The Return to Guatemala

9 04 2013

It feels great to be back.  We were ecstatic to be back in our home and have our own space (and beds) again.  We loved seeing Israel & Lily and their family as well as Suzanne and others that we have become close to during our initial years in Guatemala.

Benjamin was part of Centro Esdras’ 4th anniversary celebrations soon after we came back.  He is back in the office, helping with upcoming events as well as the ongoing Pastor’s Diploma course, and will be off next week to a workshop with leaders and pastors in Chichicastenango.

Daniel has loved being back at school with his friends.  In the Guatemalan system, he is in the ‘Kinder’ level.  He goes to a local private school so his mates are all Guatemalans and his Spanish comprehension is now very good.  He speaks well enough to communicate in Spanish and loves his school because ‘it is so much fun’.  Charmari does a little bit of extra work at home with him in terms of English reading and maths, but we are just happy that he is content and safe in a fun learning environment.

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Jonah has enjoyed his times at home with his mummy and especially his little brother.  We think that he might do a few days at the school later in the year, but at this stage he is happy at home.  Elijah keeps growing and learning.  He left at the young age of 4 months for home leave and has returned as a very different 9-month old who plays, interacts and sits at the meal-table with us.  At 10 months he now has two teeth, crawls quickly, adores his brothers, loves books, music and grown-up food (including curry – not with chilli just to add).  He sleeps 11 hours at night and is nearly walking.

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It feels like a new phase for Charmari this time round, especially as the early baby days are over.  She is part of a fortnightly mum’s group and is helping at Daniel’s school one morning a week with English.  She is also trying to find ways to get some childcare during the day so she can attend a weekly church prayer meeting as well as the monthly Centro Esdras prayer meetings in the city.  She is leading her first Spanish bible-study in a week at the Latin Link monthly meeting.  She is also praying for continued opportunities to connect with Guatemalan mums as well as missionary wives.

We are glad to be back and look forward to all that God has for us in the coming year.  He has taught us so much in the last few months, and we continue to grow and seek after his face and live with greater expectancy of seeing the Spirit at work in our midst.

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Four months of Home Leave

28 02 2013

From November 2012 to February 2013 we had our first experience of home-leave / furlough for four months. This was the period of Daniel’s main school break and also marked almost two years of us having been in Guatemala.

Our first month in the UK was very busy. We had interviews, presentations and Benjamin preached a few sermons at four churches during that time. We did a lot of travelling with the family and the boys adapted so well to so many changes.  There were a few weeks in November when Elijah was waking up 7 times in the night for feeds – aargh.  Thanks to Chris and Sarah Hill who put up with his crying at night during the worst of it.  On 2nd December, Elijah was baptised at St Paul’s Church in St Albans and we had a week’s break in the Peak District – beautiful and chilly!

The family in the Peak District

The family in the Peak District

Sarah & the boys

Sarah & the boys

During the three months we spent in the UK, we spent some wonderful times with family and friends in various locations including the South Coast, St Albans Herts, London, Wales and Manchester.  We were also hugely blessed and encouraged during the prayer meetings we attended and felt very supported by our brothers and sisters in Christ. Christmas with Benjamin’s family was especially memorable as well as a special birthday outing to Gunwharf Quays in Portsmouth to celebrate Benjamin’s mum’s birthday.

Christmas Day

Christmas Day

Daniel & Jonah

Daniel & Jonah

We then had four weeks in Australia with Charmari’s family.  After the initial jet-lag adjustments (where the children woke up to start their day at 1.30am for the first three days), we had a very refreshing and relaxing time.  We especially enjoyed some of the summer weather after the England snow.  The boys loved reacquainting themselves with their cousins and had lots of fun times playing outdoors.  Benjamin and Charmari also were gifted an amazing 24 hours away at a posh hotel in central Melbourne – their first time without children for four years.  Very memorable indeed.  In February, Charmari’s parents hosted a fundraising event for Centro Esdras and we raised nearly $3000 AUD towards the work in Guatemala.

The Australian cousins

Australian cousins

Family Times

Family Times

As we had to route through the USA on our way back to Guatemala, we used the opportunity to visit one of Benjamin’s cousin’s as well as our good friends and Daniel’s godparents, Dave and Katrina in Redding California.  We also had the opportunity to be prayed for and prophesied over during our time with them and felt re-envisioned for the work ahead of us in Guatemala.

with Dave & Katrina

with Dave & Katrina

with Melinda

with Melinda