Guatemala

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Vamanos!

Touch.  One simple word, yet such a powerful expression of love.  In Guatemala this week, we have felt the awesome effect of human touch.  Many of the children that we have formed relationships with have poor hygiene due to living environment, have runny noses, and even may cough all over us. But when they reach their tiny, dirty, little hands out to grasp our hand, there is a universal feeling of love that cannot be expressed in words.

On Sunday, we were walking through the village to attend a clinic dedication.  As I was walking, I felt this little hand reach up and grab my hand.  He gave me the biggest smile and said, “Vamanos!”  Feeling thankful at the moment for our years of watching Dora the Explorer together when the kids were little, I remembered that it translated to “let’s go!”  He proceeded to drag me through the dirt streets and rough terrain to get to our location.  He then took me to meet his madre’ and his amigos.  He was such a spunky little boy!

As a family, we had many concerns about this trip.  And to be honest, there were times that we could have allowed obstacles, distractions, and anxiety to make us feel inadequate to serve on a foreign mission trip.  One of our greatest concerns was not being able to communicate the language with the people of Guatemala effectively.  But immediately, we learned that a smile and a hug were all that was required to show love.

In one of our morning worship sessions, Bro. Breck spoke of the lady who had the bleeding disorder (Mark 5).  Her faith was so strong that she believed that a simple touch of Jesus’ garment, would heal her.  When she made her way through the crowd and approached Jesus, she touched the hem of his garment and was healed.  In that moment, she went from nobody to somebody.

The people of Guatemala have always been “somebody” to God, but now they have become “somebody” to us. We have formed relationships with families that we hope and pray that we will one day see again, both in Guatemala and in eternity. Now when we pray, we will pray specifically for the people of Guatemala that have so touched and blessed our lives this week, including our friends, Santiago, Christian, Hannah, Diego, Wilson and their families.

In Christ,

Jason, Allison, Avery and Davis Pool

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Looking Forward

Holá from Guatemala! It is only the third day of interaction with the people of Guatemala and God has already shown and blessed my team and me in so many ways. Today, we divided into 3 teams. The first team went to the build sites that we started yesterday in an attempt to finish building the houses. Another team went to an orphanage and then to a local church for VBS. My team also went to an orphanage; however, this specific orphanage was especially for children with special needs. It was such a blessing to see these sweet children act so joyful even though they had a disability. They did not even realize anything was wrong with them and loved us completely. From the time I got there, one specific girl really attached to me. Her name was Rosemary. All she wanted to do was hug me, kiss my hand, and dance. The smile on her face from just doing those simple things was priceless. We did many other things with the other kids such as push them in the swing, sing songs with them, and just love on them (even though we were really the ones who got loved on).

After we left the orphanage and much confusion on where our VBS site was, we finally arrived at a local church pastored by Edgar. We had about 40 kids show up. I had the privilege, along with 2 other girls, to teach the bible study about Jesus’ life. It really blessed me how attentive they were and how they longed to hear what we had to say. After that, we had a craft. We made butterflies with coffee filters, clothes pins, and markers to go along with the verse 2 Corinthians 5:17 which says, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” They spent so much time coloring and getting it just right. Finally, we had recreation. All of the guys on our team played soccer and Frisbee and all of the girls painted fingernails. I am pretty sure I am a professional now because of how many fingernails I have painted. It was so sweet because all of the girls faces just lit up as we painted them. Seeing that made me realize how much we take for granted.

When we got done with VBS, we headed back to the mission house. Shortly after we arrived, we found out that we had no water whatsoever. My human nature of course automatically went to me. I began to get really frustrated and think “why can’t they just fix it so I can shower and wash my hands?” Not long after those thoughts, I began to think about the children we have been working with the past 3 days. Most of them came to us dirty, not knowing when the next time they would be able to wash off would be, but they didn’t care. They had love and that’s all they needed to have joy. I just realized how often I get so caught up in me and my needs that I forget to look around and realize the desperate need of the lost and needy people all around me everyday. It also is a perfect representation of Christ. We think that we need to be clean and holy before we come to him, but quite the opposite is true. He wants us just the way we are, dirty hands and all. I’m so thankful for such an amazing opportunity to come to such a beautiful country and share God’s love to such beautiful people. I can’t wait to see what God has in store for the rest of the week!

 

God Bless,

Lindsey Stuart

 

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Flexibility Is Key

Over the last 48 hours I’ve heard my own words parroted back to me by some of greatest young people I know.  They were parroting them to me to mock me, but to encourage me.  To remind me that God is in control and that I am not.  Now, before you begin to panic, nothing is wrong.  In fact, everything is right.  God put knew opportunities in front of us for ministries.  As we headed back from a block party, we found one of our van tires was flat.  As we stopped to air that one the other went flat.  We had one spare and two flat tires.  We crept along from one tire shop to the next to only hear, “Can’t help you today.”  Then one last store.  Guess what?  They could help us.  What did those “missionaries” in the van do?  They did not lament their situation.  They looked at the unexpected incident as a possible opportunity God wanted them to use for His glory.  Their answer was found in a little girl whom they encountered.  Every moment was captured by that team in the life of that little girl.  That sat and played with her and left her one of the Doll Makers dolls. (Thank you!)  The little girl treasured it and held it tight.  God took a flat to bring the team right the place he intended for them for ministry.  Today, we also learned that the water pump at the house was not working.  Thus, after a long sweaty and even nasty day serving and building houses in the village we learned there would be no showers.  However, Brother Breck made a few quick calls and got us access into the seminary to use their showers.  Running water never felt so good removing the layers of caked on dirt.  While the shower was all the dirt and smells away, it could not touch the permanent memories that are there.  Missions has forever changed my life.

 

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A Blessed Day

Greetings from Guatemala,

The Fairview team had another great day being the hands and feet of Christ!  Today, we were able to complete the remaining 10 of the 14 homes we built this week.  After completing the homes, my team was asked to begin home dedications. We dedicated seven homes, with six of the seven families previously knowing Christ as Lord.  But I can now tell you that all seven of the families know Christ as I witnessed an entire family surrender their lives to Christ together this afternoon.   It was a very emotional experience for myself and the team to witness such an awesome display of God’s grace.  Cesar, our friend/interpreter, was also able to encourage the other six families to spread God’s love throughout the village and continue to grow in their own faith.  As great as this afternoon was for the team, I left today with a with a burden on my mind for a young man by the name of Anthony. Long story short, He was not willing to commit his life to Christ because he was afraid of what his mother would say.  As he walked away, we prayed for him and his family and have to trust that the seed had been planted and pray that he will surrender his life to Christ soon.  I would ask that you would pray for Anthony in hopes that he would make that leap of faith for Christ.

Your Brother in Christ,

Justin Carter

 

 

Greetings from Guatemala,

On Wednesday and Thursday a group of us went to feeding center.  A group of children are picked by local pastors to cine to come. They were 5 and 6 year old. Have never seen a group of well mannered young children.  We also had bible stories and crafts. Of course candy was a very welcome treat.  Andy did Bible story on Thursday.  He did a great job.  Today 12 of us went to orphanage  It was an awesome experience for all.  They had 50 children Ages arranging from 3 weeks to 1 year old.. We held babies, rocked and gave them bottles. Then during lunch time some helped feed the children. Then play time again. It was an experience we will not forget soon. Hopefully we can tell more of other experiences when get home. Going tomorrow to dedicate other homes built. God has been great during this week.

Your  Sister in Christ,

Martha C.

 

 

Hola from Guatemala,

I want to ask you to pray for a young man today that we met by the name of Anthony. Today Anthony just came to our work site out of nowhere. We had not seen him any this week except for today. While we were working my friend Cesar starting talking to him and presenting the Gospel to him. You could tell that while Cesar was talking to him you could see the spiritual battle that was taking place by the looks on his face. Needless to say he was ready to accept Christ as Lord of his life but right before we started to get ready to pray Anthony decided he wasn’t ready and he said he would do it tomorrow. Cesar asked him why he had come and he said he didn’t know why he had stopped at our worksite. Cesar began to tell him of the purpose of God, but still Anthony kept saying tomorrow I will. So tonight pray that Anthony comes back and if he doesn’t pray for the seed that has been planted will continue to be watered. Beautiful thing was after it was all over and Anthony left I was apart of 4 grown men weeping in prayer over Anthony. So pray tonight for Anthony and others that you know that have heard but have not accepted Him.

Your Brother in Christ,

Ray

 

 

Greetings from Guatemala,

This week has been a tremendous week for the Fairview family, with this being a completely new experience for me, it has been an emotional roller coaster and an eye opening experience.  I have spent every day in the village and although I know our team has been doing great works in other areas, there is no place I would rather be than in the village with the families that we are helping through Christ.   The families in the village are so appreciative of what we are doing for them, if they only knew the blessings that they have given me and our team.  Today I had the privilege to work with Cesar, Cesar’s love and passion for Christ is contagious; I feel the world would be a better place in it had more people like Cesar.  The family Justin mentioned that accepted Christ as their Lord and Savior will always hold a special place in my heart.  Thomas and his family is where my journey in Guatemala started and will be my first experience in regards to building relationships with the people of Guatemala.  Thomas’s family was my first experience in Guatemala, and I hope and pray that it will not be last.

Ben Upton

 

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Building Homes Through Relationships

Today was a great day! What a blessing to share in the ministry taking place in Guatemala. I wanted to share a couple of stories about the pictures attached. As we worked on a family’s “soon to be new home” that they were happily working alongside us to help construct, I snapped this photo of a few girls watching the work. The girl in the black shirt was very hesitant to take this photo and kept turning her head as if she wanted to hide her sweet face. It bothered me as I thought about it and told them in my feeble Spanish that they were beautiful as I would my little girls. As I reflected on this experience, I wonder how often do we as children of God see ourselves in a negative light and seek to hide ourselves from Him in our failures in spite of the declaration we read: Romans 8:1 “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”

In Him, Jesus doesn’t see us the way we see ourselves. This beautiful girl in Guatemala needs to know the love her Heavenly Father has for her but how is that to happen unless someone goes to bring that message? Whether it be through a random act of kindness buying lunch for a co-worker, to mowing your neighbors grass, to building a home for a needy Guatemala family and sharing the Gospel…walls are broken down in hearts to hear the message that they are treasured in the eyes of Christ. As Bro. Breck says, it isn’t about “building a house” but building a home and a home cannot be properly built without the foundation of Christ. Thank you Robert Gable for taking the time to share the Word with this family…please pray that this family receives the love of the Heavenly Father and builds their home on the rock of Jesus Christ.

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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