So we are through the holidays and have begun a new year... This year, like the past few, will be a year of new beginnings. My job this month (more or less) is to find a suitable facility to house our wood-shop. I will be heading out to explore Los Guido, and the surrounding areas, while seeking to maintain relationships and look for other opportunities that God may have for me (and SI.) Ideally, we would like to build a shop to house this ministry site and leave room for future expansion, however I think it is wise to "try it out" and see if it is really where God would have us be. For me this is the start of what I have been waiting for. It's a chance to really build relationships that could lead to discipleship. Until now I have been somewhat of a "floater". I have worked in Los Guido and Las Fuentes but have also spent a lot of time in the house doing the practical, "needed" things like building bookshelves and tables. Now I will be in one spot (for the most part) with, hopefully, a regular group of youth who want to at least pass their time doing something constructive. I am also excited to have a more focused prayer life. Now I am working within everyone else's sphere of influence. I definitely have things to pray for, but I continually add to the list and really forget the significance of what I was praying for because I've lost the personal contact.
In addition to my new beginnings, Ella and Judah are going to begin school in February! Ella is going to a school called Santa Maria, which yes, is Catholic. The religion is limited to once a week and Ella will be spending "alone time" coloring or reading (hopefully soon) by herself in a different classroom. Apparently it's not uncommon for children to sit out during these times so maybe she wont be alone. Judah will be in a preschool called Osita Panda (little panda bear) for a few days a week. We would really like for Erin to have some alone time with Judah even if only 2 days a week. At Osita Panda Judah will be learning basic preschool stuff as well as Taekwondo. They are both looking forward to meeting new friends and learning. Erin and I are looking forward to taking advantage of this awesome opportunity to teach our kids spanish without having to teach them spanish ourselves;) While preschool can be good for kids, we feel like often times it is more to enable parents to do what they want. I don't want anyone else raising my kids for me, and I think that I can sufficiently prepare my kids for school while spending focused time with them. We are not sending our kids to school to be in "ministry." So while we are very excited for our kids to make friends and learn spanish, know that it will be hard for Erin and I to give up this chunk of time. We have always said we are here, following the Lord, for the benefit of our children, and we always pray that God will lead us in the best way to do that. Although we would never consider this option in the states, this is what we feel we need to do now. So if you think of us, please pray. We want to experience all that God has for us while continuing to accept His protection.
So in short, we are excited!! I feel for the first time as if I'll be doing what I came to do. There are a lot of unknowns and a lot of problems hidden within them. I don't expect this year to go super smooth but I do expect to see the Lord in new ways through the situations that come up. Please be praying with me for a fruitful year, grace for the new beginning of the wood-shop, and grace, unity, and peace for our family. I hope to be overjoyed at the opportunity to share of Gods goodness and faithfulness, here on this blog, throughout this year. May Jesus Bless You All.
And just to have some pictures... Here are some pictures of how we "rang in the new year." The people you don't know are our beloved neighbors and their family.