We have seen, experienced, and loved much about Guatemala! The people are kind, generous, happy, and very loving. The kids especially have captured our hearts. God has taught us much while being here.
We’re grateful for the opportunity we had to live and work WITH Christ this week – not necessarily FOR Christ. We learned that there’s a difference.
We spent the morning sorting and organizing building materials and tools for the coming Mission teams and also took a short hike down a canyon close to where the Mission is located. We saw how they pump up water from a spring for use at the Mission. Then at noon approx – we headed for Antigua to go shopping! And shopping we did! Good deals and bargains were found by all of us good Dutch men and women! Everyone will be coming home with Guatemala goodies!
We’re getting ready to have our final meal here, then pack, have our final “devo” (devotions) and then rest our tired bodies. We need to be up by 3:30 AM to get to the airport by 5:30ish for our flight that leaves at 7:45 AM. We get to Houston by 10:45 and then leave there for Detroit at 1:05 PM. We hope to arrive in wintery Detroit by 4:53 PM – if our flight is on time. It will probably be 6 PM or later before we get back in our vehicles at the hotel we parked at – making it approx 9 PM before we are BACK HOME! We’re looking forward to seeing our families and loved ones soon!
On the wall at the base is a quote that we have read every morning when we rise and it says, ‘Prayer does not fit us for the greater work, prayer IS the Greater work.’
Today on the last day of our visit to the village, we put the finishing touches on the houses we helped to build. The insides are now a lovely aqua with John 3:16 (as requested by the families), the book of life, the cross, many handprints and shadow figures of the children who will inhabit them for sleep painted on the inner walls. We had a ball finishing the roof and making the houses a colorful reminder of God’s grace and of our time here. Lunch, again amazing was guacemole and chicken salad Guatemalan style. Delicious! During our lunch break, some of us had the unusual opportunity to attempt to carry on our backs one of the burlap bags full of corn that the local carry daily up the mountainside to market. Go Cal and go Joey and Jake! The bags weigh about 120lbs and are attached to back and reinforced at the forehead with a headband as the climb is very steep. Amazing. We’ve had the chance once or twice on the trip to give a local a ride up the mountain with his load. Young children can be seen towing cement blocks up the mountain in much the same way. Those of us that are more comfortable in our weakness simply tried to carry a large basket full of corn on top of our heads balancing the way the ladies do all the way to town. Christina and I gave our best shot, but it was Dan Smith who stole the show when he tried. These are very talented people.
After lunch we returned to the homes for the dedication. This is when the truth of prayer being the greater work became a powerful experience for all of us. As on team, along with Pastor and Dan entered the casa with the family and began to present gifts, the other team remained outside the home praying and singing (yes! out loud, without music and in front of the locals, who seemed to be interested and touch by what was taking place). Those inside listened, as after the gifts, pastor and dan presented the gospel as it related to nourishment of food and cleansing which he demonstrated with our gift of soap, to the family. The team outside reinforced the message with song. And then the process switched as the second family disappeared into their house with Dan and hermano Jesus (pastor). In the end, every member of both families accepted Jesus as their personal savior. This is a village that paradise returns to, and follow up will accompany those decisions.
And then there was the celebration. Kids came out of every corner and cornstalk for the pinata party! There was song and laughing and then some very touching good byes as we packed it up. If there is a thought that sums up the day….it may be that Prayer is indeed Powerful and God’s people are Priceless. Thanks for following! Two more days!
Once again we took the bumpy 2 hr ride to the village we’re working in. Dan drives one of the vans and Joe Miedema has been driving the other. The vans are 4 wheel drive vehicles and without a doubt – it’s needed. Some of the hills are so steep and filled with holes – that a 2 wheel vehicle would never make it. When we travel to the village – at one point we’re at about 8,000 feet above sea level – the air is noticably thin. From the highest point we descend rapidly (in about 1 mile 1000 ft), the village is at about 7,000 feet.
The weather reminds us of our fall season in Michigan. The mornings and evenings are cool – about low 40’s and then by noon thru 2 pm it’s probably around 80 degrees and then cools down rapidly once the sun sets.
We did a second coat of “mudding” on the houses today and put up the “over-hangs” on both houses. By the way – the size of theses houses are 10 X 12 with the same size over-hangs. The front wall is approx 8 ft high, the back wall is about 7 ft. The roof is simply some sheets of steel that is screwed to the steel studded frame. The roof is on a slant for rain water obviously. The over-hang (10 x 12 as well) is on a slant as well. The inside is covered with drywall and outside is done with cement board – that we cover with stucco. There’s a door in the front and a 2 X 2 window in the back that swings open – for air ventilation. People do not really “live” in them – they simply put a bed or 2 in them – and that’s were they sleep. They have other houses or huts were they do their cooking. Tomorrow we will finish the “mudding” – it dries quickly. Then we’ll put a couple coats of paint on the drywall – maybe a few people will paint some murals and write Bible verses on the walls as well. Then we will dedicate the houses along with the families that are receiving them.
This evening when we got back – Dan Smith ordered Domino’s pizza for us! It was fantastic! We all appreciated that so much! We praise and thank God for another great day!
Great Day! The team arrived in one of what most be the most beautiful places in Guatemala where we began work on our house building. The drive was through the mountains. The landscape and agriculture scattered in neat plots and parcels up and down and across the mountainside is indeed something to behold. These are a hearty and hard working people who take pride in their land. Impressive scenery. We arrived to a warm welcom from many of the village children who wait (probably for hours) anxiously for the vans who carry ‘dolce’ (candy) to arrive. The welcoming committee couldn’t be cuter all smiles and dressed in their best for the visitors.
We split into two teams and began. Thanks to Jenna and some very expressive antics throughout the day, we were able to understand the patient explainations of our Spanish speaking help and get the walls framed and drywall up. Everyone took a turn with the drills. The families we are building for were there and we also got to meet and begin to form a relationship with them. They were invited to work alongside us. The men of the household seemed pleased and excited to contribute. we finished the houses early, after an authentic lunch of rice and beans and homemade tortillas. Then the 2 hour ride back home to enjoy some freetime and devotion. Tomorrow we will return to stucco the sides of the houses and put on the roof. The really great thing about a mission trip, well one, is watching everyone’s gifts play out. No one has every gift, but as the week goes on, it becomes so obvious that God knits together the team He needs to bring together all the pieces of his bigger plan. Everyone gets to play, Everyone gets to shine for the Lord! Blessings!
Hi all. Thank you for keeping up with us and for your prayers…they are being felt as we move and do! Everyone remains healthy and strong and flexible on the trip. We began the day today with a visit from another group serving nearby. 40 people from Dorr, MI and the surrounding area came here to have devotion and worship with us. We all toured the orphanage downstairs that hopes to allow the first child to cross the doorstep in 6 months or so. Construction is complete, walls are done in Beautifully painted murals, but government red tape has slowed things a bit. The couple who will be directing the orphanage will be arriving back from a well deserved break at the end of the week. We’ll just miss them. Please pray for the process of beginning the orphanage/school goes smoothly, as it is going to be a big undertaking and an incredible blessing.
We visited another village today. We did the same sort of schedule as yesterday with playing and distributing medications. The team saw more serious illness and injury at this small village including a family who is likely suffering from TB and will continue to receive care via Paradise Bound in the future. During the Jesus film, many were touched and some seemed to already have a deep passion for Christ. Others were conflicted, as many here are of a breed of Catholicism, and worship Christ’s crucifiction, not His resurrection. We prayed for a young married woman named Ruth, who prayed to receive Jesus and then wanted prayer because her husband and his family would not accept her new faith and her own family would likely reject her. Another Ruth, who may need to make the decision that ‘IAM will be her God and His people will be her people.’ Please pray for her as it is not an easy choice here. We were able to set her up with a female ‘amiga’ in the village who is a Christian, and Paradise Bound will be in touch with her. The worship was powerful and the children have stolen the hearts of all, but especially our young girls. Our teenagers gave their testimonies last night for the group. This was the first time for all three of them and they did Wonderful sharing what Christ in their home has meant to them, and their hope for the same rich life for those we meet along our journey here.
This am has been an early morning and we are soon off to a new village to begin the building of our two houses. Everyone is up and ready to go. Most are in their personal devotion times as I write this, and we know God has been preparing us day by day to meet the needs of every day. We Love it Here, but miss our families. Dan is a wealth of information and we are learning more and more about the history of and the devastation of different areas. He and Heidi are the perfect choice for this ministry as their hearts are so obviously sold out for the people and this place. Pray safety and smooth building plans for today, and balance of work and relationship with those we may encounter today. God is So Good and Everything He does Is Worthy of our Trust. Blessings to you…The team loves hearing from you!
…was a day we will all remember! There were well over a hundred people that came out from the surrounding homes. It’s difficult to describe in words. We played and played with the children! They were so much fun! The girls in the group braided hair, painted nails, while the boys & men played with frisbies and footballs! They had so much energy! We colored with them, played jump-rope (with an electrical cord), played “Duck, Duck, Goose”, and gave out handfuls of candy! Also Dan Smith along with another nurse helped with diagnosing medical needs and team members helped with disbursing meds. Then as darkness descended – we began a worship service – with the team leading everyone with some great worship songs! Then the “Jesus” film was shown. Dan encouraged all of us to pray for open hearts and minds while we all watched the stories of Jesus being portrayed from the Bible – ending with Jesus death and ressurection! It was powerful and after the Pastor (that travels with teams to villages) gave a brief message – many, many people came to give their lifes to Christ! It was so awesome to see God at work and to be part of praying and ministering to these people – even though most of us were not able to understand what was being said. We still prayed – and let the Holy Spirit do the work! Thank-you for your prayers! We miss home – but it’s exciting to see how God is growing His church here in Guatemala!
We are here and Happy! Good morning on Saturday from the mountains of Chimaltenango (chee-mal-tan-nago). We were greeted with American pancakes and fresh fruit this am by our hosts, who are only too kind in providing for us. The team is busy now preparing more medicines that we’ll be taking with us to a village of about 50 families later this am. We will stay, distribute the medicine, engage the people in whatever ways we have brough along, and later be showing the Jesus film to the community there. We pray that there will be chances for prayer and ministry of any and all types that my be on God’s agenda. Some of the girls and I hope give hair cuts and manicures to the women and girls. We also have soccer balls and songs in spanish and bean bags for Guatemalan style poor man’s horseshoes…all played out for God’s glory! We have a two and a half hour journey by bus today to the mountain village. On the way we will work a creative assembly line as we put together treats and coloring pages for the children. We are all having a wonderful time (propably mostly me) getting to know one another and sharing this opportunity to serve/receive. Thanks for following! Be blessed, and all our love to family and friends,