We are the Colbaths! :-)
From youngest to oldest, we are Timothy (4), Faith (7), John (10), Hannah (12), Paula (very young, of course), Mark (middle aged bordering on ancient). Mark and Paula met during their college years in Austin, TX. After a couple years of courting, Mark graduated and took his first job in Houston, TX. Mark would spend weekends travelling to and from Austin to visit. Paula worked nights at Albertson's during that time, so she wasn't much company during the day! Mark was not a christian at this time. However, it became obvious that if he wanted to see his gal, he'd have to join her at church every Sunday. It didn't take but a few weeks and an Easter Message for Mark to make his peace with the Lord.
A year later, Mark and Paula married. We celebrated and struggled just like every other young couple did. We made a decision early on that we did not want to depend on two incomes so that we would be prepared should the Lord bless us with children. Therefore Paula volunteered her time at Restoration Care Ministry, a ministry of Restoration Church that distributes food to those in need. After a year of marriage they caught baby fever from their dear friends at Bob and Lillye Ham's Home Group. It took over a year of prayer for our first baby to be conceived and we had almost given up. Then came Hannah!
On May 5, 1993 our previously "spayed" young dog Delilah had 5 puppies. After we got Delilah to settle down and nurse her puppies, we sat down at the table and thought about how odd and yet seemingly miraculous that our dog had had puppies. We took her to be spayed months before because she was a pound puppy and they require that all adoptees to be spayed/neutered. We picked her up at the end of the day and paid for the procedure. Apparently she was never spayed. Anyway, we got a "funny feeling" and thought it might be time to buy a pregnancy test. At 5 PM, she took the test and it was positive. She went to her OB/Gyn that week. She found out she was five weeks pregnant. We decided on a name "Hannah Grace". Later we found that Hannah actually meant "grace". We also learned that five was the number of grace. Five fives? Coincidence? I THINK NOT! Hannah is our graceful ballet dancer.
In 1994, Mark's career took a financial turn for the better. We were humming along living the American Dream in our modest home with our first child. Then the Lord blessed us with John in 1995! John was named after "John the Baptist". We prayed about a name for him and within a few moments we saw two dove out the window. We decided to name him after the Gospel that described the Holy Spirit descending on Jesus like a dove. Well, it turns out all of the Gospels do this. So, we figured John the Baptist was there and he was a pretty good model. John reminds us of his namesake in more ways than one. He is very driven and feels called to purity.
A year later Mark hooked up with his original Fort Worth employment team from Tandy (Radio Shack), but this time at a different company (Gateway). These were the glory days of Mark's career. Aside from getting to play with state of the art home computer gadgets, he was able to "invent" new applications and now has three patents to his name. At this time, Paula was raising our two firstborn and we were living in Bedford, TX. Our home in Bedford was a constant source of well, fresh water; rain water to be exact. Rain would form two inches of standing water in the garage and on one occassion an inch or so in the front living room, which was being used by Paula's sister as a bedroom. Anyway, things grew around that house. We had our first successful gardens. Paula grew roses. We grew various fruit trees. In 1998, when another child came our way, we decided that Faith was a good name because we were always planting in faith and seeing the fruit of the planting. As a matter of fact, we completed the name with "Faith Rose" because of all the pretty flowers her mother grew around the house. We no longer have the house, but we do have the prettiest Rose to show for it! Faith loves to dance and sing. She also likes stories and playing cards.
Timothy was born in 2001. There are no nature stories behind his name, but we really thought Faith might be our last. We are so thankful for Timothy (gift of God) Elijah. He is the source of much joy and laughter around our house even today.
We always believed that we were to move out to a farm before the children were teenagers. We did not want them to be uprooted from established social lives before we tried to make it as family farmers. We eventually hoped to create a place where the poor would receive food, shelter and job training; but we figured that was not going to happen for decades due to financial constraints. We searched remote areas of Texas for far too many weekends. Hannah, John, Faith and Timothy were cramped up in the car being taxied from one burg to the next looking at land while their parents tried to figure out how they would make a living out in ten buck too. After a solid year of searching in this manner, we thought about expanding our search. We talked about missions. At first it was just a spark of an idea. A few months went by and the mention of missions kindled in our hearts and conversations. Meanwhile, we tried to setup a meeting with Jim Pack, the missions pastor at our church. It took about three months to get a meeting that agreed with our schedules and at that time Mark felt an urgency to speak with him. The night before, Paula asked him at the weekly church dinner if there was any missionary that just needed us to come down and take care of their cattle. Jim laughed and said, missionaries don't have cattle, they get stolen!
In January 2005, following two weeks of desperate, fervent prayer, we had our meeting with Jim Pack. A couple hours before we arrived, he had called Jim Faber; a missionary our church supports in Honduras. Mr. Pack told Mr. Faber about the desires of our hearts. Mr. Faber went silent. He told Mr. Pack about a woman (Kimberly) that he helps run an orphanage (he's on her board of directors). That same week Kimberly told Mr. Faber she was looking for an American couple to come and help because her health was failing. The orphanage is on a small farm. It has dairy cows, chickens, banana trees, lime trees, avocados, corn, beans and other varieties of fruit. The farm is out on a mountain with pine trees all around. The weather is ideal. It rarely breaks 90 degrees and freezes rarely if it all. In our minds, it sounds and looks like Heaven.
This is a brief story of our lives. We've left out a lot of people and places, as there are so many people that have helped us along the way that we could not possibly list them here. Neither Paula nor Mark grew up in stable, traditional two parent homes, but the Lord used their situations to bring them closer to him and have a heart for others. Suffice it to say that we love our parents and we thank them for their tremendous contributions to our lives. We did not grow up in picture perfect model homes, but God knows what He is doing. He can make all things good. We are blessed to have the parents we have. We are going to help children whom have no parents at all.