Sunday, October 30, 2016

Whats Been Going on in Honduras?

So what has been going on in Honduras this week?  Well I'm glad you asked!  This week has been a fun filled, exciting, adventurous week.  As you all know last weekend the family flew in and Taylor and I went to San Pedro to pick them up...it is really good to have them here with us.  The next day we showed the family around the small town of Copan Ruinas.  We showed them where all the important things are; Cafe Welchez, pharmacy, market/grocery stores, etc.

Leighanne(Left) Hannah(Right)
Ben(Left) Julie(Right)

  Monday this week came early as Taylor and I started our 7th (WOW, yes 7 already!!!) week of Spanish school, Ben, Julie, Leighanne, and Hannah started their 1st week of Spanish. 

 ***Funny Spanish story: one day Ben was trying to ask where to take the trash, but instead ended up asking where do I drink the trash? LOL! Moral of the story; DO NOT trust Google translate!***   

Wednesday of this past week Tim (a missionary living in Copan) hosted a bible study at his house, we met some other missionaries living in Copan and had a great time of prayer and fellowship.


Friday right after a quick lunch, we all headed to Gracias for the weekend.  First thing when we arrived in Gracias we checked into the hotel and met up with Russell and his wife Iris for two Doctor appointments(Russell and Iris are expecting a little girl a week before us!)  The doctor appointment was typical Honduran style, lets schedule 5 women at the same time and whoever gets here first goes first...LOL!  Needless to say we waited a little while, but it wasn't to bad.  All is well with Emma, and the doctor thinks there might be a chance that Emma could be born a few days before original projected date.  Later that night we had a great dinner eating nachos, and talking about different aspects and questions we have in regards to actually moving to Gracias.  

The next day(Saturday for those not keeping track) we had an early start with breakfast, then we headed to the auto-shop to buy oil for an oil change in the Nissan.  

***Side story***
Earlier in the week dad and I had identified a problem with the muffler in the Nissan (it wasn't attached...).  So we headed to the local Lowes(closest equivalent in Copan) to try to find something for a temporary fix.  Well we ended up buying a dog leash made of chains to wrap around the muffler to attempt to hold it in place until we could actually get it worked on.
***End of side story***

After we got the oil we went up to Russell's coffee land to have one of his workers do our oil change and take a look at the problem with the muffler.  

Making sure the oil change is good, and checking the condition of the blinker fluid(haha).

Notice the dog chain on the left.
After further investigation it was determined that the muffler needed to come off to do some welding and then to reattach it.  So we threw it in the back of the truck for Carlos(Russell's right hand man) to work on later that day when he finished working on Russell's house.  

***Now for an episode of House Hunterz (spelling to keep us safe from copyright issues)***
After cutting off the muffler we went back into town to look at 3 houses (2 before lunch and 1 after).  With the first 2 houses there were pros and cons.  The pros of one house were the cons of the others, we decided that both could be possibilities for renting.  Then we ate lunch at a really good Chinese restaurant,  After lunch we looked at a third house,  The third house has some interesting aspects, and once again some pros and cons, but after really looking at all three of them and evaluating the pros and cons we have decided that we are going to pursue renting the 3rd house.  So pray that the owner gets a few things done in a timely manner so that we can rent this house.  

Later in the day we dropped Julie, Taylor, Leighanne, and Hannah off at the hotel and Ben, Russell, and I went to get the muffler welded and reattached.  

Today we have been working on Spanish homework, and Ben will be driving home later this morning.  Tonight we will relax, and prepare for another week of Spanish!

In Him,
Austin

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Bienvenidos a Honduras Part 2!

Hola!  Como estas?

As many of you know we arrived in Copan yesterday.  We were so happy to see Austin and Taylor’s faces.  We also said, “hello” to baby Emma, and she eventually responded by moving around for us.  What joy to feel little Emma moving around!

Our trip to Honduras was long but virtually uneventful.  We did have one little incident on our second flight.  I had dosed off, and was awoken by the flight attendant who said, “Madame your daughter is in the restroom with a nosebleed.”  So after quickly waking up fully, I went to the restroom, and Leighanne’s nose was bleeding.  We waited it out, and everything was a-ok.  Minor stuff!
The trip from San Pedro Sula to Copan was typical of Honduran driving.  Two lanes became 3 lanes, horns announced we were being passed, motorcycles zoomed in and out, cars passed in no passing zones, yet no one died or got hurt.  So it was a good driving day! J
Austin brought us some fruit called lichis to eat.  After you peel the outside off, you eat the inside minus the seed and it kind of tastes like a grape.

Last night we ate pizza at “Jim’s Pizza”.  We enjoyed the fellowship with Tim who is another missionary in Copan. 

Today, after a great night of much needed sleep, we took a walking tour of Copan.  I now see why Austin has lost so much weight.  The city of Copan has quite a few inclines to master.  I figure we all might tone up and lose some pounds.  Which will be great for Ben and myself.
We met our hosts, Tina and Jesus.  They are precious people.  Tina has been trying to teach us Spanish.  This morning we had a funny discussion about what the girls wanted to be when they grew up.  Leighanne explained that she wanted to be a doctor and Hannah said she wanted to be a hair stylist.  Tina turned to Hannah and said, “You charge lots of money to your sister the doctor for haircuts.”  We all had a good laugh.

Today for lunch Tina prepared us a traditional soup.  It had beef, potatoes, yucca, two different kinds of squash, carrots, and green beans.  It was very delicious.
This afternoon we are going to repack our suitcases and get ready for language school.  Later we will go back to Café Welchez and use the wifi. So maybe tonight we can make a few calls, if it’s not too busy.

Tomorrow we begin our first major task to accomplish while here in Copan—learning the language.  Please pray that our minds will absorb the words and meanings and that we will begin to be able to communicate.  Already we know the great need to understand what is being said, and being able to reply.  (Even though it was to our benefit yesterday to be able to say, “Un poco Español” and we were waved through a police check point.)

We can hardly believe we are here in Honduras.  We were reflecting today how much God had to do to get us here so quickly—it was amazing to watch Him take care of every little detail. 
 Our room where we are staying is actually an apartment.  We have 2 bedrooms and a living area.  It has lots of windows and a balcony off the front.  It is very spacious—we feel very blessed. We are about 2 and a half blocks from language school and about 1 and a half blocks from Austin and Taylor. 

We are grateful for all of the prayers for us for safe travel.  We are ready to be about the work the Lord will guide us to.

In Him,
Julie





Sunday, October 16, 2016

Treasure God's word in your heart


My Spanish teacher, Dunia, has started this new thing with me were each day she gives me a bible verse to memorize in Spanish. I'm thinking "My head is already full from just trying to process the information and make sense of it all, and now you expect me to memorize verses. Just another thing to add to my memory." When she gave me the verses there were some words that I knew just from how much Spanish I have learned so far, which made memorizing them a little bit easier.

Then I though about the importance to continue to memorize God's word and store it in my heart so that when the time presents itself I will be able to recall the verses I learned. Not only will I have to remember the verse in English, but I will also have to be able to translate it to Spanish. It will do the Honduran people no good if I only know the Bible in English. In order for me to be able to witness to them I have to be able to tell them scripture in their own language. I am hoping that with more language school and time spent here it will get easier to memorize.

Here are some of the verses I was given....

"Jehová está lejos de los impíos; pero él oye la oración de los justos." Prov. 15:29
("The Lord is far from the wicked, but he hears the prayers of the righteous.")

"A Jehová he puesto siempre delante de mí; porque está a mi diestra, no seré conmovido." Salmo 16:8
("I know the Lord is always with me. I will not be shaken, for he is right beside me.") Psalm 16:8

This verse speaks the most to me right now. Going through language school I don't always understand what I am learning or I feel as if I can't possibly learn anything else. It is comforting to know that God is right beside me. I won't let my fear of not being able to learn the language shake me from God's plan for me. God has called me here and he won't leave me to fend for myself. He will help me to understand and speak the language in his time. As long as I am doing my part, learning what I can, and praying for the gift to speak and understand the language he will not forsake me. I have faith in my God.

"Todo aquel que confiese que Jesús es el Hijo de Dios, Dios permanece en  él, y él en Dios." 1 Juan 4;15
("All that confess that Jesus is the Son of God have God living in them, and they live in God.") 1 John 4;15

I encourage yall to try something new and memorize one or two of your favorite bible verses in another language, you never know when it will come in handy.

***UPDATES***

* Ben, Julie, and the girls only have 6 days left until they leave the States for Honduras. (Austin and I are getting so excited that they will finally be here to experience this new lifestyle with us.)  
* Emma is doing well. She is growing so big. This Tuesday I will be 28 weeks and Emma will be the size of a large eggplant. 



In Him

Taylor




Sunday, October 9, 2016

He Was, He Is, and He Will Be.

Our life this past week didn't go exactly as planned.
We didn't plan to pack this early for Honduras.
We didn't plan to load up and evacuate our rental house.
We didn't plan to ride out a hurricane.
We didn't plan to cancel Hannah's birthday party or our family reunion.
We didn't plan to do any of these things, but God knew all of this and allowed it.




Just like us, millions of Americans, Haitians, Cubans, and Bahamians had their lives disrupted, altered, and hundreds even had their lives to end.  Hurricane Matthew has left families and businesses in a state of disrepair and upheaval.  But God . . .

God knew about all of these things and He was right there with us in the storm. 

He was with the Haitians that saw their homes flooded by roaring waters.  He was with the families that moved to higher places to wait the storm out.  He was with the doctors, nurses, police, firemen, etc. that stayed on standby to help with those that needed help.  He was with the meteorologists that reported the news.

 He Was, He Is, and He Will Be.

He is with us today as we celebrate power being on, and running water in our pipes.  He is with those who are traveling home.  He is with the ones who are cleaning debris, and looking for their belongings.  He is watching over those that are making decisions for the communities, states, and the countries involved.

He will be with those who will say goodbye to their loved ones in the next week.  He will be with those that must rebuild their homes or businesses.  He will be with those who will protect and serve our communities, states and countries.  He will be with every single one of us as we get back to our jobs and lives.

I'll never pretend that I understand the "whys" I have when it comes to events like Hurricane Matthew.  But I have learned in my lifetime that God is okay with my "whys".  I have also learned that I can trust God's plan even when I don't understand.

Even though our week didn't go as planned, God gave us some great praises from this week.

1)  We are packed for Honduras--all of us.  Even though we may have to shift a few things around, we could hop on a plane tomorrow.
2) We got to spend a great time fellow-shipping with friends and family.
3) We had a different party with Hannah including cake and ice cream. She got presents, even though they were unwrapped.
4) We were all safe.  All of our family was safe throughout the whole storm.  
5) The hurricane was less intense for the Eastern U. S. than predicted, which is a blessing.  It could have been so much worse.

In Him,

Julie

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Free at Last! and a Trip down Sentimental Lane

In 19 days, we will leave to go to Orlando, where will we fly out at 6:00am the next morning to move to Honduras and then begin language school on October 24th.  We each  began packing our first suitcase yesterday.  As we work through the final to-do lists, I have been spending more time contemplating much of what this lifestyle change means for us and those that are close to us.  I have reflected on what we will miss and what I am looking forward to giving up.


Several years ago, Julie and I were prompted by God to begin getting out of debt.  We had been successful in eliminating all debt except for the mortgage on the house.  Thankfully, obedience in these steps gave us freedom to obey God in the other things He has called us to recently by having financial flexibility.  Sadly, the culture in our country teaches to get all you can, even if that means borrowing against your future to get it.  The Biblical worldview has a different perspective -- a perspective that warns against being a slave to a lender; a perspective that puts others first; a perspective that trusts God for your future.  Conventional wisdom tells us that we should be extremely stressed right now, but the sale of our house 3 months ago gave us a peace and a financial freedom that we have never experienced in our married lives.  Not having a loan on the vehicles allowed us to put the proceeds from the sale of those into a savings account that we can draw on when the unexpected happens in Honduras.  We just sold our last vehicle this morning and for the first time that I can ever remember, we are no longer owned by any of our possessions.  We no longer have anything of significant value that we have to sell before we move.  Most of what we have left is already promised out.  The American worldview says we should be concerned that we have nothing left, but the Biblical worldview says that now we are prepared to "go".  I want to encourage you if you have not already done so to make a plan to get out of debt.  This will give you the flexibility to be prepared financially for whatever God may call you to do in the future, but it will also prepare you to better weather the financial storms that are sure to come upon all of us.

Now that we have experienced this financial freedom and we are so close to actually going, I have recently been contemplating what I will and will not miss from here.  Here are just a few of the things that I won't miss:
  • I will not miss the pressures of owning a home and having to pay to water the grass to keep it green, cut the grass to keep it the right height, paying exterminators to kill the critters that eat the grass.
  • I will not miss the cultural pressures to have a "nice" house and a "nice" car.
  • As time conscience as I can be, I won't miss the pressures of maintaining a tight schedule.
  • As much as I enjoy TV, movies, and football games, I won't miss the temptation to waste so much time watching it.
  • As much of an adjustment it will be, I won't miss eating processed foods and foods pumped with hormones and pesticides.
There are some things however that I will miss greatly:
  • I will miss my children that will stay back in the US.  By the grace of God, I think we have raised some pretty good kids and the boys staying back are now adults and prepared to make their own way, but I will miss being there to help them figure out some of the firsts that they have to do in their adult lives.  Praise God that our great and Godly friends have volunteered to take care of Sara as she has chosen to stay behind and finishing High School this year, but I will miss being here to help her through the final months of her High School.
  • I will miss my parents and my brother (and his family).  Although we don't talk as much as I would like and we will still be able to talk from Honduras, I won't be able to just drive over and spend a weekend with them.  I will miss being able to play Rook with my dad and having coffee in the mornings with them.  When my parents reach the point to where they need someone around all the time, I will miss being able to be that son, even though I will certainly do my part in helping to take care of them just as they took care of me when I was a child.
  • God has blessed me with a great family of in-laws and I will miss seeing them.
  • I will miss the time that I will not get to spend with the future grandchildren that our children here in the U.S. will eventually have.
  • This is a contradiction from what I won't miss (processed foods), but I will miss being able to run to Chick-fil-A as a family to use our calendar card.
  • God has blessed me with a wonderful company and the best co-workers anybody could ask for and I will miss them.  Much of my success in my current job is due to a great group of people that work for me and with me and love their job and the people they work with.
  • I will miss air conditioning in the home.
  • I know God will provide another wonderful church family in Honduras, I will miss my church family back home as we have a wonderful, loving church family.
  • I will miss the many friendships that we have made here in the U.S. and I know that real friendships survive a separation of distance, but I will miss being able to spend time with my friends.  It is only a short flight to Honduras though so I expect some of my friends to come and drink coffee on the porch with us as we watch the sunrise over the mountains of Western Honduras together and share about how Great God is.
You see, as I contemplate on the things that will change, it is mostly the relationship changes that I will miss and mostly material stuff that I have reached the point to where I won't miss so much.  I know you can ask me in a couple of months and I will be desperately missing many of these material things as well, but I look forward to God helping me get past that and enjoying the simplicity of life without so much focus on the material.  Although I am an introvert, that doesn't mean that I don't like having relationships -- it just means that I don't enjoy the superficial large gatherings of people or the fake relationship games that people play.  One of the things that I look forward to about the Honduran culture is the great value they put on the role of relationships in everything -- people first!  I am so conditioned to be successful in our culture here that I know I will struggle with that for a while, but I look forward to coming out the other side with that same relationship oriented focus.

******* IN OTHER NEWS IN HONDURAS *******


Austin and Taylor completed the first book of the Spanish course this past week and started the second book.  It took them 3 weeks to complete the book and their teachers told them that most people take about 4 weeks to complete the book, so classes are going well.

*******

We thank you for your continued prayers!

To God be the Glory,

Ben Agee