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

“You know you’re a missionary kid when you’d

“You know you’re a missionary kid when you’d rather never say hello than have to say goodbye.” –UnknownImage

“Why can’t we get all the people together in the world that we really like and then just stay together? I guess that wouldn’t work. Someone would leave. Someone always leaves. Then we would have to say good-bye. I hate good-byes. I know what I need. I need more hellos.” -Snoopy

These are just a couple of quotes posted on Facebook by fellow teachers at the Christian Academy of Guatemala this week. As the school year ends and the senior class graduates, a large group of teachers and students will move on to other places all over the world. New teachers and students will arrive for next year. Many tears have been and will be shed. How do the teachers and students learn to say goodbye to dear friends and learn to love new ones? How can they be excited about more hellos?

This is just one of the issues that will be covered at Camino Global’s first missionary kid conference this summer. Jordan will be addressing this specific topic on making meaningful friendships. Both missionaries and missionary kids have to be careful not to shut out newcomers because they have had to say goodbye so many times. If they don’t have an attitude that new friends will be forever friends even if they live on the other side of the world then there is a tendency to build walls to keep themselves from getting hurt again. Our hope is that the MKs at the conference will learn to embrace more hellos!

We will be in the States this summer for the conference July 3rd-7th, but we will also be in Alabama for a few weeks before and after. We hope it will be a time of great fellowship with friends, family and churches and a time of recharging our batteries before the new school year begins!

 Jordan will continue teaching Bible classes, a discipleship group and will counsel students. Hannah will be teaching an 8th grade girls’ discipleship group and one other class, possibly photography. So many teachers come and go that we won’t know the exact needs until closer to August. The Christian Academy of Guatemala has many openings that need to be filled for next school year. Please check out their website for more information if you or someone you know may be interested in teaching at CAG (www.christacadguate.org).

Thank you for keeping us in your prayers and we hope to see you this summer!

 

I thank my God with every remembrance of you,

Jordan, Hannah, Solomon & Grace

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“And He who sits on the throne said, ‘Behold, I am making all things new.’“ Revelation 21:5

Spring is my very favorite time of year! Everything is being renewed. Plants, seemingly dead, spring to life with beautiful green leaves and flowers.  Once a caterpillar, a butterfly emerges from its chrysalis as a new creature. God’s desire for all of us and the entire earth is redemption and renewal. I am eagerly waiting for the day when Jesus will make all things new!

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Jordan is experiencing a kind of renewal of his knee. He injured his leg almost a year ago, but was misdiagnosed by the doctor. After much physical therapy and almost a year of waiting for it to get better, we decided to get a second opinion from an excellent doctor that specializes in knee injuries.He had surgery a few weeks ago and he is already walking around on it and feeling better than he has in a long time. He will have several months of physical therapy to come, but he is doing really well!  032

During his down time, Jordan was able to work more on his Master’s in Counseling degree through Covington Theological Seminary distance learning. His plan is to be finished by this summer. Everything he is learning has already helped him so much as he counsels some of the students at the Christian Academy of Guatemala. The goal of Christian counseling is restoration and renewal; to come face to face with the problems in our lives and to become the renewed person that God created us to be.

We have some great news about this summer!

For the first time Camino Global will be offering a missionary kid conference! This will be a week (July 3-7) in Hawkins, Texas completely dedicated to MKs. Our President, Doug Livingston (also an MK) will be the main session speaker. Many of the sessions will be focused on transitions and helping the MKs adjust to North American culture. Jordan will be teaching a breakout session about building meaningful friendships and he will be around for any of the MKs to talk to. This is such a huge part of our heart and we could not be more excited for this opportunity!

After the conference we are planning on being in Alabama for a short period of time before we need to be back at CAG. Since it will only be a couple of weeks we sadly won’t be able to visit with everyone. Our plan is to visit our supporting churches and we will let everyone know where we will be so we can see as many of you as possible!

 

Thank you so much for your prayers and support. We could not do this without you! God bless!

Jordan, Hannah, Solomon & Grace

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Here are a couple of Jordan’s 12th graders ministering to disabled children at a hospital in Antigua.

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Jordan helps teach the weekly chapel services.

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This is our bike repair guy :). He parks his car on the side of the road and he and his son can fill your tires or fix any bike problems really cheap!

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Feliz Navidad!

Merry Christmas everyone! As we get ready to celebrate our second Christmas here in Guatemala we will be thinking about you all and missing family. We love the family traditions that we look forward to each year, and being away from family allows us to create our own family traditions. One tradition of ours is to show Solomon and Grace that it is better to give than to receive. This year we are looking forward to being a part of some children’s lives at a nearby orphanage. The children there put us to shame with their love and thankfulness.

 “Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth! Serve the Lord with gladness! Come into His presence with singing! Know that the Lord, He is God! It is He who made us, and we are His; we are His people, and the sheep of His pasture. Enter His gates with thanksgiving, and His courts with praise! Give thanks to Him; bless His name! For the Lord is good; His steadfast love endures forever, and His faithfulness to all generations.” Psalm 100:1-5 ESV

As I looked for verses about gratitude and thanksgiving this passage caught my eye. The gratitude and thanksgiving and praise are all being directed toward God. It reminds me to take the attention off of myself and give it to God. That is how we can truly be grateful!

We are very thankful for our time at the Christian Academy of Guatemala! Jordan has been able to mentor/counsel some students and has already been dealing with some scary stuff. Please keep him in your prayers! He is also teaching Bible classes where he is able to not only teach a great curriculum, but he is also able to answer many of the students’ questions and doubts. A huge reason that youth go to college and leave the church forever is because they never made the truths of the gospel their own. They never “worked out their faith with fear and trembling.” Yes, even missionary kids leave the church, never to return. Also, the parents of the MKs usually have all the best intentions and are doing everything they can to reach Guatemala for Christ, but when you are a child of a missionary you oftentimes see the good, bad and ugly side of ministry. We are challenged daily to be genuine and humble. We want to challenge all the parents of the MKs to do the same and to ask for forgiveness when they have shown hypocrisy to their children. All of us that call ourselves believers should seriously think about this. Are you being a spiritual leader in your home? Are you genuine and humble? Do you admit to your children when you have been hypocritical and ask for their forgiveness? Are you spending quality time with them, teaching them about God? Our children are the next generation of the church. What will that church look like? We have a great hope for the youth here that they will grow to be amazing followers of Christ!

 

God bless you all this Holiday season! We thank our God every time we remember you!

 

Jordan, Hannah, Solomon & Grace

Antigua Market

Here is a short video clip of the market in Antigua. I used to visit here about once a week during language school to get fruits and veggies. This is one of my favorite places in Guatemala! Sorry it’s so fast and shaky, but I guess that adds to the experience right?

 

Life & Ministry in Guatemala…

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LIFE: Wow! We have now been in Guatemala for over a year! It’s hard to believe. In some ways the time has flown by and in other ways it feels like we have been here for years. There are things about Guatemala that were so strange to us before that we now accept as a part of life. A few examples of that would be:

Fireworks! Any time of the night and for any reason at all…potholes in the road that can do serious damage to your car…men urinating on public walls…women nursing their children in the open and sometimes that child is five years old…children eating food that is clearly unsanitary…a family of four riding down the road on a motorcycle with a cylinder of gas tied to the back…buses carrying more people than I ever thought possible (I think Guatemala actually set a world record recently)…news reports of politicians being assassinated (29 in 2011 is what I read)…armed guards in the parking lot of every store…earthquakes…landslides…everyone owns a cell phone, even the poorest indigenous people…and the list could go on.

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One of the most important things that was stressed at our training before we came to Guatemala is that we were going to see things in our country that would be VERY different. It’s not weird, it’s just different. It’s not necessarily wrong, it’s just different. I think I have repeated those words many times since I’ve gotten here. There is a popular song on the radio here by a Guatemalan artist. My favorite line from it says “Aprendes a querer la espina o no aceptes rosas”, meaning “Learn to love the thorn or don’t accept the roses.” I feel like that captures Guatemala perfectly. There are many thorns, but the beauty of Guatemala overshadows them. We absolutely love it here in spite of the things that are “different”.

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IN MINISTRY NEWS: Jordan is still teaching Bible at the Christian Academy of Guatemala. He is now teaching 7th, 9th & 10th grade Bible classes and teaching the 11th grade boys’ discipleship class. He also does chapel teaching from time to time and is there for the students as a mentor wherever he can be a part of their lives. Our hope for the MK’s is that the Bible and the Gospel of Christ would be a real part of their daily lives. We want for the MK’s time in Guatemala to be meaningful and to open the door for future possibilities in missions wherever their lives take them. Hannah is staying at home with Solomon and Grace, and assisting Jordan wherever she can. She also attends a Bible study each week where she is able to fellowship more with Spanish speaking women.

VISITING THE STATES & CONVOCATION: We will be in the US this June and July to visit family and friends and to attend our mission’s week-long conference in Denver, Colorado. The conference (Convocation) is only held every 10 years and all CAM International missionaries are required to attend. CAM is going through a name change right now that will better reflect their goal of reaching Spanish speakers globally and not only in Central America. The new name is “Camino Global”. We are excited about the change, and while it won’t affect much of what we are doing, it does open the door for our mission to reach a broader group of people.

We have about half of the cost of our airline tickets covered, but we still need about $1,000 to cover the rest. Thankfully our other pressing needs have been covered! We are hoping to be able to spend some time with you during our time in the States. We will be in Alabama for most of June and then in Colorado, Oklahoma, and Dallas during July. Please let us know if you would like to see us!

Con Mucho Amor,

Jordan, Hannah, Solomon & Grace

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