Sunday, June 25, 2017

What Happens When...

* This is a copy of our blog from New Beginnings Honduras this week....  I wanted to share in both places since this is both personal and ministry and there are some different followers.



On Monday evening what we thought was an emergency appendectomy turned into something so much bigger.  When I woke up from my surgery.  The first thing I saw was my nurse.  The second thing I saw was a huge clock in the room.  When I saw the time on the clock I knew something had not gone according to plans.  I knew my surgery was only supposed to be a 30 -50 minute procedure, and that even with a 1 - 2 hour wake up window, that I was well past that time frame.  It was no surprise when I saw my sweet husband in the room, that he turned to me with tears in his eyes and said that I had not had an appendectomy.  The doctor had found a healthy appendix, but that he had taken biopsies from 3 different areas in my body one of which was a mass.  

The very first words I spoke to my husband were these, "This does not change our calling to Honduras."  And it will not.  We have a mission to fulfill in Gracias.  It is just having a slight delay.




So what happens your world gets turned upside down?  
I'll tell you what I did.  I cried, and spoke the truth of the moment--we are still called to Honduras.  But in the stillness of the night in the dark hospital room, I did let fear creep in--I started wrestling with Satan mentally.  I started going through the what ifs. Questioning things.  I had to wake up my husband so we could sit there together and speak the truth about the situation.

Since then I have had so many friends and family call, email, and text with words of encouragement, daily devotions, and scriptures. What a testimony to friendship and family--so very grateful.

So here is what you need to know.  After much prayer and discussion with our doctors here and other medical professionals in the states, we have decided to take a leave of absence from Honduras to get treatment in the states.  Ben and myself plan to fly back this next weekend if our doctor gives us medical clearance to fly.  We plan to seek medical care in Jacksonville, FL.

Let me tell you what amazing details God has worked out over the last 6 days.  

       1- I was supposed to fly back home for a weekend with my WooHoo girls for our annual beach trip, and now that ticket is being used to help fly me home for treatment. Some other donations are coming in for our tickets to fly home!

       2- My bloodwork back in February when we were getting certified to be a foster family was normal, so the doctor thinks that we are catching it early.

       3- Some of our board of directors were here in Gracias with us when this happened.  They just jumped right in and ministered to our littles and continued to fix many issues for us.  We now have a cistern and a dryer that works.  Huge differences!

        4- Our partners, Legacy of Hope, have a couple of options for our sweeties--Maria and Josue.  Please pray that they will transition  easily through this loss of our home.

        5- We have been blessed with a place to stay at my cousin's house.

        6- We have been blessed with a vehicle to use for as long as we need.

        7- Another missionary family has agreed to house sit for us while we are gone and will also continue to run the bookstore here in Gracias.

        8- A "GoFund Me" page is being created for us to help meet the medical expenses.


This morning as Ben and I were praying in bed before we got up, we prayed that this situation would bring Glory to the Lord!  We prayed for lives to be changed in salvation, we prayed for our lives to be transformed by God, and we prayed that God will show us the "Joy" in this journey. 

Here are some of our prayer needs:

      1- Pray as we seek out medical care, and doctors in the states.

       2-  Pray for our doctor visit on Wednesday when we get our diagnosis. (Another huge praise--when Dr. Maria visited with us on Thursday, she volunteered to go with us to translate to make sure we understand the diagnosis.)

      3- Pray for us as we seek a few venues to help figure out medical costs.  We do not have insurance in the states.

      4- Pray for Austin and Taylor as they stay with our girls and get things ready for change when we leave for the states.  They are planning to bring them to the states in August.

      5- Pray that God will provide opportunities for us to share about New Beginnings ministry while we are in the states.

Again, we love you all!  Thank you for your prayers, words of encouragement and phone calls.

And to my family who is here with us in Honduras, I can't think you enough for stepping up and meeting the needs of our little ones.  AND for helping me.  I've been told my job is to heal--and they are doing everything to make that possible.

In HIM who IS ABLE,

Julie


Monday, May 29, 2017

Big Day Today

Do you know what we did last night???

You got it!  We sterilized baby bottles, and packed a diaper bag(ok--so it is a hiking back pack cause we forgot to buy a diaper bag--but no judgment)

We brought two sets of clothes for just in case. (Mind you we are traveling 45 minutes away)

And . . .

We tried to sleep.  But I've been up since 3:48 a.m.  mentally going over every possible crazy scenario that could happen.  Like do you really think it's possible that we won't hear this little one through out the house?   Ben, however, lost no sleep to random thoughts. 😆

Today--we are going to bring home our first foster care baby here in Honduras.

So with much anticipation and a little bit of nerves, we are getting in the car in just a few minutes.

We have been praying for this day since July 2015 when God planted this tiny seed of moving to Honduras to care for the least of these--social orphans, children in crisis, abandoned babies, neglected or abused.

But yall, please pray for this little one today.  Today will be a day of loss for him.  He is leaving the respite care home he has been with for the last several weeks after he was released from the hospital.

Pray for his sweet caregivers who love this baby boy like he was their own.  Pray for E's sweet mama's heart and T's daddy's love.  They will be experiencing loss today also.

Pray for comfort and peace.  Pray for an easy transition,  Pray for us today and tonight as we love on this tiny little bundle who will soon be placed in our arms.

In Him,

Julie

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Missionary Life 101

If you have followed us for any amount of time, you know that we are now living in Gracias, Honduras.  We have been living in our home for 1 and 1/2 weeks and we are really starting to settle in to our home.  I want to try and describe the life changes and what it's like to live in our part of Honduras.

First of all, to get to Gracias, Lempira, you fly into the city of San Pedro Sula.  Then you ride in a vehicle for about 3 - 3 1/2 hours depending on traffic, etc.  Most of the roads are ok--until you get to a section of road between La Entrada and Santa Rosa.  The pot holes are so bad in this section of the roads that you sometimes have to decide which ones to hit and which ones to try to avoid.
Sometimes its easier to just ride on the opposite side of the road.  (We are hoping and praying that this road will get paved--soon!  😜)

Gracias is located in Western Honduras.  We are surrounded by beautiful mountains.  Our city was founded 1536 and it's is described as being a colonial city.  Over the last few years it has seen many updates and revitalization.  The urban part of the city (where we live) has about 12,000 people while the whole city has about 50,000.

Here is a little bit about our daily life and changes we are learning to adjust to:

1)  There are NO fast food places.  Once you leave San Pedro Sula--you leave McDonalds, Dunkin Donuts, Wendys, etc. behind.  I'm not even kidding--no more--lets eat supper at Chick-Fil-A--there is not a Chick-Fil-A in the whole country of Honduras.
On the upside--there are some great sit down restaurants--and a few with completely organic and natural ingredients--that are delish.

However, now that we have a house to live in--we are doing the cooking.

Last night's taco soup.


2)  The electricity and water kind of comes and goes sometimes.  It hasn't been off for more than 5 or 6 hours, but we have lost both multiple times.  It just means we have to be intentional about washing clothes and getting things accomplished.  And don't feel sorry for us--that we might be heating to death without electricity to run the AC--we don't have AC.  Just lots of open windows and fans.  (Another adjustment that we are learning to live with.)

3) Grocery Shopping--It's an adventure!  We make our list, and then when we get to the stores and the markets--we adjust to what is available.  Sometimes this turns shopping into a marathon event.  We successfully bought groceries for 3 whole days yesterday--Taylor and I celebrated!!

4) Our house.  We love the house that God provided for our family.  It has 5 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms with room to grow for our future plans.  With that being said--homes in Honduras do not typically come with storage--on ANY kind.  No kitchen cabinets, no bathroom cabinets, no closets.  So we are learning to make due until we can get some of those needs met.  No biggie--just differences.  Did I mention that mirrors are not common either?  Our house did not have any--we went a week without those.  Which actually made dressing kind of quick-walk into the bathroom, find a pony tale holder--put hair up and DONE!  Over the weekend Austin was able to find closet organizers for each bedroom.  Now we are a step closer to being free from living out of suitcases.

The girl's closet organizer.  We hope to find more plastic hangers today.

Our new closet--we are hoping to find a way to add a bar for the clothes to hang this weekend.

We were so excited to find this mirror at a second hand shop in Santa Rosa. We brought it home and painted it.

5) Driving--I just drove for the first time last week.  I'm not going to lie--I really was scared.  It was actually fine.  Ok--I didn't drive on the bad roads outside of the city--but I did drive in the area of town that only has one way turns.  (Let's just say we have spent much time riding around Gracias not by choice--Ha! We just couldn't figure out which street to turn down.)  Side note:  We now know how to get to the birthing center for Baby Emma's delivery.  Which is good because Taylor is already 4 cm dilated.

6) Washing clothes--all I can say is that we have not mastered this task.  At first we only had a pila. (I'll explain.)  Now we have a washing machine, but it is dependent on water pressure and water availability. Ok--the pila.  I actually love this Honduran household item.  It has a water faucet and a place for holding clean water.  Our pila has two areas for washing clothes, dishes, etc.  To wash clothes, you dip your bucket into the pila and get the water.  You wet your clothes, soap them down and then scrub them on the ridges that are in the washing area.  You then continue to dip clean water until you have rinsed your clothes--and then get this--we hang them out on the line to dry.  It's a good thing I grew up doing this--it brought back good memories.  Next, you watch the sky for rain and watch the clothes for dryness.  On the bright side--our whites have never been so clean.  On the down side--this is time consuming and dependent on weather, water and electricity.

Ben and Hannah doing laundry this morning.  Yes, there is a load in the wash also.  Don't feel sorry for Ben--he likes doing his own clothes sometimes.  The engineer has decided he has mastered the best way to do it,  I'm a smart woman--I let him when he wants to. 

Thankful for this large sunny area to hang clothes.


I'm hoping you have a smile on your face as you contemplate us making these adjustments.

We have smiled, and laughed and maybe had a few frustrations thrown in for truthfulness.

But we truly love living here.

It's not perfect, but it's beginning to feel like home.

And yes, we have experienced a roller coaster of emotions.  We are missing our kids, our family, our friends and our church family.  The day after Thanksgiving was extremely hard for me.  I actually broke out into tears in language school.  My teacher asked me to use andar in a sentence and the tears just started falling.  I couldn't quit.  It's a little funny now--because she started apologizing and telling me she would explain the meaning.  I started explaining to her that it wasn't Spanish--but that I was missing everyone.  And that it hit me--I will be missing every Thanksgiving, Christmas, etc.  unless we go home for those holidays--it was a breaking moment--that happens when you move away.  I know all my military friends know exactly what I'm talking about.  But this is simply a process, yet another adjustment.

We are making those little by little, day by day.

At the end of the day, when I lay my head on my pillow, I know I'm where I'm supposed to be.  Doing what I know we have been called to do.

And loving life--including washing clothes. 😝


Sunday, October 23, 2016

5 Years Home--Sara SongYan Agee


Five years ago today we arrived in Fuzhou, China and met our oldest daughter, Sara.  I'll never forget how unsure you looked and how unsure we felt.  While we knew you were our child--chosen and loved, we weren't sure what to expect adopting a teenager.

You have literally blossomed into a beautiful young lady before our very eyes.  When we first met you, you were a little shy and reserved.  But you are now are becoming a woman with great purpose!

Let's take a look back and see how much you have grown . . .





Christmas 2011


 Sara's Birthday 2012


 Sara's Birthday 2012


 Baptism


Zoo Trip


 Father/Daughter Dance


Family Vacation

Wings Like Eagles 2014



World Changers 2014


 Fall 2015


Senior Pics








We can't wait to see what amazing things our God does through you.  You have already blown us away by how much you love God and want to do what He wants.

And today, as we celebrate in 2 different countries--you in the U.S. and us in Honduras, I know that God will continue to grow you.  You are so brave to choose to stay and complete your high school degree.  We can't wait to celebrate these milestones with you.

You are beautiful inside and out.  Let God shine through you!



Monday, October 17, 2016

Happy 5th Gotcha Day Hannah HaiYan Agee!

Can you believe it has been 5 years since we traveled to China and met our daughter Hannah?

    This was our first time we saw Hannah in person.


                                                                      First Hugs!



Meeting her new sister Leighanne!




Sisters Forever!



Our first family Photo!



                 Riding back to our hotel room as a bigger family.



                          Tickling my new brother Zach!

Hannah came home and has since become a part of our family--The Agee's.  Over the past five years we have watched her grow into a fun-loving, and sassy young lady.  She is full of life and adds much laughter to our family.  Take a look at how she has physically changed from this little girl--to a new teenager!



                          Every Christmas we have worked at Days of Creation Christmas Tree Farm.



Every year Hannah, her sisters, and their Daddy go to the Father/Daughter dance.

Family Pictures on Jekyll Island



Hanging with Dad




                                Ballet with Mom and Sisters



Dad gives great hugs!




Disney trip with friends




A little visit with Nana and Papa



Granny Bum and Bum Bum and all their grandkids



Cruising with my sisters in the Bahamas



Looking Glamorous 


Happy 4th!  We sure are glad you are our little firecracker!





Our newest 13 year old!

Yes--our Hannah Banana and our Hannah monkey is growing up before our very eyes.  We have had the joy to watch her make the decision to follow Christ with her life.  While she is still growing in her faith, she has a very sweet heart and she is excited that we are moving to Honduras to care for the orphans.

We can't wait to see how the next 5 years unfold!  We are blessed to be your Mom and Dad!  Happy 5th Gotcha Day!

Hugs and Kisses,

Mom 











Wednesday, June 29, 2016

It's Getting Real!


Yes! That is a blank wall.  One of many actually.  We have been taking things down, having garage sales, giving things away, and getting things ready for the first move.  Our house is under contract, and we should be closing in the next couple of weeks.  

We thought we might be homeless for a little bit--not really!  But God has found us a really neat rental for us to have for a short term.  Only God!

We have been so busy, that most of the time I'm not even sure what day it is.  We have been blessed to speak at a few churches and can't wait to see how God is going to bring in the support over the next few months. He has already been so good to us!

I have to say that we are all on emotional roller coasters.  This is a huge life-changing event.  Every day we are busy trying to accomplish the many tasks it takes to make this kind of a move. From deciding where to store family pictures that you can't take on the first trip, to trying to decide what other home school curriculum we might need for the first year of the girl's schooling, it is a lot to deal with.

Thankfully my God goes before us everyday, making our decisions easier because we are trusting in Him.  He knows the answers to all of the questions that have been floating through our brains. 

Continuously he tells us to have faith like the mustard seed, to abide in Him, and to cast our cares on Him.  Sometimes that is so hard to do--and we struggle, other times it's the easiest thing to do and we have great peace.  Through it all he remains faithful and true.  He never changes!

Please continue to pray for us and our family.  Just a real quick update on Jordan:  He had an endoscopy on Monday.  Nothing showed up, no ulcers or anything.  He will have an ultrasound in a couple of weeks.  Just trying to make sure all aspects are covered.  He has continued to be pain free since the last episode so we are grateful!  Thanks for your prayers!


Tuesday, April 26, 2016

More Part 4--God has given us his "MORE"

If I had been given a hint this time last year what God had in store for us--I would have giggled like Sarah did when she heard she and Abraham were going to have a baby.  Slightly in disbelief and a whole lot of "how"?

The flip side is that when I have shared our news with some of our friends and neighbors they have responded with--"I'm not surprised at all."  or  "Yall have been doing that--now it will be from someplace else."

And from that I guess you can deduct that we will be in for a move.  Ok--not a move, but a MOVE!

About 1,190 miles South

Out of the United States 

to

Honduras!!


(Insert a big ole--Oh My Goodness)

We've been praying and praying and praying about all the ins and outs of a move like this.  And God has been so very faithful to answer our prayers, and lead us in the direction that He would have us to go.  

Ok--Ok  I can hear the questions before you can even ask!

When are you moving?  We hope to make the move in about 9 months.  We will need to raise support, get our 501(c) 3 status for our non-profit, start obtaining residency, and a whole lot of other things that we will have to figure out along the way.

What are you going to be doing?  We are planning to establish a children's home village in Gracias, Honduras.   Instead of an orphanage, we want to have safe family homes for the children that are true orphans(1 or both parents have died) or social orphans (children that have been removed from their homes due to abuse or neglect, or are placed due to lack of finances to care for their children.)  We want to provide these children with a place to live and grow in safety with a family that will give love and stability.  All of the homes will be led by Christian parents who will model what family is like based on Biblical principles.  Our ultimate goal will be to live our lives in a way that others will see Jesus and then share with them about His love.

Why Honduras?  We have been taking trips to Honduras since 2005.  I (Julie) have gone about 5 times and Ben has gone 4 times on mission trips.  Our hearts have been opened to love these people, but honestly, it's where God said to Go--and we are going.

Why now?  Delayed obedience is still disobedience.  (My kids can quote that! LOL)  But really, our plans in our life was going to be to retire and then spend a few months in a foreign country, then a few months in the states with family, then a few months in another foreign country and then some more time with family.  But God has other plans--he has led us to action now.  So, just like I tell our kids--we don't want to be disobedient by delaying.

Do you speak Spanish?  Muy poco or very little, but that is what language school is for.   We will be leaving to go straight to language school once we arrive in Honduras.  Our days will involve 4 hours of one-on-one teaching time followed by hours of homework.  We will live with a host family and be immersed in the Honduran culture. (I'm very excited about this-really!)

Doesn't Honduras have a high crime rate? Well yes, some parts of it are very dangerous.  But so are parts of the United States and every other country in the world.  Just like we take precautions when we travel in certain parts of the U.S., we will take precautions there. We have traveled quite a bit in our life, and you have to realize that you trust God wherever you are.  Bad things can happen wherever you are, and so can good things.

What about your girls?  The same God that orchestrated them joining our family, who numbered their days, who knitted them together in their birth mother's womb, knew about this move.  So we have to trust that he has great purpose in this move at this time. We are choosing to trust our God when he says that "His ways are higher than our ways and his thoughts are higher than our thoughts."  Ultimately, we have to trust that God knows better than us.

What about your guys?  Well, they have all reached a stage in their lives of adulthood.  They are branching out and leaving home. Jordan will be a senior in college next year and will graduate in April.  Zach has a full time job on Kingsbay Base.  He is earning his electrical certification as an apprentice.  Both are doing great. Will we miss them--unbelievably.   In fact, there are days I can not fathom being a plane ride away from my boys.  But having lived in a military town for the past 8 years, I have watched other families make those same sacrifices.  It will not be easy, but again, we have to trust in God.  I'm sure you have noticed that I did not mention Austin and Taylor.  That is because they too have felt the call to go to Honduras.  I am still blown away by that!  They hope to get on the ground before we do so we will wait and see how God works that out.

More Questions . . .  I'm sure I could keep on going.  There are 1000's of questions that go through my head daily.  But I want to leave you right here.

Our God has all the answers!  Even to the questions we haven't thought of.  He knows the how, he knows the when, HE KNOWS!

Our website for our organization is New Beginnings website  www.newbeginningshonduras.org.  Go check it out for more information.

In Him,

Julie