Friday, October 31, 2008
Today we began by meeting at our bus at 6:00 a.m. to start the long trip back to Guatemala City. Karen led our devotion focusing on Proverbs 19:20-21 which says, "Listen to advice and accept instruction, and in the end you will be wise. Many are the plans in a man's heart, but it is the LORD's purpose that prevails." Each of us has a purpose for being here in Guatemala, and God will be the one to ensure the completion of His plan in us and through us with the children of Fundación Salvación.
Along the way today, we took a detour through the city of Antigua. We visited a few popular sights which included a coffee plantation and a tour led by the owner.
Saturday morning we head to the airport and return to Texas. It has been a great week here in Guatemala. We have already started talking about mission opportunities for 2009. I hope you will begin praying right now that God will direct our planning as well as your availability to be on mission with us.
Serving with you,
Thursday, October 30, 2008
This morning began with a devotional from Robin. She reminded us that God is not interested in us keeping rules. He is interested in our hearts. The cross proves that Jesus loves us no matter where we have been or what we have done... His love is greater!
Following breakfast, we made our last drive to the orphanage. As we entered the gates, our welcoming committee ran to the door of the bus. Cleaning the smudges on the glass from the fingerprints and noses will keep our driver busy for a while (it's great!). Several of the children were wearing the tye dye t-shirts we made on the second day of VBS.
Finishing the project work was a priority today. The baby room had been needing a way to keep the older and younger babies separated in that one room. We provided them with a foam mat for the floor and constructed a corral to help the workers divide the children. Electrical work continued until the last possible minute as did the sewing of curtains for the boys dorm room.
Around 12:30 p.m. we loaded the children on a bus and headed out for a picnic and birthday party. Our destination was an area containing Mayan ruins. We stuffed the children with pizza and birthday cake as we celebrated the children's birthdays as well as three members of our team... Nola, Robin, and Jim. It was a beautiful day, a spectacular view, and a lot of fun for the children.
When we returned to the orphanage we had a closing event in which the children sang and danced in a program they had prepared for us. Sandra, the director of the orphanage, unveiled a plaque mounted in the wall thanking First Baptist Church of Conroe for the trips we have made as well as for our ongoing support. We concluded our time with the children by handing out gift bags to everyone.
Tomorrow is a travel day which takes us through Antigua and back into Guatemala City. On behalf of our team, I thank you for keeping up with our ministry efforts and for your prayer support. It has been an awesome experience with the children, with our team, and with our Savior.
En El Nombre de Jesucristo,
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
The morning of Day 5 began with Nola leading our group devotional. She took us to the Bible to remind us of Jesus’ inexplicable love for children and that even Santa Clause may disappoint but Jesus never will.
Following breakfast, we returned to the orphanage. As we arrived, the children made us feel as though we were best friends being reunited. The hugs and high fives soon turned to swinging, skipping, and sitting with one or more children in our lap. Love and a caring touch transcends any barrier created by language.
Our final session for Vacation Bible School was held today, and all project work resumed with a heightened awareness of our limited time here. I must remember next time to warn the team members working on electrical projects before sneaking up with my camera set to flash.
At the end of the day, we walked outside of the orphanage and jumped on a local “chicken buss.” Our destination was the downtown market (Mercado). People were everywhere buying, selling, sitting, walking, talking, driving, and riding. It was truly a great experience encountering everyday life in Huehuetenango.
Today was another incredible day to be a part of something God is doing, but at the same time it was also a very different day. “How was it different,” you might ask. Well, several of the children began asking the question, “Will you return tomorrow?” We know it’s coming…they know it’s coming…it’s no secret that our time here will end, but it still difficult whether you are 4 or 74. Thursday will be our last day with the children on this trip. My prayer is that my son and I will be able to return again with other members of our family as well. We would love to be on mission with you wherever the Lord leads.
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
The fourth day of our mission trip to Guatemala began at 7:30 a.m., as usual, with our devotional time together before breakfast. John shared his testimony and the incredible story of a simple invitation from a childhood friend which led to John’s conversion. He concluded by pointing us to Isaiah 41:10 which would be beneficial for all of us to remember and practice daily… “Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.”
As we entered the familiar gates of the orphanage, the children, once again, ran to the bus. They grab each of us by the hand, leg, or around the neck and greet us with words such as friend, buddy, teacher, and even daddy (mostly Spanish but a few in English). All you want to do at that moment is surrender and say… “Hola. ¿Cómo estás? Te amo. ¿Quieres jugar conmigo?” (Hello. How are you? I love you. Do you want to play?)
After playing with the children, we started back on our work projects. The plans for the day included sewing curtains, painting the kitchen, repairing broken toilets, and some carpentry work for the nursery.
Vacation Bible School has been an awesome experience this year. Today’s lesson was the story of Joseph and his coat of many colors. The children were taught that no matter what is going on in life, good or bad, God loves them and they should keep their attention on Him. This was followed by a brave attempt on everyone’s part to help the children experience tye dying t-shirts we brought from Conroe. The children had a blast! You should also hear all the screams and laughs during recreation time. You really get the sense that God is answering all of our prayers.
Another soccer game commenced following the conclusion of VBS for the day. This was only barely interrupted by the requirement for all children to eat dinner. Shortly after 6:00 p.m. we began popping popcorn. We were then able to surprise the children with a movie they have been wanting to see… “Kung Fu Panda” in Spanish.
During a brief moment of free time, I was speaking with John about his experience in Guatemala so far. I appreciated his insight and comments which he concluded by saying, “These children are really just like us. We all want to have arms around us.” And you know what, that is true. Each one of us wants to and even needs to be loved. I thank God for the loving arms that constantly wrap around me: those of my family, friends, and those of my Savior. And I thank God that for a few days He uses us to wrap His arms around the children of Fundación Salvación.
Monday, October 27, 2008
Day 3 began with a wonderful devotional by Jim where he challenged us in living the genuine Christian life as opposed to the shadow of one. Upon arriving at the orphanage, we divided up to begin our work projects. However, a few wonderful distractions occurred in the form of children and frisbees, soccer balls, a swing, and so forth. Projects for today included plumbing, painting, sewing, and carpentry work. Following lunch and a trip to town for lumber and other supplies, we kicked off our first day of Vacation Bible School with the children. There are more than 90 children here this week, but today was an incredible experience as we focused on God’s creation and His wonderful love for us. We finished the day with more playtime dedicated to the children, a soccer game that had the Gringos gasping for oxygen, and finishing up some project work for the day. Thank you again for your continued prayers and may God bless Sulma, Santos, Shester, Tino, Esperanza, Sandra, Daniel, and all the children of Fundación Salvación.
Sunday, October 26, 2008
Today we began our day with a church service for everyone at the orphanage. Prayer, singing, and a brief message was followed with soccer, basketball, and all kinds of playing. We hired someone to bring in trampolines and a moon walk for the children. We served them lunch around noon which was followed by more playtime with the children. We had the opportunity to deliver into the appropriate rooms all the toys we purchased. As the evening came, we made popcorn and used a video projector to show a movie for the children. It was a great day to love on the children. We were blessed!
Saturday, October 25, 2008
After arriving in Guatemala City, we loaded our luggage on the bus, ate lunch, converted our dollars to Guatemalan Quetzal, and then started our 7 + hour drive to Huehuetenango. One positive that always comes from traveling together is the friendship and life stories you get to discover and share. I thank God for safe travel and thank you for praying.