Update 2 (kind of)

(I send update emails to some of my friends as well as posting on my blog. I thought this email intro might help put this post into perspective.)

“Yay!! I’m back after a very long silence!! I have bad news and good news.

The bad news is that my 6-yr old computer is on it’s deathbed. While I was in Virginia for a visit I had Jeff Messenger help me with it. He was able to get my important documents and pictures off of it, but he also informed me the keyboard was going bad.

The good news is that I have my documents AND I have a NEW computer!! Thanks to my mom for helping do some research for me when I felt I didn’t have time to shop for a computer!

So now I have the huge job of trying to catch you guys up with my life. Now I can finally send that email that I had almost ready to send right when my computer crashed. It was written the 8th of November 2017. Originally I had it titled as Update 2. That might not be correct any more, but we are gonna go with that as that is where it was meant to be.

Thanks for all the prayers and support even when you haven’t been hearing from me! I hope I will be able to keep up better now.


Update 2

So it’s been awhile since you’ve heard from me. The worst part about waiting so long to update you is that I don’t know where to start! But I will try to give you a little idea of what is going on in my life.

The end of September Benj left for the States to get some equipment ready to ship to Guatemala. He was gone for several weeks. I pretty much moved out of my house to Holly’s.

Here are a few pictures of the view from their house.

Approaching Storm

incoming storm



(Incoming) Morning Fog


Incoming Rainstorm


I also stayed a few nights at Kendra’s house since her husband was gone as well. (He was with Benj.) The one night she invited all of us for a tea party/sleepover in celebration of Sue’s birthday.


Ben and Sue washing dishes

washing dishes


One afternoon we all went into Santa Elena. We had lunch at McDonald’s and then ran some errands and did some shopping. It was rather fun to just walk around the grocery store and see what all there was. Holly bought a pumpkin and the next week she made pumpkin pie. Mmmm…it was so yummy!

Fresh Pumpkin Pie


We had some fun times while the men were gone, but we were all happy when they made it back!!

I think I had better close this update with that. Hopefully I’ll get another update together soon!

Thanks for your support and prayers!




Saturday is usually my day off. Well, off from my work at Holly’s. But there is always more than enough to be done at my house.

On Friday night, while working on some verse posters I suddenly decided to make yogurt. At 8:00 p.m. Maybe not the wisest decision ever. It ended up being a bit interesting as I couldn’t find the thermometer, realized I had forgotten to put in the sugar, and when I did add the sugar my pan almost overflowed because it was too full. I wasn’t sure how the yogurt would turn out, but it seems to be fine. No yogurt is as good as homemade!

So Saturday morning I started laundry and got my yogurt put away. After devotions and breakfast I continued with laundry. But, after the second load, something went wrong with the latch. I ended up taking it apart so I could get it un-stuck. Please remind me next time to take a picture first so I know how to put it back together!! Because I wasted an hour trying to put the crazy thing back to together and still couldn’t do it. But I discovered if I put the one piece in just right, I could still use the washer. So I left it at that.

In the midst of all this I was making some granola. That wasn’t in my plans, but we were about out. And, as I hadn’t planned for it, I only had enough oatmeal for half a batch.

And of course there are always dishes to do!

And I had found a recipe for mango gelatin so decided to make that. It seemed to turn out well, but I totally forgot to serve it at Sunday lunch!

I didn’t do a whole lot this Saturday. I decided not to push myself like I normally do. I accomplished a few things but didn’t get any cleaning done.

We we blessed by a beautiful evening!

I spent my evening drawing a “payaso” like this for Iza’s homework.

And then I worked on some more Bible verse posters, like the one below.

Maybe one of these days I will get caught up a bit on my posts! In about 2 weeks I will be flying to the states for a visit! I am hoping to get my computer fixed while I am there!! And hopefully catch up with some of y’all!

Until next time,



One never knows what a day will hold! There are always small twists and turns in each day, but somedays throw in an extra crazy loop.

This morning Holly wanted me to run into town to buy some eggs and onions. So after Ben J was done with his chores, we took off on my moto. It was acting a bit strange, like it wasn’t getting fuel properly, but I prayed all would be well and I wouldn’t run out of fuel.

We didn’t get very far before the moto stopped. I tried to start it. Nothing. I kept trying, but although it started to catch twice, I was unable to get it going.

Ben was getting impatient while I tried to get it going a again. I was hopeful because I’ve had issues with it before because of the carburator/fuel line; and usually with some patience I can get it going. But not this time. I tried calling Holly. We started pushing the moto, deciding to take it at least to the bodega. Holly returned my call. She said, yes, keep going. She would call for help.

We made it to the intersection before hearing from her again. She had found someone to help. So we sat and waited for Weslyn to arrive. He was soon there, wondering what had happened. All I could tell him was that my moto had just quit. After looking to see that it had fuel and attempting to start it, Weslyn said he would go get his friend who is a mechanic to look at it.

Ben and I moved to some shade and waited. Waiting and patience are not akin to Ben’s nature and he was BORED….that is until I mentioned schoolwork. Suddenly, he was bored no longer. 😂

Once the Mechanic got there with his tools, he took off the seat and said, “¡Tanto polvo!” (A lot of dust!) Everything was covered in dust, but there was nothing to do for that. So he started pulling off hoses, disconnecting things, etc. They decided to add some more fuel as the fuel didn’t seem to be coming through the line. So they drained fuel out of the bike Weslyn had and put it in mine. Although we got fuel going through the line, the moto still wouldn’t start. Next he changed out the spark plug. Ah! It started! Weslyn went to buy a new one. Once he returned, the mechanic put in the new sparkplug and put the moto back together. Yay! We could finally head to the store!

I was very grateful to Weslyn and his mechanic friend! It’s a blessing to have friends!

It seemed to be the day for adventure! After buying our things at the store, we circled around the block to get back to our street. When I went to pull into the street, I saw a big truck coming. I slammed on the back brake…but we weren’t slowing down! I grabbed the front brake, still we weren’t stopping! 😱 The truck also slammed on their brakes. I got my moto turned and stopped at the same time as the truck stopped. The driver yelled at me, and I very contritely said, “¡Perdón!” But thankfully he wasn’t super mad, and we both went on our way again. I am going to have to watch out for that! I was super thankful for the protecting hand of God!!

I am so thankful that in all the twists and turns of each day, God has it all in control! Even if things don’t go as we plan, we can know there is a bigger plan, a bigger picture that we can’t see.

I am sure some of y’all thought I had fallen off of the edge of the earth(especially if you believe the flat-earth theory😜), because I haven’t written for so long! In January I retyped my November post on Holly’s computer…and there it is still. And now it’s March! Sadly my computer is still not fixed. But thought I would share today’s story with my phone, and let you know I am still in the land of the living!

Wishing everyone a good weekend! -Rachel

PS. 1 I also discovered that my oil in my moto is low. The mechanic said I need to change it. So now I need to get that taken care of! I don’t want to lock up the engine next!

PS. 2 I fueled up this afternoon. That should help things as well. 😊 (My fuel gauge doesn’t work. 😏)

Hello again!

I apologise for the long silence!

But I do have a “good” excuse! Lol

Sadly my computer has not been working since the end of November. 😔 I had a post almost ready, but the day I was going to post it I tried to turn on my computer and it wouldn’t work properly. 😓 I have tried getting a couple people to help me but so far my computer still is not working.

I am very grateful for my smartphone these days so that I can keep up with my email and some of my other things. And now I have downloaded the WordPress App so I can now update you from my phone when needed. Yay! Not quite as handy as the computer, but better than nothing! 😊

A lot has happened in the past months. I can hardly believe it is already partway through January! I am enjoying my life here and ever so slowly learning to communicate in Spanish. Sometimes it is fun and sometimes it is frustrating, but I am thankful for all the patient people around me.

I will leave my update at that for now. Hopefully next time I can tell you a bit more of interest.

Prayer Request:

*That I would be able to get my computer working.

Thanks to all my faithful supporters!


The Adventure Begins

My flights in wing pictures. Winking smile



Greetings from Guatemala!

Well, so much happened in the first few days of my time in Guatemala that this may be quite an epistle! 😉

My parents took me to the airport early Thursday morning, September 7. I met Benj and Holly’s family there. All our flights went well and I always had someone to hold my hand while we were in the airport. 😉

clip_image002(clip_image003: Holly)

We arrived in Guatemala City at 11:30 AM. (Currently the same as Mountain Time)* From the airport we PILED into two taxis and went to the Mission (Mennonite Air Mission’s headquarters).


Stuffing the luggage in. (clip_image003[1]: Holly)

We were at the Mission the rest of that day. Friday morning we grabbed cornbread muffins for breakfast and left about 6:30 and headed to Immigration to get Guatemalan Passports for the children and renew Benj’s. That involved a lot of standing in line and keeping the children entertained. But by 11:30 we were leaving with passports in hand.

We went to Burger King for lunch. After that we headed to the Toyota dealership and got the truck serviced. They had a very nice waiting area so we just made ourselves at home. We put the children down for naps and I even had a nap myself. Here’s a couple pictures from that afternoon:


We were happy with some complimentary beverages and snacks. 🙂 I thought Jun made a cute little slug with a curl on the top while she was taking her nap. (Right)

Saturday we got up even earlier and headed to a friend’s place for the day. That was a much more relaxing day than Friday. She lives near the coast so we went to la playa (the beach) for part of the day. I really enjoyed that.


We had a picnic lunch under the thatch before swimming.


We left that evening after supper and headed to El Chal, arriving around 12:30 a.m. Sunday morning. After church we went to Stephen and Brenda’s for lunch. Then Benj’s dropped me off at the girls’ house where I am living. I had a nap and started unpacking before church in the evening.

Monday I was at home all day just unpacking, doing laundry, and settling in. Here is my first meal I cooked myself in Guatemala:

clip_image023Beans and eggs

Beans, rice, and (corn) tortillas are definitely staple foods here. I love the food, but am still adjusting from a high protein, low carb diet to a low protein, high carb diet. Have to figure out how much to eat to keep me going, but hopefully not make me too wide. 😉 I’ve been walking home from Benj’s which is about a 40 minute walk, so that is helpful.

Things are kinda getting into a pattern here with my work schedule but it’s still flexible. We have revivals this week starting Wednesday evening which will make for a busy week. You can pray for the speaker Ernest and for the town of El Chal. Pray that evil would be driven back and God’s light will shine forth!

Life is going pretty well here. I still have a lot to learn as far as Spanish is concerned but I am adjusting to the culture pretty well otherwise. I once in awhile forget to throw my toilet paper in the trash can rather than flush it (they don’t have good sewage systems so flushing it would plug things up), and I sometimes long for hot water, but these are just small bumps in the road.

God has been good. I have been amazed time and again how he has worked out small details to be just right.  What an amazing God we serve!

On a lighter note: The other day Lanet looks at my feet and says, “You have pudgy feet.” Me: “Yep.” Lanet: “That’s because they have lots of blood in them!” That is very good to know! Winking smile

Thanks for your prayers! -Rachel


View from Benj and Holly’s house


*Guatemala does not do Daylight Savings, so currently we are the same as Mountain Time. After time change in the States we will be the same as Central Time.


Back To School

And it’s that time of year again. Depending where you live, school may have been in session a couple of weeks or it may not be starting for a week or so.

People have asked me how it feels not to be teaching again.

I loved not having to worry about coming up with a theme this summer and work on classroom stuff. I had plenty of other things to be doing…and somehow I still didn’t get as many projects done this summer as I would have liked. Sad smile 

It does feel a little strange to think of “my kids” going back to school and I won’t be there.

But I know I made the right choice. And that knowledge gives me peace and helps me trust my future and the future of “my” students to God.

I think I had promised you some poetry posts this summer and I have not kept that so far. So here goes.

Here’s a poem I wrote when I was in school. Maybe when I was in 7th or 8th grade?


Rush, rush, rush, now don’t be late.

We must be ready by eight.

Hurry as fast as you can,

For here comes the school van.

We want to be at school by eight-thirty.

Is everyone ready and pretty?

Can we make it in time?

Yes, we will be on time.

At school we learn to divide and multiply.

“How does this all work?” we repeatedly cry.

In history class we learn

How our great nation was torn.

In science class we learn

What makes this earth turn.


All our stomachs are growling

When we take a rest from learning

And our lunches we begin to eat.

We must eat to keep us on our feet.


In grammar we learn of adjectives and adverbs, too.

Do you know how to use these to describe your shoe?

In Bible we learn of God’s attributes;

Sometimes we even have a few disputes.

Literature is a fun class.

We often have a few laughs.


At the end of the day,

It is our time to play.

We like to run and shout.

This keeps us from being stout.


Time to go home at last!

Our day of school is past.



What Next?

So, maybe most of you know by now what I am planning to do next, but this is for those of you who don’t; or those who would like to know some background.

For those of you who would rather not read a long, wordy post explaining all the details, here is the short version: I am moving to Guatemala.

For most of my life I have had family living in Guatemala. When I was 7 or 8, my parents went there to visit my dad’s brother’s family. Before they went Mom listened to Speedy Spanish tapes and used the Rosetta Stone Spanish program on the computer. I grew up hearing about Guatemala and desiring to learn Spanish.

When I entered high school, I signed up for the Spanish course with the thought in mind of going to Guatemala as a missionary someday. I got my passport in 2010? with hopes of going to visit my cousins in Guatemala, but that didn’t happen right away. But, finally, in 2013, my cousin Connie and I went for a 16 day visit. We thoroughly enjoyed our time with our cousins in Guatemala! We helped Holly around the house, visited the school one day, and spent some time at the clinic. We also got to go swimming, zip lining, and shopping. Benj told us we could move there whenever we were ready. Winking smile

Well, time went on and I wasn’t sure if God was actually calling me to Guatemala. Maybe that was my own plan and not what He had for  me. I decided not to push it. I had found my niche teaching school in Colorado. For the time being that was my mission field.

Then I decided it was time for a break from teaching. I tried, in my head at least, to have a plan laid before I said, “No.” I thought maybe I could stay in Colorado even if I wasn’t teaching.  I wanted to so badly!! Someone wondered why I would rather stay there than live in Virginia. I found it very hard to explain or put into words. Now I might be able to put it more into words. I felt like Colorado was where I truly found myself; where I could just be me and be liked for me. Not judged on how conservative I was or how well I could play sports or by what my family was like. I also love that there aren’t near as many people in the West. I love the wide open country, the beautiful mountains. It’s something I feel inside. I can’t really put it into words. But it is there nonetheless.

As is natural, when people found out I wasn’t teaching, they  wondered, “What are you going to do next?” My reply, “I don’t know yet, I am just waiting for God’s leading.” Sometimes I got tired of saying this. You know, most people have things more in order. They don’t just quit a job with no other job on the horizon.  I felt a little weird, but at the same time I was at peace with my decision. I knew God was leading. As the school year wound down, though, it was hard to still not know what was happening. I wanted to demand an answer from God but knew I could not. I knew He would reveal the plan in His own good time. But it was hard to have patience.

Things just didn’t seem to be working out for me to stay in Colorado, but I kept hoping, not really letting go of my desire. Then I heard of a mission opportunity. It seemed like maybe that was what I was supposed to be doing.  I prayed about it. I talked with people about it. I wasn’t sure about it, but it seemed like maybe God was opening a door. So, finally I checked into it. I kept praying. In the end, that did not work out, but it accomplished something for me. Through that, I was able to give up my desire to stay in Colorado.  So when I got asked to help my cousins in Guatemala I had already processed the thought of leaving Colorado. I still had to pray about it. Think about it. Ask people’s opinions. Find out more information. But in the end, I agreed to go. It felt so good to be able to tell people, “I am moving to Guatemala next.”

But then there came another question that posed a problem, “How long will you be there?” My answer, “Indefinitely.” Now, this does not mean I will be there forever. It just means I don’t know how long God will have a purpose for me there. I plan to be there until God leads me somewhere else.

And, as others have, you may be wondering, “What will you be doing there?” This is somewhat easier to answer. I will be helping my cousin Benj and his wife Holly and their 5 children. In Holly’s words, I will be her “personal assistant.”

People also wonder, “Are you excited about going?” This has been a little harder for me to answer. At first I was just getting out of school and trying to recover from that. Going to Guatemala was a distant happening that I had no strong feelings about. But, as the time draws nearer, Yes, I am excited. Excited and a bit apprehensive. I loved it there when I visited, but I know moving there will be different. I know it will present lots of challenges. Sometimes I wonder if I am up to that. But I know that I need stretched. That it will be good for me to get out of my comfortable little box.

So I have been trying to study some Spanish. Trying to get things in order here so I am ready to head to Guatemala the beginning of September. I feel like things are not coming together as quickly as I would like, but I am trying to not let all the things I want to get done pile up in my mind and weigh me down and stress me out. I am trying to stay calm and hand my problems to God. But if you don’t hear from me much the next while, don’t be surprised. I have a lot of things to get done and a lot of people to spend time with.

Another question I got tired of answering was, “When are you leaving for Guatemala?” I had to keep answering, “I don’t know. Maybe the end of August.” When I got asked to go to Guatemala, I told them that I was willing to go, but wanted a few months at home with my family. Some time to recuperate from the school year. A chance to catch my breath. And they graciously agreed. My summer has been fairly busy, but I have had some relaxing days. Some healing days. For which I am very grateful. I appreciate everyone’s prayers! I would ask for you continued prayer support as I go to Guatemala. I feel I have come to understand more about myself and how to deal with being overwhelmed, but I still covet your prayers! I decided when to go to Guatemala by when my cousins were coming for a short furlough. So once they had their tickets I had a more definite answer. I will be traveling back with them after they are in the States for a few weeks.

If you would like to do more than just pray for me, you can help support me financially while I am in Guatemala. If you are interested, you can email me at tropicslvr1992@gmail.com or my mom at kmsewsalot@gmail.com and we can give you more information about that.

Adios! Buenas noches!


P. S. 1 – I still hold a dream of possibly living in Colorado some day, but only God knows. Smile

P. S. 2 – Did I ever write a blog post about my visit to Guatemala? I’ll have to check. Anyway, here is a picture from my time there.

Guatemala 456