Saturday, August 14, 2010

Mission Team Update from Guatemala

I can tell by my counter that there are some of you out there reading this, but no comments. Come on people, say something!! Let me know that you're out there reading this stuff. It takes a long time to type all of this up, I just need a little encouragement not to stop... please.

So, this particular update was interrupted by a phone call from Todd while I was typing it. So, midway through the update the update changes direction. I did not send out an update the day before and as a result some of the family members here got a little concerned and contacted me. So, the beginning of the update reflects that also. Enjoy these great stories...


Hi Everyone:

I'm so sorry that I didn't get an update sent yesterday. Everything is fine in Guatemala with the team. They've all been working steadily on the same things over the past few days.

The team had the chance to see, and receive an update from Juan Diego (the family that they built the home for last year)!! What a great experience to be able to see him and his family again.

They also had the opportunity to go to a wedding yesterday!!! Pastor Luis, and another pastor he works with, performed the ceremony and Tony played music and sang. I'm sure that the couple getting married had no idea that a team of Americans, on a week long mission trip, would attend their wedding. I'm not sure what the appropriate attire is for a wedding in Guatemala...

(Side note: after returning home, Todd told me that the couple had been living together and that Pastor Luis had spoken with them several times about their situation being against God's will and plan for their lives. So, they got married!! Hallelujah!!)

They also attended the commissioning of a new church in a city that, until now, has been unable to have Evangelical Christian Church. Up until now, the only church presence was that of the Catholic church, and they had prevented other churches from coming. Todd mentioned that as recent as 20 years ago it was illegal to have a Bible in this city. If found with one, they would be imprisoned.

When I talked with him earlier today he told me that everyone was tired. So, I would guess that the week is beginning to catch up with them. Please pray for strength and continued good health as they bring this week to a close.

Oh, Oh, Oh, Todd's just called.... (The info below was typed as he talked, but seriously, there was SO MUCH MORE!! I just couldn't listen, type and respond all at the same time. I've got a serious headache, so my brain's not really working as well as it should.)

They went back to Santa Clara today to do the Bible studies with the women and children. He said that when they arrived it was immediately obvious that word had spread throughout the town and surrounding towns. The city was packed, Todd said that there were children in the streets, children packed into the church building, children everywhere!! He estimated there were between 300-400 children!!! He said it was absolute mahem! They knew that the team was coming back to do the children's Bible study again today and they were there waiting for them when the team arrived.

He shared a particular story that was so precious... Yesterday they shared the plan of salvation and helped the children to make the bracelets with the colors that represent it. One young boy had a particularly difficult time with it (I think maybe with remembering what each color stood for). They worked with him until he knew it. Today, he was going to the other children and sharing the plan of salvation with them using the bracelet!! Truly our people have already seen the fruits of their labor in Guatemala with this one precious disciple who is reaching out now to make disciples himself. It makes me want to cry, with joy.

The team took with them 74 Spanish Bibles and they have given them out throughout the week to women at the Bible study and to the men of the churches there.

Everyone went back t Juan Antonio and Clara's house today to bring them the gifts they'd purchased in the market. He invited everyone in to pray and the team gave them the things they'd purchased for their home (plates, cups and other household items, along with some legos for the kids). Santa Clara is known for its basket making and Juan Antonio had baskets waiting for them. He had 24 to give to the group members, but there are 25 in the group. I'm not sure who gave theirs up, but Todd said sometime later, when they were in town at the church, they saw Juan walking up the road, he was carrying the 25th basket.

When asked, "How can we pray for you?" The pastor of the local church shared that they were out growing their building, would we please ask God to provide them with a larger meeting place. What a great problem for a young church to have. So, we will be praying for that need, and I ask that you all would do so as well.

They cannot go into Pajahajel to the market there this year because of the storms and mudslides. Instead they will be visiting Antigua tomorrow to do some souvenir shopping before coming home on Sunday. I can't believe the week is coming to a close already, and yet I am so glad that the other half of my family will be coming home soon. I know that you all feel the same way about your family and friends as well.

The team has some specific prayer needs. Melissa J is having neck pain, the same that kept them from making the trip this time last year. Please pray for her that the Lord will ease her pain, and help her as she travels back to the states. Also, Brian P. has come down with some sort of really bad stomach bug, so please be praying for him too.

The one thing that Todd has continued to say is this, "It's the same church!! It's the Lord's church, they just speak a different language and meet in a different country." Throughout the week, that is what the Lord has shown him as he experienced what he has referred to as "sweet fellowship" with believers abroad. I am so thankful for the time of spiritual refreshment he has experienced this week and can't wait to hear all of the stories he couldn't think to tell me in our brief chats throughout the day. I'm sure Anna will have so many of her own to share as well.

As for me, my little Guatemalan on the home front put her pajamas on all by herself tonight!!! :o) Yay!!

Love to you all, in Christ our Lord,


Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Guatemalan Mission Trip Update #2

This is the second of the updates sent out to the family and friends of those on the trip to Guatemala...

Hola -

Hope this evening, or morning if you're reading this tomorrow, finds you all doing well.

Today in Guatemala: the men finished the house and got it roofed!! Unbelievable! Todd said they were held up 2 hours in a horrific traffic jam because of a large rock in the road. I'm assuming from a rock slide??

The women and children continued their respective Bible studies.

Once the men completed the house they went into town to the church in Santa Clara to meet with the men of the church there. Todd said they found them discouraged. I'm unsure why exactly. They spent time with them reading scripture, praying and singing songs together. Todd said that it was such a sweet time of fellowship. He shared that it was an amazing experience to worship with people from another nation, knowing that they were all worshiping the same - one true - God.

He said that as the ladies and children begin to wrap up their studies this week , they plan to meet with the men again tomorrow to continue to build their faith and give them encouragement.

Please pray for these church leaders.
In Christ,

Friday, August 6, 2010

On Mission to Guatemala - update #1

Okay, so today's "installment" is the first communication I sent out on Monday evening(the team traveled into Guatemala on Sunday). I'll edit as possible to make more sense or whatever, just know it is penned to friends and family of those who traveled this year.

Good evening everyone:
I spoke with Todd and things seem to be going along well today. He says the weather there is beautiful, as usual. Many refer to Guatemala as "The Land of Eternal Spring" with average temperatures in the 70's.
I will share some things with you throughout the week about Guatemala as I send you all updates. If you were on last year's update list, some of these will be things you may have learned about last year.
They are working in and around the "lake region" of Lake Atitlan. Lake Atitlan is considered to be one of the most beautiful lakes in the world. Last year Todd learned of a lake lot for sale fore $6,500.00. He shared that here (in Alabama) this would be a million dollar lake site. We joked about buying it and retiring to Guatemala, but we do enjoy lights and indoor plumbing. Here is a picture of Lake Atitlan at sun down. They are in the Central Time Zone as we are, but do not use "daylight savings time."
Our Mission Team is working in the region of Santa Clara, located approximately 8,000 feet above sea level!!! He told me that if they were only 10' higher he was sure they could actually touch the clouds. Want to know what that looks like? Check out this picture attached, taken by Todd on last year's trip.

Today they began building the house for the family is this area. Once construction begins, the children and women of the city begin to come out into the streets to see what's going on. Todd said that our children (those who went on the trip) were playing with the Guatemalan children out in the streets, and telling them that they would be having a Bible school starting tomorrow. The ladies will begin a lady's Bible study with our women. The building of the home brings the locals out into the streets and makes it easy to begin sharing what the plans are for the women and children as the men help to build.

In one week our men will complete a home! That's F*A*S*T!!! But, their homes aren't like our's. Here's a picture of the men who went last year, and the home they built while they were there.
You may recognize some of your friends and family who were on last year's trip. The team also gave a "pounding", or housewarming, for the family, providing them with things they would need for their new home.

Two other things Todd shared with me today: Anna had her hair braided by the locals, and one of the Jones' girls (who attended a ballet camp recently) was showing the girls there how to do ballet!

I'll check back with you when I know anything new.
Your Guatemalan Mission trip liaison,

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

On Mission to Guatemala

For the last week, my husband and oldest daughter spent their time in Guatemala ministering to the needs of the Christians there, encouraging them in their faith, and sharing the Word with it's people. I haven't posted this past few weeks because I just simply haven't had a chance. Our family has a special love for the people of Guatemala because we have a daughter adopted from there. Their time in Guatemala was wonderful and I hope to share with you some of the stories from their journey.

Because of our business, Todd and I have to be in contact with one another throughout the day so that he can keep things running here by phone. I don't like for them to be gone and I most certainly do not like running a plumbing company. It's a week when the days can start out smooth and take a turn for the worse in about 2 minutes flat. Todd always leaves a schedule for the guys to know where he wants them, and when. He figures about how much time each job will take and schedules accordingly.

So, the guys arrive and load their trucks at 7, leave the shop about 7:30, and off they go. Once they arrive there are dozens of things that can go wrong, throwing a wrench in the entire day or even the whole week: the supplies that were supposed to be delivered aren't there, they don't have the right parts on their truck, the home is locked up, the job isn't ready, etc...

I can tell you that as much as I want them to go and share Christ there, I do not enjoy the week they are gone, or the few weeks preceding their departure. There are days and days and hours on end of preparation involved in leaving the country, even more so when you are leaving a business behind that's expected to run while you are gone. The items you have to pack when you are leaving to go on a trip out of the country is long enough, but when you are going to an area that doesn't have clean water, sanitation, or the basic things we consider to be necessities, the packing list gets even longer.

Their time in Guatemala is always wonderful. There are many stories I want to share with you all from this trip. Some of the stories I sent out to the families and friends of those who were also on the trip. I am always the unofficial "liaison" between the members of the mission team and those they leave here in the states, so I'm going to share with you all those emails and then I will sprinkle in a few other stories that Anna and Todd have shared with me since they've been back home.

Abiding in His grace,