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.

30 January 2015

Happy B-Day, (Not So) Wee One!

My text message alert beeped at 7:26 this morning: 4:26 in South Carolina. JM (counseling at camp) and I (planning to take the Little People to camp on this very special day) remembered together that awesome moment nine years ago when we first held our “Wee One!” That was the nickname we used when she was in utero  and one that my Mommy used for me. And it fit our Little Lady so well...

We love her more than ever!

We’re thankful for the sweet, sensitive (albeit highly excitable and emotional!) Little Lady our Loving Shepherd has entrusted to our care. As I write, she’s downstairs chatting with and listening to Abu Julia.

We rode the bus out to the camp this morning, enjoyed the kilometer walk in off the highway, and made some sweet memories.

We love the camp ministry – and look forward to the day when we’ll be able to serve there together as a family…

DJM enjoyed himself immensely!

We’ve missed our Main Man and very much look forward to his coming home tomorrow  and staying for a couple weeks! J

At the central bus station (Think: very nice mall!) on the way home, we enjoyed Tex-Mex (YES! We can get it here!) and ice-cream (the very-special-splurge-on-a-birthday kind!)

And we’ll have to celebrate again next week when JM is home... 

SO much to be thankful for!

19 January 2015

(Not so often quoted) Thoughts from John Calvin

These are good thoughts to keep in mind, especially when we note failures in those who played a public part in shaping and molding us:
“I am not unaware of the frailty of human nature. I ask only that, while we may at times limp and stumble along—as happens even to the most mature, more often than anyone would wish—we should nevertheless continue to judge and value each other as Christians. But on one condition: that those who stumble and trip up should not depart from the way of the Lord, and that no amount of stumbling should bring them to a complete halt. They should always struggle to their feet and try consciously to overcome whatever hinders their advance; although they may totter and tremble, they should never lose heart. Supposing they fall they should pick themselves up, so that, at the end, nothing may stop them pressing forward, or looking toward the kingdom of God, which is their proper goal.”
~John Calvin

08 January 2015

Pray for us! (January Ministry Report)

We recently sent out our January Ministry Report.

As always, you can read the entire report on our ministry blog:

Im simply going to summarize with snippets and pictures here:

For most of December we enjoyed a visit from JM’s parents. During their time here (their first visit to Uruguay), in addition to getting reacquainted with the grandchildren, they were able to see several churches and other works both in the Montevideo area and the interior...

While here they witnessed Sebastián’s and Gonzalo’s baptisms. The twins have attended Sunday school and other services since childhood. Over the course of several years they have professed faith and have gained much instruction from church classes and camp programs. It was a joy to see them identify publicly with the name of Jesus Christ.

Family and friends, including two high school classmates,
witnessed the baptismal service.

 In mid-December Iglesia Bíblica Maranatha hosted a Bible study
and Christmas Tea for the ladies.

Summer camps take place for almost the entire month of January... JM will participate in staff training, will preach for morning and evening services during teen and young adult week, and will counsel during younger teens camp. We would appreciate prayer...

On March 2 we would like to see another good group of students begin classes. This will be the second year of the FEBU Bible-college project... Déborah and JM will be working together on a third semester of Spanish Grammar & Composition... Though FEBU is not a liberal arts school per se, we nonetheless view such disciplines as grammar, writing, speech, and music as extremely important in the development of a Christian worldview—not to mention the skills that such classes offer for Bible study and preaching. JM will continue to help with administration and will teach Church Music during the first semester...

Please pray for the success of the gospel in this country. There are many needs. Recently we helped in a project to put together Christmas toys for one of the government-run orphanage facilities...

Organizing and wrapping gifts! Praising the Lord for His work!
This was an entirely indigenous project!

Other needs are immigrating to Uruguay. We see and sometimes meet them: European students, Indians, North American retirees or religious workers. Others—Syrian refugees or prisoners received from Guantánamo Bay—we have not yet met. Uruguay has a small but real gospel witness, and some will hear. And God will save. Thank you for your global awareness and for your participation in Jesus’ mission to “save His people from their sins” (Mt 1:21).

07 January 2015

Learning: First Numbers & Now Letters!

He absorbed some basic math skills last summer (December through February), watching second grade videos with Elizabeth. We all loved the emphasis on working with manipulatives, visualizing the concepts! He surprised me one day, arguing with his sister over what he viewed as math facts”; she was trying to tell him that 3+2=5, but he was insisting that 4+1=5. When I demonstrated with my fingers that both were true, he took it to another level and exclaimed: There are two ways to say 10: 5 & 5 and 4 & 1 & 4 & 1!

I captured the same idea on this video clip in early April.

He got lots more practice with numbers last June and July, by studying  and then memorizing – his favorite (Celeste!) soccer players jerseys during the World Cup. In mid-August he had moved on to double digits:

And he’s learning letters – by osmosis, it seems! He has his own very excited tutor, who incidentally loved letters herself at an even earlier age and is already quite an accomplished scholar. Just today we were recalling the events and activities of last year at this time. As we reminisced, it hit us! From early December 2013 to early December 2014, Elizabeth completed the requirements for two grades: second grade in English and third grade in Spanish!

Shes now unofficially teaching DJ the alphabet and its basic sounds in English. In late September he got excited when he saw this sign:

“Look! A ‘Letters NO’ sign!”
(I especially love his using Spanish word order.)

And here’s a fun little clip from November:

This past Monday night he gave us a glimpse of how much more he’s been learning.

He protested when the lights were turned off for the night: “I need more light!”

I countered: “You don’t need more light! You have lots of something else that begins with the letter L. Do you know what it is?”

He grinned: “Love!”

And before I could even congratulate him for remembering that, he rushed on: “And lady and lion and loco and lights off!”

Fun stuff! 

04 January 2015

Unwrapping the Greatest Gift: A Family Celebration of Christmas

Wishing you all a Blessed New Year, sharing an extended quote from my new favorite Christmas gift:

Unwrapping the Greatest Gift: A Family Celebration of Christmas!

If we want our Christmas tree to really stand wondrous and full of meaning, the tree we really need to understand and be astonished by is the family tree of Jesus Christ. Because this is our story – your story.
God doesn’t cut off all the big cheaters, bad liars, weaselly sneakers, battling brothers, fighting families, and brokenhearted from His family tree – He makes families just like these perfectly His! He adopts all the messy and broken and imperfect people into His tree and His story and His heart, and He gives us His family name. He gives us His absolute perfectness and makes us alive and fully free.
Jesus comes right to your Christmas tree and looks at your family tree and says, I am your Rescuer, and I will set you free from all the brokenness and sinfulness and sadness. I’ll be the Gift, and I’ll take you. Will you take Me? Will you want Me?
Who says yes? Who doesn’t want to miss Jesus this year?
Who wants to wake up on Christmas morning with a heart that wants the greatest Gift the most?
(Unwrapping the Greatest Gift: A Family Celebration of Christmas, page 2)

This treasure had been unofficially on my wish list since last year, when I first heard that it was in the making. I was reading Un millar de obsequios: el desafío a tener plenitud de vida allí mismo donde estás (One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are) by Ann Voskamp and was impacted by her thought-provoking and engaging writing style and was excited at the idea of the same ministry on a level Elizabeth and DJM could appreciate.

Incidentally, Ann Voskamp’s writing style reminds me of that of Sally Lloyd-Jones in two more of our family’s favorites: The Jesus Storybook Bible: Every Story Whispers His Name and Song of the Stars: A Christmas Story (and another new Christmas treasure).

Before even having children, I longed for them to develop a right perspective and understanding of why we celebrate Christmas! Even though Unwrapping the Greatest Gift is meant to be read starting on December 1st, celebrating Advent and counting down the days until December 25th, we started reading it this past week as a devotional, appreciating the greatest of all stories and getting ideas for how we will read it again (and make the Jesse Tree ornaments!) later this year. We are still, after all, in the Twelve Days of Christmas right now!

I see Unwrapping the Greatest Gift as yet another tool for equipping our own minds and our children’s minds, meditating on God’s great truths and plumbing the depths of meaning of our salvation.

I love tools that take me back again and again to the precious truth behind His Name:

You shall call His name Jesus, for Hwill save His people from their sins.

And for years now, I’ve liked the idea of a Jesse Tree; I just hadn’t taken the time to fully explore the idea. A main point of this devotional-style book is the interactive value of making an accompanying ornament for each Bible story. Lord willing, we’ll now look forward to making our family’s first Jesse Tree this coming December.

And just as I was writing this post, I discovered that Unwrapping the Greatest Gift: A Family Celebration of Christmas is 50% off at right now!