Central Asia – My Child Loves the Nations

We were not able to share much while we were in Central Asia. Limited access to internet and time difference prevented us from having much contact with the side of the world we call home. But over the last few weeks our desire to share what all God did in, through and around us has weighed heavy on my heart. I am hoping that I can somehow recapture those missed days and convey our family’s story! Slowly, I am hoping to share with you some of the highlights…

We arrived at the children’s home by taxi. One of the local women went with us so we wouldn’t get lost.  Although I had been to the children’s home before to scout out if it would be too overwhelming for our kids, I wouldn’t have been able to communicate with the taxi driver or find it on my own. Joey and I had decided that it would be best for Makenna and Noah to stay back at the house, so there we were the four of us in front of the children’s home greeted by a semicircle of other workers ready to head in. We invited God to be a part of our day and then split up into groups. Some going to the more severely disabled kids to help bathe and feed lunch, two other groups split between the boys and girls of the more capable kids to do a craft. We went with the group going to the girls. Isaiah and Kyla walked closely to Joey and I as we headed down the dirt road between the little bungalows that housed all the kids, painted tires buried halfway lined the path that we walked and clothes ranging in many sizes hung along the fence line to dry from the days laundry. We arrived to the building where the girls lived and as we walked up the stairs the girls ran out the door to greet us, yelling, clapping, pulling Kyla by the hand to play with them. Kyla followed hand in hand with a girl, her hair cut short like all the others, she was drooling a bit as she smiled and laughed, her well worn clothes, sporting “never give up” across the chest were a bit dirty as were her hands and feet. We sat in a circle with the girls on the floor of their home and began our craft time by pulling out sheets of stickers and foam shapes to stick them on. Some of the girls were not able to peel the stickers off the backing on their own so Isaiah and Kyla sat next to the girls and patiently helped peel stickers asking which one the girls wanted next. No language was exchanged, but small sign language and smiles. We stayed with the girls for over an hour and as we left walking out the same road we had come we asked Isaiah and Kyla how they were and what they thought. Kyla instantly lit up talking about how the girls were so nice and that they ran to greet her. Isaiah said the conditions were better than he expected and that they were kids just like them. They were excited for the possibility to maybe visit the kids again. Isaiah wanted to meet the boys. My momma heart was proud. Isaiah and Kyla both showed such love, care and patience as they assisted the girls with the craft project. It was not easy for them to give up their own lives while we went on this adventure to Central Asia and yet they gained more than I could have ever imagined.

We have been home from Central Asia for a over two weeks now and we often talk about the people we have met half a world away. While doing the breakfast dishes this morning with Kyla we chatted. “Mom, if we ever go back to Central Asia can I bring my old clothes to give to the girls in the orphanage?” I think that is an amazing idea, my sweet thoughtful Kyla girl… and then my heart was full, we made the right choice, we say yes, we continue to obey, my child has a love for the nations…

*Sorry for not having pictures, we were asked not to take pictures while at the children’s home.

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Central Asia – Our Chicken Lady

We were not able to share much while we were in Central Asia. Limited access to internet and time difference prevented us from having much contact with the side of the world we call home. But over the last few weeks our desire to share what all God did in, through and around us has weighed heavy on my heart. I am hoping that I can somehow recapture those missed days and convey our family’s story! Slowly, I am hoping to share with you some of the highlights…

 

LEG 024

 

This is our chicken lady… We love our chicken lady. Just to the side of where we are standing is her huge rotisserie oven that she mans most days of the week. Sitting on a stool outside the main entrance to the bazaar for probably 12 hours a day. We came to her stand at least 3 times a week to get the most delicious chicken we could find in our small city. The first couple times we came up to her she seemed almost irritated that we didn’t understand how much money was owed, asking her to type the amount into a calculator, because the language was so foreign. She was taken back by our exuberant “rahmat” (thank you) that we nearly shouted with our overly grinning faces. But as we came by more and more, she began to know us. She would ask if we wanted two or three chickens, knowing that we always bought more than one. She would call other street vendors over to tell them that we were American and that ALL four kids were ours. She even joked that I would have more babies as she patted my stomach! We grew to love this woman even though we never even knew her name. She is our chicken lady and when we go through our list of people that we pray for from Central Asia she is always mentioned. The last day we were in the bazaar and asked her to take this picture, you could see the love in her eyes and after she jokingly fixed her headscarf she slipped her arm around my shoulder and it felt like I was hugging an old friend. It doesn’t sound like much. We have even questioned if the small presence that we had while in Central Asia was worth anything. But we believe that even for the short time we were there we brought light into this country. We brought joy and happiness, we pray that the people we met will question where we have gone and that they will seek out the foreigners to ask and somehow that may open a door to something deeper. But until then, this is our chicken lady… We love our chicken lady.


Central Asia or Bust!

We leave for Central Asia in TWO DAYS… I can’t believe it! I feel as if I am on auto pilot at this point getting the last minute details handled and packing. I am sure it will hit me sooner rather than later when that plane starts heading towards a distant horizon.

Lots of things have been going through my mind these last few days, excitement, nervousness, gratitude…

How awesome is this opportunity to spend two months with my entire family living in another country?!?! The kids have never been on a plane and are super excited about flying. We love the team we are going with and really want to see God move and shape our lives while we serve Him. It is amazing to me to see all the little details God has knit together.

But oh how I am nervous. I am leaning fully into my strength and composure that I get from Jesus. I am relatively calm for me, but I am nervous about the long flight, jet lag, getting settled into our new place, and hoping that we don’t offend every local in our community with our ignorant American ways. I’m concerned about my kids getting sick or hurt or just being unhappy, no one wants to see their kids unhappy. I’m unsure about the food and the toilets, OH THE TOILETS! We’ve all been practicing the squatty potty stance, totally hilarious and scary! I should post pics, huh?

But oh how grateful I am… Typing this while all my little family is still asleep I am filled with emotions of relief and thankfulness that my God is so gracious to me. Relief because Jesus has taken so many of my burdens and has gone beyond anything I could imagine to prove himself to be good and just and kind. I don’t want to brag here, but my family is pretty freakin’ awesome! My husband is the love of my life and has risen to a place of leadership and authority in our fam, he loves Jesus and he loves us. He’s gentle and has a true heart of service not only for the kids and me, but for others too! His character and actions are exceedingly different than the boy I met so many years ago. And my kids… Geez I love them so much. Each one of them unique and full of talents and gifts. Each one with their own struggles and quirks but God is so faithful to them. I love seeing them grow and mature and it’s pure joy when they find their own voice and ideas. It’s just amazing to me how God was able to restore our family. He took something so distorted and broken and is now putting us all back together to be able to reach others. What a rare blessing it is. We hope that from the overflow of all that God is pouring into us we can be a light and refresh others.

And you guys, God is so faithful! We have only a balance of $334.60!! We are blown away by people’s generosity and the response to God’s voice to give! Over $8k has flooded in a little over a week… If that isn’t testimony of his provision and goodness I don’t know what is! Thank you to each of you who walk with us on this journey!

Lastly, Can I ask you to be praying for us as we head out? Sometimes we can ask that and people shoot up a quick prayer, me included, but we really need people backing us in this time more than ever. If you could write our names on your prayer lists, share our names in prayer chains and bible studies, commit a day to intercede for us, we would be so grateful. We believe fully that God will go before us with every step we take and we know that he has brought our family into Central Asia for such a time as this.

Thank you all so much, here’s to the next 48 hours of prep! Hopefully we will survive the 30+ hours of travel and we will try to update when we can get internet access!

Lots of love,
theGmob


One Week Until Central Asia

What an amazing week it has been. We have seen God show up in an amazing way to provide the funds for our outreach to Central Asia. We went from needing over $8k to now having a balance of…

$1,155.67 (amazing, right?!?!)

If you would like to partner with our family to help us get to Central Asia, please see below. We need to have our final payments in this Friday, 6/20.

Give directly to the Gonzales family:
make checks payable to: Joey or Laurel Gonzales
paypal: LaurelGonzales85@gmail.com

–OR–

For tax deductible donations:
make checks payable to: Vine House Church (write Gonzales in the memo)

Mail to:
Joey and Laurel Gonzales
1333 Devore Road
Devore, California 92407


T-Minus 12 Days!!

Yes you heard that correct… 12 days…. TWELVE DAYS PEOPLE!!!

As we finish up these last two weeks of school we are so excited to head to Central Asia. Joey’s parents are currently visiting from California and it has been great to spend time reconnecting and having fun.  My parents arrive here in CO on Sunday and we are so glad to see them before we fly out.

Joey and I are spending our time focusing on the last reading assignments and papers due beore finishing our training portion. Please continue to pray for us that we will finish WELL! We have a lot of details to finish up and attend to before we leave for Central Asia, but really need to focus and put forth our best efforts to learn and complete these last couple weeks.

Also, if you could be praying for our CDTS school we have some major need for intercession as the final balances for our expenses are due. Our CDTS school will be split into three different teams heading out to India, Africa and Central Asia. As a school we have a need of $58,461.18. Within that amount our Central Asia team still needs $22,959.48. Within that amount our family needs $8586.67.

We believe that God is able to provide every last penny needed. We know that this is only possible because he is a creative and an amazing God. I can not logically think of anyway to come up with this amount of money in such a short amount of time, but He already holds all the funds. Please pray for a release!

So, please, believe with us, pray with us. I know that the God we serve is bigger than the $8,586.67 that our family needs. He has called us into this mission and he will be faithful to provide.


Lots of Love,

Joey and Laurel

 

Give directly to the Gonzales family:

make checks payable to: Joey or Laurel Gonzales

paypal: LaurelGonzales85@gmail.com

 

-OR-

 

For tax deductible donations:

make checks payable to: Vine House Church (write Gonzales in the memo)

 

Mail to:

Joey and Laurel Gonzales

1333 Devore Road

Devore, California 92407

 

–OR–

 

https://secure.ywamsf.org/pages/Forms/Donate.php

Go to “this donation is designated for” and please select “other” then specify “Joey and Laurel Gonzales CDTS”


Gonzales Family Update!

Joey was admitted into the hospital yesterday after strep throat turned into a three inch abscess in his throat. The doctors were able to drain it and after spending the night in the hospital to receive a few rounds of IV antibiotics he is home with kids and me. Besides a little discomfort from the incision and being tired he is doing well. We are so thankful for modern medicine and that this happened on US soil and not on Central Asia.

We are just over two weeks away from leaving for Central Asia. I am sure it will be here before we know it. We still have a remaining balance of $8936.00 for our trip. Please believe with us that God will provide what we need. If you feel led to support our family we would greatly appreciate it.

Our leaders are currently working on the specific details of our outreach. We are hoping to work in an orphanage for disabled children, help with practical needs within the community, and also support the base and their full time workers in any way they may need.

We are so excited that this time is drawing near to go into the nations. Our heart and compassion for the people continue to grow and we can not wait to spend time getting to know the culture.

Please continue to pray for our family as we wrap up these last couple weeks, for our health and safety as we travel.

 

Lots of Love,

Joey and Laurel

 

Give directly to the Gonzales family:

make checks payable to: Joey or Laurel Gonzales

paypal: LaurelGonzales85@gmail.com

 

-OR-

 

For tax deductible donations:

make checks payable to: Vine House Church (write Gonzales in the memo)

 

Mail to:

Joey and Laurel Gonzales

1333 Devore Road

Devore, California 92407

 

–OR–

 

https://secure.ywamsf.org/pages/Forms/Donate.php

 

Go to “this donation is designated for” and please select “other” then specify “Joey and Laurel Gonzales CDTS”


UPDATE!!

Hi everyone, we have received our outreach location that we will be heading to in about 8 weeks! We will be spending two months in one of the least-reached nations in the 10/40 window in Central Asia. For security reasons we are not able to mention the name of the country on social network, but would love to share more specific details about our location and the various ministry opportunities that we will be a part of via snail-mail. If you are not currently on our mailing list please provide us with your address. Thank you to everyone who has partnered with us in this journey, we are beyond grateful for all that God is doing!