Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Hello. Hey. Hola!


Where have you all been? What a crazy three months it has been. Let´s catch up shall we! 

On June 15th I gave birth to the chunkiest little nugget, Adelyne Grace. If you think I´m kidding you should know she doubled her birth weight in 2 months and never lost an ounce. I challenge anyone to count her rolls or carry her chubbiness around for any more than 10 minutes. However... I know where she got it from. My parents used to called me Buddah 😂

Following Adelyne´s arrival we enjoyed a visit from Robersy´s mom. She helped me so much by keeping the house clean and making sure we were well fed. 

Soon after my parents came over from Bermuda. My mom is great with kids, so Josiah had a ball with all sorts of activities while I continued to recover.

All summer we gave thanks to God Almighty for our intern, Jay Mike, that came in our craziest stage of life to pour in to the boys and further their development in the sport of baseball. He did a billion other things too... but we´ll save some of that for another blog :)

Then August came and reality hit. There we were... a family of 4. We adjusted our schedules, Josiah went on a lot of adventures to the baseball field with daddy (school was out for the summer) and I tried to find my normal again. 

Some of you moms are giggling aren´t you? What is ¨normal¨? Yeh... found out ¨normal¨ is lost forever :) but I love my new crazy.

Yes, there is blood, sweat and tears... but there are plenty of laughs too. 

Over the last few months as I´ve had plenty of time to ponder over life, changes, family and what has called me to do both in the home and out of the home. My heart has so much to share with you, but this week I´d like to step in slowly. 

For those that are new to my blog, I can not promise that each week will be stories about rainbows and butterflies.

I truly believe that if we are going to encourage one another then the masks need to come off and we must be real. Real life, real laughs, real struggles.

Here you will meet a woman called in to fulltime ministry on the foreign field. A woman who desires to be the best wife, momma and servant... but sheds many tears on the journey there. 

This life that God has blessed me with is HARD! Which is why I NEED JESUS!!! 

So through the tears, fights and heartbreak, I pray you will see HIM. 
HE is the reason I live, love and serve.

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

The BIG picture

Many times Josiah's toys become the inspiration for object lessons and Bible studies. While we play, my mind often goes ahead of me connecting it to something I've been studying or preparing.

This last week I took a block puzzle for my study at LH. The huffs and puffs came as they couldn't figure out the big picture. Cow's tails on ducks and horse's heads on sheep. It didn't make sense! 

I began to think about my devotional that morning. Jacob and Esau. Let me tell you, that is one of the most frustrating stories. 

Isaac, in his old age, asks his first born son, Esau, to run and make his favorite stew so that he can bless him before he dies.

Well, sneaky wifey Rebekah is listening behind the door and sends her favorite, Jacob, to do it before Esau gets back so he can get the blessing instead. Jacob seems a little hesitant, but Rebekah ensures the curse be upon her if necessary then tells him to get a move on!

With his dim eyes Isaac accepts the stew from Jacob, assuming it was Esau, after smelling him (he was wearing Esau's dirty laundry) and feeling his arms (Esau was a hairy young soul, lol). There he gives his special final blessing to his conniving son.

Minutes later, Esau enters with his stew and pumped to get his blessing! His heart drops to hear his dad confess he gave the blessing already and Esau literally begs his daddy to bless him too.

I can hear the disappointment in Isaac's voice. The deep sobs shake Esau's whole body as he sits at his dad's feet. "Whhhhyyyy dad?!"

Echoed in his tears I hear the cry of our Saviour on the cross. "Daaaaddd!!!???" (eloi eloi lama sabacthani - "My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken me.")

Jesus. 100% man while still 100% God. HE healed sick, blind, lame... sat with drunkards, prostitutes and the other rejects of society. HE loved the unloveable... of which I am one. And they took HIM and beat HIM and mocked HIM. Then nailed HIM to a cross, set aside for the most vile criminals.

I'm sure as the women and others sat beneath the crimson tree begged for answers.
"This can NOT be happening."

This question arises in my own heart too. Situations that come about and I'm left begging my "Daddy" to show me HIS plan.

"What are you doing?!"

If your passing a time as we are, I bet you have a whole lot of unanswered questions. "This doesn't make sense." "Why would God allow this to happen?" "Why does God punish the faithful ones?" 

HIS thoughts are not our thoughts nor our ways HIS ways. (Isaiah 55:8). It may be that we never understand HIS hand in our life or that HIS answers comes waaayyyyyy down the road.

GOD does not owe us answers, but this I know is true, "Trust the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding..." Prov. 3:5

Be strong. HE's "got" you, my friend.


It's been a busy week here in the DR. 

We said "See you later!" to the GAP students that have been studying here for 9 months. It was particularly hard for Josiah who had to say "Adios" to his best friend, Matt :( Be praying for the students as they adjust to life back "home" and for their futures as they use what they have learned here for God's glory!

 No we did NOT get a cat... however, Josiah still loves animals and welcomes most in to our home. Dogs, cats, horses, lizards, spiders, etc.

He loves going to nursery each morning of the week and we've had plenty of pool time on the weekends as the summer heat sneaks up on us.

His language (in both English and Spanish) has improved tremendously in the last month or so... but we're still working on potty training :)

We got some "girl time" with some our youth out in the big city, while Robersy took a few of his boys to see a movie. I'm proud of the growth in these young ladies and blessed to see them doing great things for the Lord. 


You may remember this photo a few months ago after a group left a sizeable donation to get this home built for some friends in Boca Chica. Well, we stopped by on Monday... check it out in the photo below.

Don't ever under estimate the impact left through mission trips, offerings, prayer, etc. 

Great things HE has done.

Monday, April 30, 2018


Bad missionary.
Sucky mom and wife.
Horrible Spanish.

Have you ever felt you just can't get any area of your life together?! That even in the slightest moment of victory, the evil one likes to kick you in the shins and say, "YOU'RE WORTHLESS!!!" 

Over the last several weeks I've experienced that evil booger in my face working, even showing himself through the most unexpected people, to remind me that I can't get anything right. 

PLEASE tell me, it's not just me! 

It seems Satan pinpoints the areas that mean the most (work, family, ministry, relationships, etc.) and makes you feel so small. 

It's gotten to the point where I've avoided others and even canceled plans because of my insecurities.

Just this last week we were invited to a social gathering at Josiah's classmates home. I thought of every single excuse I could conjure up until I finally had to admit that I was nervous to speak to new people in Spanish.

It may sound ridiculous to you, but even after 5 years and being married to a Spanish-speaking man... I know my Spanish is not perfect and makes me feel very incompetent. The girls/women that I teach have just gotten used to my errors, but new people don't know me.

I already stand out, I just don't want to sound like an idiot.

SIDE NOTE. I went... and had fun :)

Then areas like motherhood have been a real kick in the gut. I appreciate honesty, but after hearing "How are yooouuuu going to handle TWO?!" enough times really makes me wonder the same thing. An unhealthy reminder that I must have reeeallly messed up my first kid, couldn't even keep my second one alive and might end up in the loony bin with my third.

Do you see how Satan does it?! What a JERK!

I thought this was just a woman problem until I asked Robersy recently. Apparently we all struggle!

But just as quickly as fiery darts have been thrown, CHRIST has stepped in.

No. HE hasn't given me a participation trophy or even stuck a "You're AWESOME!" sticker on my chest. But HE has reminded me of who HE is and who I am IN HIM.

Just the other week I began preparing a new study in Ephesians. SIDE NOTE. If you want to wallow in your insecurities, do not study Ephesians! 

Then, even in the midst of studying Ephesians chapter 1 in depth, I sat in a Biblical Counseling conference where we spent quite a bit of time on understanding our identity in CHRIST.

I found as GOD clarified my identity as HIS daughter... chosen, loved, adopted, etc. was at the forefront of my mind I wasn't so hung up on who I'm not, but rather who HE is!

Now, I'm still not the world's greatest parent. My child doesn't shrill with pure joy at the sight of vegetables or behave like a perfect angel 100% of the time, but I'm honored that the LORD entrusted me with the craziest, most tender-hearted 2 year old little boy. HE will not leave me high and dry with Adelyne either. HE is the perfect FATHER and I'm grateful to glean knowledge, strength and energy from HIM.

This also applies in my roles as wife, missionary, friend... and even in my, uuummm, "growing" state.

How about you? Do you struggle with insecurities? Spend some time understanding WHO GOD is and WHO you are IN HIM. (John 1:12, Eph. 1 - and the whole book really, Romans 15:7, 1 Cor.6:17, etc.).


Monday through Wednesday of this past week were dedicated completely to Biblical counsel training. Both Robersy and I are thankful to Lily House and their leadership team for giving us the opportunity to better prepare for our areas in ministry.

Thursday was a busy day with baseball for Robersy and teaching for myself. Josiah even went out with me to San Jose and loooooved seeing all the animals and playing with the kids out there. 

We were blessed to spend some time with one of our favorite mission teams on Thursday evening. Syracuse, NY always sends us some of the best! And following dinner a few of the ladies joined myself and the street team for ministry in Boca Chica. We experienced some interesting things, but we are so grateful for GOD's protective hand over the team.

Friday night we had Omar, from San Jose, come and preach at youth group and heard some testimonies from the Syracuse team too.

Saturday, Robersy and I were thankful to double date to the movies after baseball practice, while Josiah enjoyed a slumber party with one of his favorite people in the world :)

Sunday was spent out in Bani visiting Robersy's family along with GAP student, Matt.

ANNNNND here we are!!! Monday. A public holiday. We are ready to rest!

A busy week, but a great week! 

We await new adventures this week and continue to rest in HIM, HIS promises and of course... blessed by who HE is!!!
Matt playing "pool" with Josiah and Josiah's cousin, Anderson.
Some of the Syracuse team.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Adelyne Grace

Adelyne Grace. Since so many of you have asked if we've decided on a name for our little princess, we thought it was a good time to share. There's a bit of confusion of how big she really is at the moment, since one website says a cabbage and the other a zucchini and even while I'm writing this a pop-up on my phone says an asparagus, but I am the size of a small elephant so we're just gonna call her BIG! We're 30 weeks down and if she's anything like her brother... just 12 weeks to go. 

A LOT has happened since we chatted over a cup of coffee, so go on... get your latte and let's catch up!

About a month ago we were awaiting a group from Faith Christian school, beginning to move, packing to go to my sister's wedding, keeping up with our regular ministries... oh, and growing a baby :) It was a busy time and we were thankful for a few days following my sister's wedding to just SIT and rest before returning to the crazy!

I'm not going to lie and say, "OH, it's been a breeze." There has been blood, sweat and plenty of hormonal tears as we've been trying to settle in to our new home. There are no 24 hour services to get things done so we've had to settle the best we can and waaaaiiiiittttttttt for the rest to come together. To tell you the truth, we did not want to move. We LOVE Boca Chica, but we were diving in to our savings every month to cover the gas since our regular support doesn't cover it. This was vital for our family and ministry, but I still do look forward to my Thursday trips out to the streets to pour in to the lives of the women there.

Faith Christian was a highlight for us this year (as they are each year) and both Robersy and I enjoyed the time we were able to spend with them. From village outreach, food distribution and even a whale watching excursion I was impressed at these young American teenagers with an excitement to serve the LORD.

I've found the same true amongst our own teens lately and I'm encouraged, though there are differences in language and culture, how God is cultivating groups of young people all around the world to advance HIS Kingdom. 

Just last night I was sitting at SCORE night (an evening when all the groups serving with SCORE come together to share what the LORD is doing in and through them during their mission trip) with groups and individuals who had been serving in Ramon Santana, Santo Domingo and Constanza... as well as a group of Dominican young people from our church (and junior leaders with the youth) leading the music, a young Dominican single mom there to help sell items for a ministry, an intern who will be here until August serving in various ministries and a few missionaries working in various area. I just thought HOW COOL to be surrounded so many that people desire to serve CHRIST OUR SAVIOUR! 

BE ENCOURAGED! We can be so disheartened while we watch the news and hear about disaster all around us. But there is HOPE! Just take the time to look around.

Instead of bombarding you with a month's worth of reading, I figure it's easier to post some photos. ENJOY!

Youth Sunday! Proud of our teens.

School outreach with Faith Christian.

Proof that the missionaries, bus drivers and translators get to rest sometimes :)

Saving on airfare...
Just kidding... we took him ON the plane :)

All ready for the BIG DAY!!!

My sweet nephew, Abraham, couldn't be there for
the wedding due to his surgery, but he's healing SO WELL. Thank YOU for your prayers!!!
He stayed at Ronald McDonald House so I bought him a hamburger pillow as a souvenir :)

PRESENTING, Mr. and Mrs. Simmons!

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Flabby Trust Muscles.

The last 2 Mondays I have sat down to write blogs with so much to say, but no energy to say it :) It has been busy! Just 2 photos to prove that we are taking time to rest... then off we go...

That is not Chiquita... Robersy's new friend at the beach!

A few weeks ago I popped over to New Jersey with my mom and sisters to get a few things ready for my sisters upcoming wedding. It was a fabulous time with the ladies and in our 4 days there we saw sun, rain AND snow! We never knew what to wear, with the schizophrenic weather patterns, but we enjoyed our time together.

It stretched my trust muscles though!!! I left my darling 2 year old with his daddy. Robersy did a fabulous job - despite teaching my child to pee in the trees - and upon my return Robersy gave me a card thanking me for the time to bond with Josiah.

Yes, they both survived... but it was not easy for his momma! Gosh, the heart strings were pulled tight! I missed him. I missed THEM. 

But something I was reminded of is that Josiah's daddy loves him very much.

Since my return I've continued to disciple and teach in various areas, but the subject of TRUST has come up over and over again and I have come to realize that my trust muscles are kind of flabby.

Now, I know every mother would tell me I was completely fine to worry about my toddler while we were away, but the fact is I worry about a whole lot more than just him.

I worry about schedules, ministry, finances, little decisions, big decisions, things that have nothing to do with me...

A Pastor once shared, "Worry is like a rocking chair; it gets you absolutely nowhere, but gives you something to do." 

Most of the things we worry about, we have NO control over! 

But this I know. Our Daddy loves us very much. 

I remember a sweet roommate in college sat on my bed as I sobbed in to the pillow about some ridiculous problem, I'm sure. "Sarah, do you believe we serve an evil God? One that is out to hurt us? One that wants to get us!?"

It might feel that way some times, but as we search the scripture there is no doubt that our Saviour loves us very, VERY much.

Yes, we can trust HIM with our day to day tasks, jobs, money, relationships, decisions, etc. HIS best might not be what we expect... but it will be, well, the best :)

Other than a few days of traveling, we've been busy with our regular teaching and discipleship, but Robersy had a cool opportunity with the baseball academy, where he preaches, to pray over some players that were recruited to play in the States. 

We're limited on what we can share of the boys at the Academy... so you'll have to settle for
a pic of future player Josiah Lara hanging with daddy at the field :)

We had a little fun with crazy hats and hair at youth group, then celebrated the week after for Independence Day! The kids have been excited about their Quiet Time diaries (the Word of Life daily devotional) and most have been faithful. Today I ran out of candy when I did a surprise check on their Quiet Times! Several hadn't missed even ONE day! 

The Winners!
Lots of creative ideas.

We got to see God's beauty from another perspective by climbing a small mountain in Miches. Although a few cheated and hitched a ride to the top, the view was absolutely worth the steep hike! 

Josiah has still been enjoying Nursery School and they recently celebrated Independence Day with a presentation. He did well, until he spotted his daddy... but I think he may have his momma's moves after all. Sorry buddy!

Baby girl is doing well. Kicking and moving... and making me very hungry. But as per our last appointment, she is happy and healthy. I have decided on a name, just trying to convince Robersy :)

Ways you can pray for us!

1. Praying about a big move. Seeking the Lord's guidance and HIS will in our lives.

2. We'll be working with Faith Christian school this week on their mission trip to the DR. Pray for our time serving together.

3. This Sunday is Youth Sunday! Praying for those who will sing, lead, share and of course for the parents and visitors that will attend 

Tuesday, February 6, 2018


Well friends, it's been kinda cray-cray since we last spoke.

The boy who jumped in the ocean with all of his clothes on met up with his consequences a few days after I was on the mend so we spent a few more days trapped inside until he got over his fever and cough. Thankfully he was over it (though he still has a tiny cough) by the time Monday rolled around because my little booger turned TWO!!!

That's a whole 730 days.
17,520 hours.
1,051,200 minutes!!!
(Yes you better believe I used a calculator...)

... since our chunk chunk was ripped from my womb (lol! Let me have my moment. I still have the scars) and a face was finally given to the violent kicks and acid reflux :) 2 weeks after his due date.

And so was born our new "normal" - sleepless nights and livin' off a prayer.

Actually, Josiah was sweet enough to remind us of those sleepless nights last night when he called out at 3am, toddled through and plopped himself on the couch waiting for "bref-fast."

Um, no. My dear...
And because Robersy and I couldn't decide who was less exhausted and had to put him back in to bed, he rolled around with us - kicking, back-flipping, somersaulting and hand-standing until I had snoozed my alarm three times. 3AM until 6:50AM people.

So buckle up folks... who knows what I'm about to say. This should be fun. lol.

But seriously, as I sit here with my Caramel Nougat tea and the rain pouring outside I can't help but reflect on how much has changed in our lives since Josiah came in to our world. 

Our once bald eagle now has a natural fo-hawk of curls. 

He loves Peppa and Paw Patrol, cars, trains, BABIES - oh my soul, does he love babies. Our friends are sweet let him coddle and pet their little ones, but I usually have to pry him away of giving too much love. 

He LOVES his daddy... and Tonky (our dog). They're basically on the same level of the love scale. He asks for both throughout the day. Bringing him in to the world, feeding him (out of my own body for a year and a half, let me remind you...), changing him, hugging him, putting on his favorite movies, going for walks (with his beloved Tonky), going to the beach together has not helped my cause at all. I remain third place.

For being bi-lingual his language has come along. I have to guess a lot of words - napkin, ice-pop and dominoes are a few of his new favorites, but he's getting there. But there is one word in Spanish that he says as clear as day! 


This is a word I'm blaming the school for since I FO-SHO did not teach him!!! But we're working on EXORCISING it OUT of him. lol.

However, amongst quite a bit of teaching on GRACE recently I've had quite a few conversations in my teaching and one-on-one discipleship times about MIO MIO! What is MY PART in all of this grace stuff.

"For it is by GRACE you have been saved, through faith..." Eph 2:8

We know the TRUTH well and the fact that we can do NOTHING to earn our Salvation is beyond our comprehension. Even those who know that they know, that they KNOW about the depth of meaning behind grace can often fall in to a work-based salvation. 

For me personally it takes serious prayer to kick me out of that and simply bask in the beauty of grace.

But for many, it stops there. Woohoo grace! 
I am saved! 
I'm going to Heaven. 

Then Romans 6 kicks us in the bumpy.
"What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? 

Then read the rest of the chapter... SERIOUSLY! It's a good one.

THREE times in THREE different studies in THREE different ways since last Wednesday until today I've had girls say, "Pray for spiritual growth. I don't really feel God much anymore. I mean I know I'm saved, but..."

And I stop them and ask, "So what are you doing?"

What do you mean, what am I DOING?! GRACE, Sarah! 

Yes, I don't take that away for a second. 
But we want to FEEL God, HEAR God, SEE God, EXPERIENCE God, sitting on our perfectly shaped derrieres with non-fat iced caramel lattes (yes, I'm bitter... for both, the booties and the lattes. Sidetracked.) and not doing a darn thing.

We continue in the same sin, we don't crack open our Bibles, we're all dressed up for church then spend the sermon looking at everyone else... or texting... but WE WERE THERE!, we spend our prayer time like we would seated on Kris Kringle's lap...

and we want to GROW.

Please know, I am NOT casting stones. Actually, I found myself in this hump over the Christmas holidays. Angry. Exhausted. Confused.

"I just don't feel God like I used to."

Then I had to ask myself. Then what am I doing? 

Am I taking time to get to know my Best Friend, listening to what He has for me, bragging about Him and His goodness, talking to Him, obeying Him?

Grace is something I don't think I'll ever fully comprehend. But I am so, so, SO grateful for the Salvation I HAVE because of the GRACE Christ gave... gives. 

But I refuse to remain a sinful bump on a log because of the GRACE I have been shown. 
I want to grow.
So grow I shall.

Monday, January 29, 2018

Stuck in a box!

Since a picture speaks a thousand words, I decided to choose two photos to represent the start and end of our week.

The first is a photo of our quick trip to the beach on Monday evening. A lovely, relaxing adventure with the family :) Though it turned into Josiah jumping, rolling and belly-flopping in to the ocean before heading home soaking wet - and SO. HAPPY. lol. I looooove his sense of adventure and imagination.

Then... Sunday night...

Josiah got stuck in a box.
Anyone who knows me well knows I let him cry a little and then led him through my "why this was a dumb decision" speech.
Even as I post this, I am almost in tears laughing. But my poor boy was upset. He got lots of cuddles afterwards, don't worry!

That kind of sums up our week :)
Everything was going pretty well... until I was stuck inside with a cold. 

Although I was NOT the one to jump in the ocean fully clothed, I was the only one in my house that was congested, hacking up a lung and overall pretty gross.

I am feeling a LOT better today so, while Robersy is outside playing with Jos, I decided to pop in and say hello.

Despite the cold, it's been a pretty smooth week.

One of my highlights in ministry was my lesson with the minors at LH. The lesson was about how our lives are so different before and after coming to Christ. They talked about the positive bits and the struggles and sacrifices of being a child of the King of Kings. We took a puzzle (the very same one signed by members in my precious home church over a year ago in commitment "to pray for the Laras and those they serve and serve with.") and put it together. Reminded that it takes time for all those broken bits to be put together. Change doesn't happen overnight, but God is faithful. With real commitment comes real change. 

One of my highlights at home was cuddling with Josiah on the couch on Saturday while I was feeling crappy and watching one of the movies our friend, Kevin Grubinski, brought down for us.

During the good, bad... and sometimes extremely snotty... we are thankful. Many of you were mentioned in Robersy and my time together this morning. Prayed for, rejoiced over.

Until we meet again, here are a few more photos from our time in Bermuda. I found a few more on my phone so we'll revel in the memories a little more <3

My sister, Rebecca, got engaged. Pretty pumped to celebrate their nuptials soon!

Rebecca reading to her 2 favorite nephews :)
My younger sister, Deborah, and her hubby Kyle
dedicating their son, Abraham, to the LORD. 

Josiah with a few of his lady friends
at my sister's school.
Sweet Aunty/Nephew time before saying goodbye.

Writing a note to Santa. We're working on sharing! LOL.

It does get chilly in Bermuda! Watching Ferdinand :)
My sweet hubby preaching in ENGLISH!