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