JANUARY - We started the New Year at the Passion conference in Atlanta. God has used that event to inspire and grow vision in us about our ministry here in Guatemala. We also spent several weeks preparing our house to be sold. We also took our very first support raising trip to Florida.
Our home on Amberton Lane!
FEBRUARY - 17 days after our house went on the market, we had a contract! WHOA! When God says GO he means it! We spent time training and equipping 18 college students for a Spring Break trip to Guatemala. It was also a month of goodbyes with our dear friends the Browns - who answered God's call to move to Washington, DC.
MARCH - We spent 2 weeks in our new homeland - the first week with 18 college students! We adore each and everyone of them! The 2nd week we looked at housing, Spanish schools - preparing the way for our big move. Upon returning the the states, we moved out of our house and into the Brown's empty house for four months.
Students working on a new home for Guatemalan family.
(That is their current home in the background)
APRIL - The highlight of the month was our big trip to Williamsburg and Washington DC. Our family of four joined the Brown family of six in their tiny apartment. It was a tight fit, but we loved every minute!! We especially loved biking to the monuments.
At the WWII memorial in DC.
MAY - The kids and I went to visit my brother in SC for his graduation from college. As we wrapped up the 4th and 2nd grade - we enjoyed several outings with the homeschool group and year-end parties.
JUNE - I returned to Washington, DC with 2 friends for a girls trip to visit Gay Brown. What a treasure to be with my kindred spirits and bosom friends! Lee & I also had the opportunity to go to Kerrville, TX for training with our mission agency Commission to Every Nation (CTEN). We were able to spend some one-on-one time with our ministry partners, Felis & Pedro Patlan.
JULY - We made a trip to Florida to see my family before the big move - the beginnings of the long goodbye. The calendar shows lots of dinners with friends. We made several outings to our favorite places with our favorite people - Aquarium, Coke Museum, Tellus Museum and more. We took a family trip with Lee's mom and brother's family to Chattanooga. We saw more aquariums and musuems...fun memories with the family. Our last week before leaving the country, we spent at the beach in St. Simons - just the four of us. What a welcome retreat after a long, exhausting but precious season of leaving home.
The Radford Clan in Chattanooga.
Patty, Beth, Blanton, Benjamin, Angel, Lee, Parker & AnnaKate
AGOSTO - On the 4th of August, four Radfords and 13 bags boarded a one-way flight bound for Guatemala City. Cultural assimilation began immediately - language school started on the 9th. We learned to get around town without a car, how to shop for groceries and made new friends.
La Merced Cathedral in Antigua.
SEPTIEMBRE - The calendar shows lots of check marks - which is how the kids ticked off the days of language school. Most of the month was spent in language school and getting used to RAIN, RAIN and more RAIN. The best thing that happened this month was meeting another family of missionaries in language school - our new friends, the Ericksons!
OCTUBRE - I participated in teaching at a Women's Retreat at Eagle's Nest. What fun to spend time with Guatemalan women studying the Word together. One highlight of the month was our first visitor from home - Lee's mom, Patty arrived. The kids were thrilled to see Mimi - and the huge pile of loot she managed to get in her bags. We loved showing her around our new home.
NOVIEMBRE - GRADUATION from language school. Praise the Lord! We loved our teachers, but that was one of the hardest things we have ever done. Studying a new language for 4 hours a day is not for sissies. We celebrated Thanksgiving with our friends the Ericksons and many more. Our friends, the Everswicks visited us at our new home in Panajachel. We were so encouraged and blessed by our time with their whole family,
DECIEMBRE - Our first trip home! We returned to the US for about 2 weeks. We were able to accomplish a ton of work, but the real treat was spending time with family and friends. (Also eating at Chickfila) We celebrated Christmas here in Pana and hosted my parents until New Year's.
Dining alfresco by the lake.
As I reflect on the year, I see God's grace and mercy throughout. It was a year of counting the cost for obedience. We had a lot to lay on the altar. Was there pain in the offering? Absolutely, but the blessing of obedience always exceeds the cost. We have no desire to go back and change our decisions. We are privileged to see his affirmation of this calling in many of our memories of 2010. As we look into 2011, we see the real work, sometimes hard work lies ahead. Our peace, comfort and courage come from knowing this - if our God is for us, then what can stand against us.