Update from Jake & Leidy Paul

This update will finish off our little mini-series of updates by focusing on our third topic: us. We figured that aside from our main work projects, we should let you know about the other things going on in our lives and fill you in on how we are doing emotionally, physically, spiritually, etc. Honestly, this is probably the hardest of the updates to write because it is sometimes hard to put our feelings, struggles, and personal victories into words and not just end up with an update that feels forced as well as heavily edited to just make us look good. So, at the risk of oversharing, we will try to fill you in as openly and honestly as possible.

These last few months have been exhausting in every sense of the word. Yes, after almost 9 years here (4 ½  with Leidy) I should be used to this, but this year it seems more exhausting and it is frustrating. This feeling of frustration is most likely linked to the fact that we purposely decided to take a step back from some things (the church youth ministry) and learn how to say no to others in order to really focus on our main projects here, but we still find ourselves becoming more and more occupied with things. This is not all together a bad thing. It is good to be busy, and if I am honest, I don’t think the problem is that we are too involved in any one thing. I think it is more to do with the fact that we have not learned how to manage and organize ourselves in order to learn how to mentally and physically stop working. And here’s the kicker…we know this, but we have still not figured out what works for us.

Leidy has been struggling with various physical challenges. She is almost always experiencing back pain and the massage therapist that she has been going to recommended that she see a specialist because her back does not seem to be loosening up at all. She has a hard time disconnecting from the girls. While we have talked about boundaries, she still struggles to not check her phone every couple of minutes to see if the girls need her for something. While she has become better at physically not looking, mentally she is still thinking about it. This is where I think we both share a similar struggle. We are both pretty emotional people, but we need to work on how to mentally relax (is that even a real thing?) so that we don’t become overwhelmed. I also recently experienced some nightly panic attacks. This has only happened a handful of times and almost always when I am having trouble falling asleep. Mentally, I am always aware that they are in my mind, but I feel like my heart is racing and I am having trouble breathing. They almost always settle down as I begin to pray and calm myself down. I am not too worried about them, but Leidy said I needed to let you all know.

Now, we want to be clear, it’s not like every day is torture and we feel like we are at the point of burnout, we love what we are doing and are so grateful that God has put us here and given us all of you to be part of what he is doing here in Armenia. However, we need all of you to know how to pray for us and how we are feeling right now. Even writing this to all of you is a very cathartic experience. Thanks for giving us an outlet to let it all out.

Ok, so with all that out of the way, we can get on to the good stuff. For those of you that don’t already know, we purchased a piece of land with our friends Andres and Alejandra a year ago and we are planning (hoping & praying) to build a type of townhouse, so that we can live there together. A friend of ours designed the house and is going to be in charge of overseeing it, but we need lots of prayer for the logistics and financial part as finding loans here in Colombia with a fair interest rate are next to impossible. We are excited to finally be able to stop paying rent and to be in an area where the bills will also be a lot cheaper. Also, will be nice to not have to feel tremors from six stories up. We are also thankful to God, that we have been able and determined to set aside time as a couple. I, personally, am so grateful to God to have a woman like Leidy to share my life with. She encourages me, challenges me, and it is a joy to see God working through her on a daily basis with these girls. To sum it all up, we are doing well despite the frustration and are content. Our God is faithful and has placed many wonderful people in our life (that includes all of you), and so even when things get a bit hard, we really can’t complain.

Ok, we have already violated the idea of the quick update, so we will sign off and leave you all a link to a song that has been really encouraging during these last weeks.

Love you all,

Jake & Leidy