26 November 2013


Nearing the end of a month full of birthdays, we finally arrived at my birthday!
To be honest, my birthday is usually not one of my favorite days. Probably for my own expectations etc. but usually it is not a real fun day. Adding to that this would be my first birthday without any of our kids here, and I wasn't sure what to expect.

Preparing to slay Tigger!
I had asked Sandi for just a few people for dinner, not a lot, to just keep it low key.
What has become somewhat of a new tradition for us (5 years worth), is after dinner on my birthday to decorate our Christmas tree! No, it's not early...I love Christmas decorations, tree, everything!
So, we were just going to have  a few of our "kids" over for dinner and then decorate.

Now that´s some good piñata form!
 But, they surprised me with a bit more! While Sandi and I were out in the afternoon, Susana, Evelyn and Luis decorated the entire house!
There were streamers and balloons all over! 
Then Luis helped me 'assemble' our Christmas tree. One thing we do miss from back in Washington are natural Christmas trees.
Then around 5, Erika, Elizabeth and Sonia, along with David and Martina arrived and had a big piñata for me!
A Tigger piñata! 

Elizabeth and her grandma waiting for candy!
 They blindfolded me and I got first crack at the piñata. Sadly for the others I gave it a couple of good whacks and it exploded! There was candy all over the yard! So, no one else got a chance to whack the Tigger!
Then we went in for a great lasagna dinner Sandi had prepared, although our 'small' dinner had grown to 15 people.

Birthday dinner!
After dinner, some of the kids played cards while a few others decorated the tree. Now the whole house is decorated, a combination birthday / Christmas! 
It was a great evening, I enjoyed it very much, even though our kids were not here with us. Sandi did a lot of work to make it a special evening for me, I was blessed with our "kids" from here with us, and they all played a part of making it a very nice birthday for me.
I truly am blessed to have so many great people in my life. It is a privilege God has given me to love so many people here.
 And to be loved in return by them is an honor I am humbled by.
Thanks to all!

21 November 2013


Quick update.
Please be praying for both Wendy & Offy. 
Offy has been undergoing transfusions this week to receive blood platelets from a donor.
I don't understand it all, but has to do with her blood being able to coagulate and also fight off infections?
Anyway, she will continue with more transfusions for at least a few more days.
She has been bleeding some, from her nose etc. and I think it is somewhat to be expected for this situation, but I still don't like it.

Offy with Mike
And, just to make a hard week even harder, a brother of Wendy's was killed on Monday.
Wendy wasn't sure of details, thinks he was being robbed, but he leaves behind at least a wife.
Please keep them all lifted up in prayer.
I am thankful that Wendy shares with me and she expressed again tonight her gratitude for all of you as I told her I would share with our prayer team and supporters and they would pray for her and Offy.
I too give thanks to God for all of you, it is such an encouragement for us knowing we have so great a team right alongside of us through all of this.
We pray for strength for Wendy, she is dealing with a lot emotionally. 
We are thankful for a good donor for Offy and pray these platelets with take and build in her little body to strengthen her in this battle.
We give thanks for Kairos and the care Wendy and Offy receive there.
We give thanks for the doctors and nurses, and all that help provide medical services for Offy.
We thank God for his love for Wendy & Offy shown through the love and prayers of so many.

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good,
his love endures forever.
Psalm 107:1

20 November 2013

Random observations

A few random mid-November ramblings as we quickly approach the end of another year!

November, as anyone of you that has followed our news knows, is full of birthdays, and today is Juliana's birthday! So, I had to get up early and go down to La Luz Brilla to light firecrackers outside of Juliana's window! 
I would like to encourage you to pray for La Luz Brilla. There are always many needs for the girls, one is we are hoping for jobs for the girls. Juliana recently started a new job. Martina has been working just part-time, but will move to full-time starting Dec.1. Erika is hoping for a temporary job over the Christmas season, and Evelyn needs to find a job. Please pray for their work situations.
La Luz Brilla overall is in great need of more monthly financial support. We average receiving under $300 monthly and our average monthly costs to operate La Luz Brilla are between $1,100 to $1,500.
God has been so faithful to provide, often sending one time gifts at the last moment! But, would you please pray for the financial needs of La Luz Brilla and if led to be a part, ask us how!
There are always things that come up, this month it is the glass on the front of the oven door shattered! I have not yet been able to find somewhere that can get me a new one...keep looking. 

Elizabeth with grandma
Another prayer request at La Luz Brilla is for Elizabeth. We will take her in today for some X-rays and exams because we have noticed that when she walks her feet are twisted inward quite a bit. She actually trips over her own feet occasionally. Please pray that it is nothing really serious and that we can treat it  simply, hopefully with not too much expense, as we cover all of Elizabeth's needs.
Elizabeth is an absolute joy, she is becoming the best teacher of unconditional love for all of the girls at La Luz Brilla! She is very bright and is quickly becoming, and will be, completely bi-lingual!

Wearing a tie again!
 I was asked to be the speaker at an "acción de gracias" service (thanksgiving) at Iglesia Biblia Abierta, to give thanks for 6 graduates from that congregation. One of the graduates was our Susana, so it was a great honor for me to do that. It also saw me wearing a tie again! Every November is my "wear a tie" month with so many graduations!

We are really gearing up now for Nochebuena! And, we have great news!
Mid-November and we are FULLY FUNDED ALREADY for Nochebuena!
Praise the Lord! 
We are over 100% already and anything over what we need for Nochebuena will be used toward our FAMILY EXCURSIÓN we host in June for the families from around the dump!
What a blessing to have a head start on that already too!

Also please keep praying for Offy and Wendy. More exams this week and they are planning to start her on some new medicines to hopefully help her keep her sight as the cancer continues to grow.
Please pray for us too as we support them the best we can.

Muchas Gracias for your prayers for all of these things, as well as your prayers and support for us. 
We humbly thank God for the amazing team he has surrounded us with!
May He receive glory and honor through the small part we play!

12 November 2013


As mentioned in a previous post, November is a month FULL of birthdays!
Last night we celebrated one with a dinner at McDonalds!
It was David's 15th birthday. 
Our kids are all far away, but there is another family that almost feels like our very own, we are so close to these 5 kids they are, in our hearts anyway, just like our own children.

Birthday dinner at McD (David front r)
 They are, in order by age, Erika, who lives at La Luz Brilla with her daughter (our nieta) Elizabeth. Oscar, who lives with their dad in a not so great situation. Sonia who lives at Las Aldeas childrens home. Luis, who lives with us, David who lives with Sonia at Las Aldeas.
So, it is always a special treat when we can get them all together for anything.

(l-r) Oscar, Sonia, Luis, Elizabeth, David y Erika
They have always managed to remain very close, basically each other are all they have ever had before, and now they have incredibly accepted us as their "family".
After McD's we went back to our house for some of Sandi's cupcakes and a lot of laughter!
A fun evening and we are so thankful for all of the kids in our lives, it fills the space left by our kids being so far away, and actually for me, makes me feel closer to our kids even through the distance!

11 November 2013


We would first like to pass on our thanks and also from Wendy our gratitude for the prayers of so many of you for little Offy and her mom Wendy.
It is a tough deal, but our God is bigger than any of it, so we trust in Him for His will to be done.
We don't understand so much, but know in all things that He is faithful and will not allow more than anyone can handle.We spent the entire day with Wendy and Offy yesterday and it was needed for them to relax a little.
It was a long week for them with tests and treatments everyday, which always involves a lot of waiting as much as anything else.
The chemo has been hard on Offy and they will be cutting it back I believe to try and maintain more than anything.
Offy has been having a lot of pain in her eyes, and it appears that is a progression of the cancer.
She is going today for exams for her eyes to see if they can help some with that, but it is a progression of this type of cancer in her brain, and will most likely lead to her losing her sight.

Offy & me watching a movie after church!

The problems she had with her heart seem to be better, her pressure has stabilized and the doctors are pleased with that.
However, the 'mancha' on her brain as Wendy calls it, actually it is the tumor, is growing and there will not be a lot more the doctors can do, so we pray for a miracle if God so chooses.
Please continue praying for them. It is very hard to watch, Wendy has watched so many other children over the past few years, and been with their moms, comforting them etc. But, now that it is her turn, she almost seems to be in a bit of denial and talks like it is just continuing treatment.
Please pray for us also as we try to minister to Wendy through this.
They may get a 10 day break from treatments after this week.
We have been trying to help with some of the costs, most of the treatments in the public hospital are covered, but some medicines and many of the tests they need at other clinics and labs are not covered.
I imagine as the cancer progresses there may be some more costs involved, but we don't know at this point.
If there is anyone that feels led to possibly help later on if needed, just let me know and I will keep you informed if it is needed.

Rejoice in the Lord always, I will say it again: Rejoice! 
Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and petition, 
with thanksgiving,
present your requests to God.
And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, 
will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
                                                                                                   Philippians 4:4-7

We are so thankful for the privilege to love Wendy & Offy, and we are extremely thankful for all of you reading this and standing alongside us in prayer for them. 
May God bless you in return for the way you bless us here.

08 November 2013


It is November and that always brings lots for us to do!
First, November is definitely our heaviest birthday month. In November alone on my calendar I have 15 birthdays of family and close people we like to celebrate!
We like to acknowledge our youth especially as for many of them our celebration may be their only celebration! 

Lots of cakes in November!
 Obviously with 15 birthdays in a month of 30 days we need to do some combining sometimes, but we always try to have fun!
And, of course, some of the birthdays are for people not here in Guatemala so we are not actually having a celebration every other day, although sometimes it feels like it!
Christmas carols in the street!
 Also in November, among all or our 'normal' stuff going on, we begin the process of planning our annual Noche Buena outreach activity.
Noche Buena means Christmas Eve and every year we host a big outreach activity in Zona 3 very near the largest land-fill dump in Central America! 
This is a very densely populated neighborhood, one of the very poorest and most dangerous parts of Guatemala.
Most people here cannot afford gifts for their children or even the traditional Guatemalan dinner of tamales and ponche.
Many have never even heard the Gospel of Jesus Christ told to them before.

Starting the party in the street!
 Each year we go with many of our youth to serve alongside of us, and most of all, we try to just love on the people and give them an afternoon of hope and joy.
We begin by decorating Casita Benjamin where we hold the event. Casita Benjamin is a christian daycare.
As the people begin to arrive we gather them out in the street and we sing Christmas carols, many of the people have never heard them before!

Some of the kids activities before dinner!
 After singing in the street we then give an evangelical message still out in the street, because by this time we have attracted more neighbors that had not received tickets but came when they heard the music.
After the message and an invitation to accept the Lord, we welcome those with tickets to come inside.
We began giving tickets a few years ago as the event grew because we have limited space and need to plan for dinner, gifts for kids, baskets for families etc.
After the people come in we have two areas, one for children and one for adults. Our youth lead a program for the kids, with a message for them including songs, skits etc.
Meanwhile the adults receive a short message to encourage them in a very difficult life and to explain to them where true hope lies.

Some of the adults at Noche Buena!
After dinner and a dessert with Sandi's famous Christmas cookies, we give each family a "Canasta de víveres" which is a basket filled with basic goods. Rice, beans, pasta, sugar, oil, soups, etc etc. There are around a dozen or more things in each basket.
Each child also receives a wrapped Christmas gift, for many it is literally the only gift they will receive.
We will plan for between 200 and 250 people!

It is a day filled with love and joy, but takes a ton of work to bring it all together.
We have many all day activities with our youth in December to get things ready. Making decorations, wrapping 200 gifts, putting 75 baskets together making cookies etc.
All of this after many days going out to gather all of the stuff needed to do all of that!
But, it is so much fun to see the faces when they hear the gospel, when they get a tamale, when they are given a gift!

Obviously, this takes funds to make happen. This is an opportunity for you to be a part of this amazing outreach event. Will you consider helping to make this happen?
The Lord has already provided at this date well over half of what is needed, so we know He will provide the remainder as well.
If you would like to help, you can send a tax deductible gift to:
Camino Global
8625 La Prada Drive
Dallas, TX 75228
Please make sure you include a note that it is for the
Casita Outreach Event account # 062877

Thank you and may God bless you!

07 November 2013


It is that time of year again for graduations here in Guatemala!
Every year we get invited to quite a few graduations and at many I am asked to be "Dad".
This year we had some very special graduations.
It began earlier this year as I have already reported with our daughter Felicita graduating from Berea College, and then following that with our youngest daughter, Maria, graduating from High School!

Duguer graduating 
Now is the Guatemala season and we were so happy to watch Duguer graduate! 
Duguer is the middle son of Ernesto & Susana that live with us! 
We are very proud of Duguer and excited for him to continue on in básicos next year.

Sharol graduating básicos
 Another graduation was for Sharol Escobar. Sharol has been one of our dearest youth involved with our youth groups from the beginning.
Sharol was graduating from básicos and I am so very proud of her for working hard to finish!
While at her graduation I was surprised when they called her name to be asked up on stage for the photo with the parents! I hadn't been informed beforehand, but I had arrived a little bit late so that is why!

Susana with her family
 Another graduation we were so proud to attend was for our Susana! 
Susana is 33 and graduated from 6th grade! Many adults that grow up out in rural areas, especially women, never finish the basic education. Most are either never sent to school, or pulled out at an early age to work in the home etc. Susana has wanted for years to complete the basic education, so when her kids were big enough for her to leave some evenings and weekends, she enrolled in a course for adults to complete the basic education requirements.

Susana with extended family & friends
 It was not easy for Susana, with a family and job, and even with lots of homework, she stuck with it and successfully completed the program!
Many of her extended family and many friends came to honor her at her graduation!
We love you and are so very proud of you Susana!

Rony presenting a diploma to Andrew
 Another graduation we were asked to attend was for Colegio Evangélico Génesis, in Puerto San José on the Pacific coast of Guatemala.
This is a school we have helped for several years and become very close to Rony Montepeque, the Director, and his family.
We even placed an intern, Andrew, with them for a month.

Edwin graduating básicos
 Andrew did some help around the school, painting and repairing desks etc.
So, at the graduation they even presented Andrew with a diploma for his help!
We also were there to see Edwin graduate, he is the kid that saved some friends of ours from drowning in the ocean several years ago. He had not been in school for over a year at the time, so after he saved some of the Conner family, they and some of their supporters have put Edwin through school and we were able to watch him graduate!

Colegio Evangélico Génesis 2013 Básico graduates!
There were also a couple of graduations I was invited to that I was unable to attend, and a couple that I did not go to the ceremony but was able to go to a celebration dinner.
I think I am done with graduations now for 2013!

Congratulations to all of the graduates! 
We are proud of you!
May God bless you for your accomplishments and continue to lead and guide you to the next goal ahead of you!