Through the Eyes of Children

What a joy it’s been to have the James kids serving with us this week! Their sweet smiles and willing spirits helped break down many barriers as we visited in homes, and certainly as we shared the gospel with  more than 120 children in the past 3 days. Here’s a little take-away from each of them. I pray that as you read this you’ll  consider how the Lord could use you and your family in a global missions role.

 

 

Hey, this is Maggie (14), and this is my first missions trip with the church. I have experienced many new things as I’ve traveled all the way to Guatemala. On the second day we visited a more rural village and went door to door sharing about Jesus, and we invited many of the kids we saw to join us at one of the homes in the afternoon. We shared about Daniel in the lion’s den. I bonded with many of the kids and showed them God’s love. Through all this I witnessed many lost people in the villages, and I feel that our group showed light to the darkness in the village. I enjoyed and loved witnessing my mom, Dossie, share about God through her story. This definitely made an impact on many people in the village. Overall this day was my favorite. I feel that many of the kids were engaged in learning about God. In my time in Guatemala I have learned so much about another culture and I learned more about God, and I am excited and grateful I was given this opportunity to come to Guatemala.

Hey, this is Henry (12), and this is also my first missions trip with the church. There were a lot of fun experiences while I have traveled in Guatemala. I have seen a lot of beauty and I think of God when I see it because it is his creation. The kids on the trip had a lot of energy while learning about God and doing activities with my dad, Benjie. Each day, we played a game where my dad pretended to be God. We would blindfold one of the kids and then they would try to find God, but it was hard so we got another kid to play Jesus, and he would help the blindfolded kid find God. So in all we had a fun trip and grew in God’s word and it was probably the best opportunity I’ve ever had.

 

Hey, this is Allie (11). This is my first missions trip with the church. We visited many villages and homes. I thought the scenery was very beautiful. It looked like the kids had lots of fun playing with my dad and listening to all the bible stories. I thought it was fun seeing the kids play the game where they would blindfold a kid and the other kids would try to tell the other kid where God was, but then a kid would be Jesus and direct the other kid to God. I thought that was a great way to show the kids there is no way to the father except through Jesus. On the last day of mission work I got to pray for a lady and her family, so I prayed for her home and her needs because her home was not as advanced as ours. It was harder for her to get her food and her water. On Wednesday, I did a devotional about putting the full armor of God on every day. This taught me that we need to always be prepared to read our Bible and go out and share the gospel. I have had a great time here in Guatemala!

(The WiFi is pretty weak in our hotel tonight, so we’ll have to post more photos next time!)

God is Working in the Hearts of the Next Generation

“O Lord, you are so good, so ready to forgive, so full of unfailing love for all who ask for your help.” -Psalm 86:5

Hello from Guatemala, Church! Today was our team’s last full day of ministry here in the towns surrounding Mazatenango.

Our day began with a sweet devotional on the armor of God by Allie. She reminded the team that we don’t have to fear evil because we have the armor of God and also that as Christians we must be ready to share the gospel. This is our good news and our hope and we should be ready to share it even though it may not always be received. What a great reminder going into our last full day of ministry!

After our devotion we headed out to the community of Las Animas. We visited a school and encouraged the kids to attend a VBS-type event that we held at a local home later that afternoon, and then began our house visits. One of the first visits we made was to the home of a woman named Juana. Juana was a professing believer and had gone to church at one point, but stopped because of the many difficulties in her life, both familial and financial. David was able to share scripture with her that emphasized the goodness of the person of Jesus and we were able to pray over Juana that she would find peace through Jesus even in the midst of the difficulties that she was facing. After this visit, the team split into two groups. Marian, Jennifer, and I (Jordan) were then able to visit the home of Carmen and Elvira. After talking with them for awhile we learned that both Carmen and Elvira had accepted Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord before, but neither of them had been attending church. We shared the gospel with both women, and Elvira admitted that though she confessed to trust in Christ, she never felt peace. After some questions by Jennifer, Elvira admitted that she still didn’t completely understand sin and Jennifer was able to further clarify the truth of sin and salvation. Carmen was an older lady who was overcome with sadness at the difficulties of her health and was ready to find relief. While no one person can judge the salvation of another, it seemed that our presentation of the gospel was well received and thought over. We then prayed that the truth of Jesus would be made known in the lives of these women and for healing for Carmen.

Our second visit was to the home of Grelis, another professing believer who had not been coming to church regularly. Unlike the last women, Grelis was able to read and so she had been reading passages in the Bible. She shared that she had read in Isaiah just yesterday! Grelis also said that she understood the importance of community and wanted to be involved in God’s church but was struggling to get involved in a church. While Grelis shared that she was struggling to forgive some people in her life, she seemed understanding when we shared that forgiving others conforms us to the image of Christ, which is the goal after we are saved. All of these women and their kids were invited to our event at the home later this afternoon and all of them came! Praise be to God for how He is working in the hearts of these women!

Our event later in the afternoon was at the home of a man named Rudi. Rudi is not a pastor, but he built an extra room onto his house so that kids and teenagers could have a place to meet and learn about Jesus each Friday. While attendance seemed shaky at first, around thirty-five kids and seven adults came out to learn about Jesus, play games, and enjoy a snack. The kids who came out were very attentive and it was encouraging to see God working in the hearts of the next generation!

I’m so thankful to have served alongside this team for the past three days. It has been so encouraging to see the White family’s love for Christ and their love for the people of Guatemala. Marian has been so helpful for all of us non-Spanish speakers and so intentional in praying for those we have talked to. Dossie and Benjie’s joyfulness has been infectious to be around whether it’s with serving the kids through acting out Bible stories (I think Benjie has definitely found a new career in acting) or welcoming and loving on the people that they met despite language barriers. The James kids have loved the kids here so well. I’ve loved seeing Jennifer’s love for missions and her infectious and sweet personality. We’ve had such sweet times of fellowship this week!

One thing that you can be praying for is the leadership of the churches here in Guatemala. While there are a few churches there aren’t many leaders and the people in the villages aren’t being discipled, and in many areas the gospel is not being intentionally shared. It’s saddening to see people who want to learn but there are no resources to do so, especially considering that many people can’t read. We are so blessed to have leaders who want to disciple us in Mt. Pleasant. Please pray that faithful, God-fearing leaders will be brought up to lead the people of Guatemala and advance the gospel.

While we are sad to leave, we are excited for the days to come. Thank you for all your prayers and we look forward to sharing more when we return!

-Jordan

Sharing Truth in Santo Domingo

Today started out with a wonderful devotion from Maggie teaching us the story of Jesus commissioning Peter to feed His sheep and lambs. It was inspiring as we went out today to a small community in Santo Domingo called Las Victorias. The community was originally built by the government to house displaced flood victims, and is set far off the main road among fields of sugarcane, corn, and banana trees. All the houses are connected, cinder block structures, so it was easy to visit many families. Right as we pulled up, we saw a group of Jehovah’s Witnesses going door to door.  I am sure it was no accident that we showed up at the same time!

We split into groups, and the first family my group met with was Deborah and her son Jose. Deborah is nine months pregnant with a girl she plans to name Genesis. Sadly, her husband recently abandoned his family for another woman. She shared that she had been to church, but she no longer attended and often felt she didn’t measure up. She was also made to feel ashamed that she didn’t have much money to give to God. I was able to share the gospel with her as Marian translated, and we also shared the story of the widow’s offering from Luke 21. She told us that after hearing our stories and teachings she felt a weight had been lifted off of her shoulders. Then Jordan prayed the most beautiful prayer over Deborah and her family.

Next, we visited Lissy, Eva, and Sandra. Lissy is also nine months pregnant and doesn’t attend church. She invited us into her home, and Benjie spent some time going through the gospel. She said that she had heard something similar from other visitors in the past, but it was different. Benjie explained that faith is a free gift from God and that it is by grace you are saved and not by works. Eva said that she felt very happy after she heard the gospel, and we were elated when all three showed up at the church later on.

The afternoon was filled with fun. About 40 children arrived at the church around 2 pm and many of their moms came as well. (In fact, they just kept showing up, more and more!) Regina shared the story of Daniel in the lions’ den, and then we played a few games with the children to reiterate how God rescued Daniel and how he has provided a Rescuer for us all. I can’t tell you how much fun we all had! I hope the pictures will give you an idea of the joy we all shared with one another. David spent time sharing the gospel with many of the women who came to the church and encouraged them to continue growing in Christ.

It was a wonderful day, and although the days have been long and hot, we can’t wait to do it again tomorrow! Thanks for reading and praying, everyone!

-Dossie

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Encouraging Guatemalans to Return to Jesus

After a yummy breakfast at Hotel Bambu in Mazatenango, we drove 45 minutes to the town of Retalhuleu.  While other churches in the area are growing, Iglesia Evangelica Bautista Sendero de Vida is struggling… having just a handful of regular attendees.  Today we took the time to visit, encourage, and pray with some people in the area.  Some in our group shared Jesus’ love with the lady at the tortilla stand near the church, others visited Karina, a mom of two kids that stopped going to church over 3 years ago.  We visited Vila and her daughter Susie. Vila was one of the early members of the church but because of her knee condition she has difficulties walking and participating in the church.  We visited Marcos Antonio at his wood shop who helped lead his brother to Christ but now has stalled in his walk with Christ. Before lunch, we visited the nearby school and invited the kids to come over in the afternoon to the church for activities.  Over 35 kids arrived at the church and we played with them – soccer, jump rope, and tag both before and after our lesson.  We shared the story of Adam and Eve and Henry presented the Gospel to them. We played two games to show them that Jesus is the only way to the Father.

What to pray for:

  • please pray for the town of Retalhulue and the people we visited today – for them to feel the Holy Spirit to lead them back to church and to invite others to learn more about Jesus
  • pray for new leaders to have a vision and direction for the Iglesia Evangelica Baustista Sendero de Vida
  • pray for the Whites to find ways to connect with the town of Retalhulue to help them grow, perhaps by sending teams for longer in the future

-Marian

Guatemala Greetings!

Greetings from Mazatenango, Guatemala!

This is a first for our teams. While we usually head northeast toward the villages surrounding Chiquimula, this time we’re working in an area west of the capital called Mazatenango. It’s also a first (for me anyway) that we’re vising during the rainy season, so the ride from Guatemala City was filled with rolling green hills and overflowing creeks…and a pothole or fifty!

It was a long, rainy day, but everyone on the team has been joyful and supportive of each other. Even poor Marian, whose luggage didn’t make it out with her from the airport, cheerfully endured a shopping trip for some necessities and kept a sweet and positive attitude through it all. I probably would have just been in a corner crying! (By the way, she got a text that her bag was found a couple of hours ago!)

Ben and Cruz became fast friends with the James kids – I knew they would! – and we all got to visit with David and Regina while eating and riding. I’m so excited that the whole family is able to join us on this trip!

We’re ready to start our first day of ministry tomorrow. As a reminder of why we’re here, I shared from Romans 10 during our evening devotional. “How then will they call on him in whom they have not heard? And how are they going to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent?” Perhaps a little cliche for a mission trip, but these words have been echoing in my mind for days now. We’ve been preparing for months, and we’re ready to go out share the Good News of Christ!

Please keep us in your prayers, Church family. Pray against sickness, pray for boldness, and pray that hearts would be changed for eternity! We’re grateful for you!

-Jennifer

Summer Guatemala Team

Hi Church! 

Sunday, June 9th we will be sending out a team from our church to go serve in Guatemala alongside our partners David and Regina. They will have the opportunity to spend time with and encourage the Whites, serve some struggling churches, and seek chances to share the gospel along the way. They will be gone from June 9-15th. 

Here’s a picture of the team! 

IMG-1636
Top Left: Marian, Allie, Dossie, Jennifer / Bottom Left: Jordan, Maggie, Benjie, Henry

It is such a joy to see the age range of those going on this trip. What a great reminder that no one is too young or too old to serve God overseas with the desire to see the Great Commission fulfilled! 

As we are sending this team out, remember that though not all of us in the church are going on this trip, we still have a part to play. While they are serving, it is our joyful responsibility to support them through prayer. Let us be faithful to keep this team in our prayers!

Here are some things we can be praying for as the team prepares to leave: 

  • Pray for opportunities to share the gospel with the people of Guatemala. Ask God to lead them to persons of peace whose hearts the Spirit has prepared to hear the message they are bringing. 
  • Pray for the team members to have peace, as many of them will be experiencing their first trip overseas. Pray that they would trust in God and grow closer to Him.
  • Pray for unity among the team members. Pray that they would have great times of fellowship and serve with the same mindset: that the nations come to know God. 
  • Pray that the team members’ hearts would be prepared spiritually for this trip. Ask God to remove any distractions as they are prepare to go.
  • Pray that the Whites would be encouraged by this team’s presence and be filled with joy from their fellowship. 

Like previous times, the team will be posting blog updates during their trip, including ways that we can specifically pray. If you have not already, subscribe to this blog and you will receive an email every time the team posts an update!

Last day in India!

Today we had our last training of this trip. Though there is always the temptation to slack off at this point, I think it’s safe to say that none of us did. God was still faithful in giving us the words to say and in giving us the energy and mindset to finish this trip just as strong as it had started! Sam even felt led to change up his sermon a bit for this training, reminding the people of the importance of taking the call of making disciples seriously. During the training, I became friends with some of the little girls and boys who were sitting behind me. It was so encouraging to see them being trained up in the truth at such a young age! (Especially after the horror of seeing the children at the temples being trained up in a false religion.) 

I also got to talk with Sister P, a young woman who translated part of our training. She told me her testimony which blew my mind and really expanded my view of how God is working in India. She mentioned that her parents are still Hindu and that she and her brother are the only believers in her immediate family. She said that this caused some issues in her family since her parents don’t agree with her or support her choice of living for Christ. I was able to pray with her that she would remain strong in the faith and for her parents to come to know Christ. She then told me that it was so inspiring for us to have come all this way to be here with them for God’s glory. If only she knew how much we have been inspired by them and their faith! 

After lunch, we said goodbye to Brother E and his family since it was time to part ways. We then met partners D & A at a coffee shop where we got to talk with them, ask them questions about the work here, and pray with them. In the middle of conversation, Brother D said, “By the way, elephant.” In response to which Sam ran outside and proceeded to hop on the elephant with the rider helping to pull him up! We all got a kick out of that. 

D & A then dropped us off at the airport and then we hopped on a plane back to Delhi. Joey and Logan were able to share the gospel with a secular Indian man named Ramneek on the plane. The man seemed very receptive and even accepted a Bible the guys gave him! They told him to read the gospel of Mark and he said that he would. 

We hung out in the airport until our flight at 4am and should be home by Sunday night! We are sad to leave… all of us agreed that we don’t want to. This has been such a great opportunity. I thank God for all He has opened my eyes to on this trip and for how He has chosen to use me for His glory in India. 

As someone who was very scared of going to India beforehand, I would encourage everyone to go. It definitely was not as scary or dangerous as I thought it would be. There is no reason to be afraid when God is in control! He will use you in ways you can’t even imagine if you just take the steps of obedience to go as He has called us to do. Not only that, but it will stretch your faith in a way that can’t be done from the comfort of your own home. Isn’t the gospel worth a little discomfort, travel, and time? 

As our time in India has come to a close, please keep these things in your prayers: 

⁃Pray for Sister P to be an example of Christ to her parents and that her parents would come to faith. 

⁃Pray that God would work on Ramneek’s heart as he looks into the Bible; ultimately that he would come to faith. 

⁃Pray for our partners as they continue the work here, and for the Indians to be receptive to the gospel. 

⁃Pray for the disciple makers who have just graduated to actively apply what they have learned from their training, making more disciple makers. 

⁃Lastly, please pray for us to come home changed! Pray that we wouldn’t leave what God has taught us behind in India, but that we would bring it with us and not simply coast back into normal life. 

Thank you so much for your prayers while we were overseas! It was so encouraging knowing that there were people back home supporting us through prayer.

See ya soon! 

Shelby