Sonidos Serranos

Sonidos Serranos: Sounds of the Sierras...
Reflecting some of my family's interests: God's wonderful creation (especially mountains and hills!), music, and language...

Psalm 121:1-2 (NASB)

I will lift up my eyes to the mountains;
From where shall my help come?
My help comes from the LORD,
Who made heaven and earth.

27 May 2011

It Is Not Death to Die!


It is not death to die,
To leave this weary road
And join the saints who dwell on high,
Who found their home with God.

It is not death to close
The eyes long dimmed by tears
And wake in joy before Your throne,
Delivered from our fears.

Oh, Jesus, conquering the grave,
Your precious blood has pow'r to save!
Those who trust in You
Will in Your mercy find
That it is not death to die.

It is not death to fling
Aside this earthly dust,
And rise with strong and noble wing
To live among the just.

It is not death to hear
The key unlock the door
That sets us free from mortal years
To praise You evermore.

Oh, Jesus, conquering the grave,
Your precious blood has pow'r to save!
Those who trust in You
Will in Your mercy find
That it is not death to die.

What wonderful truths for those who know Christ!

25 May 2011


Reality and its implications are still only beginning to sink in, but tears come more easily now. Random memories change the dull ache into a sharp, stabbing pain and bring the tears to the surface.

I’m very aware of the date: May 25. Six months ago (on November 25), Esteban and Esther and Jona and Marcos were on their way to Uruguay. We’re more thankful than ever for that wonderful trip – and memories made – with extended family and friends there!

The four Uruguayan cousins enjoyed an outing to Atlántida.

One month ago (on April 25), the memorial service for Jona was taking place in Greenville.

As we travel to Uruguay with a highly-energetic five-year-old and a six-month-old, I remember another trip eleven years ago when John Mark and I were traveling to Uruguay with another highly-energetic five-year-old. Memories of that trip are very sharp and extra precious today. We’re actually flying on the same airline, stopping at two of the same airports: Costa Rica and Lima, Peru.

On that trip we landed in Buenos Aires.

We’re recalling our whirlwind trip through San Jose, Costa Rica. On a last minute whim we asked if we could leave the airport, and the airport personnel said: “Sure!” We told the taxi driver we had only fifteen minutes… A few pictures and a half hour later, we were rushing through “security” at the airport – running to catch our plane with Jona in tow! The guys waved us through without even scanning our passports! (Those were the days before “9-11” for sure!)

These moments (present and past) remind us to buy up opportunities before us. I'm so thankful that God has given us today to live and enjoy and serve Him...

22 May 2011

Happy Birthday, Dear Marcos!

Marcos turns twelve today...

The cousins on May 17, enjoying a late spring evening!

We're so thankful for dear friends, who (at the very last minute during a very busy week) helped to put together an early birthday party for Marcos. In God's providence, every detail for the last-minute idea came together in truly remarkable ways, and the celebration took place on Thursday, March 24 (one day before Jona started having great difficulty breathing).

Bittersweet memories...

[I'll try to post more pictures of that party later. I must now finish packing for our three-month trip to Uruguay!]

18 May 2011

Jesus, Healer of my Soul

Four weeks ago tonight, God graciously gave Jona ultimate triumph and complete healing, and Jona entered the presence of his Savior whom he had, by Gods grace, so faithfully served right up to the end.

As I relive memories of those last almost four weeks of struggle and especially the precious moments God gave us in the final hours, Ive been thinking of a hymn that was written for Jona.

Thank-you, dear friends, for your ministry to Jona in those final days; he was keenly interested in reading the words as he listened to the recording you sent of the hymn. May God bless you for your ministry in encouraging him (and us, too, as his extended family).

Jesus, Healer of my Soul

Jesus, Healer of my soul,
Wash me now and make me whole.
Stricken come I, Lord, to Thee,
Marred by sins impurity.
Bind my wounded heart in love,
Grant Thy cleansing from above.
Wash me now and make me whole,
Jesus, Healer of my Soul.

Jesus, Keeper of my soul,
Hold me fast while billows roll.
Though the raging of the sea
May surround and swallow me,
Sheltered by Thy mighty arm,
Safe am I from every harm.
Hold me fast while billows roll,
Jesus, Keeper of my soul.

Jesus, Master of my soul,
Yield I now to Thy control,
Ever clinging close to Thee.
May I serve Thee faithfully.
Til at last in Heavn I stand,
Only guide me with Thy hand.
Yield I now to Thy control,
Jesus, Master of my soul.

Words: Duane Nichols
Music: Sandra Achterberg

16 May 2011

Beyond suffering...

The memorial service for Jona took place three weeks ago this evening. Reality – and its implications – are only beginning to sink in. (It’s hard...)
We continue to look to our Good Shepherd. I recently restarted a study on the book of Job, using a very readable commentary, Beyond Suffering: Discovering the message of Job, by Dr. Layton Talbert.
Here is the core of comfort in the message of Job: beyond suffering, past our pain and loss, is a God Who is not only all-knowing and omnipotent, sovereign and free to do as He chooses but also always good and just, loving and wise, purposeful and perfect in all that He chooses to do or to allow – and ultimately aware of all its effects on us. In a word, God is always sovereign, God is always benevolent, and ultimately God always rewards (both evil and good). But He is the center of all life, not we. When we ignore or doubt or deny these realities in the face of suffering, we not only harm ourselves but also rob others of an opportunity to see God as He truly is.
(from the Preface)
I'm hoping to post occasional gleanings from my study...

07 May 2011


So many emotions this weekend... 
Praise to the Lord of the small, broken things...

Praise Him, O praise Him, all ye who yet live
Who've been given so much and can so little give...
I was encouraged as I listened to excerpts on the background of this hymn text (as well as others) on the newest SoundForth CD: Beyond All Praising.

 HE sees His dear children through mercy-filled eyes!

03 May 2011


On behalf of our extended family, we would like to try to express our appreciation for the many ways you all have encouraged us in the past twenty months and especially in the past six or so weeks. Your notes, calls, statuses on FaceBook, poems, songs, meals, hands-on help, listening ears, and shoulders to cry on (to name just a few of the ways you’ve ministered) have blessed us beyond words. May our God richly repay you – as only HE can.

If you’ve been one of many who have read this blog for updates on Jona, please feel free to keep reading. Besides returning to occasional posts about my immediate family and ministry, I plan to continue posting tributes, poems, and songs that have been written for Jona, being convinced that he would want us to remember his amazing God.