On the road again!

The team with our amazing translators: Boris, Miguel (Chanco native), and Pablo

The team with our amazing translators: Boris, Miguel (Chanco native), and Pablo

Today’s road led to shopping and tomorrow’s will lead home! We’re ready to see yall and we’re SOOO thankful for your prayers!!
Today we spent the morning exploring Antigua by starting with a breath taking view of the city at a cross that overlooks everything. It was beautiful weather and we took lots of pictures. From there, we went to a wood factory and saw the most gorgeous wood workings ever! The next stop was the local Artisan’s Market. it was full of people … many tourists like us and many Guatemalan handiworkers that made beautiful things. David & Glynis (our IMB missionaries) introduced us to some Christian sellers and helped us barter with the locals. It was so much fun! Overwhelming, since booth after booth was packed with things to sell, but fun nonetheless! By this time lunch was in order and our view of the volcano Agua was picture perfect out the window of the restaurant where we were eating. Every now and then the clouds would encircle the top like a wreath and it seemed as if we were eating in a postcard. The next two stops were yummy: the chocolate store and the bakery that sells local coffee! I’m pretty sure we all made purchases in these places! Finally we went to the Jade House – turns out real Jade is only found in 4 parts of the world: Russia, Burma, Japan and Guatemala. The tour there was interesting and the purchases were beautiful. Some of our team wanted a little more time at the market so David Miller gladly obliged while the rest headed back to rest up (and blog) before dinner. Here are a few of the thought’s I’ve gathered over the course of the week. There are way too many stories to tell and so many people to write about in one blog entry, but this will be some of my take away this week:
1 Peter 4:9 “Show hospitality to one another without grumbling.”
This country is full of the most hospitable people I have ever met. Each day in the village we were welcomed with open arms (as long as it wasn’t lunch time or they weren’t on the way to catch a bus) and each shop we went into we were greeted immediately.
Matthew 6: 34 “So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.”
The people in this country live in the now. Shop after shop we saw how fervently they tried to sell us any and everything they had because this is their livelihood. Each day in the village we saw corn growing up and down the sides of mountains while animals like cows and chickens lived right there in the house or yard with the people. Survival mode isn’t something we just joke about when we get super busy – it’s real life for some people and I hope to live more in the now than in the stress of so much planning.
Revelation 7:9 “After this I saw a vast crowd, too great to count, from every nation and tribe and people and language, standing in front of the throne before the lamb. They were clothes in white robes and held palm branches in their hands. And they were shouting with a great roar, “Salvation comes from our God who sits on the throne and from the Lamb!”
There are many around the world that need to know about Jesus. When I was looking at all of the woven fabric filled with bright colors and all of the trinkets there were to sell it was overwhelming – way too many to count. Chanco is filled with people that need Jesus. As I wandered through I thought about how colorful it will be at the feet of Jesus one day when people from all over the world will worship Him – our hope and prayer is that Chanco will be represented at that great celebration!
Matthew 10:20 “It will not be you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.”
Missions exists because worship does not. Tonight’s devotion ended in song and some of the lyrics said “You give life, You are love; You bring light to the darkness; You give hope, You restore; Every heart that is broken; Great are You, Lord. It’s Your breath in our lungs; So we pour out our praise; We pour out our praise; It’s Your breath in our lungs; So we pour out our praise to You only.” God poured out His love to the people with our voices in Chanco this week and we are more thankful for the opportunity than you can imagine. We talked about that at team time tonight … it was sweet sweet worship!
See you tomorrow friends!!

~Kristen Patrick~

Sad to leave Chanco

Today was the last day in Chanco and we were sorry to leave the sweet people. They always allowed us into their homes. Today I was on the David team David Miller (IBM missionary), Patrick and Irvin, and Miguel (interpreter). We visited, Conzuela, a lady that lives alone. We had the rare opportunity to share with men that were on the porch at Conzuela’s home. They listened intently and heard the gospel presented as the greatest gift of all.

Monday we prayed for Christian, a 20 y/o and William, a 10 y/o for healing. Christian received a bible 4 months ago. He started reading in Genesis. The College Team suggested he read the New Testament. Christian has been reading daily and was ready to pray for salvation along with his father Falstavia. Please pray for this family in physical healing and to grow spiritually.

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Many of the parents cannot read, but their children attend school until the 6th grade. The college team left many Children’s Bible Stories Bibles. It is so encouraging to hear the parents tell how much their children read them. We trust God is raising up a generation of youth that will know Christ and understand how Christ was displayed in the Old Testament. Our goal is to have one Children’s Bible in each home.

Thanks for your prayers of protection and spiritual victories. We are blessed to see God’s beautiful creation in the scenery and the Ch’orti people.

 

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Tate(Tito) made a new friend…Tony the van driver!

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Blessings,
Sharon Goodson

House To House

Greetings friends!  The experience in Guatemala this week reminds me of the first century disciples as they shared Christ and turned the world upside down.  Acts 5:42 says, “Day after day, in the temple courts and from house to house, they never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Messiah.”  That is what we have been doing! We have been going house to house sharing the good news of Christ!  The people have welcomed us into their homes and listened intently to the biblical stories.  God is moving in Chanco as we are bearing witness to Christ!

Miguel is a respected leader in the Chanco village.  He is one of our translators.  Jordy and I spent a couple hours today hearing Miguel’s story and we challenged him to use the influence God has given him to make disciples.  We encouraged him to go house to house sharing Christ and explained how to disciple people who come to Christ.

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Our team visited Flora and Maria.  Kristen shared the creation story with them and how Jesus came to redeem our lost world.  They asked insightful questions about Mary, the virgin, sibling challenges, and loving each other by providing medicine and money for people in need.  Anne, Kristen and I answered their questions from scripture.

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Story time and games with the children have been a huge blessing.  The children are so eager to hear the stories of Jesus.  Tate and Kristen show pictures from the Jesus Story Book Bible as Miguel reads the story.  Perhaps in the years to come it will be the children who grow up and establish a church in Chanco!

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The missionaries responsible for the work in Chanco are David and Regina White.  The have two precious boys.  David reminded us today that Chanco will be a long work depending on the power of the Spirit.  We are simply bearing witness to Christ trusting Him to bring the harvest.  We plant seeds and water the seeds, but God must make them grow.  Pray for them as they continue the work in Chanco!

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Anderson made a new “amiga” named Annebelle.  They played together all week and made a meaningful connection.  As a parting gift, Annebelle gave Anderson a gift.  This reminded me how quickly friendships can form when people spend time together.

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Please pray for the work in Chanco as people continue to go house to house proclaiming the good news of Christ!  Acts 5:42 – Pastor Chad

 

 

 

Wednesday’s Blog (Jordy and Tate’s creativity)

Today has been somewhat of a tough day for our group. Four of our team members have been sick from most likely some of the food they ate. We do praise God for all of them feeling better now. They stayed the course and persevered through their sickness in the village.

We had multiple conversations with people today about the Gospel ranging from ages 10 – 75. It was such a blessing for us to minister to kids on the soccer field and visit with 5-7 families across the village. Our team (Jordy, Tate, Anderson, and Courtney) visited Brother Romero for a little over an hour. We read the story of David and Goliath and talked with them about how Jesus is the greater David. What a great conversation we had. As a student minister, it was such a blessing to see Tate chime in with discussion and ask Gospel-centered questions.

Other groups had other neat conversations as well. We talked about them on the way back to hotel and when we arrived. We will continue to share some of these conversations with you on the blogs and when we return home. As we press on, please continue not only to pray for our team, but the whole group as well. Pray that we will fight against the sickness and the Great Physician will continue to heal us. Pray for our translators and bus drivers. As you have seen from other blogs, please continue to pray for rain.

To this end, let us all trust the Lord and tell others about His name. We pray that we will make the name of Jesus famous both in Chanco (the village) and in the greater Charleston area.

Day 3 – Go With the Flow

Hello Friends & Family!

Today was our second day on the ground in Chanco, and it was a bit different than we had expected or planned. Not to say this was a bad thing, it just reminded us all that God is in control of all we are doing here. We had planned to stick to our usual schedule of visiting some homes in the morning, then having lunch, followed by story time and games with the kids, then finishing up with some more house visits.

However, as mentioned in the blog yesterday, Miguel’s brother passed away unexpectedly, so the funeral was prepared for today. When we arrived in Chanco, we went to Miguel’s home to pray with the family. We were surprised to see how many people were there, and we noticed all the similarities between the way we all grieve a loss of a loved one. There were many family members there, as well as many people from the community. They were all praying together and consoling each other, and some of the family were preparing a meal to all share together. Pastor Chad prayed over the family and we were able to share in their grief. We were really blessed to have this time, which reminded us that we are all people, under the same God. I (Courtney) was really touched by this moment, and felt that it was a great picture of the Gospel, nations loving each other, the way God imagined it… Overall, just a really sweet time.

Since we were still down one translator, we remained in two teams to visit the houses. This part of our morning was different than expected, due in large part to the fact that many of the people of Chanco were at Miguel’s home supporting the family. Our team tried a few houses, but found no one home. We were finally able to spend some time with one lady, but she was busy preparing lunch, and we wanted to respect her time. At this moment, we began to realize that God had other plans for our team, and I (Anderson) remembered the Lord once telling me that productivity doesn’t always mean fruitfulness. With that, we decided to pray and then head back to our lunch spot.
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The other team had a somewhat opposite experience with their morning house visit. They were able to meet with a family, and pray healing over the two boys in the family. Christian, the older boy, was having seizures, so Sharon prayed over him. Then Chad prayed healing over the grandson, who was born with a birth defect, not allowing him to hear. The family offered the team coffee and sweet pastries – which they told us were wonderful! (We were a little jealous, ha!)

After lunch, we played with the children and read the story of Moses and the Red Sea. The Children were really responsive to the story, and we actually had them act it out! Also, we had a few girls there today which was helpful! We then played jump the river.. again… so we think that game will probably stick all week. (We’re sensing a theme… and trying to find more bible stories about water!) This was a really sweet way for us to end our day in Chanco after having a tough morning.

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At this point we decided to give the community some space and head back to Jocotan. The funeral was scheduled for this afternoon, so we knew not that many people would be home. We wanted to respect them and not be pushy. Once we arrived back at the hotel we were able to spend time walking around the markets of Jocotan and see the city. Tate got a machete and we got donuts!

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Please continue to keep Miguel and his family in your prayers as well as the health of our team (nothing major, just stomach issues and scratchy throats).

Thank you for your prayers thus far. It RAINED last night for the first time in a month!!! Also, when we were praying with Miguel’s family they said that they could feel all of our prayers. There truly is power in prayer!

Good night, go Tigers, and go Guatemala!
Courtney Irvin and Anderson Wiksell

PTL – Praise the Lord…we in Guatemala and the FOOD is Awesome!

First off, let us tell you how much you are missing out. Don’t worry about the fact that we are telling people about Jesus, or building relationships with the Chorti people. The breakfast here is out of the world AMAZING! Breakfast consisted of tortillas, black beans, eggs with peppers,onions, and ham, fresh cheese, plantains, and sausages…oh did we mention TORTILLAS…fresh, hot, and good!

On a more serious note, we spent the morning as a team walking around Chanco and Las Piletas. During this time we intentionally prayed for the homes we would be visiting, the people we saw, and just the village as a whole. We stopped and prayed at both schools, the Catholic church in Chanco and the site of the new one they are building in Las Piletas, the community center in Chanco, and at the original church plant in Chanco.

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During lunchtime people retreat to their homes as the women prepare lunch. This leaves about three hours for us to eat and play with the kids. We hung out on a porch and enjoyed the beautiful weather and strong breeze. After a little nap we went to the soccer field by the school and did some story time and games with a few kids. We read the story of “Jonah and the Fish” to them from the Jesus Storybook Bible. Then we played sharks and minnows cause ya know…they are both about the ocean. Then the boys wanted to play jump the river which turned into jump rope which turned into limbo. After the team was thoroughly worn out it was time to do some house visits.

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We split up into teams and went to some of the homes that were identified by the college team as “followup” homes. One team went to Teressea’s house and another to Fransisco’s house. Great conversation ensued and both homes welcomed us to come back later in the week to share more. If you don’t know Fransisco is the village leader, and so it is very important that we have a good relationship with him.

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Even with this awesome day, some sad news was received.

One of our team members, Miguel (a translator, who lives in Chanco) found out that his oldest brother had passed away unexpectedly. This caught him very off guard and has brought a lot of sorrow to his family. We ask all of you to lift Miguel up in prayer and to also lift his family, brothers, sisters, and parents up in prayer.

Also, Chanco needs rain (none has fallen for a month). Their corn and bean crops are struggling. Please continue to keep the village in your prayers as these crops are needed for food to put on the table and monetary income.
Lastly, please also keep the general health of the team in your prayers.

And…it’s dinner time so the “David’s” have got to go!

Thanks for keeping all of us in your prayers!

-David Irvin and David Patrick

We have arrived

One of the advantages of a 6 am flight is that you get to see the sunrise. As the sun broke through the clouds today just after liftoff I was reading Isaiah 61: 1-3. The sun filtered into the darkness of the cabin just as I read the following:  “He sent me to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners.”
Even early on in the trip God was assuring me that what we have been sent to Chanco to do was appointed and ordained by God.

We had a great travel day.  God was good and everyone has all their luggage.  Everyone is doing well tonight and we are expecting God to do great things this week in us and in Chanco.

Please continue to pray for God’s will to be done in and through us this week.  Pray for continued good health, boldness as we share and wisdom as we handle God’s word.  Thanks for all your prayers so far, we can definitely feel God answering your prayers for us.

Anne