the relationships here.  We will try to find a good Spanish tutor locally to help us practice and continue to progress.  We also may bring over a teacher from the school in Copan for a week a couple of times to help us.  Ben and Julie may also go back to Copan for a week at a time.  We are committed to continuing to learn the Spanish language so we can effectively communicate the Gospel of Christ with the people here.  Please join us in prayer as we seek God's will for how we should continue to learn the language.  We all made new friends and added to our unofficial extended families through our host families in Copan.  God provided some lovely people to host both Austin and Taylor as well as Ben, Julie, Leighanne, and Hannah.  We believe these friendships are friendships that will last us a lifetime and we really do consider our host families to be a part of our family.











This weekend has been very busy as will the whole next week as we try to get everything settled into the new house.  All of the furniture and appliances have been delivered and we are in the process of getting them all connected.  We were able to eat fresh fruit from the market, juice, and make our own coffee at home this morning for breakfast (1st time since being in Honduras that we were able to eat at our own home).


















PRAISE! -- Austin and Taylor received their missionary visa on Friday (that was why Thursday was their last day of class).  This happened very quickly and enabled them to not have to extend their tourist visa -- they are officially residents of Honduras now.  The rest of us have had our paperwork submitted and are awaiting the call to go get ours as well -- we expect to be 6 to 7 weeks behind Austin and Taylor (perhaps a little more with Christmas in the middle of it).  Ben and Austin also now officially have RTN numbers, which are required to make larger purchases in Honduras.  The RTN numbers also allow us to own property (vehicles, land, houses, etc.).

There have been a number of people who have helped us tremendously in our transition to become Honduran residents.  I hesitate to start naming them, but I do want to do a shout out to Russell Sowers (http://sowers4pastors.blogspot.com/) as he has been so much help here in Gracias.  Russell has helped us find the home, driven us around Gracias, Santa Rosa, and San Pedro Sula helping us find things, hauled appliances for us, installed several important items in our new home, and his mom and dad even fed us Thanksgiving Dinner last Saturday.  Without a doubt, I know that God placed Russell and his family in our path to help us.  Russell and his family have several awesome ministries that we look forward to learning more about and hopefully partnering with them in some of the ministries that they are already doing.

Also, you can be praying with us about a possible ministry that we may be able to get started in the next few week here in Gracias.  We don't want to give details yet because we are still working out exactly how things will work, but it is a possible partnership with another ministry that will give us exposure to a number of the pastors and other church leaders in the area while allowing us to help out another ministry (not to mention force us to practice our Spanish!).  As soon as we have the details worked out we will share on our weekly blog.

Blessings!
-- The Agee Family

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Nearing the end of our time in Copán

These last few weeks have been chaotic weeks... productive weeks, but very very energy draining and crazy.

This last weekend we went to Gracias on Saturday 11/19 and did some work on the house, Sunday we window shopped in Gracias, just getting price ranges for items we would need for the house. Monday we drove to San Pedro and spent the whole day shopping for appliances, bathroom items, kitchen items... pretty much everything you need to start up a home we had to buy it. We were supposed to leave San Pedro Monday and drive back to Copán but by the time we were done shopping it was to late to try and drive the 4 hours back, so we stayed the night at a hotel. Tuesday morning did some more shopping and started the drive back. By the time we arrived in Copán all we wanted to do was fall into the bed and sleep for 10 hours. Sadly that was not possible because we had to catch up on homework and prepare for school the next day.

The week went by pretty fast between language school, Thanksgiving, and preparing to make another weekend trip to Gracias we were yet again busy.

We enjoyed the Thanksgiving meal that we had in Copán with friends. It was such a precious time that we were able to have before we move to Gracias. We were able to eat some traditional Thanksgiving food like ham, dressing, mashed potatoes, mac n cheese, apple pie, and my favorite part.... southern sweet tea ( oh how I have missed some sweet tea).


Friday after school we set out yet again for Gracias. When we arrived Austin and I went to the doctor to have our normal check up and see how Emma is doing. All is well and good. Emma has dropped and is ready to arrive. Each time we go it seems that my due date keeps getting pushed up haha. the Doctor is now thinking that Emma will be born on December 24th. I'm not ready for her arrival yet... Don't get me wrong I can't wait to hold my little girl, but there are still many things I need to do before she is born.


Saturday we enjoyed yet another Thanksgiving meal this time with friends in Gracias (the Sowers Family). We had more food than we knew what to do with. It was a typical Gringo Thanksgiving with ham, chicken, green bean casserole, mashed potatoes, rolls, dressing, gravy, apple pie, blueberry pie, pumpkin pie, and more. Lets just say we did not leave hungry.


This week will be our last week in Copán, it will also be a crazy one as we prepare to move, make time to spend with friends, wrap up language school, and buy the last few items needed for the house.

As our time in Copán draws to an end we are very thankful and grateful for the friends we have made here in Copán. God has really blessed us. We are all very excited about the move to Gracias, but at the same time sad to leave the friends that we have made. But we know that God has called us to do his work in Gracias.

In Him,

Taylor




Sunday, November 20, 2016

House Warming Party

Kitchen (no cabinets or appliances)

Street view (there is still cleanup to do)

We are in Gracias, Lempira this weekend checking on the status of the work on the rental house, doing some work on it ourselves, and doing some shopping. We are now just 2 weeks away from moving to Gracias and are looking forward to getting settled and getting started with ministry. The main things left to be done in the house is painting all of the interior walls, some plumbing repairs in the bathrooms, and some woodwork repairs to the frames of the doors. This weekend we are also shopping and pricing items required to set up house.

Before we left the U.S., we had several of our supporters to ask us to let them know if we have some specific needs. We are putting this out there to let people know that it will cost us about $8,000 to get the house set up and ready to live in. Rental houses in Honduras do not come with cabinets, clothes closets, refrigerators, stoves or anything else, so we are having to buy those things -- thankfully we are able to buy things that we will move into a home that we will eventually build. As you know, we sold everything that we owned in the U.S. and for much less than it takes to replace those same items here. Some of the items that we have to purchase:   6 twin beds, power generator (or we will lose everything in the freezer/refrigerator once or twice a month), table and chairs, refrigerator, gas stove, couches, washing machine, etc. 

 To help facilitate a special fundraiser for these items, we have set up a YouCaring fundraiser (similar to GoFundMe but lower costs) where people can give online and see the progress towards the $8,000 goal. If you would like to give through the normal channels (either our regular online website or by mailing a check), we will update the YouCaring fundraiser with the donations that are given through other means as we know about them. We are very grateful for all of our regular supporters and prayer partners as well as those that give for special projects! The link to the YouCaring fundraiser is as follows: 

https://www.youcaring.com/newbeginningsmissionsinc-696455 

Please share the link to our website and/or the link to the fundraiser with as many people as possible.

Happy Thanksgiving and may God bless each of you richly!

The Agee Family

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Exploring Creation and Culture

This past weekend we had one our our only free weekends before we move to Gracias.  We decided to take advantage of the free weekend and explore Copan and see some of God's beautiful creation and learn more about the culture and history of this part of Honduras..

On Saturday, we set out for an early adventure to tour the Mayan Ruins.  We met our guide, Frito at the entrance to the park and learned some history of the Mayan culture throughout Mexico down through Western Honduras.  It was very interesting to see how the ancient Mayans have shaped the culture in this part of Honduras today.  As we walked through the ancient city, we enjoyed the lush greenery that surrounded us and the gorgeous mountains that serve as the backdrop to Copan Ruinas.  Here are some of the pictures from our tour of the ruins....

Entering the Ruins


Skulls are common throughout the ancient city


Leighanne and Hannah in front of location where previous
kings were buried and new kings were inaugurated


Around the top of the arena -- believed to be the throne area of the king


Ball court


Taylor and Julie


Backdrop of the Ruins


Austin and Ben in front of the King's Temple

Inside the King's Temple


Inside the King's Temple


Inside the King's Temple


Inside the King's Temple





This tree is only about 100 years old -- it is a quick growing
tree that is common to Central America




The red coloring is still original after so many years


Largest hieroglyphic stairs known




On Sunday, we interacted with some amazing birds at Macaw Mountain.  Macaw Mountain is a local bird preservation/rehabilitation park.   The birds that live in the park have been rescued from mistreatment or from homes that can no longer care for these birds.  The ultimate goal of the facility is to fully rehabilitate the birds so that they can be released back into their natural habitat and function as if they had never been in captivity.  Although the birds were in cages, the environment was designed to be as similar to their natural habitat as possible, which included beautiful and lush, flora, fauna, flowing creek with small waterfalls.  Here are some of the pictures from the time we spent at Macaw Mountain.....











Macaw -- State Bird of Honduras




























Yesterday, Ben and Austin took a quick trip to Santa Rosa to get some work done on the Pathfinder.  The mechanic removed a leaking power steering hose and had a new one made and replaced it.  We had the brakes checked and put two new tires on the front to replace one that was balding and another that was on the verge of blowing and installed new wiper blades.  We also got a front-end alignment and the most amazing car detail we have ever seen (the normal vacuum and wash plus engine de-greaser/wash, wash and scrub the entire bottom side of the truck, and wash the entire car multiple times) -- it was the cleanest car for about 5 minutes until Ben hit a mud puddle passing a taxi (tuc-tuc) in town, which splashed mud all over the front and side of the truck.  Here are a few pictures of this process.....

Off with the old tires -- on with the new



Vacuuming inside

Front end alignment


De-greasing of engine

First Rinse

Wash
Tuc-Tuc (A typical Taxi in Honduras)

In Him,
The Agee Family