Hi to everyone who keeps up with us. I haven't let you know how things are going here, so will take the time to fill you in!
* Gerardo had surgery to have his new kidney removed. It had become very swollen, he had high, high fevers continually, high blood pressure, and overall was declining at a very rapid pace. He was basically going to dialysis and spending the rest of the time on the couch asleep. The surgery went well, helped his blood pressure, eliminated the fevers, and overall feeling much better. He was in the hospital about a month. This summer we had a special friend visit, as well as an awesome group of youth and they dug into prayer for Gerardo. We truly feel like we have seen him be revived. Before, honestly, most days I wondered if it was his last. He does have to go to dialysis 3 times a week again, but it is so much better than how he was suffering before we are all just thankful. He is doing school on his days at home, around the farm again, and generally entertaining us all. Praise God!
* Hannah and John are getting too old! Hannah will turn 17 in November and John 15 in October. Hannah will be taking the PSAT in October, preparing for college back in the states. She is diligently working towards finishing school and seeking the Father regarding what is the next step for her. She is in her junior year. She still has a heart for China and at this point hopes to pursue studies in Asian culture and English (literature, writing, etc. ). John is digging into his studies and still is an incredible math student.
* Reynaldo and Arnol are back at school. Arnol is in 5th grade, and Reynaldo is in 4th. They are excelling and growing. Arnol is such a blessing to me, always smiling and giving me a hug, telling me he loves me and is thankful. Reynaldo likes to help in the farm with the big guys when he can.
* Eli is in school with our family. Learned a lot this summer from a special ed teacher in the states. She really helped me understand even more what is going on in Eli and Carlitos's brains. Basically we are dealing with neurological disorders due to malnourishment, alcohol and drug abuse on the mother's part while they were in the womb (different mothers). Pretty much classic Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. So I have learned some new tricks that I pray will help things to click one day for both of them. It was so good to hear someone understand what we deal with, the behaviours, the learning issues, etc. Even though it is a very tough road, I was just thrilled to have someone understand and not just call it dyslexia. We are no where near dyslexia!!!!! With the new things I am doing, I am not seeing the things be mastered yet, but I am seeing a confidence in Eli that is so refreshing. I also know more what to expect, what boundaries to put up, what to not require, etc. We believe they can do it, and will always work towards that end. I could share so much about what goes on with them. For example, one day we will do the work with the letters and numbers and Eli knows it, the next day it is as foreign as Chinese would be to him. It so frustrates him, he knows he had it yesterday and questions where it went. He is diligent and so happy when he sees a goal accomplished. So we are both learning.
* David just went to visit his father this past weekend. He was saddened to see his father not well enough to work and alarmed to hear that someone had tried to choke him to death by hanging him. I am so thankful that David has a different life now, but am so saddened for his father. Please pray for him to be delivered from the evil that surrounds him.
* We are learning far more than we ever cared to know about managing and human resources! Working with Alicia and Kory is so good for us and takes us far out of our comfort zones. Mark's zone is the computer and mine is children! They are a blessing to us. Alicia loves the boys and works very hard to bring continuity to their lives. Kory takes great initiative and is such a help to me with Spanish. We are thankful and will continue to grow and learn how to work with people. I hope I do not sound like the people are the problem, you know just all the ins and outs of communication, expectations, etc.
* UGHH! Container! No progress to report. Daily I look at something in the house and think about a piece of furniture I have in that container or a book I long to read! We feel like the biggest idiots about the whole mess. Praying for resolution.
* We have had more rain than imaginable, everyday in the afternoon, through most nights. You can't drive to our house, you have to leave the vehicles in the other driveway. Walking the farm, HA! Not unless you have industrial golashes! Most mornings we have glorious sun and it is cooler at night with a nice breeze. Thankful for sunshine. I don't know why but electricity has been very dicey lately. I buy a candle a week!
*PIgs are selling! Yeah God! We have cucumbers, sweet potatoes, lettuce, green beans, basil, zuchinni right now. John will soon harvest a crop of sweet potatoes. A bull was just slaughtered, soon to be about 600 pounds of meat! What a blessing. Hope to sell a bunch and eat a bunch. Mark just found a bunch of pork chops from our pigs in the freezer at the Mennonites (they store meat for us). We were so thankful! Working on getting a tractor, or I should say someone else is. A member of our church in the states has the heart to help get a tractor for the farm, to help increase productivity and give more jobs. I pray it all comes together. It is something I have had a vision of for several years. Who knows what God will do!
* Learning to see each day as an assignment and to be receptive and open to what God has for each day, rather than my usual self trying to see this huge picture and being overwhelmed. I am very aware that each day there is a person to love, a word that needs to be shared, a hug to be given, a ride to offer, a sacrifice to be made.....just along the way. Jesus said so much, healed so many, gave so much, just along the way.
Blessings to each of you, blessings to your families,