Graduation

Graduation

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

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