The Best Life Ever

Starting September 1, 2016 my wife/best friend and I get to start living the best life ever – a life focused on our marriage, our children and our ministry.
If you've read the first post in our blog, you know that Leiane and I started dating when we were pioneering; I was regular pioneering and Leiane was regular auxiliary pioneering. Through the last 17 years as we started our life together and began raising our children, we have always tried to keep our ministry at the center of our lives. We were a bit dismayed at times to think that by deciding to have a family, we put ourselves in a situation that would not allow us to spend as much time in the ministry as we wanted. We would auxiliary pioneer as much as possible, and did so together for a year while number three was 'cooking.' While we know Jehovah is pleased with any whole-souled service, the pioneer spirit was still burning in our hearts. But then, after Sebastian was born, we figured that it would be 15 years or more before we would be able to qualify for regular pioneer service. Imagine then, the excitement that brewed as we started considering and then planning to serve where the need is greater! Yes, restructuring our life has taken a LOT of time and effort, even stress and tears, but with Jehovah's help and concerted effort, we have leaped forward a number of years to our goal. It's definitely not perfect and we don't have everything figured out, but we’ll keep doing all we can and rely on Jehovah to supply us with all that we need to finish this race with endurance. Starting September 1, 2016 my wife/best friend and I get to start living the best life ever – a life focused on our marriage, our children and our ministry.

Madisyn did a great job on her first midweek meeting assignment here in Panajachel.
Leiane took Madisyn out for a special mother-daughter day.
Sebastian looking sly, ready for ministry across the lake in San Pedro.
The rest of the brothers were obviously confused, so Sebastian led the way in San Pedro.
While the rest of our group went out into the territory in San Pedro, Izabel and I got to work together at the public witnessing stand on the dock.
My little man! Sebastian was looking extra dapper for the Sunday meeting the other week. 
Leiane made some yummy ceviche tacos! Some ingredients are a little harder to come by here, but she still makes some amazingly tasty meals.
I think Lyla is starting to feel at home; what do you think?
Sebastian will often come up and climb up my back while I am working. This night, he climbed up and fell asleep there!
The panoramic view of our territory in San Marcos – second to none!
A couple Fridays ago we went across the lake to San Marcos for a day in the ministry. Majestic views, great weather, jungle terrain and great partners made it an unforgettable day as we hiked through trails that were barely there to find homes well hidden from any trace of civilization.

Drew, me, Pierce and Jessica take a moment for a group photo with a spectacular backdrop.
Drew and Jessica make their way through the jungle to find the next home.
Drew, Pierce and their visiting friend from Georgia, USA, Adrian, leading the way.
Pierce was following me and took a photo, as he said, because I 'looked like G.I. Joe.'
Though there were times were weren't sure there were any homes on the barely visible paths, chalk drawn flowers and arrows assured us we were headed the right way.
Bugs and plants grow a little bigger in the jungle-like atmosphere in San Marcos.
Three shoeshine boys take a break to watch Become Jehovah's Friend videos in the Kaqchikel language down by Lake Atitlán in Panajachel where Evie and I manned the public witnessing stand.
Two shoeshine boys go to work on my dingy looking footwear at lunch after service one day.
Q3 for a decent shine; that's about $0.39 US.
Only a few hundred feet into our hike up Volcan San Pedro, we were welcomed with this amazing view.
One of the attractions around Lake Atitlán is Volcan San Pedro, one of the three inactive volcanoes around the lake. Locals and tourists often hike San Pedro, but well over 25% of those that attempt it have to turn back. Described as an 'intermediate' hike, most that make it to the nearly 10,000 ft summit do so between two and half and four hours. Along the hike are fields of coffee bean plants, corn fields, maintained 'stairs,' a lookout shelter, and lots and lots of hills; it is an almost completely steady uphill climb. Leiane and a couple others almost didn't make it, but they pressed on and didn't become part of the percentage of hikers that turn back (which was tempting).

About one-third of the way up we were able to see the town of San Pedro from a lookout shelter.
Neto brought his drone and caught some incredible views from the top.
Our view at the peak of Volcan San Pedro where we stopped for lunch.
On the boat ride back from San Pedro, Tim and I try and get a couple more shots in. Its great having a fellow photographer and elder in the congregation.
Just having some fun at the expense of a well timed photo while in the ministry one day in Pana.
Tim really wanted a photo with the Dispensa Familiar mascot; he thought it would really creep his wife out.
He said, "Look I found a Pokemon." Hahaha!

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