Thursday, March 13, 2014


The last 3 weeks have been absolutely crazy...

  • Jonathan ran a Jr/Sr retreat with our students
  • Our intern, Caroline, arrived
  • We had a team retreat with a tremendous amount of car trouble
  • We packed everything up the day we returned
  • We moved to our new house and cleaned up our old
  • We've started to furnish our house (not so easy without a Bed, Bath & Beyond)
  • We hosted a pancake dinner for our students
  • We're planning our big spring retreat
  • We got over a stomach bug
Things have been so full that we're forgetful, unfocused, exhausted, and easily frustrated. Praise God that He is constant through the change and the stress that it brings. Praise God that He is unmovable and never shaken.

During our retreat, I was reminded of Colossians 3:15: It comes just after Paul lists out things for believers to put on. 
And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. 

We're definitely not in the middle of peace, but in our hearts we are very thankful for all that this business brings and the peace that we can rest in the most stable God. 

Sunday, February 2, 2014

on January 24-25 we did something new at the International Youth Group. We held a 12 hour workshop on listening. How many teenagers will sign up for a 12 hour workshop? My guess was around 7. My parent's were coming from the States to share what they'd recently been trained in: Reflective Listening. And this was the number I told them.

You can imagine my shock, then we had a total of 27 each day at our workshop!

We met Friday from 5-9pm, and then kids split up guys and girls and slept at two different youth group family's house. Many thanks to the Gaults and the Cosners for housing so many students!

The goal of reflective listening is to help someone explore their own thoughts and feelings. Removing as many communication barriers as possibly, the listener uses a formula of tentative opening--feeling--thought.

If a friend comes with a issue, for example someone just bullied them at school and hurled a slew of insults at them, one might say: "Wow, it sounds like (tentative) you're feeling embarrassed (feeling) for that to have happened in front of so many people (thought)." In asking this question, two things happen: the person feels listened to (and therefore valued) because of the feeling and thought that were said back at them; the person also now has the opportunity to correct the listener: "No, I wasn't embarrassed as much as ashamed because now everyone knows that _____. And I really don't think that I can show my face in front of those people again!" The conversation can go on, and what ends up happening often times is that the person with the problem ends up processing what's going on. That person might not have even known they felt ashamed until someone helped put words to it. This is such a great way to love and value people, and help them process. At the end of the day, one can join with the other in prayer with better understanding of what to lift up to the Lord.

My parents (Ross and Mary) did a great job teaching the course, and put a lot of time and energy into the prep! If you are interested in learning more about their ministry or if they might be able to visit your church and share the same workshop, visit their website.

Also thanks goes to Equipping Ministries International, who made their material affordable for our youth group to use!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Me llamo go to the bathroom

I just finished my first trimester of language school. It’s amazing how much I’ve learned in 13 weeks. Though I have plenty to learn, I know just enough to get around and get my main point across. The highlight of my time studying was my last day of phonetics class where I was able to answer my teacher’s question about the Christmas story in Spanish. I got to see the light bulb go off in her head as she understood the visit of the wise men and Herod’s genocide for the first time. This is exactly why I’m learning Spanish!

Patrick is also picking up on Spanish and is learning and applying things very quickly. He just spends time with Gina and applies all the rules I’m learning in my grammar class. The other day when I told him to say “hasta luego” (see you later) to one of my girlfriends, Patrick “corrected me”…. “mom, it’s supposed to be hasata luega. She’s a girl.” I had to explain that luego is always the same, but he’s got the whole gender thing down.

Patrick has also learned the phrase “me llamo Patrico” (I call myself Patrick), but he uses it as his go to phrase for anything. Me llamo yogert, me llamo leche (milk), me llamo go to the bathroom. We've taught him  to use “quiero __(name the item)__ “ but we’re still working on it.

He’s starting to use a lot of spanglish, but he knows which words are from each language… “I have 2 now, and if I get another I’ll have tres. Mom, that’s 3 in Spanish.” “I would like some leche, por favor. That means milk!” It’s simply amazing to watch his sponge like brain soak it all in.

While Patrick is learning a ton of Spanish through immersion, he still has times where he’ll tell me… “no more Spanish please. Please say it in English.” I often feel that way too! Language learning is a process, and we learn the best when we’re having fun.

Here's an audio clip of Patrick running through a basic Spanish introduction. He wanted to record something after hearing me record my Spanish tongue twisters for my phonetics class...

Hasta luego!

Monday, December 2, 2013


It has begun. We have started the season of Goodbyes here in our district of San Fransisco De Dos Rios. Last Saturday was the last youth group session for one of our student leaders. She is a Junior, and her family is moving back to the States--their church is successfully planted and thriving, and God is moving them home.

Others are just beginning. I just returned home from a commissioning service at Sojourn, the k-12 school attached to the Language Institute. The service was to help the students of all ages to remember what was going on--why they were moving on. Each got a picture frame with a couple of pictures from school for them to remember. Two of our youth groupers were among this group.

Goodbyes are hard. Hard for those leaving, but also for those staying behind. A connection is severed when goodbyes are said. Most of these we will never see again in this lifetime. What do you do with the love you come to have for a person, the investment you've made into each other's lives? Is it worth making friends again? Is this pain always linked to having people close? Should I just keep everyone at arms length, a safe distance? These are questions that our students must wrestle through. Please pray for these kids as their world gets turned upside down one more time.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Quick Trip to the States

Here are some photos from our quick trip to the US at the beginning of the month. Ironically, I did not get any pictures of the wedding--which is why we went in the first place. The colors were superb!

 Pretty Lake Burton in the fall.
 While the Bridesmaids were doing their thing, Patrick and I went to Talullah  Gorge!

 And he climbed ALL of the stairs by himself from the bridge up. I was impressed!

 Fishing in his PJs at his favorite spot
 Throwing the rest of the bread to the ducks!