Its been such a great week here in Guatemala. Our whole group was up early this morning, waking up to a beautiful sun and a volcano. As the time to leave approaches, we are all finishing some encouragement cards and packing up for our 2:30 flight. For many of us, it isn’t easy thinking that we have to leave this wonderful place, yet we are excited to come home and see family and friends. This week was such a blessing and we cant wait to tell all of you about it soon!
(This was written last night but I could send it out until this morning. 🙂
The month of June, July, and August are considered the rainy season in Guatemala. Typically during any given day during the rainy season there will be downpours for about 15 minutes- two to three times a day. This doesn’t happen in January. The village roads are dusty, the ground is rock hard, and most of the rivers are either dried up or just a small trickle. January in Guatemala is considered dry season and we experienced this rather parched land this past week as we walked and worked in the small, mountainous villages.
Why do I mention this? Because at around 10:00 tonight as we finished up our last devotion of this trip and as many of these precious students knelt on the floor beside a cross pounding that “thing” that they want to hand over to Christ into it- it began to rain! It rained like crazy. It didn’t let up for several minutes. We all laughed because it summed up exactly what we experienced this past week- our God wants to desperately show us that He is alive in us and all around us. Out of all the minutes in an hour, hours in a day, days in a week, weeks in a month- God allowed his grace to literally pour over us right at the time that we were kneeling and praying at the cross of Jesus Christ.
Tomorrow we leave from the base camp at 9:30am. Our flight leaves at 2:30pm. We are ready for our own beds and ready to drink tap water. We are ready to see our families and friends. We are not ready to leave our new beautiful family though. We are not ready to jump back into our somewhat frenzied lives. Some of us are not ready to be tied up by our phones again. All of us are not ready for school on Monday. But, we will go back and we will go back knowing that the same God that ushered in that rain at such a meaningful time tonight also reigns in our homes, school hallways, gymnasiums, theater stages, and classrooms.
Humbled to be a part of this experience,
Cindy, Brian, Steph, Scott
Hello world! (as the boys said) What a gorgeous morning it is today! The sun is warm, there are some clouds settled over the mountains and volcanoes, the kids just ate their French toast and fresh coffee, and now they are settled in to do their devos. For the parents that are reading this entry, we (the leaders) just want to say “thank you”! Thank you for sharing your children with us this week. They are amazing and it has been such a privilege walking through life with them. It is hard to convey this trip with words because there are so many strands to this trip’s story. The strand that is the most exciting and I know that touches a parent’s heart and soul the most is this- Your children have fallen in love with the creator of universe. For many of them, it has been a reaffirmation of their faith and for some it has been their first time to witness the tangible presence of the Holy Spirit. For all of us it has been an experience that has stretched us and opened our hearts to the joy that comes with hanging out with God. We have seen first hand how the Guatemalan people, who have hardly anything materially, know how to live in community with each other; They know how to take care of their neighbor and they know how to open their homes to each other. We have learned the beauty and joy of living in community with each other. Little by little we have opened our hearts to each other and been real with each other and this has produced a ton of laughter, lots of tears, and pure worship when we sing praise songs with each other. I wish you could have been here parents! You would have been crying tears of joy- Kids were belting out praise songs, many were lifting their hands with opened hands, and sharing their God sightings in our circle.
Today we go to Antigua for a few hours. This is a fun day for all of us. Antigua is beautiful and full of historic churches. There are many parks scattered throughout this city and the markets that we will visit are authentic with many native Guatemalans shopping there as well as many tourists from around the world. My favorite type of “tourist” that we will see are the American nomads who wear their hair in dreads and look like they haven’t showered in days.
We will have devotions before we leave. We have all been challenged again to intentionally invite God into our hearts every morning. We have experienced how this brings us focus, peace, and strength. Man, when I wrote that last sentence I just had this thought that I came off really cliche and cheesy…but please understand that I KNOW that I am speaking for ALL of us and that those three nouns are real things that we have experienced.
After devotions we are going to take a short hike to pray over a piece of land that many people involved in this ministry have been praying for. Through much prayer and many conversations Paradise Bound is feeling that they are being moved to expand this ministry even further. One of the things they are being called to do is begin an aviation ministry. This will be such an important part of this ministry. For example, the first village that we visited earlier this week is only accessible during the dry season since the roads wash out during the rainy season. After doing the medical clinic, there were several people that needed follow up care. PBM will follow up with them but the follow up could be more efficient if what is a 3 hour drive could turn into a 25 minute flight.
Pray for us today as some girls are feeling sick. It is NOT the flu: It is fatigue, altitude stuff, possibly some accidental water or dust ingestion, and mostly (as Vicky and I believe – Vicky is the staff nurse) spiritual warfare. The Holy Spirit is incredibly present here and he was very present in our worship last night. As I said to a couple of the girls who are struggling with a bit of anxiety about their nausea this morning- “You are experiencing some spiritual warfare here in my opinion. There were literally thousands praying for our team yesterday and today, Satan (who is a tricky dude but not an omniscient dude) sees that today there is an open door to mess with us. I believe Satan did not like what he saw last night during our worship time- Here are 26 kids who didn’t really know each other very well and let’s be honest there were some walls between some groups at the beginning of the week and NOW these kids don’t care about social groups. They are ALL comfortable with each other and worship passionately with each other. This angers and frustrates Satan that when God is the center of our community that it only takes 2-3 days to break down some of those walls that have been constructed over the past months and years. The best way to mess with young people who are away from the comforts of home is to attack their physical wellness.” (I know that’s kind of weird that I quoted myself and I didn’t say that verbatim but that was the gist). Pray for us today. Pray that we can have fun with no anxiety and no physical manifestations of that anxiety. Please pray! Tonight we have a powerful devotional time that wraps up our time here. We want everyone to be able to experience this beautiful communal worship. Thanks for praying! Pray! Pray! Pray! 🙂
We are alive and well the spirit lives within us (music playing in the background). Dedication day was successful and four families came to know Christ along with receiving a brand new, beautifully made, hand-crafted home. As for the health of our team we have three missing in action and four came down with a bad case of hiccups. Just kidding we are all good here at the Mission base #jk #lol #omGOODness. After a long faith testing day we came home relieved and reinvigorated due to a successful mission of bringing these Guatemalans to know Christ. Our team took two different means of transportation home. One team took the ol’ Whambulance home (a van) and the other took a hike. The hikers ran across many an obstacle including; rivers, cobras, machetes, Nick Schierks, and the mountain in general. Our Guatemalan guide also, called us fat and slow, how rude. But, we could not have done it without him. This week of work has gone by incredibly fast and we cannot believe it is almost over. Thank you so much for all your prayers and support. We as a group could not have made it through this week without y’all back home. We miss you and love you (our mothers at least) and can’t wait to see y’all in a few moments.
Jack, Mitch and Nick with grammatical help of Maddy #wedemboyz #squad #BLESSED
It’s Lydia here. In case your individual people aren’t writing to you, here is an update on what we did today! (It is slightly different from my personal blog post). It was probably my favorite day so far, minus the getting up at 5:30 am part. It was our second construction day. We stuccoed all four houses, which was quite the adventure. We worked together quite nicely, with some people applying the stucco and other people being “runners” to get them more stucco. We were all completely covered in the weird, pink, gooey stuff pretty quickly. The best part of the day was when we got to paint the inside of the houses, first with a base color and then with murals.The kids from the village helped us paint, which was quite amusing. They were absolutely adorable, and so fun to interact with. By the end of the day, we were covered, head to toe, in stucco and paint and dust and everything else you could think of. Showers felt good. Tomorrow is the day when we dedicate the houses, which should be interesting. It’s crazy to think that we built a house in just 2 days! These building days are nice because we have free time in the evening, instead of getting back so late like the medical village days. It’s hard to believe how fast time is going. It has been such a great ride so far! God is so good. Thanks for reading, or at least skimming.
p.s. No sickness so far, which is a huge blessing!
Can’t write for long! Heading out for our first building day. Spirits are great! Health is great! We will have much more time to do some blogging later this afternoon and evening! Keep praying. We can feel the power of prayer and we have seen many amazing things already! God is good.
It’s almost 11:30 and we have been well fed (pancakes this morning, sloppy joes for lunch), had personal devotional time, got the vans packed for the day, and got a little peek in the orphanage. Now, we are heading out to do our first mobile medical clinic. The trek to this village will be our longest of the week (3 hours). The first part of the trip will be on paved roads but the last part will be on some rough terrain. Dan and his crew has been to this village several times, so the roads are passable but it’s just a good thing that we have the 4 wheel drive vans as we get to go through two rivers (not go OVER them but THROUGH them!!)
Spirits continue to be very good. Students may not have a chance to respond to their personal messages on the blog tonight since there is a good chance that we will be home late. However, tomorrow morning we will have a bit more free time and they will have the opportunity to get on the blog.
Continue praying for us and specifically for our travels today and for the people of this precious village. Dan told us that this is a refuge village that settled here because of the 36 year Civil War that ended in 1996. Guatemalans have little by little been given land back from the government but they haven’t been given housing or running water. We are excited that we can help meet their physical needs and support their spiritual growth as a community too.