Wednesday, February 26, 2014


Beto got his license a couple of weeks ago!  Of course we were, and are, so excited! He practiced a lot, especially the morning before his test.  He was blessed with a peaceful, calm instructor (very different from the first time) and did very well.
Afterwards we went out to lunch to celebrate at Bai Plu Thai, of course. Where else?  Then we ran a bunch of errands and wore out the kids!  
I took Jack for a long walk to the "fresh off the farm" strawberry stand. mmmhmmm! Strawberry season has arrived!  
I now have my first student that I'm tutoring in English, a man my age from Honduras whose wife is from here.  Needless to say, we have a lot to talk about. Last week was Santi's birthday, the big 0-5.  We had a great time at Legoland and the Legoland hotel.  We were blessed with tickets to the park so we were able to stay at the hotel.  Everything is Awesome!!! If you ever get a chance to stay at the hotel I highly recommend it.  Everything is themed and there are legos everywhere!  There is dance music and a disco ball in the elevators and a giant woopie cushion under the floor by the elevators.  We are so thankful Shelby, Dave,  and Ben could go too.  When we returned home it was time to clean the house and prepare for Santi's party.  The theme was Pirate Bunnies in Outer Space.  Boring, I know.  
Shelby , my niece, did all of the decorating.  She made the solar system out of balloons and even went above and beyond by labeling them.  

Monday, February 24, 2014

A Brief Winter Observed

Almost three months has passes since my last post.  Those months have been filled with a lot of excitement.  We celebrated Christmas and New Year's, which included celebrating Advent for the first time, and starting a few new things.
Advent was amazing, something I plan to make our family tradition from now on.  The lessons were just right for our young kids, and they loved "lighting" and blowing out the candles.  Also something that seems to have become a tradition for us is to visit the beach for a little bit on Christmas Eve, later in the afternoon.  Santi and I especially enjoy making "sand angels".

Beto and I have been actively searching for jobs.  I was accepted as a substitute for a small Christian school where I have some "connections" and have subbed there a couple of times already and am set to sub at least twice in March.  I also got accepted as a private tutor with a tutoring company but have yet to be paired with a student. I am working on getting in my application to sub with LBUSD.  I am also actively pursuing acceptance into a credential/Master's in Education program, but am still doing some research between two different schools.

Beto has his "final"(?) appointment tomorrow at the city's hiring agency, so please be in prayer for his job search.  At his first appointment, God put him with someone from his home country who prayed over us and for us (down the street and around the corner, of course, off of the government property). It was very encouraging!  He also has his driver's test this week.  Please be praying for him too on WEdnesday at 11am Pacific time.  I just pray that he won't drive too much like he did in Central America.  If he can do that, he should be fine!

The kids are great.  We are getting excited to celebrate Santi's and my birthday's next month (but mostly Santi's).

And finally, today Bela got her first vaccinations!!!  It was such a big deal that passed without any fanfare, but I am so excited.  Truthfully this is just another stepping stone that means she truly is moving farther and farther away from the abnormalness that we experienced her first year of life.  So much was put on hold for so many months and now that she's started this process , it's another sigh of relief and reality that she can be a healthy kid.  She has to start from the beginning as if she's a newborn.  She did great, although she did cry pretty hard for about 10 seconds, until the lollipop came into the picture. Then she was fine.  I felt like telling her, "Hey, at least it's not chemo!"  But I didn't think she'd appreciate it at the time.

We are grateful everyday for our health and blessings that God has given to us and are always mindful of those whose paths have become harder than ours. Thank you for all of your prayers and please pray with us for those who are still fighting and mourning for loved ones.  

Friday, December 06, 2013

Le Grande Post

Student participation!


All together now

Beto has been teaching a new class called "Zero English" for a few months now.  Our church hosts a ministry called Friendspeak in which community members who want to better their English are paired up with a church member with whom they practice.  They use the Bible.  Some ability to read, write, speak, and understand English is required.  The church receives some calls from people who have a desire to learn English but are not yet at the level required to participate in Friendspeak.  Those students now have a place to go, and it's Zero English.  Beto works with them on very basic vocabulary to help them get to the point of being able to join Friendspeak.  He has wonderful students and they always have a lot of fun!

This past month in November we finally finished up our season of traveling.  We are very happy to be home more with the kids and settle once more into a routine.  First let me talk about "Fundraising Bootcamp".  Even if you don't ever have to raise funds, I would still recommend it!  It's a two day intensive lecture style seminar.  I certainly can't go into much detail but we really enjoyed it, learned a lot and made new friends. One reason I say that someone could go to it even if they didn't have to raise funds is because many of the principals he teaches can be applied to life in general: building and maintaining relationships, praying for those who encourage you, sharing your life story with others in 30 minutes or less and telling them how God has worked in your life, and how to ask  and give Biblically.  I learned new insights into scriptures that I had never thought of before about how God provides for His people.

We also were in Portland for about a week.  We attended Discovery labwith Kairos, a Church of Christ church planting organization, in which a team of interviewers asks us all kinds of questions about every aspect of our lives over a two day period.  They learn about us and we learn about them to see if we are a good fit to partner with them.  We were also required to host a time of worship and another time of sharing about ourselves in front of the group: our pasts, how we met, and our call to ministry. We made new friends there too and it was so encouraging to hear other stories of God's faithfulness!  Many of you know that we had done this before a couple of years ago but needed to do it again since so much time had past with what happened with Bela.  At the end of our time it was clear that right now God has other things in store for us.  We are not sure what that may be, but we are going to take a month or two to pray, continue to find healing in Him from all that we've been through these past 17 months, and seek His guidance and counsel.

We are excited about the future and the plans God has for us.  We have our goals for 2014 which include finding some more normalcy for our lives:  work, getting our own place, and living with two very healthy children.  We'd appreciate your prayers.

And for a short update on Bela: yesterday she had an oncology check up and her counts were better than ever!!  She is finally not having diarrhea, which is a first for her since October!  She only gained .1 oz. in the past two months, but she is developing well, learning a few new words here and there, and eating like she's in some kind of competition!  On Tuesday we took her to Disneyland for the first time. It was a perfect day, perfect weather, and we all had a great time!  We praise God for simple pleasures like these!

We started with breakfast with the characters.  Thanks cousin Stacey for the suggestion!

Meeting Mickie.  He was so gracious to take a break from filming his next movie to take a picture with us!

First stop after breakfast: Toon Town.  Excellent choice!

Bela wasn't so sure about Chip.

The prettiest time to go to Disneyland is definately at Christmas!

Her first taste of cotton candy! Oh how sweet it is.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving and Happy Hanukkah!

Bela a few months ago, but we still see this almost daily.
Bela Fall 2012

This year of course we are so thankful that Bela is able to celebrate with us, and not in the hospital!

We are also celebrating Hanukkah this year for the first time.  Hanukkah is a time where we remember God's miracles, His provision, and is a Festival of Lights, which represent God's presence with us.  We are mindful that we have many miracles in our family this past year for which to be thankful.  Not just Bela but my brother in law Geoff was also cured of cancer this year.

However, we are sensitive to the families who have lost loved ones this past year.  We pray for God's peace and comfort to be upon them every day, but especially at this time.

Thursday, November 07, 2013

A whole season has passed

Time sure flies!  To bring you up to speed, let me recap the highlights since the last time I wrote.

In August, Beto and I got to take a short vacation without the kids in San Diego.  Mostly we just spent a lot of leisure time not cooking food or cleaning up anything, or working or waking up at 6am.  We also spent most of the month getting ready for Strategy Lab.

In September, we attended Strategy Lab for Kairos in Lincoln, NE.  It was a fun, challenging, inspiring, deep week and we made a lot of awesome new friends. We were hosted by Leroy and his wife Rox (sadly we didn't have much time with her as she was out of town).  We couldn't have had a better host family!!! We enjoyed a Kairos couple's retreat after SL somewhere out in the middle of nowhere in Nebraska, but it was beautiful! except that I am certain I am allergic to the midwest.  I thought I might have the flu, but in less than 24 hours after coming home, I was miraculously better!  The beach air is the best air (wait, maybe my body missed the SMOG???!)  Seriously, Strategy Lab really allowed us to clarify our vision, mission, values, and much more for our future church plant.  Now our Ministry Plan is complete!  We thank God for the wise Kairos staff who teach and encourage us.

I'm thankful to my mom, sister Glenda, my aunts Romaine and Glenda, and my niece Shelby who all helped out so much with our kids while we were gone.  We are getting ready to go away for another week  to Discovery Lab in Portland, OR and they'll be helping again (except for Aunt Romy who's on a cruise...pppfffssshhh...whatever!)  We attended two years ago when we'd first moved back from Honduras, but with Bela's sickness and all of the time that's passed, Kairos thought it'd be a good idea to attend again, to see how we've changed as people, because we certainly have!  We had to take some personality tests, spiritual gifting tests, etc. and I got much different results.  I really wasn't expecting that at all. I'm looking forward to a week of fellowship, learning, and growth.  I'm not really looking forward to being observed ALL.THE.TIME, but I know it's for our good.

Bela is doing well.  She's had some nasty stomach virus once a month for the past two or three months, it seems like, but her blood counts are always "perfect" and she plays and eats and sleeps well.

Santi is great. I've started homeschooling him and today he read his first "BOB" book. It was very exciting for both of us!  We're taking it kind of relaxed this year since he's only four.  It's like an appetizer for the main course that will be Kindergarten next Fall.

Beto and I will also be attending a "Fundraising Bootcamp" in Dallas this month.  We'll be home for one day after Portland to watch Santi be a ring bearer in our friends' wedding, then we're taking the kids with us to Dallas!  We're staying with some very close friends who also have a boy and girl close in age to Santi and Bela.  Once we get back home Beto and I will begin fundraising like it's a full-time job!  We are very excited though to get going and be able to move the next chapter in our lives!  We have made some contacts here in Long Beach with other pastors and another church planting organization that have confirmed to us our calling to go and plant a church.  

Thursday, August 01, 2013

An update and a request

Long Beach Church of Christ
3707 Atlantic Av
Long Beach, CA 90807

It is with much joy that we write to you and pray that you are experiencing God’s blessings in your lives.  This letter is to inform you of our situation as missionaries and our work in the Lord Jesus Christ.

We began as part-time domestic missionaries in August 2011 at the Long Beach Church of Christ.  Some of our work includes evangelism, and English and Spanish classes.  Our goal has always been to serve and help in the ministry of evangelism of our Lord. In June 2012 we were ready to begin the process of transitioning as church-planters with Kairos, a Church of Christ church-planting organization.  With the sickness of our daughter last year, those plans were put on hold.  Now we are ready to begin that transition again. 
We would like to invite you to consider partnering with us.  We are raising funds now for this fall, a temporary preparation period consisting of a lot of training and traveling, praying and fasting, seeking God about which direction He wants us to go. 
First is Strategy Lab from September 9 to the 15th in Omaha, Nebraska and then Discovery Lab is November 9 to the 16th in Portland, OR. These seminars  teach us to use our gifts and skills, to discover our calling as planters of new churches.  We will be attending a “boot camp” called “Bodybuilders: Center for Mission Mobilization” for two days where we will be trained in how to more effectively raise funds for the long-term and for larger amounts.  The dates for this event are still tentative.  For this season we are in need of your prayers and your collaboration.  We appreciate your support and your hearts.  Acts 20:35
Here is a breakdown of the costs (for both of us):
1.         “Boot camp”                                                                                                                    $1,700
2.       Strategy Lab                                                                                                                       $800
3.       Discovery Lab                                                                                                                    $2400
4.       Miscellaneous (gas, lunches, etc.)                                                                            $500
5.       To give ourselves fully to this time                                                                           $1,000/mo.(4 months)
                                                                                                                                Total:    $9,400
We will be in contact throughout the fall with you and you are always welcome to ask us how it’s going.  Checks can be made out to the church with our name on the memo and sent to the address at the top of the page.  Blessings to you and yours.

Beto and Laura  Perez                                                                                                    

Friday, July 19, 2013

Just fun Stuff, man!

I love my sister!  Here she is overcome by how much I love her shoes.

I've never added a movie before and I did this on accident, but here you can see Bela in motion.  Now she is walking like a pro.

Bela picked up a Cosco-sized bag of chex mix from the bottom. " Oops, did I do that?"

The kid loves to eat.  Here she is with her first pizza crust.

Getting ready to take some memorable Mother-daughter-sister photots

aawww...isn't that special?

And now, for your enjoyment, the authenticity of the Speaks girls

She taught us everything we know...*tear*

OK, for reals

poor Jack feelin all left out and stuff

Her first real bath where she could get all wet without worries!

So that other picture was not the first time it happened.

At the library, the city's orchestra came with a lot of instruments.  Santi was one of only three kids that showed up, so he got special attention and was able to play all of the instruments for however long he wanted!

Daddy loves the library