Thursday, July 18, 2013

highlight // Kenny, serving in Danli, Honduras

It is no secret that by working in ministry, we are blessed to come in contact with an exceptional amount of amazing people. And sometimes, when we are lucky enough, those people become great friends of ours. We'd like to share with you about one of those friends who has really touched our lives over our journey of preparing to move to Honduras.

As some of you already know, our good friend Kenny Erwin has spent the last year in Honduras, serving at the church where we will be serving in Danli. Kenny is about to return home to the United States at the end of this month as his year long term is over already! For us, it seems like just yesterday that I was putting him on a plane to Honduras from DC very, very early in the morning. The way Kenny and I got really close was actually on our trip to Honduras in March 2011. Between that trip and a Winter Retreat with our church in February 2011, it was the start of a great friendship. We then had the chance to live together for a summer and part of the school year while at Virginia Tech. And now most recently, Kenny has been such a huge help to us throughout our entire process of moving internationally, from knowing what things are available where we will be, to knowing how much things cost, to helping us just being able to understand the culture better even before we arrive! We have been so thankful for all of the advice and wisdom he has shared with us over this past year.

Kenny had traveled to Honduras three times before feeling the call to move there for a year to serve God at the church in Danli. During his time there, he has worked a lot with the music ministry, as well as with men's discipleship by getting to disciple some of the young men at the church. He has recently started teaching English classes at the church, and has been talking a lot about how great and challenging of an experience it has been for him to teach other people English. Also, a children's ministry has existed previously but for younger kids, and Kenny has such a huge heart for youth that it has truly been an experience that has really touched his heart to be able to help start a youth group there for middle and high school students as well. Most recently, the church is adding a second level to the nutrition clinic and Kenny has been able to help with the construction process with it. He has told me it has been awesome to be able to use his hands to build something there!  It also warms my heart to know that the nutrition clinic is continuing to grown and expand.

Kenny preparing for the Christmas program at the church in Danli.
Kenny and I talk on average once a week whether that be through Skype, Google chat, or Facebook messenger. One of the coolest stories that we've talked about during his time there was the first time he shared the Gospel in Spanish.  He was very nervous about it, as he wasn't sure if his Spanish was good enough. The elders in the church continued to encourage him and he stepped out in boldness to do it. He's said that God really took it and it was an awesome experience! You can read more about it on Kenny's blog. Below are a few pictures of his time in Honduras over the past year.

Kenny and I with our friend Josh on our trip to Honduras in March 2012.

Kenny has an amazing heart and is always striving to be a man after God's own heart.  It's been amazing to watch him grow, not only over the last year, but throughout the last 3 years that I've known him.  Between living with him, and hanging out all of the time, and now talking regularly, I've really gotten to know that man that he is and the heart that he has. One of my favorite things about Kenny is his willingness to be completely open with his friends and the people that are walking with him through things. We've had many late night talk sessions, talking about the awesomeness of our God, about family, the future, our future wives and children. We've also spent a large amount of time praying with each other, which is just another thing that I appreciate about Kenny -- his willingness and humbleness to drop to his knees in prayer in joys and in sorrows. Kenny has become one of my best friends and it's been amazing to walk with him especially through the past year. I'm excited to get to see him when he returns as it's been almost a year since I've last seen him! Please be praying for him as his heart is so torn right now. He's excited to return home and to see his family and friends, but he is leaving behind great friends in Honduras. Be praying as he is currently looking for a job, and trying to figure out where he is going to be once he returns.  

Thanks for everything Kenny!  I love you man!


Monday, July 8, 2013

newsletter // June 2013

Our newest newsletter is available!
(Please click on the picture to make it large enough to read.)

As always, you can look through our previous monthly newsletters under the tab at the top of this blog. Please let us know by emailing Jamey at if you would like to receive these regularly via email! :) 

Sunday, July 7, 2013

ask anything // round 1

There are a lot of questions that we get asked even as we are just preparing to move to a developing country as missionaries. Some you would expect (like: "Where are you going to live?"), others we less expected, but ones that we actually get fairly often (like: "What are you going to miss the most?"). For both informative and comic value, we'd love to open up the blogging floor to anyone who would like to ask a question they've really been curious about! We're really open to any kinds of questions about our current international missionary lifestyle.

For starters, we'd like to answer some of our "FAQs" (frequently asked questions) for our blog readers, because many of you may have never gotten the opportunity to have us sitting right in front of you ready to answer any question you think of like some people have!

our own FAQs to date:

1 // "Where are you going to live in Honduras?"
       We plan to rent a small apartment-sized house, which would ideally be near a church deacon and within walking distance of the church where we will be working. Yes, it will have to be completely furnished by us when we arrive. That should be some interesting + fun shopping experiences for us right off the bat!

2 // "When are you leaving?"
        We are spending the summer wrapping up things and preparing to leave, among several other things! We then have a month-long training that we are required to go to in Colorado starting September 22. We hope to leave for Honduras within two weeks of that training ending, and that's what we know for now!

3 // "What are you doing for language training?"
        In high school, we both took four years of Spanish, but that was many years ago for us now that barely anything has stuck with us. '"If you don't use it, you lose it!". But, we are extremely grateful that we were able to at least have the opportunity to have those classes then in the language we will soon be speaking daily, because we at least have some background to build upon. We both were pretty successful at recognizing words that were spoken to us when we visited Honduras, but word recall was the issue. To help with that, we have all five levels of Rosetta Stone lessons that we are learning from. When we get to Honduras, we plan to take classes from a teacher there.

4 // "What part of speaking Spanish are you secretly looking foward to?"
        Lesley: We would totally love to teach our kids to be bilingual from the beginning (since we will eventually be!). How cool would that be for them!?!
        Jamey: Dreaming in Spanish. That's when they say you know you are truly fluent!

Please note: If you have a question, big or small, that you personally would like to ask, please follow the tabs at the top of the page to our "Ask Anything" tab. Our request is that our readers only post questions in the comments section of the page, either with their name or anonymously. If you would like to send a question privately, our email addresses are also available to receive questions. They are listed under the "Contact Us" tab.

Send those questions on!

Friday, July 5, 2013

friday photo dump // july 5

It's a pretty real thing that since most cell phones are a phone + mp3 player + camera combination nowadays, people take more pictures. Like pictures of things that really you would never have gotten your real camera out for. Things that you probably only captured in photo form because you want to show everyone without having to explain yourself to know what I'm talking about! Well, since this is hilariously true of especially our technology-driven generation, we decided to make the most of it. No matter how silly (read: unnecessary) the picture is, it still shows a moment in time in our lives that meant something to us enough to share, but Jamey & I rarely remember to actually share them. We'd like to start sharing a "Friday Photo Dump" so that you can see the small, "behind the scenes" moments of what's going on in our life right now.

From the photos above:
  • top three photos // getting serious in our Rosetta Stone Spanish lessons. I am currently ahead of Jamey, but that won't last for long. He works through things & retains information so much faster than I do that I'm kind of intentionally working ahead so that we will actually be at the same place soon. :)
    We're looking forward to practicing/using any words or phrases that come to mind around the house!
  • bottom two photos // first, Jamey started filing at the kitchen table, but then found it easier to just move down into the floor. We are trying to get all of our important things organized before we leave the country, which involves a lot of tidious filing. Much of which we have not had time for until now! second, the smallest silly moment that Jamey and I both really, really got super excited about: dollar bin sticky notes. oh my goodness, yes! right in time for our organizing spree. 

And more!

Home holiday fun with Jamey's family. We both got involved to make our very "American themed" feast! It was a very relaxed way to spend the holiday before we aren't here for a while. The wild thing is that someone near to the house was setting off some pretty great fireworks at night, and the view from our backyard could not have been more of a perfect location. It was so fun to get to see a fireworks show without having to go anywhere! Who would have ever guessed?!

Our beautiful backyard view!


Wednesday, July 3, 2013

church // "God's Big Backyard" VBS

We were so blessed last week to have Christ United Methodist Church in Covington, Va choose our ministry with GCM to be their missions focus for their Vacation Bible School! The theme of their VBS this year was "God's Big Backyard", which taught the kids in attendance about how God wants us to care for, reach out to, and serve our family, our friends and neighbors, people in our communities, in our country, as well as throughout the world. The kids at the VBS raised money all week to "reach beyond their backyard" in a kids-serving-other-kids approach. The money will be used to help support the work we will be doing in Honduras, and we loved getting an opportunity to share with these kids how the ministry we will be doing will be specifically impacting the children of Danli, Honduras. The kids were so excited to have well surpassed the goal they had set for the week!

Because we were unable to be at Christ UMC for the week of their VBS, we recorded a series of videos to be able talk to the kids all week. This was a first for us! Definitely something we had never tried before. Lesley was the behind-the-scenes videographer and recruited Jamey to be the handsome narrator. Because he's just really adorable, please enjoy watching this video from the first day of VBS. :)

Monday, July 1, 2013

highlight // fun with Sara.

As we mentioned in our previous Richmond post, we had the pleasure of getting to spend time with our wedding photographer turned sweet friend, Sara Tyer, a couple of weeks ago! This was such a joy for us! Mainly because we love Sara and get so excited for any chance to see her.

The funny part of the story to how we know her is that Sara, while she was still a student at VCU, photographed a string of weddings over the span of two summers and several of those weddings were of dear friends of ours! Each one of us had such a wonderful experience with Sara and kept passing her name along to the next engaged couple we knew that was looking for a photographer. It all started with Candice & Alex and ended up being a total of five couples we knew, including my best friend Caroline, who is the beautiful bride in the fun photo we took with Sara above! (Sara is the one on the far right.) She likes to say that we adopted her; I'd totally agree. We had so much fun knowing we would get to see her again at the next wedding coming up!!

While hanging out with Sara in Richmond, we got to do two really fun things. 1) Sara really blessed us by offering to take some ministry photos for us before we leave for Honduras. These will be so helpful to us to have updated photos to use on our ministry materials -- including this blog! 2) We got to spend time sipping coffee and chatting with Sara at this really adorable local coffee shop she showed us. (Jamey said it was the best mocha he's ever had. The chocolate drizzle around the inside of the cup probably influenced his reaction, I'd say.) We loved getting to hear about Sara's music teaching, talk about Honduras with her, hear about her own (!!!) soon-to-be marriage, and give a few funny "newlywed tips" from us. Thank you, Sara, for spending the afternoon with us! We are so excited for your new adventures coming up!

Here's just a few of the great shots Sara took. We are so excited about them :)