We are so sorry that we have not been able to post. We have not had access to the internet. And we just returned to Guatemala City today and can finally update you on what God has been doing!!
Below are the posts we wrote throughout the week. (You may need to read this in two sittings) Enjoy!! 🙂
DAY 1-3 (on site)
On Sunday we traveled a long way! 5 ½ hours of a van ride north brought us to ‘La Union’, our home base for the week. We are staying in a nice hotel (Hotel Virginia) with a swimming pool and it’s only 5 minutes from the village ‘Villa Nueva’ where we are ministering. After lunch we headed to church. The service was great! Austin Hughes preached the message and was dubbed the new “Timothy” by the local pastor! Larry played his guitar for some special music and the pastor showed us that he could also play! And Dick, David & Kristen shared their testimonies of how they came to know Jesus. We were off to a great start!
The next morning, Monday, we prayer-walked in a single file line around all of the places we are planning to visit this week. We felt the Holy Spirit’s presence in a mighty way. At one point Beth saw a man that looked like he was praying, but after a second look, she realized he was cursing our feet. Immediately she prayed and he got up and left. We haven’t seen him since! We heard a lot of “Buenos Dias” from the locals and got a lot of smiles from the children. After lunch and siesta (America really should adopt siestas!) we went door-to-door explaining why we are here – to share the love of Jesus! These experiences are almost indescribable, but we’ll definitely try! One of the resounding feelings after all of the visits was that we were just in awe of the extreme poverty. Most of the people, including their animals, (pigs, chickens, cows, & lots of dogs) live in mud floored huts built with whatever materials they could find. It’s just like the TV commercials! After dinner devotional and worship time we were able to share stories about the day. It occurred to us during that time that those were probably the same conditions Jesus was born into … just an incredibly humbling experience altogether!
On Tuesday morning we went to the local school and worked with children! When we got to the school they welcomed us in as if we were on display, cheering, clapping and waving as we walked. We introduced ourselves and proceeded with vacation bible school. We saw God work in a mighty way in preparation for VBS. Here’s how: Back home, we were told to prepare for about 50 kids. A couple days before the trip we got wind of possibly 200 kids. When we got here we were told to plan for 400 kids. Just like the story of the fish and the loaves, the Lord provided materials for all of them! The joy on the faces of the kids was priceless and such a great picture of the joy we can have knowing the saving grace of Jesus! After another lunch and siesta we went back to door-to-door ministry. During this time one of our groups was able to share with two women who both received the love of Jesus for the first time. They prayed with these women and were able to rejoice with them as well. Among other groups, many people have heard about Jesus for the first time, rededicated their life to Him, or agreed to have a local church member come visit them to learn more about the Bible. This is why we’re here and we hope you will continue to pray for more opportunities like these. With only time for one more story (we know this is getting long!) we’ll leave you with a funny one! One of our groups was just finished praying with a family and about to go down the next little alley. The Guatemalan locals with them proceeded to turn around and run. When our group asked why they said, “The cows are coming; the cows are coming!” The cows, in fact, were stampeding down the road headed to the next field. Don’t worry, they got out safe and are now ready for another day of ministry.
ps – NO ONE has gotten sick! Keep sending those prayers up friends!
DAY 4 (on site)
Wednesday July 20, 2011
Today was an amazing day, from sun up to sun down!!! This morning after breakfast, we grouped up and bussed out to the village school that we have been ministering to. As soon as we arrived to the location, the children began to come out of their homes to see the “Gringos”. We have been playing with the kids outside of the school before we go inside because they have been having speakers each day before us (today the red cross was there). It never ceases to amaze me how all the children can be so happy and energetic as they are. Their eyes are so fixated on learning about why we are there. We are able to talk about the love of Jesus, and how he made a difference in our lives.
The first classroom we went into was so packed with children that there was barely room for us. Even in such cramped quarters, the kids never stopped smiling and never stopped their focus on us. We were told that the last time foreigners visited this town was almost six years ago, so many of the children have either never seen a “Gringo” before or does not remember. This morning a group member was walking around near one of the outdoor classrooms and recognized a boy who he talked to yesterday. He stood out because of his warm smile and a scar that he had on his cheek. He proceeded to remove his front teeth; which made him smile. He ran away to his friends and gave a thumb’s up. It is so humbling to see a child who was so excited to have false teeth.
Today the games and recreation group played a lot of relay races with each class. It was really cool to see how fast the kids could run in old dress shoes. After the first couple of classes the school had their lunch break. A lot of the kids grabbed a snack, but many of them skipped their snack for an opportunity to come talk to us. Even though there is a language barrier, you could understand the kids pretty well.
The bible study group incorporated the sinner’s prayer into their activities. Over 200 students heard this prayer and can now take it home to share with their families. Arts and crafts made butterflies out of tissue paper and pipe cleaners to help explain the rebirth of a new believer as they accept Jesus into their hearts. Music and worship was able to translate a few songs to Spanish. It was so uplifting to hear the strong and joyful voices of the children throughout the entire school. After many handshakes, high fives and adios’ we headed outside the walls of the school to the hotel for lunch.
After our lunch and siesta, we went back to the village for door-to-door ministering. One group was able to bring salvation to two new believers. Another group prayed for and layed hands on a recent widower. She was a believer in Jesus Christ and her husband became saved recently before his untimely death. One other group, through the power of Jesus, was able to pray for a woman who had severe pain throughout her entire body. The pain was so bad that she could not walk. After the initial prayer, one team member asked if she felt any different but she did not. They were not going to give up, so they touched her and prayed for her again. The woman began to cry as she was receiving prayer and by the end of the prayer she said that the pain was gone! Amen…
This evening we met back up after dinner for our reflection time and praise and worship. The stories of the day are so inspirational and motivating for our team. Even our translators have been touched by the Holy Spirit, and have touched our lives and our hearts. It is so amazing to have such a gifted and talented team of God’s people to share this awesome trip with. We are looking forward to one more day of ministering to the people of this small village, but also sad that we must leave knowing that we did not get to talk to everyone here. We can leave with the knowledge that God used our team to plant the seeds of hope in the hearts of these wonderful and hospitable people, and that He will nurture them and grow them in their Christian walk. I hope to see more of the great and amazing things that God is going to do in this village. Hasta manana!!!