Sunday, May 13, 2018

Slapped With Providence

Do you ever stop and think about how much you overlook God's providence?  Last weekend, I had a realization that I had become sorely apathetic to how the Lord sovereignly provides people and events in my life.  We had a small crisis.  Adam and Jacob had left to run in an organized race at a beach resort 45 minutes from our house.  Jacob was signed up for the 5K with Asher and I and Adam was signed up for the 10K.  Unfortunately, I was down and out with a stomach bug and Asher not wanting to run stayed with me under the guise of "taking care of mama."  Adam and Jacob left at 1:30 p.m. as the race was scheduled for 3 p.m. and of course, started in Latin style at 4p.m.  I figured that was the case as we had participated in numerous other 5Ks in town.  Still, I sent a message around 4:30 p.m. asking how they were.  It was an unbearably hot and humid day and running on sand just sounded like a bear to me.     

Around 5:15 p.m., I received a phone call from an unknown number.  I ignored it as I usually do but it called back.  This is a very Honduran habit: to call and call and call some more until the person picks up.  I immediately had a pit in my stomach so I picked up on the second call and heard the voice of our friend and babysitter.  She works at said resort so I was slightly concerned.  She confirmed my fears and told me that she had Jacob in her care and Adam had been taken to the hospital in the next town because he had passed out.  I later found out that she wasn't even supposed to be at the resort that day as she wasn't working.  She WAS there that day celebrating her brother's birthday!  It was so obvious to me that the Lord had perfectly arranged the ONE person there that my 9 year old child knew.  She comforted Jacob and even offered to take Asher. God provided!    

We live in a country where health care is extremely lacking and 911 service didn't exist until about a year ago.  I still don't know if or how 911 or ambulance services work because I've never had to use it and quite frankly, I don't trust it.  I have more confidence in transporting my loved ones to the nearest hospital than I do in the ambulance showing up.  To drive home the point, I share our experience of being asked to transport a patient in the bed of our truck to a hospital three hours away in the "big city."  Ambulance service is a luxury.  We also live in a culture that doesn't get involved.  People will stand around and watch someone die before administering aid.  I know that sounds harsh but that's reality.  It turns out Adam was severely dehydrated.  He was unconscious for 30 minutes more or less. Blue lips. Dry mouth. Blue nails. Foaming from the mouth for 10 minutes.  The fact that paramedics were present at the race and immediately assisted my husband is something I would have expected in the United States.  It seems like nothing short of a miracle here in Honduras.  I am grateful for how the Lord arranged much needed medical care on the scene as well as the transportation to a hospital.  God provided!    

On to hospitals.  Adam and I joke about having chosen our neighborhood based on it's proximity to a private hospital for the little boys.  There are two good private hospitals within a mile or two of our house.  I also joke about getting my hospital preference tattooed on my wrist to increase my chances of survival should anything ever happen.   This race was 45 minutes from our house out in the jungle at a beach resort.  Not close to the hospitals I know and prefer.  The nearest town to the beach resort is called Jutiapa.  Google says it has the population of 35,000 but I call "bologna!" I had no idea where the hospital was or if there was more than one hospital available.  I googled "hospitals in Jutiapa, Honduras" on our drive out there.  I did not know if this "hospital" was private or public (I knew nothing) nor did I know the state of my husband.  It was a long drive of praying that it was the only hospital on the map and that they took my husband upon arrival.  The Lord gave me peace amidst the unknowns.  My teammate and friend, Kathy and I arrived at the 3 patient room clinic where we found Adam just having entered back into consciousness.  It was quite the ride after that to manage everything in Spanish and make sure he got the care he needed when he needed it but the Lord provided patience and calm for me in the midst of the storm.  I was attuned to how the Lord had provided the last two years of language tutoring in my home and how I was confident and able to navigate a difficult situation in my second (fourth, really) language.  I was also convinced the Lord providentially put that little "hospital" right there for me, for this situation.  An unlikely location, an unknown provider but perfect for the need.  God provided!   

Sanitary cat in the waiting room


Patient room 

Patient at nearly midnight

Saline bag pole...er, nail

Last but not least, the Lord put us on Team La Ceiba in Honduras not by accident.  The same is true of my teammates.  I am continually sure that the Lord handpicked our team.  We love our team.  They are our family away from family.  I sent one voice message to the ladies when I found out Adam was taken to the hospital and our whole team sprung into action.  My kids were picked up and taken care of for the night by teammates. I had medical consultation available to me from another teammate. And I had a teammate by my side for all of the trauma into the wee hours of the morning.  God provided!

I took a deep breath midday Sunday and thanked the Lord for the many ways I saw him arrange the means for this end.  It slapped me in the face, really. It was obvious how I had taken the providence of the Lord for granted. He provided so much for me last weekend as He does every day.  He is a good God who loves me well regardless of my circumstances. God provides.

Saturday, April 28, 2018

A Few of My Favorite Things

I've been thinking since one of my recent Facebook post received such a huge response on and off Facebook, that I would share with you a few of my favorite things right now.  It's a well known joke (er, fact) that teachers share and steal resources as to not reinvent the wheel. I can't figure out why it should be any different among friends in the Christian community.  As an avid book worm, I want to share!  So without further adieu:

Journibles The 17:18 Series
As I said on Facebook, I had a teammate leave and as we sorted through some of her books, this journal sparked my interest.  I had been using a Scripture Writing Plan as part of my quiet time since November of 2016 so this just followed suit.  I really enjoy this journal for it's holistic approach and continuity as whole books of the Bible.  Each day includes 7 to 8 verses to copy out of the Bible.  The opposite page is blank for notes, ponderings, or answers to thought provoking study questions they have asked.  I can do it fairly quickly sometimes with interruption from the menfolk in my household.  I often reread it at lunchtime and the verses sink deep into my heart.  It's simple, yes but has been an excellent way in keeping a consistent time in the Word.




Discover 4 Yourself Inductive Bible Study Series For Kids
As an inductive bible study nerd, I loved this idea for my child who is now an advanced reader.  Adam often calls my Bible my "coloring book" as I mark each page according to a colorful key so that even at first glance, you can figure out what is the theme of a passage, chapter, or even whole book of the Bible.  With the idea of training up a child in the way he should go, I searched far and wide and finally purchased this Bible study for our eldest child who is 9 years old.  He has just started studying on his own but likes that the studies are divided into 5 day weeks and that he "can write in the book."  I recently saw a friend ask for a good kid Bible study on Facebook and even after a few days of air time, it was still one of the only suggestions.  We can't wait to move on to the rest of the series.



God's Great Covenant
While we were on our Home Mission Assignment a few years ago, my dear friend whom has a few more parenting years under her belt, suggested this great Bible curriculum to me as we were starting our homeschooling journey.  I stuck it on our Amazon wishlist and received this and the second one as a gift.  I finally branched out from following our homeschool curriculum to a T and substituted this course this past year.  Boy am I glad, I did!  It is an excellent resource in paving the foundation of a Biblical knowledge and worldview.  My two boys enjoy this part of our morning and are always excited when they know the answers to fill in blanks and make charts!    




Good and Angry: Redeeming Anger, Irritation, Complaining and Bitterness by David Powlison
At nineteen years old, I was hired as a youth intern at a Bible church in Fort Worth, Texas.  At the time my theology was pretty shallow and I was surprised to find out that I was a sinner as well as the other people with whom I worked.  Who would have known other church workers would mess up and sometimes be ugly.  It was an invaluable lesson as I moved forward in life and even (especially) as we moved to the field with other missionaries.  My mentor declared missionary life is like "being in a pressure cooker and under the microscope at the same time."  It became glaringly obvious that we would continue to be sanctified in this life but not perfected until the day of glory.   My experiences have left me with the desire to pursue a masters in Christian counseling (not in this stage of life though, don't worry, I'm not completely crazy).  The Christian Counseling and Educational Foundation (CCEF) has a ton of resources I can read now though.

I started "Good and Angry" as I was in a place in my life where I couldn't shake some of the bitterness based on a series of unfortunate (sinful) events (real life confessions without the drama).  I kept returning to the Lord asking Him to remove my anger and help me forgive again and again.  This book met me where I was.  It is a wealth of Biblical wisdom on anger.  Anger is more than a problem to be solved.  Anger is a part of life and we can learn about God's anger, how to redeem our anger, and be fruitful in responding to evil with good and making wrongs right.  I enjoyed this book because though not labeled a workbook, it contains questions that dig deep in self-reflection as well as future action.

Hopefully not a spoiler but my favorite chapter is titled, "Do You Have a Serious Problem With Anger?" The  whole chapter is but one word, "Yes."  That's it.  That's the whole chapter.  Shortest chapter I have ever read in any book.  But it left it's impact.  We all have an serious anger problem.  It just looks different from person to person.  I would highly suggest this book to literally anyone and everyone.  God has healed me up with this one.  It will probably become an annual read. 



RightNowMedia
This is a resource that may not be available to everyone as it is usually provided through a church but we had two churches offer the use of this digital media to us.  It contains over 15,000 bible studies and tons of videos and music.  We love it for sermons in English as well as videos for the boys (we're kind of addicted to Buck Denver Asks What's In the Bible and other Kid Bible studies by Phil Vischer).  We have it on our smart TV and I have it on my phone as well.  Ask your church if they have it or would be interested in it!  It keeps us Biblically well fed while overseas.



What's your dig right now? Feel free to share your invaluable resources with us!
  

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Clinic and Concrete

1 Corinthians 15:19
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April 2018

Clinic at Church

Last month, our team partnered with the local church our family attends (Centro Cristiano Internacional) to provide a medical brigade for the under-served members of the community. Several Honduran doctors from the church volunteered their time and donated services to people that otherwise might not have access to medical care. Many other church members volunteered their time to pray with patients and assist with logistics. What a wonderful experience, serving the community as a mission team and church.
Michelle has been participating in Zumba classes the last several months and besides getting in great shape, she has built friendships with many women from around La Ceiba. The instructor, noticing Michelle's dance skills, and love for others encouraged her to become a certified instructor.  Later this month, Michelle will take a certification class in Spanish!
Celebrating Father's Day (March 19 in Honduras) at church.
Jacob, Asher and I went on a cub-scout camping trip to central Honduras and visited the famous Pulhapanzak Waterfalls.
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Seminary Building

Painting of the seminary (inside and out) is complete! Ministry partners, Jerry and Randy came from Florida to finish out the air conditioning.  The last couple of weeks have been focused on pouring and sealing a concrete floor throughout the seminary.  Seminary student and friend, Noe lent us his art skills to decorate a therapy/play room for the children of Puerta de Esperanza (of course, he painted the ark!). Next up, John is welding brackets for the bridge across the courtyard.

Prayer Requests

  • Praise God for the greater body of Christ. We are grateful for all the love and prayer support we receive from churches and individuals in the US and Central America.
  • Just when we think we're getting this parenting thing down, our kids go and change on us! Please pray that we would be patient and diligent students of our children, showing them the grace that God has shown us.
  • Please pray for our teammates, the Clows who are going through a very difficult time. Due to a complicated legal system, the Honduran boy they have fostered for 6 years may be leaving their home. Pray for peace in the Lord.
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Saturday, March 10, 2018

March newsletter

1 Peter 4:11
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March 2018

Seminary Classes Launched

Last week our seminary launched in a more official capacity. Teammate, Raul is leading 2 different groups through a biblical grammar course. And our four-year curriculum is finalized.

Also, our Monday night seminary group (of which Adam is a student) just began it's 14th and final course in a series of a Third Millennium certificate program offered through Birmingham Theological Seminary.  This group has been hard at work for three years and we are nearly finished.

Seminary Building

The last few weeks we've been gathering as a team to complete some of the finishing touches on the seminary building.  Even Jacob and Asher have gotten in on the fun.
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Armenia Bonito Property

With mixed emotions, we sold our ministry property in the community of Armenia Bonito. I (Adam) never imagined that I would use my past real estate experience on the mission field but it came in handy as we navigated real estate law of Honduras. A wonderful Christian ministry with an existing presence in Armenia was the purchaser. They will be able to use the property to expand their school to include more grades. We take joy and comfort in knowing that the property will be used for the same purpose we had intended and that God will be glorified there.
Launching their Christmas gift

Prayer Requests

  • That we would not turn our focus inward but that we would continue to have servants' hearts, counting others as more significant than ourselves.
  • Last month we asked for prayers for Peter Project funding. Praise God for his provision and thank you for giving. Peter Project, our team's ministry for at-risk boys now has enough in reserves for several months. Please continue to pray for on-going donations as monthly pledges are still far less than the monthly need.
  • For seminary students to see fruit in their own lives and in their ministries from the labor of their studies.
Adam
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Phone: 480-330-1936
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                    Adam +504 9964-5634
                    Michelle: +504 9945-7357
Skype: AdamOnAMission (Adam)
             AZCainFamily (Michelle)              
 






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Tuesday, February 6, 2018

January Newsletter

Psalm 121:1-2
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January 2018

Endings & Beginnings

As we've closed out 2017 and have jumped into 2018, I am reminded just how much of this past year has been defined by change.  Many things in our life and ministry have come to an end and several others are just getting started.  Here are a few of the endings and beginnings in 2017:
  • New Honduran teammate, Oscar joined our team to handle legal and administrative work
  • New Honduran teammates, Raul and Alma joined our team to direct the seminary and Puerta de Esperanza, respectively
  • We said goodbye to teammates, the Spradleys
  • We said goodbye to teammate, Shannon and her family
  • Our home church in Arizona voted to dissolve (this recent event is deserving of much more than a bullet-point in a newsletter, perhaps a future blog-post)
  • Adam started a new role in the seminary started by our team
  • Adam and Michelle led their first full summer of planning and hosting short-term teams
  • Adam & Michelle began mentoring other MTW missionaries
  • 3 babies were born on our team!
  • 3 babies were born in our extended family!
  • Team La Ceiba began offering seminary courses at the church our family attends
  • Pastor Gregorio chose to end his work with our team
  • Peter Project moved to a new house
  • We opened a new medical clinic at the site of our dormitory facility
  • Seminary construction is nearing completion, and classes should start in spring of 2018
  • Michelle began attending a local Zumba group where she has quickly built friendships with ladies in our community
  • We experienced social unrest following a hotly contested and highly suspect presidential election here in Honduras
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Quick Trip to the US

The Hagenbuck clan together for Will's wedding
Having relatives in Utah has its benefits!

Prayer Requests

  • The seminary is almost complete and classes will begin soon.  Please pray for perseverance for our students. 
  • Peter Project is in desperate need of funding.  Please pray for monthly donors and considering becoming one yourself.  Give here.
  • For the Gospel to go forth in Honduras, offering a hope greater than that of any politician
Adam
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