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.
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:
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).
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. 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.
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.
I grew up in the culture that most young girls live in today. A culture that encourages girls to surpass their gender roles to do and be anything. We were told that being a woman shouldn’t stop us from reaching our dreams and that we should work hard to meet, or even beat, the roles that most men take on.
This is all well and good…except when it diminishes the typical role of the woman: the homemaker. So often women see the role of the homemaker as something to be looked down upon. We straighten our back and put our chin to the air and proudly proclaim that we are better than that. We are educated, strong, self-sufficient women who have no place in that role.
Even in my adult life it has taken me a while to feel comfortable as a homemaker. Long days of cooking, laundry, cleaning, nursing the baby, teaching, raising kids (etc.) can leave me feeling exhausted and ready for a “real” job, so I find myself going to the only place I know that has all the answers: the Bible.
In recent weeks I have been scouring the scriptures to find out what God has to say about homemaking. Does He really care if our houses are well-kept? Does it matter to Him if I stay at home? Would I be more useful to the Kingdom working alongside my husband in the ministry?
All of these questions are important ones, and though the Bible may not give direct answers to each individual question, God’s heart and desire for the homemaker is clear.
…that they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed. Titus 2:5
Here we find a list of what young women should be taught and to be homemakers is found right in the midst of it. Not only is it important but it is necessary so that the word of God may not be blasphemed.
Proverbs 31:10-31 is a famous passage about the virtuous woman. It displays a beautiful picture of a woman’s relationship with her husband, her kids, her neighbors and even talks about her place in the home.
She watches over the ways of her household, And does not eat the bread of idleness. Proverbs 31:27
Now, does this mean that the only way we can walk in the role of homemaker is to stay at home all the time and take care of all the housework? No, in fact I believe that working outside the home does not disqualify you from being a homemaker anymore than staying home makes you one, and you will certainly never find me putting up a fight when Phillip offers to watch the kids or cook supper.
You see, homemaking isn’t so much about the care of the home but the care of the people who reside in it.
A stay-at-home mom could spend all her time on the internet, watching tv or doing other activities and never interact with her kids. She could even spend all her time cleaning and making her house look nice, but miss all the wonderful moments that come along with the messes.
I don’t think God intended for us to obsess over every spec of dust or pile of laundry (though we should remember that the Bible warns against laziness-remember the bread of idleness- so we certainly shouldn’t slack on our responsibilities!). As homemakers, we are not making a home, but a family. We are investing in our husbands, our children, our relations with each other and our relations with the world. We are taking responsibility for the people God has put in our care.
As homemakers we are often in the position to choose how our families will live: what they will eat, how they will be taught or entertained, what their days will be filled with.
God’s purpose for the homemaker is not to make the home spotless, but to make it a place where His will and grace can abound.
Every time we cook a meal or fold laundry we are making it possible for our family to continue into a new day of service for the Lord.
Every time we cuddle or play we are paving the road our children will walk.
When we give our husbands an encouraging word, change a dirty diaper, or simply sweep the dirt off the floor, we are creating an environment of love, service and compassion.
Our families are the greatest gift (other than our salvation) and greatest ministry that we have here on this earth. If we make them a priority (whether we stay at home or work outside the home) and make it our goal to make a Christ-centered home, the outcome would be unbelievable.
Imagine your marriage built on Christ, love, and unity.
Imagine your kids with a passion for the Lord and the strength to say no to the world.
Imagine a home filled with peace.
Imagine your whole family on fire for the Lord.
Now imagine your church filled with families on fire for the Lord. Imagine the impact this would have on your schools, communities and the world.
Being a homemaker doesn’t sound like such a trivial task anymore does it?
So, whether you are a mom, a dad or a child; whether you stay at home, go to work, home school or send your kids to public schools; we must make our families a priority. We must be strong, courageous, unwavering and Christ-centered homemakers because Satan will do anything and everything to hurt, ruin, distract and destroy your family.