Wednesday, December 10, 2014

God's Faithfulness Continues

JamesandEllie
We have made it to Guatemala!  Thank you all for your prayers during our trip several weeks ago.  We can honestly say that leaving our families for another country was probably the hardest thing we have ever done.  There were countless unseen tears in the weeks prior to leaving (mostly by me, Ellie) and even a few doubts that we were doing what was best for both our immediate and extended families.  It would have been much easier to turn back in the middle of the storm to the content life we had in the states, but God was faithful and held our hand through the entire storm even when we couldn't see clearly what was waiting on the other side.  We have been reassured numerous times since arriving here in Guatemala, however, that this is right where God wants us to be.

I can say that our departure date was the most difficult for me, but after giving tearful goodbye hugs, we boarded our flight from Atlanta, Georgia to Guatemala City, Guatemala.  Riley, thankfully, slept for ninety percent of the fight down here making the day easier on all three of us.  Upon arriving, we stepped out of the airport into the warm Guatemalan air, a stark contrast from the almost freezing temperatures we left in Georgia.  Nathan Hardeman, founder of Engadi Ministries, was at the airport to pick us up, and he helped us run a few errands and get settled into our apartment that day.


Riley slept through her first flight.
Might I take a moment to mention that we had not even seen the apartment in person before placing a deposit on it.  We prayed that God would direct our decision on an apartment, and the one we ended up with is exactly what we needed.  Without knowing what school we would be attending down here, the apartment ended up being less than half a mile from our current language school, which makes for a nice walk in the mornings.  God also provided the option for a furnished apartment within our means, since we were making the trip without any furniture.  His provisions have been perfect- not extravagant, yet perfect in their own way.  We are thankful for hot water in the shower, and a view that can't be beat from our rooftop!


View of volcano "Fuego" our first morning in Guatemala.

We spent the first week we were here learning our way around, Antigua, the city we are currently living in.  Another picture of God's faithfulness that has been painted to us was in the shipping of one of our cars to Guatemala with our belongings inside.  While we got rid of our house, most of our furniture, and James' truck, we decided that it would be best to ship our car to Guatemala rather than having to buy one when we got there.  We thought this would be a more economical decision in the long run, although it could be a risky decision up front.  We found that we would be able to pack our car with belongings that we wanted to bring with us as well, but there would be no guarantee that the items would still be in the car when we arrived to Guatemala.

We stuffed our car with clothes that wouldn't fit in our suitcases, cooking supplies, and the baby items we received.  We then placed the car title, as well as a notarized document releasing the car from our name to that of the shipping company in the car and delivered it to Atlanta where a driver took the keys to the car and the belongings that we had decided were most important to us.  Our hope was that he would deliver the car to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, where it would be shipped to the port in Guatemala.  There, the car would wait until it had been processed by the Guatemalan Port Authority, and we arrived to pick it up.

I will be honest that I had little faith that we would see the majority of our things again, not to mention that we may never even see our car again, but I was wisely reminded that really, all of our possessions belonged to God anyway, so if He wanted them to be returned to us, they would be.  So, almost two weeks ago James, Nathan, and two other staff members of Engadi drove five hours to Puerto Barrios, to pick up our car.  We were aware that at the port, the value of our car and its contents would be assessed and we would have to pay import tax on the value that was decided by the port authority (much of which is said to rely on the mood of the agent that day).  After many hours of waiting at the port, the car was released to us with our belongings, and the amount of taxes we were charged turned out to be only about one-third of what we had anticipated.  Only one box of health and beauty items was missing from the front seat.  God is so good!  Not only was the majority of our stuff there, including the crib we received for Riley, but we paid a fraction of what we could have been charged to get the car.


Downtown Antigua, Guatemala in the evening.
Volcano "Agua" in the background.
Since then, we have started Spanish school to improve our fluency before becoming houseparents for Engadi Ministries.  We attend five days a week, and are praying that we can pick up the language with ease.  To find out more about the Engadi Ministries, click here.  The website has recently been updated, so please take a few minutes to check it out!

Thanks for keeping up and praying for us on this new adventure.  We will do our best to update this blog with more frequency now that we are here.  We hope everyone is enjoying the Christmas season back home.  We miss the Georgia festivities terribly, but are looking forward to learning new ways of celebrating Christ's birth here.  Merry Christmas!

Love in Christ,
James, Ellie, and Riley Carr


On top of one of the hills overlooking Antigua, Guatemala after church
"Your steadfast love, O Lord, extends to the heavens, your faithfulness to the clouds.  Your righteousness is like the mountains of God; your judgments are like the great deep; man and beast you save, O Lord.  How precious is your steadfast love, O God! The children of mankind take refuge in the shadow of your wings.  They feast on the abundance of your house, and you give them drink from the river of your delights.  For with you is the fountain of life; in your light do we see light.  Oh, continue your steadfast love to those who know you, and your righteousness to the upright of heart!  Let not the foot of arrogance come upon me, nor the hand of the wicked drive me away.  There the evildoers lie fallen; they are thrust down, unable to rise."
Psalm 36:5-12

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Ready, Set, GO!

JamesandEllie
The past month has been a whirlwind of events for James and me.  I'm not even sure where to start with this month's update, but I can say that we are nearly ready to leave for Guatemala, which is awesome.  It is so nice to finally see the past two years worth of work come together, and be able to see the end (or should I say beginning) in sight!  Here are the four big things that happened within the past week.

First of all, we applied for Riley's passport when she was eleven days old because we will need it in order to begin the application process for visas before we leave for Guatemala.  Can I just take a minute to say that it is near impossible to take a passport photo of an infant?  Here are just a few of the requirements for a passport photo of an infant:
- Must have completely white background (no shadows)
- Shoulders must be straight and shirt (or onesie) can not be bunched on the shoulders
- Hands must be at the infant's sides (or at least out of the photo)
- Face must be looking straight forward
- Eyes must be open and looking at the camera- HAH!
- Mouth must be shut
- Both ears must be visible (nearly impossible with Riley's chubby cheeks)
Now I must add, that if the infant has a cold or stuffy nose it adds another whole aspect of fun to the mix.  It took us a total of three hours of photo shoots on three separate days to get it right.  Not to mention the postal worker helping us apply for the passport said our photo was unacceptable (there was a shadow in the background).  All of that to say that we applied for her passport and received it in less than three weeks!!


Can you tell how thrilled she was to receive her passport?

We had a yard sale the week before we moved and it went extremely well!  We were able to get rid of all of our furniture and large appliances, as well as most of our other belongings.  By the end of the two days, we just had three small boxes of things left to donate!

Third, we were able to sell our home in Statham.  YAY!!  We closed on our house at the beginning of last week, and moved the last of our possessions in with family, where we will be staying for the next couple of weeks until we leave the country.  The sale of our house was a huge answer to prayer, and takes a humongous weight off of our shoulders.  We thank all of you who have kept us in your prayers over the past several months.

Fourth, and last, we found a very loving home for our dog, Jac.  He was adopted by our (former) neighbors who he always loved to sneak off and visit.  His new owners already have two dogs, and will even be taking Jac and their pups to doggie day care once a week to socialize with other dogs.  As hard as it was to let Jac go, he will be more spoiled at his new home than ever.

Now that Riley has her passport, we will be able to begin gathering official records, documents, criminal histories, etc. in order to apply for our visas in Guatemala.  We will then pay the Guatemalan Consulate in Atlanta a visit to approve of our documents before we leave the country.  We will also be shipping our car, with what belongings we are taking inside, to Guatemala a few weeks before we leave, so that we can meet it when it arrives to the country.  James will be finishing his work with the fire department as well within the next few weeks.  We will also be finishing our fundraising as we have less than one thousand dollars left to raise before we leave.  After that we will finally be able to start a new journey in Guatemala.


Enjoying the fall weather of the States before heading to Central America

We thank everyone for their prayers and support during this entire journey so far.  We are excited to continue to share with you as our real journey is really just beginning.  We hope that the next time we write an update, it will be from Guatemala!

In Christ,
James, Ellie, and Riley Carr

"Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you."
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Friday, October 3, 2014

Introducing Riley Marie Carr

JamesandEllie
We are thrilled to announce that Riley Marie Carr arrived on September 25, 2014 at 4:27 pm.  She was 7 pounds 2 ounces and 20 inches long.  We are ecstatic about the arrival of a healthy baby girl and are already so in love with her.  We are so thankful for a safe and healthy delivery, and to be chosen as parents of Riley.  We can't wait to be a part of this little girl's life as she grows up.

First photo as a family of three.
Now that Riley is here, we were able to get her official birth certificate this morning.  On Monday, we will be applying for a passport for her which could take up to 6-8 weeks, but lately has been taking about three weeks to get by mail.  After we receive that, we will be able to visit the Guatemalan consulate in Atlanta and have paperwork for the three of us certified in order to obtain Guatemalan visas.  Once all of that is approved, we will finally have the green light to leave for the mission field.  So that is the timeline we are on in a nutshell.



In the meantime, we are closing on the house we live in now on Monday, October 13, and moving out on the 14th and 15th.  We will be staying nearby with family until all of our paperwork has cleared to leave the country.  We will be having a yard sale October 10, and 11 to get rid of the belongings we will not be able to take with us when we leave.  If you are free those dates, please stop by! We will have furniture, clothes, decorations, electronics, small appliances, etc. for sale then.  The yard sale will be held at 331 Simeon Rd. Statham, GA 30666.  We have less than $2,000 left to raise before we leave for the field, and we are hoping to be able to raise a good bit through the sale.

So that is a quick update about where we are today, and our plans for the next few weeks.  We are still looking for a home for our sweet dog Jac, since we are unable to bring him with us.  If you know of anyone looking for a good family dog, please don't hesitate to pass word of Jac on to them.  He would be a great indoor dog, and would also do well outdoors in a yard with a fence.  Thank you all for reading our blog, and to all of our friends and family for supporting the work God has called us to in Guatemala.  We could not ask for a more supportive circle friends and family.  We love you all and can't wait to see what God will do through your support.

James and Ellie Carr

Psalm 139:13-14
"For you formed my inward parts;
    you knitted me together in my mother's womb.
14 I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
    my soul knows it very well."

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

We Have a Contract!

JamesandEllie
When James and I first decided to enter the mission field, we made a "deal" with God.  We said that if He would sell our house and help us raise and save $60,000 within a reasonable amount of time, we would know that Guatemala was right where He wanted us.  I know, it seems kind of silly looking back because we had both clearly heard His voice telling us to enter the mission field two years ago, but I suppose we were just asking for reassurance.

Fast forward to today, and we can clearly see both of those things happening within the next few months, and it is so exciting to be a part of.  We now have a contract on our house, and if all goes well, we will close on October 13th!  We are continuing to pray that the contract does not fall through like the one that we had in July.  God has also been so faithful with providing for our fundraising.  He has given us a huge base of people who support His work in Guatemala, and has also taught us to budget over the past several years in order to prepare for our move to Guatemala.  As of today, we have just under $3,000 left to go before we are set to move to Guatemala.  Isn't God good?!?

It's amazing to see how He has timed these things to happen at almost the same time, giving us the perfect amount of time to get settled as a family of three, and get all of the paperwork necessary to move.  As of right now, we are still planning on moving sometime in November.

Here are a few of the things we will be working on over the next two months:

- We have begun to get rid of and pack things preparing for our move in the next few weeks.
- Once the baby arrives, we will apply for a passport and social security card for him or her.  After those arrive we can pursue visas for the three of us.
- We will have a yard sale in October to get rid of most of our belongings, and help finish the last bit of fundraising.
- Baby Carr will be arriving within the next couple of weeks, and we are excitedly anticipating getting to meet our new baby!
- We are currently searching for a home for our dog, Jac.  He is a black lab mix, and is six years old.  He is house trained and leash trained, but we keep him outside right now.  He is around 40 lbs.  He has been neutered, and is the most submissive, non-agressive dog you will ever meet.  Let us know if you know of anyone looking for a new family pet!

A little blurry, but Jac needs a new family!
We want to thank everyone for their continuous support through this exciting but stressful time in our lives.  We really have some of the best family and friends.  If you feel led to help us reach our final goal of $60,000 you can do so by clicking here.  We are almost there!  Together, we can make it by our departure date in November.  Thank you all for the support!  We would also like to send a special thanks to Capturing Bliss Photography who sponsored us through their "Profits with a Purpose" program.  We highly recommend Jae for family and couples' photo sessions.

We will send out another update once the baby arrives- only two weeks until its due date!  Until then, we are still working and waiting.   Hope everyone is having a great end to your summer, and enjoying the beginning of football season!  Go Dawgs!

~The Carrs

“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.  For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."
Matthew 6:19-21

Friday, August 1, 2014

More Relevant than Ever

JamesandEllie
Hello Everyone!  Hope you are all enjoying this mild summer as much as we are.  Personally, I am in love with the afternoon showers and July days that don't even reach 90 degrees (what?!?!).  As the days grow closer, we are spending more and more hours planning for our move to Guatemala.  We are currently comparing shipping rates for companies to move the few belongings that we will be bringing with us, as well as comparing prices for the different utility companies that we will have to choose from once we move.  We are still waiting for our house to sell, but we have had many people looking in the past couple of weeks.  So far, we have had one offer that fell through at the beginning of July, but we know something else will break through soon.  God has really provided over the past month for our fundraising.  Out of our $60,000 goal, we have less than $5,000 left to raise before we move.  I am speechless.  God has provided over 91% of our funds in just sixteen months.  We weren't sure what to expect going in with a goal that seemed so enormous to both of us; we should've known that such a goal could never be too big for our God.  Isn't He amazing?

That's a quick update on our progress to date, but what I really wanted to share was a little bit more about how the work we are doing in Guatemala is becoming more and more relevant to life here in the States.  If you have seen any bit of the news this summer, there is a good chance you have heard about the massive amounts of children crossing the border between the U.S. and Mexico this year.  In fact, the amount of children coming to the States has more than doubled compared to last year.  Although there have historically been countless adults who make the journey across the border in search of a better life, this situation is much more complex as these children are often crossing the border without a parent or guardian accompanying them.  It is also very important to note that very few of these children are actually coming directly from Mexico, but rather from other Central American countries such as Honduras, El Salvador, and- surprise, surprise- Guatemala.

Angel, born and raised in Paradise, Guatemala City

For more facts and stats regarding the children crossing the border, check out this article.  It really opened my eyes.

Thousands of these children have already made their way or been placed in Atlanta until the U.S. can find a better solution to this situation.  Children crossing the border without parents or family is creating a much more complex problem than the adults who regularly cross the border from Central America.  There is no quick fix to this situation, as these children are from a variety of countries, and it is often impossible to locate their parents whether they are here in the States or elsewhere.  I am not in any way claiming to have a fix for the children who are here in the states; as I said before, that is a very complex issue with no straightforward answer.  But what are these children running from in the first place?  Is it gangs, violence, poverty, emptiness, lack of family?  Yes.

What if rather than just fixing the problem as it manifests here in the States, we take a look at the root of the problem?  What if we go to the source to fix it rather than just fixing what is affecting us here and now?

Paradise, Zone18, Guatemala City, Guatemala

We choose, then, to go to Guatemala.  Within five minutes of being in a neighborhood ironically called "Paradise" in the slums of Guatemala City, kids from the streets surround you, tattered clothes hanging from their thin frames.  Trash and filth fills the streets and gutters as emaciated stray dogs sift through for a meal.  Walking through dusty common areas where kids are playing, your shoe kicks the remains of a handgun or even hand grenade- remnants of the wars and gang violence that have plagued the land for so long.  An older child points out, in a mix of English and Spanish, several gang members who are standing a few blocks down from you.  Between yourself and them you see a man passed out on the sidewalk, smudges of paint and glue decorating his face.  All just surface manifestations of the dysfunctional community you have entered.  Something is missing.  Hope.

Pieces of a handgun found at a local park in Guatemala

A hope that we have.  While we can't change all of the problems of the community, what if we started by providing hope- the hope of a new life and a love that can only be found in Jesus Christ, the precious peace that He provides?  That is something we can do, but there are still more physical needs distracting from the Gospel, or good news.

What if we could provide boys with a safe place to grow up, apart from the violence?  Teach them how to love like Christ- how to be a husband, a father, a provider- so that not only they will have the strength to live within their broken community, but will also be able to give their children a safe place to live within Paradise.  What if we could we could reach these boys before they are pressured to join gangs or leave their homes for another country?  What if we could slowly turn this community around, one boy at a time?  Could Paradise, a community formed atop the city's landfill, really become a paradise?

Houses built at the top of the city's landfill

We may not be able to stop every child from running from the desperation growing in Central America, but what if we could stop a few?  Moreover, what if we could fix what they are running from in the first place, creating a strong community, free of gangs and continued war violence, that is filled with strong families, and most importantly, permeated with the message of the Gospel.  We can do our best, but we need your help.  Sometimes it is easy to overlook the poor and needy in other parts of the world.  After all, we have busy lives with our own families, jobs, and hobbies to mind.  We totally get it.  I just wanted to point out that this issue does affect you.  We all have an opinion on the issue of illegal immigration, but what if, as Christians, we at least try to help the root cause while we argue over solutions in the States?

Just some food for thought this month.  Thank you again for reading our updates!  We will update again soon, and look forward to becoming a family of three next month!

In Christ,
James and Ellie Carr

"An argument started among them as to which of them might be the greatest.  But Jesus, knowing what they were thinking in their heart, took a child and stood him by His side, and said to them, 'Whoever receives this child in My name receives Me, and whoever receives Me receives Him who sent Me; for the one who is least among all of you, this is the one who is great.'"
Luke 9:46-48

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Summer Update

JamesandEllie
It’s Officially Summer Time!!

Yesterday was the official first day of summer. If you were not aware of this, take a step outside, you will have a warm greeting to say the least. Gone are the days of sleeping with the windows open at night, and here are the days that I feel as though I work just to pay Georgia Power!  With this time of year comes many good things for us as well.

Ellie is doing well as she starts her third trimester.  Baby Carr is doing well and we still have not given in to finding out the gender yet.  Ellie and I still have plenty of decisions to make such as choosing a hospital, pediatrician, as well as a name.

Other great news is that we have recently found a new home for our cat, Millie.  A local family took her in and gave her the job of chasing squirrels away from their house.  We do miss her, and hope she is adjusting well to her new family.  Also, buyers have shown a lot of interest in our house and it still remains available if anyone is in the market for a nice home. Finally, God continues to bless us with funds needed to get to Guatemala, bringing us to 85% of our goal.


As for myself I have been struck with World Cup fever.  I never thought I would ever watch as much soccer in a 24 hour period as I am now.  Fortunately there are only about three games a day being televised so things are still getting done around the Carr household. Mix that with the excitement of becoming a first time dad in a few months, and provides no lack of excitement for Ellie and me.


WFBC and the boys playing a game of futbol.

On a more serious note, if you have read or seen any bit of news lately you would be aware of the issue this country is having with illegal immigrants coming up from Central America. Currently most of them are children trying to reunite with their families and trying to escape the rising violence and gang activity that is threatening to take over this part of the world.  Reading a few articles from around the world, I have found that children as young as eleven are leaving home and making the 2000 mile trek, often alone, to escape the gangs,  violence, and poverty, among other things.  I am not debating politics, nor am I arguing what the U.S. should do in time like this.  I am simply expressing my renewed sense of why we have a calling to Guatemala and what problems continue to grow in this country with the absence of Christ and Godly men to help lead it.


Teenagers looking into the public middle school in Paraíso 

Please join us in praying for the buyer of our home, and that God will bring them to us in His perfect timing.  As we are closing in on our fund-raising goal, pray that the funds will be available by our tentative departure date in November.

We want to say thank you to everyone for their continued support and interest in how God is working in our lives.  The mission would not be possible without the involvement of all of you.  Your thoughts and encouragement are vital to Ellie and me.  Please feel free to drop us a line on here, by e-mail, or however is convenient.  If there is anything we can pray for with you please let us know.

Until next time,
Stay cool,

James and Ellie Carr

"But do not let this one fact escape your notice, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day.  The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance."
2 Peter 3:9

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Happy Easter from the Carr's!

JamesandEllie
As our moving date approaches quickly, we are finding ourselves spending more and more time looking for different shipping methods to move to Guatemala, looking at housing options for when our house sells here in the states and when the baby is born, and looking at available places  to live when we get to Guatemala this fall.  It's all really exciting, but also overwhelming.  We are just going to have to take it one thing at a time as it comes.


City street in Antigua, Guatemala, the nation's capital during the 1500-1700's

Our house is currently listed for sale, and we will be moving somewhere locally until the baby is born and we can make the move with all of the baby's documents to Guatemala.  To see the listing of our house click here.  To say "God's timing has been remarkable so far," would be an enormous understatement, so we are excited to see when He will bring a buyer for the house.

A huge milestone to mention is that we have been fundraising for a year to date as of this April.  In that time, God has provided over three-quarters of the funds necessary for us to move to and begin ministry in Guatemala.  Praise Him!  It seems like we will definitely be fully-prepared and ready to leave this fall!

One miscellaneous item that we also are in the process of taking care of is finding a home for our family cat, Millie.  As much as we wish we could take her with us, we will have our hands full over the next several years, so we are looking for a new family for her.  She is three years old, and very energetic.  She has been spayed and declawed in the front paws.  Please help us find a good home for our sweet Millie.


Millie posing to impress her new family

On a much more important note, this weekend is marks the celebration of Christ's resurrection!  Happy Easter!!  In Guatemala, Easter is a celebration that lasts several weeks, but unfortunately, much of the celebration is either not glorifying to God, or is muddled in the indigenous Mayan faiths that are intertwined in much of the Roman Catholicism of Guatemala.  People flock to the city of Antigua to party and celebrate Easter, living it up in the bars and on the streets of the city.  People apply to the Roman Catholic Church during the year, and during the weeks leading to Easter, people are sentenced by the church to pay for the sins that they committed in the past year.

Sins are paid for by first paying a fee to the church.  Individuals are then sentenced to be a part of a parade, carrying float for a certain distance through the streets of Antigua.  Each parade float depicts a Biblical scene or person, with the "more important" Biblical roles such as Jesus and Mary costing more money to carry.  Floats are huge; they weigh several thousand pounds and can take up to 80 people to carry them through the streets while onlookers observe the parade.


A float being carried though the streets while James was in Antigua last month

Unfortunately, as beautiful and traditional as this ceremony is, it completely contradicts the idea that Jesus came and died as payment for the sins that separate us from God.  There is nothing- no fee we can pay to a church, no act of penance- that we can do to bridge the chasm that our sins place between us and a holy God.  Jesus has already paid the price for our sins by living a perfect sinless life here on earth, giving his life and dying on a wooden cross, and then rising from death three days later.  It doesn't get any better than that!

Happy Easter!
James and Ellie Carr

"And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience.  Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest.  But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them."
Ephesians 2:1-10

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

And Then There Were THREE!

JamesandEllie
That's right! Baby Carr will be here this September!  We are already in love!  Baby Carr will arrive here in the states before we leave for Guatemala this fall.  To date, God has provided seventy percent of the funds we need to move to Guatemala and begin ministry there, so we anticipate being fully-funded and ready to move this October or November.  We are continually amazed at God's perfect timing, and although there are times when we get impatient, seeing how the timing of everything is working together continues to amaze us.

Photo courtesy of Jaelyn Weiden at Capturing Bliss Photography
We have been asked many times over the past few weeks whether having a baby would change or delay our decision to move to Guatemala.  The answer, truthfully, is not really.  The only delay that we might have is waiting for Baby Carr's social security card, passport, and other necessary documents to be filed in order to move, hopefully no more that a few weeks.  We have both clearly felt God's call to work in Guatemala, and have seen his faithfulness to us so far during our journey to get there.


As a Christian, I find that it is all too easy to take things that God has given us, and put them on the throne in our lives where He should be.  For instance, it is easy to think of examples of people who are extremely talented athletically or who have been blessed with a great job, but then turn around and make that sport the god of their life or idolize that job and its paycheck until it ends up pulling them further away from God in the long run.  In my own life, I find it especially easy to do with work, hobbies, and even my spouse.  Family was undoubtedly created by God to paint a picture of His love for us, but it shouldn't replace Him as the God of our lives.  God has given us this baby to parent, love, and nurture, but he or she shouldn't be something that we idolize and put in place of worshipping and serving Him.  Instead, we look forward to expanding our family in a way that continues to bring glory to God's name.  He called us to Guatemala first, and has now given us an addition to our family to incorporate into our ministry there.  How exciting (and I won't lie, slightly terrifying) is that?!

Photo courtesy of Jaelyn Weiden at Capturing Bliss Photography
In other news, James made it back safely from his trip to Guatemala last week.  He really enjoyed getting to know the team of high school students from Asbury UMC in Tulsa, Oklahoma, as well as continuing to develop relationships with the Guatemalans involved in the ministry there.

We also listed our house to sell about two weeks ago in preparation for our move to Guatemala.  We have had several people look at it already, and are excited to be one step closer to moving to Guatemala next fall.  For anyone who might be interested, the link to information on our house is:
http://www.levellot.com/engine/listing_detail/standard/3819/en/21226591/

We appreciate continued prayers for our preparation to leave this coming fall to Guatemala, including the sale of our current home.  In addition we are asking for prayers for Baby Carr's health, development, and future until he or she arrives in September.  We understand that we are not yet completely parents, as we have not given birth yet, so it is easier said than done to continue to keep God first in our lives.  We are convinced that everything will change and we will be experiencing a completely new type of love when this child arrives, but continue to pray for us and with us that we will remain focused on sharing God's love and making His name known both outside and within the walls of our family.

Thank you all again so much for the continued prayer and support.  We grow more excited as the time grows nearer and nearer to see how God's plans continue to unfold.

Monday, February 24, 2014

2014 Update

JamesandEllie
Hello again to our friends, family, and supporters, and a very belated Happy New Year!  As we wrap up the first two months of 2014 (can you believe it already?!?!), we wanted to give everyone an update on our progress towards Guatemala.  We announced our move just over a year ago, and have been amazed at the response, mostly positive, that we have received.  We may have been quiet about the progress over the past few months, but God is definitely launching us closer and closer to an upcoming departure date for Guatemala, which is very exciting.  It seems as if with every week that passes our plans become more and more solidified.

We can finally say with near certainty that we will be leaving this year- probably this fall to be more exact.  We still have several large obstacles to overcome to do so, but God has been so faithful to our every need so far, and we have no doubt that He will continue to do so as long as we continue to be faithful to Him in our pursuits.  As for the months we have left here, we want to continue to be dedicated to all of our obligations, especially our jobs.

One hurdle we are currently working on taking care of before we leave is the sale of our home in Statham, Georgia.  We spent last week, and will be spending most of this upcoming week cleaning and preparing our home for the market, and plan to list it within the next week or two.  So, if you know of anyone looking for a great 3 bedroom, 2 bath house in a nice neighborhood, send them our way!


We were extremely blessed with new supporters over the Christmas season.  By the beginning of December, we raised and saved just over 30% of the support needed to leave for the field.  I was feeling that the progress had slowed some in the fall months, and was not prepared at all for what we were blessed with over the past three months.  We have reached 65% of the support needed to date, and are less than $500 short of $40,000 dollars.  Wow!  Y'all are amazing, so thank you! We are well on our way to reaching our $60,000 goal!  God is so good.

Next month, James will be returning to Guatemala for a nine days to assist in leading a team of 100 or so high school students from Oklahoma.  Please keep James in your prayers as he prepares for this trip.  The founder and director of Engadi Ministries, Nathan Hardeman, will be in the states during this trip, so it will be the first time James has been in Guatemala without his guidance.  The team from Oklahoma is also an extremely large team to keep up with throughout the week, so careful planning and preparation is key.  He will be gone March 13-21, so we are asking for prayers for him during this time.


So that's, in short, what's been happening with us lately.  We have recently finished our quarterly newsletter, and it should be arriving at your homes soon.  If you are not on our mailing list and would like to be, email us at jandecarr@gmail.com.  Thank you, thank you, thank you again for all of the support.  We really cannot thank you all enough.  To God we give all the glory.

In Christ,
The Carrs

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