God is good all the time. All the time God is Good.
Proverbs 16:9 “The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.”
God has been speaking loudly to me over the past few months. The plans have changed slightly but the goals are still the same. And God graciously reminds me of His control over everything throughout the ups and downs of change and unexpected circumstances. I am thankful for the daily conversations I’ve had with God lately. He is so patient with me and helps me grow in new ways and gives me his strength precisely when I need it! Proverbs 16:9 has never been more true for my life!
So to catch you up in case you don’t know, I’ve left Honduras for a little while. I’m working in Buena Vista, Guatemala with the original BVSA academy here. Just a little background in case you are confused: the BVSA Guatemala academy was started in 2008 by Brock and Kerrie Johnson. I have visited them numerous times and got connected to this ministry after Paul and Jessica joined them in 2012. The BVSA Travesía academy is a plant from this original academy. For more info on them here: https://www.bvboys.com/.
So, things have been put on hold right now in Travesía with our academy for a little while. And during this period, the folks in Guate have offered for me and Axel to come over here and join them. I’ve been here now for a few weeks. I’ve exchanged the hot, humid, buggy beach for the chilly, rainy beautiful mountains (at around 7000 feet up). I miss the warmth of the beach but the views up here in the mountains are phenomenal! The ultimate end goal is for us to return to Travesía and continue working at that academy and with our boys in that village.
God is encouraging me with so many different verses right now. Here a few that have been jumping off the page and grabbing hold of me:
1 Corinthians 16:13-14 “Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong. Do everything in love.”
Psalm 33:18-22 “But the eyes of the Lord are on those who fear him, on those whose hope is in his unfailing love, to deliver them from death and keep them alive in famine. We wait in hope for the Lord; he is our help and our shield. In him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in his holy name. May your unfailing love be with us, Lord, even as we put our hope in you.”
2 Timothy 1:7 “For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.”
1 Corinthians 1:25 “For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.”
I’ve been able to reconnect with rhinos in Guatemala that I’ve got to know in the past on short term trips. It’s been a blessing and a great encouragement for me to see them stick with it and continue to be a part of the academy over the years. Many of the older boys who are still in the academy now are so grown up! They’ve went from tiny little boys to strong young men! God is working in their lives and in the hearts. Some have become christians and some haven’t. God is moving in all their lives regardless of decisions they have or haven’t made yet… ‘yet’ is the key word here :). Seeing these boys here renews my hope for our boys in Travesía. I see in Guatemala a glimpse of what the academy in Travesía could be like in a few years. Young men whom God has raised up and touched can be striving and working to make their lives different and can be living with the hope that can only come from Jesus. There are so many possibilities for the future and I’m trusting in faith because God has been in the midst of the Travesía academy and hasn’t forgotten us!
A few of the older boys in Buena Vista work at the academy. So I see them all the time and get to work with them. They are a tight knit group and I appreciate them letting me ‘in’ to be one of the guys. And yes, they all speak Spanish! So, I need to speak Spanish to talk to them. They have become such patient, good humored and fun loving teachers for me. I still say the wrong things or just simply can’t speak a lot of the time (without my dictionary at least) but they always help out and gently correct me or teach me some fun new words. And sometimes they like to throw in a few new phrases for me just because they know it will cause a laugh when I learn what it really means! A few keys to learning a new language are grace, patience, not taking yourself seriously and lots of laughter! These boys help me with all of the above.
I’m also continuing my language training by going to a language school in the nearby town of Antigua. There are several great schools where you can learn Spanish and they have flexible schedules to work with internationals. I’m going to a school called Maximo Nivel for a few hours every day, meeting with a tutor to work on my Spanish. Total immersion for getting a jumpstart on a new language is the most difficult but the most effective way to go! I appreciate this program and I’m so thankful that I can take advantage of it while I’m in Guatemala. My teacher has been supportive and so patient, especially on days when I’m frustrated and not grasping the concept or just not understanding what she’s saying. And just for the record, Spanish is much easier to learn as a second language than English. I’m so thankful that English is my first language! there are so many rules and irregularities and exceptions that even English speakers still have trouble with! At least with Spanish things are simpler and follow a formula more often than not. I have to remind myself of that when I want to complain about how hard Spanish is or how I don’t understand something.
In addition to the change of location for a season, I’ve also needed to change my missionary forwarding agent. This is just a fancy term for who is in charge of the money and donations that my supporters send me. In order to simplify my finances and maintain full transparency and integrity, I have joined ministry called Commission to Every Nation (CTEN) who will help oversee the administrative side of my work in the mission field. My friends at BVSA Guatemala highly recommended them. If you want to see what they are all about, check out their website: http://www.cten.org.
CTEN exists to assist missionaries in the financial and administrative aspect of their work. I was first directed to CTEN by BVSA, who introduced me to some other missionaries in Guatemala who have been with CTEN for a very long time. And from the very beginning my heart was drawn towards them – their passion for Christ, their focus on relationships, their financial integrity, their very efficient administrative system, their denominationally diverse leadership team, their commitment to partnering with the local church, and their philosophy of ministry which is encapsulated in CTEN’s mission statement: “helping ordinary people partner with God to accomplish the extraordinary.” I’m excited to be working with this great organization now! They have already been such a blessing and help during a season of transition and change!
There’s so much more that I could say… and that’s the way that it always seems. I am working on my weekly routine and fitting in time for everything that I want to do seems impossible sometimes (maybe not if I just gave up sleep all together). And writing blogs and updates are something I’m seeking to do more of. Sharing your life with the world in written form is still new and strange for me!
Thank you for your prayers and your encouragement. People ask me sometimes ‘What can I do?’ or ‘How can I help?’. To that I have several prayer requests and suggestions for you if you are wondering those very things:
-Pray! I’ve got some prayer requests below. That’s the biggest need and way to help right now. It does so much more than you know. And when you pray for me, let me know! It doesn’t have to been a long email or text, just a note, just a word of encouragement to let me know people remember me and that I’m not forgotten. It’s biblical! Proverbs 12:25 “Anxiety weighs down the heart, but a kind word cheers it up.” Here’s my email if you need it: firstname.lastname@example.org. If you want my cell phone (yes, you can easily still text my phone just like in the states) let me know and I’ll send it to you. If you are texting me and wonder why I’m not responding, you probably have the wrong number because I always try to respond.
-pray for this transition. God has been so good to me and hasn’t left me high and dry! He is faithful and strong and I am being made stronger in my weakness everyday. I’m trusting him with the future of our Honduras academy and feel confident that He has plans for what lies ahead.
-Pray for my relationships in Guatemala. Pray for the staff and the boys at the academy here in Guate. I’m blessed to work with them and grow during this season. I want to be an encouragement to them as they are one to me. Just like Proverbs 27:17 I want to be sharpened by them and be used by God to sharpen them.
-Pray for my relationships and friends in Honduras. Please pray for our staff and the boys in Travesía. They are a great group of coaches and boys! I love them and miss them dearly! God has reminded me over and over that He was in Travesía long before we got there and He will be there long after we are gone. He hasn’t forgotten these boys and He knows what is best for them and is working in their lives in this very moment! Please pray and intercede for them and for their community. Pray for their future and for them to grow closer to God no matter the circumstances around them at the moment.