2013 recap.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

2013 -easily one of the craziest years of my life. It started off bittersweet as we knew we would be leaving the city we loved that May. If you've been around this blog long enough, then you know that Mitch and I are kind of in love with Nashville. You can read why in this post..
Once we moved away from Nashville our nomadic life began. 7 long months of living out of a suitcase and wandering the western hemisphere. 6-7 weeks of our summer were spent on mission trips in both Atlanta and Puerto Rico. We split up the following months between FL, AR, and TX to see as many friends and family as we could before departing for Guatemala. And since Nashville is kind of our home base, that is where we spent our last month in the states.

This nomadic and expat life made for some very emotional days. During our 7 months of being "homeless" I would often think to myself, "Are we crazy? Is this normal?" And I would always answer no to both questions. I knew we weren't crazy for this is what God had been preparing our hearts for since we were both 18. And no it was not normal. (But then again, what's normal, right?) Deep down in my heart I knew it was worth it. God was shaping us, refining us, and allowing our hearts to only rely on Him.

I kind of felt like Philip in Acts 8. God took Philip from the thriving ministry in Samaria and basically told him to go to the desert. For us, leaving Nashville was really hard, but God was sending us to Guatemala. Not that Guatemala is desert like, but it was a different experience, an unknown adventure. I'm not really sure what Philip was thinking when God told him to go, all I know is that he went.

Sometimes, hard days and moments in our lives are some of our best experiences. Maybe not so much when they're happening, but in hindsight those are the moments when we grow. I am so excited about our life here in Guatemala. We have already experienced hard days and frustrating situations, but God is at work and I'm so glad to be a part of it.

Just a few highlights from 2013

Enjoyed our last moments of living in Nashville.

 Spent 4 weeks in Puerto Rico…

…and 2 weeks in ATL 

My best friend joined the diamond club and got ENGAGED! 

Mitch and I traveled to Arkansas, Texas, and Florida visiting family and friends.

I turned 25 and celebrated it in Nashville!

And we moved to Guatemala!

2013 was filled with fun memories, hard memories, and lots of adventures!
This will be my last blog post of the year, folks. Thanks for coming along on this beautiful adventure with Mitch and I. Looking forward to many more adventures in 2014! We will be spending this holiday season with family and friends in the States! So I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas and a happy New Year!


Tuesday, December 3, 2013

For this week's post I thought I'd do something a little different. Since moving to Guatemala we've gotten a ton of questions about our life here. So instead of answering them all 1,000 different times, I thought I'd share them here. By the way, it's totally okay to keep asking us questions. If you have more, keep them coming!

1. What is your day like?
This is a tricky question to answer because each day looks fairly different. Because we're still newbies here in Guatemala, we still have some things we're trying to get settled (Visas!). Of course, we still do normal, everyday things like clean the house, go to the grocery store, etc. If you've ever been in some sort of ministry you know that this too can look different each day. Right now we are focused in on one village where we are teaching both the children and adults. Eventually we will be working in multiple villages at one time. Soon we will begin teaching a missions class at our church in hopes of training local believers to take the gospel to their community. Mitch will also begin preaching soon! We have studying that we do too… like preparing lessons for the village, reading we do for Trek-X, and I am currently trying to finish an online ESL(English as a Second Language) class. We are also spending a lot of time building relationships with the locals- people at church, our neighbors, the villagers, and the owners of our home. We are excited about the open doors God is giving us to make His name known.

2. Do you have a car?
Yes! This is a huge blessing for us. Now we don't have to take the sometimes scary public transportation! And of course now we have access to many other villages.

3. What do you eat?
The first month we were here, we were eating hotel food. It was pretty much beans, beans, and more beans. I like black beans a lot and as a vegetarian, beans are a good source of protein for me; but here the black beans are refried and they eat them every day. So basically I am super thankful we have our own kitchen again. Let's just say I haven't had a black bean since we moved into our home. We pretty much eat the same stuff we would normally eat. However, some things are hard to find. I sent Mitch on a mission one day to find butternut squash and he had no luck. There are certain things we like that we can't find, but we are definitely not going hungry over here.

4. Can you drink the water?
No! Mitch brushes his teeth with the water, but we don't drink it. The locals don't even drink it. Occasionally when I'm lazy I'l wash my apple in it, but I haven't gotten sick. However, I try and wash all my fruits and veggies in the pure water.

5. Do you feel safe?
Sometimes yes, sometimes no. If you aren't aware, Guatemala is one of the most dangerous countries in the western hemisphere, with Guatemala City being in the top 5 most dangerous cities in the world. I'm not meaning to scare anyone, but this fact has made us more alert and aware of our surroundings. We know God is with us and watches over us, but we also must use wisdom and be on guard at all times(especially since we're gringos).

6. Can you come back to the states whenever you want?
Pretty much, yes. We've been asked this several times because there are actually some mission organizations that do not let their missionaries return home until after a certain number of years. Mitch and I are so thankful that's not the case with us! We can return whenever, but the $$ to fly home would come out of our own pocket. I will be returning at the end of next July for my best friends wedding and Mitch will join me a week after. We will be spending the month of August in the states.

7. What are the villages like? 
First of all, Cuilapa is surrounded by approximately 35 villages, which is roughly 20,000 people! We have just began to scrape the surface. Most of the villages are pretty similar in look. You may drive up to 30min-1hour just to get inside. Sometimes there are dirt roads, sometimes there are no roads at all just rocks(cue 4wheel drive!). The people live very simply as they do not have much. Some villages may not even have a school. But they are full of precious kids and hopeful mommas.

8. What do you miss the most? 
This is an easy one. Family and friends! We're thankful for the friends we've made here, but sure do miss the one's back home.

9. How can we pray for you?
I love when people ask this because it encourages us knowing we have people praying for us.
You can pray for our Spanish to continue to improve. Mitch and I went into this with the huge advantage of already knowing some of the language. I can't imagine being here without any knowledge of Spanish, but we still have a little ways to go before fluency. You can pray for salvation. There is so much work to be done here. Sometimes it's overwhelming to think that Mitch and I are just two people amongst a sea of lost souls. But I'm reminded that God is a big God and he can do immeasurably more than we can imagine. Please join us in begging God for salvations and for workers of the harvest!

10. What is the religion there?
The predominant religion is Catholicism. Most of these Catholics don't know God though. They are Catholic simply by birth. We have also been surprised at the amount of Mormons here and have already seen two American mormons in Cuilapa. While at the grocery store one day we noticed a couple that looked very much like us-gringos. We started talking with them and come to find out the are Jehovah's Witnesses from the States. Because no one here owns a Bible or really knows God, Mormons and JW's can enter into the villages and easily convert the people. Contact us if you would like to donate Spanish bibles. We want to get them in everyone's hand.

11. What's the weather like?
So I've already posted here that Guatemala is the Land of the Eternal Spring and it really has proven itself. Lately the weather has been in the 60-70's. It's perfect! But we're told that summer is just around the corner from February-May.

That's all for now. Maybe later I'll post a part 2. Thanks for reading and I hope this gives you a little look into our lives in Guatemala!

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