Friday, October 10, 2014

A Hearts Desire

When we first moved to Nicaragua, Dwight and I said we would stay for at least 1 year.  We would decide after 6 months, (January 2011) if we would stay longer.  Our visas required us to leave the country in December 2010 so we traveled to Costa Rica for a few days.  I jumped the gun and asked Josh and Maggie how they were feeling about staying longer than a year in Nicaragua.  TEARS.  We were in a tropical paradise and my kids were sobbing at the dinner table.  Maggie wanted to be with family and friends and Josh just wanted to be playing hockey.  Sobbing...
Josh was the Captain of his team before leaving

It was one of those moments when I thought I had made a horrible mistake to take them away from Edmonds.

Delight yourself in the Lord,
and He will give you the desires of your heart.
Psalm 37:4

Josh, Maggie and Will wouldn't trade their time growing up in Nicaragua.  They know what they have given up but they feel they have gained so much more than they could have ever hoped for.  They feel they have been saved from  many pressures from North American culture and gained a world perspective that a book, movie or vacation could have ever given.  

They have learned to love and depend on God in quiet and lonely moments.  They have learned to worship Him and that He truly is water unto their souls.  My kids love the Lord with all their heart, soul, mind and strength.  Why?  Because He is real and He has sustained them and made them thrive.

Josh graduated in June and went immediately to the USA to work and prepare to attend the University of Washington.  It wasn't his first choice of schools but as we see all that God had in store for Him, we know it was Gods perfect choice for him.  He never gave up the identity of a hockey player or lost his passion.
One of his senior pictures taken in Nicaragua

He investigated the UW Hockey team immediately and met with the coach.  We talked in June and he said that tryouts were September 17,18 and 19 and that he would work hard all summer so he could participate. He met with the coach and was told that, for the least he would be able to help with the organization of the team.  The coach gave him the opportunity to get on the ice with the team and that night gave him a number, his number 14, and said welcome to the Husky Ice Hockey team.
Last weekend playing again WSU

It was more than a few times that tears were shed because of the loss of hockey.  Not just from Josh but all of us mourned the loss of the sport that we loved and excitement in our lives.  I remember Josh saying he would never be able to play again, "only with old men and there would be no competition".  I knew he was right.  How could I have done that to him?    What could I say but lean into God, he will fill the void.

God allowed a void so that , yes Josh would lean into Him, but also at just the right time He could do what only God could do and restore Josh's dream and passion, with an opportunity to play on a team, competitive hockey!

What can I say?  Josh delighted himself in the Lord, he has lived well, hasn't complained and God has given him the desire of his heart.

Thank you Jesus for loving and lavishing upon my son.  Now please Lord I would like to ask you to be with him always on the ice and knock the guys down before they can ever get to Josh, can I ask that?  

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

How Can They Grow So Fast?

Josh got on a bus today to travel 24 hours to Panama City, Panama. He will be gone until the 14th of March participating in a conference called HACIA Democracy (Harvard Association Cultivating Inter-American Democracy). He is a Nicaraguan delegate, representing the U.S. on their stand on gun control. He has studied and now will discuss and argue with others about this topic.

Dwight said to me yesterday, as we are packing his suit, how did he grow up so fast? And my question was, did we do a good enough job, what have we missed?

The time with our kids is so short and I am so thankful to know that every minute of their lives God has been right there loving them, teaching them and protecting them. They love Him and that is all I could ever want. I am so proud of each one of them.

They don't spend so much time cuddling together but I know they love each other and desire the best for one another. They always support each other in their work, fun and dreams. They other night we were all sharing our dreams and one thing I appreciated so much was that they ALL had dreams!!!! They all want to travel and go on great adventures. They are amazing.
I know a big part of who they are is because we are away from all that is normal, easy and comfortable. They know the poor, have experienced loneliness and have longed to be with family. God knows the desires of their hearts and will continue to bless them as they walk in His perfect path.

Ok, that's a little about the kids. Thank you for your prayers. We love you and are so thankful for you all!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

a message from Josh...

Dear Friends,

The month of January was quite a busy month with school starting up again, Basketball starting, and really, just getting back into the swing of things, coming off of a month of Christmas vacation!
Going back to school was tough! The teachers decided to hit us right of the bat with big loads of homework, and also, I resumed my HACIA practices.
HACIA Democracy is a simulation of the OAS (Organization of Amercian States), organized by Harvard University. They prepare an annual conference, this year located in Panama, where students from all over the western hemisphere gather to practice debate, diplomacy, and consensus building. I am a part of the 15 student team from my school that will travel in March to participate in the conference in Panama.
To prepare for the conference, I have been going to weekly practice sessions, writing multiple papers, and meeting with my assigned advisor on Fridays to help with certain debate strategies and topic preparation.
Apart from HACIA, Basketball started up again on Monday. We are in the middle of tryouts, and will know who made the team by next Monday! Practices are very rigorous, consisting of many suicide drills, and numerous sets of pushups! What a great way to get back into shape!
On the 27th, we had our Spiritual Emphasis day at school, a day set aside for spiritual refreshment for the students and staff. It was such a great day, something I very much needed.
Without our wonderful church home, it has been very hard for me to feel filled up and on that day, I felt full again and encouraged! I'm currently reading the book of Joshua and it is just really neat to know why I was named what I was named!
Mom leaves to go home on wednesday, so please be praying that everything works out well while she is gone! Thank you all for your support and prayers!


P.S. Towards the end of January, I participated in my second Triathlon and took fourth place among guy students! I beat my time form last year by 45 seconds!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Yes! We are still here...

I apologize that it has been so long since I updated the blog. At times it seems so funny to write just about our life and then it seems like so much has happened and where do I begin??? I remind myself, I just have to begin...

I love the opportunities God gives us living in Nicaragua. I love that I have the opportunity to do ministry with North Americans! This picture was taken in Granada with a team from Allendale Church in St. Petersburg, Florida. I had a good laugh as I watched from a bench as they found their way through the city. This team put on a Vacation Bible Camp in the week that they were in Nicaragua. The VBS was for kids from the neighborhood surrounding the Villa. We had 35 kids in the morning and 15 teens in the afternoon ~ it was great! The team was challenged as they gave the salvation message. Why is that so difficult? If we truly believe that their is salvation and eternal life in Jesus alone and if He has changed our lives ~ shouldn't we be thrilled to share all that we know?

Erminia and Scarleth participated in the VBS and had a great time!

Erminia and Scarleth are sisters that live at the Villa. In December their mom, Angela, passed away. In the month leading to her death the girls and I visited her in the hospital several times. Each visit we saw God do great things. Our saying together was "God is the owner of this hospital and He wants us to be with Anglea". There are strict rules at the hospital and even one visit should not have been allowed but every time we were permitted to spend time with Angela and each visit the girls learned to say thank you to God that He allowed us to pass through.

Here's some highlights from the last few months:

Visits from Grandpa Dan, Tamara Nelson and my mom.

Josh was accepted to a program called HACIA Democracy. There is a link at the bottom to read more about this.

Quince's (15 year birthday party) for Guissel Nohemi, Monica and Diana.

Our family traveled to Costa Rica in December to renew our visas, we had a great time together!

Josh and Maggie both have higher that 97% in school and William is right close behind that with 85%!

We added a chocoyo (parrot) named Raulito and a kitten named Kai to our family.

We are keeping busy and continue to learn every day. God is good and has provided for all our needs. We trust him daily to live and serve in Nicaragua.

I will be home in February for two weeks to participate in a Forward Edge facilitators training weekend and then to visit with many friends and share with many what God is doing in Nicaragua.

Thank you for loving us and always remembering us...

Thursday, July 28, 2011

A New Car and my dear kids.....

We are on the look out for a new car. Would you pray with us that God shows us the right car, at the right time and that we would be ready.

Please pray for Josh and Maggie that their final weekend in the U.S. would be a huge blessing and that God would be the One preparing their hearts to join us on Tuesday.

We are always thanking God for each of you.

Monday, July 25, 2011

We're home...

I had a great expectation ~ that when we went home to the United States it would be like exhaling after a year of new things, new relationships and new situations. As it turned out that exhale didn't come until we returned to Nicaragua. It is good to be home.

It was such a strange, almost surreal thing being home in Edmonds. When we started our car insurance, the people told us our insurance would be more because as missionaries we are riskier, really? But as it turned out, maybe they are right. My first day driving I almost got in a fight in the Costco parking lot. I moved my car a little when there was a couple walking near by and the man started hitting on my car, came to the passenger window, yelling at me. Really I was a little heart broken, I didn't understand why he was so angry. I saw so many impatient people and had a sense of an attitude of "it is my right".

One day Dwight and I were at a store at U Village and I saw a bracelet made from wooden beads and magazine beads, they wanted $48 for it! This type of bead I have been trying to make with the girls in the Villa, we have also been finding seeds from the Guanacaste tree to make into jewelry. Our bracelets will look the same. I think what got me that day was that the price tag said "made in Cambodia", and I couldn't help but wonder how much of that $48 will that person in Cambodia receive?

Later we went to Starbucks and covering a whole wall was a giant picture of a man sorting through coffee beans. All you could see of the man was a straw hat and giant black arms. The question in my mind, how much does this 1 Starbucks make in 1 day and how much is that man making?

All of these moments made my heart and my mind so heavy. Would I ever have understood without living in Nicaragua? Without knowing the people that are working so hard everyday just to feed their family for 1 day? I know God has not forgotten even one of these. What is He calling me to do? I don't know the answer to that yet, or how to solve anything but i know that He has asked me to walk alongside many to give them hope for today.

Did I tell you yet about the amazing friends God has put in our lives? I am overwhelmed by their love and sacrifice for our family! There were a few times when I thought maybe we are crazy for having left such beautiful friendships but it has been those friendships that have pushed us and given us the confidence to live a new life. They continue to encourage us, remember us, support us and love us even from a long distance.
I loved the moments when I could sit in a group and just listen to everyone talking....because I understood! I loved the moments that I had with different groups of women studying God's Word, listening to all that He is doing in their lives. I loved listening to Pastor Brian Boone, preach God's Word from the book of Judges ~ hard truth. I loved meals shared with good friends. I loved the lingering conversations I had with friends as we would say goodbye. I loved the hugs of so many precious people. I loved eating crab. I loved looking for whales. I loved just being together with all of you.

I am so thankful for the listening ear when I was tired and couldn't make sense of things. I am so thankful for the one that said rest, don't worry, everything will be ok. I am so thankful for the delicious food that our country has, but I am not thankful for the 8 extra pounds I brought home!
Josh and Maggie are still in Washington, spending the rest of their summer break! Maybe we should call it a winter break as the weather in Washington has been grey, rainy and cold. They are loving it! William, Dwight and I made our way back to Managua on July 7. A team from Edmonds was here and so we went right to work.

Our dear friends Kerri and Landon stayed a few extra days. Our activities were limited as I had yet to unpack from a month away and then the radiator on our car blew up. We were without a car for several days and once it was fixed the smell of gasoline lingered. I didn't think too much about it because it had the same smell the last time we had it fixed. Dwight suspected a problem and indeed when I talked with the mechanic and he checked more closely, he discovered a leak in the fuel line. He told me to park immediately, that if I drove the car it could explode. We are starting the process of looking for a new car! We need something strong and reliable, that can carry a lot of people ~ would you pray with us that God show us the right car, at the right time and that we would have the money. Cars are very expensive in Nicaragua, so we need God's direction.

I don't want to tell you everything now.... so I will save a few stories for next time. It is good to be back. We have Landon Machado living with us and working with us until September, he is a huge blessing! I have had lot's of time to spend with the girls at the Villa, it's been good. Last night we celebrate Geyzel's 15 birthday, it was a beautiful night marked with much heart break as well. Please pray for her family.

I love you all and hope today that you will look to see where God is working, because He always is and He is waiting for you to join Him!

Until now you have not asked for anything in my name.
Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete.
John 16:24

Sunday, June 5, 2011

We are going home soon...

In less than a week we are headed home for awhile... at one time I was just excited, excited to understand things, excited to visit and be with our dear friends, excited to have fresh, cool air, excited to be in our very own church. I am still excited but also feeling a little sad; I am sad to leave our dear friends here in Nicaragua, the warmth, the teams, the unpredictability of each day.
I know God has good things planned for our time.

I am so excited to watch Josh, Maggie and William experience their old life in the U.S..

I have had these strange thoughts lately, thoughts that come with a little grief. The reality that we are forever seperated from what used to be home. We have set ourselves apart from that life. Really we have no home; we cannot call Edmonds home and we are not yet at home in Nicaragua ~ where is home? The song Dwight and I had at our wedding was Sandy Patty's "Love Will Be Our Home" ~ I always giggle when I think of that song because I remember listening at our wedding and almost cringing as she went on and on in such a high pitch. Now I recognize that song was just another indication of where our lives were headed.

God is good and for our entire lives has been inviting us and preparing us to serve Him...

I hope that Dwight, Josh, Maggie and William will have words to share what this year has been.
We cant' wait to be home with you soon and then return to the country we love...