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!
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 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
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!
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.
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!
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.
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!