I have nothing but gratitude for my time in Chile…

For Birds that sang, Balm that healed, Breathing room given.

For the Bees that visited, a reminder to listen and be still.

For time to go Back to the Basics.

For Sunny days, Serenity, and Sunsets like I’ve never seen.

For Morning walks with Maya with the beach to ourselves.

For a church community to “just be” in and connections made.

For empanadas, Raffaelo ice cream, maracuya everything.

For chats with the homeless.

For time to learn, heal, process.

For Dagmar, Chio, Estella, Trini, Pablito, Pato. Matis & Angela. Pame. Veronica. Soledad & Sonia. Ismael, Paty, Mariana, Darwin, Eduin, Oscar and Oscar. Abuelo Jaime.

Thank you Chile!

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Just like you, 2020 has not turned out how we anticipated. Many of our plans have been put on hold and are now up in the air. But we are encouraged that God created the air and He’s holding all things together even when we don’t see how just yet. My passport has 4 less stamps than originally planned for this point in the year. I intended to return to Honduras for follow up training and development. I intended to return to Peru to train our team there and also to receive training as a team. I intended to go to Ecuador, because why not when we are so close and we have the time. I intended to go to northern Argentina on an exploratory trip evaluating the need for ministry to the deaf with low language there, a possibility for our next long term assignment. As some of you know, we made it to Paraguay, mid-March and were just hours away from driving over to Argentina when they closed their boarders due to COVID-19.

I don’t say all this to complain or to make my situation seem worse in some way. That being said we have made the decision to return to the States for the time being until things open up to travel again. We had originally planned to stay in Chile until the end of June when we would return to Honduras to help prepare for the annual camp. Since the boarders are closed here in South America we are not able to make a visa run like we were anticipating and due to many governmental closures here we are unable to get any clear answers about getting an extension past June. Also, travel is getting more limited with airline closures and governmental travel bans being instated at a moments notice.

This week we have packed the couple bags we came with (along with many materials I brought to take to Honduras and Peru, ha!), are saying our goodbyes to Chile and the wonderful people we met here and are headed to the airport here in a couple hours. We are beyond grateful for our time here (more on that in another post).

We will head back to Florida for the time being and I will continue doing much of what I have been doing in Chile the past several months: recording the Bible chronologically in Honduran Sign Language, preparing, translating, and distributing Bible studies and language programs to deaf ministries across South America, taking some professional development classes online and looking for ways to continue to share the gospel with the deaf virtually (until we are able to get back at it in person!).

Please pray with us:

* for this transition as we establish new routines and priorities.

* for us to be able to establish new partnerships while in the States before moving onto our new long term assignment.

* for wisdom and creativity in doing ministry during this unique time.

* for the Deaf around the world to see this time as one in which they can take ownership with sharing the gospel both with those they are in proximity to and those they have access to via technology.

* for personal growth and preparation for where God is leading next.

Easter Week Reflections

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Grief. Sorrow. Troubled.
These words are commonly used to describe the day Christians commemorate as “Good Friday”. A day full of pain, loss, uncertainty and fear.
But for many, for various reasons, these are words that have crept in to the everyday the past month or so.
We so quickly want to move onto the Sunday Resurrection (that we all know is coming this side of history), the joyful celebration, the reuniting, the promises fulfilled. We remember this day of trouble and grief, but just long enough to say “But…Sunday is coming!” As we should. Sunday is the day of new life, promises kept, hope for more, something greater!! But this year, maybe more than any others, I think as hard as it is for us to linger in the weight of the grief, I think we should.
Linger… in the brutal, unjust death of another human. Linger… in the hopelessness of those that gave up everything to follow Him. Linger… in the loss of His mother. Linger… in the confusion of the centurion. Linger… in His felt separation from His loving Father, God. Linger.
Luke describes Jesus being in “agony” as He prayed earnestly in the garden just before the trauma began. The word “agony” means “to struggle for victory” in Greek and this is the only place in the New Testament that it’s used (22:44). Some of us may feel like we have enough injustice, hopelessness, loss, confusion for ourselves in this moment, pilled up from the past several weeks. But as we linger and grieve the loss this day and the next, sharing the the suffering of the cross as we “struggle for victory”, when Sunday does come (And it WILL!) we will be reminded that even in those dark sorrowful places that Jesus does in fact keep his promises and that there is something greater on the other side of this moment!

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I can’t help but to try and put myself in the shoes of the followers of Jesus on this day over 2,000 years ago. They had given up vocation, friends, family, a predictable life, a “normal” life. They had given it all up to whole heartedly follow Jesus into the unknown, into the often unpopular. This had to require great trust and great love. Jesus spent His days in intimate relationship with the followers teaching, admonishing, demonstrating, and loving.
Then, the unthinkable happened, even though Jesus had warned them they didn’t understand, that He would be gone, in an instant!
I can’t help but think about how on the day after Jesus’ death, His disciples must be mulling over and recalling every word Jesus had spoken as they were locked in their homes. It was just 2 days earlier that they heard His voice so it didn’t take much to remember the sound of it. But so many of the words just didn’t make sense, especially now, He was gone, it was over.
The fear, the confusion, the lost hope of promises fulfilled.
He said, “I will leave and come back again” (Jn 14:3). But now, how?
He said, “I will give you rest” (Mt 11:28). But now, where?
He said, “Be brave and full of peace, because He had overcome the world” (Jn 16:33). But now, how?
He said, “Don’t worry, I am taking care of you” (Mt 6:31-33). But now, how?
He said, “I am life” (Jn 11:25). But now, you’re dead?

How many of these promises are we doubting now in this season that feels like one long “Silent Saturday”, as it seems the whole world has stopped.
And yet these promises never stopped being True for His followers when Jesus was seemingly “gone”, so why would they stop being true for us now?
In reality life is one long Saturday as we live between the first and second resurrection, the first being when Jesus walked out of the tomb and the second will be when WE are raised to new life with no more mourning and no more pain and no more crying.
But for now, we mourn, we grieve and we remind ourselves of His PROMISES because He was faithful then and He is faithful now. He was close then and He is close now.
And that it’s just after the darkest dark that the Son rises!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xV2Ng16KImw

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I know none of this is a new, just simply my own ponderings on this Easter afternoon.
It’s not hard to find some stark similarities in Easter 2020 and the very first Easter.
John says the “doors were locked” and the people were in “fear.”
Then all of a sudden, one verse later, John 20:20 says they were “glad”?
What happened to cause this change from fear to gladness? Jesus happened!
As they were gathered together Jesus showed up and spoke peace over them and in an instant they were glad.
Jesus’ followers received peace through His presence, through His wounds, through His words, and through His Spirit.
And Jesus is offering these things to us today.
Psalms 139:7 reminder us that there is nowhere we can go away from His presence.
1 Peter 4:13 promises that if we share in His sufferings we will share in His glory.
Matthew 7:24 says that His words are like a rock to build our life on.
And His Spirit…mmmm…John 20:22 says that Jesus “breathed” on them (that part might be a little different than Easter 2020, ain’t nobody breathing on anybody🤣). But in all seriousness the word “breath” here is only used once in the whole New Testament and it is the word that the Septuagint translators of used in Genesis 2:7 when God first breathed into Adam. It was God’s breath that brought Adam to life and in the same way Jesus was empowering them to a new life with His Spirit IN them!
Then Jesus speaks peace to them again and sends them out. Out beyond the wall they were hiding behind, out beyond the fears they were paralyzed by. Jesus’ peace was enough for them in the gathering (v.19) and in the scattering (v.21), in the staying and in the going. It’s also interesting to note, the Greek word translated “peace” is thought to be from the root word meaning “to join”. Peace comes from joining with Jesus.
Today Jesus is offering us His presence, His wounds, His words, and His Spirit and in all these things you will find Him to be ENOUGH! (Jer. 29:13, see Cover Photo on “matsa”).

Hello Chile!

After many sad “good-byes” to those we did life with in Honduras with for 8.5 years we packed all we could into 4 checked bags and carry-ons (+1 dog) and we were off to Chile!

We had a little rocky start, but God’s presence was felt every step of the way.

We got plugged into a church (connected with Timothy Keller’s “City to City” movement) that welcomed us and has cared for us far beyond our expectations! Here is a “Day in the Life” video from our pastor. We’ve enjoyed being part of the men’s and women’s Bible studies.

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I have spent most of my time continuing to record chapter by chapter through the Bible in Honduran Sign Language (after 3 years made it to 2 Samuel!), writing new curriculum (about John 10:10), translating past curriculums, and focusing on spiritual growth, disciplines and rest. Daniel has started working a couple hours a day with VIPKids teaching English online and helping with the English club here in our city with our church. We are looking forward to getting to train more as well in our respective areas in the coming months.

Chile celebrated its independence day September 18th so that was a great opportunity to experience some of the Chilean traditions and foods. The church had a bbq and games and we went to the fairgrounds the following weekend. Maya was worn out!

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Thank you for your continued prayers as we debrief from our time in Honduras, find our ministry and personal rhythms here and hear from God where He is calling us in our next season of ministry!

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We’ve enjoyed exploring our new town…

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…out our neighboring city that is a World Heritage Site.

 

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And of course trying all the Chilean food: salmon, empanada of every flavor, passion fruit everything, waffle tacos, mate, and sopaipilla (made with slightly salty and with pumpkin). 

Special Place, Special People

These are a series of posts from Instagram that I posted leading up to our departure from Honduras🇭🇳, processing just a few of the influential people from our time there!

Click on each image to read what they taught me!

Gracias & Adios (for now…)

On the eve of our departure from Honduras, I reflect on the people, moments and experiences that defined our time and shaped us as people.

I have is gratitude for every joyful, sad, fun, and challenging moment that I experienced in this land because I know it made me a better person and I pray that took more ground for the Kingdom!

(See my Instagram for more specific people and the things they taught me!)

Grateful for the opportunity to hug and bless each person at camp!

Maya’s got an announcement…

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In August, Daniel & Jessie will be transitioning out of Honduras.

Since we first moved to Honduras, it has been our goal to “work ourselves out of a job.” And when our 2 year commitment turned into 8.5 years in Honduras we are confident that we gave everything we had to give to the deaf in Honduras. In our efforts for SofL to be a self-sustaining body of believers, disciples making disciples, we feel it is time for them to continue more independently and for us to move on.

We are excited to see SofL’s ministry to the deaf continue through the Deaf Honduran leaders as they apply all that they have learned over the years and follow the leading of the Holy Spirit. Please pray for the leaders as they take on even greater responsibility of reaching their own people with the gospel and for Robin as she continues to shepherd and empower them

We will be spending the next 6 months to a year and a half in Chile! This time will be one of transitioning: processing through our nearly 9 years in Honduras, seeking healing and restoration and personal care as well as planning for the future by seeking out Jesus for vision for our next long term assignment after Chile and preparing trainings for both Honduras, possibly Chile, and where we are called next.

There are a lot of unknowns we are trusting Jesus to work out and lead us in the coming years! We look forward to a visit to the States before our next long term assignment and hope to see each of you!

Thank you for continuing to journey with us as we seek to point the unreached deaf around the world to Jesus!

Reminiscing…New Beginnings

We left for the program extra early because there have been a lot of protests over the past month. Thankfully we passed all the bridges where the protests have been taking place before the protesters even woke up! Arriving early to the program, I began reminiscing about the deaf couple that had also arrived early. The husband has been part of SofL’s programs since he was very small when Robin found him playing in the river behind his home. He has faithful attended over the years, always with a heart to follow Jesus, even when it wasn’t the popular thing to do. The wife we had found 6 years ago and had been on a roller coaster ride with.

Finding her in a really hard situation.

Praying passionately for months for an “out” for her.

Her finding her “out” but us not knowing where she was.

Then fining here again months later.

Her learning language with SofL.

Deciding to surrender to the Lordship of Jesus at a leadership camp and being baptized that same day.

And then meeting the young deaf man, dating, marrying and celebrating the 1st birthday of their sweet baby girl a couple months ago!

It has truly been an honor to be part of the highs and lows of their lives!

 

At that moment a young woman and small girl in a pretty pink dress got out of a tuktuk.

“We’re here because she is deaf. Is this the right places?”, said the mom.

A deaf woman from one of our programs from another village was visit family near her home and when she found out the little girl was deaf told them about us. The mom was sharing about all that they had been through from her birth to learning she was deaf until then and I was talking to her mom about the importance of sign language and pointed to all the deaf happily sharing their thoughts with one another that had surrounded us. It felt like we had been in a bubble together so focused on her daughters story and the struggled they had been through, that we virtually unaware of all the deaf that had arrived. She looked up for the first time taking in all that was around us and she began to cry. I asked what was going on and she said that she hasn’t felt such hope and love in a long time. The hope of what her daughter could be, could have, was being lived out right before her eyes.

As the program continues little bit received a name sign, learned several basic signs and laughed and laughed. Before they left, all the deaf adults (some of which have been part of SofL for 19 years) engulfed them in hugs and happy wishes to see them soon. And both mom and daughter left with hearts full of love, acceptance, and hope for the future!IMG_4072