Sunday, August 13, 2017

Transitions


More than a month of good night kisses and early morning cuddles has passed
since we drove the precious Agees to the airport in San Pedro Sula and returned
home to Gracias instead of Santa Rosa de Copan and to 13 children instead of
the 11.  Becoming foster parents again was unplanned and unexpected, but isn’t
that how some of our greatest blessing begin? The unplanned and unexpected
privilege of caring for J and M has been such a gift. Before we arrived, we made
plans in our hearts. Knowing that God establishes our steps and seeing the fruit
of following His leading has been a tremendous blessing, even when the plans
we made in our hearts look a little different as we walk down this path. God truly
does write the best stories.

Our first night with our two new little people was a little stressful, and we
expected it to be. J was confused and M was very fussy, and the rest of the kids
did all the things that kids do when new people are added to the family – testing
boundaries, vying for attention, and making sure they’re still our greatest earthly
treasures. There’s a shift about and shuffle that has to happen to make room for
all in hearts and home and for everyone to find their place and feel safe and
secure. Over the next several days and weeks, we got to work shifting and
shuffling about and have reached a new norm that seems to be working. There’s
a peacefulness and happiness at home that we know is from God and we are
thankful. Praise Him!

Dean and I long ago affectionately divided our kids into three groups: the littles,
the middles, and the bigs. It helped us to organize and tackle the work of learning
to parent 12 children, but there are times when one group or the other wasn’t as
happy with the groupings. I can’t tell you how happy our littles are that there’s
another group one step down from them – the babies! Actually, everyone loves
the babies, and the babies love the attention and affection they are showered
with every day. Baby M gives us the biggest smile when someone sits down to
play with her. She enjoys so much being held and rocked and cuddled. J loves
to play trucks and blocks and read books with the bigger kids. If he sees
someone getting ready to leave, he grabs his shoes and says, “Zapatos?
Zapatos?” It’s so adorable that people go out of their way to take him with them
when they leave. We are just amazed at how well they are both doing.
Now that we’ve settled in and have adjusted to life in Gracias, we are looking
forward to getting to know the folks over in Mercedes in the coming weeks as we
connect with churches and continue the relationships begun by Ben, Julie,
Austin, and Taylor. It’s been pretty neat to meet pastors who’ve come to the
house to visit the bookstore and buy Bibles. Our bigger kids love to help make
change, write receipts, and pack Bibles into bags. We’ve shared with them how
the Bibles travel up into the hills of Honduras in the hands of pastors who spend
their days sharing the gospel. They love sharing a small part in this work and
praying for people who will receive the Bibles and read the good news.

One of my favorite things to do these days is to sit in the rocking chair in the
adorable Bright Beginnings nursery. It’s the perfect spot to rock a baby and pray.
This morning as I was rocking Baby M, I was praying when one of my favorite
songs from my teenage years came to mind. “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet
and a light unto my path.” The chorus is straight out of Psalm 119:105. There
are many unknowns right now and the path ahead looks different than we all
expected it to, for the Agees and for the Robinsons. The light on the path is
bright, though, and the lamp unto our feet gives us courage to step forward into
unknowns knowing that God loves us and that He is faithful.

Gracias means "thank you" in Spanish, which suits us well. We are so thankful
for the opportunities we have here to magnify the name of the Lord and to love
and care for others in His name.  "Gracias" for your continued prayers and
support.  We know we couldn't do this without them.

Tamara Robinson

Saturday, August 5, 2017

From Ashes to Beauty

This is a raw, real, and eye opening look into the lives of  Honduran children before they have been taken into the care of Legacy of Hope Foundation (our partnering organization). They have come into the care of this foundation because they have been abused, neglected, and/or abandoned.

Click on the link below and read about these children's stories and see the healing hand of God restore their brokenness.

     



In Him, 
Agee Family 

Sunday, July 30, 2017

The Ministry is Expanding

Sometimes as Christians in the USA, we forget about the power of prayer and we get focused on doing what God has called us to do.  Sometimes we get so focused on doing that we even forget about Who it is that called us to do it.  I know as a person who tends to be goal driven, I have been guilty many times in my life of following God into a calling and then getting busy "doing" the ministry "for" God.  THAT IS NOT WHAT GOD WANTS!  God wants us to walk with him and trust him each step of the way as he guides us through each twist and turn.  Only through prayer and study of the word of God is that possible.  Unfortunately, it is human nature to handle things ourselves when things are going well and to rely on God when things are not.  I can tell you this.... there is nothing like a diagnosis of advanced cancer that will cause you to rely on God.  Today, I want to share with you one example that demonstrates that prayer is so much more powerful than actually physically doing the ministry......

One of the strategies that we have in Honduras is to engage the pastors of the local churches and to train them to properly understand and teach scripture.  Right before we got our diagnosis and returned to the USA for treatment, we were developing a deep relationship with the pastors in Mercedes, Lempira, Honduras.  Mercedes is the mountain village that is about 1 hour from Gracias that we tried to take our Board of Directors to in June, but couldn't get there because of the rain.  The 24 churches that their head pastor supervises are in the mountains up to 3 1/2 hours surrounding Mercedes -- very remote villages that are very difficult for us to get to.  We were working towards developing this relationship with a purpose of working through the church in Mercedes to train the pastors and leaders in these other 24 churches, but we had to leave the field before that happened.  BUT GOD was already at work in the lives of these pastors to bring about this plan!  I received a call from Russell Sowers while he was at Pastor Training the first week of July and Pastor German and Pastor Melvin from Mercedes had approached him about contacting me about helping them set up a first year pastor training in Mercedes for 30 pastors from their churches.  Pastor German and Pastor Melvin are two of our mentors in the regular pastor training that we are doing and are doing an excellent job of teaching and mentoring other pastors and they want to teach their pastors, with our help with oversight and accountability and helping with the provision of the study Bibles and dictionaries.  The format will be different, but the material will be the same.  While God was doing this in Honduras, He was also in Kingsland, Georgia working in the hearts of Pastor Brian and their church to partner with us in Mercedes.  Brian will be taking a team down in September to teach in the normal pastor training, possibly participate in the new training in Mercedes, and look at some possible construction related projects in Mercedes that the Sowers need some help with.  This is way more than I ever imagined would happen in such a short time.

So how do you know you are doing the will of God?  Well, there are a lot of factors and it doesn't always work out this way, but one way is when you start a spark through the leading of God and then you fan the flame of the Holy Spirit through prayer and the fire spreads, you will know it was the work of God and not your own.  This is especially true if you are fanning the flame from another country.

What is the most important takeaway from this message for you?  PRAYER IS POWERFUL!  Our ministry is expanding in Honduras when we are not even there right now and I believe with all my heart it is because there are so many people praying -- praying not only for Julie's healing but also for the advancement of our ministry and calling in Honduras.  This has already re-taught me what I already knew -- when we go back to Honduras we must keep prayer our priority over the day-to-day "getting by".  We must not allow the problems of the day to drag us down and keep us from the prayer time that is so powerful.

So as you pray for us and our ministry here are just a few things you can specifically pray for:
  • Full and divine healing of Julie's body
  • for the pastors we work with around Gracias
  • for the continued advancement of the partnership in Mercedes
  • for the Robinson family, who is taking care of our home, vehicles, and foster children
  • for "J" and "M" (our foster children in Honduras), who have been sick this week and running fevers
  • for Dr. Maria (our family doctor in Honduras), who is an amazing Christian lady and is praying about possible opportunities in her life.
  • for the other missionaries we partner with in Gracias (Hopkins family, Powell family, Sowers family) and all of the missionaries, interns, and teams that work with all of them
  • for the Slyker family, who will be moving to Gracias in August
  • for Legacy of Hope, who we partner with on foster care
  • for us to find (and have money to purchase) land in or near Gracias to begin our next phase of ministry.  It is our hope that when we go back we will have located land and purchased it and are ready to begin the building process.
  • For us to know when we should return to Honduras after Julie is cured.
We thank you from the bottom of our heart for all of your prayers, notes of encouragement, and financial donations.

We have been posting "real-time" information on Julie's personal blog at Godisuptosomething.blogspot.com and haven't been cross-posting information here, but I do want to give a brief summary of her status.  She is having chemo every Friday -- just completed her 3rd treatment.  So far, the only side effect has been fatigue and it is primarily concentrated on Sunday and Monday.  The blood counts that they track to watch her immunity have been good each week (they drop on Sunday and rebuild during the week).  The cancer marker has begun to drop.  This next week is a busy week with a new biopsy on Wednesday, port installation on Thursday, and Chemo on Friday.  The following week will be the PET scan on Tuesday then chemo on Friday then we should be pretty much back on just Friday treatments through September followed by a likely surgery to remove the tumors.

In Him and to His Glory,
Ben

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Standing in the Gap

It is amazing to see how God had already prepared the way for us to temporarily leave Honduras to take care of Julie's medical needs before we even knew there was a problem.  We shouldn't be amazed because knowing and taking care of every little detail is part of the character of God, but sometimes we forget what a mighty God we serve and we end up amazed.

One of the details that God took care of was to bring the Robinson family to Honduras at just the right time.  They completed language school at just the right time.  They moved to Santa Rosa de Copan at just the right time, but by the design of God were unable to find a home that was big enough for their family so they made do with a small 3BR/2BA house on a month-to-month contract while they looked for something more suitable.  The home that God provided for us to rent was big enough for them as well as the 2 children that were already in our care and we would need someone to live in and take care of the house for us as well as the children.  They needed a bigger vehicle -- God had already provided for us and we would need someone to maintain the vehicles for us.  Not only was the Robinson Family a good fit with the timing of their needs and ours, but they have an amazing heart for children who do not have a family.  I asked Dean and Tamara to provide some information about their family and heart for missions so we could introduce you to the amazing family that is standing in the gap in Honduras for us during this chapter of our lives.  The following is what Tamara provided to me and it came right out of their ministry vision document.  If you have followed us for any length of time you already know that Isaiah 58:6-12 is the scripture upon which our whole ministry is based upon -- it spoke volumes to me as I read their biography that they ended it with Isaiah 58:10.

Please join us in prayer for the Robinson family as they stand in the gap for us in Honduras and take care of the two precious children that are now in their care on our behalf.  Our ministry will continue to provide the finances for the care of these two children as well as the maintenance of the home and vehicles so please continue to support New Beginnings Honduras as well as our Bright Beginnings sponsorship for the children.  The Robinson family needs the support just as we needed the support when we were in Honduras and we plan to stand behind them in prayer and finances provided for this ministry.

On a completely different note -- if you would like to follow Julie and I and the story that God is writing as she fights cancer, please follow us at GodisUptoSomething.blogspot.com.  We will occasionally cross-post key information here, but on her personal blog we will share information (and real and raw feelings) as we get it.  Our personal blog is the best place to get detailed and up-to-date information on how you can best pray for us and support us personally.

Blessings!

Ben Agee


We are the Robinson Family:  Dean, Tamara, Blake, Tate, Brooklyn, Olivia, Reagan, Lauren, Hannah, Riley, Asher, Halle, Wyatt and Jubilee.  We are from the small town of Woodland, GA and now live in Honduras where we are partnering with Legacy of Hope Foundation to develop family-based solutions for orphan, abandoned, and at-risk children and their families in communities where there are limited resources to help children without families or families who are struggling to stay together.

Our ministry first began 16 years ago when God opened our eyes to the number of vulnerable children in our own community who were without the love and nurture of a family.   Since that time, God has allowed us to serve Him with our lives through foster care and adoption ministry.  These experiences have transformed our way of life as God has increasingly used our family to minister to children and families in need.  Drawing from spiritual, educational, professional, and personal experiences, our ministry has grown from foster parenting and adoption to providing individuals, families and organizations with professional consultation, education and training, compassionate insight, understanding, empathy, and support as they care for orphaned and at risk children.

As we continued to seek God’s leading in our lives, He has directed our steps into international ministry.  In May 2015, we attended the annual Summit of the Christian Alliance for Orphans. As we waited for the first session to begin, we prayed together and asked God to reveal to us how He could use our marriage and family to reach more children with hope and future through the gospel. As our time at the Summit unfolded, God began connecting us with others who share His heart for the orphaned child in Honduras, and we left the Summit filled with anticipation, recognizing the familiar sense of leading that filled our hearts.

We spent the next six months Skyping, emailing, and learning more about ways we could support those serving orphaned and at risk children and their families in Honduras.  Tamara wrote policies and procedures and answered questions about trauma and best practices. We prayed and worshiped and thanked God for His faithfulness and for the hope we have in Christ.  We visited Honduras in November and again in May to deliver training on Trauma Competent Care and left there both times more in love with the Honduran people and with an even stronger vision.

While there, we had the opportunity to witness God moving through the church in Honduras on behalf of the orphaned and at risk child. The Holy Spirit moved on our hearts as we heard pastors and children’s homes' staff share about the development of family-based care solutions for children in a country where children are traditionally cared for in institutions.  We shared time worshiping and praying with ministry leaders and spent hours dreaming big about permanency programs rooted in the church. We left Honduras knowing that God had plans for us to return and engage in the global movement to expand Christian action for children in need.

When we returned to the States we shared our vision with County Line Church, our families, and our friends.  God provided the opportunity for us to be sent and in January 2017 we arrived in Honduras to begin our work. God continues to reveal to us His love for the vulnerable child, and we are thankful for the privilege of being a voice for orphaned and at risk children in Honduras.

Spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday. (Isaiah 58:10)

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Three Rivers Church Mission Team

Zane, Sabrina, Randy and Kim had a plan when we all headed to Honduras. Little did we know, God had additional plans for us. The team took medical supplies, clothes and toys for the children in foster care.

While there, Zane and Randy went with Ben and Austin help train Honduran pastors. Wha sweet fellowship was had with these precious believers. For the Agees, they also got the cistern cleaned and connected to the water supply. They also got the dryer wired, and connected. It’s hard to hang clothes on a line when it’s the rainy season! (The Honduran electric system is a different entity.)
Sabrina and Kim helped Julie and Taylor assemble cribs, and organize the nursery and the medical supplies.



Above all the jobs on our “checklist,” at the top of the list was to love on the two babies in the Agee’s foster care. They have a 2 year old boy and his 6 month old sister. Such sweet babies! We quickly found a little guy following our every move, trying to see what we were doing. If only we could’ve packed them up and brought them home…

In our medical supplies was a large portion of gauze. None of us knew what the Agees were ever going to do with all of it. However, that Monday, Julie was not feeling well. The doctor said she thought it was appendicitis and sent Julie to the hospital. Unfortunately, it was cancer they found instead. Just like God, the gauze was the exact size Julie would need to care for her incision, and couldn’t be found in Honduras.


What a blessing it was to able to minister and love on this precious family as they began this journey. We ask that you keep them in your prayers.

Matthew 6:25-33 says, “25 “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?[g] 28 And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, 29 yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31 Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”

What a mighty God we serve!

In Him,

Zane, Sabrina, Randy and Kim

Sunday, June 25, 2017

What Happens When . . .



On Monday evening what we thought was an emergency appendectomy turned into something so much bigger.  When I woke up from my surgery.  The first thing I saw was my nurse.  The second thing I saw was a huge clock in the room.  When I saw the time on the clock I knew something had not gone according to plans.  I knew my surgery was only supposed to be a 30 -50 minute procedure, and that even with a 1 - 2 hour wake up window, that I was well past that time frame.  It was no surprise when I saw my sweet husband in the room, that he turned to me with tears in his eyes and said that I had not had an appendectomy.  The doctor had found a healthy appendix, but that he had taken biopsies from 3 different areas in my body one of which was a mass.  

The very first words I spoke to my husband were these, "This does not change our calling to Honduras."  And it will not.  We have a mission to fulfill in Gracias.  It is just having a slight delay.



So what happens your world gets turned upside down?  
I'll tell you what I did.  I cried, and spoke the truth of the moment--we are still called to Honduras.  But in the stillness of the night in the dark hospital room, I did let fear creep in--I started wrestling with Satan mentally.  I started going through the what ifs. Questioning things.  I had to wake up my husband so we could sit there together and speak the truth about the situation.

Since then I have had so many friends and family call, email, and text with words of encouragement, daily devotions, and scriptures. What a testimony to friendship and family--so very grateful.

So here is what you need to know.  After much prayer and discussion with our doctors here and other medical professionals in the states, we have decided to take a leave of absence from Honduras to get treatment in the states.  Ben and myself plan to fly back this next weekend if our doctor gives us medical clearance to fly.  We plan to seek medical care in Jacksonville, FL.

Let me tell you what amazing details God has worked out over the last 6 days.  

       1- I was supposed to fly back home for a weekend with my WooHoo girls for our annual beach trip, and now that ticket is being used to help fly me home for treatment. Some other donations are coming in for our tickets to fly home!

       2- My bloodwork back in February when we were getting certified to be a foster family was normal, so the doctor thinks that we are catching it early.

       3- Some of our board of directors were here in Gracias with us when this happened.  They just jumped right in and ministered to our littles and continued to fix many issues for us.  We now have a cistern and a dryer that works.  Huge differences!

        4- Our partners, Legacy of Hope, have a couple of options for our sweeties--Maria and Josue.  Please pray that they will transition  easily through this loss of our home.

        5- We have been blessed with a place to stay at my cousin's house.

        6- We have been blessed with a vehicle to use for as long as we need.

        7- Another missionary family has agreed to house sit for us while we are gone and will also continue to run the bookstore here in Gracias.

        8- A "GoFund Me" page is being created for us to help meet the medical expenses.


This morning as Ben and I were praying in bed before we got up, we prayed that this situation would bring Glory to the Lord!  We prayed for lives to be changed in salvation, we prayed for our lives to be transformed by God, and we prayed that God will show us the "Joy" in this journey. 

Here are some of our prayer needs:

      1- Pray as we seek out medical care, and doctors in the states.

       2-  Pray for our doctor visit on Wednesday when we get our diagnosis. (Another huge praise--when Dr. Maria visited with us on Thursday, she volunteered to go with us to translate to make sure we understand the diagnosis.)

      3- Pray for us as we seek a few venues to help figure out medical costs.  We do not have insurance in the states.

      4- Pray for Austin and Taylor as they stay with our girls and get things ready for change when we leave for the states.  They are planning to bring them to the states in August.

      5- Pray that God will provide opportunities for us to share about New Beginnings ministry while we are in the states.

Again, we love you all!  Thank you for your prayers, words of encouragement and phone calls.

And to my family who is here with us in Honduras, I can't think you enough for stepping up and meeting the needs of our little ones.  AND for helping me.  I've been told my job is to heal--and they are doing everything to make that possible.

In HIM who IS ABLE,

Julie


Sunday, June 18, 2017

MK Youth Retreat

Saturday June 10th 3 Agee's, 2 Robinson's, 2 Spanglers, and a whole pile of luggage packed up early and headed to Campamento Converge outside of Tegucigalpa for a week long youth retreat for MKs(Missionary Kids).

This past week I was a part of the Retreat Staff where I was involved in several different activities which include, but not limited too; being a chaperone in 1 of the boys rooms for the week, being in charge of daily game time, operating the projector with the words for worship, leading small group discussions, and other various tasks.  It was really good to be a part of this past week, and to take the time to invest time into these youths lives.

Leighanne and Hannah were blessed with the opportunity to go on this trip, and I would like to allow them a chance for them to tell you about their experience.

The MK Retreat was a great opportunity to make new friends who were just like me. To go into more detail, I was spending most of my time with people who were going through the same obstacles and struggles that I was going through at some point. Not only that but, I had this amazing time playing guitar with Ella and Mr. Jim on stage for the worship time. In addition, we had an amazing speaker who was nailing everything about my life at that moment. To clarify, it made me realize that I wasn't the only one that was going through that struggle and how God worked it out in her life. In the end, it was such a relaxing retreat that made me notice that the other MK's go through many struggles also and that God will work all of them out.


The MK retreat was fun.  My favorite parts were crafts and worship.  I really enjoyed the speaker, she was very open with us.  I liked being away from the normal every day life, and having this time to just have fun, and not have responsibilities.  I can't wait until next year!

Here is a video the recaps the week that I made, I hope you enjoy it!

CLICK HERE FOR VIDEO

Also Happy Father's Day!!!

In Him,
Austin


Sunday, June 11, 2017

Oh the Words we Say



For the last two weeks we have had many words come out of our mouths, some that we have not said for many years.

Words like ...

"I need a bottle" (necesito una botella)

"in a moment" (un momento)

"wait please" (esperar por favor)

"no - no"

"who has the dirty diaper" (que tiene el panal sucio)

But my all time favorite of the week was when we were going to bed, and Ben turned back the covers and asked, "Who peed in our bed?"  Obviously, one of our sweet peas christened our bed sometime that previous night during a diaper change and we were clueless.

These words are precious to me because we wouldn't be saying them if we didn't have three extra little ones in our household right now.  We are right in the middle of getting to love on the very ones that God has brought to us. All of them were abandoned in one way or another.   We don't know for how long we will get to be their "new" family, but God does.  He knows the exact amount of time we will get to love on them.

And we are going to speak good words over them, words of blessings, words to encourage them and build them up.  Words of love and correction, words that will help them become the Godly men and women they are supposed to become.  Men and women that God can use to make a difference in Honduras.

Most importantly we will tell them about the"Word".  We will tell them about Jesus who was, is and will always be the "Word".  They will learn about how Jesus came to the Earth to die for our sins so that we could be forgiven.  They will get to hear words about being "obedient to God",  "having faith", and "serving God with our whole heart".

The words we speak are so very important.

What words will you speak this week?


Sunday, June 4, 2017

Welcome Home!!!

We are back home....


We want to give a special thanks to all the churches that allowed us to speak. We want to thank our supporters for sacrificially giving financially. Thank you for letting God use you to bless the ministry. We thank you! We want to take some time to thank our Bright Beginning Sponsors. Your money is already at work. It has allowed us to purchase formula, diapers, wipes, and doctor visits.  We are greatly appreciative.

It was such a nice visit to the states. We really enjoyed our time spent with friends and family. We are thankful to everyone that made time to see us.  Here are some pictures from our stay...

Tired baby from all the travel 

  

Emma's flight back home

Vicki's wedding

Play time 


Beach time 
Emma had a great time visiting family. She did excellent on the plane rides. Enjoyed the beach (the sand not the water). Her family loved spending time with her.  

We are glad to be back home to our "normal".  Our "normal" has changed since we have been gone. If you don't know we have a total of 4 children under the age of 2 in the house. We have baby T who is 3 months, baby M who is 5 months, baby Emma who is 5.5 months, baby J who is 2 years old. You can image we have our hands full, but there is always room for more. Baby M and J are brother and sister and were abandoned. We are blessed to have them in our home they are amazing kids. We love them dearly.


Baby M meeting Baby Emma 

Baby J playing 
In him,

Taylor

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Here is Your Chance......

We have had several people ask us to please let them know when we are ready to start receiving short-term ministry teams.  We are now at the point to where we not only are ready, but want to start scheduling teams.  We already have 3 teams coming between now and September and have a few specific other opportunities listed below.  If you are interested in any of these opportunities or have other ideas you would like to discuss, please visit our "Contact Us" and "Join Us in Honduras" pages to learn how plan a visit and then let's talk about the details.

Outdoor Playground Team

Our "yard" is 100% concrete from wall to wall, which is not a good place for toddlers to play.  We are raising funds to purchase indoor/outdoor rubber to put on the concrete to give a safe place for the children to play and fall.  We are also raising funds to purchase a sunscreen to put over the area to protect them from the harmful rays of the sun.  Finally, we need various outdoor play equipment and toys.  After we have the funds (and we will because God will provide them at just the right time), we would like a team to come and install everything.  This would be a great opportunity for a small group or family to come and fellowship with us and bless us with putting all this together for us.
*As a fun bonus we would love it if someone would paint a fun mural on a large 8' x 15' canvas for us to hang in the outdoor play ground area.  So if you have some artistic abilities and a passport--we'd love to have you come visit.
 



Landscaping/Yard Garden Team

We get a lot of sun and dust as a result of not having plants around.  We would like to strategically plant in planters to put in key places to server multiple purposes: (1) to make the house and yard more appealing, (2) to provide some shade, (3) to catch and filter some of the dust, (4) to repel bugs (mint, basil, rosemary, etc.), and (5) to provide herbs and food for us to use.  Understand that we know nothing about what to plant, how much sun and/or water to give it, how much/how often/what kind of fertilize to use, how to trim to keep the plants healthy, etc.  We need a small team or family to come and go with us to the greenhouses to find the best plants to meet most of our goals, to help us plant them, and to teach us how to properly care for them.  Obviously, one of the people on the team needs to have a pretty good understanding of various plants to help make the right decisions as well.

Small Construction Teams

We have several items that need repair or installation that we have had a difficult time getting someone here who knows how to do the work or is available.  Some of the items we currently need (there is always something if we get these done before you can come) are as follows:
  • Build some type of canopy over some of the windows to keep sun and rain out (rain is currently blowing into some of the windows even when closed).
  • Connect our cistern
  • Run an electrical wire for dryer
  • Run wire for doorbell

Pastor Partnership Teams

We already have one team coming to help with pastor training and to evaluate a possible church-to-church partnership.  We would love to have more partnerships like these to strengthen and equip the local churches to do the work of the ministry.

"Uncles" and "Aunts" and Respite

We will be getting our first baby on Monday and there is a possibility of us receiving two more children in the near future.  We would like some small ministry teams (1 or 2 people or a family) come and be part of our extended family for a few days and help with the children, love on them, and play with them in the same way a close uncle or aunt or cousins would do.  It would be awesome if some of these teams could come back in the future to provide respite for us when we have to go back to the USA for a visit or just need a short break away in country.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

It's a Boy!

We've been preparing for this moment for months.  

All along we've been thinking that we would "get the call" for our first placement after we got home from our visit to the states.




But instead--

We got an email from Legacy of Hope about Baby T this past week.   Baby T is a preemie baby who weighed not quite 4 lbs. at birth.  After some medical emergencies, he is beginning to make up for some time and is gaining weight.

In less then a week we will get to meet Baby T and begin the transition from his current caregivers to our family.

A very special friend said it just right this week.

She told me that Baby T will be our "first fruits".  That he will be first of many that we get to love on, pray over, and share Jesus with.

How can you help share, love and care for Baby T and the next little ones that join our family?

You can join the "Bright Beginnings Club".  No matter the amount you will be giving a child a bright future by giving them a healthy beginning.  All of the money given towards the "Bright Beginnings Club" will go towards diapers, wipes, formula, medical expenses, and any other expenses specific to the children in our care.  Click Here to learn more about the "Bright Beginnings Club" and how you can join.

We are not allowed to reveal the names or faces of the children in our care on our website.  However, we do have a private Facebook Group that you can join to get updates on the progress of our children.  You can click here and request to join the private Facebook Group.








Sunday, May 14, 2017

Stateside!

Hello everybody, thank you all for tuning in to today'so blog. I want to give a quick update; Taylor, Emma, and I arrived safely this past Friday, and have already dove straight into the busy schedule.  Ben, Julie, Leighanne, and Hannah, have already been pedal to the metal, full steam ahead, and nonstop action the short time they have been here.  We are all traveling around and meeting with various individuals and churches to share about the work that God has been doing in our lives in Honduras.  So continue to be in prayer for us as we continue this time here in the states.

As we all know today is Mother's Day.  The one day every year that is set aside specifically for our mothers.  A day where we recognize all they have done for us, to make us who we are.  So, with that being said, HAPPY MOTHER'SAID DAY!

Ino Him,
Austin

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Blessings, Blessings, and more Blessings



While Ben, Julie, and the girls are state side, Austin and Taylor are enjoying the peace and quite. Even though half the family is gone we still have been busy...

God has been blessing us with many little things, and we are so very thankful.

On Monday Austin took Ben, Julie, and the girls to San Pedro where they stayed the night, and on Tuesday he dropped them off at the airport. He came back on Tuesday and brought with him a friend. Tim, our missionary friend from Copan. It was great to have him visit for a few days. Along with bringing Tim here Austin also picked up a few things that we have needed....

1. A bunk bed for the spare bedroom. We were blessed with the opportunity to buy the bed from anther missionary. It was a long hard battle to get this bunk bed out of its previous house, but they got it... with the help of 2 other Hondurans. Now that it is in our home we have discovered that it doesn't fit down our hallway to the guest room. We are going to have to break it apart in order to get it to fit, but we will make it work.



2. The shelving unit for the tools. A missionary friend made us this metal shelf for tool storage. We can now clean up the clutter in the back of the house and give a home to our many accumulating tools.

The white things are the gates and the black things are the shelf. (some assembly required) 

3. Metal baby gates (made by our missionary friend who made the shelf). These gates are such a blessing they will go on the back porch to keep the the children away from the storage area.

We were also blessed with the opportunity to be seen by a dental team. Our good friend Russel (Sower4pastors) had a team come in this week. Taylor had a cavity filled and Austin got a check up. Which was also another blessing.

Our landlord had some people come by and fix a few of the leaks we are having. We are grateful.

 God is pouring out blessings on us, we praise him for the many things that have come together. As humans we get so overwhelmed by the forever growing todo list, but God says that he will supply our every need (Philippians 4:19). God has and is supplying all our needs and we are truly grateful. Thank you Lord!

We want to encourage you... Whatever is weighing on your heart or whatever overwhelming task stands before you. Take it to God. Then let God intervene. Allow his blessings to pour out over you.

In him,
Taylor

Sunday, April 30, 2017

A Bright Future


We are excited to announce that we have begun our "Bright Beginnings Club".  We are about to embark on our 3 week journey back to the USA soon.  We have already been approved to receive children into our home when we return to Honduras.  While we do not yet know the exact age, gender, or story of the children we will receive, we have been able to estimate a budget for various ages based on our experience of raising children, the input from other ministries, and shopping for various items (formula, diaper, etc.) here in Honduras.  For every infant that is still on formula, the cost is $150 - $200 per  month.  For toddlers that are no longer on formula, the cost drops to $80 - $130 per month.  In addition to their basic care, due to undernourishment or neglect, many of these children will have chronic medical needs and the routine visits for these needs are included in this budget.  Unless there are unusual circumstances (siblings, etc.), we will begin with children under the age of 2.  The "Bright Beginnings Club" is your opportunity to sow directly into the lives of these children.  We are not looking for full sponsors of individual children, but we do want you to have an opportunity to invest anywhere from $5 per month to $50 per month, or any other amount God lays on your heart to help make it possible for us to meet the physical needs of these children.  When you join the Bright Beginnings Club you will be invited to a private Facebook Group that we have to keep you updated on the progress of the children as we cannot publicly post details about them or pictures of them.


Pastor Training

Thursday was the first day that Ben (and Austin) went to the mountain villages to study with pastors without some of the other missionaries that had been studying with them.  Okay, we cheated a little in that Melyssa went with us as a translator, but we are also working on getting a translator for us to be able to take so we can all spend more time with more pastors in more places.  We had a great time of study and fellowship with Pastor Servio and Pastor Eleuterio in El Barrio, Lempira.  After studying with them about 2 1/2 hours, they fed us an awesome lunch prepared by Eleuterio's wife and daughter.  Pastor Eleuterio was also showing us his memory stick where he has recorded every major spiritual marker since his salvation.

Studying in El Barrio

Pastor Eleuterio with memory stick

Recognition of years of service

Our meal in El Barrio

Time of Fellowship over a meal

I went to Mercedes with a translator and studied, had fellowship and dinner, and worshiped with the pastors for 8 hours yesterday.  We didn't need as much study time as we had allocated for the afternoon because the pastors were so prepared, so we had more time for fellowship before worship.  I spent hours in the homes of Melvin and his father Israel.  Israel is the supervisor of 26 churches and is using the main church here in Mercedes as a place to train his pastors and equip them better for ministry.  We were able to talk about his vision for his church and some possible ways that we can partner a U.S. church with them to help bring about that vision.  I absolutely love how valuable fellowship is to the people here in Honduras.  I was invited to bring the message during worship.

Studying in Mercedes


Worship in Mercedes

Our speaking schedule in the USA for May is pretty full at this time.  I am listing the public speaking forums below along with their locations if any of you live near these places and would like to get an in-person update.  If you would like Austin and Taylor to come share in your Church, Sunday School, Women's group, etc., in one of the slots listed as "available", please contact them directly to schedule.  We are grateful for friends who will stay in our home in Honduras to keep an eye on things while we are travelling.

In Him,
Ben Agee

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Sometimes We Need a Little "Grace and Mercy"


"Meaning and purpose come not from accomplishing great things in the world, but simply from loving those who are right in front of you, doing all you can with what you have, in the place you are.  It's not doing that makes it special, it's the loving." --Katrina Kenison

On Wednesday morning, we were praying for "Grace and Mercy".  

The definition of grace--getting something undeserved.  The definition of mercy---not getting what you deserved.  

Why in the world were you praying for "Grace and Mercy" you ask?

Because this was our third attempt at a Honduran Driver's Licence. (First, in Gracias--the machine was broken, second attempt in La Esperanza-- had to take the exam in Gracias first and thirdly, in Santa Rosa)

Our Spanish is simply not good enough yet to pass the actual exam, and it doesn't help that there is not a training manual to study. 😁

But on this day we were standing in line waiting to take the test and an officer walks up and makes a speech about first time test takers. Well we understood the first few words--and that was it.  I turned to Ben and said, " I do not have a clue what he just said."  The man behind us in perfectly good English asked us if we understood.  We said, "No" and he told us that first time test takers had to practice first.  We kind of laughed it off and said, "Well I have been driving for 31 years and my husband 35 years in the states."

What happened next was a chain of events that was all above board, bribes were not only NOT given, but not even hinted at, and within about an hour we had legally obtained Honduran Driver's Licences. 



All because a man and a woman used their abilities to be used of God for the exact time that we needed their help.  They were God's servants for that moment, in that place and they showed us great love.  

Oh to be faithful to do exactly what is needed at the moment it is needed.  To be used by God in ways that we were created to be used.

Did you know that you are uniquely created for purposes that only you can fulfill?  Sometimes in our minds we think that these events have to be huge things that brings about "world peace".  But in reality, God just wants us to be faithful in the little things.

So my challenge to myself and to you for this next week is to be faithful in whatever God places right in front of you.

If you see someone struggling to open a door--use your hands and open it.  

If you hear of a family that has lost a job, drop off a bag of groceries at their house.

Be in an active mode of "looking" for how you can be the hands and feet of Jesus.

Who knows--there may be someone out there praying for "grace and mercy" and you may have a chance to be an answer to their prayers.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Semana Santa

     This week was another busy week.  As we get down to the last 2 weeks (for Ben, Julie, Leighanne, and Hannah) and 3 weeks (for Austin, Taylor, and Emma), we continue to get things in order.  We are still working on getting the last few details ready for taking in kids.  This past Tuesday Marianne (Legacy of Hope) visited us in Gracias and gave us a days worth of training on the foster care system here in Honduras.  We went over all of the Do's and Don'ts and over different things we need to keep in mind.  We also went over the billions of forms we had to sign (ha ha, it wasn't that many), but a lot of very important information.  This certification process has us one step closer to becoming a transition home, and we are so very excited, but we still have quite a bit to accomplish before we head off to the states.

     Some other things we have accomplished this week is; we finalized our "Business Plan Summary", we also completed our short term mission team packet/application packet, we made and ordered business cards, and we designed and ordered shirts with the New Beginnings Logo.

     This week between all of the work and training we enjoyed Semana Santa (Holy week).  On good Friday we went into town where the local people have spent hours the previous night making saw dust "carpets" These carpets are beautiful intricate art.  Words can't really do them justice, so sit back and enjoy:

















































In Him,
Austin