Thursday, February 28, 2013

Beginnings

JamesandEllie
Since our announcement last week we have been so overwhelmed with support from friends, family, and co-workers.  Thank y'all so much!!  Hopefully today I can clear up a few of the most common questions we've received this week.

First of all, to address the most common question we've been asked over the past week and a half:

"How long will you be gone for?"

Well, to answer in short, we've agreed to live in Guatemala for a minimum of seven years.  Why seven?  Since we will be house parents to boys who are coming from all sorts of troubled backgrounds, we want to be able to provide them with a stable home.  Many of the boys have experienced abandonment by one or both parents before coming to the refuge.  For this reason, Engadi Ministries requires houseparents to agree to serve for a minimum of five to six years.  We also must add another one to two years to adjust to the language and culture, and to form relationships with the boys who will be entering the program.  So we expect to be down there for a minimum of seven years.

Now I will try to explain in a nutshell our background with Engadi Ministries and why we have chosen to make such a huge leap to join them....

Okay, to start off, I have to say that I (Ellie) have always been captivated by Latin American culture.  The languages, the traditions, art, their perspective of family values, and possibly of most importance, the food!  It all just fascinates me.

I took my first mission trip in high school to Costa Rica and loved it.  During my freshman year of UGA, in 2008, I spent spring break with Nathan Hardeman and Global Soccer Ministries in Guatemala.  At the time, we were constructing a soccer stadium in a neighborhood ironically named Paradise in one of the poorest zones of the capital of Guatemala.  I came back from this trip changed; not in a way that made me want to pick up and move to Guatemala, but God had placed a spark of love in my heart for these people that would later ignite into a blaze.


Constructing the stadium in 2008

So the next year, in 2009, James and I had started dating, and we both decided to go to Guatemala over Spring Break.  During that trip, James started saying how cool it would be if we were able to move to Guatemala to minister to the kids he had come into contact with in the city.  I told him he was crazy.  Although I loved working and going on trips to Guatemala, there was no way I was giving up everything I had to move down there.  I thought that since this was not only James' first mission trip, but also his first trip out of the country, his passion for moving there would eventually wear off with time.

James working on the stadium in 2009


Well, needless to say, it didn't.

So by 2012, when we returned to work with Nathan in Guatemala, the concept of a boys home had been developed into a reality.  We were able to work on the property where the boys were going to live one day.  We also spent time ministering to the children in Zone 18 who would eventually be able to move to the refuge.  One thing was missing though.  While construction was well underway for the refuge, the ministry had no parents for the boys.  It was during this trip that both of our eyes were finally open to the plans God was calling us to.  It was at this time that God allowed that spark from back in 2008 to breathe and ignite.

God opened the door for us to be able to fulfill the calling he gave to James in 2009.  Although the timing was not right for us to leave in 2009, it has been really cool for us to be able to see God working on us individually and preparing us to do His work.  I would have to say that experiencing God's timing, and seeing how He opens and closes doors has really been the coolest part of this whole thing so far.


So that's how and why God has drawn us to Guatemala in a nutshell.  We are looking forward to seeing what else He has in store for us during this journey.

'Til next time!
The Carrs

Saturday, February 16, 2013

We're Moving!

JamesandEllie

To Guatemala...yeah, you heard right.  Guatemala.

God has been calling us for several years now, but we are both finally at a point to where we feel that the timing is right.  More about that later.  I'm not much of a blogger, so I'm not too sure where to start with all of this, but here are the basics to start with:



WHERE:
Antigua, Guatemala.  We are partners with an organization called Engadi Ministries International who is in the process of building a boys home for troubled, impoverished youth from broken homes.  We have been serving with them for about five years now.

WHOM:
The boys and families we will be ministering to will be from one of the poorest, most crime-ridden areas of Guatemala City (the capital of Guatemala).  Since our first mission trip to Guatemala, our hearts have been burdened for the people in a neighborhood ironically named "Paradise."

WHAT:
We will be serving as houseparents for six to nine boys from ages 6-18.  I (Ellie) will be what is considered a stay-at-home Mom for the boys while James will model the role of a typical Dad to the boys (most of whom do not know their fathers).

WHEN:
Good question.  While we aren't exactly sure when the move will take place, we are hoping to move during the first part of 2014.  Three main factors will determine when we actually are able to make the move to Guatemala. 1. Paperwork.  We are in the process of applying to a mission agency called Commission to Every Nation (CTEN).  There will be a lot of "red tape" to be dealt with before we can legally move to Guatemala as missionaries.  2. Financial Support.  We will be raising our own support before departing for Guatemala.  We know that God is ready for us to make the move to Guatemala once we have enough support for us to live down there for at least two years.  3. Selling our house.  One of the more practical things that we must do before we move will be to sell our house.  Each of these speed bumps will be challenges for us on our own, but we are relying on God for His timing and guidance with the move.

WHY:
Well ultimately, we want our lives to reflect the Love that God so freely gives to us everyday- this love that so many people live without knowing or hearing about.  We want to change that.  We have experienced Christ's forgiveness of our sins, and come to know that on our own, by our own might, there is no way that we would ever be good enough for a perfect God.  Because of Christ's death and resurrection three days later, we are able to come into a relationship with THE God of the universe.  How awesome is that?!?!  We have so much to be grateful for!  We want to share this awesome news to a generation with a twisted perception of what truth and love really is.  Ultimately, we want to bring glory to our God who has done so much for us.



Okay.  That being said, I know I left a whole bunch of questions unanswered.  I'll get there with time.  For now just pray for God's continued direction in our lives, and check back to this page periodically for updates and answers to questions.  I hope to update this page every week or so, but I've never done a blog before, so we'll see how that works.  This is the link to Engadi Ministries website that further explains the goal of the ministry.

www.engadiministries.org

"Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press onto take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me."
Philippians 3:12

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