21 days till we get married…
17 days till Christmas…
13 days till we come HOME-
It seems like much of our lives lately have been surrounding countdowns. Yet at the same time, if we were really honest with ourselves, instead of wishing away what we’re in the middle of right now, we are eagerly anticipating the wealth of goodness God continues to lay before us. In most areas of our lives, our mantra has become, "It just keeps getting better!" These past few weeks have been beyond description. Life is a constant daily adventure. And even in a South American country in the rainy season with few classic Christmas decorations, absolutely no real Christmas trees around, and no copies of It’s a Wonderful Life to be found, the spirit of Christmas is still very much in the air. Tim and I have counted ourselves blessed beyond words to live in this country, know these people, experience such rich community, and work in such unbelievable jobs that it hardly feels like work. Instead we find ourselves saying, “I can’t believe I get to live this life!!!”
This past Thursday, our school celebrated the Christmas season with an unmatched program of singing, skits, worship, and the gospel message. In a Christian school where only about 40% of the families claim to know Christ, it was a powerful time that we pray was life-changing for many parents and siblings as they watched the students rejoicing in the upcoming birth of our Savior. My class used their creative skills to dream up a skit called “Versions of Christmas: What Is Christmas Really About?” Not only did they put on a hilarious performance, but they ended by reciting Luke 2:10-11 together, “And the angel said to them, ‘Fear not, for behold I bring you good news of a great joy that will be for all the people! For unto you is born this day, in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord!’”
Tim and I are very much ready to get married! There has been a running countdown on my white board in my classroom of “______ days till Miss Brenton is Mrs. Scarborough!” It’s been fun to share our relationship with my kids, and pray that they have a glimpse of what it looks like when a couple finds a vision together through the Lord and attempts to build a relationship around Christ as the foundation. Needless to say, my class, in fact the entire school, has grown very fond of “Mr. Tim,” and just a few weeks ago when Tim entered the cafeteria during lunch for a surprise visit, the whole elementary school erupted with a cheer of, “TIM!”
Yesterday my class celebrated with us by throwing a wedding shower 5th grade style! The time was complete with tag in the backyard of one student’s house, hide-and-seek, and of course a “makeup” session where we both were face-painted in outrageous colors by dizzy, blindfolded children. Needless to say, we were a sight for sore eyes. But again, as we left with our heartfelt Bolivian gifts and a homemade card from my students, we were in awe of God’s undeserved blessings for us through the lives of the ones we are supposed to be ministering to!
Tim and I finished our marriage counseling just last week with a wonderfully wise and generous missionary couple here. As we discussed everything from conflict to families to money to sex with the Jameses, we thanked the Lord for a couple overseas who could speak truth into our lives and cause our eyes to be opened to the potential areas of weakness where the enemy may attack in these next vulnerable months. One of our greatest joys in this season has been the ongoing outpouring of this community into our moldable lives! We have found ourselves pursued by many Christian couples in a way that we might not have experienced had we moved to a brand new place to start our lives together in the states. The wealth of knowledge and insight that so many have offered has been invaluable to Tim and I, and it all came to a culminating celebration last weekend.
Last weekend, we were blown away by our 50 friends who came to our fiesta shower! One dear family hosted the event, and it was an all-out celebration with many of our favorites – queso and chips (hard to come by here!), enchiladas, and even our very own mariachi band! We even got to cut the cake here and throw in the Bolivian twist of smashing the cake into one another’s faces. The group surprised us by collecting money for our honeymoon as well as sending us out in the true fashion of this community by covering us in prayer! It was a rich time, as we have mourned the loss of not having these dear friends there at our wedding. Of course, we ended by demolishing our homemade piñata and fighting with the kids over the slew of candy.
All this to say that we have found ourselves in an ongoing season of Thanksgiving, as we are continually blessed by the love and encouragement of friends here. Very little about our engagement and story has been orthodox, and even coming home a week before our wedding seems preposterous to many folks, but we would not trade our lives for anything. Thank you for your ongoing support and the reminders from so many back home that we are exactly where we need to be! We hope to see you in only 21 days to celebrate the wedding bash of the century…