Monday, December 29, 2008

Ministry Moments

I apologize for my relatively silent blog, lately, we have been so busy that to think of things to write in the spare time I have to write them has been difficult.

We are witnessing God working out His will and His way in our lives and in those of whom we are called to minister to, and with. There is much to trust God for and much more for which to praise Him.

Because of sick kids, I missed Scott's preaching on Sunday night before last. From all accounts he did an excellent job! One lady said his preaching was impeccable. I believe this was the first time for us [our kids] to hear Scott preach expositorily. Not that it's a new concept to him. It is hard to preach through the Bible when you are the guest preacher or only preaching once a month. I'm excited to hear what the Lord has laid upon his heart as he teaches us through the book of 3rd John. Scott's desire is to begin preaching once a week. Please be in prayer for him as this requires not only study of the Bible but a re-study of everything to put his message into Spanish.

The past 4 weeks of SIGMA have been exciting and disappointing. We have witnessed, once again, that there are a handful of teens that excel in memorization. We have encouraged them to continue on but also to encourage their team members to memorize. What we are seeing is those who think it's their (the memorizers) job to do all the work. Boy, don't we already see enough of the "pew sitter" attitude? So now we take on the roles of helpers for all the teens in the areas they need encouragement, be it with devotions, verses, or service in the church. The exciting part is that even though the devotions are hard hitting we are seeing many of the young people faithful in completing them. A friend recently wrote "Today I chose_____because I want to be_____." All of us need to fill in the blanks but our young people especially need to learn that they are becoming today what they will be tomorrow. Please continue to pray for the young people here as they learn to set Godly habits in their lives.

Our ladies ministry ended for the year with a Christmas party. Amparo Lopez spoke on an unusual theme for Christmas...Proverbs 31. The year means looking forward to the next. What will we chose to do, to be, this year? Will we chose to be Proverbs 31 women because we want to honor God with our lives? I was struck with the fact that Jesus' mother, Mary, had this attitude. The Lord definitely has been at work this past year in the lives of our ladies. We have seen growth. We have seen incredible testimonies through incredibly difficult trials. We have seen women stepping up to serve. We have seen a burden for souls. We have seen results of prayer. And last night we saw further evidence of God's work in that we had 40 volunteers to work in the nursery this coming year! I believe 32 of them are new volunteers. Now we will be able to have 2 separate nurseries with 2 workers in each nursery, and each worker will only need to serve once a month.

Without a doubt God is working here. There is no question that your prayers have been answered. Thank you for your faithfulness to the cause of Christ here in Colonia del Sacramento, Uruguay!!!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

The best part of Chrismas in South America

Have you ever wondered what Christmas was like in another country? There is the typical buzz and excitement that is associated with Christmas in the States. But in our part of the world there are some definite changes.

One of the things that I enjoy most is reading the English printed on the boxes of the toys in the stores. I know that this may sound odd but it is quite comical. The things that are printed on these boxes are absolutely unbelievable. I wish that I had written or photographed the best ones but unfortunately I did not.

Below are a few examples of what I have found. Please remember that you must read them exactly as they are written. These are also best if they are read aloud.

This a box for a small desk lamp. Possibly you can make out the lamp on the left of the photo.

The above photo was for a toy that was a flat plastic tray with several different colored golf balls that were to be stacked to make a pyramid.

I know everyone is looking for toys that have a 'lovely lustre' for their loved ones this Christmas

Another favorite is a disclaimer on a box that reads "The contents and color of the enclosed items are subject to amendment." I thought this must be one of those surprise gifts if the contents and color were subject to amendment.

I think that at times my wife was on the verge of embarrassment as I read the labels aloud in the stores. Sometimes with a TV announcers voice other simply monotone. I am convinced that all of the toys that don't make the 'grade' for the states end up in other countries where it supposedly won't be noticed. Regardless of the why, I certainly enjoy reading the boxes.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Borrmann Family Christmas Letter 2008

Heat, fireworks, bugs, and ice cream all are part of Christmas in Uruguay. It seems strange to think of summer weather in December, doesn’t it? For us, Christmas and winter weather go hand in hand, so when it is 90° outside, and hotter inside, it is difficult to realize it is just a few days from Christmas. This is our 3rd Christmas here in Uruguay! This month we completed 2 years here and we have definitely become more accustomed to life here, yet inexplicably we miss everyone more this Christmas than the previous two put together.

Thankfully, we have Jesus to remind us of the “reason for the season”. We are here in Uruguay because of Jesus and His great love for the world! His love for us is unimaginable as we ponder that He was born in humble stall, a far cry from the throne of Heaven. He knew His purpose was to become the final sacrifice for man’s sin. Jesus, the King of Kings, was not given a throne to rule upon, rather, He was rejected by those whom He came to save, and crucified upon a cross. The tiny baby we celebrate is the man Jesus that became the Savior for all who will believe in Him and confess Him as their Savior. What a precious gift!

“That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.” Romans 10:9
“But the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 6:23b

In the past year the kids have become nearly fluent in Spanish, and our Spanish is improving slowly and surely. After a change in Adeline’s medicine, to one we need to import, her asthma, though not totally under control, is improving. Brandon has shown no signs of his kidney disease this year! Kaitlin became our 2nd teenager while Bethany reached double digits in Feb, and Brandon turned 16 in Aug. Nehemiah joined the ranks of our children who were in school. It was so quiet at home with only 3 little ones. Isabel sat in the room while Nehemiah learned his letter sounds and is looking forward to school in March. At only 3, Simeon seems to have found his life mate in his little Peruvian friend, Keren. The two are inseparable and Simeon keeps talking about when they get married. J Silas turned one in November. He keeps us amazed as he copies the motions of the song leaders. And because of his Uruguayan citizenship we all received our legal residency by September.

Kaitlin is becoming a remarkable musician; she has begun playing piano for congregational singing and accompanying special music as well as playing her bells in the orchestra. Brandon is learning to play the trumpet and Bethany the piano; they are both doing remarkably well. Bethany has played a few offertories alone and with others, while Brandon is working on an offering with his friend who plays the trombone.

Scott taught the men throughout the winter about Christian marriage. Debbie taught the ladies Bible study for the past year. Brandon continues on as the game director for Kings Kids. And Kaitlin is a preschool Sunday school teacher. To see our children take an active part, along with us, in serving God out of love for Him is a tremendous blessing to our hearts!

Scott is overseeing the ministry here for the next year while our coworkers are on furlough. He is hoping to work up to preaching at least once a week. Already in the plans for 2009 are: 2 weddings, youth camp, Children's VBS, ladies meetings, home Bible studies, a full school year of Sigma, a fuller Bible institute year, a new church plant and a visit from an evangelist friend and his family. Plus a dream of ours to visit Israel will be realized this May when we take an early 20th anniversary trip. We are thankful to the Lord for the past year and we look forward to the year ahead. Thank you for your love for us and for your prayers!

Serving the Christ of Christmas,
Scott & Debbie Borrmann and
Brandon, Kaitlin, Bethany, Adeline,
Nehemiah, Isabel, Simeon and Silas

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Ministry Moments

Last Saturday we had the first scoring week of the 2nd block of Sigma. Each team seemed to do well even after changing the scoresheets a bit adding in some things and removing others. One team already figured out their mascot, theme and verse. For the most part, they all seem to have a better grasp of devotions. Many are saying their verses. Scott and I are really looking forward to a full year of Sigma and helping the young people learn to run the race, marathon style. It is easy to do things for short bursts of time but it takes more endurance, and commitment, to be faithful day after day, week after week, month after month and year after year.

Sunday Scott led his first Lord's supper. I was so proud of him. Everyone was very encouraging to him and I think this service gave many of the church members greater confidence in Scott and his ability to pastor them over this coming year. As well as giving Scott the confidence to know he can do the work of the ministry.

With Christmas on the very near horizon our thoughts certainly fall towards how to make Jesus Christ stand out to us and to the Uruguayans. Each year I find myself desiring a greater focus on my Savior, yet each year is busier and harder to find that focus. Please pray for us as we strive to give Christ the glory and honor this Christmas!

Dana Judd is home.

We are praising the Lord this morning for the return of Dana Judd last night. The young man that took her is in police custody. Please continue to pray for Dana and her family as theywork through this difficult situation.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Abducted Missionary Kid

We received this email today and ask that you join us in prayer. The Judd’s are friends of ours whom we met in Bible College. Their daughter Dana was one of our Master Club kids and is one of Kaitlin’s friends. We will do our best to keep you updated.

Scott and Debbie Borrmann

Gerry and Dawn Judd are ABC graduates serving as missionaries in New Zealand. Yesterday evening, their 14 year-old daughter Dana was abducted while walking from their house to the vet. The police are involved in helping to locate Dana.

Please pray for Dana's protection and her safe return to her family.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

2 Years in Uruguay

It is hard to believe that we have already reached the halfway mark for our first term on the field! It has been two of the toughest and best years of my life, personally.

Two years ago I thought:
  • I would be much farther along in Spanish than I am now.

Now I know:

  • Language learning takes a long time, I'll get it if I keep plugging away.

Two years ago I thought:

  • I would never be able to make friends without speaking the language

Now I know:

  • That the verse about a man being friendly to have friends proves itself out especially when there is no way for clear communication. A friendly act reaches the heart more than words ever can.

Two years ago I thought:

  • It would be hard to relate to the Uruguayan believers.

Now I know:

  • The Holy Spirit Who abides in me, helps me know no stranger among other Christians. He is the bond we all share. And though I don't understand all aspects of their culture and heritage I can relate to them as one who has been redeemed by the precious blood of Jesus Christ!

Two years ago I remember:

  • An excited group of believers welcoming us to the next phase of our ministry.
  • Being overwhelmed by the language.
  • Being very preoccupied with the safety of my kids.
  • Being excited about everything new.
  • Wishing I could take a hot bath.
  • Wishing I could sit in an air-conditioned church.
  • Hoping our container would arrive in time for Christmas.
  • Thanking the Lord for Bill and Judy Baltzersen and their help to us.
  • Thanking the Lord for the Perez'.
  • Crying as we took Bill and Judy to the airport.
  • Wondering if I would ever be able to make it here already my heart was longing for the things I knew.
  • Doubting I'd ever be able to cook anything that tasted good from scratch.

I have learned a lot more this past year than the year before. I know God has strengthened us, upheld us, and guided us. I love the Lord more now than I did two years ago. My passion has grown to see others love Him too. I see all the ways the Lord was meeting my needs for today in the trials of the yesterdays. And I praise the Lord once again for another year serving Him on the mission field!

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Some prayer requests...

Please be in prayer for Betina Marr. She has been fighting brain cancer for many years. Her fight has included two surgeries, if I am remembering correctly. Recently she started showing signs of tumor growth and has been in the hospital in Montevideo for about a month now. The doctors did some studies and the panel of doctors decided that surgery was not an option this time as the tumor is too large. They are sending her back home in Colonia to receive chemotherapy here. Pray for healing, if the Lord wills; For strength for her children: Tatiana, Maicol, Eliana, Camila and Martina; For us to be a help and blessing to this family right now.

Alicia Villanueva (in the picture below with the institute students, she is the 2nd lady from the left in the front row) is also in need of our prayers. As she was starting her moto it began to drive off while she was still on the pavement. She used the hand brake to stop it but then the moto fell over. Because her hand was near the opening of the brake handle her index finger was caught and severed. Evidently she was very calm and asked the man of the house where she fell if he would help her. When he got to her she told him she was looking for her finger. Later the surgeon had to remove the rest of her finger to the hand joint. She was praising the Lord last night when we visited her in the hospital and thankful that she writes with her left hand, which is still intact.

As for Pablo and Julia. They are still in critical condition. The last report I read was that she would have to have some of her fingertips amputated. But she is finally, this week, making some prgress and is free, right now, of infection. Pablo has been taken out of his induced coma and is also improving. They both still have a very long way to go and we need to continue on in our prayers for them.

Belen Mengen had a follow-up brain scan and everything looks good. She is doing very well. Praise the Lord!

Monday, December 01, 2008

Ministry Moments

This past weekend was just as busy as the week. No, we didn't have any Black Friday sales here. I got to sleep in and not feel badly that I was missing any great deals in the stores.

Saturday, Scott announced the new Sigma teams and handed out the new devotional books. "Am I Carnal?" is the title of the deovtions this block and they deal with 2nd Corinthians. Please pray with us that we would see much fruit and faithfulness.

Yesterday, was Scott's first day pastoring the church here in the place of Archie Perez. The Perez are home on furlough for the next year. We know they would appreciate your prayers as they travel and adjust to reverse culture shock.
The meetings were very good and in spite of the heavy down pour of rain we had a full church. Mariana was visiting and accepted Christ as her savior! Praise the Lord.

Between services we had all the Institute students into our home for a meal. We had a wonderful time with everyone! It is so nice to spend time with people whom God is allowing us to minister too. It always turns out that they are a greater blessing to us than we can be to them.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Thanksgiving Day 2008

Scorching heat, tons of food, dear friends and thankful hearts. Thanksgiving day this year was a wonderful day! Daniel and Amparo Lopez, Peruvian missionaries working with us here in Colonia, and their 3 girls; Rebeca Valiente, Amparo's sister and our new language teacher; Sabrina Estevez one of the young ladies from the church here; and Sebastian Pereira an asisstant, institute student future Uruguayan pastor all were our special guests.

We all enjoyed some fellowship time, after we stuffed ourselves full of food. Then we had some pumpkin pie, yummy! Since it was over 100 with the heat index the kids jumped on the trampoline while we sprayed them with water. Then later when it was cooler outside than inside the men took a dining room table to the patio and we taught everyone how to play Mexican Train dominoes.

Half of the spread of food- jello mold, stuffing, mashed potatos, macaroni & cheese, and carrots.

Deviled eggs, green bean casserole, sweet potato casserole, gravy, more stuffing, and the Uruguayan turkey aka large chickens.

Amparo and Daniel with Nehemiah and Silas.

Brandon, Sebastian and Scott.

Kaitlin, Rebeca, Adeline, Debora, and Amparo trying to learn how to play dominoes.

Brandon drinking the mate.
Amparo also.
Simeon loves mate.

Me and Kaitlin.
Silas and Sabrina.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Ordination and Anniversary Sunday

With everything we had going on the week before last I completely forgot to blog about that weekend. On Saturday the 15th Gabriel Chauvie stood before an ordination council. Pastor Archie Perez, Pastor Scott Borrmann, Pastor Daniel Lopez, Pastor Cristian Gutierrez, Pastor Paul Harmon, Pastor Barry Corts, and Dr. Jack McLanahan, all missionaries, are the men in the photo above laying on their hands as they prayed for Gabriel during the ordination service. Pastor Matt Sanders, a missionary to Salto, Uruguay was also on the council but had to leave before the service. Gabriel is the first Uruguayan to be ordained in the ministry here in Colonia.

That following Sunday we had early anniversary Sunday services, including Baptisms. Our Bethany is there in the front. There were 6 people baptized from the same family.

Melissa Marr and Bethany. Melissa was one of the 6 from the same family. She is special to our family and we enjoy having her around our house! We praise the Lord that He reached her heart through the confusion of Mormonism to show her, "The Way, The Truth and The Life". She was "baptized" nearly 200 times for the dead, and so, it was exciting to watch her being Biblically baptized. Melissa believes the Lord is calling her to be a missionary and desires to start classes in the institute next year.

Scott and Bethany just before he baptized her.

Bethany just after her daddy baptized her.

Scott and I with Bethany after the Baptism service. It was a special day for Scott to baptize one of our children. We especially praise the Lord that our children desire to be obedient and follow after the Lord Jesus Christ in believers baptism.

More Argentina Pics

Thought I would share some of our tourism moments with you all.
Sea lions in the Mar del Plata, Argentina harbor. They sure did stink.
Silas' favorite place on the ferry. That is glass behind him.

One section of the ferry. This was mirrored on the right side. There was also a section in front and behind us. Plus a duty free shop, first class seating upstairs and a cafe.

Silas riding the horsie outside of WalMart which was inside a mall.

Me and Silas at WalMart in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The sign is in Spanish.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Baptist World Mission South American Family Conference

It is always an adventure when you go anywhere with children. Quadruple the average American family and you quadruple the adventure. The past week we traveled for the first time out of the borders of Uruguay and across the river to Argentina. It was great!

We were a little fearful of Buenos Aires because so many people expressed their concerns for us being in the big city. I don't know if this is foolishness or trust but while we have been in South America I have yet to feel the fear I have felt driving through the big cities of the USA....Detroit especially. Buenos Aires was no exception.

Some missionary friends of ours serving over there told us they would meet us at the port about an hour after our ferry arrived. After waiting for a couple hourse we proceeded to plan B...head out on our own to the freeway. We were amazed at how easy it was to get to the freeway. And found it harder to find the Christian bookstore in Montevideo, Uruguay. :-

The part of the city along the port was quite pretty and the American restaurants were tempting but we had to get of of we ate at McDonalds about 45 mins out of the city. That was were the other missionary family caught up with us and we followed them the rest of the way.

About an hour out of our destination we were told to pull over at a check point. Scott was told that our tow hitch without a trailer was illegal. They expected that Scott would pay them a bribe, I mean a fine. But when he didn't follow their lead they just let us go.
Mar del Plata is a pretty city. During peak season their numbers rival Montevideos. We drove each day back and forth between the hotel, where all the other out of town missionaries were staying, and the missionary home we stayed in. The drive up the Atlantic ocean was so nice. The kids really liked seeing the big waves.
We visited a laguna and sightseeing hill on Wednesday where we took the big picture of all the attendees. Thursday we took the kids shopping on the Shopping Peatonal, a sort of outdoor mall. And we headed back home on Friday after stopping to see the Sea Lions.
WalMart in Buenos Aires was a huge deal for us. We haven't been inside a Wally World for 2 years. It was the cherry on top after a few days of being somewhat immersed in English we felt like we had a little visit to the States.
We all loved the preaching of one of supporting pastors - John Stevens. God worked in our hearts through each one of his messages. Thankfully we have access to podcast sermons and so we have still been fed from the Word of God but there is nothing quite like hearing sermons in your mother tongue, in person and without translation into another language. Pastor Stevens was a special encouragement to us and we thank God for our supporting pastors.

Because we didn't stay at the hotel we were able to save some money on expenses. However, we didn't receive the vouchers for food that all the other missionaries had. Each voucher gave each person an appetizer, entree, side and dessert - a lot of food two times a day. We watched as God provided for our needs as each family gave us portions of their meals. We ended up eating a lot of steaks at no cost to us. Only God can do that.
All of the photos below are not from my camera. The first day of the conference I took my camera out only to discover the LCD was shattered. The LCD is the only viewfinder I have. So now I'm off to find out if it's worth it to replace the LCD or if I should start shopping around for another camera.
Silas and fellow Uruguayan/American and MK Felicia Harmon. She reminds us a lot of our Bethany when she was that age.
Bethany (top left) and Adeline (bottom right) eating with other MK's.
The plaque that all the missionaries gave to our retiring field director and his wife.

Scott and I before one of the services.

Brandon and Kaitlin sat in on all the preaching sessions with us. It was great to have them there.

Sierra de los Padres, Argentina - we are to the left of Pastor Stevens in the red shirt (at right).

Update on Julia and Pablo

We just received an email form the Secrests that says that:

Julia took a turn for the worse on Thursday night. She has bacteria in her lungs causing her blood pressure to go up.

Pablo has a fever.

Thank you for praying for them.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Secrest Update

We are about ready to head out on a day trip with the other BWM missionaries (we are in Mar del Plata, Argentina for our S. American family conference) but I wanted to give an update on the Secrests before prayer meeting.

Julia ia doing better but is still in need of much of our prayers. With over 80% of her body burned there is a lot of recovery ahead.

Pablo is doing much better and has received skin grafts.

Thank you for praying for them. Pray for the Lord to continue to assist Barry and Barbara with the many things involved in caring for the people in their church. They were supposed to be here with us this week and so we miss them and Sharon Clark, but we know their place is in Las Piedras with their people.

I´ll write more about our trip later. Sorry for the blog silence lately.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Secrest Accident - Report from Barbara Secrest

Thanks to all who have been praying about the Secrest accident. Below is a report from Barbara that we received last night:

Dear Brethren:For those of you who don´t know (and to fill in details for those of you who do), our family along with three others from the church were involved in an automobile accident on our way home from the Sunday evening service here. At approximately 9:15 pm our time, we were finishing up with the transportaton of those who attended the church service. We were traveling toward a T intersection, ready to enter Route 67 about three blocks from our home.

Barry applied the brakes with absolutely no result. As we entered the route, two motorcycles passed in front of our van, narrowly missing collision. Slowing down some with the help of the emergency breke, Barry executed a wider left turn onto the route in hopes of avoiding turn over. The right two tires, however, went off the pavement onto the gravel shoulder. The surface of the shoulder was several inches lower than the road and the police say that contributed to the turn over of the van. We made two quarter turns and the van ended up on its roof. Being an older van, the metal was very solid and there was very little compression of the chassy.

After a few seconds of stunned silence, Julia, a regular attendee in her forties, alerted us to the flames starting up on the passenger side which was now facing the street. After a few unsuccessful attempts at opening the doors. Barry was able to get the front passenger compartment door open where he, Anthony and I were seated. The unusual circumstance was that we were not wearing out seat belts, which made exiting the vehicle easier and probably saved our lives. Because of the turn, Anthony, our 6-year-old, ended up underneath us and we had to get out before Barry could reach out and get him out. Because he was in the vehicle longer, the gasoline-fueled fire traveled down to where he was and he suffered 1st and 2nd degrees burns on the right side of his face, his right ear and the back of his right hand. After overnight observation, he was released.

In the back part of the van, Jonathan, Julia´s 16-year-old son, was kicking at the doors to try to at least break the glass. Thomas, our 11-year-old, has been acting as doorman on transportation runs in the van since the door latches are difficult to operate. Due to that fact, he was sitting next to the door and once he got his bearings, opened the doors enabling all of those traveling in the rear section to get out. This included our 9-year-old David, Jonathan, Julia, medical student and regular church attendee Pablo, and himself. Thomas said that God put him on the right side of the car just so that he could open the doors. Since the gasoline was running out on that side, they all had to pass through the flames.

Thomas and David only experienced singed hair and eyebrows. Thomas´ pants and boots caught on fire, but his beloved cowboy boots that his grandmother gave him saved his legs and he was able to roll and put out the fire.

Pablo´s clothing caught on fire and he sustained 1st and 2nd degree burns over 30% of his body before being able to roll and put out the flames with Jonathan´s assistance. He also suffered respiratory damage from smoke and fire inhalation. The doctors were most concerned about his internal injuries, but today his condition was markedly improved to the doctor´s amazement and he was moved out of ICU. His condition remains serious, please continue to pray.

Jonathan stepped in the gasoline, his shoes caught on fire and his heels were burned. He is staying with the youth director and his family while his step-father, who has also made a profession of faith but was not present that evening, travels back and forth the visit Julia in the hospital. She was the last one out of the van and required my help to get clear and put out the fire on her clothing. She suffered 1st and 2nd degree burns over 80% of her body as well as respiratory damage from smoke and flame inhalation. At the present time, her condition is the most critical and her internal organs are affected. Pray for her, please.

Barry suffered some burns and a cut to his right hand. Tomorrow (Wednesday) he goes back to the doctor for a redressing. Anthony has an appointment for Wednesday afternoon to see a plastic surgeon in Montevideo for an evaluation on how his wounds are healing and where to go from there. I suffered no burns or serious injuries with only the bumps and bruises from the roll-over.

Many are the things that we have thought of where God´s hand kept this from being a worse experience. Several who were normally in the van were not and so there were no children seated in the space in the very back over the motor. The fire progressed very quickly and would not have given sufficient time for more occupants to vacate the van before serious injury or death. As far as the police investigation goes, Barry gave his statement yesterday afternoon. Their forensic findings confirmed his account of the events. He has another appointment with a forensics officer Thursday afternoon.Thank you for your prayers! God is at work. The church folk here have rallied around all of us and we are proud to be a part of the Cornerstone Baptist family here in Las Piedras.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Please pray for Julia, Jonathan and Pablo.

Last night we received news that fellow BWM Uruguayan missionaries, Barry and Barbara Secrest, had an accident in their Volkswagon "Combi" van. The vans brakes went out near a T intersection. Barry attempted to make a wide turn and the van tires went off the pavement, casuing the van to roll onto the roof. They thought that was the worst until they heard someone in the back yell that the van was on fire. Everyone was able to get out.

Though they have some injuries - Barry's hand is cut, Barbara's feet have small cuts and their youngest son Antonio has burns on his ear and hand -the Secrests are all ok. They are extremely concerned for those injured last night.
  • Julia has 2nd degree burns over 50% of her body. She also inhaled the flames. She is stable but in critical condition.
  • Jonathan -17 year old son of Julia - has burned ankles, was released from the hospital last night, but is going back today because he can't walk.
  • Pablo - 21 years old - has 2nd degree burns over 25% of his body. He also inhaled the flames. He had to have a tracheotomy.

We know they will appreciate your prayers. We will do our best to keep you updated.

Party Pics

Silas' first birthday party was a success. We invited all of the babies that were born last year, and all but one came. It was fun to see all the one year olds in their different stages of learning. All are walking with help and without. All are babbling - the favorite word seems to be "Goal" after, of course, kicking a ball.

Silas loved his Blue's Clues cake. Though time consuming, I was surprised at how easy it actually was to make this cake.
Opening his very first birthday present.
All the boys - Jeremias, Timoteo, Silas, Juan Daniel and Esteban.

Silas with his cake.

A better view of the cake.

Silas LOVED the cake and muffins.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Happy 1st Birthday Silas!!!!

It's been a year now since I've slept through the night. Really!!!

A year since our little Uruguayo joined our family.

A year filled with sweet and special days, and some long nights.

A year of watching Silas grow, and watching his brothers and sisters interact with him.

A year of learning to be more self less.

A year of pain with each time he fell and his hospitalization.

A year of watching milestones with wonder and amazement as he: learned to sit up and rawl, interacts with Uruguayans and Peruvians, plays with the other babies his age, learned to hum and "sing" to music and wave his hand mimicking the song leader, and as he learns to speak saying "chau" and "hola".

A year that went by so (too) fast.
A year of loving yet one more of the sweetest children God has given us!

A blessed year!

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Caught Red Handed

And lipped....

With eight kids, life is never dull! Sometimes, though, life becomes really interesting. Take this past Sunday for example. Adeline was painting her nails and "forgot" to put the polish away. Silas noticed this rather fascinating little bottle and began to paint his lips and hands. I have to say the lips turned our pretty good. Wouldn't you agree?
Nail polish isn't nearly as easy to take off little peoples faces as lipstick or facial mask. Nor does it come out of clothes, in particular, a very cute sweater vest.


The 2008 US presidential election will go down in history.

The history of the first black man being elected president; which is without question a remarkable accomplishment.

The history of a presidential race in the midst of financial turmoil. The far reaching global affects of both are yet to be seen.

Personally, I'm thankful that God is in control! I could speculate as to why He allowed for Obama to be elected. But that would be speculation. And who can know the mind of God? None other than God Himself.

I do know from personal experience that God works in ways we cannot understand. Sometimes in the midst of a trial we are tempted to ask where He is. No doubt many of us woke up this morning wondering what we have in store for us. Where exactly Obama's administration is going to take our country is unknown to us, but not to God.

Let's rest in Him and trust in Him. Let's continue to pray for God's mercy on our country and for revival. Finally, let's remember that God is in control. "The king's heart is in the hand of the Lord, as the rivers of water, He turneth it whithersoever He will." Proverbs 21:1

Tuesday, November 04, 2008


Just wanted to remind everyone to vote. Scott and I voted from thousands of miles away. It was a privilege to vote for a couple reasons. Living in a foreign country a North American quickly gains a sense of how unique and special our country is. There are countries where voting is mandatory. There are countries where voters are in danger when they head out to the polls. There are countries where the vote doesn't really count. I am thankful that is not the case for the citizens of the United States. The only time our vote doesn't count is when we don't vote.

And that brings me to the second reason we were privileged to vote. For quite awhile we thought our absentee ballots would not arrive. Scott's ballot arrived several days before mine. My ballot was sent to our church then had to be resent last week via airmail. I was sweating it because I have not yet missed voting in a Presidential election in 20 years.

Now today as we await the results of who will be our next president, we pray fervently that God's man will be elected. Yes, we believe that man will follow Biblical principles in his practice and in his politics. One man obviously does not even though he calls himself a Christian. So to us, it was clear whom we must vote for. Christian, we pray it will be just as clear to you as you step into the voting booth today.

Note: I am refraining from listing who we support, not because we are ashamed of our vote, but because we are missionaries on a foreign field it may be unwise to do so.

Saturday, November 01, 2008


After several checks through the scores to make sure numbers were tallied correctly, a winner of the first block of Sigma was announced. The black team! The competition was extremely close. Several more verses said and more devotions completed by one team would have resulted in a different winner. We are proud of all the hard work put in by the young people.

Pastor Daniel Lopez preached on giving God our maximum. From Luke 10:27, "And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind..." God is not satisfied with half of our love and devotion. He wants all of our hearts, all of our minds and all of our strength. Are we doing everything to the maximum for the Lord? We should not be satisfied with mediocrity.

Scott and I were pleased to see many from the other teams cheering for the winners. But there are others who could not rejoice for the winners and had some very negative things to say. Certainly that attitude is not Christ-like. Nor does it give honor and glory to the Lord. It is our desire that they will see how that attitude is definitely not giving God the maximum. Keep praying, please!

Bronchial Obstuction of Moderately Severe Grade...

The result of Adeline's spirometry only brings us more questions and leave us feeling like we have even more questions. What is the obstruction? Is it reversible? How much will her new medicine, coming from the States, really help? Will the obstruction continue to grow? Is this just asthma?

She will have two more cystic fibrosis tests on the 11th and will have some chest x-rays done as well. We're hoping that we will have some answers after that.

In the meantime we know that her allergies aggrivate her asthma and so continue to do our best to control her enviroment and make it as safe for her as we possibly can. That is definitely not an easy task. And we greatly appreciate your prayers for her.

Thursday, October 30, 2008


Growing up I was encouraged to vote. I learned early that ONE vote, ONE person can change things. Do we really want that ONE person to be someone who will change things for the worse? If not than we need to be at the polls. It's only ONE day, and only ONE vote, but ONE that can change everything.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Adeline's Appointment with the Allergist and Pulminologist

Boy this kid sure gets a lot of press. Hopefully, someday, I won't have to write about her severe allergies and asthma anymore.

We had her allergist and pulminologist appointments this past week. Scott and I weren't very impressed with the allergist and so we are looking to get a second opinion with someone else. Right away he dismissed her allergies. Even though we told him about the many different tests she had done he questioned the allergies she has. Granted, her beef allergy is highly unusual anywhere in the world and her egg allergy is unusual here. And I'll also grant that we didn't have her records with bad. However, we want, need, to have confidence in the person who is treating our daughter, especially when that treatment potentially involves immunotherapy!!!

After the appointment we promptly bought the medicine he prescribed, Symbicort Turbuhaler - an inhaled corticosteroid and long acting beta agonist- only to read in the insert that it is contraindicated in people with lactose allergies. Scott took the medicine back to the allergist and was told there are different milk proteins and she wasn't allergic to that one. Now how he would know that without seeing her tests, and without testing her, still escapes me. We decided I would do some investigating and also confer with our doctor and her allergist in the States and go from there.

Everything I found out from online errored on the side of caution. Basically the lactose is supposed to be safe for people with milk allergies but (and this is the part that helped us decide) there is a possibility of milk protein (0.012-0.029%) in pharmaceutical grade lactose. Also one asthma medicine (Advair Diskus) also containing pharmaceutical grade lactose says, "contraindicated in patients with IgE-mediated allergic reactions to lactose or milk" .

Keep in mind that her last RAST test at 6 years old revealed that IgE levels to milk were 31.50, more than 31.15 higher than the normal (under 0.35 non-allergenic) level. Knowing that she would be inhaling this medicine and that it has the possibility of bringing on an allergic/anaphylactic reaction, possibly at night when she is asleep, we felt that even this small amount of milk was essentially playing Russian Roulette with her.

All that said we are looking for the same medicine that was prescribed but is in an HFA inhaler and doesn't contain the lactose. We were told it isn't here in Uruguay. I just found the web site for AstraZeneca here in Uruguay and we'll be contacting them to see what we can do through them. If we can't get it through them, then we will look to having it sent to us from the States or Argentina. Which should be fine because we would be able to prove to Eduana (customs) that it is not available here.

Now for the appointment with the pulminologist. We felt much more confidence in this doctor. She actually did an exam. She also took the time to listen to us and our concerns. By this point we had some of Adeline's records that were faxed to us by our doctor in the States, and so, she was able to see for herself the seriousness of Adeline's allergies and asthma.

I'll make this really long story shorter by telling you that she has ordered a Spirometry exam to check her lung function and also another Cystic Fibrosis test and some chest x-rays. Those appointments are coming up and we'll have to go to Montevideo for those.

We would appreciate your prayers for this. We know God knew all of this when He sent us here and He knows how to solve this problem with the medicines. And we also know He knows exactly what is happening with Adeline. I admit that the possibilities of what could be happening are not encouraging. Even if it's "just asthma" she has gotten to the point of needing a double inhaler and she's only 8! That, however, is far better than the possibility of Cystic Fibrosis.

Preaching on Devotions

Last night's youth meeting was very good. The first 5 week block ended last week so this week we played a game of cooperation and memory. The girls won!!! Barely.

Scott preached about the importance of personal devotions. In the clip above he was explaining that if we can have a victorious life when we are walking close to God. Scott really did a great job preaching! It seemed like it was the first time he really had some freedom, within the language, to really express himself well in Spanish.

The first block of Sigma went pretty well. There are definitely some things we need to adjust to be of a greater benefit to this particular group of young people. We also have a better idea of the strengths and weaknesses of individuals. So this coming week will be exciting as we plan the next block.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Happy Birthday, Scott!

Several birthday cards are sitting on our office desk waiting to be opened by Scott. I don't think he's as happy as I am that he will be another year older. Of course, that is because he will be the same age as me again. In case you're wondering how old he will be I can tell you that I'm celebrating anniversaries of my 21st birthday. And Scott? Well, he'll be 38!!


Sunday, October 19, 2008

17 years ago...

Scott and I had a very interesting day!!! Most people have one or two crazy things happen on their wedding day, we were no exception.

Expecting our wedding party to help with the decorating and set up of the church only to find out, that morning, that they had spent the night at a theme park and were all sleeping in definitely caused some stress. Scott with his mom and step dad and I went to the church and did all the decorating ourselves. I was able to make it back home with enough time to grab my dress and head back to the church. No shower. No special hairdo. And fake fingernails that kept popping off.

I wasn't sure what to expect for the ceremony but in spite of the crazy morning things went pretty well. Even when the flower girl twisted and turned and swung her basket through the ceremony. I guess totally losing control of my emotions and crying through our vows, which in turn made people in the auditorium and some of the wedding party cry too doesn't seem as horrible today as it did back then. The pictures turned out great but we can't hear the ceremony on the audio tape...must have been the firetrucks with sirens on driving by outside.

Although simple, our reception was really nice! I definitely enjoyed the portion of the cake Scott fed me. And seeing all my family and friends in one place was wonderful. That was actually the most normal part of our day.

As a wedding gift, Scott's brother gave us a limo ride to LAX international airport to catch our plane to Miami. Here's where things get really wacky.

Shortly after arriving home the limo driver called to see if he could show up late. As it was we had enough time to make it there, barring any problems, with two hours to spare. Now, if you will, picture me standing beside my new husband vigorously shaking my head, while my very gracious husband agrees to the delay. Here is where the soft sweet melodious music changes to something, well, a little more strained.

The music begins to gain momentum as the promised limo driver doesn't show at the newly appointed time. Then when the very late driver finally shows he is surprised to see us walking towards the limo with no luggage. Evidently it didn't occur to him that it was his job to carry our bags. Nor did he think we would smell the lingering odor of vomit in the limo.

Finally on our way...and did I mention we were late?...we get about 45 minutes into our trip when I hear an explosion. Picture me giving myself whiplash as I turn towards Scott and ask, "WHAT was that?" But I didn't have to wait for him to answer because the driver decided to pull over. (You are hearing the music, right?) But he doesn't pull over in a normal spot he decides to park in the triangular area of an off ramp and an on ramp.

He gets out of the limo and heads to the trunk. At the same time Scott gets out of the limo to help him. It turned out there was nothing to help him with because the spare was flat too. So he says he would use his cell phone to call the office but...oh, you're not going to believe was dead!!! AHHHHHHH!

So I think, "Ok, at least there is an emergency phone on the freeway that he can use." Just then he says he's going to go call for help. However he doesn't head for the emergency phone just yards behind the limo, he runs off the freeway and disappears into a shopping complex. Thankfully, he left the limo running because though it was October it was still in the 80's and the air was nice.

Shortly after Mr. Chauffeur runs away, the CHP (California Highway Patrol) shows up. Boy was I relieved!!! The relief lasted a mere moment because Mr. CHP tells us, "I would call AAA but because the limo is parked illegally they cannot help because they would be blocking the on/off ramp to the freeway! And I can't help because it would endanger my life. But if the limo can be moved." Now picture, if you will, that at that moment the limo died because the alternator went bad. Maybe we didn't need the air after all because it was getting awfully chilly in that limo, if you get my drift. :-)

Finally, Mr. Chauffeur returns to tell us a new limo will be there in a few mintues. But was coming from a town 45 mins away, hmmm. Now I'm, sorry, Mr. Chauffeur we don't have any extra time because the extra time we did have is already gone and if we don't leave NOW we won't make our plane.

Suddenly a limo appears on the horizon of the opposite side of the freeway. Mr. Chauffeur begins frantically waving his hands like someone stranded awaiting rescue. I'm sure he was hoping to be rescued from me. The limo driver on the other side of the freeway sees this and takes the next exit to come to our rescue.

Though not the replacment driver, and with another company, this driver agrees to take us to the airport. My frustration turned to fear as the speedometer hit 90 mph and the driver was whipping in and out of the heavy Los Angeles traffic. Knowing we likely would miss our plane he allowed us to use his cell phone to call the airlines. Unfortunately they couldn't hold the plane for us.

While making conversation with us the new driver asks us about Mr. Chaffuer and how we ended up in the present predicament. He then tells us that Mr. Chaffuer would have needed to drop us off in the parking garage because he didn't have the needed permit to drop us off at the departures area. Hmmm.

Once we arrived at the airport we needed to re-book our flight for a red eye. What was a non-stop flight to Miami, was changed to a lay over flight through Dallas. Oh, I forgot to mention that we were taking a cruise and if we weren't on the ship when it left, then, well, we would miss the boat...literally. And at this point I'm thinking we've missed the boat and our money was wasted.

Thankfully, though, we did make the ship...but barely. The honeymoon cruise through the Bajamas was well worth the money. During the cruise we get a phone call from Scott's mom to let us know that the limo company wants to pick us up from the airport. Now remember that they can't pick us up at the gate, and picture a younger me once again shaking her head while her younger husband says the dreaded word, "Ok!"

Now the trip home is a whole other story, though I think that's for another blog post, after all it is Sunday and I need my afternoon nap.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Adeline's Asthma

Ever since Adeline played with the egg and peanut laden toy, back in April, we have not been able to gain control over her asthma. After she was back in the ER for the second time I was able to convince the doctor, by showing him her peak flow readings, that her asthma is not under control.

I tried to express my concerns with him that either the medicines she is currently taking are not effective for her, or they are bad - not what they are supposed to be, and/or we are dealing with something more than normal asthma. He agreed and wrote referrals for her to see a Pulmonologist and an Allergist.

Monday we will head into Montevideo for her appointments. They are actually spread out over two days with one on Monday afternoon and the other on Tuesday afternoon. Please be in prayer that we will be able to effectively communicate with the doctors, that God would help them to discover what really is happening with her, and for traveling mercies.

Monday, October 13, 2008


We still have sick children and so I missed another youth meeting. I think we might finally be through it least I hope so.

The devotions this past week were on Meekness. The memory verse of the week was:
2 Corintios 3:18 "Por tanto, nosotros todos, mirando a cara descubierta
como en un espejo la gloria del Señor, somos transformados de gloris en
gloria en la misma imagen, como por el Espíritu del Señor."

The young people studied passages in the Psalms, Numbers, Isaiah, Matthew, Galatians, Amos, Colossians and Zephaniah.

Scott played the dictionary game with them. Where they were given a word from the dictionary and they had to guess the next word. Last week was puzzle week where they had to put together puzzles. And the week before that, the numbers game was played, where they were asked different Biblical questions involving numbers. We have tried to vary the games to give opportunity for everyone to enjoy the games.

This week I would like to explain, in part, our philosphy of games. I know there is a lot of speculation about the use of games, or fun, in youth ministry. Scott and I believe that games serve a purpose in youth ministry. They should not be the focus of youth meetings. Nor should we use, or play, games designed simply to embarrass and humiliate the young people playing. In other words, if our youth ministry is based solely on having fun than we are missing the boat....completely! Our focus needs to be on the Lord. On helping the young people to grow closer to the Lord. Teaching young people how to walk with Him.

Games used before the preaching service help to expend some energy. Games are a tool. Games are an avenue to look into the spiritual lives of the youth, and adults. For instance:

How do the young people, or adults, respond to losing?
Or to winning? Do they win meekly or rub it in?

Do they use their cheering in a manipulative way? Do they respond in a prideful way, unwilling to clap or cheer for the other team? Do they boo? Do they grumble? Do they hotdog (i.e. someone who always takes the ball, to be the center of attention)?

Do they question the results of the game? Do they complain about someone judging unfairly? Do they say the other team cheated? Do they cheat? Do they say negative, or discouraging things to the other teams?

Do they play the game at all? Do they have a reason every week why they don't need to or can't play?

All of these same questions could be asked in the postive sense. And it would give an indication as to how the teens, and adults, are doing spiritually. Watching the young people play the games and compete in other areas, such as for the weekly flag, helps us to better know how to pray for them. It helps us to see which young people, or adults, are going to have a positive or negative impact on the other youth. It helps us to know how to individually disciple each young person.

Scott and I believe that the way we play games shows one of two things: pride or meekness (humility). I'll never forget playing a game with another couple during Bible College. The husband was constantly changing the rules to help him win. When that didn't help he would do something completely different. It was a horrible experience!!! After we left, I cried all the way home. And I've never been able to play this game again with any sense of enjoyment. Something that should have been fun was ruined by pride. Not surprisingly, our relationship was also damaged with this couple.

I am wholeheartedly competitive, as Scott will tell you, but I learned from that one night that the way I respond to losing, or winning, especially in a church event, could cause someone to walk away from a relationship with the Lord because they did not see Christ in me, in my reactions or responses. For those who love to win, it takes a lot of humility to lose well and to win well. And games are a tool to teach meekness.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Big Bad Bacteria

Last week was an adventure! Monday we headed to Montevideo to have my feet checked and scanned for shoe inserts. I've had a bunion on my left foot since I was in high school and though it has bothered me I've adapted to the pain. Lately, though, it has really been bothering me. Right now they doctors have opted to try and help my foot through means other than surgery. I'm not sure how much I'll like the inserts but I'm definitely hoping they help.

Back to last week. Early Tuesday morning I heard a loud rumble coming from the vicinity of Silas' bed. More specifically his diaper. Fun. Well, not really, especially since I had to change his clothes because the excessive amount of diarrhea was not at all contained. After laying him back in bed and going back to sleep I was once again roused by sounds of rumbling. This time though the sun was up and so after I changed and fed him I took him out to Scott.

Just as I was planning my day, which included helping over at the kids school, Silas had a large rumbly in his tummy that escaped out his mouth. Definitely not Winnie the Pooh's Huny. I don't do well with stuff like that!!! I was praying that would be it. It wasn't.

So after 4 days of diarrhea, several vomiting episodes (including two all over me), fever (on and off) a sunken soft spot, dried out lips, lethargy, and fussiness we took him in to the hospital. The on call doctor checked him and quickly called in for the pediatrician. Once Dr. Llambi saw Silas he told us he was in need of rehydration. So up we went to the pediatric room. This was the first IV, which he pulled out about an hour later. Actually he didn't pull it out it flew out when he swumg his arm. And that was after he had already been poked to have blood drawn.
Silas was clearly perplexed by this painful addition to his arm.
Figuring he'd make the best of a bad situation he decided to chew on his IV line.
After two attempts, his new IV line is in and secured better this time. (Below)
Playing in his bed. He was definitely feeling better.

The swollen eyes after being on Lactated Ringer fluids. I'm a little concerned by this as it looks very much like an allergy. He hasn't had any problems with dairy though so....

So now we are home and Silas is on antibiotics for an intestinal bacterial infection. And since today he is 11 months old this will be his 11 month old post too. Only one more month to go and he's a year old. Wow, where did the time go?

Sunday, October 05, 2008


The young people learned in the preaching time last night that there are 5 sins they/we should avoid: Lying, Anger, Stealing, Saying bad words and Bitterness. I was hoping to really highlight the preaching time this week, however, I wasn't in the service last night because I was in the hospital with Silas (more on that later). So instead I'm going to highlight the devotions.

We are using a portion of devotions that Pastor Jim Ogle, youth pastor of Emmanuel Baptist Church, has graciously sent to us. Brother Jim's devotions were a blessing to us when we served with him in the youth ministry. If you would like to view a PDF format of his devotions please visit EBC - Proverbs devotions.

Devotions are a very important part of our Christian life. It is the time where we open up God's Word for Him to speak to our hearts, for Him to reveal sin, for Him to encourage us, for us to grow more Christ like, and among many other things, for us to learn to walk with the Lord. It is also our time to talk with the Lord in prayer. It is our time to be fed spiritually.

The affects of starvation are obvious. One needs only to look at Holocaust or POW photos to realize the truth of that. Just as obvious are the affects of spiritual starvation. Personally, I know when I have not spect enough time with the Lord. My attitude begins to change from thinking on the positive to the negative. My speech begins to change to saying kind words to speaking harshly. I become easliy discouraged. I am negative.

Our desire is to teach the young people here to feast on God's Word. To learn about God and learn about Jesus Christ. They will be the future of the church here in Uruguay. We pray they will be a strong foundation built upon the Word of God.

Honesty was the theme for devotions this week. The weekly verse was Ephesians 4:25 and these aspects of honesty - Our spiritual life is affected by honesty, the way we speak needs to be honest, we need to be honest in everything, God is honest, the Word of God is honest, and we need to be honest in our relationships.

Most of us would say that honesty is important. We want our children to tell us the truth. At times we ask our friends, spouses and parents for their honest opinions. "Well, to be honest." "Honestly..." and "Truthfully..." are all phrases we use. Just as honesty reflects the Holiness of Jesus Christ, lying (even little white lies) reflects the sinfulness and pride of our hearts. God tells us that lying lips are an abomination to Him.

Why is it that God so dislikes lying? For one reason dishonesty is rooted in the father of lies, Satan. Satan, who lied to Eve by using a version of the truth, placed a seed of doubt in her mind. That little bit of doubt, from that one lie, forever changed the world. In the moment that Satan's lies took root in Eve's mind she began to question the character of God. The truthfulness of the One Who is Holy and Just. And in that dreadful moment when she reached out and took the fruit off the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, when she then chose to eat that fruit, and Adam with her the world was plunged into darkness. It was for that moment that all mankind was separated from God. It was for than one moment that sin was passed down through man, leaving all men with the need of a Savior. For one "little" lie!!! It was for that moment that Christ came to earth and died on Calvary's cross. It was for that moment that Jesus was raised up from the dead to conquer sin and death. (Genesis 3; Romans 3:10, 3:23, 5:8, 5:12, 6:23, 10:9-10)

Saturday, September 27, 2008


This past week's devotions were on gratefulness. Tonight's message focused on the theme of this weeks devotions reminding the young people to be grateful. One of the passages used was Esther chapter six, which holds a treasure trove of lessons we could learn about gratefulness...faithfulness....meekness...pride....

Because King Ahasuerus was grateful that Mordecai saved his life, he honored Mordecai. After Mordecai was honored he went right back to sit at the king's gate (faithfulness). Because Esther was meek towards her husband the king he honored her by allowing her to make a request of him. And as a result of Haman's pride he was hung on the very gallows he had made to murder Mordecai, and all the Jews including Ester.

I'm not really sure if all that was preached on tonight because the young man who was preaching speaks so fast that often I get about a quarter of what he says. So the above is just my input on things I learned while studying this chapter for the past couple weeks.

Even though I didn't understand all the message I really enjoyed tonight's youth meeting. I was so encouraged that I got to listen to verses said by teens who are faithful in their walk with the Lord, but also (especially) by teens who have really been struggling. The teens collectively said 190 verses this past week. There were several chapters of Scripture that were quoted. Twenty-six young people completed their weekly devotions. And on one team everyone completed their devotions for the week. Praise the Lord! Keep praying!

PS. For all the interested SIGMA teens and workersthe Black team won last week, while Blue won the Devotions and the Game, and Red won the Verses. Oh yeah, brother Jim, now I understand how that happens!

Gold Ribbons for Childhood Cancer

Dear Friends,

I hope you don't mind that I have passed this letter on to you from a dear friend of mine, Sandy Smith. I'm sure after you read of her families experiences from their first month after diagnosis of both breast cancer for her, and brain cancer for their son, you will be touched by their story.

In the past four years I have known four children with childhood cancer - the preschool son of a friend who died from an undetected brain tumor; my second cousin who endured 3 surgeries, chemo and radiation; a girl in our church here in Uruguay who is has already been in the hospital for a month; and Andrew Smith whose inoperable brain stem tumor gives him a terminal diagnosis. In each of these cases the battle has been with cancer of the brain of varying types and all of these children have been younger than 8 years old.

The Smith family are in the ministry and we are richly blessed to have met them as we presented our ministry in their church. Since that time we have become good friends and our families have had ample opportunities to bear each others burdens through prayer. We know you have also been in prayer for them. I believe you will be blessed by the evidence of God's work in their hearts and lives. Thank you for taking the time to read Sandy's letter.

For the families battling childhood cancer,

Debbie Borrmann

September 26, 2008

Have you seen a gold ribbon? Do you know what it stands for? Have you heard that September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month?
I am the mother of a child living with brain cancer, a diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma. I finished breast cancer treatment on July 10th and flew from Michigan to West Virginia that day for the funeral of another child...a beautiful fourteen year old girl who lost her battle with the same rare brain cancer.

Everywhere I look I see pink ribbons, I feel gratefulness...and I feel anguish. According to an article published in the New York Times on September 22, 2008, as a result of advances in treatment “...98 percent of women with early-stage [breast] cancers survive at least five years….” Why is this true? Because we have banded together to raise awareness and funding for our mothers, our sisters, our aunts, and our daughters. Our children who are living with—and dying from—cancer desperately need that same attention...and funding.

Helen Jonsen, senior editor and mother of a child who recently underwent treatment for osteosarcoma, stated in a September 12th article, “Cancer is the No. 1 disease killer of children in the U.S. ...We tend to talk about it in hushed tones instead of screaming for help. But scream we should.” The article goes on to say, “The funding for pediatric cancer clinical trials has gone down every year since 2003, and is currently $26.4 million. By comparison, NCI funding for AIDS research was $254 million in 2006; funding for breast cancer topped $584 million the same year.”

September 13th was our nation's first Childhood Cancer Awareness Day. When I didn't see anything about it in the news—but I did hear about National Talk Like a Pirate Day a couple days later, I made some calls to our local news stations. For some reason I can't get the words of one of the story editors out of my mind. “So...what's your event?” Later…”Pitch me a story.”

Let's see...ummmm...would the deaths of 2,300 children each year be newsworthy? What about the diagnosis of 46 children each and every school day? What about the fact that only 2/3 of children diagnosed with cancer will survive? We could move on to funding. Is it newsworthy that for every dollar spent on a patient with prostate cancer, less than 20 cents is spent on a child with cancer...or that a patient with breast cancer has triple the research resource allocated to her when compared to a child?

When I mentioned that Child Cancer Awareness Day--and month--are a national thing, I was told, 'We put local news first.' Okay...I can handle that. A local event...I have a list of them.

The shock of a family receiving a breast cancer diagnosis on an October Monday afternoon, and taking their six-year-old to the Emergency Room on Thursday only to be told, “There is a large area of swelling in the brainstem; we suspect a mass.” We could always throw in the comic relief of the words, “My mom has a mass!” coming out of the mouth on that happy little face.

How about a mother leaving the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit late that night to go home because she knows she needs to get a good night's sleep before attending an Interdisciplinary Clinic early the next morning...where her own treatment plan will be recommended?

How about a local pastor, husband, and father being given the specifics of his son's grim diagnosis and prognosis in one hospital while waiting for news of the specifics of his wife's diagnosis and prognosis from the Cancer Center at another hospital?

How about an 11-year-old boy and an 8-year-old girl being abruptly pulled out of the routine world of reading, writing, arithmetic, language, history and science as taught to them by Mom at home...and being thrown into a class on brain anatomy and abnormalities (specifically their little brother's) taught appropriately and compassionately by an MSU med school professor...who also happens to be their brother's new oncologist?

How about a six-year-old who finds himself no longer able to play the piano, the violin, or the cello because he has lost the strength on the left side of his body?
How about a mother waking up in her child's hospital room one morning, showering, and walking downstairs for her lumpectomy...while her husband takes over the duties of hospital parent and waits anxiously in his son's room for news of his wife's surgery?

Looking for a human interest story? Try the same mother moving back into the hospital early on a Sunday morning four days later so that her husband, a pastor, can be in church...only to watch in disbelief as her fun-loving, active six-year-old--determined not to have an accident--becomes too weak to sit up to go to the bathroom on a bedside commode. What about the willingness of that little boy to allow the nurses to help him even with the most private of things...because he knows his mother is recovering from surgery and he is concerned for her well-being?

Not sensational enough? Let's fastforward to Saturday, November 24th, 2007...two days after Thanksgiving. A mother sits in a hospital room with her sleeping son. She ends a phone call because she hears an alarm she has never heard before, an alarm letting the nurses know that her son's oxygen level is dropping. Soon the room is full, and it is determined that the child is disoriented, then staring ahead...completely unresponsive. Somehow everyone moves with the child on that bed through the hallways to the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit where the intensivist begins the work of saving a precious life. Aside, the question parents never want to hear, though one that must be asked, “Given his prognosis—do you want us to resuscitate him, if necessary?” The father, who has just arrived, breaks down in the unbelievable stress of the moment. The mother realizes the urgency of the situation, pushes emotions aside, and asks, 'Do we know what is happening?' The answer is no. 'Then, yes, we want you to do everything you can for him.' She stands at the foot of the bed with one of her son's oncologists. Together, they watch the PICU team work...with a machine. The mother steps outside the room only when the child is intubated. The drama continues, as the entire department revolves around that one room...that one little boy.... The eyes of those outside the room...every nurse, every resident, every doctor...are looking in the same direction. The parents sign permissions as they are handed to them, and the work goes on. Everything seems to be happening in slow motion. Finally, the intensivist approaches. The child is critical, but stable...on life support....

I have just highlighted the first month of our new life in the pediatric cancer world. I am aware of four precious children who died this week—within 48 hours—as a result of just one type of rare cancerous brain tumor, the same as my son’s. Skyler...Adam...Mara...and Brynne. They belonged to all of us. What will it take for people outside of the childhood cancer community to notice what is happening to our children? What will it take for everyone to understand the urgency of the situation? What will it take for the federal, state and local governments to finally engage in the fight? Will it be the cancer diagnosis of a celebrity’s child or the child of a political leader? Will it be the death of child belonging to someone in the media? Will it be your child?

Please, join the effort to raise childhood cancer awareness. Show your support by wearing a gold ribbon, and by making the issue an important topic of conversation. Distribute copies of this letter in your place of employment, in your place of worship, and in your community. Contact government officials, and express your concern.

A decade ago, we noticed a person wearing a pink ribbon on a t-shirt or lapel. It didn't take long for pink ribbons to raise breast cancer awareness in the public eye, and to mobilize our society to action. I hope that in 10 years gold ribbons will be as common as pink ribbons...and that the survival rates for pediatric cancers will be comparable to those for breast cancer. With your help, it will gold ribbon at a time.

With Hope for Our Children,
Sandy Smith
Breast Cancer Survivor & Mother of a Child who is Battling Brain Cancer ©

Monday, September 22, 2008

A day in the life of MK's

Last week Brandon went with a small group from our church to Salto, Uruguay to assist the Sanders family in distribution of tracts and information about their new church plant. From what I understand our young people and the Sanders teens had a lot of fun with eachother. I will probably get myself in trouble for this, and I sincerely hope I don't offend anyone with this quote of Brandon from a note he wrote. Please note they did not joke around like this while they were passing out the information, just when they were sightseeing.

I do plan to have him blog about the more serious aspect of his trip. Until then enjoy reading about the fun an MK can have on the mission field.

1: Ask where non-existant streets and stores are and watch people either tell you that they don't know, or be too proud to tell you they don't know and give you directions to no where.

2: Act like you're a gringo that doesn't know much spanish, and go around asking for directions to the jungle to see the monkeys (there is no jungle in Uruguay).

3: Try not to laugh while people deny you a 5 peso donation to "The Foundation for the Assistance of Children with Chronic Diarrhea", while your accomplice stands behind you complaining that he "really has to go!" (we didn't actually pull this one off...there are only so many hours in the day, hahaha.)

P.S. Lest anyone call me a horrible MK, Salto is NOT my family's place of ministry, and we were only there for three days (not enough time to even see the whole city.)

Saturday, September 20, 2008

This week's character quality...Deference

It is our desire that the young people, and adults, involved in the youth ministry would grow in their faith. Each young person has a devotional book which includes a section for sermon notes. The theme for this first SIGMA block is based on the character qualities of Christ. Each week's devotions have a different character quality - deference, thankfulness, honesty, meekness, and self-control. It is our prayer that each young person would understand more of what it means to be a follower of the Lord Jesus Christ; that they would know just who Jesus Christ is; and that most importantly they would place their faith and trust in Him for their salvation.

Tonight was another great youth meeting. Throughout the past week we were encouraged by the number of verses being said to us and the leaders and close to 200 verses were said this past week!!! One Christian growth book and one missionary biography were read. A mission project is being planned. Five visitors were brought. And over 60 ministries were counted - young people playing in the orchestra, teaching or helping in Sunday School, and a mission trip to Salto, Uruguay to help the Sanders with their new church plant were among those counted.


I love the moments when confusing things finally click in my mind. About 3 years ago, through tutorials, I learned to use my computer to scrapbook digitally. I had days, weeks, where I could not grasp what in the world the tutorials were talking about. There are still things I don't get but now I can scrap on my computer with relative ease.

Spanish has been a different story, it just hasn't clicked. Though I have been pretty immersed, have taken language classes, used computer helps, etc. the ability to understand the words being spoken has escaped me. Often times, as is in English, the native speakers can't explain to me why they say the things the way they do, they just know it's the right way to say it. So for 20 months Spanish has been swirling around in my head more like a rip tide than a flowing stream of thought.

Three weeks ago, Scott and I started intensive Spanish classes with Rebeca Valiente. Rebeca is from Peru and has been using the materials used there to teach missionaries Spanish. Each day after starting with prayer, we quote verses that we have memorized, we quote from memory the books of the Bible, and then we read aloud a chapter of Romans. Then we get into the conversation and question answer period using the verbs of the lesson...all in present tense for right now. We have 16 hours of class time and at least another 8 hours of study time. This has done wonders to firm up Spanish in my mind. So much so that I am actually able to comprehend much of what I'm reading and hearing.

Thank you all for praying for us as we learn Spanish. We know for some it clicks right away and they learn with very little effort. Unfortunately for us it has taken more time and definitely a lot of effort. But finally it is coming. Your prayers are working!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Update 3 on Belen

With sighs of relief we rejoice with Belen and her family that her tumor is benign. I've been told that Belen may be transferred back to Colonia the end of this week. She is doing very well and still eating, drinking and talking. The only problem she has had is fluid build up in her head. I'm not sure if that is a result of the trauma of surgery and will resolve with time, or not.

Please continue to pray for the Mengens and for other families whose news is not so good. This week our friends, Shawn and Sandy Smith, received news that Andrew's tumor is enhancing. Meaning that it is either growing or necrossing, neither is good. They are 11 months into their new life in the brain tumor world. I know they have been a blessing to other families thrust into that horrible reality. And I know they would greatly appreciate your prayers.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

SIGMA Begins

For several weeks we have been preparing to begin a new youth program here in Colonia. Scott and I had two full years as SIGMA team leaders in our church in North Carolina. We also had several months after that helping in the youth department while we began deputation. I can't tell you how thankful we are for having had the opprtunity to train under Jim Ogle's leadership. The things he taught us about young people and working with them are a tremendous asset to us. We have accessed that training to begin a new youth program.

I guess I should call it SIGMA modified. For now we are only have 5 weeks. After this period we will announce a winner. Have a couple weeks break, announce new teams and do another 6 weeks. In March, Lord willing, we plan to have the full school year SIGMA year.

Here in Colonia we have our youth meetings on Saturdays. So tonight we kicked off SIGMA. Our team leaders are Gabriel and Rebekah Chauvie, Pastor Daniel and Amparo Lopez and Pastor Archie and Ruth. They all did a fantastic job cheering on the young people as their rosters were announced. Then later in playing the games. They encouraged the young people to pay attention and to take sermon notes by setting that example personally. Finally they did a great job explaining the "rules" about verses, points and projects in their team meetings .

We came home with 4 very excited young people. I took some videos on my cell phone of the games. I hope you enjoy the excitement.