Internet…finally!!

Church! We are so sorry! The Internet hasn’t been strong enough to send any blogs. So instead, we’ve been writing them and will now post them in order. Pray for us as we travel home today! Ask the Lord for gospel conversations and traveling mercies as we make our way back to the US. We look forward to giving you a more detailed update on the trip very soon!

 

Wednesday, April 5

After experiencing our first Indian storm last night, we hopped in the car this morning and headed to a new town, to be with new women, to share more Good News. Time is essentially an abstract concept in this culture so after our hour and forty minute car ride that was only going to take an hour, we arrived. (This is actually no problem at all except when you have been riding in the car for five hours and really, really, really need to use the restroom but are told that we are “very close” to arriving.)

Being with these women who love the Most High at such a high cost has been a process of continuously re-humbling myself before the Lord. While we have traveled to such great lengths to encourage these women, their hunger for spiritual growth is equally as encouraging. Their time of community and togetherness is intimate, beautiful, and just plain fun. Our team is practically prepared in that we have done our part to prepare our teaching but we are (or maybe it was just I who was) under prepared by how much our hearts would expand for our new friends. To see them come alive with boldness and with passion is the perfect reminder that we are our best, most authentic selves in the company of other believers.

Our time of training has gone well in the sense that when we share what’s on our hearts, they really and truly and intently listen with an air of expectance– expectance that the Truth has and will continue to radically transform all of our lives (as they rightly should expect). We have been clear in our belief that we are a united sisterhood, learning together in hopes of building and encouraging each other in what little time we have with them.

Today while unpacking God’s promises to us during our time together, a woman shared on how it was challenging for her to seek God with her whole heart. The fear she has felt and judgment she has received from choosing Jesus, while her family is still deeply rooted in Hindu practices, has been a heavy burden for her. While I can only relate in a very American way, void of persecution, it was a reminder that what we face as sisters in Christ have common themes that cross cultural boundaries.

It has been a privilege and a gift to be in the company of fellow Christ followers who are earnest in their desire to know God. While our bodies are feeling the effect of continuous travel, the Lord is renewing us each day to seek His provision.

-Lindsey

 

Thursday, April 6

The third day of training was so sweet. We all got a great night of rest. We woke up and were able to take hot showers. As we sat to eat breakfast, Brother Emmanuel said, “Ah, You ladies showered!” It was quite funny. He may need some prayers being on an all women’s trip! He is such a blessing. Then, after breakfast we left to head to the training center.

As we started out the day, we had only a few ladies, but as the worship time came to a close, I looked around we were surrounded by 50 women! Praise the Lord! I can’t even explain how amazing it was. As Jenna was speaking, it was clear that the women needed the kids to be entertained. I had the privilege of sharing the gospel with children through coloring. They knew Jesus and what he did just with drawings. Even when you can’t speak their language, you can draw. Where there’s a will there’s a way! Praise the Lord. Then, the kids became restless and I took them outside. It was so much fun trying to play and having no clue what was happening. God is so good. The ladies inside got to hear the stories of how God used women in the bible.

Lunch time… Lets say we are not the best at eating with our hands. It was amusing to watch to say the least. The food is so spicy but so good! Jenna and I decided to try the peppers! As you can imagine, we ate our rice quickly! The people were so hospitable.

After we joined back together, the teaching continued. As we all got up to share, a storm came a brewing. Even as distracting as it was the women were so eager to learn and hear, so we continued on. God was truly present. We were able to teach the women about what it looks likes to be faithful. Faithful to the Lord, Faithfulness as exiles, faithfulness in waiting, faithfulness in marriage, Faithful to the church and his mission.

As we said our good-byes, some of them wanted to take pictures. Taking selfies with silly faces was so sweet and fun. We are so exited to join together with one of the pastors in the city for dinner tonight.

-Heather

 

Saturday, April 8

As I write this blog we are chugging along the tracks on the night train from town P to New Dehli. We are on our way home. We are stacked three high on bunks that are so close together that you cannot sit up properly. God is good, we all slept well and the chai wallah is walking up and down the train offering chai for 10 rupees per cup.

Yesterday was an awesome day. We woke up early and Brother Emanuel took us deep into the Himachal Pradesh countryside, off road, up and down steep hills to a remote village for training. This training was a little different for us all as, most of the women who attended were converts to Christianity due to miracles and could neither read nor write Hindi. Most had not received even rudimentary bible training. It was particularly sweet to spend time teaching these new believers. But it was also a challenge as we needed to significantly modify the content of our lessons to teach to this particular group of believers. The training was amazing, God’s purpose prevailed.

Before the training began we were introduced to Jyoti, a 25-year-old believer who had married, by arrangement, a Hindu groom. The Pastor told us that during the arrangement the groom’s family knew that Jyoti was a Christian and that it was agreed Jyoti could practice her beliefs following her marriage. After the marriage this was not the case, and the young woman was forbidden to bring her bible into her marriage home with her husband’s family. Joyti had become sick due to the constant persecution and prayers by the local witch doctors against her faith. Joyti had returned to her father’s home for restoration and prayer. We were privileged to be able to pray earnestly over this young woman for healing of her sickness and restoration of her spirit. This young woman is bound by Indian culture to return to her husband and the spiritually abusive situation. Would you please join us in earnest prayer that the Holy Spirit will enter into her husband’s family’s hearts and that they will come to know Jesus as their Lord and Savior. We pray that Joyti and her faith will be a catalyst for revival in her state.

Thank you prayer warriors for your prayers. We could not do this without you! There is so much darkness here in India, and it is an honour for us all to represent the light of Jesus in this darkness.

As we step out into New Dehli today, please pray for opportunities to introduce the gospel to the people that we meet. May we be an example of His Love.

-Amanda

First Few Days in India

Jai mashi ki Friends!

(Praise the Lord Friends)

Hello! I am so excited to share what the Lord has been doing in the short time we have been in India. We had a long travel day when we left on Thursday but arrived safely into New Delhi at about 3am. We traveled from the airport to our wonderful hotel in the city of Delhi. We got in a short rest and then woke up to explore Delhi. We had so much fun picking out kurta’s (tunics) in a local market and then got an American lunch consisting of Dominoe’s pizza and Subway J. We then set out to visit two temples – the first called, The Lotus Temple of the Ba’hai faith. It is a beautiful structure but inside it feels very vacant, dark, and isolated. The second temple we visited was a Hindu temple. I have never experienced such a chaotic and dark place of worship. As I was being pushed and shoved from every angle my mind could not even comprehend what my eyes were seeing. I saw so many lost people giving food and money to gods that do not even exist. Their dedication and desire to please these gods made my heart ache. Imagine if they loved Christ with that passion. The images I saw, the smells I experienced, and the darkness that surrounded me will always be with me. While it was a difficult experience, I praise the Lord that He allowed me to experience that. It broke my heart for the people of India but even more for the lost. On our way out of the temple we got to love on the untouchable – those who are the lowest of the low in society. We got to look into their eyes, touch them, and show them the love of Christ. We had a wonderful time of devotion and team time that night as we debriefed all that we experienced.

The next morning we had an early start! We left from Delhi and took an in country flight to J. Once we arrived in J our brother E was there to pick us up! We then set off to worship at a fellow believer’s house in J. Once we arrived, we were greeted with open arms and CHAI!! America has missed the mark on the Chai market! The hospitality that we received was so incredible and made us all feel so blessed to be in their home. After chai and lunch we were ushered into a small room to worship with fellow believers. They sang with joyful voices and sincere hearts. E told us before we arrived that many of the believers that we would be worshipping were new to faith. It was such an encouragement to see the room packed with so many brothers and sisters in Christ. Liz and Jenna then gave a short lesson on Mary and Martha, the 7 commands of a believer, and the story of the women at the well. As I sat and listened I was encouraged to see how earnestly those around me were listening and soaking in the truth of God’s word. After the lesson we had the opportunity to pray for many of the people. We prayed and laid hands on a demon possessed woman, a blind woman, those who were ill, for their family members, and many other requests. How amazing is it that we get to gather halfway across the world to worship the Lord together, hear from His word, and lay hands on our brothers and sisters in Christ! God is so good! We left feeling encouraged and excited to go stay in C with E and his family.

We arrived late that night to a wonderful greeting from S (E’s wife), his daughters, and two sweet semi-orphan girls that are living with them. We broke bread together and just enjoyed their company. We awoke the next morning to a beautiful scene of God’s creation. All around us are the foothills and snowcapped mountains of the Himalayans. It truly is breathtaking. We spent time in God’s word talking about what it truly looks like to rest in the Lord, spent time in prayer, and then went over our teaching for the days to come. For the rest of the day we got to explore, spend time with E’s daughters, and just rest in the Lord. We also got the opportunity to hear from a brother in Christ, P, and hear his testimony and how the Lord is continuing to give him opportunities to share the gospel. Later that night we took a drive to another believer’s house where we received such warm hospitality, enjoyed chai, and sat and listened to how she came to know the Lord. It was a sweet time and such an encouragement to hear how she is living boldly for Christ!

We are so excited to teach, encourage, and disciple the women of India on the faithfulness of Christ. We are praying that the Lord would boldly use our lessons to encourage these women and make them bold in their faith as well. Thank you for your prayers and support and we ask that you would continue to pray for boldness for our team as we teach these beautiful women. Pray for opportunities to share the gospel with unbelievers and to be a light in a dark country.

Isaiah 46:9 “For I am God, and there is no other; I am God and there is none like me.”

Thank you for your prayers, we have just completed our first training and we are now traveling to our second training spot! We are excited and eagerly anticipating Christ to do a mighty work!

  • Hillary

Women’s Team to India

Church,

In less than a week, our Team will be heading to India to encourage believers and share the gospel. Our team is unique in that it is the first all women’s team our church will send to India. We will be serving March 30-April 10!

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Heather Waldrop, Liz Eckbreth, Amanda Rosen, Lindsey Zito, Hillary Dabrasky, Jenna Hurst

The team will visit several centers in North India to encourage women who are seeking to grow in their  knowledge and obedience of the Lord and His mission. For this trip, we’ve felt burdened to teach the women about various aspects of faithfulness.

Proverbs 20:6 says, “Many a man proclaims his own steadfast love, but a faithful man who can find?”

Our prayer is that through our going we, along with the women in India, will grow in faithfulness to the Lord. The content of our teaching includes:

 

Faithfulness to the LORD- Mary/Martha (Jenna)

Faithfulness as Exiles- Esther (Lindsey)

Faithfulness in Waiting- Hannah (Hillary)

Faithfulness in Marriage/Parenting- Ephesians 5 woman & Abigail (Amanda)

Faithfulness to the Church and His Mission- Woman at the Well (Heather) & Priscilla (Liz)

 

Pray for us as we each finalize the content of what we’re teaching. Pray God’s Spirit would give us supernatural insight into what these women need! Ask that we’d know how to encourage and challenge them.

Pray for unity. We know the world sees the gospel through our love for one another. Pray we’d love and serve one another well.

Pray for health. Pray we’d be healthy in the little time we have, so that we may make best use of the time we’re given!

Pray our teaching would flow from our love and passion for Jesus!

Pray for the women we’re meeting!

Pray for our partner, Emmanuel, and his family. We will have a couple days with his family. Pray this time would be one of sweet fellowship and deep prayer for one another.

Thank you, Church, for partnering with us through prayer (and for those of you who have given financially)! The work we are doing involves many more than simply the 6 of us. We are thankful for your partnership in the gospel as we all earnestly seek for God to be glorified in North India!

For the team,
Liz

 

Finishing Well

I (Laura) am happy to tell you that we made it safely back to Guatemala City this evening!  There were some interesting sights along the road, and many beautiful views.  We were so glad to get to hang out with the White family a little longer – what a joy they have been to work alongside, and I hope they were as encouraged by us as we were by them.

Upon arrival to the city, we first spent some time with tens of thousands of our closest friends in traffic.  After that, we went to the market, ate some dinner, got to walk around a mall for a bit and stretch our legs, bought some coffee to bring home to our friends and family, and then drove to the missionary guest home.

We unloaded, got settled, and then sat down for our final team time.  The FBC mission teams always have a special get together at the end of each trip to debrief a little.  We spent some time talking through the week’s highs and lows, and then shared personal encouragement to each other about how we saw God working throughout the week.  This was such a special way to finish up our time here in Guatemala.

We’d like to say a special thank you for your prayers before, during and after this trip.  We KNOW, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that the boldness we felt to share our faith, and any good thing that we were able to accomplish, came directly from God’s almighty hand.

Please enjoy a little sampling of photos, and be sure to consider traveling with us next time!  You will come away with a new understanding of the global Church, with a joy in seeing Guatemalan believers worshiping freely, and a renewed commitment to sharing your faith openly with the people around you.

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Last Day on the Mountain

Hello to all of our church family and friends!

First of all, we want to thank you for your continued prayer and support this week, as we wouldn’t be here without you. We thank you for your faithfulness to pray and encourage us  on this journey.

This was our last day on the mountain and in the villages…and what a day it was! We were also thankful to have Regina, Cruz, and Ben join us today!

After a great breakfast of eggs, beans, fresh fruit…and COFFEE…Nathan shared a few verses of encouragement for the day, during team devotion time, and then we loaded up and headed towards our first destination – Jocotan.

In Jocotan, we visited with Jane, the Principle of the school – El Olam. It was a blessing to be able to pray with her this morning. We were welcomed there by children saying, “Ah, Americanos”! Cruz White, David & Regina’s eldest son, actually attended there for 2.5 years, and enjoyed every minute. Jane is full of life, and of Jesus! She is from El Salvador, and started the school 6 years ago. She is giving the children a bilingual education, and teaching them that God created them. She knows that the word of God grows! Please pray for the teachers there (18 teachers) to also have a heart for God, and please pray that she’ll be able to offer more scholarships to some of her older students this coming year.

After visiting with Jane, we had a few moments to walk around the town square and through the market. The Catholic Church is in the center of town, and the market is full of very interesting things to purchase – for example: chicken, tomatoes, toothpaste, doctor remedies, jewelry…the list goes on.

Our second stop was in La Libertad. We visited with the pastor’s family there. Nicolas is the pastor, and his wife is Prudencia. They were extremely thankful for the encouragement and our prayers of support for their church and their members. They went through a period where some of their members were not active; however, some have recently returned, which is a blessing. Also, the pastor hasn’t been in good health, but is getting better. A big thank you for Miguel for translating for us during this visit! Continue praying for more people to attend the church. This reminds me of a song:

“You are my strength when I am weak, You are the treasure that I seek, You are my all in all. Seeking You as a precious jewel, Lord to give up, I’d be a fool, You are my all in all. Jesus, Lamb of God, worthy is Your name, Jesus, Lamb of God, worthy is Your name. Taking my sing my cross my shame, rising again, I bless Your name, You are my all in all. When I fall down You pick me up, when I am dry, You fill my cup, You are my all in all. Jesus, Lamb of God, worthy is Your name, Jesus, Lamb of God, worthy is Your name.”

After a stop for lunch, we drove up to Nearar and prayed over the new land, right across from the school that will soon be the location of the new church building! What a praise! Women of the village joined us there to pray. How awesome is it that we were standing on the very ground where the word of God will be preached for years to come?!

We then headed higher up, parked, and continued hiking on foot, up to Bible Study time with the church at the pastor’s home. The pastor’s name is Anaclato, and his wife is Nelba. We were welcomed with open arms to share the word and worship with them. Mike & Jennifer shared a Bible Story with the adults, with David interpreting; while Laura, Nathan, and Miguel enjoyed time with the children. Mike & Jennifer both spoke from the book of Hebrews, on Faith, and on people in the Bible that had great faith. They are examples for us to follow in our daily walk with the Lord. It is impossible to please God without faith. He rewards those that seek Him. Faith is a confidence that what we hope for will actually happen. Our faith is in God, and our Hope is in Heaven. How great is it to be able to worship outside, with fellow believers in Christ, on the side of a mountain?! This reminds me of the following song:

“Alleluia, alleluia, the majesty and glory of Your name!”

After a long day, we settled back in for a pasta dinner, and devotion team time with Cruz & Ben! We sang “Your Name”, and “How Deep the Father’s Love For Us”, Cruz prayed, and Ben recited Bible verses for us!

Just a remarkable day, one we will never forget, seeing God’s great creation, and worshipping with the people of Guatemala. It reminds us that one day, every knee will bow, and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. All praise and glory be to God, forever and ever!img_1739img_5487img_5485

Please pray for our safe travels tomorrow, back into Guatemala City, with anticipation of our journey home on Saturday. Please pray for the Holy Spirit to continue working in the lives of the people here. Please pray for David & Regina as they continue to bring the Word of God to the villages.

-Heather

 

2nd Day in the Villages

Good morning!

I’m sorry we didn’t have a chance to blog last night. It was a wonderfully fulfilling-somewhat exhausting-wouldn’t change a thing kind of day. Needless to say, we were pretty spent by the time we got back to the hotel.

We made four visits in the villages yesterday, beginning with a return trip to Chanco. There we met with Ramiro’s daughter and granddaughter, along with a laborer who was working on their home. Mike, Nathan, and David spent time with the young man, while Laura, Heather, Miguel, and I spoke with the young ladies.

After that, we met with Miguel’s brother, Transito, who has just returned from the States. He was very welcoming and kind as he listened and answered all our questions. We had lunch on his porch and then headed to another home. There we spoke with Milton, Gladys, and their son Ronaldo, friends of Miguel’s. Milton has also recently returned from the States. The fellas spent some nice time with him while the girls spoke with Gladys and her son.

Lastly, we stopped by the home of the young driver who brought us from Guatemala City Sunday. The driver, Darvin, wasn’t home but we visited with his mother and sister. Angelica and Brenda seemed to really enjoy our visit. They made us fresh squeezed orange juice and shared with us about another daughter who is in the city with her husband recovering from a very serious car accident.

Throughout these visits, we were able to tell our personal stories, share the Gospel, and ask questions about their faith. We also left them with specific verses they can refer to as they study the Word on their own. As usual, everyone was very respectful and happy to talk with us. We ended each visit with prayer and the hope that the Lord would reveal Himself in a very real way to those people.

Last night, we returned to Fito’s church in Chiquimula for a mid-week service. It was wonderful to worship along with the national believers. The team, along with David, sang “At the Cross” as an opening hymn. It was beautiful to see the congregation singing along in their own language. Laura and I shared some scripture (Laura very comfortably in Spanish – I’m so jealous!), and then we sang some more songs and listened to a message about obedience from Joshua (sound familiar?) It was a very encouraging experience.

We’re heading out in a few minutes to visit some local believers and village churches, including Bible study this afternoon in Muyurco. Please pray for us as we go – that our joy in Christ will easily overflow to strengthen the faith of these believers.

In Christ,
Jennifer

Here’s a photo of the gang with Angelica and Brenda.

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Heat’n Up!

Hello, everyone! Our third day started out a bit chilly.  It was a nice morning and the whole team was well rested, ready to tackle the Lord’s work for the day.  We knew the Holy Spirit was going to be with us today; ready to spill over and to soften hearts.

Breakfast was delightful as usual as Mike enlightened us with our morning devotional on 2 Corinthians 12: 1-10.  Fueled by coffee, we loaded up the trucks and were on the way to our first stop to visit a young man named Fabricio and his grandmother.  Miguel had heard about them through a local teacher in the village.  Fabrisio is currently handicapped and cannot walk due to Guillain-Barre Syndrome.  He has a great spirit and a wonderful smile even though his friends have stopped visiting him and he is bed-ridden most of the day.  His great attitude may have inspired us more than we were able to inspire him while visiting and showing our support.  Fabricio loved to play soccer before the paralysis, which completely disabled him in less than an hour nearly 5 years ago. We prayed with him and promised to keep him in our prayers.

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Our next stop was to visit Marcelino and his family.  Again, they were very welcoming along with everyone else we’ve encountered so far.  Marcelino is 95 years old and dealing with dementia.  His family (two sons, daughters-in-law, and grandchildren) have moved in to help care for him. Although his memory is failing, he told us that he built the home himself fifty-five years ago. We enjoyed each others’ stories and prayed with the family. (We were also all very impressed by the family cat that took care of a small rodent problem right before our eyes!)

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Lunchtime was approaching as we met with Miguel’s family (our wonderful translator) in his village of Chanco and enjoyed some food with his mother and sister.  Then the team split up and visited two homes each – sharing personal testimonies and more of the Gospel with the local villagers.

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The day was coming to an end as we got back to the hotel and washed up for dinner.  Quesadillas and fries were on the menu tonight!  Afterward, we headed over to David and Regina’s house to visit and have team time.  Laura opened up in prayer and gave the evening devotion on Psalms 40: 8-10.  We discussed our ups and downs and then encouraged each other, never forgetting to give all the praise to our Lord God Almighty.  The women are playing cards now as Mike has already called it a night and I am not too far behind him.  Goodnight World and we’ll see you manana!

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-Nathan Rhodes (aka Mr. Roboto)