November 30.

I’m telling you, I really lack ideas for blog titles.

Thankful Monday — for the Last Monday in November 2009:

  • For the wonderful Thanksgiving meal we had with the girls last week

This was the first Thanksgiving meal I really prepared all by myself, for more than just Brian and I. We had chicken (turkeys are way too expensive), twice-baked sweet potatoes (which I did mostly ahead of time and turned out sooo wonderful!), mashed potatoes, stuffing, turkey gravy (thanks, Mom!), homemade rolls, applesauce, and pumpkin pie. It was every bit as good as back in the U.S. and I had a blast doing it. Next year, we plan on having a big ol’ Thanksgiving with two new American families arriving in January and March, respectively. Should be loads of fun!

  • For a fun evening presenting the needs of North America to the IBYM students. Brian gave his testimony and I was so incredibly proud of him. He did it in English, but he did it so well (he’s not much for public speaking).
  • For a good, relaxing weekend with Brian – two naps, Christmas movies, brownies, and games. We needed it!
  • For CHEAP calling cards!
  • For being able to connect with both sides of our family for the equivalent of $4. It was so wonderful to hear my brother and sister-in-law’s voices – the last time we talked was when we said goodbye on March 2. I honestly felt like my sister was next door and we were chatting as usual. We will definitely be doing that again soon.
  • For a fun Sunday at a different kind of bilingual church – sign language, translated to Spanish. We went as Cielo’s family to church on Sunday and had a really nice time.
  • For a brand new week – including an afternoon of shopping for and purchasing a Christmas tree and some lights. Yay!

This cold is still here. Slept for maybe four hours last night in between fits of coughing. So. Incredibly. Tired. I wish we could just run down the street to the pharmacy and grab a bottle of cough syrup, but alas, it’s a bit more complicated than that. I’m going to look up some key Spanish words and attempt to talk with a pharmacist this evening to see if they have something – anything – for this miserable hack. I have GOT to sleep!

Heading out to purchase our Christmas tree this afternoon. We’re the only missionary house on campus that is NOT decked out for Christmas. Back in the States, we went all out for Christmas. I have to admit, I’m missing all my decorations, lights, etc, that we had to sell. We were given a TON of white icicle lights after a friends’ wedding, so our house was covered in lights. We had a snowman (named Fred! although, not named after our friend, Fred) that fit just perfectly next to our porch, underneath our sign.

The one thing I would like to do is have an Open House for our friends here with desserts, snacks, etc, sometime around Christmas. Everyone is super busy with Christmas functions up until Christmas Day, so maybe we can do it right after Christmas, we’ll have to see. I think it’d be fun, though. At least here, the weather will be WARM so we can do stuff outside as well. Hopefully by then, we’ll have grass, too, which would be nice.

Are YOU all decorated for Christmas? Ready for another holiday season?!

Quick Thoughts.

I posted a story under “My Writings” that I wrote last year for Christmas. It was one that had been running around my head for awhile and I finally got onto paper last year. I loooove it. It’s probably one of my favorite things that I’ve ever written. It truly came from my heart.

Now that we’ve been here for..wow, 9 months… it’s settling into me more and more that we need to adopt. I was given papers this week listing everything we need to begin the process. I need to look at it more and see what it actually is (it’s in Spanish so it’s not like I can just sit down and peruse it easily). We’ll see how the Lord leads!

We had Cielo again this morning. Brian took her outside to play and looked out the window to see him carrying her across the field, her little arms wrapped around his neck. I found myself tearing up, asking the Lord to please make him a father in whatever way possible! He’s going to be such an amazing father.

I have another story running around my head but I can’t seem to get it on paper yet. My goal this Christmas season is to write something that goes with “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day.” That’s been my favorite Christmas hymn for awhile now, not because the old melody is so great but because the words are just amazing. I was so excited when Casting Crowns re-made it last year and then when Stephen Curtis Chapman put it on his Christmas album as well (although I think his was before Casting Crowns, I can’t remember). So, watch for it! I’ll see if I can’t get this rolling before Christmas actually gets here.

I also came up with some ideas for future Vacation Bible Schools and devotionals. Hmm… so much to write about, so little time.

I’ve been frustrated lately with my lack of writing. Women of the Harvest has been having writing competitions and asking for new writings and I want so badly to contribute, but I feel like I’m in a dry spell. Maybe December will be my month of inspiration. I’m also hoping that while we’re in the jungle this summer, I’ll have some time to write. I’m not planning on being overly busy while we’re up there, so I should have time to not only work on school things for 2010, but also on some new writings. I have a novel I need to finish and another I need to edit better…. the list could go on. Truth be told, I’d love to be a mom AND a published author before I’m 30. Both of those seem impossible right now!!

Our friend, Fred, passed away yesterday morning at 11. I got the email while in class and needed to leave for a few minutes to seek the solace of my husband. As much as knew it was coming, it was still hard to hear. We thought the Lord had healed him a month ago and to know he’s gone now was just kind of hard to take. But, all day today, I kept thinking about how excited Fred must be to FINALLY be with his Lord and to FINALLY not be in pain.

I finished “Seventh Day” this afternoon – #7 in my favorite A.D. Chronicles series by Brock and Bodie Thoene. It was so highly appropriate in light of Fred’s passing. This book dealt greatly with the resurrection of Lazarus from the dead. I leave you with these quotes from the last chapter of the book. If you haven’t read these yet, please do! You’ll be blessed and absolutely amazed.

“But John recorded seven specific signs of Yeshua’s power and authority. He made special note of seven occasions when Yeshua showed irrefutably that He was indeed who He claimed to be – that He was and is the Son of God.

“And the day on which El’azar” [Lazarus] “of Bethany was raised was the seventh of these… the seventh day.

“What did I learn from what I witnessed in those weeks that I traveled with Yeshua?

“I learned to never confuse facts with Truth.

“The fact is, El’azar was dead.

“The greater Truth is that Yeshua is the Resurrection and the Life.

“I learned that sometimes we do not understand how The Lord of All the Angel Armies is working for our benefit.

“The greater Truth is that He always cares and provides for us. Even if He delays, it is because He loves us.

“I learned that Yeshua cried. He shed tears of grief for what El’azar suffered. He shed tears of compassion for the pain of Miryam and Marta’s loss.

“He shed tears of longing for all creation to be restored, for death to be abolished, because that day was not just about El’azar. Everyone present that day had a grave awaiting them.

“But the greater Truth is that Yeshua wept because for all His love, compassion, and longing, for all His sacrifice, some will still refuse His gift. Out of arrogance or pride… and Yeshua was weeping … for all… who leave this world outside the friendship of God.

“Finally I learned the true meaning of the Sabbath. Six days are appointed for us to work, to labor for the Kingdom. Six days we will face turmoil and deal with grief. Six days we will long for Yeshua’s return. “Lord, if you had only been here…”

But the greater Truth is that the Seventh Day is coming. The Lord of the Sabbath, The Lord of the Seventh Day, is returning.

“May it be today!”

Seventh Day, Brock and Bodie Thoene, pgs. 208-209

Accion de Gracias.

*These are my thoughts from yesterday, Thanksgiving Day. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to post them til today. Hope they still count!*

Today’s Thanksgiving. Of all years, this year feels the least like a holiday. I’m wearing a light-weight, short-sleeve shirt with flip-flops, sitting in a classroom that’s got all the windows open and a fan blowing and it’s still hot, and leaving soon for a quick motorcycle ride to the nearby tienda so we can purchase cheap calling cards so we can talk to family for the first time in months. Nope. Doesn’t feel the same.

Looking back over the years, though, I can’t remember a “normal” Thanksgiving when my whole family was together. It must’ve been close to 10 years now. Wow – that’s hard to believe!

When I was little, it seemed like it always snowed on Thanksgiving. We went sledding after watching the parade. Mom always had interesting snacks to try. We even used to eat the liver while the turkey was still finishing up. I wonder what happened to us since none of us can stand liver anymore? I think we probably all grew up and found out what the liver does! haha!

An older lady in our church, Mrs. Whitehill, always joined us for holidays when I was little. She always brought jell-o salad and nuts. Since our grandparents lived so far away, it was nice having her around. She felt like a grandma in a somewhat grandma-less world.

The last Thanksgiving we were together as a family must’ve been in 2000. My brother and sister were both in college and I was in my last year of high school. I honestly don’t remember any part of that day other than seeing my brother for the first time since August and he had red, spiky hair (he’s normally quite the tow-head).

The following year, my parents had moved to Montreal, Quebec, Canada. I was attending Parole de Vie Bethel (Word of Life Bethel) in Sherbrooke, Quebec, so naturally, I didn’t get a Thanksgiving break. But, my dad came and got me and took me home for a couple day vacation anyway. My sister drove up from her work in southern PA and we had a nice Thanksgiving dinner in Canada.

In 2003, I was in school in Wisconsin and couldn’t afford to fly home to Montreal. Since I was close to relatives, I hitched a ride to Appleton (just south of Green Bay) and spent Thanksgiving with an aunt and uncle and a few cousins. They aren’t traditional in nature, so we ate at a fancy hotel buffet. Good food; didn’t feel like “normal Thanksgiving.” They got their Christmas tree the following day. Even though it was nice being relatives for, really, one of the only times in my life, it was a tad awkward. Our relatives always lived hundreds of miles away, so we never spent holidays with them. It’s amazing how the same family can have such different traditions, you know?

The very next year, I was dating Brian. Before we had begun dating, I had agreed to travel with him to South Dakota for Thanksgiving. We were friends and he had asked if I would accompany him on the trip so he wouldn’t have to drive alone. He had promised sight-seeing of the Black Hills, including Mt. Rushmore, so I had whole-heartedly agreed. I didn’t know until later that he liked me and was trying every way possible to get to spend time with me. We started going out in October and, much to my parents’ chagrin, went to South Dakota for Thanksgiving a month later. We had a really nice trip, even though I was not fully prepared for meeting the Biegert clan! Five car-loving boys is enough to throw anybody off at first glance.

In 2004, we were finally engaged. The plan had been for Brian to come to my place for Thanksgiving and we’d have a nice day with my parents, my sister, and her new husband. But, my mom’s grandmother was diagnosed with liver cancer a month earlier and she died that week. Since I hadn’t seen my grandmother in over ten years and none of my siblings were going, my parents told me not to go to the funeral, but to figure out how to get to Brian for Thanksgiving. So, I flew to Milwaukee and met Brian (who was still in Bible school). A few hours later, we were on the road for the 12-hr drive to South Dakota to spend Thanksgiving with his family.

Our first and second years of marriage, we lived in South Dakota near Brian’s family. So, we spent Thanksgiving with them, obviously. We did start our own tradition, though, of having our own Thanksgiving dinner Wednesday evening. It originally started out with me wanting to try my hand at “fancy food” and has turned out to be something we’ve kept doing ever since.

Our third year of marriage, we were back with my parents, raising support. We fully intended 2007 to be the last year that we would be in the States, so my parents and my husband and I had a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner all together. My sister, her husband, my brother, and his wife all planned on coming for Christmas, so instead of them making two trips, we had a big blow-out for Christmas. This was the first Thanksgiving I’d had with my family in quite awhile and it was nice spending it with my parents.

Last year, we were still “stuck” in the States, raising support. We were offered to go to Vermont to be with my sister, but we opted for a weekend without my parents and have a nice time by ourselves. This renewed the Wednesday evening tradition where I made a fancy meal for just the two of us. Thursday, we went to a friends’ house for the big Thanksgiving dinner and enjoyed an evening where we were the youngest in attendance by about 30 years.

And now, here we are in Peru! Where Thanksgiving, for the second time in my life, is not a national holiday. But, we were able to pretend. We found a Thanksgiving Chicken and invited over the only two American girls on campus. We had a big meal with all the fixin’s, complete with boxes of stuffing, a package of gravy, and a can of pumpkin for pie sent from the States. Everything tasted pretty much the same and it was nice to be able to celebrate with fellow Americans. This morning, Thanksgiving Day, I brought my students to the house where I served them tiny portions of leftover mashed potatoes, stuffing, and rolls, then tiny slices of pumpkin pie. We watched “Ernest Saves Christmas” (a tradition in my family since I was a little girl) and even had a time where they each had to share what they’re thankful for this year. It was nice and I’m glad I did it.

Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving. Take some time to reflect on years gone by, to look ahead to the future, and to thank the Lord for all He’s done for us. Truly, His grace is sufficient, His mercy covers all, and He is all we need.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving Week.

This week, I’m thankful for…..

  • The fact that last week is OVER!
  • A good, full week that actually went as smoothly as possible.
  • Having our house back to ourselves after two weeks of visitors. We enjoy visitors, but I have to admit, it’s nice having the house back to “normal.”
  • That our visitor was feeling good by the time he left Saturday.
  • For our five new BCM Peru missionaries that were commissioned Friday night.
  • For being able to have Thanksgiving Dinner with a few American girls this week.
  • For the HOPE of eternal security.

This past week was CRAZY busy! I had school, babysitting Cielo, two big events, lots and lots endless baking, a (very!) sick visitor who was accompanied by a (very!!!) worried wife, a birthday party, shopping, and then somehow I got allergies thrown into the mix and some weird bug bite on my arm that keeps growing and shrinking at random times.

Our visitor got horribly sick Sunday night. The flu is going around, so we assumed it was that. By Tuesday when he still wasn’t doing well, he was taken to the doctor where he was told it was an actual stomach infection. We’re not sure how he got it, but it makes sense. He was, praise the Lord!, fine by the time they flew home Saturday night. He was even able to begin teaching Romans again Wednesday afternoon and finished strong Friday morning.

Wednesday was a day of Prayer and Fasting for BCM International. I spent the afternoon… baking. We had our Thanksgiving Dinner for the students Thursday evening so three of us baked three apple cakes each. That was a tiring afternoon, especially when Cielo got dropped off in the midst of it all.

Thursday, we decorated and got ready for our big Thanksgiving event.

 

The entrance to our Cafeteria

Each missionary family had their own table and then the students could pick and choose who they’d like to sit with so we could have the meal “family style.” I was pleased to see that ours filled up… three separate times! People kept filling it and they had to keep being told to make room for US (we were busy serving the food). I was flattered, especially since a couple tables were still mostly empty at the end of the evening. It sounds prideful, but can I just have a moment to bask in the fact that we’re loved and welcomed by the students?!

 

Our Table

Our Family for the night

As you can see, even family pictures of those NOT your family don’t always turn out lovely! 🙂

The evening was really  nice, full of special music from a variety of people. Brian’s English class sang, all of us “gringos” sang, a typical Peruvian mountain music group sang, one of the Bible Institute girls sang, and then all of US sang. It was a lot of singing. But, it was really nice. The special speaker was good. I ended up interpreting the rest of the service for our visitors. I wasn’t planning on that, but was pleasantly surprised that I could do it! Translating for our director was a breezer; I could basically translate for him word for word as he was still speaking. Translating for the guest pastor was harder since I haven’t spoken that much to him.

Got a lovely picture with my favorite little girl. Cielo looked absolutely beautiful in a dress Karen made for her!

 

Lisa and Cielo

Friday evening was the graduation ceremony of five new BCM Peru missionaries. I had been asked to play piano for two hymns and a short prelude. My “short prelude” was 20 minutes thanks to a broken down bus and on-time Peruvians. However, I haven’t played in eight months and since playing piano is cathartic for me, I absolutely didn’t mind and wish it could’ve been longer! Of course now, everyone knows I play (it had been a well-kept secret for a reason) so I’m afraid they’re going to ask me to play more often. I’m good at playing with music; not so much at reading chords.

Here’s a picture of the five young men we graduated Friday night. We’re so proud of each one of them and the hard work they’ve accomplished over the past four years!


Sunday was a baptismal service here at the camp for 3 of our church plants. We have one church plant that is in the Bible club stage and will become a church in February, Lord-willing. It was an interesting service. Our church plant team is not known as being the most organized of all our teams. 🙂 But, it was neat seeing the eight young people (and by “young”, I mean like 8 years old up to about 15) get baptized.

This week is Thanksgiving in the States. So far, I’m doing good. I was having a hard time last night, but then I forced myself to go to bed early and that seemed to clear my head. I think that will be the plan this week – get lots of sleep! We’re going to invest in calling cards so we can actually CALL our families instead of risking our luck with spastic internet and Skype (even though it’d be wonderful to SEE our gorgeous niece and nephew for, really, the first time).

We are also saying goodbye long-distance to a dear friend of my family. His name is Fred. Fred has been my dad’s closest ally since they moved to Pennsylvania in 2004. Fred is out-spoken and can come off a tad on the brusk side, but it’s merely his personality. He has the biggest heart/gift of an evangelist of anyone I’ve ever met. He has led more people to the Lord than anyone I’ve ever met in my life. He’s not ashamed of the Gospel and you cannot walk away from him without knowing where he stands with the Lord. His methods might be a tad old-fashioned, but for him, they still worked. He still did door-to-door on his own time because he was convinced it works. 🙂 And for him, it did. THAT is the gift of an evangelist.

When my parents went through tumultuous problems in the church this year, Fred stood by my father. While my parents went to Florida for two weeks to pray about the Lord’s leading, Fred organized a group to completely remake my dad’s office – just because he could. He felt my dad needed a whole new fresh start, and it would be a visible show of support for him. Fred funded it, supervised it, organized it, and was there when dad walked in Monday morning to the giant surprise.

That same day, Fred announced he was being checked out for the possibility of cancer. Within a week, he knew that the cancer was serious. Within a month, things had gone from okay to terrible. This summer, he went from “okay” to “critical” to “maybe he’ll make it” to “we can’t help him.” He has had a couple operations, chemo, a stroke, and a heartattack (during which they think he really did die and the Lord revived him – whatever happened, the doctor said normally you don’t come back from that on your own). About a month ago, the cancer was gone and we thought he’d be okay. Not great, but okay. Two weeks ago, he somehow took a turn for the worse and they discovered the cancer has come back and there is no stopping it. He’s now basically unconscious and we’re merely waiting for him to enter the rest of His Lord and Savior.

We have seen how God has used this time. His son who hadn’t spoken to him in years finally came around and they have completely reconciled and the son is coming back to the Lord. If I know Fred, I know he’s thinking that if that alone was the purpose for his cancer, he’s okay with that. He’s also, of course, witnessed to every nurse, every doctor, every visitor, every roommate since this blessed ordeal. Who knows what kind of impact that will have in the future?

We’re praying for his wife and his family, though. He’s her…everything. They complete each other and I can’t imagine her without him, or vice versa. He’s also been a good, solid friend of my father. If my memory serves me correctly, this will be the first funeral my dad has had to do for such a good friend. I’m sure it’s hard on him. He’s also one of our supporters, financially and prayerfully.

So, Thanks-Giving? Thank the Lord, we’ll see Fred again. He’ll finally look healthy and normal. He’s going where he’s longed to be for years – to the arms of His Lord.

We’ll see you soon, Fred.

Mondays Come and Mondays Go.

Another Monday, which means another week has come and gone, which means another week is already in full-swing, which means that much closer to Christmas!! 🙂

No, but really. Things have been so busy and this week will be no exception. Here’s my Thankful Monday list for today, the 16th of November.

  • Not really getting the flu that’s going around. I can deal with whatever it is that is bothering me as long as I don’t get any sicker!
  • Having another wonderful weekend with Cielo.
  • For my husband – who will be an amazing father whenever the Lord decides it’s finally time.
  • For leadership that is willing to listen.
  • For being able to help organize events this week, in Spanish.
  • For new friendships being formed.

We had 114 kids here from World Vision again this weekend. World Vision is not exactly how they advertise it in the States. Even though it’s a Christian organization, about 99% of the people (at least in Peru) that work for it are unbelievers and the kids for sure are not saved. They are not taught anything about the Bible and it’s definitely just a job, not a ministry for those who work for World Vision. This made for a long weekend. The kids were rowdy, horribly disobedient, disrespectful, dirty language… They didn’t listen to our leaders and counselors. I had a bunch swear at me when I told them to get off the playground and go back to their team. Our counselors were woken up at 4:30am Sunday morning! We were woken up at 6am when they decided to use our house as the divider for hide and seek. But, many did go forward Saturday night to accept the Lord. We don’t know how many were sincere and how many were just following the crowd, but God knows. It was a busy weekend, but I’m so proud of our students. We even brought in Pennies for Peru volunteers and all of us missionaries that were here over the weekend helped out. It was a big, working-together effort to pull this camp off. At this point, only God knows the results.

We also had Cielo again for Saturday and part of Sunday. Sunday, Brian had to discipline her for running off and being disobedient. I was so impressed with how he did it. He was able to show her that he was upset and that she was naughty, but he did it in such a way that when it was all over, she knew she was loved and wanted to stay with Brian the rest of the day. This morning, after asking for me, she asked for Brian. She’s been begging to see Brian today. Whatever he did really had an impact on her! I don’t think she’s ever been disciplined nicely by a man.

This week, I have a ton of baking to do! Thursday evening, I’m part of a group that is organizing a Thanksgiving Dinner, which is also a goodbye for the couple staying with us (this is their last trip to Peru). We decided that each missionary family will have their own table and then the students can pick who they want to sit with and we’ll eat family style. Each missionary family is in charge of decorating their own table and making some sort of apple dessert, enough for up to 12 people. Louise’s apple cake, here we come! 🙂

Then, Friday evening is a commissioning service for four new BCM Peru missionaries. We’re holding it in a different building in La Molina (about 30 minutes from here) and we’re going to do like a dessert reception. Informal, very family-friendly and warm. One of my friends and I are going to make cupcakes. I think the plan is 200+, but I think that’s overkill, so I’m going to suggest we make less.

Can I be petty for a second? I’m SO glad we have the motorcycle! For the first time since coming here, we won’t have to figure out our ride and we won’t have to ride on a cramped bus with all the students! We can drive ourselves. Yay!!!!! You have NO idea how exciting that is for me!

And that’s Monday, in a nutshell. Once I get pictures uploaded, I’ll be sure to put some on here from our weekend.

Day In The Life.

I like my job. I like my life. I’m not sure I say that often enough. I like where we’re at and what we’re doing. I like going to bed tired, knowing that I have done something worthwhile with my day. I like having busy weekends and full summers and plans to last a lifetime. I’m content. I no longer sit around going, “Man, I should be doing something!” or “I wonder if next year I’ll feel fulfilled?”

I also love who I work with. Misunderstandings will always be a fact of life; there’s no way around that. But, the fact that we can feel free to express when we’ve been misunderstood or to voice concerns about things we’ve been told – that’s really amazing. Too often you read horror stories about how missionary’s leaders don’t listen to them or don’t acknowledge their concerns. We don’t have that problem.

We also trust our leadership. We don’t need to know all the intricate details about what’s going on around us or the inner workings of our ministry in order to know we can trust our leadership to lead us where they feel God is taking us as a body. It’s nice to rest in their Godly leadership and not be concerned with how things are going behind closed doors.

I have seen visible evidence of my work being profitable this year in the kids that I teach every day. When I began the school year, my third grader had never had more than two hours of school per day, four days a week. She was supposed to be bilingual, but her “teacher” had translated all her work into Spanish for two full years, so she was nowhere near bilingual. I had to toss all my plans and preconceived notions about her year and start literally from scratch. We worked solely on learning English for the first solid two months and then some.

Now, she speaks almost exclusively to me in English. I rarely need to explain her assignments to her. I hardly ever translate when I speak to her. She’s reading with no accent and writing page-long reports on books with minimal mistakes. I’m so proud of her. She did two full years of schoolwork in eight months and will be entering fourth grade in April – right on time.

My seventh grader learned English three years ago and had the same problem – two hours of school per day, four days a week. He hasn’t had the same teacher for more than two years at a time and he was so used to teachers coming and going that for the first three months, he kept repeating, “I can’t believe you’re staying! Please don’t leave anytime soon!” His grammar and writing and English comprehension was horrendous. He’d never had to study, never read an entire book, never written a report or essay, and never been challenged in his homework.

This year, he’s read three entire books. One of which was “The Hiding Place” – which he has successfully read in two weeks, understood, AND enjoyed. He’s written a slew of reports and has improved with every one. He no longer writes everything in present tense and he’s no longer mixing up his pronouns. His reading comprehension has improved by leaps and bounds. He was failing every test and every quiz and just this week, he got a 96% on a test – all on his own. Even his parents can’t believe the improvement he’s made this year.

I’m so proud of “my” kids. I’m so excited about School 2010 because I think it’s going to be SO fun. Three Kindergartners and three Preschoolers are joining us. We’re changing curriculums, adding walls to form a second classroom area, redecorating, adding in music and art, planning field trips… so fun!! My goal this year was to make school a place they looked forward to coming, not something they dreaded. I want to impact these MK’s lives so that not only are they ready for university and a career, but so that they make Jesus Christ their OWN. That they will be solidified in their faith so that nothing will shake them when they leave the bubble of IBYM. I want to make sure they are well-rounded and aren’t shocked when they enter “the real world.” Most of all, I want to love them and help them succeed and be all that God has planned for their lives. They’re so full of potential it’s almost unbelievable.

Meet my kids:

dana1jeremy1jaredenglishclass1

Two in One Day?

Back at New Tribes Bible Institute, I was given a little devotional book by my RA. This little book has been my favorite devotional book ever since then. I pulled it out Sunday night because I knew I needed SOMETHING but I didn’t know what. I wanted to share with you some of the things that spoke to me specifically Sunday night. This is all taken from a book called “Looking Unto Jesus” by Theodore Monod.

The beginning of the book says,

“Hebrews 12:2 Looking unto Jesus… Only three words, but in those three words is the whole secret of life.”

[Then each paragraph begins with “Looking unto Jesus…”]

“…Unto Jesus… and not at Satan, through he may seek to terrify us by his fury, or to entice us by his flatteries. – Oh! From how many useless questions we would save ourselves, from how many disturbing scruples, from how much loss of time, dangerous dallying with evil, waste of energy, empty dreams, bitter disappointments, sorrowful struggles, and distressing falls, by looking steadily unto Jesus, and by following Him wherever He may lead us. Then we shall be too much occupied with not losing sight of the path which He marks out for us, to waste even a glance on those things in which He does not think it suitable to lead us.”

“…Unto Jesus… and not at the obstacles which meet us in our path. As soon as we stop to consider them, they amaze us, incapable as we are of understanding either the reason why they are permitted, or the means by which we may overcome them. The apostle began to sink as soon as he turned to look at the waves tossed by the storm; it was while he was looking at Jesus that he walked on the waters as on a rock. The more difficult our task, the more terrifying our temptations, the more essential it is that we look only at Jesus.”

“…Unto Jesus… and not at our doubts. The more we look at them the larger they appear, until they can swallow up all our faith, our strength, and our joy. But if we look away from them to our Lord Jesus, Who is the Truth (John 14:6) the doubts will scatter in the light of His presence like clouds before the sun.”

“Looking unto Jesus… as long as we remain on the earth, unto Jesus from moment to moment, without allowing ourselves to be distracted by memories of a past which we should leave behind us, nor by occupation with a future of which we know nothing. Unto Jesus NOW, if we have never looked unto Him, unto Jesus AFRESH, if we have ceased doing so – unto Jesus ONLY, unto Jesus STILL, unto Jesus ALWAYS, with a gaze more and more constant, more and more confident, (2 Corinthians 3:18) changed into the same image from glory to glory and thus awaiting the hour when He will call us to pass from earth to Heaven, and from time to eternity – The promised hour, the blessed hour when at last (1 John 3:2) we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is.”

Pictures.

pablocieloshaving1shaving2shaving3shaving4Brian hates this last picture, but I think it’s adorable! It looks like he’s eating his razor and the two of them are making the same face. He’s pointing to her hand print on his shirt that she made with her wet hand. So cute. 🙂

This Week.

I honestly can’t believe another week is already over. I thought I had blogged more last week, but apparently not! I don’t know what happened. I must’ve blogged subconsciously and just thought that I’d posted it all. woops.

So, on to Thankful Monday!

  • Being able to carry on an hour-long meeting with all the parents IN SPANISH with very little help. SCORE.
  • Spending two wonderful days with the most beautiful children I’ve ever had the privilege of being around.
  • Being able to help in camp and having the confidence to actually speak in Spanish to people I don’t know.
  • Watching who knows how many children from World Vision accept the Lord Saturday night around the bonfire.
  • The grace and love of my Father.
  • Being able to be the guest house yet again, this time for two weeks.
  • That the couple staying with us was able to bring a suitcase of things down for us – including everything I need for Christmas, a couple more books, some special surprise items from my mom, and cans of pumpkin so I can make two pumpkin pies for my husband for the holidays.
  • An afternoon-long conversation with someone who is quickly turning into one of the best friends I think I’ve ever had. We’re so alike – down to how we teach – and it’s just such a blessing to be able to spend time together.
  • Being able to help plan VBS for the summer.

This weekend was incredibly busy, but wow, was it wonderful. I watched my favorite little girl, Cielo, along with another deaf child – a little 8 year old boy named Pablo. Karen (my house cleaner who cares for Cielo) was asked by Pablo’s parents to care for Pablo. He goes to a deaf school and knows quite a few signs and is such a sweetheart. But, his parents claim they don’t want him. They will leave him alone in the house for hours at a time and Karen will come to his house and find him there alone, so she takes him with her. Other times, she comes to see how he’s doing and the parents ask if she can watch him and they’ll call when they’re ready to take him back. That’s what happened this weekend- she took him Friday evening and his parents didn’t call to have him back until Sunday afternoon. They didn’t even send extra clothes with him so she had to scrounge around for some. On the plus side, he does ask for his parents and he does miss them. He drew pictures of them for me and it was obvious that he cares for them. Cielo, on the other hand, doesn’t want anything to do with her family and freaks out if she knows she’s going to visit. Makes us wonder if Pablo’s parents DO care for him and are just taking advantage of the free babysitting.

Regardless, Karen had to work in camp this weekend as a counselor, so she asked if I would watch them. At first, it was a little awkward because Pablo didn’t realize I was in charge, so he kept running off and it’s not like I yell at him to come back. But, after awhile, the kids got accustomed to me and were really obedient. I needed to feed them lunch, though, and so I made them the one kid-friendly, sure-fire meal I know to make: Macaroni & Cheese. Yeah. That bombed. They hated it. Karen ended up coming down and literally force-feeding it to them until Pablo started to cry. I felt awful. But, how was I to know they would hate it?! I don’t even keep rice in my house so it wasn’t even like I had a back-up plan. Woops.

I had the two of them until 9:30 Saturday night. Cielo took a nap in the afternoon, on my lap, for two hours. My one question: how do you wake up a deaf child?! Took about five minutes to wake her up, poor tired thing.

Sunday morning, not only did Karen show up with the kids shortly after 7am, but our visitors from PA showed up shortly after 7 as well. So, the day was off and running before I was really ready for it, that’s for sure! Between watching the kids and helping in camp, the days really flew by. Brian was busy with camp all day Saturday, but Sunday he wasn’t busy at all, so he  helped immensely with the children. He took them for a walk and played with them. He put Cielo down for a nap while I took Pablo to play for awhile. Unfortunately, Cielo woke up screaming from a nightmare and was still crying when I came home. Poor baby.

Sunday afternoon, Karen took Pablo to go meet his parents and we kept Cielo for a few more hours. Something has definitely happened to her by a man because as much as she loved being around Brian, he made her nervous frequently and started being extra clingy to me as the evening wore on. Brian was really good at keeping his distance when she got nervous and showing her that he was NOT going to hurt her.

Karen finally came for her around 8. For once, Cielo didn’t jump up and run to her immediately. She stayed on the couch with me, eating her bowl of rice.

I have to admit when she finally left, I had a tough time. She needs a HOME – not a student who wants to be her mommy, but is still a student finding her way in the world. She needs a mom and a dad and stability and love and discipline. She needs a set bedtime and set meal times and a consistent schedule. It was hard to see her leave, especially when I found out that this morning, she didn’t go to school because Karen was too tired to take her. I also found out that this morning, the first thing she asked for me was Brian and I and she wanted to come to our house. Then when Brian saw her at lunch, she just threw herself at him.

I don’t know why she’s been brought into our life and I don’t know how long she’ll be here. I do know that it’s reaffirmed to Brian and I that we should adopt. I just wish I knew how or when!

So, onto a new week. We have an older couple from BCM International (our organization) staying with us for two weeks while he teaches the book of Romans in IBYM and she does some women’s ministry stuff. We really enjoy them so I think the two weeks should be fairly easy. =) This weekend is another weekend of camp with more kids from World Vision. This past weekend, many kids received the Lord and even a few of their leaders accepted the Lord. We found out that, at least in Peru, most of the workers for World Vision and Compassion International are NOT believers – it’s just a job for them. We had a lot of issues with the leaders because they’re NOT saved, but Brian and I were impressed with how our co-workers handled the situation.

I’m hoping to get pictures uploaded this evening and I’ll post a few from the weekend when I get a chance.

Monday, Monday.

I’m actually writing this post Sunday night; can it still count for Monday’s thankfulness?? 

To be brutally honest, Sunday was not the best day of my week and about stole all the thankfulness I’d been building up. I’m still working through some stuff and reconciling with things that aren’t easy to reconcile with; but I have a great husband who’s always there for me. He doesn’t judge me or make me feel horrible for being an awful person. I’m sure everything will work out; I just don’t know how right now.

 But, I digress. Here’s my Thankful Monday list along with an old Ribble Family Favorite Recipe (that’s my maiden name, in case you were going “Who?”).

  • Being encouraged by a friend who seems to be in worse predicament than I am, yet she’s so full of joy and faith. Floors me every time I talk to her and I’m so thankful for her influence in my life.
  • Being included in the activities coming up here at camp – for the first time we were on the lists of people to help out and they aren’t merely behind the scenes washing dishes stuff!
  • Not having to go to Iquitos in December! Let me repeat: We are NOT going to Iquitos in December!!!!!! YAY!!!!
  • Watching for an entire day the most beautiful, most special four year old I’ve ever met. Her name is Cielo and if there was any feasible way, we would keep her. My favorite part of the day was when we were cuddling on the couch during “quiet time” and she kept turning around to give me the sign for “I love you” (she’s deaf) and then wrapping her arms around my neck in big hugs. I didn’t want to see her go!

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  • A great time teaching English at our church plant Saturday afternoon.
  • Having our own transportation to get to the church plant on a Saturday afternoon!
  • That my father-in-law came through a surgery okay this week.
  • Being able financially to help out three students with their school bill this past week.
  • Having students finally feel comfortable enough with us that they ask for help with homework, use our oven, and come and go freely during the week.
  • Spending a late Saturday afternoon baking with two bored little girls on campus who just like hanging out with us on weekends. They play with Brian and when he gets boring (because he gets back to work!), they come inside and visit me. Yesterday, we made peanut butter brownies together- me, teaching them words in English and they correcting my Spanish. We looked at pictures together while we waited for it to bake (with them turning the oven light on every five minutes) and then we sent them home with pieces for themselves and their families.
  • My husband who holds me when I cry, leaves me alone when I’m angry, doesn’t make me go to church when he knows I just can’t do it, makes me coffeecake to help me feel better, and doesn’t judge me when my faith is lacking. 

So, growing up, my mom made this dessert every so often. It was always a favorite, but it never seemed to last long! Now, I know why! It only makes an 8×8 pan and I’m sure my mom never felt like doubling it! I rediscovered this dessert back in August after we got my oven and I wanted to make a dessert, but didn’t have many ingredients. Now, Brian asks for it frequently and since it’s so easy, I acquiesce. J I made it once in South Dakota, but the elevation must’ve messed it up because it was never the right consistency. Here, however, being at sea level, elevation is no longer a problem! Speaking of elevation, a lot of trees have been cut down around our house and we realized this evening – we can see the ocean from our bedroom window! Always been a dream of mine.  

Anyway – here’s the recipe of the week:

Brownie Pudding 

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Once again, here’s all the ingredients necessary! Not very many and very easy to have on hand. 

Combine all the dry ingredients in a bowl – flour, white sugar, baking powder, cocoa, and salt. brownies3

This is an up-close of my baking powder. This is for Becky – this is the only size it comes in and the only brand we’ve found. Hope that helps! J

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Add the wet ingredients – milk, vegetable oil, and vanilla – to the dry, then pour into a well-greased 8×8 baking dish.

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Sprinkle on top a mixture of brown sugar and cocoa. It’ll be a nice, thick layer.

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On the very top of it all, pour HOT water. I normally begin boiling the water in a tea kettle while I’m getting everything assembled and then I have hot water ready to go just in time.

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Place the whole steaming mixture into a 350 degree (F) oven for about 45 minutes.

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NO MORE! I normally just check to be sure the top is browning nicely, but sticking a knife into it won’t work since it’s supposed to be pudding-like underneath the top layer.

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And – VOILA! Brownie Pudding! As you can see, you have brownies on top and pudding underneath. MMMMM so good. It’s great hot or cold. We eat the first serving steaming hot from the oven, then refrigerate the leftovers. If you re-heat it, the pudding will re-appear, otherwise it kind of soaks it up into the brownie. Also good a-la-mode. Of course, what’s not?? 

Again, if you want the actual measurements, drop me a note!

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