Happy Holidays!
As 2013 comes to an end, we find ourselves enjoying the beauty of Colombia and thinking about the plans God has for us. I know what I think I would like or want to happen, but that isn't always part of God's timing or plan. I think giving up that personal control and putting your faith in the fact that God has a purpose for you that you might not realize is often difficult. It is neither coincidence, luck, or chance that things happen the way that they do, but God meeting you along the path of your life and showing you the options you have on your own and the better choices you have with Him. The choice to listen to Him and seek His will for your life is always your choice.

Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.
Romans 15:13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in

If I have learned nothing else traveling to a variety of place is that God's work is evident everywhere, but you have to take the time to look around you to see it. I feel sorry for the people I see with wires coming out of their heads and plugs stuck in their ears because in their desire to connect to their own personal space, I think they have disconnected with the world around them. I think technology and the internet are wonderful things and have opened up a lot of possibilities to connect around the world in ways I'm sure Orville and Wilbur Wright sure never thought possible! But as a society, I think we need to realize the value of disconnecting and enjoying a time of just being able to be and to be "liked" for our company, not for what we posted on a Facebook page.


You might even consider swinging from tree to tree like we did with our friends as a good reconnection activity!

Whatever plans you make for the new year, I think the key to remember is that you never know when a change could happen or a new direction appear, so always be willing to accept the challenge and see it as a positive and not a negative situation.

We continue to work to support microfinancing as a way to achieve positive sustainable change in poor regions of the world. You can go to Living On One to read more about it.

One of my favorite parts of Navidad in Colombia is the nativity scene. This year I painted my own background and added in a few pieces from Guatemala as well. It is like all our adventures telling a story that all leads to God. It is definitely a tradition I will continue no matter where we live.

After being involved with the GIN Conference and learning about the "Twenty problems in 20 years" ideas, we have been trying to be more conscious of reusing and reducing the items we use. It is amazing how much waste there is that will be around forever. This year we built a Christmas tree the reused eco bricks, or plastic bottles filled with trash that isn't recyclable. Our goal was to create awareness and we hope to use our "tree" as outdoor artwork in order to continue to remind people that it is up to all of us to make a difference. (It looks better in real life than it does in this picture!)

Below are the 20 global problems outlined in High Noon: 20 Global Problems, 20 Years to Solve Them by Jean Francois Rischard. Schools participating in global issues conferences work to find local solutions in their area to the global problem.
Sharing our planet: Issues involving the global community
  • Global warming
  • Biodiversity and ecosystem losses
  • Fisheries depletion
  • Deforestation
  • Water deficits
  • Maritime safety and pollution
Sharing our humanity: Issues requiring a global commitment
  • Massive step-up in the fight against poverty
  • Peacekeeping, conflict prevention, combating terrorism
  • Education for all
  • Global infectious diseases
  • Digital divide
  • Natural disaster prevention and mitigation
Sharing our rule book: Issues needing a global regulatory approach
  • Reinventing taxation for the twenty-first century
  • Biotechnology rules
  • Global financial architecture
  • Illegal drugs
  • Trade, investment, and competition rules
  • Intellectual property rights
  • E-commerce rules
  • International labor and migration rules
So wherever you are in the world today, we hope that you experience all God has for you in your life and know that He is preparing you for what is on the road ahead. God is the gift that continuously gives! Invite Him in and you'll be amazed at what happens. Best wishes and blessings for the new year. Remember, wherever we are, our door is always open for visitors!