April, 2013

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Time Flies When You Are Serving

It is hard to believe that our week in Guatemala has passed so quickly. The opportunities we had to serve together were incredible. From using power tools, helping with backyard bible clubs, to loving on those sweet precious babies, the people of Guatemala welcomed us with open arms. At the end of the week we did home dedications for each of the 12 homes that were built. The families decorated the outside of their home with pine straw, flowers, and balloons. Then someone from the Fairview mission team would give words of encouragement to the family, After that, Cesar (who teaches at the local seminary) would present the gospel. Revival took place on the mountain side as many family members accepted Christ. Then the fireworks would go off in celebration. Incredible!!!

We chose to go to Guatemala and be disciples this past week. In reality we should choose daily to be disciples wherever we are. Our community, our work place, our schools, and our relationships give us opportunities daily to be the hands and feet of Jesus. We are thankful to have been the hands and feet of Jesus in Guatemala this week.

 

Tammy Nordquist and Tamber Lee

 

Almost Home

We are inbound at 33,000 feet to Atlanta.  It has been a great week and a long day.  The travel day home is sometimes the hardest.  Ours has been complicated with some sickness in our team. However, even through some upset stomachs, we have seen God provide in amazing ways and draw our team even closer together.  Ben Saint shared with our team last night one of the blessings was getting to serve each other as we served the Guatemalans.  I am thankful for hearts that look to the blessing of God in the midst of difficulty.  I am always amazed at how God works in and through His people on mission.

Thank you for your prayers.  Our folks who have been sick are feeling better as we travel (maybe it is their excitement to be home and share all that God did this week with you!)  One of them shared with me, “Don’t worry.  This couldn’t even keep me from coming back to Guatemala!”  What a heart to serve!

We will update again later.

Heading Home

Today is our last full day in Guatemala.  Even though we have been busy building houses on the mountain, handing out food, repairing a pastor’s roof beside his church, and holding our version of Vacation Bible School with the Mayan children, we have all been able to find the time to pray to our Lord and to talk openly about how the Lord has used this entire experience to show us where we are in our Christian walk and where we need to improve in our daily lives in our own hometown. 

 

It is so amazing and humbling to hear people say that we have been a part of answering a prayer that they have been praying for their family and village.  The team has been on the same page (God’s page) even during times of last minute adjustments.  To see the Mayan people, who were very shy and quiet around us on the first day, crying and praying with us and for us on the last day was nothing short of the Holy Spirit pouring His love on that mountain.  Villagers who had just received Christ as their Savior hours earlier, watched as the local pastor cried as he thanked us for our build and our passion for his people.  Next they witnessed Bro. Breck thank him for his non-stop work and prayer for his people; then we all came together in prayer as 1 people before we said our final (for this trip) farewells.

Tonight, our team came together and talked about our highs of the week, what was most memorable, what we needed to take with us from Guatemala back to Columbus, and even what we may need to leave here (certain attitudes/habits) as we try to become more like Christ.  We came to Guatemala with some uncertainties and we are leaving Guatemala with the certainty that we (in US and Guatemala) are all the same and that the Christ-like attitudes that we showed here can be shown back in our hometown if we keep our focus on Jesus. 

 

Mark Sanderson     

 

Hallelujah

What a tremendous week we have had visiting with the people of Guatemala.  A lot of great work has been accomplished and many lives affected. This week could not have culminated any better.   I was given the distinct pleasure of working Friday and Saturday with a local pastor and his church.  Alfredo Alfaro and his wife Alba were two very gracious hosts.  Alfredo is a pastor with a tremendous spirit and works hard to share the Gospel of Christ.  I was taken aback by the conditions in which he works.  The job of any pastor is difficult but imagine trying to lead a flock and spread the Word with no money and with a church that resembles a metal garage building, living in fear at night for the safety of your family and under constant spiritual warfare.  Yet this man of God perseveres and does so with such a gentle spirit.  We were tasked Friday with repairing his roof.  Each time it would rain water would flood into his home and at times into the church.  The repairs were made in short order but the real benefit was getting to know this tremendous family.  I am amazed and I am reminded of how God can take so little and do so much.  My prayer is that God will continue to work through Alfredo and through his church to continue to minister to the Guatemalan people.  As I talked with another local pastor, Tico described him as a “brave man.”  I agree, but I truly believe that he is a great man of faith.  Thank you God for allowing me the opportunity to meet your servant.   May you continue to bless him and the people of Guatemala.  To God be the glory. 

Jeff Farnham

 

It’s almost time to say “goodbye” and yet we are just getting settled with our hello!  The Guatemalan people are easy to love.  One look into those big brown eyes and you’re hooked.  One “Gracias Amigo” and a friendship begins.  It has been beautiful to see God work and include us!  Today was the last trip up the mountain and I knew immediately God was up to something amazing.  As the vehicles ascended up we entered a cloud—not of dust as the other days had been, but a REAL cloud, God’s Holy Presence leading His people.  We began feeling His presence and the excitement began to well up inside.  A “HalleLUjah!” just bellowed out.  The children were lining the road before we even got to our regular parking area and we knew they were feeling the excitement too!  This was the day that we would christen the homes we built with prayer and encouragement.  We would bless the homeowners and assure them that God was the Provider and we were just the workmen.  Love was expressed to each family in special ways.  Our Interpreter, Sessar, is a Holy Spirit filled Follower of Christ.  His passion and enthusiasm is contagious and he was able to explain the gospel to the homeowners in an understandable way.  It was during this time that the Holy Spirit came down with POWER!  Tears began to flow and knees began to kneel before a Holy, Righteous God.  Men were broken before God and wives surrendered to His control.  God showed His power and there was a Holy awe felt by all.  Revival began and I can’t wait to see how it spreads!!!  We’re bringing some of the revival home but most of it will happen on a remote mountain in Guatemala, until those disciples make new ones.  Then who knows where that revival will go?  One thing we know for sure—it WILL go, for that’s how God works: Followers GOING and making disciples!                      HalleLUjah! 

Caroline Bogue

 

Children of the King

Today we started by dedicating the homes that we had built.  These dedications truly started from the first day we began building, but today was the pinnacle in seeing these homes being dedicated to God.  Last night during our study session we had a basket for each of the homes and several items, which we placed in them as a care package for the families.  Praying over these items, we also took a Bible and prayed over it that each of these families would learn and pass on God’s word to their children. 

            Something that stood out to me when we arrived at the homes was how they had been transformed from simple metal and wooden structures into homes.  They were decorated with flowers and decorations and the concrete floors were covered in fresh green pine needles, which is a common practice for celebratory events.  Seeing how these people can take something so simple and almost obsolete in our eyes and turn it into something as beautiful as a home, it makes me want to do the same with things that I have neglected in my life.

            The fact that most of these people are half my size but work twice as hard as I do with a fourth of the difficulty as me still leaves me in amazement.  Starting at a very young age they work and they give everything of themselves to provide for their family and community. What would it take for us to do the same thing in our community? 

-Ben Saint

What a blessing this week has been for me! One thing we have said over and over this week is that it is not our ability that is important but our availability. I have to say that I never thought I would be capable of actually building a home. The Lord has blessed us as we have been available for Him to direct us, whether playing with children or building windows and doors.

            One evening our devotion was about how the people were so amazed at Jesus because of what they had seen that they followed behind Him. They wanted to see and know more. This week the children have literally followed us everywhere. Whether we were working on a house, blowing bubbles, making bracelets, or eating our peanut butter sandwich, the children followed us. They wanted to be right with us. I pray that I, along with fellow Christians, will be steadfast in following right after Jesus because of what He has done for us. I pray that the distractions of our busy lives will not keep us from wanting to know more of God’s grace and love. What a joy to be a child of the King and serve Him here in Guatemala.

-Kellie Nickels

Busy Boys and Girls

Today has been an incredible day.  We spent the day with our Guatemalan friends and family.  Our twelve houses are almost finished.  Tomorrow we will put the finishing touches on the houses with the dedication of the homes.  We will be sharing the Gospel with the families and neighbors.  Please pray for our team and the families.  May Christ be glorified in each us.  We also have an opportunity to share the Gospel with high school students tomorrow.  We are the fist mission team at GRACE to be allowed to enter a public school and share Jesus.  Please pray!

We had a long day and a late night.  More updates tomorrow.

Blessed Builders

The last couple of days have reminded me of a few verses that are dear to me, “You are the light of the world- like a city on a mountain, glowing in the night for all to see.  Don’t hide your light under a basket! Instead, put it on a stand and let it shine for all.  In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly father (Mathew 5: 14-16).”  It is evident that our mission team has taken these verses to heart.  It has been amazing to watch the unity among the members and each member’s interaction with the locals, especially the children.  The smiles on their faces a worth a thousand words.  Those who have been assigned to lead the Backyard Bible Club have had more than eighty children in two consecutive days to share the gospel with.  It has been amazing to listen to their stories and how the children have touched their lives.  I can only pray we have touched theirs as much as they have ours.  We have also been blessed to be able to build and prepare twelve homes for concrete in the first two days of our trip.  Completing these homes in such a timely manor will allow us to meet others and share the gospel with them.  I look forward to the upcoming days (food distributions, Backyard Bible Clubs, and helping local churches), and what the Lord has in store for this group.  We have only been here for two complete days now but I can honestly say my life has been touched and changed forever.

 

 

Justin Carter

 

Worth a Thousand Words

The old expression is “A picture is worth a thousand words.”  Our prayer is that these photos might help us communicate the one word the Lord has spoken to us this week – LOVE.

Love Your Neighbor

Matthew 22:37–39- Jesus replied: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” I have fallen in love with the Guatemalan people that God has put in my path these last two days. This week this verse has become real to me. These people are so warm and inviting. The language barrier has not been a problem. I think it is easier to have a relationship because when you can’t speak. You have to listen carefully, gesture with your hands, but my favorite part is to look at their face when they are speaking because they always have a smile, and are content with what they have. God through these people have taught me a lot. Now my challenge to myself is how do I bring this love for my neighbor back home with me. My prayer is that this is not a one week thing, but something that stays in my heart forever. I ask you to continue to pray for me as I seek ways for God to continue to open doors for me to love on people when I get back home. Thank you to all who have been praying for us. God is at work in Guatemala.

 

 

-Ray Campbell

 

Bible Studies, Miracles, and NASCAR

We were privileged to go minister in an area where many of the locals had never seen white people.   Our devotional verse today, from Psalm 102:18 was so perfect as we had an opportunity to serve and share with the adults and children.  Our real goal today was to touch the lives of people with the universal love of Jesus.   We had over 80 children come to our bible school.  We were invited into a home to pray for a sick woman and all the women joined in voicing their own prayers.  This was a powerful moment as we together called on the name of the Lord.  We were also invited into homes to see babies and food preparation.  We were able to have a very successful day building as we exceeded our goal as we completed over 5 homes today!  We were all definitely shaken out of our comfort zones as we traveled over rocky, steep mountain roads with mostly novice American drivers who thought they were NASCAR material!!  Ray Campbell won the first day NASCAR mountain driver award.

All the prayers offered on our behalf are evident and so appreciated! We are learning to trust God by being flexible as plans do change and we are learning to say yes to the ways God wants to work in our individual lives.  The people of Guatemala are precious, hard-working, hospitable people.  We now know why Bro. Breck has such a love for this place and its people.

Kent and Caren Walker