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Distilled

If I could describe this week with one phrase (you know I can’t do it with one word J), it would be “a concentrated or distilled version of the body of Christ.” All ages are working together to meet the needs of the team (making hundreds of peanut butter & jelly sandwiches, washing dishes, filling water coolers, etc. etc.), and combining the gifts God has given us to minister to the precious people of Guatemala with whom we are coming in contact during the day. We study the Word every day together and pray and sing and share from our hearts.   Where one lacks, another provides, and encouragement is EVERYWHERE – in word and touch and action. All of this happens every week in Columbus, but it is unbelievably condensed here and powerful to observe.   ALL glory to God for what He is doing in us and through us –

 

Courtney Stanback

 

This week has been absolutely amazing!! We have built houses, participated in VBS, a block party, and shared God’s love with these sweet people. Today was by far my favorite day of the week. It was our last day of VBS, and it was Carrington and my day to tell the Bible story. Our topic was “The Gospel” so we started with Jesus’ birth and went through the resurrection. It was such a blessing to get to share the story of Christ with the children. Later in the day, I shared the Evangecube with a group of children and about ten of them accepted Christ. It was indescribable to be a part of God’s work here in Guatemala and to see new souls be rescued by Christ’s love. At the end of the day, all of the children gathered around us and prayed over us. That was one of the biggest blessings of the week because it showed me how God’s love reaches all corners of the world. Please continue to pray for our team as we finish out our week.

 

Carrie Westmoreland

 

This week has been indescribable, but today was exceptionally special. Today I had the opportunity to share the gospel with all of the children at VBS. When I was done sharing, I asked each group if they wanted to learn more about having a relationship with Jesus, and several little hands flew up. It was one of the most rewarding and overwhelming feelings, to see the results of God’s work in the kids’ lives. To hear all of their voices proclaim their salvation through prayer was such a beautiful sound. Around 20 kids from my site entered the family of believers today. After we dismissed, my special little friend, Ashly, who had just accepted Christ, gave me her only snack and her piece of candy. Something so little showed me so much humility. Christ’s love was flowing through her little hands and smile. I am so thankful that God has given me this opportunity to come and live out this experience.

 

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Another Great Day

We had a great day today in Guatemala.  Our plans went through a major shift today.  We went from what we had planned to what God had for us.  I am thankful that our team packed their flexibility!

We had a great opportunity to visit a local orphanage, Hogar Amor Del Ninos.  This ministry was founded by a couple from the US and ministers to 50 orphans by providing a loving home as they await adoption or return to their parents.

While some were at the orphanage, others were ministering in a local school through basketball.  Later in the evening our students played a game against a Guatemalan team that is in the Guatemalan National Team system.  While the scoreboard didn’t quite go our way, it was a win all the way around.

Thank you for continuing to pray for us.  Our students and leaders are doing an amazing job.

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More Than Houses

Today when I was in the village where we were building houses, I met a boy named Christopher. He was very nice, and we liked to play together. Everywhere I went he followed me. We threw a Frisbee and jumped rope together. We had a language barrier but that didn’t matter because we still found ways to communicate. I wish I didn’t have to say Goodbye (or Adios)!

Ben Campbell

 

Today we were working on a house in a village for a man and his family. I was on my dad’s team and we were working right next to Mr. Mickey’s team. While we were working the man got into the work and didn’t hold back. He would grab a posthole digger and dig the holes or loosen up the dirt for us to dig out. Even when we asked him if he wanted to take a break he would say no and get back into the action. His family was near us and we played with his son. His wife was weaving a dress and she showed us the template and it was bonita (beautiful). The man worked so hard and he didn’t have gloves that he scraped up his hands. He said he was going to keep working. This blessed me along with all the kids and people that loved on us and cared for us.

Andy Ladd

 

This first day has been a great one. We began construction on the houses that we will be completing this week and while we still have a lot of work left to do we are making great progress! One thing that has been stressed leading up to this trip is the fact that it is about building relationships with the people in Guatemala, as well as with the people on our team. It is so easy for us, especially us “macho men”, to get so involve in completing the job that we totally forget about the main objective, building relationships and loving on the people of Guatemala. I came into this trip planning on doing construction only, but the more I meet these people the more I realize how truly special they are. Building houses is great, but we as Christians are called to so much more than that. As much as they need a roof over their head, they need Jesus so much more.

Max Davis

Wanna Trade?

Hola from Guatemala! We started our day off with a great breakfast and an even better worship service on the roof overlooking the city of Chimaltenango. Sam Taylor, our youth pastor, lead us in worship and Brother Breck spoke on Mary and Martha. We learned how sometimes we get caught in all of the craziness of everyday life and forget to just worship and give praise Jesus for all of the many blessings he provides. After worship, we fellowshipped with one another and ate a gourmet peanut butter and jelly sandwich for lunch. As we were finishing up lunch, Brother Breck told us that we would be leaving in 4 minutes to go to a block party in the community, even though we didn’t think we would be leaving for another 30 minutes. This is a great example of why flexibility is the first and last thing on the packing list.  We are learning to see the Lord in each opportunity.

When we arrived at the block party, the people were a little skeptical at first, but as soon as we pulled out the finger nail polish, soccer balls, and candy, they definitely warmed up very quickly. The guys enjoyed played soccer with the boys and the girls enjoyed getting their nails painted and hair braided. We had jumpers for the children and they had a blast. For some, it was their first time playing on a jumpers. Then, we pulled out the corn hole game and all ages participated.

Kelsi’s most special moment of the day was when she gave a boy that couldn’t have been any older than two, a small car. As she was about to walk away, the little boy tapped her leg and gave her the only piece of candy he had in return for the car. This just showed her that even though they have very little, they still are so selfless and give what little they do have. This was just one of the many moments today that the Lord showed us that we need to appreciate what we have and give to others. John, the missionary in Guatemala, later told us that through the block party, two people were lead to Christ. Please continue to pray for us tomorrow as we build homes and more importantly build relationships with the families and neighbors and provide us with opportunities to lead many more to Christ.

Kelsi and Lindsey

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Ladies Only!

Today was tool day for the women of the team!!! We held medical clinic the past 2 days and saw close to 100 people each day. Today we were able to go out and build a home for a family of five. The family has 3 daughters and these precious babies were so excited about the house that we were building for them. We passed out dolls that were made from our church and each of the girls were so excited to have one. We will be going back to this same village tomorrow to do medical clinic and VBS. The women of the team were “beasts” today while building the house. Please continue to pray as we prepare for house dedications and preparing to return home.

 

Tammy and Tamber

Just What We Need

Greetings from Guatemala on a beautiful Thursday night! We have had a great week and have seen our God show up and show out in many different ways. I have been on a team sent to build a church building. It is nothing like you would think when thinking of a church, but more of a tractor shed. Dimensions were 27 feet wide by 30 feet long. After being discouraged by the size of the task and materials that we had to work with, is when I began to see that God had been working out the smallest of details before we even boarded the plane Monday morning. We knew we had a church to build but didn’t know any of the details or materials that we could not get here in Guatemala. I was in a building supply store Saturday morning to pick up a couple of things that we may need (40 tap-con screws), when he threw approx. 75-80 in a bag with a couple of bits and said this is my donation. On the way to the ballgame last Saturday another friend handed me a sack of other concrete Hilti screws (just a hand full, nobody counted). As we completed the project today and were packing our tools up I noticed that we had 3 of the tap-con screws and one of the Hilti screws that we had brought with us. I don’t think this was just a coincidence that these types of screws HE just sent to Guatemala on accident. I see so many of these people just waiting on our God to meet their needs daily. I have enjoyed getting to know Pastor Luigi and visit with him a lot this week. He is excited about what God has done and is doing with his church. I think a lot of the time we just need to back away and let Him work out even the smallest of details that we encounter on a daily basis.

 

PS: We just experienced a 5.3 earthquake as I was typing this blog, I am sitting in a lounge chair and it felt like a rocking chair

 

God Bless

Brad Fleming

 

For months God has been preparing this team for our trip to Guatemala. We have worked in medical clinics and construction for the past three days. God has truly blessed us beyond measure. I pray that we have brought love and hope to these people. Thanks to our friends and families at home for the prayers and encouragement.

 

With Love in Christ,

Barbara Fleming

Wherever He Leads I’ll Go!

Höla from Guatemala! This is our second day working. It’s a beautiful country, the beauty of Gods creation is evident here everywhere you look. To stay here on the coffee plantation is a blessing. The fresh fruit, vegetables and meals are delicious that the 2 Village women prepare for us every night. It is my understanding that the fruits and vegetables are grown here on the plantation. John and Laurie (Mission House Directors) are WONDERFUL hosts and make us feel like kings and queens. I am excited about the coffee plantation tour that we will get to take later in the week.

I’m so thankful for this opportunity to come on this mission trip. I am amazed how God works in our lives. I had felt in my heart that the Lord could not use me anymore. This is not where I want to be. I want to know that I am where God can use me and I am walking in a servants path with my life. This is my desire. On the first work day, our pastor put me with him. I think because he had promised to take care of me. To work side by side with him was a blessing. You can see the love he has for these people. When we got to the job site, which was a experience in it self. The roads are not the best and Breck took off up the mountain, which seemed to be straight up. We both grabbed our backpacks and the cooler. We had to stop half way and catch our breath. As we were standing there the children were passing us with the lumber for the first house. These children were different ages, but the small girls were carrying the lumber just like the boys. (UNBELIEVABLE) They are beautiful children. You fall in love at first sight of them. THE NEEDS ARE SO MANY AND IN EVERY DIRECTION YOU LOOK. These people don’t act as though they need anything and seem to be very happy with a dirt floor and no shoes on there feet. We are so blinded by things that we cant see what we have become. My desire is to serve my savior (WHERE EVER HE LEADS I GO). Will you pray for me that I wont miss Him this week. I love you all and I am so thankful for you and your love. It is late and our pastor is waiting for this. Hope I will get a chance to tell what the Lord does through me this week.

LOVE IN CHRIST, MARVIN BUTLER

 

Joy, Love, and Faith

Wow, God is so amazing! Guatemala what a beautiful place! Each day starts with our team sharing chores as we prepare for the day God has planned. The team is truly amazing showing me each day the joy of servant hood whether for their team members or the people in the villages. Once the chores have finished and we have eaten breakfast we enjoy a time of worship together. Mitchell is so blessed with talents from our Lord! He plays the piano, sings, and leads us in songs of praise and adoration. Breck began with words from Exodus today. The message was one of listening and watching for God during the journey. Sometimes we focus so much on what we want from God, what our expectations are right now, how we want to serve God, but God wants us to learn more than the result. He is looking for a growth in our relationship with him and our spiritual maturity. God blessed us today with learning that He provides exactly what we need to perform the work. Even through language barriers we were able to communicate with the community to build the home they needed with a very limited space. Today I saw the following things: Joy – joy on the faces of the people we were serving and those who were serving; Love – love of God through loving the children and people of the community; Faith – faithful servants of the Lord giving of themselves not to build a building but to show Christ’s love to those hurting. Two verses shared sum it up: “rendering service with a good will as to the Lord and not for man, knowing that whatever good anyone does, this he will receive back from the Lord, whether he is a bondservant or is free.” This week we are serving the Lord but we have not had to wait long to receive the blessings in return because as we serve He has shown us the joy and thankfulness of the people we have encountered. The second verse “For though I am free from all, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win more of them.” God is great and we should serve others as He did!

Robert Gabel

Rolling Along

Hello from Guatemala. Today was our first day of work and it went very well. We started with breakfast and a devotion before heading out to do our assigned tasks. I was with a group that was building houses and felt lost for the first hour we were there. Most of the guys have been here before and knew what was going on. Everyone was very patient with the rookies and when we finally got the hang of it I was able to be of help to the rest of the crew.

Sometime around mid morning we took a break to talk to the family that was going to live in the house. We had candy to pass out and Frisbees and bubbles to play with. I got a Frisbee out of my son’s backpack and noticed that he also had some Hot Wheels cars in there. I got one out and tried to roll it on the ground with a group of boys that we there but they were not real interested in that. Then a saw the tin for the house and started rolling the car on it and they were fascinated with that. There were probably ten kids playing with that one car and everyone was having fun. Check out the video link below (GregMovie) to help better illustrate.  We eventually went back to work and I don’t know what happened to the car or the boys but I never heard any fussing from any of them.

The second house we worked on started a lot faster than the first because we all knew what to expect. There was a boy there that was helping bring tin up to the house site. On one of the trips up the hill he dropped a piece of tin and it cut his finger. After he dropped it he was still trying to pick it back up and get it to the work site. Someone saw he was bleeding and we finally got him to come to us. Some of the guys tried to stop the bleeding and patch him up, but we realized he needed a little more attention than we could give him. Someone from the village was going to take him to the doctor, so I am looking forward to see him tomorrow and make sure all is good.

This was a great day and we are tired but all you hear is the laughter from everyone enjoying their selves and looking forward to what God has in store for us in the morning.

Thank you for all the prayers that are being lifted up for us and the work we are doing.

GregMovie

An Office With A View

Today was yet another great day in Santa Cruz . The rain and temperature were a bit challenging but God yet again showed out!

We started the day by driving in rain and on very muddy roads.  Imagine mud riding on 4 wheelers in Mississippi and you now get the picture. We arrived safely to the poorest area we had been to. The pastor greeted us and I introduced myself to his precious wife. She told me how sorry and ashamed she was for the North Americans to hold a medical clinic in their home. I reassured her we were honored to be able to help their people. It reminded me of the story of the widow and the mite who had little but gave EVERYTHING she had. This is exactly what these people did for us.

When we arrived it was cold and raining. The pastor was so upset that he had worked so hard to tell everyone we would be there and no one had come out in the bad weather. We prayed for him and that God would yet again let us see His power in this day. We missed the pastor for a while and we think he left to go out and tell the people we were there. Little by little people started to come. We ended up seeing about 120 people with around 28 professions of faith. Needless to say the pastor was encouraged and had the biggest smile on his face when we left.

Every mission trip has its WOW moments but this particular one has had multiple….from holding sweet babies while moms were being cared for to sharing the gospel with my translator, the list goes on and on. I thank you Fairview Baptist Church for supporting missions and praying for us as we GO. Please continue to keep us in yours prayers. We have a free day tomorrow and start our journey home early Saturday. Being a mom and getting to have your entire family together on mission is truly one of the greatest blessings I have been given.

Also, on a side note…..We turned the buses into an eye clinic and also spiritual counseling. I will say leading the eye team I had the “finest” office for the day. We were much warmer than the others. :)

Kim Westmoreland

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