Graduation

Graduation

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

"I don't understand. It makes no sense."

"I don't understand. It makes no sense."
This is a phrase we find ourselves repeating multiple times a day!! As we adjust to a new culture, a new way of living, we often find ourselves shaking our heads and repeating this phrase.

When we're out driving and someone is stopped, blocking a whole lane, laying under their car (obvious car problems.....no need to pull off to the side of the road) with their legs sticking into the only remaining lane.....I don't understand. It makes no sense.

When we realize that our normal size shower curtain liner (from the US) isn't long enough to fit our normal looking shower......I don't understand. It makes no sense.

When a bus stops to pick up or let off pasengers and blocks a whole lane of traffic and there is an empty pull-off just 20 yards ahead put there just for them.....I don't understand. It makes no sense.

When people decide to cross a busy street carry babies or running with small children and there is a pedestrian bridge just a few feet away that would take them safely over the road.....I don't understand. It makes no sense.

When they tell us our stove will be in by a certain day and a week after that date, it isn't (so we go to the store only to learn that the one they were going to deliver to us has a dent in it and thus, they can't send it to us.). And when there seems to only exist 1 stove of that model in the whole country......I don't understand. It makes no sense.

Why our neighbors' friends like to park infront of our driveway when they have a party (even though we've had a car for over 2 weeks, and there is room to park where there are no driveways)......I don't understand. It makes no sense.

Why they feel the need to burn the hillsides in the middle of dry season......I don't understand. It makes no sense.

When electrical outlets in the house are upside down or sideways.....I don't understand. It makes no sense.

Sometimes the police feel the need to direct traffic (even though the traffic light is working fine) and seem to make the traffic worse......I don't understand. It makes no sense.

They sell gas grills in every store but there is only one place in the whole city where you can get your propane tank filled.......I don't understand. It makes no sense.

Notice most of our examples have to do with traffic! We spend a lot of time laughing....
But as we were driving today a song came on the radio. Here are the words to that song.

To know You gave the world
Your only son for us
To know Your name
To live within the Saviors love

And He took my place
Knowing He'd be crucified
And You loved, You loved
A people undeserving

"A people undeserving"......it makes no sense. 

For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 1 Corinthians 1:18

For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength. 1 Corinthians 1:25



Saturday, March 7, 2015

We Made It!!!

These past 3 (almost 4 weeks) have just flown by! We still can't believe we're here! It has been a whirlwind of shopping for a house to rent, a car and house stuff and then starting to teach English class at our school on the farm! Every day we come home from the farm completely exhausted, but happy to finally be here.
God has blessed us tremendously throughout this whole process. We were able to find a house in the same safe neighborhood as our fellow missionaries. We finally found and bought a car just last week. We had a mechanic check it out and the car salesman actually gave us a pretty good deal on it. (Please pray for us as we are now driving, and the rules of the road are totally different here.....as in, there are NO RULES!!) I like to call it "Honduran Geometry", they see a tiny space between two cars and think "yep, my car will fit in there" and then they just go for it!
We got to experience what the Hondurans mean when they say "mañana" (tomorrow) when it came to waiting on our appliances to arrive. We've also gotten to practice a ton of Spanish. We've been so blessed by our fellow missionaries' willingness to drive us wherever (to look at houses, cars, appliances, etc) and letting us stay with them while we were waiting on things to arrive.

Yesterday we completed our 1st full week of school and have taught English class three times. The first day we did review to find out what they know and where to begin. Then we started with a few of the basics (days of the week, months of the year, etc). We're so excited that they have this opportunity to learn English (and to be teaching them) and they are excited about it too.
We are thoroughly enjoying our time helping out at the school in whatever way is needed, and this next week we are looking forward to meeting with the shelter boys and beginning some discipleship.
Thank you all so much for your prayers, support and encouraging words! We look forward to sharing with you all that God is doing here in Honduras!

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Time to walk....

We've been back in the States for a little over 7 weeks now and the longer we're here the easier it is to get settled back into living the way we did before. Sometimes it makes me wonder....are we crazy?

Crazy for leaving our nice house 
and selling off our cars
and leaving good paying jobs (and friends) behind?
I know there are many people who would probably agree with this sentiment and will tell you we are crazy.
When I start to wonder this, I think back to my very first trip to Honduras in 2003, and remember when God whispered to my soul "this place, these people, this is where I have called you to share my love."
I look at pictures from previous trips.



God has called us to care for the widows and orphans.

I'm reminded of the story of Peter walking on water. If you're like me, you've read/heard the story a million times! We are no longer impressed, Peter walked on water until he took his eyes off Jesus and then he started to sink yada yada. That story was a BIG deal to Peter, because he lived it!
Peter saw Jesus walking on the water. And Peter said if it's You, tell me to come to you. So Jesus said "come". Peter left the boat. The safe, secure comfortable boat. Stepped onto the water. And began to walk. Peter walked on the water. Why? Because Jesus called him.

Jesus called to us and said I want you to leave your safe boat and move to a dangerous country to share My love. He has called us to leave the security of knowing you're getting a consistent pay check, trusting Him to provide. He is calling us to leave the comfort of our home. He is calling us to trust Him. Crazy trust. Like walking on water.

"How will they preach unless they are sent? Just as it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news of good things!” Romans 10:15

Here we go....
What is He calling you to??

Monday, January 5, 2015

Happy New Year! We graduated!

 
2014 has been one of the most exciting, difficult, and fun years of our lives.  We started out the year in a brand new country, waiting for language school to begin.  It's hard to believe it's been a whole year since then!  We're proud of the work we put in this year to learn Spanish and grateful that God has allowed us to reach the level of fluency that we were able to achieve this year.  We're even more grateful for the many new friends we made this year, and for any of those friends who might be reading this, we miss you dearly!  God is sending out a wonderful, willing group of missionaries to Latin America, and we can't wait to see what He does through all of us!
We closed out 2014 with graduation from language school and some time back in the US spending Christmas with family (unfortunately the last time we'll likely do that for quite some time).  Up next for us as we start the new year are visits to the many churches who are supporting us financially and prayerfully, and as much fund-raising as we can pack into the next month before we head to Honduras.  God willing, we'll be heading to officially begin work with Forgotten Children Ministries in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, in early February, and we'll be there for at least a year before our next visit back to the US.  The opportunities we had to visit and Skype the kids in the shelter there over the last year were so encouraging to us, especially as we noticed that we were able to speak with and understand them better and better as the year went along.  We can hardly wait to see them again! 
We have several things we hope you'll pray for over the next month as we prepare to go to Honduras. 
--Financial support:  This is our last chance to be here in the States to raise support.  This will cover rent, security, food, health insurance, gas and upkeep on a vehicle, and any other expenses we have on the mission field.  We are hoping to raise approximately $1,000 in additional monthly support while we're here.  Please pray that God would put on His people's hearts to support us as part of the work He's doing around the world.  There are so many missionaries ready to go into the field and spread His great news, who only lack the financial resources to get there.  Please pray about how you can help! To support us, just  go to www.fcmhonduras.org and click on the "donate now" button and follow the instructions! We'd also love to hear from you via email at jeffandlesliev@gmail.com

--Arrival in Honduras:  There are only a few neighborhoods in Tegucigalpa that are secure enough for US nationals to live, but cheap enough for us to be able to afford.  The other missionaries in our organization have found one that has been working well for them.  Please pray for a home to open up for rent in that neighborhood or one of the nearby ones so that we can have a home to move into soon after our arrival.  Please also pray that we'll be able to find a vehicle to purchase that is of good quality and fair price. Pray that our relationships with the children we're working with will grow, and that God will bring fruit in their lives as we minister to them. 

Thank you for your many prayers, thoughtful and encouraging facebook messages and emails, care packages, and the many other ways you all have blessed us this past year!  We hope you have a happy and blessed new year!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Our Daily Sights

As you all know we having been living in Costa Rica for almost a year now.  We're not sure what you think of when you think of living in Central America (if it's the beach, well, we're not anywhere near one unfortunately!), so we thought we'd take a few photos of things we see everyday and share them with you!
the "fería" or farmer's market

We shop here every Saturday and buy all our fruits and veggies

this is a very common sight! We are the dishwashers here

The back gate of the school. This is the entrance we use every morning.

Some sort of fly/bee nest down the street from us...

The electrical wiring is just fascinating here!

Anybody know what these are?

Mowing the grass.....

Barbed wire is very fashionable here!
Here's the front of the first house we lived in here.
Here's the front of the house we live in now!
A pretty tiled wall we walk past everytime we go to the grocery story.
An overgrown fenced in empty lot.
Line of taxi cabs by Parque Bosque.
Parque Bosque. (Also the park where Lucy was bitten.)
Trash day.
The foot bridge we cross to go to the grocery store.
Our favorite grocery store! (Peri) Only a 15 min walk from our house.
Did we mention it was rainy season?
Beautiful mountains!
Most streets have guards, This is one of the guard shacks.
We walk to this bus stop every Sunday morning to take the first of two buses to church.

We have such pretty flowers here!

We are blessed to live in this beautiful country.  Many of the things you see above are a shock when you first arrive.  It takes some time to get used to all of the gated homes and barbed wire, but it's a place where God is at work in the hearts of many, and has been a wonderful transition country between the luxuries we take for granted in the US, and the basic things so many do without in Honduras.

"My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me." (John 10:27) We know this is where God has called us to for now, so that we can learn a language and learn cultural differences that will better allow us to reach the people He has called us to serve in Honduras. Thank you all so much for your prayers and support! We can't wait to see ya'll in December!!

Also, we made a short video clip about our time here in Costa Rica! Enjoy!
Costa Rica 2014 Video

Saturday, September 27, 2014

The Beginning of the End

We are almost a month into our 3rd and final trimester of language school, which means we have a little over two months left before we get to see many of you again!! We cannot believe just how fast this year of language school has just flown by. We have learned a lot and will continue to learn for the rest of our time here. Jeff is enjoying his challenging translation class and Leslie is enjoying time out of the classroom getting to know some of the locals through practicing Spanish and learning new lingo.

We had a great time during our final visa renewal trip to Honduras. Yet again we were encouraged by the amount of Spanish we were able to understand and speak. It's a wonderful feeling seeing your hard work pay off when a child smiles at you, knowing you understand him or her and he or she understood you. We can't wait to begin working with and discipling these kids when we return to Honduras in February.

Fun with the younger boys at the shelter on our final Visa renewal trip

We are looking forward to seeing as many of you as we can when we come back to the States in December!  Please be in prayer for our health and the health of our fellow students.  One of our very good friends has had medical issues come up recently that will result in her having major surgery in the coming weeks.  Please also be in prayer for the organization we'll be working with, Forgotten Children Ministries, and the children and workers as the main phase of our building projects finish up and we prepare to move both the children and most ministry activities away from Tegucigalpa out to the farm.  This is on schedule to happen later this year and, while a major challenge, will go a long way toward keeping the children safe and giving them a place to run and play and just act like kids!

The Team Building at the farm, where FCM will host short-term mission teams

Thank you for your continued prayers and support!  We will see you soon!

Jeff and Leslie
In God, whose word I praise, in God I have put my trust.  I shall not be afraid.--Psalm 56:3-4a

Monday, August 25, 2014

Two Down, One to Go!


We hope everyone had a great summer! For everyone else, it's back to school season. As for us, we've been in school all along!  We just finished the second of our three trimesters of language school and are gearing up to start the third next week. Unfortunately, the end of a “tri” means saying goodbye to friends who are finishing up their year of school. The good side of this, however, is that we now have friends sharing the GREAT news of Christ in countries all over Central and South America!

We're gonna miss these two, and many others!
 

It also means meeting the new students coming in to begin their year of language school. This time around, this means new fellow Forgotten Children Ministries missionaries, the Stewarts!  We've had a fun time showing them around town and helping them get settled in.
 
 
Our new FCM missionary friends, the Stewarts, who are new students this trimester!
 
The other highlight of our break has been seeing another volcano! Volcano Irazu is about a 45-minute bus ride from here and sounded like a fun (and cheap!) day trip. We had heard it would be cooler on top of the volcano, but nobody mentioned that what we'd really need is a winter coat! It was about 45-degrees and sleeting, which was definitely the coldest we've felt since leaving the US in December. We're not looking forward to the cold of an East Tennessee winter at the end of the year, but a morning up there was good preparation for us!

What we could see of the crater through the fog and sleet
Please be in prayer for our many friends who are traveling and settling into their new countries and ministries. God has sent out a wonderful group of missionaries this month, and we know that He has great plans for them! Please also pray for the Stewarts and other families who are beginning language school next week. They have each chosen to give up everything for the call of Christ, and they need our prayers as God uses this year to change them and teach them. It is a time of great testing of each student's faith, but God is good, and He is faithful to show each of us His glory through this time!

Finally, for us, please pray for our upcoming visa renewal trip in September and our final trimester of language school. Our Spanish has progressed so much this year, but this will be the most difficult trimester of all, as we will have a more difficult class schedule along with more complicated, abstract topics of Spanish that aren't used in English. I will be adding on a class in translation this time around, while Leslie will be taking “FARO” class, which requires her to find people in the community to talk to about certain topics each week. Please pray for her safety as she spends more time out and about, and for helpful Costa Rican friends who will be willing to discuss these topics each week!