La Rambla, Pocitos

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Lillian FAITH

from Jimbo - 
After hanging up with my parents and looking at the clock, I was getting up from our couch to get Lillian more fever-reducing medicine before putting her to bed.  She had begun a fever the night before, and we were helping her along with Tylenol and Ibuprofen.  Nothing out of the ordinary drill that we are used to with a teething baby.   It was about midnight, and she had fallen asleep on my chest as I was skyping, as we were waiting for Timbrel to get home from reflection group.  

Timbrel had texted me saying she was on her way home.  As I was getting up off the couch, Lillian started shaking, as if she was acting out a dream in her sleep.  I looked closer and the movements were the same and more like spasms.  I began calling her name, trying to wake her up.  She opened her eyes, and then I knew something was wrong.  One eye was looking up and one was looking to the side and up as she shook in spasms.  The only thing I remember praying was, "Lord, help." She was having a seizure.  

She continued convulsing as I called Timbrel, telling her she needed to get home now.  She said she was around the corner.  I left the other three kids and ran downstairs from our 3rd floor apartment.  I got outside, in front of our building, and couldn't see Timbrel.  The convulsions continued as I looked to heaven asking Jesus to intervene.  Our night guard saw what was happening and ran into the road, trying to flag down someone to take me to the hospital.  I told him the other kids were upstairs and that Timbrel was coming.  Just then, I saw Timbrel running up the sidewalk toward me.  I ran to her and told her to take Lillian to the hospital.  There was a car stopped at a stop light, and a guy opened his door and stepped out, asking if he could help us.  I told him to take Timbrel and Lillian to the British Hospital (the best in Montevideo) quickly.  Timbrel climbed into the back seat of the two-door car, and I told her to keep talking to Lillian.  The convulsions continued.  Timbrel and the unknown helper, took our baby girl and disappeared down the lonesome street, speeding toward the hospital.  

I ran back upstairs to find the other three kids huddled at our door, waiting for daddy to come back.  Our friend and colleague, Mark Taube, who had dropped off Timbrel, was on his way up to our apartment as I gathered the diaper bag and a bottle.  I was rattled.  I gathered the three kids and prayed with them before leaving them in good hands. Then I ran downstairs, jumped in our van, and sped to the hospital.
On the way, I knew I had to call Timbrel to see what was happening, but I was afraid.  I didn't want to call and hear bad news of an unchanged status, or of something worse.  I called.  When Timbrel answered, I heard a beautiful sound.  The sound was Lillian, crying in the background.  Timbrel said that the seizure had stopped when they were about half-way to the hospital. Still, I raced through the streets, horn blaring, running red-lights cautiously,  getting there as soon as I could.  I pulled up on the sidewalk, in front of the hospital, and left the van with the hazards on.  I offered the hospital guard the keys, in case he wanted it moved.  At that moment, I had to get to my family.  He waved me along and told me where to go.  

I got to their room in the ER just as they were taking blood from Lillian.  Timbrel was holding her down, singing and talking to her.  Lillian was screaming, of course.  The nurses were gathered around and I joined Timbrel in trying to explain what happened.  Our vocabulary was definitely expanded in the course of the night.  They took Lillian's temperature and it was over 39 degrees Celsius.  I had the same reaction as you are probably thinking.  I asked, "Is that high?"  Apparently it is.  

They put a port in Lilly's wrist and gave her some medicine to help with the fever.  Other friends and colleagues, the Beers, showed up; we were very glad to see them.  Through the night, they made sure we understood all that was being said.  The hospital staff ran a series of blood and urine tests and did a chest x-ray.  We sat in the room and waited for the results.  

Lillian was trying desperately to go to sleep, but the fingers that she sucks every time she goes to sleep were wrapped in gauze with a "tabla" preventing her from bothering the port on her wrist.  She waved her wrapped hand around and with her sweet Lilly cry let everyone know that she did not like what was going on with her hand.  

Finally the doctor came back and reported the results.  Everything came back normal, except a high protein in the urine test.  The doctor, who was 6 months pregnant, told us she would feel better if Lillian stayed in the hospital until our pediatrician came the next morning.  They moved us to another room in the ER that was more comfortable.  Stephanie Beers stayed with Timbrel and Lillian, and I went home.  I'm not sure what time it was, but I think it was around 4.  

Mark said the kids had just fallen asleep a little while before that, as they enjoyed a late-night movie.  Mark left and I unwound a little, feeling the exhaustion as I came down off of the adrenaline rush.  Sleep came.

I woke up and heard someone coming into our apartment.  It was around 9.  Bruce Beers had brought Timbrel and Lillian home.  Praise God. Lillian was her normal self, playing with her stuffed bear, very glad to be home.  Timbrel told me that the fever spike was due to a UTI (urinary tract infection) and that Lillian was on antibiotics.  As we sat in the living room, I began to read Revelation 21.  I read the first 8 verses and began to weep.  The emotional trauma of the night before was being released as I read the promises of my God.  

"Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem,coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”
And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” And he said to me,“It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment. The one who conquers will have this heritage, and I will be his God and he will be my son. But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.”

Praise God for His very great and precious promises.  

from Timbrel - 
God's lesson for me the past few months has been all about learning how to turn on the enemy the attacks and lies that are thrown against me. I have been learning that great victory is often only possible after walking through a dark valley. Last night in reflection group we talked about Jesus' death and resurrection. All I could think about was how Jesus walked through the darkest, deepest valley, knowing that victory was coming on the other side. He loved us so much that He chose to walk through crud and muck so that He could win victory for us. God has been teaching Jimbo and I that in our relationship, it's the same. To go higher in our relationship together, we have to be willing to walk with each other through dark places, icky places, places that show the residual dankness of our hearts. Only through honestly recognizing pain can we honestly recognize the lies that have allowed that dankness to build up. Then we can give Jesus those dark places, allowing Him, the Truth, to cleanse the lies and help us start over again.
So as I sat in the car with two complete strangers, trusting them to get me to the hospital, I desperately pleaded with Jesus to guard my baby's life - the life He gave her to begin with. It really helped me when I began to visualize Jesus in the car with me, singing and talking to Lillian with me. As the night went on, and I saw the stress on Jimbo to be in a hospital room, again, I asked God, "Did it have to be this valley? You know how hospital rooms affect us. Did it have to be this?" Yes. He has victory waiting for us. We can't see the victory yet, but pray for us as we continue to process all that we felt in these very traumatic moments.

As we prepare for a weekend of celebration (Saturday & Sunday) here in our apartment, we have seen the assault of the enemy very clearly on our family in the last few days.  We ask you to rally around us in prayer.  It is an exciting time, because the enemy is always active when God is about to do something big. We can sense the victory coming, but the valleys are hard. Please cover us in prayer - our marriage, our health, our safety, our connection to His Presence. We are committed to doing whatever it takes to love and serve each other and our kids, and to see His Kingdom come in Uruguay. It is the assignment He has given us; we will not turn back. Will you escort us on this journey, covering us in prayer as we continue to anger the enemy with each new step?

I was pushed back and about to fall,
    but the Lord helped me.
The Lord is my strength and my defense;
    he has become my salvation.
Ps. 118:13-14

Monday, August 5, 2013

Prayer Warriors and the Minivan

Thank God for our prayer warriors and for our minivan.

Before we had the minivan, I would take a bus to and from Madeline's school to pick her up.  That involves walking a few blocks to and from bus stops, which is good exercise.  And really, it is cheaper to just take a bus, which we still do on occasion, to save money on gas.  Earlier this afternoon, I had debated on taking the bus to pick up Madeline, as that would have saved gas and given me a little exercise.  But as I was deciding, the whole family voiced that they wanted to go along as well, and so we took the van.

After getting home, Madeline and I ran up the block to buy some meat for supper.  I had just come inside and sat down when I began a conversation with one of our new prayer warriors who was telling me about a dream from the night before that involved me being violently, physically attacked.  As we were chatting, everything was breaking loose outside.  I looked off our balcony and saw dozens of police cars and motorcycles racing, sirens blazing, in front of our apartment building and around the corner to what appeared to be some horrific crime.  This was something very unusual in our part of Montevideo.  So as our conversation continued, our prayer warrior told me about how she prayed for us after the terrifying dream.

After a couple hours, the headlines were all over the news.  There had been a violent robbery around the block that involved a shoot-out where a police officer was killed and two others were injured. One of the robbers was killed and two others were arrested, with a fourth escaping.  Apparently, it had occurred just as I was walking to and from the meat market.

When I take the bus to get Madeline, we walk a few blocks from the bus stop to our apartment.  Our path often takes us right in front of the post office where the shooting occurred.  As far as I can figure, if we had taken the bus, we could have been walking in front of the location where the shooting took place at about the same time it occurred.  Praise God for the minivan.

When I went and purchased the meat, I went by two banks.  The shooting happened as I was in route.

Why they robbed a post office instead of a bank, I don't know.  Could it be possible that our prayer warrior was warned about an attack planned by the enemy in the dream and the prayers changed the location of the robbery?  If I had gone in the bus, it's very possible that Madeline and I would have been walking in front of the location right as the event happened.

Who knows?  But I am so thankful for God's special warriors who are battling with us thousands of miles away.  I don't think we will know just how much is accomplished through the prayers of our intercessors in the spiritual realm that we never see.  All I know is that without them, we fight defenseless.  Please keep praying and communicating with us what God is telling you in your assignment to pray for us.

If you'd like to see the story of the robbery/shooting, click on the link:

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Good things come to those who wait

Buying a vehicle in Uruguay (or probably in any context where you don't know the system) is an adventure.  We first found out about this van in January.  We had looked at several options and swallowing the price being doubled was getting harder and harder.  Then we found out about an embassy couple leaving this June, selling their used Honda Odyssey.  We were buying some of their household things, and they then told us about their van that they would also be selling.  We looked at it, and it was beautiful, with all the dings and whistles.  After sitting in it and looking at all the cool features, I reluctantly asked the price, thinking it would be way out of our price range.  To my surprise, the price was the same as what we were going to pay for something of far less quality.

Then the question about waiting until June for a vehicle hit us.  Did we really want to take buses and taxies for another 6 months?  We had just finished a year in language study with no wheels and we couldn't wait to get to Uruguay to be mobile again.  We had a few weeks to think about our decision and after looking at the same quality type of vehicles and seeing that they cost from $70,000 and up, the phrase, "good things come to those who wait" came to mind.

So we decided to wait.  We didn't have the money needed yet, anyway, so waiting gave us time for more money to come in.

We were blessed by being able to use vehicles from other international workers for part of the time, at times cramming all 6 of us into these small spaces.  But we persevered.  We even made it through visits from family, although it was a tight squeeze at times.  Once we took 8 people over an hour away and back in this vehicle made for 4, maybe 5.  We are thankful for the use of these vehicles, as we didn't have to take as many taxis and buses.

Then June finally came.  Time to really start jumping into the buying process.  We had to hire an "escribana," or someone who would help us with all the legal papers (a requirement here).  The United States Embassy has a set of rules and a procedure for purchasing a vehicle from their employees.  It became apparent that our escribana wasn't familiar with all the embassy requirements for selling a vehicle, but she got in contact with the embassy contact and the process got on track.

We found out that June 25 would be our signing day, and that we could get tags for the van and take it home on the 26th.  The 25th came.  I went to the embassy at 9:30 to sign the papers and deliver the remainder from our vehicle fund to cover what we still owed.  (We ended up having to pay half out of our savings, which we will be able to have reimbursed when the remainder of the money comes in.)  Everyone was there who needed to be.  When I pulled out the check, the embassy contact person immediately became upset and told me I had the wrong type of check.  I was supposed to get a check against a bank in the USA from a special money changing house.  I had the equivalent to a cashier's check from our bank here.  The check they wanted would cost several hundred dollars, as the cost is based on a percentage of the total, and not a flat rate.  Or I had the option of wiring the money.  Either way, it had to be done that day.  With the embassy family leaving on the 28th, they had to have a buyer for their vehicle. They couldn't wait around.  So I had that day to fix the problem or they would have to sell the van to someone else.

Never have I been so thankful for our national office.  I just wish they opened their switchboard a little earlier. We had to wait until a little before noon to find out if they could even help us or not.  Time was ticking.  Thankfully our field director got through and the national office agreed to wire the money stateside to the seller's account.  But the deal was that the money had to be in the other people's account by midnight or no deal.  No sweat, right? Every wire takes a couple of hours, and this one was done between noon and 1.  All afternoon, we waited.  All evening we waited.  I had assurance that God was going to take care of us and Timbrel's word from God was that He was going to build our faith through this experience.  At 11 we just assumed the sellers had forgotten to contact us and we started the process of going to bed, anticipating all would be ok at the 8:30 signing.  No news is good news, right?

I woke up at 7:15 and a text from around 11:30 the night before said the money still hadn't transferred, but that they would check again in the morning.  I am glad I didn't read that the night before, or I don't think I would have slept very well.  Then another text came with the good news we were waiting for.  They money transferred sometime during the night.  Praise God!

I went for the signing, with that all too familiar feeling of anticipating something to still be wrong.  I met and signed with the embassy people, and then it happened.  They handed me the keys.  The van was ours.  Finally.  After all the waiting and last minute stress-waiting.  I walked out of the embassy with the keys in my pocket and a smile on my face.

We had to go get the tags, which had minor hiccup of us having to return the embassy because of a forgotten signature.  Then we found out we had to pay a tax that was remaining from the previous owner - a tax of $.10 - yes, 10 cents.  We walked 3 blocks, paid the tax, and returned for the tags.

We returned to the embassy again to pick up the van.  I spoke with the sellers one last time and then was able to drive our new van.  I told the sellers that I was going to pull in my garage (er, parking spot in the garage) and just take a nap in the van.

As I drove home, I thought about all the God did in order for us to purchase this vehicle.  I thought about Troy, and the money that came from his death.  Thank you Troy and Sarah.  I thought about all the gifts that have come in from so many different people.  Thank you to so many friends and family.  God's provision is amazing.  I am overwhelmed with thankfulness.

Then we went and picked up Madeline after school.  As I walked out of the school yard with her, she was telling me about her day, totally oblivious to the van sitting right in front of her, not even noticing that I wasn't walking, just standing there trying to get Timbrel's attention to turn on the video camera.  Then we walked to the side of the van and it clicked.  A Madeline smile appeared.  My heart smiled.  We are greatly blessed and very happy that good things come to those who wait.  Waiting is definitely an appropriate word for this van.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Am I really "doing" anything?

I recently gave some advice to a friend from language school who is about to do what we did five months ago - move to a new country and begin to plant (finally) deep roots. When you make as much of an effort to learn a language as we did in Costa Rica, you like to think that your language learning will continue on the same plane once you arrive at your final destination. After my second year of language study, my Spanish level will be double what it was after my first year, right? This was a really exciting thought for us at the end of our year in Costa Rica, where we felt like we had great teachers and learned well.

Enter daily life in Uruguay. When we left Costa Rica, we left behind a maid that kept our house clean, the laundry done, the dishes washed, the beds made, etc.  We left behind an excellent language school and 20 hours a week of instruction. Perhaps most importantly, we left behind the ladies who took care of our kids, speaking a lot of Spanish to them, for 25 hours a week. Did we really think we'd be able to do the work of all of those people? Plus jump into life in Montevideo?? Oh, and we had a baby in Costa Rica, so now the little people outnumber us 2 to 1.

So it didn't take too long for daily life to overwhelm me. And for me to figure out that my interaction in Spanish was going to be drastically lower this year than last year. It's kind of depressing to almost be able to feel your amazing (!?!) Spanish skills seeping away.

When you constantly have the feeling that there are at least four or five things you could be doing, it is freeing to know your first assignment. God has repeatedly confirmed my first assignment here. They are 7, 4, 2, and 9 months old, currently. They like to watch movies, read books, and play Pet Shops (yes, even Micah).  They say cuter things than any other kids in the world. They're high maintenance, yes, but they're also high reward. And I am one part of their world that hasn't changed (well, too much anyway).

Is my Spanish floundering? Perhaps (we do go to tutoring twice a week and have other interaction in Spanish). Are there usually undone dishes and laundry? Yes. Are there always parts (all?) of the house that need to be cleaned? Definitely. Are there things I would love to go do that I just can't do right now? Yes.

Is it worth it?

It's worth it to see light in their eyes, joy on their faces, and safety in their sleep. It's worth it to see them learning to adapt to the newness without being overloaded.

Here's the advice I gave my friend from language school:
"Give yourself LOTS of time. You and your family will be under a high stress load (though you won't always feel like it), and it's okay to let your energy go toward surviving (thriving?!?) as a person, a couple, and a family. Keep your language expectations low and your awareness of His presence high and you'll be fine."

Giving that advice helped me look back over the last five months and be renewed in my assignment.
We're here for the long-haul. The language will come. The most important thing I can do is be in His Presence, listening, resting, watching His face, reading His cues, being His Friend.
"You are my friends if you do what I command." - John 15:14


Tuesday, February 19, 2013


God is good! I have to start there. Every good and perfect gift comes from above.

There have been several times lately that my emotions have wanted to drag me into a self-pity/depression mode, and I hear the enemy's voice telling me how many things I lack or how impossible the circumstances are that we face.  Today I woke up from a short nap (last night was a long night due to staying out late and a teething baby), and I was feeling terrible emotionally.  Everything I was hearing was coming from the pit of Hell, because everything was telling me to be miserable.  

We have a theme for our house, and that theme is "Refreshing."  We have been blessed with some cool things that make our home physically refreshing.  We have a desire for our home to be a place of spiritual refreshing.  I have a goal of treating my family in a refreshing manner.  Today we bought a used sound system from some people who are moving back to North America.  Didn't think much of it, but I hooked it up and was amazed by the sound.  I played a Keith Green album.  His passion for Jesus and his genuineness are evident in his songs.  I worshipped "with" him, as I know he couldn't perform, but only could worship when he played.  God's Spirit ministered to me and brought a spirit of repentance as the tears flowed.  It was a sweet time.  Timbrel walked in and saw the situation and asked, "Who knew that even a sound system would be so refreshing?"  

"Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord." Acts 3:19

Monday, January 7, 2013

Provision - miracle #1

God is a good gift-giver and loves blessing His children.  That's who He is.

We have been a little discouraged at the price of things here in Uruguay.  If you know me, I hate to spend money, and everything we are looking at - from outfitting our house, to buying a vehicle, to going out to lunch - is extremely expensive.  It's almost as if you went to JCPenny and tried outfitting your home from their selection of show room material - and that's the low end stuff.  For some of you, this may not be a problem, but for me, raised on garage sales and, more recently, spoiled with things like Craigslist, it is difficult.  I like getting nice things at a fraction of the cost, which is nearly impossible here.

Sunday morning, I was sitting having a little quiet time with my Jesus, sharing my concerns with Him.  All along, we have known that God would supply us for this assignment He has given us, I was just having a hard time getting my mind to accept what my heart was believing.  I read about how Abram went after Lot when Lot was captured, how Abram recaptured Lot and brought back the goods and people that had been seized, and how the king of Sodom told Abram that Abram could keep all the goods he captured.  Abram responded by making it clear that man would not be receiving the credit for Abram's blessings, but that God would get the credit for providing, and it would be clear that God was responsible.  With that, I rested.  I asked God if there was anything He wanted me to be doing as I waited.  I listened for a few minutes and heard God's voice instructing me to look up the ex-pat community (i.e. English speakers that have moved here from other countries) here in Montevideo.  I looked it up and posted something about our arrival and asked if anyone was selling anything.

I left it at that and went and enjoyed my Kayden's birthday.  Late last night, I returned to the computer and discovered someone had written me about a moving sale from 4:30-6:30.  I had missed it and felt the sting of frustration.  I e-mailed the people and asked if they had anything left over.  This morning I awoke to an e-mail that they had a lot of things left and that I was invited to come take a look.  I called a colleague, and he graciously took me to the other side of town to look at the stuff.  We entered the apartment and began looking around.  Everything was very nice, and the prices I was hearing were good, but expensive.  Two bedroom sets, a fridge, washer/dryer combo, a big flat screen tv, a coffee table, end table, lamps, towels, rugs, paintings, floor scrubber, 5 chairs, desk, leather office chair, coffee grinder, plus a bunch of house decorations.  A bunch of stuff that was all within two years old. The people are wealthy and are selling their apartment and needed everything gone by tomorrow.  I asked them to give me a price for everything.  They went into their office and returned in ten minutes with a price of $3,500 for everything.  My jaw dropped, and I hope it wasn't too obvious.  To buy things separately would have been outrageous.  The fridge itself, new, costs $1,000, the washer/dryer, new, about $900, beds run around $1,000 each, not to mention the set that came with it.  I called Timbrel, and we agreed to the price.

Then the part about moving it all. They live in a high-rise apartment, and the elevators here are tiny. They need it gone by tomorrow (Tuesday), and we are not supposed to sign on our apartment until Thursday.  To move things can be very expensive, and we are going to have to do it twice, since we are moving it into storage (storage location also provided by God) for a few days until our apartment is ready.  We went and spoke with a moving company, (conveniently located right next door to their apartment building) and the price they gave us will move it twice for less than we thought it would take to move it once.  Tomorrow morning at 9:30 the pick-up begins.

God is good, and His word never fails.  His timing is right.  Seek Him, listen, and obey, no matter how hard it is to wait or obey.  Our strength is renewed.  Now we wait for a vehicle and the rest of the things we will need.  On paper, we need more money for both outfit and vehicle funds, but God is not limited to paper, as today proves. Wait, pray, and trust with us.