For people who have known us for a long time this news may come as a shock. It still is a little bit of a shock for us. But we are so excited to announce that…

We are going to have a baby!!

This new little human is expected to arrive sometime around the end of October and is already SO, SO, SO loved.

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I am doing great and loving having more energy in the second trimester. I am also very excited to have the baby here in Nicaragua, as I have an awesome doctor and will deliver at a fantastic hospital in Managua.

We are so grateful for each and every one of you who will share in this joy with us!

Please continue to pray for us, and for the baby. Also, as much as we would love to accept gifts and care packages, the most helpful thing for us would be funds to put towards the doctor and hospital bills. We pay everything out of pocket here, so anything that can help lift the financial burden would be so helpful.

 

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A week ago today I was at Miss Ruby’s House with a youth team from a Fort Myers based church. It was an incredible moment to realize that the day was Good Friday, the day which represents the moment when Jesus died a death He didn’t deserve only to beat death and hell three days later, a day we know as Easter, or Resurrection Sunday. When we pray at Miss Ruby’s we usually begin the time by inviting the members of the team to listen to the worship music as we pray for their leaders downstairs. I usually start the music and explain what the time is for, and then make my exit to join the leaders and other members of our prayer team downstairs.

On this particular visit to the prayer house we prayed downstairs mostly for one leader, a sweet friend of mine, and then felt like it was time to go upstairs to begin praying for the team. As I climbed the stairs I couldn’t help but remember the lyrics to a song I had only just heard a few days prior. The song is by an artist named Chance the Rapper, and is titled How Great. (You might remember it from after the Grammys being circulated around social media…) The line that kept running through my head was,

/ The book don’t end with Malachi /

Earlier in the week as I listened to the song, and that line in particular, tears streamed down my face as the Lord reminded me that He didn’t leave the promises undone. All the prophecies and promises that were spoken about in the major and minor prophets, and really since Genesis, He didn’t leave them unmet. And the culmination, the most important moment of history, came in the moment that Jesus rose from the dead, proving He in fact was the Messiah. And forever beating the hold death had over us.

I felt compelled to share with the team in front of me (and now with this online audience) this truth. The Lord didn’t leave the promises undone then, and He won’t now. He rose. Jesus is risen. He is alive. He didn’t send a bunch of prophecies and then leave them undone. And the same is true in your life. He doesn’t make promises He doesn’t keep. Don’t allow attacks on your identity make you question your worth or worthiness. Those words aren’t what Jesus was thinking when He hung on the cross, or when He let out the loud scream in the moment He died. You were worth it. Every second of excruciating pain He experienced as an innocent man, you were worth it.

‘You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.’ Romans 5.6-8

The story doesn’t end with Malachi…

 

One year and two days ago we moved here to Managua, Nicaragua. We sold, stored and packed up almost six years worth of married life stuff, and went to the airport in Eugene with six bags checked to our names. We knew but we didn’t know. We had ideas as to what being here would look like, but really, we were signing on for a giant adventure. An adventure in another climate, culture, language and country, and we really had no idea.

One year later we have met people from all over the United States, and will meet even more this year. We rent a home from an awesome Christian family whom we are so grateful for. One year later we are the ones ‘helping’ the newbies get settled and find their furniture, household goods and vehicles. One year later we still sound ridiculous when we speak Spanish but we find ourselves understanding more and more. We aren’t scared to go new places or try new food like we were last year. (That sounds funny, but without the language we really stuck to what we knew last year.) We have had our ups and our downs, but I can honestly say that one year later we are even more certain that this is where we are supposed to be, and we wouldn’t trade it.

Please continue to pray for us as we receive three teams this week for Semana Santa, and for the teams. That their time would be full and deep and the Lord would work mightily in and through them all.

If you would like to financially partner with what we are doing down here, or financially support us, please shoot us an e-mail. 

These are most of the kiddos who go to the Las Parcelas school, which is right up the road from Ruby Ranch. These are the sweet littles we get to visit with at camp, wave to as we pass by on the road, and receive hugs from any time we see them. They have captured our hearts and we are so excited to see how each of them grow in the things the Lord has for them in their lives.

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Photo credit goes to our super talented friend, Kristen

Will you join us in keeping each of these kiddos in your prayers? Life in the country is simple, but hard. So please keep Brittany, Karla, Tania, Yudelasi, Pedro, Dana, Evaline, Stacey, Jesus, Ariel, Mario, Jose, Estevan, Kenny, Jose, Raquel, Gimena and Oscar in your prayers.

Thank you!!

 

We just had the most lovely week and a half with dear friends from Oregon.

Since we arrived back in Nicaragua in January we really have been going non-stop. From buying furniture and fixing random issues at our house, to hosting a few teams and receiving our friends who just moved here, we hadn’t stopped. I tend to gauge our ‘busy-ness’ level by when the last time we were able to spend a few hours having ‘fun’ was. Like going to the beach for the evening, or having a slow morning at home. And up until twelve days ago, the last time was in November. 🙂 So when Tim and Jen arrived, we were just as ready to share this beautiful country with them as we were to share some time off together.

And we showed them the country! The awesome thing about the western side of Nicaragua is that *most* of the roads to major cities are well maintained and well paved, so going north to Esteli and then south to San Juan Del Sur in the same week is completely doable. And we’re from Oregon, with friends all over the state, so driving for a few hours is no big deal.

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The view from the rancho at FEV

We began our time with the Hendricks in the north western part of Nicaragua. We made it up to Esteli to visit our friend Don Gonzalo and purchase some cigars (the area is known for their world-renowned cigars they produce) and then headed north east of Maltagalpa to visit a magical place called Finca Esperanza Verde. The north of Nicaragua is higher in elevation and consists of lush rainforest type land, plus cooler temperatures. (I was in jeans, a sweatshirt, my puffy coat and socks and shoes! It was heavenly!) The ecolodge is an hour away from any sort of big ‘town’ and the reprieve from all the hustle and bustle was very welcomed.

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Salinas Grande sunset

From Maltagalpa we returned to Managua for a night, and then out to Salinas Grande on Sunday afternoon to visit the Herrings. They had been in their home for only two weeks, but were already able to tell us the best waves to try to catch. We spent the afternoon and evening playing on the boogie boards, laughing, eating and sharing sweet conversations.

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San Juan Surf has THE BEST iced coffee

On Tuesday we headed south. San Juan Del Sur is a great tourist town, with awesome beaches close by, and we all wanted some sunshine time. We spent the next three days reading, talking, boogie boarding, surfing and relaxing. It was phenomenal!

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Fresh squeezed orange juice for $0.75

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Playa Hermosa always lives up to it’s name

Unfortunately, Friday and Saturday’s plans got canceled due to a food poisoning issue for Tim and Jen, but as we told them, that just means they have to come back to be able to visit the places we couldn’t get to. 🙂

I know visiting a developing country can be stressful, especially with a language barrier, but we are so grateful for our friends’ willingness and desire to come and see what we’re doing and try to understand what our life here is like a little more. And for the past week or so of a slow down. I didn’t realize how much we needed the break, too.

 

Last week was a big deal in a lot of ways.

On February 2nd we went to the airport to pick up the team of engineers, architects, surveyors and designers who would work all week on designing and laying out a Master Plan for Ruby Ranch. I won’t lie, waiting at the airport for 16 different people who came on different flights, whom we had never met before, was a challenge. The greeting section at the airport here in Managua is intense to say the least. In fact the videographer put it perfectly, “I looked up at a wall and then I realized it wasn’t a real wall, but rather a wall of people.” But we successfully found everyone, and got them on the bus and made it back to Quinta Havilah in one piece.

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Friday and Saturday were full of walking around Ruby Ranch with the team and talking through the various aspects of the camp. It was so fun and interesting to watch each of the different specialties of engineers and architects focus in on the thing they are obviously passionate about. For instance the electrical engineer took numerous photos of the power poles. And the landscape architects spent lots of time asking questions about the plants and scribbling notes about what they saw. It was so exciting, really! I think because we go to Ruby Ranch so often and we are so used to seeing the different parts, it can be easy to forget to have a sense of wonder. It is a big, beautiful, kind of insane place. And sometimes I can forget to let it amaze me.

On Sunday we took a rest day, going to church, the Masaya Volcano and the Masaya Market.

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On Monday morning John (the eMi in country liaison and team leader) told Brinson, Landon and I that the architects needed to have a meeting with us. And then for the next three hours or so we talked through each part of the design that they had more questions about. Everything from what sort of animal life do we like having at RR to how many horses do we want to have. It was intense, exciting and amazing to be a part of that discussion.

For the rest of the week the team worked all hours of the day (and night) to put together their recommendations and report. The civil engineers tested our water and looked at what we would need to do with our septic system in order to be able to accommodate the 200 people we’re projecting. The structural engineers designed a new bridge to enter the camp (!) and looked at how our current entrance could be bettered. The landscape architects researched plants, laid out plans for strategic places to plant shade trees, and even drew sketches of what it could look like. The videographer captured each person and our site passionately and beautifully. The architects put walls, windows and floors to the ideas we’ve only been able to hold in our hearts and minds for so long. And the surveyors sacrificed each day by tromping around the current property and the piece we want to purchase in order to be able to make a clear map of what is there.

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On Thursday morning we made the journey down to Miss Ruby’s and shared a beautiful time of prayer with our new friends. One that I hope they will remember for a long time. I won’t go into details here, but the Lord is so good and His desire to be with us is always so encouraging.

Friday morning was the day. The day we got to see the presentation of their work, a quick snapshot of all the time and energy they had put into this big plan for a place we love so much. We were not disappointed. In fact, we were so encouraged and moved, many of us were crying by the end. Getting to see on paper and in mock ups what has been held in our hearts for so long was so encouraging, and receiving it from such a talented, passionate group of people made it that much sweeter.

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We will be sharing the Master Plan details when we get them (which will be a couple of months) but please continue in prayer for us as we enter this season of planning and preparing. And if you’d like to give towards the development of Ruby Ranch, you can do so by visiting our partnering ministry’s website, and making sure to put a note on your donation that says “Ruby Ranch.”

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Well two months passed in the blink of an eye!

But seriously, I can’t even believe the last time we wrote on this blog was two months ago. Apologies all the way around. Let me try to catch up. 🙂

After Thanksgiving we had only a few weeks in Nica before heading to the Pacific Northwest for some much needed family/framily time. In that time I helped with a medical team from FSU and we both hosted our friends from Oregon who are MOVING here!! So insane! The Ohrans and the Herrings are headed down very soon, and we couldn’t be more excited to expand the beautiful community we have here. The Ohrans will be helping us out at Ruby Ranch and the Herrings will be helping around Open Hearts, as well as beginning a surf ministry out at the beach. Both are families of six and we are incredibly excited to see how the Lord redirects and moves in their lives as they are taking this giant step in His plan for them.

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We also moved into our house! And by ‘moved in’ I mean we put all our random stuff we brought with us in one of the rooms, locked the door behind us and got on an airplane to the states. Ha! Needless to say there has been a lot to do since we returned. We had only had enough money to buy a bed and a washing machine before we left, so we figured those were a good place to start. We’ve been able to order a table and chairs, and a simple standing height table I will use as a desk, but we still need quite a bit more. We want our home to be a place that we can not only feel at home in, but also a place where friends can come to visit, and we can host gatherings with our friends here in Nicaragua. And really whatever else the Lord places in front of us to do with the space. We are so grateful to have a place to call home, and we want it to minister to others as much as it does to us.

While we were back in the states we had an incredible time. Really. It was beautiful how we were able to see so many people, hug so many friends who are like family, and just be with everyone. We love living in Nicaragua, but the distance stings. On our good days we wish you all were here to share in the joy, and on the hard days we wish you were here to tell us it will be ok. So being around so many loved ones was very special and encouraging. We really did try to soak in every moment.

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And interestingly enough, not everything we were around for was good. But somehow that made me appreciate it that much more. We sat with ailing grandparents and answered the same questions multiple times due to failing memory. We were informed of scary prognoses and were able to ask how everyone was doing with it. We had multiple conversations about the hard things that our friends and family are walking through, and I appreciated it so much. Oftentimes we all want to put on our ‘happy face’ for the friends visiting, but that isn’t why we became friends in the first place, or rather, it isn’t what has kept us as friends. We all need people for the good and for the bad, and I found myself grateful to be able to be present for some of the bad.

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Since being back in Nicaragua we have ran multiple errands, tried to establish our home a little more, and I was able to host my first medical team out at Ruby Ranch. It has been a great first week of reconnecting with friends and acquaintances from here, and I have been very encouraged by how much easier it is to communicate now. Don’t get me wrong: we both have a LONG way to go with our Spanish, but there is something comforting about noticing progress, and after so much time of just speaking English in the states, it has been wonderful to get back to Spanish.

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Thank you for your continued prayers and support of our work down here in Nica. We are truly amazed by it, and are so grateful for each and every one of you.

If you would like to help us out with setting up our home here, you can visit our finances page and find out how to do that. Thank you so much!