Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Honduras - Part 2

Well - it was time to begin our days of working and surveying! We started the work on Monday morning and we knew that we only had 4 full days. Friday the group would be making the final presentation to Trish and Marlon and their friends. That is a lot of work!

We were super blessed - through prayer, no doubt - to have Zac offer to help us survey. (Zac is a new employee in the Costa Rica office of eMi. We really enjoyed getting to know him!!) Braden and I brought a total station and a GPS unit. That would mean that at least for part of the job we could have 2 teams going. Zac and Jeovanni went out together on the first day and used the total station. SUCH a blessing to have them there - as we wouldn't be able to get the job done without them! Also - I need to mention that it was incredibly hot. (At least for us pastey Canadians who were there with our winter skin!!) And Zac never once complained - this was not the job he signed up for!

Braden setting up the GPS (Omar and Melvin on the right)

Braden and Zac getting geared up for the day! Melvin watching!

I need to insert some info here about Jeovanni. He is 29 and is from Honduras and friends with Trish and Marlon. He used to be a teacher but was laid off a few years ago by the government as they could no longer fund his position. He went to Trish and Marlon and told them that he would be available to help them with whatever they needed in their ministry. They told him that they didn't have enough money to pay him but whenever they had extras they would give them to him. He ate a lot of meals with us and drove us around a lot of the time! He always had a smile on his face and was so eager to help! I was actually really jealous of the people on our team who were able to speak Spanish and have full conversations with him. Him and I did do our best to communicate with each other in what we knew of each others' language. It was fun to teach each other new things! Me trying to explain to him what snow was proved to be a bit difficult!!

We later found out that he had shared his testimony with two of the girls on our team. When he was 20 he got married and a few years later they had a baby boy. He had many health complications and died at 8 months old on the way to the hospital. Just two years ago his wife passed away as well. Many people in Honduras die of illnesses at a young age since they do not have good health care. Even though all the hurt he has been through in his life, he is still smiling ALL the time! Meeting Jeovanni changed my life. Just to see God working in his life as he is a Servant for him was incredible.

Jeovanni showing off on our site walk!!

Now - back to our work at the site! Braden and I set out with the GPS unit and our new friend Melvin. (On the other days our friend Omar was there with us as well) We needed to have a Honduran with us most of the time since there are some nasty snakes in the area we were in. Melvin walked with us and carried a machete in case we needed to take out any attackers!! Ick. The first day we mostly did GPS stuff. It caused a lot of frustration for Braden since we were in an area with a LOT of trees. So we kept losing the signal.

The first day we had to walk through super tall grass that was almost up to our waists. It was kind of scary not being able to see where we were stepping!

Over the next 3 days Braden worked his butt off. Sometimes I was a rodman for him and other times I helped him by holding his data collector (so he didn't have to keep setting it down and picking it up again!) Slowly, but surely, we got everything done! I have never hiked so much in my whole life. And that is definitely not by 'cup of tea' but it was an amazing experience. I loved getting to see Braden working and using his God given gifts. It was also great to see the beautiful land that this family owns. I enjoyed spending time with Jeovanni and trying to make conversation with him. It was all around a TON of work, but really amazing. Braden would have liked to get a little bit more done, but we got everything finished that absolutely needed to be finished. If it wasn't for your prayers - we would not have gotten that done!

Lots of the time during the day I was distracted by wildlife. Mostly lizzards. And trying to find snakes. But that never paid off! Although, I did catch a lizzard one afternoon. And when his tail broke off I just about cried! Everyone thought it was pretty hilarious though. I was mortified!!!

Over all.. the work on the site was tough.. but super rewarding!!

Stay tuned.. still not done yet!

Monday, 12 March 2012

Honduras - Part 1

We left for the first leg of our trip on the 17th of February. Our flight left for Houston around 5:30 that night so we woke up that morning ready to finish packing and get to the airport! That morning as a gongshow. Braden had arranged a free rental of a GSP unit for us to use while we were surveying. In order for us to get it from the company we had to prove that our insurance company would cover it while it was in our possession - should anything happen to it. Pretty much up until the last possible moment we were worried that we weren't going to get it. And with 63 acres of land to survey we desperately needed it! We took some time to pray about it and it ended up working out. It was satan's attempt to get us frazzled before we left!

Our flight was great that evening and we got to Houston around 10pm. We had arranged for a hotel room that night and our flight from Houston to Tegucigalpa left around 9:30 the next morning. We found our baggage claim area and waited there for awhile - there were no bags coming. We were confused.. and tired! We wanted to get to our hotel and to bed as soon as possible since we would be having a fairly short sleep. We decided to go talk to United Airline's Baggage Claim agents and found out that since our next flight wasn't leaving until the next morning - our bags were already packed on the trolley and ready to be packed onto our plane. We were a bit annoyed by that but did our best to stay calm and not let it get us down! (It actually ended up being nice since we didn't have to lug around our 2 duffel bags, 2 pieces of survey equipment and a giant rolling golf bag full of survey supplies.) Although the next day we were quite eager to get our clothes changed since we had been wearing them for almost a full 24 hours. Yuck! Our baggage fiasco ended up being a blessing as well. The wonderful woman who helped us out with the baggage info asked us where we travelling and we told her all about our trip. She was so excited for us and asked us about the organization so she could google it later on. It was neat to meet a stranger and have her give us her blessing on what we were doing. So amazing how God works in such strange ways!

We had a great sleep and made our way to Tegucigalpa with no glitches. We got off the plane in Honduras and had to wait in a longgg customs line. We were almost the last of our team to arrive (I think everyone arrived within an hour) and as soon we we came out with our bags our trip leader greeted us by name and with a huge hug! We met everyone and instantly felt like we were with family! It was great. Trish, Marlon and Madison (the family who we were staying with and workign for) were there as well and it was great to meet them! From there we went to McDonald's and had lunch and then headed to their home. It was about a two hour drive through the windey mountain roads but very interesting to see the countryside!

 Our Team!

That night we had a team meeting and got to hear Trish and Marlon's story. As soon as they began to speak I felt their passion and could sense God speaking through them. It was really an amazing experience. I don't think that I have ever met such inspirational people. To give you a small piece of history on them - Trish is from Louisiana and Marlon is from Honduras. Trish was a nurse and went to Honduras to do some mission work there. She soon felt God's calling to not only continue to work in Honduras, but to move her life there permanently. She followed God's calling and soon fell in love with Marlon. Marlon had felt called to ministry as well - and soon realized it was full time ministry God desired for him. They wanted to start up a missionary base and started hosting missionaries out of their home. Then, God placed on their heart that they needed to start praying for a piece of land. After 5 years, they purchased the area where they would house the ministry, "Valley of the Blessings." Within a year they had fully paid of the land. They found out about eMi and that's where we came in! Trish and Marlon explained that they knew it was God's plan for this ministry to come to be. They explained to us that they don't have the funds yet for the project (which will consist of their home, missionary housing, a pastor vocational training centre, prayer gazebo, etc) but that they know God will provide. With such a huge project you would think that they would be stressed out or scared about when God will provide the funds. But they aren't worried at all. It was so inspirational. They also said that maybe it won't be for another 5, 10 or 50 years until the money is provided. Or maybe not even in their lifetime. But that they know God will provide in his time. They are the sweetest couple, with the most beautiful daugther, and I am so happy to have met them. They call us their family now and I know we will stay in touch with them.
 Marlon, Trish and Madison

On Sunday we went to church which was amazing. Many of the songs we recognized for our own church so it was fun to worship in English while everyone else was worshiping in Spanish. Did I mention that I know almost NO Spanish whatsoever? Yeah. That was frustrating!
Some of the church kids!

That afternoon the whole team drove out to the site (about 20 minutes from their home) so we could walk the perimeter and get a feel for the area. I thought it was going to be a piece of cake - but with the heat and the climate I was absolutely exhausted after just a few minutes. It took over 2 hours to walk the entire perimeter. It was great to see the site though. Getting back to the start I could tell Braden was quite discouraged. We knew in our heads that 63 acres was a LOT! But after walking it and seeing all the trees, hills, rocks, steepness - he was really worried that we were in over our heads. How could we possibly survey all of that land!? But we knew that God called us to this project and he would sustain our work there. We began praying and asked the team to pray for that aspect of the project as well. I also sent some texts to our families asking them to please pray that God would allow us to get the work done. Thank you for your prayers in that area!!

 Walking the site tour!

That night as I was doing my devotional I was overwhelmed with God's grace and goodness. God had gotten us safely to this beautiful country with these beautiful people. We were healthy, we were safe and we could feel God's protection over us. I couldn't believe that I was in Honduras. It was the most amazing feeling and at that moment I was so in love with my God and how he had provided for us!
After the site tour!

Upcoming Honduras Posts

Hi Friends!

Thanks for hanging in there and waiting for our posts! There will be many to come now! I will be writing about our Honduras trip in sections. There is a lot we want to say and I don't want one big long post.. so please be patient with me as I write about our time there! We are so excited to share this amazing experience with you!

Wednesday, 29 February 2012

thank you lord!

We are back safe and sound from our amazing trip to Honduras. I had intended to write a lot more before we left but things got a bit hectic!

One week before we were supposed to leave I found out that I had shingles. My initial thought was - oh my goodness.. I'm not going to Honduras anymore. I was crushed. After some time to think about it and pray I realized that it was a direct attack from satan. To give a bit of background, I need to explain a past experience. When I was in grade 10 I went on a mission trip to Tijuana, Mexico with our Church youth group. The entire trip was a horrible experience for me. All of my flights got messed up, my belongings were stolen and it was just an overall mess to me. When I got home I was quite shaken up from that and swore up and down to everyone I knew that I would NEVER go on another mission trip. I knew the entire situation was an attack from satan but I wasn't mature enough in my faith to realize that my attitude about it was letting him win! 

When Braden began the process of coming on staff with eMi he was told that part of the process would include me going on an eMi trip with him. When he told me this I was actually pretty calm about it. I knew that this was God's calling for our life and so I was alright with it. And actually became excited about it fairly quickly!

So - when I came down with Shingles and realized it was an attack from satan, I wasn't going to let him win this time. I immediately told Braden my attitude about the situation and he was excited that I felt that way! (Shingles is quite a miserable thing to get.. and I do not handle misery very well!!) I started praying, told all my family to start praying, called our Pastor and asked him to start praying. That next week I was completely exhausted and tried to sleep as much as I could to allow my body to fight off the sickness. And by the Friday that we left I was as good as new. It was such an amazing feeling to defeat satan like that. He thought he could get me that way - and a few years ago I would have though he could as well.

I am so grateful for every step of the process leading up to the trip. Satan fighting against me made me realize how much God wanted me to be on the trip. And that gave me an amazing feeling and reminder of knowing I was following the right path.

Our trip was life changing. We met people that we will be friends with forever and who have impacted our life in a way that will stay with us forever. I can't wait to write more details on here for you all and share some photos. Thank you so much for all of your prayers leading up to the trip and while we were away. 

I also need to tell you all that yesterday Braden found out how much we fundraised for our trip. We raised exactly $46 more than what we needed. What an amazing God we have! God could have easily given us a couple hundred dollars more than what we needed. But we believe this was God's way of showing us that he would provide exactly what was required. Thank you again for your prayers and support in that regard!

We love you all!

Love Liz

Friday, 3 February 2012

2 Weeks.

2 weeks from tonight Braden and I will be on a plane to Houston.. and 2 weeks from tomorrow morning we will be on our way to Honduras. It is absolutely surreal that it is so close and really going to happen! We are very excited to see how God will show us the country of Honduras and what he will open our eyes to.

We have a lot to do before we leave. We just received our packing list so we will be busy this weekend trying to gather everything we need. Next weekend will be busy as it is Braden's birthday on the 9th so we will have some birthday celebrations!

We are trying not to be stressed out about finances as our trip quickly approaches. We have asked God that if it is in his will, the trip would be fully covered by the money that comes in as donations. Money is one of the most stressful things I think humans have to deal with - so we are learning to try to rely fully on God and not on ourselves! We have been called on this trip by God, and so we know that God will provide as he desires.

The Bible so clearly says how we need to act in times like this:

"So don't worry about these things, saying, 'What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?' These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. So don't worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today's trouble is enough for today." Matthew 6:31-34 (NLT)

I feel like God is speaking to me directly saying, "So don't worry about these things, my children. You are saying, will the money come in? Will we be supported and will this work out? I have called you to this trip and you will touch many lives. Trust in me."

God is such a good God. And I am so grateful that God has called us to something so amazing!

If you are reading this, I would ask you to pray for a few things specifically today:
-That Braden and I would have peace about this trip and the finances
-That God would protect us from Satan who is definitely trying to break us down right now
-That we would have open hearts to what God is preparing us for
-That everyone involved with our trip would have travelling mercies and safety while in Honduras

Lead me to the cross, where your love poured out. Bring me to my knees, Lord I lay me down. Rid me of myself, I belong to you. Oh lead me! Lead me to the cross!

Monday, 30 January 2012

New Adventure

As you may or may not have heard, Braden has accepted a full-time position with Engineering Ministries International (eMI). We are so excited for this new adventure that God is directing us to! Here is a bit of background on this choice..

Braden went on a trip to Haiti back in June of 2011 with eMI. He took geomatics engineering at the U of C but always knew he would never have a 'conventional' job. Braden began researching different things he could go do with his engineering degree and came across eMI. He signed up for the trip to Haiti only a few weeks before the trip.

God opened his eyes to some amazing things in Haiti and began to pull his heart in a new direction. (I will have Braden post all about his trip so you can hear more about his work there and what God showed him!)

Upon returning and after many meetings with Greg at eMI and a lot of prayer and time together, Braden decided to accept his new position with eMI.

It will be a few months (probably around summer) until Braden is actually working with eMI. The next VERY exciting step for us is a trip to Hondruas. Yes - you read that right. We - not just Braden - are travelling to Danli, Honduras on February 17th. We will be there for around 1 week. There I will help Braden to survey 63 acres of land for a new missionary base. We desperately need your prayers as we prepare for this trip. We are asking specifically that you would pray that the funds would come in for this trip. Also help to ease the anxiety and stress we are trying to fight (through God's grace!) as we realize this is just a short 3 weeks away!

The verse that is sticking close with us through this process is the one written at the top of this page. Psalms 127:1-2. It is only through God's grace that we can do anything - including taking this leap of faith into a journey that is a bit 'unknown.' If we weren't doing this for him, it would be meaningless. But this entire process is for God. And we are following him wholeheartedly!

We can't wait to share this journey with you!

Braden & Liz

First Post!

Thanks so much for coming to our blog. There is a lot going on in our life and we are so excited to share it all with you! Please be patient with us as we design our blog and get it working the way we would like.