jueves, 12 de julio de 2018

June Craziness

The past month or so has not at all been what I had expected. The Fraley family over the past few years is truly like a second family to me, they are amazing! Well, on the morning of June 5th I got word that the one of their boys, James, was in the ICU and the next day got the devastating new that their other son, Xander, unexpectedly passed away. While still laying in bed, I turned to Stevie and said, "I'm right that there is no way we can afford for me to go be with them, right?" and he responded, "I think we need to make it be alright." The following days were stressful as we tried to sort out the details of everything and dealing with the U.S. embassy to get my passport back (it had been there because of dealing with my name change). Finally everything was figured out, I flew out on June 10th. Stevie, being the amazing husband and father that he is, insisted that I head to Ohio for 2 weeks and that he would stay behind to hold down the fort. My awesome brother, Jeremiah stayed around the house an extra lot to help out. (Did I mention how incredible my husband is?!?!)

We got in late Sunday night (Taryn went too. She had been planning on taking a trip to the states later this year, but bumped up her trip considering the circumstances). Tuesday evening my dad did a beautiful marmoreal service celebrating the wonderful life of Xander.

Boy do I miss his smile!

Most of my time in the Ohio was spent with the Fraleys.... it was so nice to be able to be with them again. There was a lot of talking, crying and laughing over those 2 weeks. (Seriously guys, these are some of the coolest people I know)

I even got to visit James in the hospital 

I was so happy to get to spend some time with my in-laws, my sister and her family and a few friends. (Sadly, I just kept forgetting to take pictures so this is basically all of them
:( )

I absolutely hated the circumstances of me being there, but I had such a good time with everyone... but man was it hard being away from Stevie and the kids. I am so thankful for the time I got to spend with everyone. Please continue to pray for Guy and Amy and the kids as they continue to figure out life after tragedy.

jueves, 8 de marzo de 2018

Worthy of the Calling

As you know we have been praying and trying to figure out what Gods next step is for us and we have come to a decision... Guatemala is home to us and for this moment in our lives it is going to stay that way. Through this confusing year of figuring out where I/(then it changed to) we were supposed to go, God has definitely put Liberia on our hearts, and I don't know what that will mean for our futures. Maybe we will just continue to be prayer partners with the people on the ground there, maybe down the road we will still end up there or maybe God has something completely different planned for us.... I have no idea. It truly has been a very big, full and crazy year and I really am unsure of what that means for the future, but for the moment we are here. We get to minister to the people of Guatemala, we get to love on our 9 amazing (albeit often quite ornery and defiant) children and we get to grow in our relationship with God and with each other in a country we both know and love. We get to strive each and every day to live the way God has called us and to raise our children to know and love Him. Thank you for all your continued prayer and support, we need it now more than ever as our home continues to grow. 

martes, 6 de febrero de 2018

Love Until You Break

Time and time again, I have heard the phrase "love until it hurts", and there is so much truth to that. But sometimes, it goes further than that. I can say from experience, it doesn't always stop there, often hurt ends up breaking you. You find yourself wondering if you can continue... Sometimes it's you wondering if you can continue in your job, or your calling, and sometimes it's you wondering if you can continue in life.

On January 19th, we lost our little Analia. When we got the call back in May, wondering if we would accept this little girl, we knew she would die in our care (she had a rare condition that made her a terminal case). Because of this, I wanted to say no to her. I didn't want to open myself up to love someone so much, to become her mom and love her as my own, if I would just have to say goodbye to her (I knew that that was not the right way to approach the situation, but that is what my emotions were saying). Taryn had a level head about it, she knew we had to say yes to this little girl because she needed our love. Taryn was my voice of reasoning. At Analia's funeral, as Stevie and the other guys lowered our little girl into the ground, I leaned over to Taryn and through tears said, "Thank you for convincing me that we needed to take her". 
Love until you break. 

On Saturday we had to say goodbye to our Samuel. He has been with us since June and has brought so much joy, energy and noise to this house. His family situation is rough and we thought he would be with us long term, seeing as his previous court hearing he was told he would never be able to be returned to his aunt and uncle (who, up until this point, were the only people who showed any interest in Samuel). But on January 30th our hearts broke as we were informed that a brother (who Samuel didn't seem to recognize at all) showed up out of nowhere and said that he wanted Samuel. We love Samuel like crazy, he is our boy, but we had no choice but to send him away.
Love until you break.

I have read that there is a Japanese art of fixing pottery called Kintsugi. This is a centuries-old technique that uses a special lacquer (mixed with platinum, silver or gold) to put broken pottery back together. This technique is used to celebrate the potteries history and beautify and strengthen the pottery as a whole, rather than to hide the broken parts.

I think that this is a beautiful representation of what God does in us. Everyone says "God will let you bend, but he wont let you break." I do not believe that to be true. He does let us break, he just promises that He will always be there to pick us up and put us back together. He allows us to break so that we can be turned into the beautiful, strengthened creation that he wants us to be. Right now, it's pretty impossible to see why God took Analia away and why he sent Samuel back to his family. I don't know why or how God is using these thing to shape us, but I trust that he is, and I trust that he also knows what he is doing through all of this.

So, open yourself up, be vulnerable... love until you break.

viernes, 26 de enero de 2018

Prayer for future

I will have a blog post about our little, Analia coming very soon, but I was working on this post before she passed, so I decided to get this out while I continue working on the new one...

I am writing this blog post simply to inform everyone on where Stevie and I are at the moment and ask for your prayers for wisdom. I am going to be open and honest about all of our thoughts and feelings so that all of you can see that we are trying to figure out our next steps, but we are in no way taking them lightly. We are bathing this in prayer and we just need others to step up and pray with us and for us. This is also a random compilation of our thoughts, so it is not written very well, and I'm sorry about that, but there is really no smooth way of doing a post like this.

A few weeks ago my dad sat down with me and Stevie because he said that he and some others have not seen a passion and a drive from us to get to Liberia. He was in no way being critical or judgmental, just making a statement and asking us where our passion is. After some talking both Stevie and I confirmed that our passion and love is here in Guatemala, but that in no way would that stop us from following Gods call. So my dads next question was, how confident were we in Gods call to Liberia... That was a hard question to answer. Basically, in February of last year, I felt God telling me that there was something new ahead of me. I prayed that he would show my Dad what that was, and about 3 days later (without knowing that I had been praying this way), my dad approached me about going to Liberia. After some time praying together, it just felt right, so I made the commitment and started taking the steps towards that (packing up life in Uganda and returning to Guatemala until everything was ready for me to head to Liberia). In the meantime, me and Taryn started up the second group home in Guatemala, and Stevie and I started a relationship. Here we are, starting 2018 married with 9 kids, and we have no idea what is ahead.

On the other side, in Liberia they have been working so, very, hard to prepare for us to get there. They are hiring new staff, people who are doing amazing work. Through all of the "preparation" for us to join them, some amazing changes have been made to get this home organized and make huge improvements in the care of these children. One of my first thoughts was, "If they have been preparing so much, how can we pull out now?"... But then I realized, what if they needed a "commitment" from us to get this portion of the ministry off the ground? What if this home really is supposed to be fully run by Liberians, but they just needed a push to get it off the ground, and God used us for that (I am not saying that this is the case, I am just voicing my thoughts)? Our friends there on the ground have made it clear that they know God has everything in control, and they just want us in Gods will whether that is here or there. They have relieved us of any prior commitments to them for the time being, and are praying with us and for us as we seek God's will for our future.

Ever since I felt the personal call to missions, I made a promise that a relationship with a guy would never get in the way of Gods call on my life. I can honestly say that this relationship, this marriage, is not what has made us unexcited to go to Liberia. It is our strong love for these kids, our kids, that has kept us from having the excitement of getting to Liberia. We really do love these kids as our own, and the thought of leaving them breaks our hearts. We hurt so much at even the thought of moving away..... However sometimes God calls us to things that are impossibly difficult.

Over the years, I have met so many people that have stated with certainty that God was calling them to do _______ (fill in the blank), but then they meet someone, or they go back to school, or they get a new job, and suddenly Gods calling no longer seems important. To be honest, I have been so frustrated with person after person who has done this, that it has impaired my ability to think and pray in the correct way concerning the possibility of staying here. My frustration with these people has very much been a factor in trying to make this decision because I don't want people to judge me the way I have judged others. God is really changing my heart on that. God has reminded me that I don't know their whole story. And that is why I am trying to tell the whole story. No matter the outcome of this decision, I want you all to know that this is not a decision we take lightly. This decision affects our families, our marriage, our ministry... our entire lives.

Basically, we have no idea what is going to happen (and sorry again for the awkward writing, as it is just a bunch thoughts just thrown together). Both Stevie and I are willing to go and willing to do whatever God asks of us no matter how hard it is, we are just waiting on word from him. We are praying and seeking God's will for our lives. Not only that, we are also seeking counseling from a few people who are close to us, and that we consider to be very wise and Godly people. But we do not want opinions of others clouding our judgement as we seek God in making this huge life decision. So, respectfully, please do not write us giving us your thoughts and opinions. Instead, please be praying for us for wisdom, clarity of mind, and word from God as to what our next step is. We are willing to follow Him anywhere and we are willing to do anything He wants from us.

Thank you all for your prayers, support and encouragement.

jueves, 14 de diciembre de 2017

Our insane, always changing lives!

For months now I have known how badly I needed to update everyone. But so much has been going on that every time I tried to sit down and type up an update, I just didn't know where to start. I would fumble around for a while, then run out of time and I would save it and try to come back to it later, but I could never come up with a decent update because I just didn't know how. It is also very easy to forget about my blog because I do regularly post on Facebook, and sometimes I forget that people are not seeing updates there. But this time, no matter how poor my wording is, no matter how bad it sounds, this needs to get done. So please, bear with me! Here is a quick update update on life...

The past few months have been a whirlwind! Within 6 months time, I went from being single and independent, to being mother of 9 children, and then married. Life is beyond crazy, but also beyond amazing!!! So for anyone who does not really know what has been happening, I will give a very brief  overview. In May, my sister, Taryn, and I moved into a house down the street from my parents and started taking in kids. About the same time, I started dating my best friend, Stevie. Within no time, Taryn and I had 9 kids in our home and Stevie and I were engaged. Then started the insane 3 month engagement... planning a Guatemala wedding and trying to plan a U.S. wedding as well (thankfully we have an amazing friend in Ohio that took care of all the U.S. Stuff!), and doing all that while caring for 9 kids and trying to keep up with everything.... needless to say, I'm glad that the insanity of  that phase has passed. 

On November 3rd we had our Guatemala wedding. It was absolutely amazing having all my kids, all my parents' kids, and all our Guatemala friends and family celebrating together. We also had Stevie's mom, my grandparents, my aunt and her sister-in-law, and our friend who photographed the wedding (and did an incredible job!) all fly in for our wedding. It was absolutely beautiful!!!! Stevie and I then flew to Ohio on November 6th. The next 6 days we got to visit friends and family and work out the last few wedding details. Then on November 12th we got married again! This time with all our U.S. friends and family. This wedding was also absolutely beautiful as well.... it was just incredibly cold, but we made it through. We then got to go on a 5 day honeymoon. We drove out to PA and stayed at my aunt and uncles cabin in the woods. We had some wonderful, relaxing time with no responsibilities! It was really strange and absolutely amazing, just what we needed. After we drove back to Ohio we had just a few more days to spend time with family before heading back to Guatemala on the 20th..... just in time to go into the craziness of the holidays.

Now into the Liberia update...
I am still going, but I will now have my best friend, husband and ministry partner to go with me. We will still be doing the same work, we will just be a better team and be able to provide support to each other in it all (if you would like a reminder of the work we will be doing, feel free to go to my previous blog post, titled Adventure Awaits: When God Calls You Somewhere New, for the details). The plan was for us to head out in the spring, but that looks like it will be delayed. We are in the process of talking to the ministry partners there in Liberia to nail down specifics, but at the moment we are unsure of when we will be going because we are quite underfunded.

Ways you can help:
1. Donate! We have a lot to raise, and ideally we would like to be able to raise that money while here on the ground continuing our work, instead of having to head back to the States. If you feel God is calling you to donate, you can get the info at hopeforhome.org. Just be sure when you donate to specify that it is for the Liberia fund.
2. And of course pray! God is our provider in everything and we trust Him, please pray with and for us as we prepare. Pray for the ministry here in Guatemala, that He will help us be effective workers, and that we will be able to show all our children His love. Pray for the ministry in Liberia, that God will continue to help it thrive. Please pray for us as we make decisions that we will really hear God's will for us each step of the way.

Thank you all so much for your continued prayer and support.

From the crazy (and impossible to get a good picture) Chapin Family, Merry Christmas!!!

miércoles, 26 de abril de 2017

Adventure Awaits: When God Calls You Somewhere New

In February, when I came to Guatemala to visit the family, I was struggling so much with why God has called me to live so far away from the family. I began poring out my heart to God and praying for understanding. In that moment I felt Him remind me of the specific things he had called me to... First was to care for children with disabilities and second was to go to Uganda "until I call you somewhere new." I always assumed that those two would go hand in hand for years to come, but I felt as though God was telling me that things were maybe going to change very soon. Naturally my first thought and hope was "Guatemala!!!" and even though I am here right now.... He had a different idea starting in 2018. That night I started to pray that if He had something else planed for me that he would show my dad, so I would know that it was not from my own desires but His. Three days after I began praying about this, my dad asked if my mom and I could go to his office with him to talk for a few minutes. He proceeded to tell me of an opportunity in Liberia where I could oversee the opening of a community of homes for children with special needs. Over the next few weeks we all prayed and talked about it a lot, and we all feel at peace and that this is what the next step is for me. I do not know how long I will be in Liberia, I will be heading there in January of 2018 and will be there for at least a couple years, I am going to go and we will figure it out one step at a time. I may be there for 2 years, then back in Guatemala, or head back to Uganda, or somewhere else, or maybe I will be in Liberia for 15 years... I don't know, but God has called and I am walking.

The plan is to have a large property that we will build individual homes on. In each home there will be a mama or a married couple who looks after 5 or 6 kids. There will also be a community center on the property that will consist of space for everyone to come together for some meals and a therapy area. For all of this Hope for Home Liberia will be teaming up with two other existing ministries in Liberia to further the kingdom of God. My dad will be doing his own blog post before too long explaining the logistics of the ministries and some of the details a bit more, so stay posted for that.

My life in Liberia will be very different from any experience I have had. All things considered I have lived a fairly comfortable missionary life. In Uganda I experienced comfortable living situations but was on my own and had to figure everything out myself. In Liberia I will be joining existing projects so they will be able to show me around and help me navigate life there, but my living situation will be a stretch for me... I will be living in more of a village setting (as opposed to city or small town) and I will be living in a house that has no electricity and no water. This will be super new to me and will be a huge adjustment but I am following the call.

Below is a picture of my new prayer card. On my next blog update I will add a PDF for anyone who would like to print of my prayer card.

Prayer requests:
1. That God will continue to have his hand on the ministry that I am presently doing here in Guatemala.
2. That this time here will be a way to even better prepare for Liberia.
3. That He will help me as the move approaches... It is still months away, but this will be a huge change for me and will need extra help as those changes get closer.

Thank you to everyone who is praying for me and supporting me financially, I need you all now more than ever. God bless.

jueves, 6 de abril de 2017

Sudden move to Guatemala and all the insanity that comes with it...

I am so sorry that I did not get this done earlier, the past couple weeks have been insane. As many of you know, I am now living in Guatemala (again). Before I get into the details of the last 2 ½ weeks I want to take a moment to explain that this move is not me ignoring Gods call on my life. I always said that I was going to live in Uganda until God called me somewhere else, I imagined (and lived as if) that would be for years and years, but back in February, well…. He called me somewhere else (more on that coming very soon). So temporarily, I am in Guatemala to help with my parent’s ministry.

So, here is the breakdown of the past couple weeks….

Because of the orphan crisis going on in Guatemala, Hogar de la Esperanza received permission to open up a second home under the first home’s license. So on March 19th my parents asked Taryn and I if we would consider heading back to Guatemala earlier than expected to help get the second home started up (because of my experience with the first home, I am ready to jump right, if someone else were to open the home they would require extensive training). We spend the next 20 or so hours praying about it and we felt like that is where God wanted us, so we started preparations. Mom changed our tickets and we got busy with selling stuff, packing everything else, frantic goodbyes…. Lots of insanity. 8 days later (the 28th) we were on a plane. We landed in DC the following day and spent 2 days with my grandparents (the trip from Uganda to Guatemala can be around 50 hours, so being able to break it up a bit is super helpful), but then on the 31st we were back on a plane heading to Guatemala. We got here that evening and hit the ground running. We have spent the past few days unpacking and doing any other preparations on the home that can be done. 

Monday, the 27th, the ministry received the key to our new house. While we were doing last minute things in Uganda and traveling home, everyone in the ministry was kicking butt and getting all kinds of work done on the house.... it looks amazing! Here are some pictures of what it is looking like now, doors and windows will be installed (hopefully) today, plumbing was finished yesterday and a fridge was installed. Once the doors are installed will begin setting up the rooms a little better, getting everything in place. Now, we are only waiting to receive kids... Until then, we are continuing to make little changes and adjustments to the house to make transition as smooth as possible. 

Courtyard/ ministry parking

Kitchen (a.k.a my favorite room in the house)
Living room

This will be the dining room and (on the other side of the curtain)
 the changing room/laundry room 

From our roof you can see Hogar de la Esperanza (#1) and on the
other side of our house is Brittney and Joel's place
Mine and Taryn's bedroom
Intern room that is being used as storage right now

Boy's bedroom
Play room
Girl's bedroom
So this is where we are do far, working hard and getting stuff done. Hoping and praying that we will revived kids in the next couple days before the insanity of Semana Santa (Holy week) sets it.

For all my supporters, I know that I am not where I had planed, but I am still doing the work that was planned. If you would be willing to continue supporting me, that would be greatly appreciated. This role that I am taking on is not a paid position so I could really use the continued support. As always, I still need lots of prayer and emotional support, thank you to everyone who is continuing to stand by me as a prayer partner, financial partner, or both. God bless.