Family A-Fair: The Fair Family Journey
|Posted by familyafair on January 4, 2010 at 1:04 PM||comments (136)|
Phil 1: 4-6
4In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy 5because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, 6being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
This verse keeps coming to mind lately as I look back over our last two years here in Mexico and consider all that He has done. I am not somuch talking about outward ministry, but the inward things of the heart that God has been revealing to us while we are here. Primarily, that the rooting out of selfishness in our hearts is an ongoing thing. It is easy for me to get discouraged with myself in this area and that is why I take comfort in this verse. Even if it seems as if I am at a spiritual standstill God is still at work in me.
We have also been growing in our understanding of how God desires our family to operate. Working in full time ministry and living in a needy area provides CONSTANT opportunities to serve and meet the needs of others. We can't possibly say yes to every opportunity. We know thisbecause we have attempted it. Discerning the areas of ministry God wants us to invest in and drawing some boundaries for our family is essential to our long term health as a family on the foreign mission field. Burnout is very real possibility if we do not take care of ourselves in this regard. Thankfully God has lavished us with His grace during our time of trial and error and we are feeling hopeful with renewed vision and purpose!
In other news, we just returned home from Texas where we had a month of visiting with family and friends. We really enjoyed the cold winter weather and the boys were hopeful for snow. I can't believe North Texas actually had a white Christmas after we left! We had fun stopping at every Sonic we passed and enjoyed some great Southern cooking while we were there. I had a lot of dental work done and we made the rounds to different doctors for various check-ups..it was just a time of recouping and tying up some loose ends. The children did surprisingly well on our 2 day 25 hour drive and we arrived back in Mexico just in time for Christmas. We celebrated our first Christmas away from home this year and began our very own family traditions. Nathan and I expected to feel sad, but it was probably one of the best Christmas' we have ever had. God provides for us in so many ways here, His grace being the most felt and obvious provision. On Christmas eve we adopted our first ever family dog "Sadie", and she has quickly made herself at home in our family. And of course this was our sweet Phoebe's first Christmas as well. We have learned some tough lessons this year and the trial and error aspect has been uncomfortable to say the least, but it all feels "worth it". We have pressed on, fought discouragement and grown because of it. It hasn't been pretty, but it's been necessary and we are so thankful to God for His patience and lovingkindess towards us.
Thank you for lifting us up in prayer. No doubt we have persevered this past year on those prayers. Thank you to those of you who stand behind us financially and make it possible for us to be here in Mexico. I pray that you all have a wonderful 2010 full of His goodness.
Because He is worthy, Amey
|Posted by familyafair on June 15, 2009 at 3:09 PM||comments (28)|
We were also blessed to be able to receive a team from our church; First Baptist Lindale. The team was made up of several of our missions committee members as well as others from our church who want to serve in missions. The purpose of the trip was to explore ministry opportunities for future short term teams from our church with the possibility of bringing an outreach at the end of June. While they were here, the First Baptist team ministered in the local prison, a womens rehab center, at Ministerios De Amor orphanage and in a local village. It was a blessed time for us to have a part of our church family here seeing what we do. We were so encouraged by their love and care for us.
Then, the Swine Flu epidemic hit Mexico. Five short term teams as well as our First Baptist group had to cancel their trips to Guadalajara. All of Nathan's planning came to a halt and he suddenly found himself with more time to devote to his other responsibilities, mainly his work in the communications department as well as helping with on going base projects.
At the end of May we had the opportunity to attend the YWAM Mexico national conference in Puerto Vallarta. This is a bi-annual conference for all of the bases of Mexico and a time for us to get together and share vision for this nation, give updates on our ministries, connect as YWAM'ers and hear great teachings to spur us on. Nathan was the conference coordinator so he was pretty busy, but we did find time to enjoy the pool and the ocean!
The beginning of June found us completing our first year of teaching in Academia De Fe, YWAM's private school for missionary kids. We graduated two eighth graders to ninth grade and two ninth graders to tenth grade at an end of the year celebration. It was bittersweet as I will not be teaching this up coming year due to the new baby. I will soon have a 2nd grader and a Kindergartner to home school as well as a 19 month old underfoot and an infant in my arms! Life is getting busier!
Which brings me to our family update. Our fourth child is due around July 26th so preparations are under way to receive our newest addition. We do not know the sex of our baby this time around, so it will be a surprise! We are so excited about our maternity care here in Mexico. We found a wonderful place in Guadalajara with Plentitud birth center. Dr. Jose Luis Greffenes is a very natural birth minded dr. who works with an American midwife, Joni, to provide excellent care for both mother and baby. So, yes our baby will be born in Mexico and have dual citizenship! My Mom will join us August 1st to help care for baby and I and Nathan's Dad will arrive the day she leaves, so we are covered for help and some good Grandparent time with the kiddos!
Thank you to those who pray for and support us in so many ways. It is hard sometimes to be so far away from family and it helps to know we haven't been forgotten. (I'll try to help you remember us more by updating this more frequently!) We are planning our yearly trip home to Texas in November/December, so hopefully we will get to see some of your faces and hug your necks then!
Until then, because He is worthy,
|Posted by familyafair on August 21, 2008 at 11:45 PM||comments (135)|
*Whew* I feel like we've just come skidding into the new school year after the roller coaster ride we've just gotten off of! The last time I posted, the Phase 3 (or third year SST student program) was about to kick off. Now the students have come and gone, we've been on vacation and come back to start school the very next Monday. Wow.
The Phase 3 program went so much better than we anticipated and Nathan said it was his favorite year yet that we have worked with SST's. The students that came were third year students, meaning they had previously been through our first year SST and second year Phase 2 programs. Many of these students remembered us from their outreaches to Reynosa 2 years ago! Working with older, and in many ways, more mature students was a blessing and it was a joy to watch them unfold before God during the three weeks they were here.
Nathan was in "go-mode" constantly as we were short on staff, but in the end it was all worth it. Unfortunately I contracted a strain of Typhoid and was on serious antibiotics and somewhat "out of comission" the first week of the school. Not fun. I am feeling better now and will be doing a follow up blood test to make sure it has left my system.
The boys had a great time with the students and got to go with Daddy on many adventures, including a hike into the mountain village of La Pila to meet with an indigenous church plant there. If you skip over to our Photo Gallery I have posted a ton of new pics and you can see the Phase 3 in pictures. As I look through them again I am astounded at the beauty of this place and so thankful to be living here!
Deacon has six teeth now...all in the matter of a few weeks. He made sure not to let me get too much sleep when I had Typhoid Such is the spiritual warfare when we work with SST. Every year something or the other seems to happen to me, or the kids, or our car, or any number of things that would keep us focused on our circumstances rather than on the Lord and ministering to these students. It was hard for me not to have a big pity party and I admit I fell into that trap for a few days, but God is always faithful to allow me to see it for what it is in the end.
Now that the summer is over, we are back in full swing with homeschooling and carrying on a more typical work-day. Nathan is back in the office working on staff fundraising newsletters and organizing and communicating with potential short term teams. He will start back up at the prison next week and we will be going back to the orphanage. It was such a joy this summer to be able to paint for the orphanage and give them some children's books. It was only a small drop in the bucket of what we would like to do there, but it was a great start. I want to say thank you to the Krol family for their donation of books and Bibles for the boys and to Michelle LaMountain for her donation as well as others who have asked to remain anonymous. I can't wait to give these boys a little library with plenty of books to go around, plastic mattress covers for the beds, sheets, and new socks and shoes if possible. It is just plain FUN to have the opportunity to bless these little guys and I am so grateful for each of you who have given towards that goal. Don't forget to go browse our pictures! Until next time....
Because of Him, Amey
|Posted by familyafair on July 13, 2008 at 9:24 PM||comments (165)|
Hope you enjoyed the new videos on our site! Now that we have figured out how to get them on here, we will try to post more of them. We just said goodbye to our friends David and Roxy from Ohio. They and their two boys spent a week with us here, serving the base and ministering with Nathan in the prison and at Ministerios De Amor. The boys really enjoyed having other boys close to their age to play with and we had a great visit!
The base is alive with the sound of young people as the King's Kids youth program has begun this week. There are about 40 kids here between the ages of 8 and 18 going through a discipleship and missions training program. And even though we aren't directly involved with King's Kids, it has been nice watching them embrace our boys and include them in their fun!
Nathan is wrapping up his preparations for the Phase III SST program that will begin on our base on July 17th. Our staff from Tyler arrive on Tuesday and the teenagers will be arriving soon after to start the three week program. Phase III is a discipleship program focused on teaching young people the seven spheres of influence: media, education, business, family, arts & entertainment, government and church. The goal of Phase III is to impart vision to these youth and inspire them to affect the Kingdom of God through these seven spheres through their God-given callings. Nathan will be chiming in on how the school is going and giving a more detailed account of the outreach the kids will be doing. Please pray for receptive hearts and that God will have His way in their lives during these three weeks. We could also use some prayers for our family. Directing such a program is a 24/7 commitment and balance is always a struggle.
We started first grade this past week and it went great! We homeschool year round as our travel schedule works better this way and we often take off time during the school year. The structure of a school day is also good for the boys and helps our days go more smoothly. This year we are a using a program called "Little Hearts For His Glory" which focuses on scripture memorization and teaches Bible history alongside American history. Averic has been joining in and I was so surprised this week when he recited Matthew 19:14 by memory all by himself! I didn't realize he was capable at this age, but I was so blessed by that and he just beamed! Needless to say, we are having fun and are looking forward to another great year. Deacon is growing his first tooth and has not been the happiest boy on the block, but this too shall pass
Well, my "quick update" has turned long and I have small people to put to bed so I will sign off. Thank you all for your prayers and thoughts. God is speaking to us here and revealing His faithfulness to us in so many ways. I know that sounds cliche-ish, but I will share more as things come to pass.
All our love,
|Posted by familyafair on June 21, 2008 at 3:29 PM||comments (17)|
Today our Benjamin turned six! Nathan made him Dutch pancakes, the absolute ONLY thing Nathan knows how to cook! And then the boys watched a movie Benjamin got from his Aunt Nana and Uncle Ben. We celebrated Ben and Averic's birthdays with a party at the local waterpark a week ago since they are so close together.
We have had some response from people regarding our desire to help at Ministerios De Amor and are hoping that God will provide us with all that we need to help these boys. Their biggest needs are bed linens and shoes and socks. Also, the plastic mattress covers that can be used when potty training. The orphanage cannot aford Pull-Ups or other night-training pants and many of these boys are still very small and have a hard time keeping their pants dry at night. So, as you can imagine, many of the matresses are soiled. I would love to put plastic covers and sheets on each bed. I would also love to provide each boy a spanish children's Bible and some children's books. They only have two, out-dated encyclopedias between forty boys. If any of you would like to give towards this effort, please go to the "How You Can Help" section of this website, then just be sure to designate the funds "orphanage". As we have spent more time there, we are getting to know the boys names and some of their stories. Last week Nathan and a visiting friend of ours brought hair clippers and spent the afternoon cutting their hair. We had a great time with them and look forward to our time with them each week.
Tomorrow morning we will be driving 12 hours up to the border. We will be helping the Bateman family settle in to their job/life there for the summer. Adam and Jeni are good friends of ours and they will be taking over the summer outreach coordination for SST that we used to do. This will be their first summer living in Reynosa and tackling these new responsibilites, so please pray for them as they embark on this new journey. We will be staying with dear friends of ours whom we met while we were in language school in McAllen and are hoping to visit Kingsway (our language school) while we are there as well. And of course, we are looking forward to a big, juicy, Route 44 Diet Coke from Sonic as well...priorities you know!
The Phase 3 (third year SST students) outreach will be starting next month and so far we have 20 students coming to Guadalajara. The entire lecture phase and outreach will take place here, all of which Nathan is coordinating and has been a tad stressed about lately, so please lift him up. This will be the busiest part of our summer and it will be an intense three weeks.
Well, I'm off to pack for our trip! Thanks for taking the time to come and read our updates and thank you to our supporters and those who faithfully pray for our family...it makes ALL the difference!
|Posted by familyafair on June 5, 2008 at 5:50 PM||comments (23)|
Hola amigos y familia!
Just stopping in to update you all! Things have been going really well. It feels as though the dust is settling and we are fitting into the framework here, becoming part of the base and seeing the ways that God wants to use our family in Mexico.
Benjamin and I are finishing up Kindergarten and I am so proud of all that he has accomplished this year. Averic is looking forward to "doing school" with us next year. (I got him some numbers and shapes workbooks And Deacon is making his first attempts at crawling! Nathan started teaching English at the prison this week and said it went very well. We also made our first trip to Minsterios de Amor last week, an orphanage for boys in Guadalajara. It is always a moving experience visiting an orphanage, but this time was different.
We are accustomed to the orphanages on the border that are very well maintained and highly supported by Americans. Most of the orphanages in Reynosa receive visits from American teams each summer who help paint, repair and build additions to their facilities. Ministerios de Amor was not like the orphanages on the border.
We found that only two or three of the almost 40 boys there had shoes that fit. Most of them had cut the end of their shoes open to be able to continue wearing them. I did not see one child wearing socks. The facilities need some serious TLC, not a single bed had sheets on it although most had blankets. For the cribs there were not even blankets. There is not a suitable dining area for the boys so they were sitting here and there, on the ground, in the "living area" and all around with plates in their laps. The orphanage receives NO funding from the government although the government places children in their care. (This is typical of Mexico) There is no playground equipment of any kind, no grass in their courtyard, and not alot of organization in general it seems.
The ministry has recently changed directors and we were so impressed with the evident love they have for these kids and for the Lord. I would love to take these little guys shopping for shoes and put sheets on their beds...anyone want to help? If your church is looking to serve this summer, helping out this orphanage would be an EXCELLENT opportunity to be the hands and feet of the Lord. We are looking forward to spending every Thursday with these children and just holding them and loving them. We are praying that God would show us specific, practical ways we can serve there and make it a better place for these precious forgotten ones...please pray with us for the boys of Ministerios de Amor.
|Posted by familyafair on April 22, 2008 at 10:21 PM||comments (16)|
It's confirmed, Nathan has a parasite. He thinks he picked it up in Reynosa a couple of months ago at a not-so-clean restaurant and is now calling it his "little pet". Well, the little pet has caused vomiting, diarhea, severe headaches and sharp stomach pains. Hopefully it will be knocked out in the next two weeks with his medicine regimen.
Deacon was x-rayed today to see if there is some type of blockage in his digestive system. He has been vomiting for about five days now although he is not losing everything he eats. The pediatrician said it is abnormal for infants this young to have such forceful vomiting. The x-ray was inconclusive so we will return later this week for him to drink the special fluid that will show up on the x-ray. Please pray for our little man.
Averic is also being treated with medicine for what the dr. thinks is bacteria in his stomach making certain parts all itchy. So..for once, Benjamin is the healthy one of the bunch and Mommy hasn't been affected yet either!
As for the pictures I refered to in the last post..it didn't work. Please bear with me as I try to figure out this website. I'll attempt to put them up again when I get a chance.
|Posted by familyafair on April 21, 2008 at 9:41 PM||comments (934)|
This is my third attempt at blogging since we've been here! Our internet connection is sketchy at best which can be a tad frustrating..so here we go again..maybe the third time's a charm?
Nathan and Deacon are currently suffering from a mysterious stomach bug. By mysterious, I mean that we are on day five of throwing up *sometimes* with no other symptoms. So, tomorrow we have our first appointment with the pediatrician and also a family dr. in Guadalajara. I'll report on that when we find out what's going on. Nathan has long suspected that he has some type of amoeba or parasite, so he will most likely have that looked into as well.
Our (aprox.) 550 sq ft. is all decorated now! It is really a cute little place and other than a lack of storage has been a perfect fit. The boys have the run of the whole base since it is walled in, so when they start bouncing off the walls, I have a place to send them! We have two bedrooms, a bathroom and a combined kitchen/living area. We had to buy plug in electric burners and a separate oven, and that has been fine as well considering I don't have to cook to often here. (The base food is excellent!)
Nathan came home a week and half ago with four parakeets! Mine is "Ladybird", Ben's is "Squeaky" Averic's is "Hip-Hip-Hooray" and Nathan's is no-name-bird for now. His is a pitiful creature that he says he chose because "it needs discipleship." (He always has been mercy hearted!) We are enjoying their morning chirpy-ness and they really are beautiful to look at. We have also enjoyed the local plant nursery stocked with exotic plants and cactus' we've never seen in the states. Look at our pics and you can see our newest additions to the front porch. The plant nursery is so inexpensive here comparitively speaking and we've had a great time being "plant people" for the first time ever!
Nathan has been assigned to work in the communications dept. He is responsible for creating a database and developing a newsletter for the base as well as improving communications in-house. Last week he shared about fundraising in our staff meeting and gave insight on how to develop better communication with supporters and ministry partners. He is helping the staff with their newsletter formats and bringing alot of computer "know-how" to the table. He is also now part of the worship team and really enjoying doing that for the first time as part of an actual team. Nathan is also coordinating the Short term teams that come through. We will also be working with the DTS schools and are hoping to offer English classes to the community as an outreach.
Homeschool is going great. We are back in the swing of things now that we have settled in! In Bible we are learning about wicked king Ahab and the story of Jehoshaphat. Reading a children's Bible is really a great way to understand the Old Testament! Benjamin's reading is taking off and he started Spanish class last week. He has been trying out his "Como te llamas?" on everyone and singing the Spanish vowels song everywhere he goes! Last week we learned the history of the Mexican Flag and how Mexico City was founded. I think I'm learning just as much as he is! In math we are working on addition, small fractions and learning money values. We just finished up "My Father's Dragon" for our read aloud this week and are making a lapbook to go along. Lapbook: A file folder made into a little book with drawings about the story, child's dictation or re-telling of the story, and things we drew from the story such as the difference between wild and domestic animals, the definitions of an author and an illustrator and how an island is formed. Can I just say I love teaching?!
We have had some humorous moments since we've been here..discovering that ALL the chicken in the grocery store is "pre-flattened" what?! And then there was the day we got stuck in the mall parking lot because we couldn't understand the spanish speaking lady on the automated voice recording when we were trying to exit. Oh..and who can forget being offered tequila shots at WAL-MART!! But, it has been a wonderful experience so far. The staff have been very welcoming and we are starting to feel like part of the family here. The work day here starts at 7:30 am with an hour of prayer and quitting time is 6:00 pm. We have had to set some boundaries, being the first family on staff here, but we have been met with graciousness each time. Everyone is learning!
I will close now before I try my luck anymore! I don't want to loose everything I've written yet again! We miss you all and think of home often! (Especially our beloved coffee creamer!) Don't forget to look at our new pics!!
In Him, Amey
|Posted by familyafair on February 14, 2008 at 1:13 PM||comments (36)|
God reminded me yesterday that He is the details. Benjamin's health issues have been a great concern of mine in moving to Mexico. I am not very familiar with the healthcare community there and the thought of trying to bring a spanish speaking doctor up to date on Ben's issues overwhelms me. The latest health issue with Benjamin is his tonsils. They have been the size of large marbles for several weeks, blocking his airways at night, causing him to snore and even making him drool when he speaks sometimes.
I took him to the dr. 4 weeks ago and was told that it was nothing...just allergies or some-such thing, and the tonsils would go down on their own. He said if they stayed swollen past a couple of weeks we would need to see an ENT dr. So, here we are, just weeks away from moving to Mexico for two years, plane tickets are bought, plans to visit family and friends one last time are on the callendar, and Ben's tonsils are still huge. And so I have been fretting about the possibility of a tonsilectomy, how that would affect Ben, and our plans and the stress of everything else we have to do.
Then yesterday I received this e-mail from Nathan detailing the experiences of an American couple living in Chapala Mexico (where we will soon be living).....
Another Good Mexican Medical Experience
About a month ago, I wrote about going to the Ajijic Clinic with an ear infection and how I was generally pleased with the care I received.
Unfortunately, the infection flared up again later in January. I tried another GP here in the Lake Chapala area, and also liked him. He had me take another round of a different kind of antibiotics.
But that didn't solve things either. So my tender pulsating ear forced me to face my dislike of traffic in Guadalajara and get myself to an Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) specialist. There seem to be none in the Lake Chapala area.
I had enthusiastic recommendations for two different ENTs, and I chose simply on geography. There is a monthly bus excursion from Ajijic to Plaza Mexico, one of quite a few shopping malls in Guadalajara. My understanding is that the Walmart in the mall pays for the bus. The trips are arranged by the Chapala branch of the Red Cross, you buy your tickets in advance at the Lake Chapala Society, and your 50 pesos round trip benefits the Red Cross. Buses leave the lake area around 9 AM and get back around 4 PM, I think.
I chose the ENT whose office is a couple of blocks from Plaza Mexico, just beyond one of Guadalajara's excellent hospitals, the Del Carmen. Since I don't imagine I will ever drive in Guadalajara, that monthly bus would give me a convenient option to forcing my honey to drive me around. I'd heard that quite a few lakeside residents use the bus for medical appointments.
I called yesterday and was able to get an appointment with Dr. Andres Badial for today. Kelly drove me in, and he went with me to the appointment. Dr. Badial was very personable, took plenty of time, really listened, asked lots of questions, checked out my ears and fixed me up... suctioning out a lot of gunk from the ear removed the loud tinnitus that has impaired my hearing for these weeks! I am to go back next week for a follow-up. The cost of the office visit: 500 pesos, or about $45 US. His English was completely fluent. (His office phone in Guadalajara: 3813 4334.)
As Kelly and I walked back to the shopping mall, he commented that this level of care was an example of the high quality of medical work that we are beginning to get used to here in Mexico.
WOW! I needed to read that! Nathan said that he has the keyword "Guadalajara" on a list and that anytime an article or news containing that word is added to the internet, it automatically shows up in his in-box! This was the article that showed up yesterday. Coincidence? I think not. God is so good and He is all over the details concerning this move. He will supply ALL our needs according to his riches in Christ Jesus!!