Gotcha Day! Twelve years!

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Every year on February 28th we celebrate what we call “Gotcha Day”. It is the day that Ben, Elisa, and later Jacob walked into our lives.  They were so tiny then, at eighteen months, almost three and almost 5. The intent was to foster and at the time we never dared to dream that adoption was even a possibility.  Actually,  we were basically told that would NOT be happening. I mean the ultimate goal was for the children to be reunited with their mom.  But God is the giver of dreams and although it was not a possibilty…things have a way of turning around when God is involved.

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You can read our story here…

.https://cjruttan.wordpress.com/2012/10/06/forever-family-how-our-story-began/

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Twelve years later…here we are…a family! I could not for a second imagine what life would be like without them.  They have completed us as a family. They have added so much fun,  variety and not to mention a little extra stress to our lives. There have been a lot of great and wonderful times.  Amazing memories forever engraved in our hearts. We have had a lot of really cool vacations and done a lot of fun things together as a family without spending loads of money, thanks to my husband Dale, the ultimate deal finder! Trips to the beach, staying in a lighthouse,camping…..

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There have been dark times too.. Times where we were at a loss as to what to do especially those times we thought things could not possibly get worse…and then they did!  But I would not trade any of it for a life without knowing them and loving them. For even through those challenging times; God was there holding up our arms and giving us the strength to go on. He has always been faithful.

Who would have ever thought all those years ago that we would be in Honduras now? Talk about the ultimate adventure God has our family on together.   I can honestly say that the kids are adjusting well. They have all struggled with the culture change in one way or another….but they are all doing fantastic. I am so incredibly proud of each of them.

Elisa: now 13; loves being a missionary. She loves being with the kids in the schools we minister in  and loves it when she has a day off of school so she can come and help us and just love on the kids. She has a true servants heart; especially when we have a team here.  She is sweet, compassionate and caring. She is loud and she talks…. a lot.  She loves to cook and bake and help in the kitchen. She loves to shop, and she misses her best friend terribly. I am so proud of the young lady she is growing up to be.

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Benjamin is now 14.

Ben is adjusting well, although he really misses being very active in sports like biking, snow boarding and skateboarding. He does not get a lot of opportunity for that here.

This guy is fun to be around. He is sensitive and caring and is always worried about how others are feeling. He hates to inconvenience anyone. And if you ask him where he would like to go for dinner, you will not likely get an honest answer for fear of hurting your feelings because it isn’t where you want to go  or not wanting to spend the money.

He loves gaming. He loves his fruits and veggies!  Ben also loves going up to the schools. He loves playing with the kids up there and they love him!  He is not afraid to get dirty or be tackled by a hundred rough housing boys.

Ben is amazing!  He does not  like having his photo taken.

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Jacob is now 16.

Although Jake is not comfortable going up to the schools, he does enjoy doing media things for us….like videos and that sort of thing. He truly is gifted. He also makes his own music, and although it is not my style, I have to say he has a ton of talent. It will be interesting to see where it takes him in the future.  He is such a good kid. He is very funny! He is strong and true to his convictions. He knows what he believes and is not afaid of challening people if he thinks they are wrong about a certain issue. I can’t even begin to tell you how proud I am of him. He has come a  long, long way and overcome much. And  can this guy ever  pray!  He has a tender heart.

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Jeremiah 29:11

“For I know the plans I have for you” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.”

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So, on on this gotcha day I am feeling very thankful. God has truly blessed me with a  wonderful family. Three precious gifts from God. ….

and Gotcha day would not be complete without a cake to celebrate. I almost did not make one this year, but Elisa insisted, I had to as it was tradition.

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When there are no words…

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. The below photo  captured one of the most  beautiful and moving moments of the day.  I don’t know how long they stood like that together in silence.  It was a long time. No talking, just being still and quiet. At one point the little girl´s eyes were closed. She looked so at peace, despite whatever turmoil may or may not have been going on in her heart.  Nancy told me that a little boy walked past and said what she thought was ” She doesn’t have a mommy. ”  It was probably one of my most emotional moments to date.  I couldn’t hold it together anymore. I broke down and cried. There is so much brokeness here. So many children just like Ruby.

There was a language barrier, but you know….sometimes words are not neccessary. In that moment Nancy was Jesus to that precious girl. Holding her and just being still.  Compassion and love. His hands, His feet. You don’t need words for that.

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2 Corinthians 2:4 He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.

Team building, family vacation and missionary retreat

The past few weeks have flown by in a blur of business.  So much has happened in our lives and I am going to try and abbreviate it in one post.

TEAM BUILDING

First of all, at the beginning of this month we had our bosses; Darcy and Leanne McAlister from Canada join us here in Honduras for a week of team building. The time they were here was very good. It was enlightening, encouraging and also  emotionally exhausting. It was a time of healing, that hopefully will continue as we move forward as a team. It was a time of building trust.

We also got to show them parts of beautiful Honduras, visit the schools we minister in, the future well site, and they were there for the distrubution of school supplies to all the sponsored children.

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We did some activites based on our Birkman tests. This is a test that we all took when we signed up for missions. It is a scarily acurate test that determins your behaviours, things that stress you out, and how you react when you are under stress. It identifies what things you are passionate about and what motivates you and what you are gifted at.

A lot of lights went in. It explained so much about why we are the way we are. It’s how God made us; how we are wired.And he made each and every one of us unique with certain gifts and talents different from each other.

FAMILY VACATION TIME

We have been in Honduras now going on two years. If we were in Canada, we would have gone on vacation by now. At least once. However, up until now, it has not really been possible other than a night at local motel . We were finding ourselves frazzled and stressed. Maybe not so much Dale but I was finding myself in a bad spot…. I found myself coming undone and just wanting to go home.  I think maybe all missionaries get to places like that, where they feel they just can’t take anymore and to go home would be easier. Some of it had to do with my mom being sick I am sure and wanting to be there for her and also myself being in the hospital and getting sick after that a couple times.  I just I knew I needed a break and time to get away spending quality time with the family, away from the city and the business of life. Time to just be.

We found out friends of ours were going to be on a cruise that was coming into Trujillo. So we made plans to go there for vacation and to meet up with them there . The ocean! My kids have not swam in a lake for over two years, let alone the ocean…and all three of them LOVE the water.

So, on the Monday morning after making arrangements for our home and dog to be cared for we set out for Trujillo. It was a bumpy, ten hour drive, but we made it! And what a beautiful place it was. A tiny resort that had maybe five cottages or cabanas as they were called, and right on the ocean. It was so tranquil. At night we went to sleep listening to the ocean washing up on the shore. The water was warm, clear and the waves were huge! The kids had a blast jumping the waves, kayaking and snorkeling. I went for long walks on the ocean shore…and spent a lot of time reading, especially in the car on the way! It was a time of much needed rest and connecting as a family. The owners of this place were also Canadian. They gave us a deal on the lodging and did not charge us for the kids. I guess I should note that this came out of our pocket and not from support raised.

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The resort also had rescue animals! Two very friendly dogs, two monkeys, two beautiful tucans that purred when they were held and horses.

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Unfortunately we were not able to meet up with our friends the Dalby’s. The cruise ship they were on made a last minute decision to change the port to Roatan instead of Trujillo. It was so disappointing as we were really looking forward to seeing them.

We did get to see another missionary friend though who lives in Trujillo and visit her ministry home for girls.  We had a walking tour of Trujillo, saw a pirate museum, a fort and learned all about the history of the town.

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While we only spent three and half days there, it was a time of much needed rest and refreshing.

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MISSIONARY RETREAT

After our vacation, we left Thursday morning we headed off to Siguatepeque for a missionary retreat. It was a great time of connecting and reconnecting with other missionaries serving here in Honduras in various ministries.

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The worship was amazing as was the preaching by Ken Harbaum. He spoke on identity.

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There were different sessions or workshops, like Honduran law, boundaries and leaving and re entry….just to name a few….The two that Dale and I attended were excellent. It truly was a blessing that this retreat was made available for absolutely free! All we needed to do was get there.

The weather there though was much colder than the heat in Trujillo. We froze at night! I know those of you in North American might want to roll your eyes at that and say something like I don’t know what cold is… I feel like I am always cold here. When most people think of Honduras one would never think you could actually be cold here,  but it does happen. And it is not a complaint because I do enjoy the temperature variations instead of heat all the time …But seriously it was so cold at night you could see your breath inside the dorms….no insulation and non air tight windows and no heat. Thankfully we had thick blankets and it did warm up during the day.

A highlight at the retreat for our family had to be the trip to this little Mennonite ice cream, cheese shop, bakery and café. They had the best ice cream ever! It wasn’t artificial or anything. If you want to know the truth, we went there two days in a row!

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Tomorrow is a new day as we welcome another team coming here from Canada!