What are we bringing?

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” ~Romans 15:13

It’s the new year! Welcome 2015! And today is Kings Day. Some may know the significance of today, others might just see it as another day of the year. But my family celebrates this day each year. We spend time together, cook Mexican food, and celebrate the journey of the three kings on the way to see Jesus and give him their most precious gifts. This is my favorite holiday. I remember the gift of Jesus, but also the gifts we have to give, to share with others, and to give glory to God.

We have been living in Cartagena, Colombia now for almost 3 months. It has been a wonderful 3 months as we have started building relationships. As I mentioned before, We aren’t here to fix things. We aren’t here to tell people what to do. But we are here to overflow with the hope, joy, peace, and love that we are filled with. We are here to invest in the beautiful people here, to develop friendships, to serve our brothers and sisters here. We want to help others see the gifts that they each have to share with others.

Hope in relationships

When we see the sweet faces of the children here, we see their potential, we see their joy, we see the uniqueness of each wonderful face and know that these future leaders will be a blessing to this world. When we see our kind and thoughtful friends, we see the love and kindness that has the ability to encourage and help others that need help. We see hope.

bring to the world

We all have something to give. We all have something to share. Let’s not see what this year brings for us, but what we can give! That’s life! That’s love! Let us overflow with hope, joy, peace, and love that comes from within!

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Qué estamos trayendo?

“Y el Dios de esperanza os llene de todo gozo y paz en el creer, para que abundéis en esperanza por el poder del Espíritu Santo.” ~Romanos 15:13 

Lo es el año nuevo!  Bienvenido 2015!  Y hoy es Día de Reyes.  Algunos saben la significa de esta día. Otro personas lo ven como otro día. Pero mi familia celebra esta día cada años. Pasamos tiempo junto, cocinamos comida de Mexicana, y celebramos el viaje de los reyes a ver Jesus y dar sus más regalos preciosos. Lo es mi fiesta favorita. Recuerdo el regalo de Jesus, también recuerdo los regalos que tenemos a dar, a compartir con otro personas, a dar gloria a Dios.

Hemos estado viviendo en Cartagena, Colombia por 3 meses ahora. Ha estado un maravilloso 3 meses como hemos empezado construyendo relaciones.  He mencionado antes que no estamos aquí para arreglar las cosas.  No estamos aquí a decir gente qué hacer.  Pero estamos aquí a desbordarse con la esperanza, gozo, paz, y amor que nos llenamos de.  Estamos aquí para invertir en el gente hermoso aquí, para desarrollar amistades, y para servir nuestro hermanos y hermanas aquí.  Queremos ayudar otro personas ven los regalos que tienen a compartir con gente.

Hope in relationships

Cuando vemos las caras de los niños lindos, vemos sus potencial, vemos sus gozo, vemos el unicidad de cada niño maravilloso y sabemos que estos líderes futuros serán una bendición para este mundo. Cuando vemos nuestro amigos amables y pensativos, vemos el amor y amabilidad que tiene la habilidad para animar y para ayudar otro personas que necesitan ayuda. Vemos esperanza.

bring to the world

Todos tenemos algo dar. Todos tenemos algo compartir. No vemos qué este años nos trae, pero que podemos dar. Que es vida! Que es amor! Vamos desbordamiento con esperanza, gozo, paz, y amor que viene de dentro!

Remembering Truth…

On what Truth do you stand?  When you are faced with challenges, where does your hope come from?  This is something that I’ve been wanting to write now for some time, but unfortunately, I’ve let the busyness of life distract me from sharing.

Please forgive the delay in writing.  Since the last time I have written, we have moved to Colombia to serve.  The process in getting here required many steps and, though we have already been here for a month, we are still in the process of getting settled.  Life has changed drastically from living in the DC area to now in Cartagena.  We are learning a lot and are helping our sweet almost 7 month old, Gabriel, adapt to the different climate.  I do have to say though, he is truly enjoying papaya.

I digress, all that to say, Life has changed for us.  That’s no surprise, Life always changes, but it’s how we react that allows it to be an easy change or a more difficult one.

Shortly after we arrived in Cartagena, I read Acts 27:22-25

But now I urge you to keep up your courage, because not one of you will be lost; only the ship will be destroyed. Last night an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve stood beside me and said, ‘Do not be afraid, Paul. You must stand trial before Caesar; and God has graciously given you the lives of all who sail with you.’ So keep up your courage, men, for I have faith in God that it will happen just as he told me.”

In the midst of a terrible storm in which the boat and all the men on the boat could have easily been swallowed by the waves, Paul stands firm on the Truth.  His faith in God does not waiver even when there doesn’t seem to be any hope.  He finds Hope standing on the Truth he knows.

That’s the hope we want to share.  That’s the truth we want to share.

Even though change isn’t always easy, it can easily us throw off course as we try to fight it.  Now, we are not facing any storms, but change and transition can easily seem overwhelming and difficult at times.  Learning a new language, finding a place to live, and just trying to communicate and learn has it’s challenging moments.

Gabriel and Jonny

But as I see the beautiful faces of the children here, the passion and love of the leadership team at the church we are serving with, and even just the sweet giggle of Gabriel as people interact with him and the children surround him, I remember Truth.  I remember why we are here.  I’m filled with joy, with peace, with trust, and above all Hope.

I’m so happy to be here.  I love the relationships and friendships we are building.  I’m excited for Life here…

And one day, I will be able to write all that in Spanish ;).

Family to Family…

There we stood, nervous, anxious, and yet full of excitement as we introduced ourselves to the congregation.  In one moment, we found ourselves in front of a crowd of people in Cartagena, Colombia.  In our broken Spanish, and with the great help of our contacts and translators, we shared our hearts with the congregation at Iglesia Cristiana Mansion.  We were strangers, yet in that moment we became family.  Without hesitation, without question, we were “adopted” into this congregation.  They didn’t know much about us, but they welcomed us.  And we are now a part of their family.

It is a moment I reflect on as we prepare to sell our things, pack our home, and move our family to Colombia.  Lately, I’ve found myself getting sentimental with our remaining time here.  I tear up talking with my sister and thinking about our limited time together.  My heart jumps when I talk with my parents.  Our calendar is being filled with dates to meet with friends and family, taking advantage of each moment.

On Saturday, March 1, 2014 while in Cartagena, I read Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 – “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up.  But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up.”  How powerful and strong relationships and family are!  How important they are!

G42 Prayer and Send Off

In the midst of this transition, I’m so thankful for our family and friends here.  We can’t even begin to share with each one of you how much we appreciate your friendship, your support, your love.  I know this is not “goodbye” but simply…”See you later.”  And as we move forward, we embrace and anxiously await our return to our family in Colombia.

family 2

 

You Are the Best….YOU!

Becoming a mother has definitely been a life changing experience.

My days no longer have a set schedule.  The time it takes me to actually accomplish a task can range greatly from 10 minutes to all day depending on what our son is needing that day, and breaks or moments to rest are no longer taken as needed, but whenever those moments arise, if they arise.

Gabriel Sleeping
Yet through those changes, I also get the sweetest baby cuddles, the little hands that wrap around my fingers, the excitement watching him discover new things and experience new things, the joy of teaching him, hugging him, and knowing that I am his mother.  And I truly enjoy seeing how wonderful Jared is as a father.

I’ve got some amazing mothers in my life and in my community as examples for me.  When I face challenging moments, and as I’m learning, I am supported, encouraged, and comforted by these amazing women who not only provide great advice, but also an ear to listen and understand.

And what I’ve been learning most through all of this is that even on those days when the only thing I have time to do is pull my hair up, those days when I have just 10 minutes to make and eat lunch, those days when my perfume for the day is ode to baby wipes, those days when I am learning how to juggle working on our nonprofit, cooking dinner, Spanish lessons, taking care of the house, and most importantly caring for our son…

I’ve been learning that with a grateful heart, patience, and grace…that I’m the best me that there is in this world and that’s just what Gabriel needs.  It isn’t about how smooth everything goes, how controlled I have everything, how knowledgeable I am in all areas of motherhood, but in how I love and care for our son.  It is about being the best Me, even as I’m constantly learning and growing, and allowing that to be an example for him.

me

I’m the best me and you are the best you.  There’s just no comparison!

And yes, I did write this during a break that arose at 5:30 this morning.  You take them when you can get them!

Welcome! This Seat is for You…

Some of you have received LHR’s (Legacy of Hope Restored’s) update on our vision trip to Colombia.  We were able to share some of the great things that took place during that time.  But as we continue to prepare to leave, finding the words to express exactly what our hope is as we serve there, is not as simple as one would think.

When asked what we are going to do, how long we will be there, etc…we want to be clear, but we can only offer what we do know at this point in time, understanding that things will continue to change as we adapt to what life in Cartagena looks like.

Then this morning, believe it or not, I came across a Caribou coffee cup that actually captures something we believe.

Community Table

You see, we are not moving to Colombia just to start a particular project, nor do we have a certain number of people we want to reach.  We aren’t there to simply distribute handouts nor believe we are THE solution to any challenge people may face.

We are moving to Cartagena to become a helpful part of the community, to really get to know the people, and to serve as we can.

Pastor Edilberto and the Crew

The idea of a “community table” is a great concept of gathering together, each bringing what they have to share with others, in an environment where we can be real with one another, listen to one another, laugh with one another, and invest in each other.

Jared with the Children

“Rubbing elbows” really captures the idea of getting close, removing barriers, building trust, and actually developing relationships.

English Club Lunch

It’s all about the people!  And all are welcome!

We are going to become a part of the community, to share with others, to serve one another, to truly live Life together, restoring hope, and being a part of a community that betters the lives of those around them.

This is the greatest direction we received on our vision trip.  We received a few other specific details (check out our latest newsletter update for more of that information), but as we continue to reflect on the wonderful people we met in Cartagena and prepare to see them again, we remember and believe that “Life is rubbing elbows at the community table.”

So with that, we say…”Welcome!  This seat is for you…”

 

Life As We Know It

give with image

I’ll be honest, the importance of investing in future generations has really been on my heart a lot lately.  It’s always been important, but now, as I think about what values and character I’d like to our son to have, I can’t help but think about what kind of example I am being to others, and soon to him.

Titus 2: 1-8 (The Message) states,

“Your job is to speak out on the things that make for solid doctrine. Guide older men into lives of temperance, dignity, and wisdom, into healthy faith, love, and endurance. Guide older women into lives of reverence so they end up as neither gossips nor drunks, but models of goodness. By looking at them, the younger women will know how to love their husbands and children, be virtuous and pure, keep a good house, be good wives. We don’t want anyone looking down on God’s Message because of their behavior. Also, guide the young men to live disciplined lives.

But mostly, show them all this by doing it yourself, incorruptible in your teaching, your words solid and sane. Then anyone who is dead set against us, when he finds nothing weird or misguided, might eventually come around.

Lately, I have noticed several couples who have offered to have dinner with us, to share with us their experiences – particularly in the area of missions – but also the wisdom they have gained during their own time of being newly married couples or young growing families.  They are couples that we respect as they have demonstrated in their actions their own values and character as well as their love for God and family and their faith.  For this we are thankful!

As I thought about how wonderful these couples are to offer there time, and how grateful we are, I also have thought about my own life.  You see wisdom, gifts, etc. don’t always come at a certain age.  I’m 34 years old and I know there is a lot I have to give and share.  The question is, even before our son arrives and we begin to teach him, who are we investing in now?  What examples are we as individuals and as a couple being in the community in which we live?  There is a lot we have to learn, but there is a lot we have to share!  What are we waiting for?

Do we doubt our own value?  Are we waiting to reach a certain goal that will bring us recognition and the credibility then to share with others?  Do we have an expectation that we must have all the answers rather than simply being real and honest about our own lives, challenges, and victories, and all we’ve learned along the way?

Good enough

It’s time to stop the excuses.  It’s time to open our eyes not on what we don’t have to give, or comparing ourselves to others, but to look outside of ourselves to see what others need, are looking for, and actually reach out and invest in them.  No matter our age, our skill set, we all have something to give.  That’s a Life lesson I want to exemplify.

The Exchange

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I’ll admit it.  I was one of the many individuals out on Saturday finishing up some last minute Christmas shopping.  It was overwhelming to be honest and the hours felt like days as I tried to keep up with the crowds, walking from store to store, standing in lines, and dodging shopping bags full of purchases by others.  The sound of cash registers and the commonly asked question during this time of year, “Would you like a gift receipt?” haunted me that night as I tried to unwind, relax, and get some sleep.

I felt the panic of others as they rushed to find the perfect gift that would say just what they wanted to say, that would show someone just how much they cared.  Would this be enough?  Dollars and cents begin to add up and signify the value someone has to us.  Ugh…it’s a heavy feeling.  Will the recipients of our gifts know they are loved or will it just be something that they will exchange after the holidays for something better?

And then my heart was refreshed when sitting in our small group Sunday morning.  It’s one of those moments where you catch yourself just observing the interaction of others and something as simple as seeing a couple of mothers interacting with their children increases that hope and truth you already know in your heart.

You see the truth is, our value has already been established.  No matter what gift we receive on Christmas morning, the life of Jesus, the true gift of love, has proven each one of us as priceless.  Thankfully for us this gift has no return receipt and it can not be exchanged, only accepted.

My husband gave me a necklace for my birthday engraved with a quote from Henry David Thoreau that he has made his own…”The value of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it.”  This is a reminder of God’s love for us but also a reminder of how to live out that Love.  It’s a way we want to live, we choose to live.

Matthew 20:26-28 (The Message) states, “Whoever wants to be great must become a servant. Whoever wants to be first among you must be your slave. That is what the Son of Man has done: He came to serve, not be served—and then to give away his life in exchange for the many who are held hostage.”

And as I watched the children and the wonderful families in our small group, I knew with confidence that those children would know their value beyond the Christmas morning gifts waiting for them under the tree.  They would be loved, supported, and invested in by their parents and the community of friends and family in their lives not just during this Christmas season, but each day.

As a new mother anxiously awaiting the arrival of our baby, I already call out the extraordinary value of our son…not just as our son, but as a child, a son of God.  I call out the greatness in him as he will know his value and where that comes from, as he grows each day into the strong servant-hearted man he will become, and as he invests his life and love in those around him.

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Jesus is more than “the reason for the season”….He wasn’t a gift to reflect on just one day a year…but a gift to be accepted and shared continuously with others as we live daily, investing in those around us.  This is the Hope I cling to.

Do you know how priceless you are?  How will you live?

Everyday Life…

“I wonder how many people I’ve looked at all my life and never seen.” ~ John Steinbeck

It’s been about a month since we returned from Honduras.  As I continue to reflect on the time there, still anxious to share the stories, the experience, the memories, the lessons learned, I realize that I struggle to truly express my time there.  I want you to see what I saw, to know the people I met, and to feel the joy, the love, and the grace that I experienced.  But how do I sum all that in an answer to the most commonly asked question?…  “What did you do in Honduras?”

While studying Acts, I read verses 14:9-10
“He (a crippled man) listened to Paul as he was speaking.  Paul looked directly at him, saw that he had faith to be healed and called out ‘Stand up on your feet!’  At that, the man jumped up and began to walk.”

As I read this, it hit me.  Paul LOOKED DIRECTLY at him, SAW…

So why is this a revelation to me?  Because I can sit here and share the facts, tell you all the “programs” we did, VBS for the children, ministry for the women, ministry for the men, praying at the hospital, helping build a house, etc.  But to tell you the truth, what I believe was most valuable was our interactions with the people.

Paul didn’t get lost in the “program”, in preaching to the crowds.  Instead he noticed the people.  It was about the people!  It is about the people!

Kimberly
For me, It was about the conversations and the questions the men had as they developed their own foundation of Faith.  It was about the visits we had in the homes of the villagers, sitting with them, getting to know them, praying with them.  It was about the children we got to share our lives with, playing soccer, sitting with them, holding their little hands.  It was about the relationships with the women, helping them see their identity and encouraging them.  It was something as simple as changing our plans to help pull a truck full of boulders out of the mud.

Tow Truck

It was about daily life and sharing our lives with one another….Living out what we believe…when the Word is truly the Living Word.

And the great thing about all of this is that we don’t have to be in Honduras to continue to live this way…This can truly be everyday Life…

Life is Different…

I am different…
It’s been a while since the last time I’ve written.  Life has not stopped or become mundane, that’s for sure.  There’s been plenty to write about, lessons learned, challenges, and great things to celebrate.  Life has continued and almost 3 months later, since the last time I’ve written, I continue to change.

I sit here and think of my time in Honduras – The people I served with… the children I played with…the people I talked with… the scriptures I studied…  the lessons we taught…  the things I learned…  the culture I experienced.  Because of all of these moments, these interactions, Life is different, I am different.

I let the beautiful people and experiences of Honduras enter my heart, and as I served, my heart and life too have changed.  My perspective is new.  My group of friends has expanded.  My ideas and thoughts have been enriched.  I’ll share more about these experiences.  But for now, I just want to say that I’m so thankful.

Life - Children of Honduras
Something unexplainable happens when we share our lives with each other, not holding back, but truly embracing one another, embracing experiences…when we are OPEN TO LIFE.