Jared and Luke put Bible stickers in their notebooks.
Every night after getting ready for bed, we have a “story-time” routine. In the past few months, this time has developed past simply reading a few story books. We added a Veggie Tale devotional book for kids for a while. Then, Jared joined Awana Cubbies and we began to add this Cubbie book lessons to our “story-time reading and activities. Jared spends some time learning Bible verses and Luke sometimes tries to mimic what Jared is saying.
When we are all done, we pray together before the boys go to sleep. For several months, I would sit at Jared’s bed and Stephen would sit at Luke’s bed while the boys prayed laying down and looking up at the ceiling. A couple weeks ago, as Stephen began planning his school-visiting trips, I realized that I was going to be by myself during this process for several days. So, I began to change their prayer time routine by having both boys kneel at the foot of Jared’s bed so we could pray together. Luke sits on my lap and Jared kneels next to me. My heart swells as I listen to them repeat after me. Jared has actually started adding a few lines he thinks of on his own.
It’s both exciting and scary to think of his little mind trying to comprehend the spiritual aspects of our routine. One night, he was lying on his bed and staring at the ceiling shortly after I got his pajamas on and I could tell he was thinking about something quite deeply. Then, he turned to me and asked me, “Mommy, where’s God?”
I felt my heart stand still for a second as I tried to break down that question in a way that a three year old might understand it. It’s amazing to me that he will soon be at the age where we can explain the message of Jesus’ love and sacrifice and the salvation of mankind. It is also a bit terrifying that I am the primary tool for communicating that message in his life. All I can do is pray that Jared will somehow see Jesus’ love in me in spite of my flaws and weaknesses.
Before going into the stories for this past month, I’d like to share some quick prayer request items with you. Please, keep these things in mind when you pray for our family and the ministry God has allowed us to participate in during the past three years.
1) That we’ll find new renters for our townhouse in West Virginia very soon. We have been without renters for three months and it is hurting us financially.
2) That Cristina’s mom, Helen Cobb (a missionary in Guatemala), will be able to raise the extra support needed so that she can come down to Ecuador in early April to help Cristina when baby #3 comes into the world. A round trip ticket from Guatemala to Quito is between $800-$1000. So far, a friend has offered $100 toward the trip.
3) That Stephen will be given a good job offer soon so that we can start looking forward to the next location of ministry that God is leading us toward.
4) That Cristina will be able to finish writing her dissertation in the next five months. She has been struggling with writing the first chapter (approximately 20 pages), but made some headway on it during the Christmas break.
5) That Jared will learn and grow in the knowledge of the Lord as he has started to attend Awana meetings and is going to Sunday school at church. What is encouraging is that Jared really enjoys memorizing Bible verses. Little Luke still attends nursery and is too young for Awana.
Jared is ready and excited about attending Awana for the first time this year.
We are now in the fourth quarter of the academic school year and things are getting more stressful on teachers and students alike. Both last week and this coming week have been filled with advanced placement (AP) exams for the students who have been taking AP classes at the Alliance Academy International. One of my students in my Journalism class has been taking three AP classes this year! Not only do they have to study for these tests, but they have to make up work for the classes they miss while taking their exams. Please pray for them to have the strength and mental preparation for each of those tests.
We just found out that one of our senior students fell this weekend while foolishly climbing on some high precipice. We don’t know all the details, but we know that the fall warranted a much higher injury than he sustained. Although Nathan Marshall does not have life-threatening injuries, he did manage to break his cheek bone in three different fractures and give himself a black eye. He had surgery on his face on Sunday, May 9. He is one of the dorm students, so he doesn’t have his immediate family here to support him through this time. His parents are missionaries in Uruguay. His mother is there today while his father is actually in the United States raising support. We ask for prayer that his surgery is without complications and that he will heal quickly and that his parents will be at peace about being so far from him during this process.
A new chapel system was developed in the past two months that gives high school students the opportunity to break into 20 smaller groups of seven to eight students so they can have more of a small group discussion during specific weeks of chapel meetings. Many of the students are struggling with this new adjustment in their routine chapel times. Some can’t seem to get over the fact that they are being grouped with students they aren’t very familiar with. Please pray that they will be able to grow to appreciate this change and be able to mature in their relationships with Christ and grow in their relationships with one another.