Sunday, May 22, 2016

If a child picks up the lid of the toilet tank . . .

Image result for cartoon picture of toilet bowl    


  • then he/she will accidentally drop it
  • next it will break as it hits the pipe going into the wall
  • the pipe inside the wall will burst
  • water will start pouring into the walls and under them
  • your husband will run outside to shut off the valve
  • and then run back in for a shovel
  • he will then dig out the debris that has covered the shut off valve
  • the shut off valve will finally turn off
  • when you walk into your another child's room you will discover their dirty clothes are sitting in water
  • when you step into the closet the water will cover your feet
  • you will then dirty every towel you own trying to mop up water
  • you will run to your very generous next door neighbor and borrow a shop vac
  • your husband will call some friends and they will run to Lowe's and buy the proper materials
  • when they arrive yall will discover that you need some additional pvc pipe
  • next you will look at your watch and realize Lowe's is closing
  • someone will remember that they have a friend who is closing the store at Lowe's
  • that friend will purchase the pvc pipe and stick it outside in a cupholder of a lawnmower for you to pick up
  • by midnight the water pipe has been repaired, but you will have ripped up carpets, cut out carpet padding, brought in a dehumidifier and fans, and cut out two sheet rock holes in the wall.
Three days later it has almost been put back together, but only because we have some amazing friends who literally have given of their time and labor.  We have spent some time even finding the funny in this experience.  

When these events occur. especially when your house is on the market to sell, you can become overwhelmed, or you can ask God to give you strength and provisions to get you through.  Honestly, we did both!  At first, we just couldn't believe the damage that occurred--we discovered that the wood floors in the hallway also had to be pulled up and repaired/replaced.  And the parent part of me knows that you never ask "WHY", but really "why would you be picking up the toilet lid tank?"  I don't think we will ever know! LOL!

But God is an awesome provider, he knew that when we had the floors installed 8+ years ago, that we would need the 3 extra boxes that were left over.  He also provided the friends with knowledge and equipment to help do the repairs.  He even led us to a carpet guy who was willing to come on the weekend and re-stretch the carpet after the new pad had been replaced.  We have an awesome God who knows our needs and knows how to best provide for us!

I realize that events like this are part of every day life.  Sometimes they are tests and sometimes they are just life happening.  Whichever one it is, we are taking the time to be thankful that God is Jehovah-Jireh our provider!  

This testimony will be a reminder to us when we move to Honduras and begin the work that God has called us to.  That our God will provide!

In Him,

Julie 


Sunday, May 15, 2016

What's in a Name?

What is in a name?  Think about it -- how important is your name to you?  Maybe your name is a traditional family name and has significance in that way.  Maybe your name has a special meaning.  Maybe your name isn't anything special -- but it is still yours and you still like to be known by your name!

Look at just a few of the names of God below.  Each onel of these names came straight out of the Bible and they reveal something about who God is.  In fact, if you have never done a study on the names of God, I would encourage you to do so.


We have been praying for a while about what our ministry should be called.  Even before we knew that we would form a new religious non-profit organization, we knew we needed a name to be known by and we wanted it to not just be some catchy name, but to have a deeper meaning tied to what God has called us to do.  Before God gave us our name, He showed us the verses that He wanted this ministry built upon.  As a team, we began to pray through those verses asking God to reveal a name.  While we were on our vision trip we took one of our devotions and studied through the passage God had given us word by word and out popped a name.  Obviously, you know our name, but I want to share the details of those verses that led to that name.

Isaiah 58:6-12

6 "No, this is the kind of fasting I want: Free those who are wrongly imprisoned; lighten the burden of those who work for you. Let the oppressed go free, and remove the chains that bind people. 7 Share your food with the hungry, and give shelter to the homeless. Give clothes to those who need them, and do not hide from relatives who need your help. 8 "Then your salvation will come like the dawn, and your wounds will quickly heal. Your godliness will lead you forward, and the glory of the LORD will protect you from behind. 9 Then when you call, the LORD will answer. 'Yes, I am here,' he will quickly reply. "Remove the heavy yoke of oppression. Stop pointing your finger and spreading vicious rumors! 10 Feed the hungry, and help those in trouble. Then your light will shine out from the darkness, and the darkness around you will be as bright as noon. 11 The LORD will guide you continually, giving you water when you are dry and restoring your strength. You will be like a well-watered garden, like an ever-flowing spring. 12 Some of you will rebuild the deserted ruins of your cities. Then you will be known as a rebuilder of walls and a restorer of homes. [Isa 58:6-12 NLT]
In this passage God was telling the Israelites that he doesn't just want some empty fast as worship, but He wanted some action in their lives that are honoring to Him.  Translate this to our time and it basically says that God wants us to be the hands and feet of Jesus and as we do that we are truly worshiping and honoring God as He gets the glory.  That is our desire in all that we do!  Look at the phrases below that come straight out of this passage and how we believe God is telling us to apply this through our ministry in Honduras.

  • "lighten the burden of those who work for you (v 6)" " -- we will be hiring locals in Honduras to work for us at some point.  Once we do, we are dedicated to paying a fair and honest salary.  Many people in Honduras are so desperate that they will work for almost nothing, but that is not how God would have us work -- He would have us to pay what is fair and honest.
  • "let the oppressed go free and remove the chains that bind people (v 6)" and "remove the heavy yoke of oppression (v 9)" -- Without intervention, orphans will end up living on the streets, in gangs, or be sold into the sex trade.  Bringing these at-risk children into a loving family relationship will provide an opportunity for their oppression to be removed and the chains and stigma of being an orphan that currently bind them removed.
  • "share your food with the hungry (v 7)" and "feed the hungry (v 10)" --In addition to providing for the children that are in our care, we will be partnering with other excellent ministries that work in the area to provide food to children in particular.  One such ministry is able to provide enough food to prevent mal-nourishment in one child for just $2 per year!
  • "give shelter to the homeless" -- we won't be able to provide shelter to all of the homeless that exists in Honduras, but we will be providing shelter to the children that come into our care.
  • "give clothes to those who need them" -- we will be helping provide school uniforms to children who cannot afford them.  A uniform is required to attend most schools, but many families cannot afford the uniform.  Sometimes, simply providing the uniform is enough to keep the child in school so they can learn and provide for themselves in the future.
  • "then your salvation will come like the dawn (v 8)" and "your light will shine out from the darkness and the darkness around you will be as bright as noon (v 10)" -- The dawn is the beginning of a new day (or a New Beginning).  As the light of hope is provided and the light of the glory of God breaks through, it is like a new day.  Eternal salvation is the ultimate purpose of all that is done!
  • ":The Lord will guide you continually, giving you water when you are dry and restoring your strength (v 11)" -- We absolutely must rely on God.  There is so much need in Honduras that we cannot possibly meet all of it, but when God is in control He can lead us to help those who can help others.
  • "you will be known as a rebuilder of walls and a restorer of homes (v 12)" --  It is our goal first to restore homes and do everything possible to keep children in their biological (or related) homes.  Often is is pure poverty that prevents parents from being able to care for their children.  We will partner with and develop programs where we provide those parents with ways that they can lift themselves out of poverty and restore their homes, giving them a New Beginning in life and a hope for the future.
In Him and to His Glory,
Ben

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Our NEW New Beginning



We are SOOO very happy to announce that we are PREGNANT!!!!!

We prayed for a while about starting our family and when a good time would be (come to find out... there is really never a good time). We just left it to God and trusted in him, so I got off birth control in December 2015. Throughout this time we were praying that God's will would be done. 

We found out on May 4th that we are 5 weeks pregnant and so far the pregnancy has been great. I have had no morning sickness (fingers crossed it stays this way). Little baby Agee will arrive in late December of 2016 ( A Christmas Baby). 

This doesn't change anything with our move to Honduras, we are still hoping to be going to language school in August (if it is God's will). It will be important to us to be out of language school and be settled in before the baby comes. 

One of the questions we have thought about is where we will have the baby. One option is that there is a Private Hospital with a Birthing Center in the area. Another option is to use a private doctor in Gracias. We have heard from missionaries that have done both and we were told either choice was good. 

We also know the concern about the Zika Virus. We are purchasing a mosquito net to hang over our bed and we will also have access to mosquito repellent. We will not be on the coast of Honduras, we will be in the mountains and the mosquitoes won't be as bad there.  

No matter what we do to take precautions or prepare for the birth God is in control. He knows all that is going to happen. We are trusting in God and giving all our worries and concerns to him because he is bigger than all of them. Praise God.  

We are excited for this NEW New Beginning. Continue to keep us in your prayers. 

In him, 

Taylor 

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Our Next Steps

Man these two weeks have been busy!  We launched our website/blog, made our Facebook page, and had a yard sale to begin the downsizing process.  Taylor and I have been making preparations to move in with my parents to save money for the big move, but also because our lease is coming to an end.


We have done all this while trying to balance church, work, and school.


So...What are the next steps, goals and visions for our organization?  What are our plans for making our vision to open a children's village a reality?


Well we sat down as a team and came up with our proposed plan with short term and long term goals, and the approximate timeline for all of it.


The first thing we will do when we arrive in Honduras will be to go to language school.  We will attend class one-on-one for 3 to 4 hours a day, have homework in the afternoon and then be required to log time communicating in EspaƱol.


Immediate Goals (3-9 months after arriving in Honduras):
We need to build a bridge to our local community and engage with them by teaching English in a local school, joining a local church, host bible studies, etc.  We would also began making connections and building a relationship with DINAF.  We will also be establishing partnerships with other local missionaries (pastor training, feeding programs, etc.) 


Short term Goals (6 months to 3 years):
We will begin educating local pastors/ churches about their responsibilities for orphans.  We plan to purchase land and build our home for our families with room for Foster children. 
And for the exciting part.......begin the self-sustaining process which includes, but not limited to, chicken coops, fruit trees, vegetable farm, and milk cows...Not that we know how to do any of this...HA!


    
Long term Goals (2 years+):
After we begin to foster, we would like to build individual family foster homes in our "village".  We would also like to have individual foster families within the local community.  Eventually we would love to have long-term interns, fulltime nurse/doctor to take care of the children and open a clinic for the community.  As the children age to adulthood we plan to establish a transition home to help them be productive in the community. 


Like I said earlier this is our hopeful timeline, but truthfully it is all God's perfect timing!


In Him
-Austin