Graduation

Graduation

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

A Time of Thanksgiving

We know it's been a while since our last blog post....truth be told, it's been rather busy around here! But with that comes reminders of all we have to be thankful for! Starting in July when we prayerfully made the decision to send Leslie and the baby back to the States away from the ever spreading Zika virus, while Jeff remained in Honduras to continue English classes at the school at the farm. Once in the States, testing confirmed that neither Leslie nor the baby had been exposed to the Zika virus! Praise the Lord!

While in Honduras, Jeff continued the work of teaching English classes and walking through life day by day with our FCM kiddos. Our fellow missionaries did a wonderful job checking on him and making sure he didn't starve! We are blessed with a great team and friends!

10 weeks later, Jeff joined Leslie and Baby V in the U.S. and one and a half weeks later on September 27th, little Elliot William Vanvactor was born weighing 5 lbs 14 oz and very healthy for coming one month early. Thank you to those of you who have been praying and continue to pray for us and especially little Elliot. We truly believe that we have been and continue to watch your prayers being answered every day as we watch our little one continue to grow and do extremely well despite being a preemie.
 We are excited to return to Honduras in early December and hope to spend our remaining time in the States with family and friends/supporters/churches, raising more support and spending time together getting to better know our newest little family member.

We are so thankful for you, your friendship, your prayers and financial support. You are truly a blessing to our little family!

"Because we loved you so much, we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well." 1 Thessalonians 2:8

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Little Baby V is a......

BOY!!!
The boys were so thrilled to learn that the baby is a boy and kept telling everyone that they had "won". Some of the girls still tell me that they hope it's a girl and whichever boy is with me at the time that the girls say this (usually Joel) will emphatically tell them that it's a boy and then look at me to make sure I still agree.
Soon after we told the boys that we were going to have a baby some of them came to me with little Joel and said that Joel had told them that he was going to fight the baby when he came. So we spent a few minutes talking about how little the baby was going to be and that we had to take care of him. Carlos Daniel said "this is what you do with babies" and he started swinging his arms back and forth as if he were holding a baby and then started talking Spanish baby talk into his arms. We all giggled.
Please be praying for Joel, my other baby, as he is going to have to learn how to share my attention.
Earlier this week one of our translators started teasing Carlos Daniel telling him the baby was actually a girl.....he started to get a little worked up about it and I just shook my head.....finally the translator said its twins! One boy and one girl! The girls won too!
Carlos Daniel really did start to get upset with that and he looked at me. I was laughing and finally I shook my head and said there's just one baby and he's a boy.
Then at lunch yesterday some of the boys were chanting in a sing song voice....."we're getting a new little brother, we're getting a brother."
 Then Carlos Daniel added "and I'm going to take very good care of him!"

Thank you, everyone that has been praying for us and especially for Leslie and the baby. She is starting to feel a lot better as the nausea is finally going away. She is 19 weeks and baby is healthy and getting bigger every day!
We've been asked if we're going to have the baby here or go back to the States. The plan is to head back to the States to have the baby this fall. We haven't been back to the States in about a year and a half and are excited about the opportunity to go back and see all our family and friends! We would love to use this as a time to visit with everyone and share with churches and sponsors (baby permitting!). Please send us an email at jeffandlesliev@gmail.com or a message via facebook so we can get with you and figure out a good time to get together.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

The Marvelous Month of May!

We can't believe it's already May! We know it's been a little while since our last update, and we just want to say how very thankful we are for each and everyone of you who are praying for us and supporting us!  It is a great comfort to us to know that we have prayer warriors like you continually approaching the throne of God on our behalf! And the truth of the matter is that without financial support we would not be here, so thank you for helping keep us here. Your obedience to pray and give is just as important as our obedience to say yes to God and go. Because of your partnership with us, the kiddos in our ministry are learning English and what the love of God looks like lived out everyday!

Let us catch you up on what else has been going on since the last time.  Our biggest and most exciting news is that we are expecting our first baby!
Little Baby V will be making his or her apparence later this year in the fall. We are very excited with this little blessing that God is giving us.

And even though it may mean that Lucy will have to share her toys, we think she'll be excited to be a big sister. Please pray that Leslie will start to feel better and the morning sickness will begin to subside. Also pray that God will continue to protect her and the baby from the very famous zika virus that is prevelant here in Central America.

We also have car news. Our one and only faithful car that we bought when we first arrived has been in the shop for the past 2 weeks. We discovered that it was a problem with the motor and it looks like the car may still be in the shop for at least another week or two. However, we work with some pretty amazing people who have been willing to let us borrow their cars or give us rides where we needed to go. Finally we decided to bite the bullet and get a second car, and with as busy as we've been getting with added responsibilities, we've really been needing to do this for a while.

Along with the responsibility of teaching English to our elementary school kiddos, we are in charge of overseeing all of the ministry's kids' education. Jeff has been working side by side with one of our Honduran workers and an FCM board member to see to it that our kids are making the most of their opportunity for an education and that we are doing everything we can to help them. We are also working on ways to make sure that all of the kids in the ministry are learning English and looking for opportunities for them to practice what they are learning.

We are still very involved with working with our elementary school on the farm. The school year started in early February, and last month we had our first field trip to a local water park called Villamar. The kids loved it!
Jonathan with his new water goggles. 
Pati (I'm pretty sure this was her first time ever at a waterpark). 
Duglas jumping in the pool.
The pools at the waterpark were a welcome relief from the heat at the farm!
Two weeks ago we celebrated Mother's Day with the kiddos in the elementary school at the farm.  
 The women workers on the farm who care for the boys everyday were invited to this presentation and everyone had fun!
 The kids sang songs, 2 of the boys quoted poems, we played games, and the girls did a creative movement piece to the song "Let it Go" from Frozen.
 Solanyi
Dany and Joel caught goofing off!

This week we kick off our summer schedule of mission teams and it is a full summer! Please remember to pray for us and the other missionaries as things get busier throughout the summer!  At the end of this month we get to find out if Baby V is a boy or girl!  We'll post here and on Facebook once we get the big news!




Saturday, December 5, 2015

Winter 2015 Update

Merry Christmas!  Well, almost.  Our first year of full-time ministry is going by so quickly.  Thank you all for the prayers as we continue the work God has called us to here!  We have a newsletter to update y'all on what's been going on.  If you think your church or Sunday school class would enjoy seeing it, we'd love for you to print it out and let them know about what's going on down here.  Just follow the link below.  We hope you enjoy it!

Winter Newsletter

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Fall is Falling...

As I get on Facebook lately I've noticed more and more posts about fall weather, getting out the jeans and boots, grabbing a pumpkin spiced latte at Starbucks, the cool chill in the breeze.....Here we are coming to the end of rainy season, but it's mostly blue skies and sunny days all year long!
And we're ok with that! (ok so maybe there are a few clouds here and there....). Fall also means that we have reached the end of offical team season. We did have a short mens team here last week, and the month of October is full of teams, and then there's the Christmas team at the beginning of December, but that's it until next year!
We had a wonderful time this summer getting to make a lot of new friends on teams (and seeing old familiar ones!), meeting different kids' sponsors and getting to help deepen that relationship through letters in English that the kiddos had written for their sponsors, pics we put together for them to give to their sponsors, and helping translate conversations. It's awesome to watch sponsors love on their kiddos (and all the other kids too), not just with bringing them things they want or need, but spending time with them, eating meals together, communicating in all sorts of ways, giving "parental looks" and lots and lots of hugs!


We are currently still teaching English classes at school. The school year here goes from February to November, so we've almost made it through our first full year of teaching English! We've been very encouraged to hear from team members that the kids are speaking more English to them and not being shy about trying to talk in English. We're very proud of the progress they're making!


Also we feel that our relationships with the boys are continuing to grow (along with our comprehension and speaking Spanish). We were talking about nicknames one day at lunch and Carlos Daniel asked if we had any. Jeff's was Bubba (thanks Aunt Belinda!) and mine was Augie (thanks brother! lol). Then he told us his nickname was Chote. I thought I'd pretend like I misheard him and said "Chayote"? (which is the Spanish word for squash). He started laughing and to this day he calls me Augie and I call him Chayote. Then little Joel started calling him Chayote and he (Carlos Daniel) told me it was all my fault. 

Carlos Daniel aka Chayote
baby Joel and his chocolate milk


Prayer requests:
- we are still in process for our residency here in Honduras
- continued growth in our relationships with the boys
- that our Spanish would continue to improve
- continued safety driving in this country
- for the boys who don't know Christ to come to know Him, and for those that do to be an example for the others
- that in the busyness of doing missions we would not neglect our own relationship with the Father

Thank ya'll for your continual prayers! We'd love to hear from you! Send us an email at jeffandlesliev@gmail.com or send us a message on Facebook!

Monday, June 15, 2015

Today as Joel was happily sitting in my lap chattering away about something in Spanish, I thought back to when we first arrived here in Honduras......4 months ago! I can't believe it's been 4 months!
When we first arrived Joel was shy.



Then he saw us playing tag with some of the other boys and decided he wanted to join in, but really he just wanted someone running after him. To be pursued.

Isn't that what we all want? What our hearts desire? To be pursued by the One who loves us as we are.

He would run and squeal as I chased him.
Once I caught him, I'd pick him up, swing him around and tickle him. Or some combination of that. But being caught wasn't what caused those delightful squeals. It was being pursued. I would put him down and so the game would begin anew.

And now? Now he comes up to me with his arms outstretched. Wanting to be held. Held where he is safe and loved. Sometimes he comes up and puts his little hand in mine and just walks beside me. Not caring where we're going and usually rattling off 4 year old sentences in Spanish that are adorable and sometimes incomphrensible. I just smile as we walk.




Sometimes we just want Him to hold us. Hold us where we know we are safe and loved. Sometimes we have a lot to say and He just smiles and holds our hand as we walk with Him. Not caring where we're going, as long as it's with Him. Where we are safe and loved.

Sometimes he comes running, if the older boys are picking on him. He runs up, wraps his tiny arms around my legs and buries his face. As if they can't see him when he can't see them.

When trouble comes, we know where to go. And we go. Running. If I sit and he is nearby, you can know that he will crawl into my lap to sit. Happy and content. Safe and loved. And he knows it.

The Lord appeared to him from afar, saying, "I have loved you with an everlasting love; Therefore I have drawn you with lovingkindness.
 Jeremiah 31:3

He pursues us with an everlasting love and draws us to Himself. So that we may walk with Him for the rest of our days. He is our safehaven. Our place of rest. Our refuge. This love. His everlasting love. Is the love that we must show the world.

How lovely on the mountains Are the feet of him who brings good news, Who announces peace And brings good news of happiness, Who announces salvation, And says to Zion, “Your God reigns!” Isaiah 52:7

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Printable Update from Honduras

Many of you who read our blog and keep up with our adventures here in Honduras have asked for something printable to share with your churches.  Below is our first printable newsletter!  Just click the link below to open a pdf that has recent news about what God is doing in our lives here as we begin ministering to the children with Forgotten Children Ministries, as well as prayer requests and praises as we go forward.  We'll send these out periodically to those on our email list, and also post them here on the website.  If you'd like to be added to our email list, please send us an email at JeffandLeslieV@gmail.com.  Blessings from Honduras!

Newsletter link:  May 2015 Printable Update

Jeff and Leslie