Quantum* Confession of a Child

On a crisp August morning in 2017, I stayed with my girls in our van while my wife ran into the Murfreesboro Sam’s for hot dogs. We had only two daughters back then, a 17 month old who could break hearts with the size of her grin or break ears with the decibel level of her dissatisfied scream, and a just-turned-three-year-old whose constant flow of questions and narration could transition from side-splittingly whimsical to deadly serious without so much as a comma. My 17 month old was happily strapped into her rear facing car seat (a rare event when the van was not in motion), and my 3 year old was content to stay in her car seat as long as we kept talking to each other. This segment of our conversation began with a question she had started asking both my wife and I on a semi-regular basis.

With a fact-seeking tone my daughter asked, “Daddy, you going to die?”

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“Yes, eventually I’ll die Elizabeth.” I said, resigned to repeat a conversation I felt that I’d had one too many times.

“Why?” she asked (as she tended to do after any declarative statement was made in her general vicinity).

“We all die eventually. Probably not soon, but one day,” I responded evenly.

“I’m going to die?” She asked casually.

“Yes. …Life is like a book,” I said, motioning an opening book with my hands. “We all have a start, like opening the cover, a lot of pages to turn, and then the book comes to an end.” I showed the book closing with my hands and passively hoped we could turn to more interesting topics of conversation, but alas my daughter followed my wonderful analogy by going back to her list of people that she occasional confirmed would eventually die.

“Granddaddy going to die?” she asked, again as if asking about the weather. Now you need to understand that ‘Granddaddy’ is and was my daughter’s only living great-grandparent, all the others had died, Sweetmama within Elizabeth’s memory (which is quite keen). But Granddaddy was a healthy 81 year old man who continues to live and work his farm outside of Memphis.

“Yes,” I answered – not giving an inch.

“Granddaddy going to die on the farm?” My little girl clarified.

I paused to think for a moment, “Probably so. I think he’d be happy to die on his farm,” I said reflecting on how much he dislikes going to the doctor’s office or hospital. Elizabeth paused for a moment and I wondered if she was thinking about which other people she needed to confirm would die someday, but she surprised me with a different line of questioning.

“Where would you be happy to die, daddy?” I thought for a moment about the complexity of the question my three year old had just posed. I wondered if I could express, simply enough for her to understand, my desire to finish life well and die exactly where God wants my family and me to be- wherever that is, pouring our lives into whatever community he puts us, arm-in-arm to the end. As I tried to find words to put into concrete terms the abstract thoughts floating in my head my daughter spoke up.

“I’d be happy to die on a cross.” She said with happy finality.

And then, as suddenly as the conversation had plunged into the depths of theodicy, teleology, and soul-baring-intimacy, my barely-three-year-old girl moved on to ask when mom would be back with hot dogs and where we were going next… unaware of the tears of pride, fear, joy & sorrow that I was left crying.


When does a young child become a follower of Jesus Christ? What marks the first real confession of faith? Perhaps, in a family that saturates their daily conversation with Bible stories, prayers, and talk of God – the exact turning point of becoming a follower of Jesus might be more of gradual process than a single decision point. Was Elizabeth making a first confession of faith? Who but God can know? Perhaps the best way to answer that question is to faithfully present the gospel in our everyday activities, trusting God’s grace, until our children join us in that daily presentation.

“It is the glory of God to conceal things, but the glory of kings is to search things out.” Proverbs 25:2

I think that many children who are raised intentionally in the faith, might find themselves in a saving relationship with Jesus Christ without being able to point to a discrete turning point or prayer (I myself came to such a realization in my childhood). I do not say this to diminish the importance of celebrating and remembering when a child begins to express a desire to follow Christ.

Recently I seemed to caused some confusion when I wrote, “I am thankful for Lydia’s recent confession of faith…” What I meant by this was, inasmuch as Bethany and I can know the heart of our child, it was evident to us by her statement and other choices, that Lydia was beginning to desire to follow Jesus. Let me give you some context:

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Each night of lent, as we moved the wooden figure of Jesus bearing a cross closer to the center of our 40 candle spiral, I would ask the girls several questions, one night the questions unfolded like this: “Where’s is Jesus going?” “Jerusalem!”

“Why is he going to Jerusalem?” “To die on the cross.”

“Is this an easy or a difficult thing for him?” “Difficult.”

“That’s right, it was difficult, so much so that Jesus sometimes didn’t want to have to go to the cross. But do you know what? Jesus was God’s son, and he obeyed his heavenly Father completely – no matter what. He never failed to obey God – even if it was hard or he didn’t feel like it.”

The quiet pause of contemplation afterwards told me that both of my older children were giving unusually devoted attention to my words. Then Lydia spoke up, “I want to obey like that.” I glanced at Bethany and we shared a look that agreed this was an important and weighty comment. We were impressed with Lydia’s grasp of the our fundamental problem (disobedience), and it’s solution (the obedience of Jesus Christ). Then, I tried to follow that up by saying, “That’s really good Lydia…” But as with little Elizabeth in the first story, the moment was gone as quickly as it arrived. My child’s attention had moved on to the all important question of who would get to blow the candles out.

To encourage, cement, and remember moments such as the ones above, Bethany and I have made a quilt for our home and children. Around the outside of the quilt are areas with symbols for the rituals and milestones of the Christian faith (Birth/Adoption, Infant Dedication, First Confession, Baptism, First Communion, Confirmation, Vocation/Ordination, Marriage, Finishing Well, and Death/Glorification). Our quilt is a reminder to orient our lives, remembrances, and individual stories around His story. And as our children live into these milestones we celebrate them and eventually embroider those dates or time periods into our quilt. I think we will be embroidering the year 2020 for Lydia’s first confession of faith rather than a specific date.

“…if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved” Romans 10:9


Please pray for:
-Honduras as a country. COVID19 restrictions are still tightening and a large portion of the people are at risk for hunger and not getting medical care for necessary (non-COVID19) things.
-A 12 year old patient in our hospital with an infected knee (ultimately this would end in a fused joint or amputation if we cannot eradicate the infection). Pray that he would walk again, hopefully even run.
-Wisdom, regarding our decisions for what to do next when COVID19 restrictions lift (returning to language school, staying at the hospital, or some hybridization)


*I used the adjective quantum  in the title, because the geeky side of me cannot help but see the similarities between subatomic particles and early childhood salvation. Perhaps a short explanation: the Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle is an interesting math proof in the field of quantum mechanics, showing that you cannot simultaneously know the position and the momentum of any given particle. The more clearly you define the momentum the less certain you can be of the position, and vice versa. A related idea that is sometimes confused with the uncertainty principle is the observer effect. The observer effect states that the systems and particles at the quantum level are so delicate that any process introduced to directly observe and determine the state of said particles will itself change the system. It is like a blindfolded kid trying to determine the shape of a house of cards by feeling with his hands without toppling the cards. The house of cards would be irrevocably changed by the observation.

A child’s confession of faith is much like a subatomic particle. It’s fleeting, it cannot be pinned down, or fully spelled out, and if you try to grasp it to directly, by asking a kid about it or if they want to say a prayer with you – the child will generally try to figure out what you want to hear and say that. I am convinced that there is a deeper significance and more resolved permanence when a child confesses Jesus as Lord from an intrinsic motivation rather than an extrinsic motivation. Intrinsic motivations are hard to teach, it’s more about modeling than telling, more about sharing excitement and coming along-side than leading or explaining. Extrinsic motivation is easy – peer pressure, candy, time-out, and stickers, are all external motivators – the child is not doing or avoiding an action for the sake of the external good, for something that is unrelated to the action. 


The views and opinions expressed in this blog are not the views of Samaritan’s Purse or World Medical Mission.


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A Brief History in Snapshots

 

This is a brief overview of our recent time here in Honduras.

Bethany (with baby Hannah showing) learning to make pupusas during her last language class before we left Siguatapeque, Honduras for our trip across the country to our mission hospital for Hannah’s delivery. We left in the first week of March and Hannah was due March 26th.
Elizabeth and Lydia finishing up the Spanish alphabet in their last Spanish class -before what was meant to be a short 2-3 week trip to deliver Hannah and then return.
Days after our arrival at our mission hospital – Elizabeth, Lydia, Ruth and I are making a morning trip through the mangrove forest to the beach (letting mom have some peace and quiet). Our mission hospital, Hospital Loma de Luz, is strategically positioned in the midst of several underserved communities along the northern coast of Honduras.
Ruth is backpacked on me, because the walk from our guest house above the hospital to the beach is very steep. The mountains pretty much rise up immediately out of the coast and our houses and hospital are terraced up the side.
The beach is beautiful, and if you swim out a few hundred feet you can even find a coral reef.
The ocean side of this beautiful house on the left is where we get to live and weather the COVID19 pandemic. Shortly after our arrival at Loma de Luz, COVID19 began to spread across the globe.
Not long thereafter our food supply became a little bit irregular. This is a picture taken by one of our fellow missionaries and sent to us via Whatsapp meaning – Get down to the vegetable stand in Lucinda quickly – they have some veggies while supplies last.
I like to tell Elizabeth, “Be careful, it’s a jungle out there.” It took some explaining, but now she thinks its a little funny.
We have quiet time in the afternoons, but most of the time its too hot to really sleep, or even lay against mattresses and pillows The occasional ocean breaze is always welcome. And we are thankful for fans and the beauty of our enviroment.
This is the view from the water tower above the houses. Its fed by spring water. Our whole family hiked up to the water tower. One of many treks in the final week before Hannah came, trying to hurry things along. 🙂

On the day before Hannah was born my kids and I completed this video project with several of their friends.

10pm – Bethany at our house: “I’m having contractions.” Nathan: “Okay.”
11pm – Bethany at our house: “I think we need to get ready to go to the hospital.” Nathan: “Okay.”
12am – Dr. Anne at our hospital, “You’re pretty much completely dilated, are you ready to push?.” Bethany, “Yes.”
12:45am – Baby Hannah at our hospital, “Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah Aah Aah!”

2 hours after delivery, we’re heading back up the hill to the house! (Our next door neighbor is Dr. Anne, and there are some advantages to not having an epidural)
Lydia loves holding babies.
She’s pretty indiscriminate.
Elizabeth also loves to hold babies and help out. Its was hard for the girls to just let Hannah sleep so much of the day away when they had so anticipated her birth.

Getting the girls out of the house so mom can just think about taking care of herself and Hannah for a moment. This was one of our last truck trips as a family before Honduras began enforcing general quarantines, travel bans, work bans, beach bans, and strict curfews.
Fortunately, staying off the roads and not gathering together does not prevent us from going on hikes, visiting our neighbors in the hospital compound, and playing outside. 
Our front porch looking out at the ocean.

COVID19 in Honduras: on the left is a bleach spray down/check-point to enter the nearest major city. On the right is our hospitals COVID19 isolation/triage area where we were doing a practice run recently. (We haven’t seen any confirmed COVID19 cases at our hospital yet.)

On Good Friday, Bethany’s birthday, and Hannah’s 13th day of life, Bethany carried on our family’s tradition of hosting a passover seder during Holy week. This year we did the whole ritual meal and story telling in English and Spanish. Bethany made matzah from scratch (in addition to all the other feast foods, for our 14 place settings). We also had to substitute ginger for horseradish. My wife is incredible!

Bethany’s mom always bakes her a red velvet cake for her birthday. Also, Bethany’s mom also always comes and lives with us to help us through the first several weeks of the sleepless newborn period. But, a few days before Bethany’s parents were to come to Honduras to be with us, the borders closed due to COVID. Ergo, Bethany baked her own cake this year (the day after her birthday due to passover preparations)- and this is what happens when you let a red velvet cake cool to room temperature before icing it – but room temperature is 95 degrees fahrenheit. Thankfully – if you close your eyes (or leave them open) it still taste great. Ruth, “Yuuuuuuummm”
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On Easter morning we had a small open air gathering with our neighbors in our mission community. I read the resurrection account from John, and several of the children acted it out as we went. This is John (Josiah H) looking into the tomb, while Peter (Elizabeth G) catches up. (Ruth is dressed as an angel, ready to be popped into the tomb shortly)
Ruth somehow got something stuck in her left eye. And for nearly a week it did not move and we were unsuccessful at flushing it out with water. Ultimately with prayer and a little trepidation we took her into the hospital where Dr. Jeff and Rosanne sedated her and removed the foreign body without any complications. Thanks be to God.
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Most work in Honduras has been halted for almost a month now. In the communities around our hospital, this means people have run out of money and are running out of food. The hospital and the local churches are pooling resources to give out food bags to the families in need, to supplement the government’s relief efforts. Elizabeth, Lydia, and I went up into the mountains behind the hospital to this community to help give out food.
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As in the USA, all schools have been closed in Honduras. This is the mountain community’s one room school house that my kids were exploring with the neighbor kids and some fellow missionary kids
I hope you all get a glimpse of what life here is like for this time. I have began working in the clinic and taking call at our hospital during all this to prepare for whatever future God has for us. We don’t know when or if we’ll return to language school, so we’re trying to take things day by day and grow where we’re planted.

I Am Thankful Ten-Times Over.

Father God – I am thankful.

I am thankful for your loving faithfulness that gives me grace, peace, mercy and love each day anew.

I am thankful that you delayed our initial flights to Honduras, so that we canceled our visa trip – and are able to be here, in Honduras, at the mission hospital right now where I can ease into working at the hospital while we wait for Hannah to be born.

I am thankful that you expedited our Honduran Residency Status so we can stay here legally until well after Hannah is born when we receive all the documents needed to travel back to the USA with her.

I am thankful for an uneventful pregnancy thus far, that baby Hannah appears healthy, head-down, and ready to be born any day now.

I am thankful that we have plenty of food, clean water, and electricity while we wait out this country-wide quarantine.

I am thankful for a kind generous Christian community, a beautiful yard and jungle to romp about, and spacious home and that we are well.

I am thankful for Lydia’s recent confession of faith, while we were lighting our Lenten candle wreath, when, after discussing Jesus’ perfect obedience to the Father in going to the cross, she said, “I want to obey like that.”

I am thankful for the ocean breeze, for starry nights, beautiful birds, curious insects, and cute lizards.

I am thankful for donors who are supporting us despite the uncertainty they face in their own situations.

I am thankful for good coffee, great books, and hammocks.

Blessings on all of you,
Nate & Bethany

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The Power of Words

Have you ever noticed the unusual relationship that we have with our words? It seems like our relationship with words should be a one way process: our mind forms thoughts that are turned into words then spoken. But like most natural and biologic process – it’s not so simple our straightforward. Instead, it is reciprocal- who we are and how we think shapes the words we speak (as above), but the words that we speak and think also give form and shape to our thoughts and the words that we speak shape who we are and how we think about ourselves. (If you’d like to skip my eloquent philosophizing and just read about how we’re doing – Click here – It won’t hurt my feelings that badly.)

Perhaps your mom told you, “Don’t say that!” After you spoke aloud some bad thing that seemed likely to happen but every one was hoping against (and avoiding speaking). My mother did, often. I remember trying to convince her that saying or not saying something can’t affect the outcome. I even remember trying to convince her that believing otherwise was superstitious and not compatible with Christianity. But despite my logical arguments I could not persuade my mother that our words were just simple powerless declarations. Although she couldn’t articulate why, deep down my mother, and most mothers know that all spoken words have reality bending properties that call for caution.

In my Biblical studies I have come to realize that my childish view and argument were completely wrong. The biblical world view is founded on the truth that we are made in the likeness or image of God. We are called and equipped to bear the image of the God, the same God who spoke this world into existence. Because of this our words, in lesser ways, are empowered to create and change His world. Furthermore, we Christians are called to strive towards Christ-likeness, to be like Jesus. In the gospel according to John we are introduced to Jesus as the Word made flesh. And throughout the New Testament we are called to be like the Jesus, the man who spoke with such faith and authority that the wind and waves obeyed him. And in case we wanted this to be a special divine-only type event, he said these words to his disciples when their words failed to cast our demons: “For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.” Matthew 17:20 (ESV)

Our older girls looking out on the mountains that encircle Siguatapeque.

Clearly our mothers were right. We should take care when we speak. Our words and language are designed to have power. And as we follow Christ, our language becomes even more important. The truth is we do not simply shape our language, it in-turn shapes us and our world.

If you’ve never spent significant time trying to communicate in a language that is not your first tongue, you may not have thought about the way that languages themselves are not neutral or one-way actors. Languages develop out of a reflexive cycle with their culture. If precise time is important in a culture (The United States) than the language lends itself, more and more, to communicating precise times with ease and clarity. If flexible time frames are important (Central America), then finding out the exact time for when something will start may be difficult, the language will have lots of wiggle room in case you need extra time to talk with your neighbor or grab a coffee. Otherwise, if love, accountability, pigs, or directness are important in a culture, then the language develops many nuanced and quick ways of expressing different types and qualities of those things.

The converse is also true. Sometimes whole concepts are missing from a language (from the viewpoint of another language), but this can be difficult to describe in the language where the thing is missing. And difficult to wrap your mind around when trying to learn or identify a concept you’ve never had or thought about. It is almost impossible to discover what concepts might be missing from your primary language without spending time trying to translate concepts to and from another language.

For instance, one concept that many Biblical scholars have lamented the lack of in English is a distinction between the singular and plural second person pronoun. Let me break that down for those of you who aren’t grammar nerds or presently mastering verb conjugations in Spanish: “I” is our first person singular pronoun, and “we” is our first person plural pronoun, but “you” is our our second person singular pronoun and “you” can also be used as our second person plural pronoun, but most of the time our context isn’t clear and people just think of themselves individually (singularly) if we say “you.” So we have several informal work-arounds: ya’ll, you all, you guys and you lot. This missing expression creates a large translation problem when the Biblical writers carefully distinguish (in their native tongue) that they are addressing the church altogether or individuals in the church. In English, both for cultural and linguistic reasons, we hear the Bible as though it were always addressing us individually. For instance, consider how you might understand and reflect on these verses differently if translated with the southern work-around:

For I know the plans I have for ya’ll, declares Yahweh, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give ya’ll a future and a hope. (Jeremiah 29:11, ESV)

…Work out ya’ll’s salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in ya’ll, both to will and to work for His good pleasure. (Phil. 2:12-14, ESV)

(Check out this Blog post for a more in-depth discussion of the problem and an interesting solution: http://donteatthefruit.com/2013/05/texas-bible-second-person-plural-chrome-extension/)


Alright, let me tie all this back into the reason you all read this blog. Our family has been working hard to master a new language, learn new concepts and get to know a new group of brothers and sisters in Christ. We’ve been here almost a month and we hope we are just about to hit our stride. On some level, especially in our children, we are rewiring the ways our brain conceptualizes and process input and output (consider that most of your thinking occurs in your primary language). We are in the intensive program, so Bethany and I spend 4 hours a day one-on-one with a native Spanish speaker (and grammar nerd) plus independent homework and study time and regular community immersion as we walk to and from school, shop, worship, and explore Siguatapeque. In all of this we try to absorb as much as possible about the culture, idioms, beliefs, and language of the people we have committed to serve. Our older girls start each day with one hour of language school and then review with us throughout the day.

In this time of transition we are striving to be careful with our words (in both languages). When our children declare they do not like a staple food of Honduras, we encourage them to revise the statement from “I don’t like it!” to “It’s not my favorite.” When they have a melt down and declare they will never again play with the other, we remind them of our family’s words that we say to each other every night, “We love each other, no matter what.” We use leading questions when we know a two hour kid’s church class in Spanish was tiring and difficult for them: “That was hard but fun, wasn’t it?”

Personally, it would be easier for me to pull an example of the ways that Spanish seems deficient when translating from my English for this post (rather than the example from Greek to English above) but I want to be careful with my words. I do not want to reinforce my half-formed thoughts or frustrations with the power of written or spoken word. If a concept is not easily translated, it’s likely not to be very important to my listener so I should find a different approach rather than getting stuck on my dilemma. I want to model what I encourage my girls to do. To speak what is not only true but also noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and praiseworthy. To speak and pray a deep and abiding love for the people, language, and culture of Honduras into our lives.

Three powerful words have shaped our reality in the last weeks:

Elizabeth calls our apartment here, “home.”

Ruth spoke the 5th & 6th words she has ever spoken, calling out, “agua” while reaching for her water cup. And “adios” as she waved goodbye to one of our Honduran teachers.

¡Agua!

Spanish Scholar Ruth


So my brothers and sisters, take care with your words. In the words of TobyMac, “Speak Life.” Understand the reciprocal relationship you have with your words, that your language does not just express how you feel or what you want, but it also firms up, reinforces, and at times creates how and who you and those around you will be.

These are our praises:
-We have wonderful neighbors in our apartments, with wonderful neighbor kids and a great enclosed yard where the children can play.

-We love our teachers and the language school, and we feel like we’re learning and improving our Spanish at a good pace.

-We’ve been healthy and well.

-Little Hannah (our fourth girl who is due March 26th) is still growing and kicking.

-The coffee is wonderful and plentiful.

-Their is an abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables.

These are our prayer request:
-That we would continue to make our home in Honduras and among its people.

-That we draw together as a family and love one another deeply through this transition and the emotional upheavals and stressors that go along with creating our home in another culture and striving to embrace different norms and routines.

-That Elizabeth and Lydia would find opportunities and age-mates to engage with local Honduran culture and language (our neighbors are also in language school and speak primarily English)

-That Bethany and I would have wisdom as we push our children to learn Spanish and give them space to struggle and relax from this process as appropriate.

-That we would know God’s will and have his guidance regarding the purchase of a vehicle

Grace & Peace to all of You


The views and opinions expressed in this blog are not the views of Samaritan’s Purse or World Medical Mission.


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For I Know the Travel Plans I Have for You; Part 2

I will skip the dramatic build up and simply say: by the grace of God we have arrived safely in Honduras, all the way to our language school apartment, with all our children and all our bags.

God is Good.

Our week has been a busy, thank you for your prayers. Things have gone a smooth as we dared to imagine.

God allowed us to reschedule our flights with minimal cost, immediately after the embargo ended. He allowed two family members to be available on very short notice to travel with us to juggle luggage, children, and it first week in Honduras.

Here is a run down of our week:

Monday: We loaded our minivan with 12 plastic totes, 5 full size suitcases, 5 carry on bags, 4 carseats, 1 stroller, 1 violin, ( and a partridge in a pear tree). All of our checked bags were carefully packed by my wife, weighed, repacked, and weighed again till each came in between 48 and 49.5lbs.

Tuesday: 2am wake up, 2:30am left the house, 3am checked-in and checked bags, 4am prayers and send off, 5:45am departed Nashville for Miami, 9:45 departed Miami for Honduras. 12pm touch down in San Pedro Sula airport. 1am Visas, Claimed luggage (every single piece with everything inside unbroken and present) and transported all that through customs (with the help of 4 Honduran airport workers). 3pm Pick-up truck loaded with bags and we began the drive from San Pedro Sula to Siguatapeque. 5pm arrived in the apartment where will live for most of the next 6-7 months.

Our Apartment Building

Our Apartment on the “Hospital” Road

Entrance gate, Yard, and Ramp to our Door

Entrance, Living Room, & Kitchen of our Apartment

Back Porch View in the Early Morning

Wednesday: Awoken early by Ruthy who enjoyed many naps in Tuesday and believes that roosters’s crowing should not go unheeded. Deep clean of kitchen, Began unpacking, Grocery run (it’s hard stocking a kitchen from scratch in Honduras), Discussed and signed language school contracts.

Thursday: Language school began. 4 hours of class time for Bethany and I (staggered to allow us to keep the kids). The classes are one-on-one with teachers in and around a beautiful home. 1 hour of class for the girls. Still unpacking.

Friday: Language school: class time, plus homework, plus immersion time. Still unpacking, Beginning to find routine.

As I hope you can see, between the above tasks, and simply keeping or children fed, watered, and rested – we’ve barely had a moment to spare. I apologized for the cliffhanger that my last post may have been for some of you. And thank you for the prayers that worked to smooth out the problems and obstacles we did not even see.

Prayer request:

-Safe return travel for the 2 family members that came down with us.

-That our family would embrace, with all our hearts, the language, culture, and people of Honduras.

-That we would work with excellence, perseverance, and joy to become Spanish speakers (especially pray for my girls attitudes towards the overwhelming task of learning a new language)

-That we would transition well and gracefully (especially in our attitudes towards each other in our family) through changes in culture, church, school, language, friends, neighbors, security, and life itself in these next months.

As always, thank you for your prayers, words of encouragement and support.

Grace & Peace,

Nathan Gilley

Let Goods and Kindred Go…

We were recently at Chattanooga Valley Church of the Nazarene, Nathan’s growing up home church. While there we worshiped with the congregation and one of the songs chosen for worship was Martin Luther’s A Mighty Fortress. I have sung that hymn thousand times, but was struck in the moment by a line that brought sudden tears to my eyes.

Let goods and kindred go this mortal life also

The body they may kill, this truth abideth still

His kingdom is forever.

Whew. It’s one thing to sing that as a high school student with few possessions and plans to commute to college from home. It’s quite another to sing those words a few months out from moving your family of 5 (soon to be 6) overseas.

So as Martin Luther admonished we are in the process of letting our belongings go and are beginning to say goodbyes to friends and family. My walls are becoming barer, my rooms a bit emptier, and my heart aches, but I pray that my treasure will be found in heaven.

Thank you Cvnaz family for loving us so long and so well and for reminding us of unchanging (albeit diffcult) truths.

-Bethany