Jenae Tiki Matikke, our beloved “Tia Tiki” (“Aunt Tiki” in Spanish), age 26, is about to celebrate her six-month anniversary living and working at the Ranch. Part of her family lives in Tennessee and the other part in Cameroon, West Africa. She and I met while studying abroad in Argentina in 2011, and during our time at the same Argentinean university we formed a strong friendship and stayed in touch after returning home to the States. She has degrees in Social Work and Spanish, and she is our beloved sister in Christ, dynamic homeschooling teacher, Bible study leader, and wonderful influence in both the children’s and our lives. God has placed it on her heart to start abstinence education classes in the surrounding rural community in the coming months in response to the high levels of sexual promiscuity and unwed teenage mothers. She is hilarious, very artistic, and has an extremely profound walk with Christ that is expressed in her humble submission to God’s will as she loves those around her. She is with us for an indefinite period of time as she continually seeks God’s will for her life.
Erick Chavez, “Uncle Erick,” age 24, is a native Honduran and our honorable agriculturalist, Bible study leader, and godly influence in the children’s and our lives. He grew up in a Christian family and was discipled by our mutual mentors for several years before turning to worldly ways for a short season in his life. He has returned to the Christian faith with intense sincerity and has a profound testimony that he frequently shares with those around him. He is engaged to be married in May and is at the Ranch for an indefinite period of time as he continually seeks God’s guidance for him and his fiance.
Diana, age 13, is our eldest daughter and has a very sweet yet strong spirit. She is wise beyond her years and is the spiritual leader among the children. She has a mothering spirit and a passion to learn music. She is currently studying piano, voice, music theory and music history in La Ceiba’s Music Conservatory that my husband directs, and in our homeschooling program she is learning to play the recorder along with the other children. She has a servant’s heart and is incredibly resilient considering the story that she holds at the young age of 13 years. She has mentioned wanting to be a math teacher or raise orphans as an adult, but she continues to seek the Lord’s will for her life. She and her sister Gleny participate weekly on a local girls’ basketball team that I coach.
Gleny, age 9, whom I affectionately call “My Wild Gleny,” in, indeed, just that. She is very different from her older sister and has an incredible strength and spark that we continually pray will be used for God’s glory. She has grown in her self-confidence, trust in God, and adventurous spirit in these last few months, and she brings great joy to those around her. She oftentimes struggles with strong emotions, and in these last couple months she has begun to read the Bible on her own and says that each night she asks God for her life’s purpose. I recently asked her if she has any dreams for her future, and after thinking briefly she answered, “I want to go to the university. I want to keep taking painting classes and eventually teach others how to paint…and teach people how to read.”
Jason, age 6, the biological brother to both Diana and Gleny, has grown incredibly in these months since the three of them moved in on November 1, 2013. He has given his life to Christ, and with that faith and confidence that he now has in God he has overcome many fears that used to immobilize and haunt him. He is our little man in training, and each Friday afternoon he, along with Brayan, has “Man Time” with Uncle Erick, who teaches them what it means to be a man of God. Jason loves to dance, is very artistic, and extremely affectionate. He loves animals and has a heart for the underdog.
Brayan, age 13, is the newest member of our family at the Ranch. He is high-energy, very affectionate, and is learning what it means to be in a stable, loving family. He accepted Christ a short time after arriving, and is now learning to walk in the faith. He is very adventurous, fearless, and has helped Jason a lot in his growth as a young man.
If you want to learn more about Darwin and me, you can visit the “Who We Are” page at the top of this blog.