"For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being ROOTED and grounded in LOVE, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the LOVE of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen."
Tuesday, January 31, 2012
Monday, January 30, 2012
"...and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." - Matthew 28:20b
How quickly life will pass us all by...for no one knows the hour that they will take their last breath here on this earth.
"Watch therefore, for you do not know when the master of the house is coming--in the evening, at midnight, at the crowing of the rooster, or in the morning-" - Mark 13:35
Unfortunately, we quickly let our day to day struggles, worries, and little (unimportant) things get in our way of spending time with Him and sharing His love and grace with others. Sean and I continue to look back on most of our lives...missed opportunities...and living day by day for us. God, please open our eyes and help us to follow You...wherever You may lead. Lord, help us to take one day at a time to do Your will. Please God, help hearts around us to be open to loving and following You. Lord, help us to not hold any prejudices or pride as You teach us to love our new brothers and sisters. In Your Name we pray, Amen.
Saturday, January 28, 2012
|Sean was the brave one to go first!|
|I can feel the LOVE!|
|River...extra caution to keep his style!|
|Sean to the RESCUE...sorry Autumn - you are going to have to learn this from Aunt Cheryl when she comes to visit! |
(Autumn's apron made with love made by her Nana)
|Teaching Autumn how to wash clothes!|
|I am not going to lie...it takes the whole family to get all of our laundry done. So much for lifting weights. We have discovered that towels weigh A LOT when wet. Sean and the boys are the "spin mode" on my new washer!|
|Kids were amazed at the little girl leading the donkey!|
|We found a soccer field on one of our walks...overtaken today by a herd of sheep!|
|A friend of ours on staff at Villa Milagro painted Autumn's nails...she loved her little flowers!|
Friday, January 27, 2012
As I look back over the last few months as we were preparing to come to Peru and the last week and a half living here, most of the things that I worried about at the time, ended up not being that big of deal anyway. In fact, some days I find myself overloaded with stress and worry (okay maybe lots of day), but if I look back I cannot even remember those little things. Sarah's devotion shared, "if you shrug them off immediately and return your focus to Me (God), you will walk through your days with lighter steps and a joyful heart. When serious problems come your way, you will have more reserves for dealing with them You will not have squandered your energy on petty problems. You may even reach the point where you can agree with the apostle Paul that all your problems are light and momentary, compared with the eternal glory being achieved by them."
Dear Lord, give me Your eyes and help me see things from Your perspective, not from mine or the world's. Help me to focus on You daily and enjoy the relationships I have with my friends and family (cherish every moment with the kids you have given me for such a short period of time). No matter what circumstances or trials I may face, help me to stop and draw close to You to better understand what You may be teaching me or why You may be putting certain individuals or situations in my path. Dear Lord, help me to see the bigger picture and realize that the very moment that may be overwhelming, may be an open opportunity to share your love with others. Lord, help me to rely on Your strength. "My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness." - 2 Corinthians 12:9
When we made it to the top we had climbed nearly 4000 vertical feet in 9 kilometers. We stepped out to an amazing view overlooking the city of Cajamarca. So many beautiful lights lit up the sky. We stepped into the small church which consisted of four walls, one light, no heat and air, and a dirt floor. There were probably about 18 people all together counting our family (normally we were told there would be more...but the rain makes it very difficult for many to walk and attend).
As the service began, Sean and I were amazed at the overall expression of worship and praise. It was so beautiful...such a small room but all together singing as loud as possible, hands lifted praising our Lord Jesus Christ. Many times in prayer, the families did not care about the dirty floor or getting their clothes messed up, they just knelt down in prayer thanking God for all their many blessings. So much joy and love, fellowshipping together, and so thankful for this small room to come and worship their Lord. I think being there touched our hearts far more than they will ever know. Selso preached out of John 10:7-21 (Jesus the Good Shepherd). My favorite part of this passage was is verse 14 and 15 which says, "I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own. As the Father knows Me, even so I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep". For the Peruvian people, they remember their history and being ruled by Incan rulers. They have never met a King that was willing to lay down His life for them... until now. Standing there in that room, nothing else in the world mattered but fellowshipping with other believers and giving Glory and Honor to our Lord Jesus...nothing in this world is more important than knowing and serving Him.
As many of you know, Sean and I have spent most of our lives pursuing the American Dream. In fact, many times we would look for churches over the years to attend or visit based off of what all they had to offer to us. How entertained would our kids be or how comfortable would this or that church make us as we attended the services two times a week. Being here tonight, and seeing many with so little and the danger and sacrifices they made to walk miles to this church, continues to humble us. Thank you God for reminding our family that worshipping You can happen anywhere, even in a cold, wet, poorly lit room with just a few believers. Praise God!
|Inside the New Church|
|Little Girl in Church|
|Celso and Sean|
|Our Family with Celso's Family!|
Thursday, January 26, 2012
|January 2011 Vacation Bible School at Monte Sion Church|
|January 2011 - Finally found Norman...and his sister!|
|January 2011 - Norman and his family (Carlos is on the far right)!|
|Monte Sion Church (you can see the church with the steeple on top and iron gated entrance)!|
Wednesday, January 25, 2012
Thank you God for this blessing - please use our lives everyday that we may glorify you and abide in your will. Keep us humble so we may bring HONOR to your NAME. "But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus." - Philippians 4:19
The kids were very excited about having two new dogs that came from the house (Luna and Tenoche). They are old dogs but the kids fell in love right from the beginning. After figuring out the few items that were needed for the house, Sean and Celso (a friend from Villa Milagro) set up beds and then soon afterwards Celso took me to the city area to find groceries and house items. This was quiet a journey because there is no one stop Wal-mart. One of the biggest differences I saw was having less choices (which may be a good thing) in the stores compared to what is in the States. Also items are packaged smaller. I realized how spoiled our family has been in America by having the extra large cereal boxes. I can see River and Sailor now in the morning finishing one box in a setting with the smaller boxes here:) Riding through town reminds me of a roller-coaster with cars honking, swerving from lane to lane, and people walking everywhere as if they are care-free about a car coming head on right towards them. My heart was racing the whole time but everyone in the car seemed like this was normal. (Just going to take some getting used to). We are going to clean the house tomorrow and unpack the luggage (very thankful it ALL arrived). We also wanted to thank you all for your prayers for safe arrival to Peru. (By the way, Autumn is so cute...she keeps calling Peru - "Pu" and it makes everyone smile).
|Our House (Villa Milagro Minstry Farm is in walking distance right behind our house)|
|Tenoche (the dog) - the kids are now calling him "Papa"because of his gray bearded face!|
The yard where the soccer field will be...the kids are practicing (the boys are leaving Autumn out)!
Today our bus ride leaving for Cajamarca was fast approaching. At 4pm we boarded a double decker bus to take a 14-15 hour bus ride (climbing from sea level to 8500 feet) to our final destination. We were not sure at first if we would be able to sleep, but once we got on we found that the seats would recline and for the most part the ride was during the night (so the hours past quickly). When we finally arrived the next morning (after MANY curvy roads) we were greeted by our friends from Villa Milagro and we all got in a van and headed to the farm.
|Surfers in Lima|
|First Time For Kids Seeing The Pacific!|
|Lots of Stairs!|
|Lake so excited to see this LEGO store!|
Tuesday, January 24, 2012
Lima is a beautiful city. We are staying in a hotel while we are trying to get our religious VISAs. Sounds of car horns fill the air day and night. The kids are amazed at the drivers and challenge to cross the street. Sean and I usually grab two sets of hands and wait to see how the locals cross - slowly we started to figure it out. Autumn keeps asking why everything is in Spanish and we try to explain that this is the main language here (she still looks confused). We are creatures of habit. When it comes to meals the first place we ate was McDonald's (we were told that Cajamarca does not have McDonald's, so we thought we would give the kids an experience that knew from home). Sean and I are looking forward to less processed foods...but I have to admit...seeing a McDonald's makes it feel like home.
We had our first shopping experience! We are living out of our bags while we are here in Lima and unfortunately we only brought heavy winter clothes. The kids are miserable so we wanted to find a tee-shirt for the kids and flip-flops. What an experience...all I tried to focus on (as a bargain shopper) were "sale signs"- Sean just laughed because he knew that I wanted to find bargains but my communication barrier would be a problem. After and hour of searching we finally found shirts and shoes with the help of Sean's Spanish 101. I tried to ask where to pay for the items and the woman acted like she understood and took my whole family to the changing rooms (I have a long way to go:)
We crashed for hours in the afternoon. We all have had no sleep and the kids could hardly stand up after all the traveling.
Dinner was having Domino's in the hotel room as we all piled up on the beds to see a Spanish version of Disney on TV. The kids did not seem to mind as they sipped on their first Coca-Cola in Peru. We were told to stay away from the ice in our drinks. By 9pm we were all fast asleep.
|Creatures of Habit...Loving McDonald's in Lima|
|First Peruvian Coca-Cola...2.5 Liters- the kids were bouncing off the wall in the hotel!|
|Showing off their new summer gear...no more "winter" clothes!|
|Dinner in the Hotel in Lima!|
Thursday, January 19, 2012
"You can make many plans, but the Lord's purpose will prevail." - Proverbs 19:21
Highlights of Traveling to Lima
-Set alarm for 5:30am to travel to Raleigh, NC airport (River was the first one up...and was dressed and ready before we made it to the coffee pot). Also not much sleep- finally finished packing and re-packing last few bags at 2:30am the night before.
-Pulled out of the drive-way at 7:30am with 15 in the church van (my dad driving us all) which included all the cousins who stayed out of school to help take us to the airport. The kids called this there "party van" and loved to ask "are we there yet".
-Once we arrived at the airport- we were greeted first by our friends the Karriker's- who came to meet us and help us with the luggage and watching after the kids. (Sharon also made us amazing homemade cupcakes...THANK YOU all so much for all your help!)
-A very nice gentlemen at the curbside who worked for American Airlines helped us with our luggage. He helped way all the bags and we quickly realized the "over weight" issue on 2 of the 15 bags. We thought initnally that we would pay for 2 overweight bags thinking that there was not weight limit on those- but he informed us of the price of the additional luggage (totalling $1100). Hearing that number made our mouths drop- he said he would see what he could do to help find a solution. He mentioned first class and said that they get 3 free checked bags and a meal served. He first said that he needed to check for availablity (he looked shocked and said that there are exactly 6 seats left). We quickly booked them and the overall fee to upgrade and to cover all luggage (and a free meal for 6) was $540 (a savings of $560). THANK you God for this blessing. He hugged us and told us to always be obidient and to do good work for the Lord. (AMAZING)
|Ready to Depart - RDU Airport|
-Saying good-bye is never easy...we knew this day was coming- but we had no idea how hard this would be to say good-bye for 11 months for our family and seeing the kids say good-bye to their cousins and grandparents. I just kept praying for strength. As we walked away- I bet we all turned around and waved good-bye 10 more times (I loved seeing them when I turned around knowing that they were still there).
-Security went fairly smoothly. We had or blue "Operation Inasmuch" shirts on and this opened the door for questions about the ministry and our faith in God. One older man told me that his granddaughter did mission work and shared stories of her faith.
-I managed to drop the camera in the security line- I assumed it was fine- but soon realized that I had cracked my display screen and no picture shows. (I could have cried because I had this camera for years) Thankfully a good friend of ours dropped by with a phone/camera the day before our flight and said that a good friend named Nancy donated it to hopefully be able to use in Peru. Josh- please tell Nancy how AWESOME this was to have a back up camera. This will be our only camera now if the other one cannot be fixed. THANK YOU NANCY for helping us capture this journey!
-Many individuals prior to boarding the flight approached us on our shirts and wanting to know more about the mission- we even met another missionary just through her seeing the blue shirt. It was amazing to see how God worked on hearts to stop and find out more.
-We felt out of place initially and we were not sure how happy the crew was to see all the kids in first class. But they soon warmed up and thankfully the kids had a blast. By the end of the flight - one stewardess even made us a care package filled with warm cookies and nuts for our next flight. (What a blessing!)
-Lake actually ventured out and ate new foods on the plane...afterwards he mentioned that he thought it tasted like "caviar" (too cute...he has no idea what caviar taste like:)
-Autumn crying about not having her pink blanket (I feel AWFUL as a mom...how could I forget this...her tears finally stopped once she saw snacks coming on the plane:(
-Hustle and bustle to next flight...after we got off the flight I realized that I left the broken camera on the plane and Sean had to wait for everyone to exit to go get it. This put us way behnd...I think God is trying to teach me something with this camera.
-We ended up being last in line- but a stewardess came up and told us to ask for LUIS and she told us that she had called him to help us (we are not kidding to say that she was an angel...she had no idea who we were and that we were needing help!)
-Full flight but Luis with help from others found 2 hidden closets that they were able to store the oversized computer and guitar.
-On the flight- things went smooth...I finally closed my eyes for a nap and was woken up by the WORST turbulence ever...I mean I grabbed Sean and my kids beside me and thought the plane was going down...my heart was racing...I mean I am still struggling with this FLIGHT FEAR I have always had...(You can imagine how Sean thought I was crazy.)
-Landing in Lima...going through customs and immigration was an adventure to say the least...2 1/2 hours later we made it through...long lines, all the luggage, and the Heath's all dressed in winter clothes (with no air in the airport and it being summertime....we were so glad to make it to the hotel and met our new friend from Villa Milagro who has helped us tremendously).
-Final note: going to bed around 2:30am...we loved the toilet sign...do not put your toilet paper in the toilet or (W.C)...imagine doing this with 4 kids...new way of life is beginning!
|Posted in the Bathrooms:)|
This verse has really helped Sean and I as we were days away from flying to South America. God has been faithful in so many ways as worked long days and nights preparing for our family to leave the country. Times when our energy was depleted or unknowns to leaving the States were discovered - God always made a way through his word or people to push us another day.
The encouraging emails, calls, visits, stopping in to help our family with the last minute details...we could have not done this alone. Thank you God for never giving up on us or leaving us stranded when there seemed to be no solution. Thank you God for the individuals you put in our path that helped teach us to depend on you - DAILY and in everything we do.
And when we were just hours away from departure after many nights of little sleep...and in the wee hours of the night packing bags one more time to sort through the necessities...we want to thank you all for the encouraging calls, facebook, text, and visits to let us know that you were praying for us. Thank you to our family and friends who dropped everything to help us finish all the "last minute details".
May God Bless You All!
So thankful for our friends at South River Baptist Church and the Upper Room for encouraging the youth to focus on CHRIST and missions. For 24 hours - youth in the area came together at the Upper Room to fellowship with other youth and give up all "technology" for 24 hours. It was amazing to see God at work as Terry and Cherilyn Davis & Andrew and Emily Ponder worked many hours to help host this event. Words cannot express our special this all night "worship" was for our family. Thank you to all youth who participated and for all the individual and corporate donations to help support the ministry in Peru. Thank you also to all the staff at the Upper Room, 3 Days Leave Band, Josh Bunton with special music from a friend with an AMAZING talent on the electric guitar and to Brian Burgess with his incredible bible study. Really appreciate EVERYONE!
Thank you Beulah Baptist and all of the "MANCODE" group for the barbecue fundraiser. You guys mean a lot to our family...words cannot express how much Sean will miss meeting with you guys on Monday nights as strengthen your faith and walk with God with other fellow believers. Thank you to all our church family and so many others in the community who helped support this event and share in this DELICIOUS BARBECUE.
Thank you all to all our supporters and for the send off commissioning service that our church family had for us. This really meant a lot to our family and please know that you all will be missed. We hope and pray that you will continue pray for all the orphans, adults, and youth in the Cajamarca, Peru area for their hearts to be open to hearing the GOOD NEWS. Pray that our family will be "flexible" and open to where God continues to lead us each and every day.
May God Bless You All!