Merry Christmas!

Feliz Navidad!

We would like to thank everyone that has participated in our 30 for 30 campaign. So far you have helped us reach the halfway mark! We are still lacking $350 monthly to be fully supported, but we are so grateful for how you have gotten us this far! Thank you, thank you, thank you! Raising support can be such a challenge because we know very much how it feels to think about every purchase and worry about whether there will be enough at the end of the month. We are so incredibly humbled every time someone gives of their money to what we are doing here in Guatemala.

Our mission here has always been to minister to missionary kids and youth at the Christian Academy of Guatemala (C.A.G.). We do that through counseling, discipleship, Bible classes and academic classes like Jordan’s Psychology class and Hannah’s Science class. Along with an amazing staff, we want to help the students at C.A.G. have the best experience possible in Guatemala. The second most common reason for missionaries to leave the field is family problems. We are trying to develop healthy youth and healthy relationships with their families so that the whole families can be successful in what God has called them to do.

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(11th grade boys’ discipleship group)

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(We took our discipleship groups to Hermano Pedro, a disabled children’s hospital, to minister to the kids.)

C.A.G. allows parents to work wholeheartedly in their specific ministries during the day so that they can have family time after school. Most C.A.G. families include their kids in ministry outside of school hours, which is so important, but they also have dedicated times where they can fully focus on their mission. Here are a few examples of the many ministries that families of C.A.G. are involved in:

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We have been so blessed to know people that are doing such amazing things in Guatemala. Not just coming in and doing work, but including Guatemalans in their visions. Our hope is that our role at C.A.G. plays a little part in helping them accomplish big things that lead Guatemalans to Christ.

In other news, December 31-Jan 3 Jordan will be leading some sessions and devotional times at Camino’s MKonnections; a retreat for missionary kids from Camino Global. Please pray that it would be a great time of learning, bonding and refreshment for the MKs.

To God be the Glory,

Jordan, Hannah, Solomon & Grace

We Need You!

Here is a copy of our email newsletter that we just sent out. If you did not receive it and would like to be added to our newsletter list please let us know (jself@caminoglobal.org)!

Hi friends,

We are sending out this newsletter today because we need your help!
We have been serving missionary kids and youth in Guatemala for almost four years now. It has been an amazing period in our lives and we know that God has used us to impact lives for Him. We get to counsel and help direct the hearts of so many lives on a daily basis. We would love to continue in this ministry as long as God is leading us to do so!

First, we would like to thank every single one of you that has prayed or financially supported us on our journey to and in Guatemala. It is a huge commitment and we do not take your sacrifice lightly. We feel like we have been excellent stewards of the support that God has provided through you.

Having said that, we now need to ask for more financial support. A lot has changed since we began this journey to Guatemala, but our finances are not reflecting those changes. We are at the point in our monthly funds where we are dangerously just getting by. Some of this is due to an increase in the cost of living and some because of lost support.

We have seen God provide for us over and over again and know that He will continue to do so. We want to be responsible with our funds and let you all know where we are before we get to the point of needing to come home early to raise more support.

What we are asking is for you to prayerfully consider supporting our ministry now to help us stay here. We are very involved at CAG and do not want to have to leave because of low funds! We asked our mission what we need to get us to the level that will comfortably sustain us long term and they told us $900 more a month. While we can survive on less than that,
we believe it is a good goal to aim for.

30 for 30

The best way for us to be sustained on the field is through monthly giving. We are asking for 30 new supporters at $30 a month each. If you can not give that much, please know that even $5 or $10 a month adds up! We would like to start our fund raising campaign now. We will give weekly updates on our progress so that you know where we are and what we are still lacking.

The best way to give is through Camino Global’s website:

Camino Global

or here are some other options:

The Selfs in Guatemala: Partner With Us

Summer in Guatemala 2014

“A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops.” Henry Adams

Jordan and I have a huge burden when we teach at the Christian Academy of Guatemala. We are not only teaching the Bible, Psychology and Science. We are impacting students for eternity by integrating God’s word and His love into what we teach. We are learning that being a part of the students’ lives has just as much of an influence as what we try to teach them. Every year as the senior class graduates, I am reminded that these students will eventually become missionaries, pastors, teachers, therapists, doctors, scientists, musicians, artists, mothers and fathers and more. The scope of their influence is immeasurable. We love CAG so much because it is operated by normal people who God has used in exceptional ways to invest their lives into the children of missionaries for no pay and little recognition.

During the summer, many of the families of CAG go out to more rural villages in Guatemala and others go back to the States. We will be continuing to meet and study the Bible with some of the students that are staying in the City this summer. We will also have an opportunity to spend some time exploring other ministries that we love, but can’t be involved in during the school year. We are especially looking forward to volunteering at Hermano Pedro, the disabled kids’ hospital in Antigua! Solomon graduated Kindergarten and was awarded a certificate for “Future Scientist” and “Creative Classmate”. He also got the “Athlete of the Year” award for his class! Grace has been eating, drinking and sleeping ballet since before she could walk, so we decided to put her in a ballet class. She absolutely loves it and is learning more Spanish since she is the only gringa in the class!

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Big Prayer Request!: We began our journey toward being long term missionaries in Guatemala in 2008. In the six years since we mapped out our financial needs to live in Guatemala many things have changed. We added Grace to the family; Solomon has started school; Grace and Solomon are involved in one extracurricular activity each and the cost of living has increased. We also had no idea just how often we would need to have our car worked on as a result of living in a country with mountainous roads that wear on our brakes, potholes the size of our car (this is not an exaggeration), and speed bumps the size of small mountains J. We save money where we can (our cell phones are from the stone ages), but some months things are a little tight.

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We have been absolutely amazed and thankful at the ways that God has provided for us during the 3 ½ years that we have lived in Guatemala. We have never gone without what we needed and we know that God will continue to provide. Although our funds fluctuate a little from month to month and have decreased some, we have always had enough. If you have ever considered giving to our ministry then we would ask for you to prayerfully consider that at this time (the easiest way to do this is through electronic funds transfer). We would like to be here at least one more year before coming back to the States for a furlough to raise financial support if needed. We appreciate each and every one of you more than we can express and covet your prayers. We could not be here without your prayer and financial support! If you would like to contact us for any reason please email us at jself@caminoglobal.org or you can find us on Facebook.

Grace be with you,

Jordan, Hannah, Solomon & Grace

Staying Well

Summers in the City in Guatemala are so different from the rest of the year. The past two summers we had a reason to be in the States and missed most of the summer here. We are looking forward to the things that we get to do this summer (like sompopo hunting) and experiencing other ministries in Guatemala, but it will be different. We miss our friends and family in the States so much! This is an excerpt from great blog post from The Culture Blend (click the link to read the whole thing) about how it feels to stay somewhere when everyone else is leaving:

Leaving is hard.  Being left is harder.

Transition is a huge part of life for an expat.  That’s understood.  By the time you sign on you’ve wrapped your head around the fact that you’re about to trade normal for unknown.  Returning home is the same story with a twist.  There are seminars for all of that.

What they don’t tell you in the brochure, however, is that the transition never stops.  Expat communities are a revolving door and just about the time you start to adjust to your new found normal, people leave, and your normal changes again.

It’s the Expat Exodus . . . transient people coming and going.  Tough all around.”

Sompopo hunting:


Grace sampopo Soly & Grace Soly

Feliz Navidad!

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I spent an hour carefully color coordinating our outfits. We had the perfect location planned: The beautiful, scenic town of Antigua. We had all the fancy equipment thanks to some friends of ours. I bribed the kids with promises of candy if they behaved and pretended to be happy. We took tons and tons of photographs. And you know what? Not a single one turned out right! The setting on the camera was a little off causing all of the photos to be blurry. We had no idea until we were back at our home, snug and warm in our pajamas. So today we would like to wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year with a Self selfie, taken from the back of a tuk-tuk :)!

Isn’t that the way life goes sometimes? Our lives are not Pinterest fairy tales and that is ok! Life is hectic and messy and doesn’t always go the way we planned. Even in Guatemala, surrounded by poverty I find myself losing perspective and worrying about unimportant things. This holiday season I am going to try my best to focus on what is truly significant…and maybe try to make a Christmas wreath…ok, who am I kidding, that is not happening :)!

The only necessary thing in this life is to sit at the feet of Jesus and humbly learn how to be His disciple (Luke 10:38-42). With that in mind here are some truly important things that have been happening in our lives in Guatemala!:

∞ Hannah is teaching her 7th graders about God’s creation through Science.

∞ Jordan is teaching students about the Bible and teaching a class about Psychology from a Christian perspective.

∞ Jordan is helping many students through the ministry of counseling.

∞ We are both helping with discipleship groups. Once a quarter we take the students off campus to minister to others. We recently helped at a school for children that are homeless or come from extremely poor living conditions.

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(Most of the kids that we helped with live here. Many of their parents salvage things from the dump and live on $2 a day.)

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(Perspective.)

 ∞ Solomon is learning so much in kindergarten and is beginning to read!

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 ∞ Grace is dancing and singing and being a princess everywhere she goes.

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(Jordan is going to star in next season’s Duck Dynasty: Guatemala!)

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 (Hannah’s 8th grade discipleship class)

We pray that you have a wonderful Christmas and a Happy New Year filled with the love of Christ!

Jordan, Hannah, Solomon & Grace

1st Day of School, 1st Day of School!

Hello! ¡Hola! 안녕하세요 (Annyeonghaseyo)! This is how you say hello in each of the major cultures represented at CAG. Although the school is taught in English, the students come from all over the world! When we made the decision to teach at the Christian Academy of Guatemala several years ago, we did not realize that we would be ministering to not only Americans and Guatemalans, but also to Koreans. We love the incredible amount of diversity at the school!

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8th grade girl’s discipleship!

We hit the ground running as soon as the plane touched down in Guatemala and have not stopped yet! The day after we arrived here Hannah attended a new teacher orientation to prepare to teach a 7th grade Life Science class. Since she had never taught in a classroom setting before, this has been quite a learning experience for her. At our teacher in-service where the teachers were prepared for the new year, we were taught how to integrate the Bible into our daily lessons. What a blessing that we are not only allowed to talk about the Bible in class, but that we are encouraged to make it a part of any lesson that we choose. Hannah has already been able to relate the functions of body of Christ to the study of cells and their functions. God has truly woven His image into creation to point us to Him!

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This was during spirit week where we dressed up like the wild west!

Jordan is teaching Bible and counseling like he did last year, but he is also teaching a Psychology class this year. He completed his Masters in Counseling from Covington Theological Seminary this summer (woohoo!) and has been learning so much information about Psychology and counseling. I recently read a quote posted by a member of Ravi Zacharias’ ministry that said “The Christian faith enables us to grasp the big picture—integrating science, history, philosophy & experience more than any other worldview.” This sums up CAG’s teaching philosophy perfectly. We are looking forward to all of the ways that we can impact these students’ lives! Please keep the students of CAG in your prayers!

In other news, Solomon has started Kindergarten! We cannot even believe how fast he has grown. Please keep him in your prayers during this transition. We are thankful for his wonderful teacher, Mrs. Brown. Mrs. Brown and her family are missionaries sent out from The Church of Brook Hills in Birmingham. It is refreshing to be able to use the word ya’ll with her!

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Antigua!

Thank you so much for your continued prayers and support. We could not be here without you! There are so many scary things that can happen in Guatemala that we just forget about or get used to. Knowing that we have loved ones praying for our safety is an amazing thing and we never get tired of hearing someone say that they have prayed for us. We truly covet your prayers! God bless!

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I thank my God with every remembrance of you,

Jordan, Hannah, Solomon & Grace