House Project Update

Most who know us know that we are in the midst of building a home for our family here in Nicaragua. Our family thought about living here for many years before we made the move and we are incredibly excited about this next step of having a home to raise our kids in here.

We currently live in one of the small, round houses on the camp. It has certainly been interesting to have the six of us in a little over 600 sq. ft. for the past year and a half. We have found creative ways to make the most of the space we have and it has been an adventure! The biggest struggle we have faced is in homeschooling and Phillip’s administrative work. We do it all (school and Phillip’s office work) in our small living room and often find ourselves frustrated and tripping (and sometimes yelling) over each other. Needless to say we are very excited that the new house will have a separate space for Phillip’s office and the kids’ school.

The house is coming along great. Most of the lower level is built (no floor yet) and they will be finishing the floor of the second story next week. Next, they will be building the walls of the second story. We do, however, need to raise some more money to keep the construction going.

We still have a way to go before we are able to spend our first night under its roof. After they build the walls of the second story we still need the following: a roof, cement floor on the lower level, a fine cement finish over all the walls (this will allow us to paint), windows (we don’t run AC during the day so we need good windows to keep us cool!), electricity, plumbing, tile floors throughout, completed bathrooms, completed kitchen (cabinets and counter tops), a drop ceiling and paint on the walls.

If you would like to be a part of the construction of this house you can donate through PayPal or send a check to the Way of the Cross (address below). We are so thankful for all the people God has put in our lives to support our family as we serve the Lord in Nicaragua.

All donations sent through the ministry are tax deductible. Please put a note on the check indicating its purpose.

Way of the Cross Ministries                                                                                                                 224 N F St.                                                                                                                                               Harlingen, TX 78550

If donating through PayPal, please indicate the purpose of the money either through PayPal or through an e-mail sent to wotc@wotc.org.

Click Here to Donate through PayPal

 

 

 

Thankful

In a previous post I mentioned how Way of the Cross is building a house in a very poor community, where we do weekly Bible studies. The house is small by anyone’s standard, but it is a beautiful blessing to the family who will soon be living in it.

The family receiving the house, and literally all of the families living in the community, currently live in shacks built of tarp and old pieces of tin. They are living on land gifted to them by the government but have no means to build a secure home for themselves. Many of them are hard working but jobs pay so little that they simply cannot afford to put money into a house when they must feed their families. They fight the wind and rain that blows through the tarp and threatens to take what little possessions they have.

So now there is a family, thankful for their new house that will keep them safe and secure. Here we are, thankful as well, for the sweet couple from Tennessee who decided to forgo things they want so that they could donate the money to have the house built. We see God knitting together the body of Christ and we find ourselves most thankful for allowing us to be a bridge of sorts: connecting people from different cultures and  languages across thousands of miles and numerous borders to impact them both for the Kingdom of God.

What a privilege it is to serve the Lord!

dsc_0964dsc_0965dsc_0966dsc_0972dsc_0973dsc_0976dsc_0977

 

*If you would like to fund a house or even come to Nicaragua and be a part of building, please let us know and we will get you more information! 

 

Life on the Mission Field

We are back in Nicaragua and we will be here for a while. How long, you ask? Well, we aren’t exactly sure. We still have a house in Texas, though we won’t step foot in that house until August of 2017. For now, we are just taking it a year at a time, believing the Lord will lead us to what we should do in the future.

After travelling throughout the U.S. to visit churches and family for a month we are now settling back into life on the mission field. We are catching up with friends, getting things going for upcoming events, and starting new adventures.

The kids are on week 2 of school, so we are a little bit behind the typical school-year but we are going at it full force and hope to stay on track throughout our regular missions activities and travels. Homeschooling in Nicaragua has certainly presented some challenges, but we have gotten creative and are making it work quite well.

The base camp (which is where we live) will be packed with people in just over a week. During the month of October the ministry will be hosting it’s second Missionary Training School. We are looking forward to working with a new group of students as we teach and train them on what it takes to be a missionary.

Phillip and I and the kids are truly enjoying living here in Nicaragua. We aren’t yet fluent in Spanish but we are learning little by little. The kids have a friend who likes to come over to play or even spend the night, and we are thankful for her and her family and the sense of belonging she brings to our girls. Logan is having a blast, of course. He loves riding his bike all around the camp and has just recently been potty trained (though not 100% there yet).

We appreciate your continued prayers and support for our family as we live in Nicaragua. We are blessed to have such an opportunity and we are thankful that you are right there beside us, supporting us as we serve the Lord.

In Christ, 

Jessica (and family)

Nicaraguan Life

I first titled this post “Nicaraguan Adventures.” We certainly have been on many adventures since coming here, but to be honest it is everyday life that has touched my heart the most.

For the first month of our time in Nicaragua we were busy with groups, work and a lot of evangelism. We had a large medical team, a construction/well drilling team and a police training team in that time. It was our usual M.O. and we were so blessed by all the teams who gave of themselves to help us reach the people of Nicaragua for Christ

It wasn’t until after the first week of February that the rest of the WOTC staff returned to the States and we were left to continue life in Nicaragua.

Life…

Kids, school, cleaning, cooking, shopping, church, work, friends, ministry and more.
image

image

image

 

Life with stumbling tongues and joy-filled hearts as we have conversations and build friendships in a new language.

Life with less things and more people.

It isn’t the same, this life in Nicaragua.

Today Phillip took me to see a house, just for the fun of seeing it. It stuck out like a sore thumb. It was a large place that looked like it had been plucked up out of the United States suburbs. All I could think was, why?

Why did someone feel the need to bring the United States here? Could they not have been comfortable within the walls of Nicaraguan architecture? Not that it really mattered. After all, it was just a house. Maybe, though, a part of me has been like that house. Striving with every trip to be in Nicaragua without actually being a part of Nicaragua as I hold tightly onto my culture, my comforts and my language.

I pray that in the coming years we will have more opportunities to be a part of Nicaragua and to live life side by side with the people here.

Speaking of life, in the midst of the every day our lives have been busy planning and preparing for an upcoming Kids Camp happening mid-March. We will have a group of 16 people from Chicago joining us to minister into the lives of a little over 100 kids. This will be the first team to stay at the new Way of the Cross base camp, which, by the way, is awesome.

image

We are so excited about this base camp. It is located in the little town of Las Conchitas near Masaya. I look at this camp and can almost see the people coming and going, learning, sharing and praising; all for the glory of the Lord! I see opportunities previously unavailable, now open to us. Opportunities to minister deeper, longer and more steadfastly into the hearts of the people.

We can hardly wait.

A Different Type of Ministry

Ministry comes in all shapes and sizes. We aren’t always out on the “front lines” preaching the gospel or aiding the poor. Lately I have been thinking about these “slower” times (that really aren’t that slow) the Lord gives us, and wanted to give you a look into the ministry that happens in our family during these times. Right now we are in the preparation phase of ministry. We are seeking the Lord and putting together plans for upcoming events. Phillip spends much of his time in his at-home office, doing a wide variety of administrative work.  We are so thankful to have Phillip around during most of  the day. He often takes the time to check in on the girls work and the girls tell him all about what they have been learning in school while we eat lunch together. The girls and I home school Monday through Friday, and we are truly enjoying our new curriculum.

For this year we  switched our curriculum to Five in a Row, and we are loving the simplicity and depth combined in this curriculum. Every week we read a short picture book, then dive into the subjects we find within that book.  Last week we have been “rowing” Madeline. From this cute, poetic story we have learned about topics such as France, having order (and order found in the Bible), symmetry,  poetry, health and how the body works,  how to have sympathy, how we should “smile at the good and frown at the bad” and how to learn about what is right and wrong before God. We use a separate reading and math curriculum as these topics aren’t covered extensively in FIAR. We all had so much fun doing projects to help us learn the topics. Here the girls are with their human body projects:20141017_152633

They certainly didn’t turn out fancy (or proportionate) but we had fun making them and it helped the girls to learn a little more about the body (they especially like blowing air into the “lungs”). Here is Paige with her Eiffel tower built out of sugar wafers and frosting. This was all of their favorite craft of the week (of course). 20141017_111305

We also created morning routine cards and hung them up in their room, painted symmetrical pictures and cut out 12 cute little girls to act out some scenes from the book and learn a little math along the way. Our week was full, but I feel so blessed  to be used by the Lord in this way. I have begun getting up early to have more time with the Lord and time to prepare for our day before the kids wake up. Logan is such a good baby and he makes it easy (most days) to stay active with the girls. IMG_9723 The more years Phillip and I spend as parents, the more we realize that our family is the biggest ministry God has given us. The people within our household are those we spend the most time with and the ones we have the most impact on in the world. IMG_9748 IMG_9719

Of course, we are very excited about the “field” mission work that is coming up! Phillip (and the rest of the WOTC staff) have been working very hard preparing for upcoming events such as the Celebrate Jesus Festival (Brownsville, TX), the Big Feed (Mexico), Med-Fest (Nicaragua) and many, many others.

Our family is especially excited as we are planning on being in Nicaragua for a good portion of next year. We will be staying at the ministry’s new base camp and we are working on some very exciting missions opportunities (including a first ever Kids Camp!). We will continue to keep you all updated on these things as more details come up. Thank you all for your prayers for our family as we minister into the lives of many, in many different ways.

It’s Been A While

Yep. It has been a while since I have put out an update here and a lot has happened in that while. It is hard to put into words how God has blessed us, but the thing that stands out the most in our lives is our children, and we recently added another one to the bunch!

IMG_9304

IMG_9281

IMG_9283

Logan Arthur was born on June 2nd, 2014 weighing in at 9 lbs 11 ounces! We had another wonderful water birth and he came in a quick 2 1/2 hours.  Of course his sisters just adore him.

IMG_9289

IMG_9360

All four kids are growing so fast. Paige celebrated her 4th birthday at the end of May and we are coming up on Olivia’s 2nd birthday and Emma’s 6th. We recently started a new school year after a short break; Emma is in first grade and Paige is in pre-school. We love homeschooling and both girls are excelling!

IMG_9425

Our family is also very excited about some upcoming mission trips that we will be a part of. No matter where we are in life we always have a passion for sharing Jesus with the world. Stay tuned for some posts abut these upcoming mission trips!

Building a Team

If you follow us on Facebook, you already know that we are trying to build our ministry team. We want to get 100 people who will be committed to praying for us and giving $10.00 a month. You may be wondering why we chose these numbers. When Phillip first suggested it, I said “you know that would mean 100 different checks every month, right?”. It seemed a little impractical to me, but the more I thought about it the more it made sense.

You see, we believe that every Christian is called to be a missionary, though not every Christian is called to the profession of a missionary. Every person who has Jesus as Savior is called to share Jesus with others, whether it is with the person checking you out at Wal-Mart or the poor in a foreign country, we should always have the Gospel on our heart and lips. Many Christians have a desire to minister to those living in extreme poverty in other countries, but simply cannot travel to make that possible. By us partnering with so many all those people become a part of the ministry we do and in fact become missionaries themselves. We could not do the work God has set before us without those ministry partners.

Paige handing out Gospels of John in a classroom in Nicaragua.
Paige handing out Gospels of John in a classroom in Nicaragua.
Emma handing out pens in a class.
Emma handing out pens in a class.
Phillip helping Emma & Paige walk in the mountains of Nicaragua.
Phillip helping Emma & Paige walk in the mountains of Nicaragua.

To be honest, we don’t like raising support and have never actively gone after it (other than sending out a letter now and then), but God is impressing on us that it is something we need to do, and something that He will bring to fruition.

So, here we are, laying ourselves bare and letting you know that we need your help.

Help with groceries and gas. Help with school supplies and bills. Help to keep our family going every day so that we can devote ourselves totally to the work God has set before us.

We know that even $10.00 a month is a big commitment for some and we want you to know that we will do our very best to use it in a way that glorifies God and allows us to serve Him more. We will also keep each and every one of our ministry partners up-to-date with what is going on in our family and on the mission field. You will be a part of our team and a part of our family.

Over the next few weeks we will be updating this blog with more information about our family and this campaign. If you would like to go ahead and commit to support us please send us a private message on Facebook, via e-mail or in the contact form bellow with your address and we will send you one of our prayer cards by mail.

God is doing great things and we are excited about what He has in store for us (there will be more about what is in our future in the next blog post coming soon!). You can also read more about why we raise support here.