"Today our HHH mentor lives far away from the cold of the Midwest. Stephanie and her husband, Luke, work for a small organization Nuevas Esperanzas that is based in León, Nicaragua. There, they assist and promote sustainable development in rural communities. Stephanie is humble and quick to point out that Christ's love is what compels her. I feel privileged to peek into her life - come join me. Please, Stephanie - introduce yourself!"
"Hello, I am Stephanie, a 31 year-old American woman living amongst the wonderful people of Nicaragua. I am a professional mama, daily trying to be a better mama by learning to love better. I am a wife/friend/sister/daughter. I am a newbie modern homesteader and am impassioned by discussions/action steps regarding intentional living as responsible stewards of God’s creation.
I am empathetic, sensitive, quick to anger, thoughtful, loving, creative, selfish, generous, a minimalist, unorganized, polite, ungrateful, nice, soft-spoken, judgmental and attentive."
"There are many details about you that are unique (clearly a great photographer), Stephanie, but how would you describe your unique role as a woman?"
"I reflected and reflected on this.
I feel unique in my role as me, Stephanie, an individual molded by God, not in my specific gender as a woman. I feel unique in who I am, what I enjoy, how I can serve others. In my role as a mama/wife/sister/daughter/friend, I bring my strengths and lean on the strengths of others. In this, I am unique."
"I LOVE your answer. It is that simple, isn't it? I am who God created me to be. What bible passage is your personal favorite?"
Philippians 1:3-11, I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
It is right for me to feel this way about all of you, since I have you in my heart and, whether I am in chains or defending and confirming the gospel, all of you share in God's grace with me. God can testify how I long for all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus.
And this is my prayer: that you love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ - to the glory and praise of God.
"It's a mission statement. It's the reason we are made: to love, to model love, to develop our love for God and others, to love to love."
"How did God lead your family's path to serve Nicaragua through Nuevas Esperanzas?"
"Is there a moment that you saw God's hand so clearly guiding or providing for you that you would like to share?"
"Yes, many – for one example, see the answer to the above question “How did God lead your family's path to serve Nicaragua through Nuevas Esperanzas?” Smile.
And I have several more. If interested, email me."
"Who is your strongest Christian mentor, why?"
"Luke Aaron Pekrul, my husband.
He loves to love God. He tirelessly acts on learning how to love God better. He has no ‘God-box” – God permeates his life, his most mundane tasks are done in love. His love for God then pervades his interactions with us, his family, his coworkers, neighbors, strangers. He lives for God. I have so much to learn from him."
"Beautiful. Any advice to encourage a husband in his faith and role in marriage?"
"Pray spontaneously – not just before bed, or at the table or church. Bust out a conversation with God in the car, on the sidewalk, while making lunch…in front of your wife, with your wife. When telling her that you’ll pray for her, do it…right in that moment, with her, outloud. Model that that important relationship is prioritized in your life. Grow that important relationship by being love, learning, listening."
"What do you feel is a threat to a woman’s faithfulness in her home?
"Herself. I’m my biggest threat. I daily lose the battle to selfishness, yelling, hurtful words, prioritizing the wrong things.
Keep accountable. Find a mentor that loves God – someone to talk to, confess to. Check in often."
"Can you share an event in your life that seemed terribly difficult that God strengthened you by?"
"I can’t. It’d likely hurt the person should they read this. But I ask for a prayer request. Pray for healing and love to be bigger than culture and tradition."
"Yes, we will pray for what you asked. Good discernment.
What’s next for you?"
"This. Being a mama, wife, friend, etc. Learning how to be a better mama, wife, friend, etc, reflecting God and his amazingness."
"Stephanie, thank you so much for taking the time and sharing your life with us at HHH. You motivate our families to seek God in all ways and in all things - especially His direction in our lives. God says "He who has an ear let him hear..." may our hearts not be hardened but open to follow Him wherever he wills. We pray that God continues to watch over your family and your service to his people in Nicaragua."