Sunday, December 3, 2017

Risk and the Robinsons

Tamara and Dean Robinson wrote an excellent blog on their personal blog yesterday and we thought it was worthy to share with you.


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Some stuff happened this week that prompted a few – or 40 - people who love us to ask us some very good questions about our lives in Honduras. We don’t always have the answers folks are looking for, but we love questions, and we love people who love us enough to ask the questions.  We ask ourselves questions all the time, and we hope you’ll keep asking us questions, too.

This week has been hard.  Life in general can be hard here, but the dynamics of this week have added to that.  Here’s the skinny on the situation. There was an election last Sunday.  It’s Saturday.  The results of the election have still not been released.  There are two presidential candidates who are both proclaiming victory.  There was tension before the election, and after six days of waiting for election results that tension has escalated to crisis.

Last Sunday, Election Day, was calm, and we were thankful.  Monday was calm, too - so calm that we made the decision to continue with plans to travel to Catacamas for a training that had been on the calendar for months.  A few folks weighed in on the decision, and we talked with our people in the know about the risk involved.  We sought the face of the Father, and in the end we made the trip. In the hours leading up to our leaving, we were confident in our decision, and despite all that happened, we are still confident we made the right decision when we stepped out in faith.

About 6 hours into our trip, we made a stop in Tegucigalpa at our friend Christy’s house to drop off Olivia and Wyatt for a couple of days, planning to pick them up on Wednesday on our way back through the city.  Everything in Tegucigalpa was status quo as we made our way out of town and headed east toward Catacamas.  The highway between Tegucigalpa and Catacamas is one of the better roads in Honduras, which makes for a nice road trip.  When Dean and I are alone in the car, we can actually have a conversation without a million interruptions.  So, I ask him if he thinks we made the right decision.  “Yes,” he says. He’s steady and sure.  He doesn’t second-guess. He sees beyond the risk to the opportunity to be light and salt and to be about God’s business.  His steadfastness encourages me and points me back to Christ when I get to second-guessing.

Our dear friends and hosts welcomed us in around 9, and their embrace and the opportunity to minister to one another was a gift from God.  The training scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday went well, and Dean and I were able to enjoy the tranquility of the retreat center, a rustic lodge with cabins in the woods.  It was the perfect place to share about trauma competent care and soak up a little self-care. We know this beautiful group of caregivers well and thank God for the way they give of themselves to love and care for children who otherwise would not have families. I am grateful for the opportunity to share the training with them and the risk was definitely worth it to encourage them and equip them to do the hard work they are doing, work that isn’t going to go away because of this crisis.

We woke up early on Wednesday morning and went out in search of internet to check on the children at home and try to resolve an issue with my computer holding hostage its documents.  It’s about 25 minutes from the retreat center back into Catacamas. When we arrived all was peaceful and calm, business as usual.  We did what needed to be done and turned around to head back to the peace and quiet of pine trees, cabins, and hammocks.  I was a little unnerved by the large group of military special forces being briefed in front of the police station, but Dean doesn’t worry and wouldn’t let me suck him into a worry-filled conversation about all that military special forces implies.

Rallies, marches, and demonstrations concern me.  Military and police officers in riot gear and special forces units stationed around town concern me.  These sights paired up with the stories I've heard about what happened here in 2009, and a little part of me wanted to be afraid.  At the first feeling of it, the Holy Spirit pressed me to do something, so I opened my bible.  The little blue slip marked “fear” took me to the place where help comes from.

I life up my eyes to the mountains – where does my help come from?  My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. - Psalm 121:1

It’s true.  There has never been a time that help didn’t come. Another blue slip…

The LORD is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear? The LORD is the defense of my life; Whom shall I dread? - Psalm 27:1-3

We missed the mark on predicting exactly when the tension would escalate to crisis. There and back was the plan.  We’d be home before things got rowdy.  Things didn’t go as planned, though. The rowdy arrived earlier than expected.  As we arrived in Tegucigalpa we drove past parades forming and protestors gathering.  By the time we pulled in the drive at Christy’s house to pick up Olivia and Wyatt, I was preoccupied with worry about the kids at home without us.  Christy is a heart friend, and a heart friend does what heart friends do. She found me out back searching for peace on the internet.  That’s not where peace comes from, by the way.  God gave us the body of Christ to edify, encourage, and point us back to Him, and edify, encourage, and point is what Christy does well.

The decision to not continue on home was made within minutes as news stories and photos poured in about burning barricades of tires and barrels that cut off access to the highway just blocks from Christy’s house.  We checked in with Ellie and the children at home, and despite our concerns felt at peace about our situation.  This is not a peace that we can rationally muster. It is Holy Spirit, and he dwells in us.  We were safe and unafraid. Our children at home were safe and unafraid.

Can I just take a moment and talk about Ellie for a second?  This is someone who doesn’t bat an eye at the thought of staying with a gaggle of little people and keeping a handful of teens and young adults in line, sometimes for several days.   We are so thankful for our Ellie, who holds down the fort and keeps everything running smoothly when Dean and I have to travel, who runs toward Jesus even when it means unplanned adventures and even when she knows I’m driving.  We are also thankful for Ellie’s parents who did their best to raise children who are wise, knowing that being wise doesn’t always mean their children end up in the safest places.  Because Ellie said “yes” when Jesus said “go”, our children are ministered to and safe when we are not able to be with them.

Dinner time rolled around at Christy’s house, and she asked what kind of pizza we liked. The pizza man made it to the house with the supreme and the pepperoni, and we watched Wyatt and Christy play Connect Four and waited.  Even before our current situation, Christy has helped us tremendously as we’ve figured out life here.  She has visited us, prayed for us, helped us solve problems, advocated for us when we were in need, and listened to our hearts when they were hurting.  She has been a valuable source of wisdom for us as we continue to forge together our thoughts and make plans for Wyatt.  Wyatt is deaf, and Christy is the hearing expert on deafness in these here parts. So here we are, stuck in Tegucigalpa with riots all around us, sheltered safe and sound with Christy and her joyful daughter Lili, unsure about when we will be able to go home.  I’m not saying I took advantage of the situation, but I might’ve asked a question or two or twenty.  We ate pizza, laughed, talked, and waited for news of the election results.  The results didn’t come, and we went to bed with a backdrop of shouting, explosions, and a peace that passes understanding. Was it worth the risk?  Absolutely.  The opportunity to minister and be ministered to was a gift from the Lord in the midst of all that was going on.

Thursday brought no news of election results, and as the delay of news lingered, the situation continued to escalate. Dean and I were able to get out to the grocery store but the main roads were blocked, so we were not able leave Tegucigalpa. Christy is crafty, so she and Dean worked with wood while I cooked.  Ellie sent us texts of the kids making salt ornaments and Christmas cookies, and we had a peaceful day in spite of the growing political unrest.  Nighttime brought no news of election results, and the protests, both peaceful and violent, got a little closer.  We ran back to the grocery store to withdraw some cash and made it in just as they were closing early and locking the gates.  Being uncertain about what the coming days would bring, we decided that if it was calm in the morning and we could get through the barricades, we would try to make it home.

Around 4:30 am on Friday morning the explosions and shouting quieted, and the helicopter stopped making circles above us.  We got up, said our goodbyes, and got in the car.  We were safe and not afraid, and we made it out of the city. It was surreal to drive through quiet streets and see the damage from the night before. We drove by a young man dressed for work dragging rocks and debris from the street, and I was overcome with emotion.  The brokenness, trauma and pain are unimaginable to me.  I have never experienced anything like this in my life, and I have never had to grieve the kind of losses involved.

We made it to Siguatepeque without issue and stopped for groceries before turning west toward La Esperanza. We thought we might see some protests or come up on a barricade but we only saw the abandoned and smoking remains of the barricades from the night before as we made our way to Gracias.  We stopped on the side of the road and bought bananas and drove on wondering when the election news would be released.  We were home, hugged, and holding babies before noon and so thankful to be together under one roof again. Praise the Lord!

The situation here in Honduras is very serious. I know all of this might seem scary, but we are not scared. We feel sadness and concern but not fear. These are real people that we know and love that are walking through a nightmare in their country. Some were walking through nightmares even before the tension here turned to crisis. As several were asking us to get out and come home, at least one friend was searching for a plane ticket and a way in.  Turns out she was thinking about a future trip, but the very fact that Juli was even thinking about planning a trip during this crisis made my heart sing.  We are not going to try to get out. We are not haphazard.  We calculate risks. We pray for discernment. We strive to be wise. Sometimes wisdom means we have to find the safest way to do something that involves some risk. This is our home, and we are going to stay here as long as the Lord allows.

It’s almost midnight now.  The protests have quieted and the streets are quiet. There is a steady rain that just started falling that makes the most beautiful sound on the roof.  It is a gift from the Lord.  We are safe and unafraid.  We are going to bed tonight, in the words of my longtime friend and prayer warrior Laurel, “confident in God’s protection and provision.”

Behold what manner of love the Father has given to us,that we should be called children of God. – I John 3: 1

Thank you for your prayers, encouragement, and support as we share the hope of Jesus with vulnerable children and families in Honduras.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Ruth




These last few months I have been doing a bible study through the book of Ruth (Ruth... Loss, Love, and Legacy by Kelly Minter) . I am falling in love with her story. I thought I knew the story about Ruth, but I have learned so much by digging deeper in this love story. 

Today I want to share with you a small portion of what I have been learning. we are going to jump in in the middle, so just hang in there with me. 

Ruth 3: 1-6 
Then Naomi her mother-in-law said to her, "My daughter, shall I not seek security for you, that it may be well with you? Now Boaz, whose young women you were with, is he not our relative? In fact, he is winnowing barely tonight at the threshing floor. Therefore wash yourself and anoint yourself, put on your best garments and go down to the threshing floor; but do not make yourself known to the man until he has finished eating and drinking. Then it shall be, when he lies down, that you should notice the place where he lies; and you shall go in, uncover his feet, and lie down; and he will tell you what to do." And she said to her, "All that you say to me I will do." So she went down to the threshing floor and did according to all that her mother-in-law instructed her. 



There is a lot here that can be dissected, but we are going to focus on one part, "put on your best garments". 

Wow! Ruth was very brave to follow as her mother-in-law told her, given all that she has been through. She has lost her husband and is putting herself out there now. How vulnerable! 

It is not very clear as to what "best garments" is referring to. There are many different opinions from many different scholars. We can draw from this is that Ruth is dressed for a new day.  

Scholar Daniel I. Block has some interesting insight about her garments: "It appears that Naomi is hereby advising Ruth to end her period of mourning over her widowhood and get on with a normal life.  ...It may well be that until this time Ruth had always wore the garments of widowhood, even when she was working out in the field. Perhaps this was the reason for Boaz's inertia. As an upright man, he would not violate a woman's right to grieve the loss of her husband nor impose himself upon her until she was ready. We know to little about how long widows would customarily wear their mourning clothes, but it may be that Naomi is now telling Ruth the time has come to doff her 'garments of widowhood." 

We cant be certain of what Ruth had on, but we know it signaled a change, a readiness, an availability to Boaz and to God for the possibility of something new. 

Although not all of us have experienced a time of widowhood, we have known a time when God asked us to remove our clothes of mourning, clinging, grasping, wishing, hoping, striving, even praying for something... and move forward. 

I feel like God is asking this of me.  I want to go back to the days before Julie had Cancer. Back to when we were living together in Honduras, when we were establishing our home, when we were preparing to take in children, when things were our crazy normal. I have been clinging to the past and wanting that for the future. That is not going to happen.  Things are never going to go back to the way they were before the cancer, and God is making me ok with that.  But first I need to remove my "mourning clothes" and look forward to what God is laying before me. 

Don't miss understand me, I know that all things are possible through God, but I am wanting God to turn back the clocks and take me back to live in those times. And to not only turn back time but to rewrite the future and make it to where Julie never gets cancer. That is not going to happen. I need to come to to terms with that. When we are wrapped in garments of mourning we are unavailable for whatever else God has for us.  

Times come and go. I am glad I enjoined them and I will always have those precious memories. It is time for me to move on from that and focus on what God is doing now. We will be going back to Honduras it just wont be with Ben and Julie and that will be alright. 

Isaiah 43: 18-19 says 
" Do not remember the former things nor consider the things of old. Behold, I will do a new thing, Now it shall spring forth; shall you not know it? I will even make a road in the wilderness and rivers in the desert." 

There is something about where are minds choose to dwell that can keep us in an old place even when God is doing a new thing. Isaiah 52:1 says "Awake, awake, O Zion, clothe yourself with strength. put on your garments of splendor, O Jerusalem, the holy city." Jesus is calling us to the same awaking he did for the Israelites. Do not dwell on the past. We all have our Moab stories, our past losses, aches, and strains; but let us not cling to our old clothes in a new life. 

Is God telling you you to throw off some weighty garments? Unforgiveness, bitterness, anger, discontentment, jealousy, mourning, or anything else that might keep you from moving forward with God? 

Take off the old, put on the new; take the risk of being available. 


In Him, 

Taylor







Sunday, October 22, 2017

A New Beginning in an Unlikely Place

Hey there! It's been a while since I (Austin) have written a blog, but I'm here today to share with you something really exciting, and how God has been working. So sit back and enjoy.

Let me start off with Acts 8:9-25
But there was a man named Simon, who had previously practiced magic in the city and amazed the people of Samaria, saying that he himself was somebody great.10 They all paid attention to him, from the least to the greatest, saying, “This man is the power of God that is called Great.”11 And they paid attention to him because for a long time he had amazed them with his magic.12 But when they believed Philip as he preached good news about the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women.13 Even Simon himself believed, and after being baptized he continued with Philip. And seeing signs and great miracles[b] performed, he was amazed.14 Now when the apostles at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent to them Peter and John,15 who came down and prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit,16 for he had not yet fallen on any of them, but they had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.17 Then they laid their hands on them and they received the Holy Spirit.18 Now when Simon saw that the Spirit was given through the laying on of the apostles' hands, he offered them money,19 saying, “Give me this power also, so that anyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit.”20 But Peter said to him, “May your silver perish with you, because you thought you could obtain the gift of God with money!21 You have neither part nor lot in this matter, for your heart is not right before God.22 Repent, therefore, of this wickedness of yours, and pray to the Lord that, if possible, the intent of your heart may be forgiven you.23 For I see that you are in the gall[c] of bitterness and in the bond of iniquity.”24 And Simon answered, “Pray for me to the Lord, that nothing of what you have said may come upon me.”

Now without diving deep into this specific passage we can see that Simon was a hypocrite, and was not truly born again but merely going through the motions followed with "baptism" or more accurately in his case a bath or swim.  


Now let me pause right there and tell you about another man.  This man is 23 years old.  He was "saved" at a young age, and he even took a warm bath but called it baptism.  He played church for years and years, getting better and better at it fooling many people including himself.  He went on several mission trips, and was pretty involved in the church.  This man put his comforts and career to the side to become a full time missionary in Honduras.  This man WAS me.


Now let me tell you about a third man.  If you notice in the last sentence of the previous paragraph i have the word "WAS" in all caps.  Why? Let me tell ya!  These last couple of months at our church we have been going verse by verse through the book of Acts.  And specifically these last couple of weeks I have been having an internal struggle, a struggle for the truth.  You see I had lived such a long time as a hypocrite, I had convinced myself that I was a born again believer.  I started doing some real down to earth soul searching, and examined my heart.  I came to the realization that I had never actually accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior.  Now for the exciting part...last week Oct 15, I started a real relationship with Jesus.  I couldn't be more excited, and can't keep this contained!


But wait..."you are a missionary in Honduras, how can you be a missionary and not be a christian?"
"you grew up in church all your life, isn't that good enough?" etc, etc.

John 14:6
“Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."

Jesus is the only way.
No "if", "and", or "but" about it.

Matthew 7:21-23
21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.22 On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’23 And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’

That was literally me and my life.  "But Lord, I went on all these mission trips in your name, but I was the sound guy at church, but I was a full time missionary in Honduras, etc"




Praise the Lord I now KNOW Jesus, rather than know about Him.  


I am really glad i got the opportunity to write this blog and share with you this awesome step in my life! Yall have a good one, until next time!

In Him,
Austin Agee



Sunday, October 15, 2017

From Sleepless Nights to Prayer Filled Mornings


As some of you may know Emma no longer sleeps through the night.  Since we have temporarily moved back to the states, Emma's sleep pattern has been out of sorts.  We have linked her lack of sleep to multiple things such as:
1. She is in a new environment and needs to adjust.
2. She needs to sleep in a different room.
3. We need to keep a constant bedtime routine.
4. She is having trouble breathing through her nose.
5. She is teething.
6. She is hungry.

For each one of the things listed above we have a solution for:
1. I think she has had time to adjust at this point.
2. We have placed her in a separate room to sleep.
3. We have tried to the best of our ability to keep her bedtime routine as constant as possible.
4. We were referred to a ENT Specialist and found out her adenoids are swollen, so we currently have her on medication to help shrink them. (she can breathe better).
5. We give her medicine to help with teething pain and/or Oragel.
6. I feed her.

And still she is awake throughout the night, so I walk her around and try to get her to go back to sleep and I pray "God why is she not sleeping?"  Here I am trying all these things to help her sleep and she continues to wake up.  God didn't answer me on that question, but he did help me to think maybe there is a reason  I am up at this hour.  Now whenever Emma wakes up and can't go back to sleep I will pray.  (I don't know about yall but that is not my first reaction when I am awoken from a good REM sleep.)  I will just pray for whoever God brings to mind, and I've got to say it helps me!  It is easier to get up with her and I have more energy during the day.  Only God can do that because anyone who knows me knows sleep is very important to me.

It also helps with my prayer walk. I feel during the day I am more mindful to pray.


I challenge yall to be more mindful and pray.  It doesn't mean you have to wake up at 3am and pray (unless you feel that is what God is wanting you to do) it could be as simple as praying when you brush your teeth, when you are unloading the dishwasher, when your waiting in line at the store, or whenever.  Make it a priority to  pray.  The results will be life changing.



In Him,

The Agee Family

Sunday, September 3, 2017

What Every Missionary Needs



Being a missionary on the mission field it is easy to become so involved in the work of God.  There are times when we become fully immersed in the tasks that we forget about ourselves.  When we serve and care for others we sometimes tend to put our own needs on the back burner.  Don't get me wrong we love what we do and we are willing to do anything to help others.  But missionaries need recovery time.  It is common for missionaries to become burnt out and tired.  It is important for missionaries to take time for a personal, mental, and spiritual breather. When we take time to care for ourselves, we can better care and serve those God puts before us.


A dear friend of ours, Melyssa who is working with 61 Isaiah, put out her newsletter about how her summer had gone. For most missionaries the summer months are the busiest of the year and 61 Isaiah had a full calendar.  After the last team had left the staff were blessed to receive a gift from a man whose ministry is to minister to the ministers.  Leave it to God to place specific people in your life to help. 


Below is what Melyssa had to say in her news letter...



Life recovered… an update after summer 2017


This was originally written for the 61 Isaiah newsletter, but I would like to share it with anyone who will read it on here.  God bless y’all.
Since it has been a few months since our last newsletter, there is a lot to update you on.  I won’t be able to update you on everything in this short amount of time, so I hope that I can see you in person one day or that we can talk via email or Facebook.  Let me just say that God is so good, and yet again He has shown His love to all of us in many ways this summer.  Among the crazy and busy, event filled days starting from June to now, it has honestly been an unforgettable summer.  God moved in many people’s lives, and for me personally, these last few months have been a time of God getting a hold of me and my heart again (for lack of better words).  As I write this right now even, I am realizing how God has brought this summer full circle.  Let me share with you a little bit about that.
In June, all of us (even Edith, yay!) got to go to the US and participate in Super Summer.  It was my first ever Super Summer, and I really enjoyed it.  As you know, Shannon was the main speaker for the session that we attended, and I want to share with all of you that Shannon did an amazing job proclaiming the mystery of the Gospel and sharing with hundreds of students practical ways that they can share the Gospel to the people that they are around every day.  It was also at Super Summer that I met and heard of a man named Jimmy Storrie, who’s ministry is called Life Recovered.  To put it simply, what Jimmy does is he ministers to ministers.  The things he shared about ministers burning out, running on empty, and having deep, tired souls really resonated with me and I felt like someone understood how I was truly feeling inside.  I reached out to Jimmy and that’s what started the journey of recovering my soul in Jesus.
Fast forward a few weeks and we hit the ground running in July with hosting 11 mission teams in about 5 weeks.  I mean it when I say that it was a wonderful summer.  I greatly enjoyed walking with the people from FBC Sanger, Turner Memorial Baptist Church, FBC Zavalla, Taylor’s Valley Baptist Church, FBC Marble Falls, Central Baptist Church, FBC Gordon, The Gathering, FBC West, FBC Teague, Waxahachie Bible Church, Primera Iglesia Bautista Waxahachie, Ranchhouse Cowboy Church of Maypearl, and FBC Red Oak. A friend of mine from college, Gabe Gonzales, also came to walk with us, and that was an awesome time.  In some of the villages that we all ministered in, we saw individuals accept Christ as their Savior and other individuals were baptized.  In other villages, there were events like a medical brigade, and in others a Marriage Conference to build relationships with the people but ultimately to help them grow in their relationship with God and their spouses.  In other villages, the women were focused on and ministered to in a deeper way.   In other communities, the need was to pray for specific pastors and leaders to answer the call to share the Gospel in their area.   And as always, we focused on the 9:38 prayer, asking God to send Honduran workers into the harvest.  Overall, our time with the mission teams was incredible.  Each person that came got to utilize their gifts and share the love of Christ with our friends in Honduras, and they encouraged each one of us, as well.
At the beginning of August, I moved into a new apartment, and that was and still is a HUGE blessing from God. Along with moving apartments, I gained two roommates, Ellie and McCayla.  They are both awesome women, and it has been a joy getting to know them more and make our little place our home. McCayla just arrived a couple of weeks ago, and she is the newest team member of 61 Isaiah.  She is an answered prayer and already fitting right in.  She has a huge heart to serve anyone and in any way. I am very thankful for her, and I’m very thankful for the whole team of 61 Isaiah – Shannon, Kristi, Frank, Edith, Cathy, and all the board members stateside.
This brings me to the weekend we just had.  After a packed summer, together as a team we got away for a little bit and regrouped.  Jimmy Storrie of Life Recovered came and led us through a staff retreat, and his ministry to us was invaluable.  Jimmy led us through getting to know each other better by looking at our different personality types, and he also led us through a very important spiritual discipline of resting in God.  This retreat definitely helped me get to know my teammates better and appreciate the way that God made them, but it also helped me see that for so long I had been running on empty.  Jimmy likes to say, “The journey starts when you take the first step.”  I say that God brought this summer full circle because it started with me being deeply tired in my soul, but through the ministry of Life Recovered, I got to hear that there was hope. I really believe that God helped me take that first step in reaching out to Jimmy at Super Summer, but God continued to keep going after me all summer.  This season may have started out tired and running on empty, but it ended with being recovered and rested in God, and I am very thankful for how He used Jimmy to help me with that.  The purpose of being recovered though is so that I can continue serving the Lord and telling people about Him and how much He loves them.
If you have made it this far in my update, I want to say thank you.  Thank you for your prayers.  I mean that with all of my heart.  Thank you for your love for Honduras. God is a big, loving God, and what a privilege it is to walk with Him and walk with all of you as part of the same big family.  God bless you all.

I challenge you to be in prayer for the missionaries out on the mission field. Pray that God will send the harvesters to assist them. 

In him, 

The Agee Family

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