Category Archives: Family

March Ministry Update

Hello from Guatemala! We hope everyone is doing well, and we’re praying for all of you during this trying time that we’re in. There are currently 20 people in Guatemala who are infected with the virus, and in order to contain it the president has closed schools, most businesses, all public transportation, all flights, and there is a mandatory curfew every afternoon at 4. The market and grocery stores are still open a few hours everyday, so we have enough food. Our girls have been off from school this past week and here at the house. The teachers were nice enough to give them lots of homework to keep them busy! And they’re enjoying spending the time learning to cook new foods with Yuliza. The curfew is a new thing that just started this weekend, and it’s very bizarre to be stuck at home so early and have the normally very busy streets so empty and quiet.


Most people that come to our feeding programs live day-by-day, and these new restrictions have affected them hard. We’ve had to cancel our feeding program and Bible study, but our group, DBO Ministries, has been buying food and supplies for the families. But there are many poor, homeless, and shoe shiners who we haven’t located. Please keep them in your prayers.


Los Gozosos is an incredible orphanage in our town that ministers to children with special needs, and they invited me to join their board of directors about a year ago. They’re going through a trying time as they care for their children. Groups regularly visit and they’re the biggest source of income, but with the flight cancellations, the home is in great need in order to pay their workers.


Our Girls

Back: Mary & Sandra; Front: Ana, Margaret & Karla

This year we welcomed a new girl, Mary, into our family. She is 18 and in 9th grade. We got to know her when she had to live in Casa Shalom about 5 years ago. She returned with her mother, but they were having trouble making ends meet. And we’re so thrilled and blessed to be a help to her and her family.
Sandra is a senior this year, and she’s studying to be a preschool teacher. She has an internship at a local school near us every afternoon and stays super busy as she prepares for graduation at the end of the year. Ana entered high school this year at a new school where she is learning to be a secretary. She is very excited about this new stage of life and is always working on her shorthand and improving her English. And Karla is in 9th grade. She loves cooking and is Yuliza’s constant shadow. And of course, Margaret is in the middle of everything and loves having a bunch of older sisters!
We’re blessed to be able to invest in the lives and futures of these girls. It never ceases to amaze me how unique and special our girls are and how wonderful it is to feel like a big family.


Alfonso & Julio

If you recall, we had two guys, Alfonso and Julio, who used to live with us several years ago. Because of a situation that arose, we had to ask them to leave our home, and it was a really difficult time. We were particularly sad about Alfonso because he had been with us for three years, and we love him a lot.
We hadn’t had any contact with Alfonso for a few years besides a message every once in a while. So we were so excited when he decided to come spend Christmas with us! (You can see him kind of hiding in the back of this picture)
We’re happy to have his friendship again and we would really appreciate your prayers for him as he is still very unstable in life and is always changing where he lives.
We also have been talking to Julio, and he also needs your prayers as he’s in-and-out of rehabilitation centers due to alcohol. He’s back in a center now, and we’d love to see him get better.


Margaret & Isabella

Isabella has her first birthday in just a few weeks! She is an incredibly happy and energetic baby who loves to be the center of attention at all times and play peek-a-boo nonstop. We love her laughs and the joy she brings to our family.
And Margaret is a wonderful big sister who takes such joy in having a sister. Margaret is in first grade and loves learning how to read and write. It’s been interesting as her school is in Spanish, but her primary language in the house is English. And her favorite class is one that teaches Kaqchikel, which is the local Mayan language of our part of the country. (There are 23 native languages other than Spanish in Guatemala) Her teacher is a native speaker of Kaqchikel, and Margaret loves learning new words. She wants to be trilingual and loves asking her teacher how to say new things.


Thank You

Thank you for your continued prayers and support for us! We’re grateful for God’s goodness and for all of your help. We’re so blessed to be able to serve the poor, lost, and less fortunate here in Guatemala. It’s a rare privilege to be able to do what we do. Thank you so much for making it possible!
During hard times like these, when so many conveniences that are often taken for granted suddenly disappear, we are presented a unique opportunity to have conversations and share with people that otherwise just wouldn’t happen. I pray that we all take advantage of this time to point everyone around us to the hope and peace that can be found in our loving Heavenly Father.
Here are a few prayer requests:

  • Pray for our girls: Sandra, Mary, Ana and Karla. Pray that they would grow and mature emotionally, mentally, and spiritually, and that they would continue to seek the Lord and His will for their lives. Pray for Celia as she continues to look for a job. Pray that she would trust in the Lord for her future.
  • Pray for all the people who are affected by the coronavirus: The sick, the unemployed, the hungry, and the fearful. Pray that we can be a light in this world!
  • Please continue to pray for us with immigration. We are supposed to travel to the US in May, but we can’t with the current travel restrictions. It’s an interesting time to live in another country.

Thank you so much and God bless,
Brent, Yuliza, Margaret & Isabella

December Ministry Update

Merry Christmas!

Hello and Merry Christmas from Guatemala! This Christmas season Yuliza and I are so excited to celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary! The time has both flown by and also feels like it was long ago that I watched her walk down the aisle. We’re so blessed to be together, and it’s always amazing to think back through the years about how faithful and good God has been with us.


Celia Graduated from High School

Our girl Celia graduated from high school in October. We’re so proud of her for her accomplishment. She’s been with us longer than any other kids, and we know how many obstacles she’s had to overcome in order to make it to this point in her life. We first met her as a child at Casa Shalom where she lived for two years. After her family received custody of her again, we maintained communication with her and her family. After elementary school, there were no opportunities for further education in her home village, and we received her parents’ permission to have her come live with us for these past six years. She’s the first one in her family to finish high school, and she graduated with a degree as a preschool teacher. Please pray for Celia as she searches for her first job, and pray that she seeks the Lord’s will for her life.


Christmas Parties!

We have a tradition of throwing Christmas parties every year with the various groups that we work with, and this year was no different with three parties in all. The first was with our Monday night Bible study group where we enjoyed a bonfire, marshmallows, pizza, songs & a movie together. The next one was with all the shoe shiners, poor and needy which we held in our town’s central park. We served 150 traditional Guatemalan tamales, shared the great news of what Jesus has done for us, let the kids jump in some bounce houses, and gave away some clothes. Finally, we went to Casa Shalom where we had a big pizza party and games.

The most amazing thing to me was that we always ask for help in order to do these parties because the cost can be high to feed this many people. Well, 100% of the money came from Guatemalans, and of that, 70% came from kids who have lived with us! We were so blessed by the outpouring of help and love. We were able to give 120 pizzas, 150 tamales, ice cream, drinks, chips & marshmallows. And the best part is that it gave us the opportunity to share God’s love and good news to so many people!

There are lots more pictures & videos on the Facebook page of our group of friends who serve together with us: www.facebook.com/dboministeriosgt

Margaret & Isabella

Isabella is a very active and curious 8 month old baby. She always wants to try new foods and is constantly watching and wants to do whatever her older sister is doing. Margaret is an amazing big sister, and is such a sweet girl. She just turned 7 in November.

One of my concerns as we planned starting a family was knowing that there could be some disapproval from our children about the lifestyle and ministry that Yuliza and I have chosen. Our lives can be busy, and they have to share their parents with other kids. And there could be a lot of confusion as they travel back and forth between Guatemala and the United States and experience such different cultures.

Margaret is now getting to the age where she’s really analyzing everything and has lots of questions. Last month we were visiting my parents and one afternoon she said, “Daddy, why did you decide to go to Guatemala?” And we talked about the heart that God has given me to help children in need and how that led me here. It’s fascinating to see her analyzing everything. I see her enjoying all the playgrounds, restaurants and toys in the United States, and she loves them all. And I also see her happy and content that we’re able to help other kids here in Guatemala to have a family. It’s very exciting to see her grow up, and see her loving heart. I would appreciate your prayers for her and Isabella, that they would have our heart to help others and share God’s love with other kids!


Thank You!

Thank you for your continued prayers and support for us!
We’re so grateful for God’s goodness and for all of your help. We’re so blessed to be able to serve the poor, lost, and less fortunate here in Guatemala. As we reflect over all the years that we’ve been here, we’re so grateful for the continued support. It’s a rare privilege to be able to do what we do. Thank you so much!

Here are a few prayer requests for us:

  • Pray for Yuliza’s immigration status in the United States. We’ve run into some difficulties, and we’re still waiting for an answer from the immigration office.
  • Pray for Margaret & Isabella as they grow up in two very different cultures
  • Pray for our girls: Sandra, Ana and Karla, as the new school year starts in January. Pray for Celia as she looks for a job after graduation.
  • Pray for the kids that will come to live with us this next year. We are talking to some about coming to live with us, and we want to find the right kids who will take advantage of the opportunity that we’re offering.
  • Pray for our Monday night meetings, that we would be able to reach new shoe shiners, alcoholics & poor who need to know the Lord. Pray that our meetings would be a great time of reconciliation, growth, and following after our Heavenly Father!

Thank you so much and God bless,
Brent, Yuliza, Margaret & Isabella

April Update

Meet Isabella Joy!

We’re so excited to announce that our daughter, Isabella Joy, was born on Wednesday, April 10th! She weighed 6 pounds, 10 ounces and was 19.5 inches. She’s been healthy and is sleeping well, and Yuliza is recovering well. Margaret is very excited to have a new baby sister and wants to help her learn new things every day. So our family continues to grow, and we’re so blessed to have all six of our girls!

Baptisms

Last month we had the privilege of baptizing two of the shoeshiners who have been regularly attending our Monday night Bible studies. Victor is the older man, and he was so excited that he invited his wife, children and grandchildren that live far away in the mountains to come and celebrate with him. And Pedro is the young man, and he is very excited to be seeking the Lord’s will for his life. It was a great honor for Ronald and I to be asked to baptize them!

Thank You!

Thank you for your continued prayers and support for us! We’re so grateful for God’s goodness and for all of your help. Here are a few prayer requests:

  • Pray for Margaret, Celia, Sandra, Ana and Karla as they adjust to having a new baby in the house, and for Yuliza and I as this is a very busy time for us with a lot less sleep.
  • Pray for Margaret and our girls that they continue to do well in school and also that they would grow in their relationships with the Lord.
  • Pray for our Monday night meetings, that we would be able to reach new shoe shiners, alcoholics & poor that need to know the Lord.
  • Pray that all of our financial needs would be met.

Thank you so much and God bless,
Brent, Yuliza, Margaret & Isabella

January Ministry Update

Happy New Year!

I hope that everyone had a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! This newsletter is going out a little later than I planned, but here are some pictures from the activities and happenings here in Guatemala.

December 10th: Monday Night Christmas Party

We had a fun party with our Monday Night Bible Study group with piñatas, roasting hotdogs and marshmallows over a fire, and a movie.

December 14th: Christmas Party in the Park

We served 150 typical Guatemalan holiday meals of tamales, bread and a fruit cider called “ponche”.  A friend lent us some bounce houses for the children, and I shared about the true joy of the season. 
It was a great time to celebrate God’s love and provision throughout the year and to fellowship with the people in the park that we serve on a weekly basis.

December 14th: Serving the Homeless in Antigua

We took another 100 tamales the same night to Antigua, where there’s a large homeless population. We enjoyed spending time with the people, playing with the kids, praying for their needs and passing out the meals.

December 25th: Christmas

Christmas in Guatemala starts early at 6 AM on the 24th as we begin making a huge pot of tamales. The process continues through the day until they’re ready in the evening. We spend the day with Yuliza’s family and invite all our current and previous children to join us. The main celebration begins at midnight Christmas morning with lots of fireworks, we eat the tamales, and then we make a bonfire in the street and enjoy goofing off, eating and spending time together. Margaret had a blast this year, staying up until 2 AM. Around 4 AM we crashed and slept late, and then went out to watch a movie together in the afternoon.
We had hoped that Julio, Alfonso and Alejandro, who had lived with us before, would come and join us, but they didn’t make it. I was very excited to be able to see them, but we’ll keep trying to invite them over.

December 26th: Our 9th Wedding Anniversary

Yuliza & I celebrated our 9th wedding anniversary the day after Christmas, and we spent the afternoon in Antigua enjoying all the Christmas lights with Margaret. I’m so blessed to have such an incredible family, and we’re so excited to meet our new girl in April!

December 28th: Christmas with Casa Shalom

We served 150 tamales with the children and workers of Casa Shalom. This is the Christian orphanage where Yuliza and I were working when we met each other 12 years ago, and we typically visit and spend time with the kids on a monthly basis. We brought bounce houses and played soccer and basketball with the kids and had a great time together!
One part that really blessed my heart was that over half of the cost of all these Christmas activities was provided by the young adults who have lived with us over the years. Flora, a girl who lived with us and got married back in April, brought her new in-laws to see the orphanage where she grew up, and we had a good time getting to know them better.

January 1st: New Year’s Celebration

The New Years celebration here is quite similar to Christmas: lots of food, fireworks, and fun until the wee hours of the morning! We cooked a turkey and a ham and had a great time hanging out together. Edwin, Jenifer, Cesar and Carlos came to join us.

January: Luke’s visit, girls are back in school & lots of construction

My good friend Luke came from Austin to visit for two weeks in January and we had a great time hanging out, fishing, cooking lots of foods, and hiking a volcano. 
The girls are all now back in school. Celia is a Senior, Sandra is a Junior, Ana is a Sophomore, and Karla is in eighth grade. Margaret started kindergarten and is thrilled to be back with her friends. Sandra also just turned 21 and we enjoyed celebrating with her. 
And the road construction in our neighborhood started about 3 weeks ago to install sewer lines. They had to dig a trench over 15 feet deep in some parts, and they made it very difficult to walk down the street, as you can see in the pictures above. In the process, the water pipes were broken, so we didn’t have water for about two weeks. Luke had a busier time than planned helping dig us out! The progress is slow, but most of the holes are mostly filled in now, and the water was reconnected this week. Hopefully we’ll be able to get our car to the house soon!

Here’s a video to give an idea about what the road work is like

Thanks so much for your continued support and prayers over the years! As we start another year, we’re so grateful and humbled to be able to serve here in Guatemala. We’re excited to meet our new baby girl in three months, and Margaret is so excited to soon be a big sister. She loves rubbing her mommy’s tummy and talking about possible names. 

We’re also proud of our girls and love to watch them grow up. Our prayer is that we consistently model their Heavenly Father and His incredible love for them. We pray that they grow to love and trust Him, and that they seek His will for their lives. His love has transformed my life, and has filled me with peace and hope. We’re going to be spending the next few weeks studying what the Bible shows us and teaches us about His love, and we’d appreciate your continued prayers for them.

Thanks and God bless, 
Brent, Yuliza & Margaret


5 Years Together!

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At the end of December Yuliza and I celebrated 5 years of marriage! God is so good to us! I am so incredibly blessed to have such a wonderful wife, and we are so blessed to have such a sweet daughter!

We’d appreciate your prayers for our family. It can be very difficult to balance our family life with the ministry. We stay pretty busy, and there’s almost always someone around. So we would greatly appreciate your prayers for wisdom and guidance!

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Can you believe that it’s been that long already?

Margaret’s Dedication

I prayed for this child, and the Lord has granted me what I asked of him. So now I give him to the Lord. For his whole life he will be given over to the Lord.

1 Samuel 1:27-28

For years Hannah prayed for a child, and she was filled with joy when God answered her prayers and gave her Samuel. Her gratitude and commitment to God, captured in these verses, is so beautiful.

We’re also incredibly grateful that God has blessed us with a baby! It has been a desire on our hearts for a long time. There were lots of complications during the pregnancy, and it’s so incredible to finally hold our new baby! Like Hannah, we have the desire and obligation to now dedicate Margaret’s life to the Lord and raise her in a way that glorifies Him.

On Sunday we presented her to our church and prayed and dedicated her to the Lord. He’s so incredibly good to us! It was great to have my mom with us for this special day of celebration and dedication.

Thank you Lord!

 

 

 

We’d really appreciate your prayers for as well: that we would glorify God in the way we raise Margaret, and that she would love and follow Him.

Mom meets Margaret

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It was great to have my mom come stay with us for a while! She came down to meet Margaret and to help us out as we adjust to being new parents. The guys also really enjoyed having her visit because she’s a great cook, and we had a great time being all together. I don’t think that she had a very relaxing vacation with us. Oops!

She had to return to the US yesterday, and I’m missing her already!