Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Antigua, Guatemala

I thought it would be good to copy a post from Katie and Russell's blog for those of you that don't check theirs on a normal basis. There has been quite a problem in Antigua, the town that Katie and Eliot lived in. I wanted to post this so all of you can be praying for the families that are down there right now.
There is a group of people that are going to be sending a care package (books, puzzels, small toys) down to Guatemala. If you would be interested in sending something with our package please email me at bentleyfamilynews@yahoo.com. We will be getting everything to Katie and she will be mailing everything together.

Please take a few minutes to read Katie's blog below:

A couple weeks ago a "raid" took place at an orphanage in Antigua by government police. Some sources say it was completely illegal and the basis for the police action is unfounded. The police claim the orphanage was illegally getting these babies and do not have the correct documents to prove that all is legit. The overwhelming conclusion is that this has to do with the presidential election in a few weeks. The current president is on his way out and this has caused a bit of instability with Guatemalan adoptions, especially with the Hague just around the corner.

This raid has caused quite a ripple effect for my friends. Antigua was the town that Eliot and I lived in for over 7 months. The reason we all congregate to live there is because of the freedom and safety it provides. A handful of times we got the chance to leave Antigua and take the hour drive to the city, but the majority of those days, we were hanging out in a 9X9 block city. At one point in my early weeks I remember writing to Russ that the 9 blocks get smaller every day. By that I meant that you run out of things to walk to or see pretty quickly. You run out of restaurants to try or places to take your baby. What does this have to do with the raid?

As if the small city didn't already have it's limitations, now fostering moms are being advised to stay at home at all times until the election is over. I can not imagine. There were days when I thought we had cabin fever even when we were safe to roam the streets and now they are being advised to keep the babies behind closed doors? This may be a small inconvenience for those who have infants, but my friends that are still there have toddlers! What does one do with a toddler in prison? Keep in mind these women don't have an overabundance of toys and books like each of our American homes. They brought the minimum, assuming they wouldn't be here during this stage of childhood. They are blessed to have the few things that visitors have brought on trips to see them, which isn't a huge amount.

I really could keep going with this thought pattern but I'll stop and ask you to pray. Pray first for their safety. Then for the heavy hand to be lifted so that they can again return to the carefree days of exploring this tourist town. Then move to praying for creativity for these moms, that they would be able to fill these lock-down days with activities and ideas that would not only amuse their sweet toddlers but also further their development. Lastly, pray for patience and endurance for these fostering parents. They each followed the call to commit to staying in whatever circumstance to take care of their babies.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Greetings from the Memphis Crew!!!!

Fun day at the pool for Kristen and Madison DeArmond while staying at Grandma Pat and Grandpa Jerry's! (Are Pat and Jerry really Grandparents?) Kristen and Madison came down from Washington State to spend time in Memphis while "daddy" is on Military assignment overseas.

Oh, the days of "BAND CAMP"!!!!

This picture of Spencer, Weston and their girlfriends was taken after a very long week of Band Camp. I wanted to include this picture because they are starting band competition for their high school and will miss the Bentley Reunion.

Kevin says, "We spent our summer vacation in Orlando and went to Disney and Universal Studios. We had a wonderful time, Spencer's girlfriend met us in Orlando and that was fun hanging around with her and her parents. We did avoid emergency room visits but didn't escape the police over a little domestic violence issue which I have signed a "GAG" order not to discuss so lets just leave it at that."

It looks like the Family Blog is catching on!!!

*The more "comments" the more fun...please click on comments and leave your messages!!!

Thursday, August 16, 2007


Reminder that Mammaw B's Family Reunion is September 15th at Burns Park, Pavillion #9. FYI we have the pavillion from 10am until 4pm. Hope to see all of you there!!!

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Laura's trip to Africa: Malawi...The Warm Heart of Africa!

So as you may have heard, I have just returned from a 2 week trip to Malawi. This was definitely a life changing experience. I went with a team of 20 people. From there we split into 5 teams (1 large medical team & 4 smaller teams). I was on a small team of 3 with 2 translators. My team visited 8 villages. We went into these villages and showed the Jesus film, taking breaks to give personal testimonies. After the film we worked with the local pastor and offered a response time where people could come and pray the salvation prayer. The morning after the film we had a follow up service where we taught the people basics of Christianity (praying, Holy Spirit, salvation, etc.). I was in charge of journalism for my team. Basically I took pictures, video, and recorded the numbers from each village we visited.

Our overall group leader said that I have all the good stories from the trip. I might have to agree. Anything that can happen to someone on a mission trip, happened to me! My car got stuck in a ditch. I had to walk 5 mi. in the dark to a village where the girls leading us didn't speak the common language (Chichewa). I ran out of fresh bottled water & had to wait to fill my bottles up at a water well. The first projector we used broke at one of the first villages, so we had to visit 2 others without showing the Jesus film. The car broke down & we had to push it, with the help of villagers, about 6 mi. up & down hills. It took us 3.5 hours in the blazing sun! I got sick for 3 days from some sort of bacteria I picked up in one of the villages. And my bag is still somewhere south of the equator, possibly in South Africa!

Despite all the bad things that happened, this trip was fantastic & life changing! I will admit that there were times I wanted to give up & go home, but God showed me his power & control by coming through for us every time! I think that going through all of those difficult things helped me to see God's love for people & his power to overcome everything that comes up against us. I've heard of his love & power all my life, but actually seeing & experiencing it was amazingly reassuring!! He really is almighty and so powerful! Being a musician myself, I was really amazed by how much the people worshiped. They constantly praised God by singing & dancing, which really blessed me and brought me to tears a few nights. I wish I had a video to put up here for you to hear their beautiful voices, but at this moment I don't. Their songs were perfectly harmonized and the rhythms were incredible! It just amazed me! Most people don't get to experience worship like I experienced in Malawi. These people have nothing in comparison to the material items we have here in the USA. It seemed to me that they worshiped wholeheartedly (which most Americans don't). So many times we take things for granted & get caught up in our daily lives that we don't slow down to soak in the things that God has for us.

I'm not sure what else I can say about the trip. My life was greatly affected and changed through the people I met and the ways they touched my life. I went into the trip thinking I would bless the people of Malawi, which I did. However, I think I was even more blessed by the Malawians! I will never forget the people I met and the villages I visited. I know that I will always carry these memories & experiences with me. I hope to visit Malawi again & I hope that some of you get the chance to experience it as well. It has forever changed my life! The pictures I have posted will not really do any justice to the actual beauty of the country or the people. But hopefully it will give you somewhat of a glimpse into the life I experienced for 2 beautiful weeks! Thank you all for your support in funding & prayers!! I love you all!!