Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Christmas Chocolatadas

Photos from a coaches' and a local team's chocolatada

A "chocolatada" is a Christmas gathering unique to Peru. It is a friendly, relaxed gathering where hot chocolate (thick and cinnamon flavored) and panettone (Italian fruit bread) is served. We also played games and had a time of teaching and prayer.

Friday, December 19, 2014

The Perks of Being Active

When Dave and I went to meet with the adoption psychologist and social worker a few months ago, we were nervous. We knew that I was on the edge of the guideline used for parental age limits to adopt a young child and Dave was barely over the edge. Also, we knew that they also have guidelines to try to keep natural birth order in adoption. This meant that we would need to be approved to adopt a child at least 1 year younger than Silas (2 years old or younger). The problem was that our ages would typically qualify us to adopt a child over 3 years old.
The social worker kept telling us that on one hand we were ideal parents and would offer a wonderful home environment for our new child...but I kept waiting for what she would say was on the other hand...finally I realized she didn't have anything to say about the other hand.  Dave loved it when she told us that though Dave was just over the limit, since he takes such and active role in parenting and is so fit :) she thought we would be great candidates for a child 2 years old or under (in order to keep Silas' birth order as the "older" sibling).
We are thrilled to be officially on the waiting list to be matched with our child. We know that it is in God's timing and continue to pray for our new baby and for patience in the waiting. We covet your prayers for us at this time. Thanks for your support in the journey.

Silas Turns "3" and Mende Turns "40 Something"

Silas with his cake

"Bubba" Levi helping Silas and his friend Mateo

Silas' first electric toothbrush

His new baseball and bat

Silas' favorite pastime
Silas helping Mommy blow out the candles

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Adoption in Peru

The Beginning of our Adoption Story

If you know us, you know how central our family is to our lives. I hope to write more about some of our most epic moments with our children in the next few months, as well as share more of my heart for adoption. For now, I'll share a few basic details. 

After years of praying and struggling with doubts about why we'd be terrible adoptive parents, we went to the informative session for adoption in Peru, in October 2011. We really walked in with high hopes and dreams about growing our family (albeit after a bazillion-year hiatus from anything baby). But to be honest, one thing we thought about as a potential road block was the expense involved. 

How Expensive is Adoption in Peru?

We soon were relieved to find out that for us, as Peruvian residents, adoption is similar to adopting through Social Services in the U.S. The only expenses are for documents like birth certificates and medical exams. This was a huge blessing to find out, when all we had been quoted was $20000-40000 to adopt internationally from the U.S. 

Time Frame

The process does have many steps (just like in the U.S.) and seems to either go really fast or really slow. So by the time we were put on the waiting list, 12 months had passed...typically once the waiting begins, it can be 9-12 months before a match is made by the expert panel and the phone call is made to deliver the news. Yet because our sweet addition has some health issues, his placement was a priority and progressed a bit faster. Four months later, at 14 months old, we brought him home. 

More details to come about the profound joy that adoption has brought into our home, but I wanted to share about the current progress with our second adoption.

Another Child, Aren't You Too Old? 

Why wouldn't we want more of the blessing of becoming a family through adoption? Sharing in the miracle of adoption, we have been able to experience a bit more of God's heart. We have learned that just like we prayed for and desired to be Silas' parents, God's heart has always been for us and His desire has been for our adoption into His family. It's amazing, He has desired us! Awesome!

So yes, we are in the process with hopes of adopting a little brother or sister. We have completed our classes (again), as well as our psychological/social evaluation. But, we are older :) and the rules have tightened a bit more, so we are asking you to join us in prayer. We will find out next week if we are approved to continue on in this process. So there it is...we look forward to sharing more in the near future...

Thanks so much for your arms of love and prayer that have surrounded us through these past 10 years of our lives as vagabonds! 

We love you dearly. M.

Best Job in the World

The Best Things About Being a Mommy

Need I say more?



but even...


Yes, being a Mommy is the toughest job in the world, but it's also the best, most fun and rewarding job,
Thank you God for my little and BIG blessings. 

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Freedom to Fail

Sometimes I get caught in the trap of thinking that God’s love and His perfect plan is only perfect when I am perfect. I read His Word and I see TRUE love demonstrated as I hear John 3:16 repeated once again,  “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Yet do I truly believe it or am I a faker? Do I believe that God loves me, JUST because he loves me? Or do I believe what I do not voice; that God loves me when… I stand boldly for him, I am a leader in the church, or I perform some self-sacrificing act?

In Posers, Fakers, & Wannabes, Brennan Manning says, “Here’s the thing: It’s no trick to feel loved by God with our lives together and our support systems in place. Self-acceptance comes easy when we feel strong.” So what happens when I miss the game-winning shot, or despite hours studying, I get a low mark on a test, or I haven’t made time for God for a whole week? That is when I feel like ignoring Him even more because I don’t want to get near enough and see disappointment in His eyes.

If only I could just remember his Word (maybe I should nail his reminders to my wall or tack them to my bathroom mirror). Like in Romans 5, “For one will scarcely die for a righteous person - though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die - but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us,” or 2 Corinthians 12, “But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”

God has been teaching me not to run from Him when I fail, but to lay my failures at His feet and let Him refresh me. How can He ever get the glory for what He is doing with my life when I always try to take the credit, whether good or bad? Never-the-less, I praise God that He chose me - while I was still a sinner! He knows my heart and that I am not always thinking of others first or weeping over the lost. Yet in the middle of it all, He chose to use me for his glory, right where I am. This realization has helped me to relate to the families and youth we are working with, and even my own family. He is teaching me how to extend the same grace to others that He has lavished on me. He has called me to run to Him for strength and restoration when I fall. Most of all, He desires me to give him the glory when I succeed (or even when I fail), because it is all part of His perfect plan. 

Therefore, there is now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death. Romans 8:1-2

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Amelia is a girl that lives on the outskirts of Lima. As is common in Peru, her parents are separated, so she lives with her mom and brothers. Between her siblings, there are three fathers in the picture and her mom now has a new boyfriend. Two brothers are older and are not around much, and she has a baby brother that she helps take care of in the mornings while her mom is working. 

Since her father left the home when she was 11, she has resented him and struggled with depression. When he came to visit for her twelfth birthday, she let him know that, since she felt she was unwanted by him, she did not want him in her life either. Two years passed without a visit and the walls of self-defense continued to grow.

The first time she was spotted by the neighborhood SF coach was about four months ago. She watched with interest as other girls her age begin to arrive for a summer Bible program. Since the coach lives in the neighborhood, she could see that most of the time, Amelia could be found hanging around on the street.  A few weeks later when the coach began the first neighborhood SF volleyball practice, once again she noticed Amelia watching.  She approached her and asked if she liked volleyball. Of course her answer was ‘yes,’ - she had only been waiting for an invitation to join them. Though she had no previous experience, she was happy to be accepted by the group and begun regularly attending practice. 

After getting to know her coach and some of the other girls, Amelia started to smile a little bit more. Also, once she began receiving love, learning about Jesus, and being mentored by her coach, she started sharing some of her hurts, disappointments, and the walls she had built up. When she learned that God is her Heavenly Father who has always wanted her, she was filled with joy and decided to pray to receive Christ as her Savior. She immediately began to experience the peace of His presence. Since then, besides a new countenance, there have been many changes in Amelia. She started attending the local church and desperately wants to learn more about Jesus. As a result, she not only attends the youth activities, but also all of the adult Bible studies.

Last month, Amelia turned 14, and her transition to a new high school in the afternoons has been difficult. Along with the burden she carried of a broken relationship with her dad, she started to experience a common temptation of the teen years: to seek love and acceptance in relationships with boys. When she shared this, her coach began to challenge her to put her faith into action both in her relationships with her dad and at school. God through Jesus’ love in Amelia, has restored her relationship with her dad and continues to work in her life. Her mentor has noticed that after her decision to follow Christ, she has a new enthusiasm at practice, church and in life. She knows she must cling to Christ and walk in His grace. She also knows she will always find support in her SF coach and new church family.

written by: Mende Kitzman & Andrea Obregon

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Photo Ops - Family Time

Family Time

Preparing to leave Peru for our trip to the U.S.

Bubba (Levi) and Silas

Oscar's Move

Oscar's Move

Many of you may remember Oscar. He is the guy that was working with Dave when we first started the sports ministry in Lima. Dave spent many hours training, discipling, supervising and working with Oscar. The "plan" was that Oscar would take over and lead the ministry that Dave had started. 
Well, Dave was very discouraged to learn that after over a year of training Oscar to lead the team in Condevilla, Oscar and his family decided to move. They would be moving about 4 hours south of Lima, to the town of Ica. Despite our disappointment, we began to pray for Oscar and Condevilla. Well, you may also remember how God answered a part of our prayer, in that Flavio and Manuel will be leading the ministry in Condevilla.
The other part of that, is that while we were thinking of what a waste the time spent with Oscar had been for expanding the ministry, God had better plans to multiply the ministry and to reach new areas. Oscar returned to Lima to participate in the Sports Friends Basic Training and went back to his new community, and partnered with his new church in order to begin to use sports to minister to a new set of youth within his new community.
Please pray with us for Oscar, Tonya, Oliver and Owen in their new city, home and ministry. Pray also that the young people of Ica will see Christ's love though their ministry and come to a saving knowledge of Him.

May 2013- New Sports Friends Teams in Action

Newly trained life coaches with their groups

JeanPierre teaching at Cancha Mauta in San Martin de Porres

Flavio teaching at Cancha La "Q" in Condevilla