Monday, July 18, 2011

So much to do, so little time

So much has happened. I don’t know where to begin. We had a group from Indiana and a group from Alabama. They arrived Saturday, July 9th and stayed through the 16th. On Sunday we brought them to church and then the ladies of the church cooked for us. It was wonderful as always. Then we went to Santa Louisa to have church with them and the groups were able to see where they would be working all week. Monday through Thursday we were having breakfast by 6:15, left the hotel by 7, made our sandwiches at the church and were on the road by 8 a.m. It was a busy week but it was wonderful. We started digging the trenches for Pastor Charlie’s house, we finished pouring concrete in the bathrooms, we cut down two trees, and did VBS with the kids in the afternoon. The students were not hesitant at all but jumped in and stated loving on the kids and the community. On Monday we were able to prayer walk and we prayed over the new school that will hopefully be open in January when school reopens. (They have their break from October to December.) Since we were working on the bathrooms, we had no bathrooms. So on Monday we constructed an amazing work of art. It got the job done!

On Tuesday there was a terrible wreck so it took us about 3 hours to make the 1.5 hour trip. Many of the adults and students got sick but most of them were better by Friday. Friday morning we went to a day acre and loved on the kids. We sang songs for them and they sang songs for us. Then we gave them the beads and string to make salvation bracelets and we shared the gospel with them. Then we gave them cake and soda. They loved it! Friday afternoon we went to Antigua. We took pictures at a huge cross that overlooks the city.
We shopped at the markets. We walked around the town square. And we ate at Monoloco. Yummy! It was a nice relaxing day but I started to have a sore throat.
I am so glad I have met more brothers and sisters in Christ who are striving forward to share Christ. Special friendships are formed between people when we serve alongside each other, spurring one another on to share Christ with others. To my friends from Indiana and Alabama, I pray that you will take what you learned on this trip, apply it to your life and live on a higher standard while holding each other accountable.
On Saturday their flight to leave was at 11:30 and we had another group come in at 12. It was a quick turn around. I felt terrible so Autumn and Monica welcomed the teams and went grocery shopping with Efrain. Sunday we went to church and the ladies cooked for us again and then we brought them to the mall for a little bit. We were able to squeeze in Transformers 3 in 3d. It was in English and I still didn’t understand it. Haha.
Today, Monday, was our first day in the village with the new team. I went to Palencia with East Brent and 4 girls from Oklahoma and Monica and Autumn went with a group from OK and TN to Parramos. I still feel out of it but besides that we had a great day. We are building a retaining wall for a school. The guys worked hard on the wall and the ladies moved a pile of dirt up a huge hill and played with the children.
I know this has been a brief overview of the week but so much has happened I can’t possibly blog everything.
Please continue to pray for me, Autumn, Monica and the teams here this week. Please pray for strength, endurance and a positive attitude. We only have a couple more days and I want to make the most out of every opportunity.
Love You!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Share Christ love and share our lives

Share Christ love and share our lives!
On July 2nd, Thursday, we went to Bejucalito with Diana and brought some jugs of water to a couple families.

On our way to the village, there is a part of the road that always has mudslides. They have begun constructing a retaining wall to prevent mudslides. However, there is one problem. They believe that the mudslide is a snake and by finishing the retaining wall, they may harm the snake. It rains pretty much every day and this road is the only road leading to the village. Please pray that there will not be anymore mudslides and that they will finish constructing the wall before July 16th.

Gilmar is one of the boys in the village and Kristen has become very good friend with him. He has only been to the city one time so Kristen wanted him to come back with us to visit. We went to the apartment and hung out for a while before going to the mall and going to see Cars 3. Instead of seeing the movie, I hung out with Pastor and Autumn at the mall. We had some really good conversations and some really good laughs. We found that pastor gets really funny when he is tired J.
On Sunday Gilmar went to church with us and then they brought him back to the city. I am glad Gilmar was able to come to church and learn about Jesus. He and his family are not believers but we are praying for them and praying that a church can be planted in his village. I hope that his visit to the city did not promote material wealth by bringing to the mall but rather promote spiritual wealth by fellowshipping with the body of Christ.

After church we went with Pabs and ate some awesome crepes! Yum.

Every Sunday afternoon they carpool out to Santa Louisa which is about 2 hours away and have a church service out there. Me and Autumn rode with Pastor, Diana and Israel. It was a great experience worshiping with the people of Santa Louisa. We met a precious family who is from Guate but has been living in Indiana. They have two daughters Monica and Andrea, who are 12 and 8 and they are adorable. They also carpooled with us to Santa Louisa.
Monday= Happy 4th of July!
Little Monica came and hung out with us for the day. We went by the hotel and met with Ceaser and then went on the hunt for fireworks! Then we went to the grocery and bought stuff for our cook out. We cooked for all our Guatemalan friends. We had hamburgers, hotdogs, baked beans, potato salad and corn on the cob. After Bible study we made Sundays and shot off fireworks!!! It was such a great day with many learning experiences. I can truly say that I am proud to be an American!!!

Tuesday we went through Palencia to a school in Hierba Buena. We will be bringing a team there to build a retaining wall so the children will have a place to play. Always we will be doing VBS everyday with the children. We will have a great opportunity to share Christ with them. As of right now I am the translator for that site. Please pray that God will give me understanding and wisdom! We went back to the city and checked into the hotel. We came early so we will be familiar with it before the teams arrived. Welcome to the Suite Life of Monica, Autumn and Rebekah!
Wednesday was maybe one of my favorite days so far. We visited San Antonio, a village that Efrain delivers food to. I was able to see Jake and visit with him for a little bit. He is crazy but I love him!

Then we went to Antigua and met up with Pabs at the coffee plantation. We had lunch together and then went zip lining! It started to rain on us so it made it faster. It was great and the tour guides were awesome. Then Pabs made us some frozen coffee drinks which were delish and he gave us a tour of the hotel. It is gorgeous! We came back to church and had a candle lit Bible study.

Thursday we went to Santa Louisa with some men in the church to put up a sign and start the foundation of Charlie’s house. We didn’t do much but we were able to play with some of the kids. They are precious! And they love to pick flowers for us J

Friday we bought food, water, and crafts for the teams and then ate at a wonderful steak house. Yum!

God has been teaching me so much this past week. We had a security/safety issue on Monday. God has been protecting us the whole time we have been here but we were able to clearly see his protection on Monday. I have never been very patriotic but this was the first Fourth of July that I was truly truly thankful to be from America. There are so many things I take for granted.
Also it reminded me of how life as I know it can change in a blink of an eye. I go through seasons when I hold onto my family so tight and then there are season when I have a peace about Jonny’s situation. Sunday night I really wanted to be home and be with my family. Through Monday’s situation, I was reminded that there are bigger things with which to be concerned. I need to set my mind on things above, not earthly things. I think we all need to be reminded of this daily!
Also God has been moving in Efrain’s life and I have enjoyed seeing him grow and experience God’s hand in his life. He has become more open to talk about the things of God and more sensitive to the Spirit.
It is election year in Guate and violence has escalated. One of the men running for mayor is in jail and is accused of killing two of the other candidates. One of the men running for president has a daughter and she was told that she could not park in a certain place. She wanted special treatment and wanted to park there. There was an argument and the men who told her that she couldn’t park there were killed- just over a parking spot. And today one of the famous singers/peace promoters of Latin America (kinda like Bono) was assassinated. Due to campaign promotion rallies in the street and other protests, major highways may be closed. Please pray that we will still be able to travel safely with no traffic to church and to the villages.
Our first team arrived today and I am excited to get to know all of them.


Saturday, July 2, 2011

Why do I get a terrible mental picture every time someone says the word dog?

As part of preparing for the groups coming, we are visiting all the villages that the groups will go to. Wednesday Efrain, Monica, Autumn and I went to Parramos. The people from Loving Arms have bought a piece of land and have started teaching the people of Parramos and the surrounding villages to be self sufficient and environmental friendly. They have a garden in a

green house full of tomato plants and a normal garden for other vegetables. Families can pay for a section of the garden and then they are taught how to farm the veggies, harvest them, sell some for profit and keep some for food. Also they need to keep some of the money to pay for the plot of garden. They also can buy a piglet and then raise it and sell it for profit. Loving Arms also provides families with filters for water. The water goes through different gradients of sand and the final product is pure drinkable water.
Most of the older adults in the villages have lung problems from the open flame stoves that are in the house. Loving Arms has designed a stove to direct the smoke out of the house. They are so resourceful!!! It’s amazing. We met Linda, the founder of Loving Arms and we met Alicia, the rep who lives in Guate. They are both amazing women with a great vision from the Lord. I’m excited to work with them in weeks to come. We saw their plot of land, went to a village and school they support.On our way home we stopped by Antigua- the colonial city of Guate. It is beautiful and it’s surrounded by volcanoes. However it has been rainy every time I have been so I haven’t seen the volcanoes. We went to the market for Autumn to buy and apron and then got some coffee at a quaint coffee shop. Antigua has some of the best coffee of the world! It’s delish.

Thursday was a long day. We left the city at 7 and went to Santa Louisa. The church in the city that we are working with has a church plant in Santa Louisa. We got a tour of the property and looked at the different things we will be doing when the team comes. The church looks just like the one here in the city. They have walls and a roof for the bathrooms, showers and clinic. We will help them finish the floor. In the back of the property there is a small creek and they have made a baptistery in the creek. It’s so cool. They also have a worm farm, not to sell the worms but to sell the soil. They will make some good money from the first harvest. We will also start to build the pastors house. Right now Charlie and his family live next to us in the apartment but when his house is done, they will move out there. It’s about 1.5 hours from the city but it is gorgeous and looks like a jungle! We saw a HUGE snake on our way. We looked it up and we think it was a viper.

It is great to see the difference between Bejucalito and Santa Louisa. You can definitely tell where the gospel has been accepted and where the gospel is not. In Santa Louisa the people take care of the land. They put trash where it belongs, they rake up the leaves, they clean themselves, etc. But in Bejucalito their physical poverty and the spiritual poverty is obvious and the only thing that will help is the gospel.We met three ladies that are prayer warriors at the church. One of the ladies prayed for 8 years that a church would come to her village and when Pastor Pablo went there she cried tears of joy. I have never met anyone so devoted to pray. We have so much to learn from them.

Prayer warriors of Santa Louisa.
We left Santa Louisa and went west to the Pacific Ocean beach! It was lovely. Autumn and I tried to run on the beach but it was too slanted and we sank about three inches with every step. The sand is black and really fine and gets everywhere.

We were laying on some chairs and I saw something big, fleshy and white wash up on the shore. Then the waves took it back out. It kept doing this moving down the beach. I thought it was a dead seal so I went to investigate. It was a dog! Its legs were going every-which-a-way and it didn’t have any hair! I wanted to throw up. And the smell was outrageous. No telling how long it has been in the ocean.It didn’t rain until we were on our way home.
Friday, today, was a very relaxing day after all the traveling we have been doing. Autumn and I went with Efrain to the hotel and to the grocery store. (Abby, I want you to know I bought you more Jamaica!) Efrain has been so good to us while we have been here. He makes sure we have everything we need. He drives us places, gets us minutes for our phones and of course brings us to the best restaurants. Yum! I am so thankful to continue our friendship (I met him last summer) and I’m so excited to see how he is growing in his faith.
We got chuccos for lunch. What is a chucco? you may ask. It is a hot dog that is from a street vender. It is cooked on a grill, chopped up, and then put on toasted bread with guacamole, onions and ketchup. I was skeptical at first but then I tasted it. And it is only 60 Q, which is about 75 cents. Buen Provecho!
Diana picked us up and brought us to do laundry. I really needed some clean socks and we all needed clean sheet and towels. I cannot wait to sleep on clean sheets
J. For about the first ten 5 minutes there was no water in the washer. We were very concerned! Kristen and Monica looking to see if water was in the washers.
Diana has been such a blessing to us. She also brings us places and will do anything for us. I am so thankful to have her in my life.
The rest of the evening was very relaxing. We watched the men put a huge “sign thing” in the back of a truck and we ate Tacobell (and ate some yummy fiesta french fries).
We made it back just in time before it started to pour!

Preparing for the groups has been fun but I cannot wait for them to get here. Pray for God to prepare their hearts, and open their eyes and ears to the physical and spiritual needs of the people here. Pray that the relationships we are building now will continue so that we may return in the future and continue to share the gospel. Tomorrow we are returning to Bejucalito. Water has not been pumped to them in fifteen days. Not only is the terrible because they have no water to drink but it is also bad because they cannot bath. Pray that the government will cooperate and give Bejucalito the services that are due.
As for my family, Mom, Abby and Jonny should be home from camp today. I am excited to see what God taught them. Joe left today for Macon, GA to visit Brooke and her family for the 4th. Dad and G-maw are still in Uruguay. I haven’t talked to the since the other day but please continue to pray for them.

Thank you so much for your prayers! Love ya!

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Hello Sun!

Tuesday may have been the first time I have seen the sun in Guate. It was a beautiful day. And having fresh pineapple juice will always put you in a good mood J We went to Bejucialito again. We played an intense soccer game and got really muddy but it was so much fun. Pastor dribbling the ball down court taking on some 5th graders!
We got very muddy!!!!
Many people in the village have been sick because it has been raining so much and it has been passing from house to house. Two families in the village have sick babies. They were giving the babies adult doses of aspirin, which caused the babies to have fever blisters. We brought them some cough and cold medicine especially for children. Pray that they will be healed of their sicknesses.
When we arrived at Beju, the children at school were eating lunch. The teacher saw that we had arrived and released the children for the day. This is good because we get to play with them and build relationships but the children need an education. There is only one teacher for all the children and she is not passionate about teaching. It is just a job. We are going to talk to the mayor so the children in Bejucialitio have a good education. There are some precious kids in the village. I have become good friends with Armando, Gustavo, Wendy, and Elvia. Me and Gustavo :)
We went and ate pizza and ice cream for dinner. Yum!
However, I got the kind with all the different types of meat. I took one bite and realized that there was hotdog sliced up on the pizza :( HAHA

Sunday we had church and then walked across the street to a food court for lunch. We were going to go to Santa Louisa but the weather was really bad. Santa Louisa is a town about two hours away and pastor started a church their eight years ago. Charlie is the pastor at Santa Louisa and he and his family live next door to us. In two weeks we will have a team from the United States go to Santa Louisa to build bathrooms at the church and build Charlie’s house. Right now he goes to Santa Louisa a couple times a week but it will be great for him to live with the people. He will be able to minister to them better.

Sunday night Pastor, Pabs, Monica, Autumn, Kristen and I saw Kung Fu Panda 2 in 3D and then ate a restaurant called Nais. It was a huge fish aquarium in it.

Monday we went to the grocery store and got food for dinner. Pastor cooked potatoes, chicken, salad and rolls. It was delish! We met with Efrain and worked out all the details for when the groups come and then had bible study. It was great! Pastor talked about dying to ourselves so that we may live for Christ. I could hear this message everyday and never get tired of hearing it. At the end we went to the alter to pray and pastor prayed over us. It was a great experience. We met Karen and Wendy, two of Diana’s friends. They are so much fun and loved practicing their English.

Monday pastor asked if Christians in America drank alcohol. I told him yes, a lot of Christians do. He could not believe it. He asked, “Really?” about five times. He did not believe me that Christians drank. Then he asked if Christians smoked. I said yes and he could not believe that either. We have a lot to learn from the Christian Guatemalan’s high standards!

Thank you for all of your prayers. My Spanish is getting better but please pray that God will open my ears to understand better and that he will give me the words to say.
Also pray for the people in Bejucialito. Kristen and her church have built very strong relationships with them. They want to have good relationships with them before sharing the gospel. This can sometimes be frustrating because I want to share the gospel with them but they have told Kristen’s church that they do not want us to come in and try to convert them and change their religion. They know that we are Christians so they know we are there to show Christ’s love. Although I want to share with them, I know God has perfect timing. When the gospel is presented, I know their hearts will be open to what God has to say to them through us because they trust us and call us friend.
Also, My mom, brother and sister are at church camp this week. Pray for safety and for them to have open hearts.
I finally got to Skype with my dad and grandma who are in Uruguay. Sometimes I love technology

Saturday, June 25, 2011

A la gran! A la puchica!

I flew into Atlanta on Wednesday and met Autumn, Rob and Monica. It was so great to finally meet them. Rob has organized everything for Guate and he become my second dad while I am in Guate. The girls are great. I have gotten to know them so well in the past three days. I feel like I have known them forever and I know we will be great friends! We went and ate at a pizza joint and talked about what we will be doing in Guate. Then we went back to Rob’s house to talk some more and hang out.
We woke up super early and went to the airport. The flight was fine and we Efrain picked us up from the airport. It was so good to see him and catch up on life! He brought us to the church, Guerreros de Dios, and they had prepared a true Guatemalan lunch for us- steak, black beans, rice, guacamole, salsa and tortillas. Delish!!! We met Pastor Pablo, his mother, Kristen and other people from the church. Everyone is so welcoming and so hospitable! They believe that us coming to help them is a miracle because they need so much help. But we say that they are a blessing for us because if we did not have this partnership with this church then we would be hanging out at the hotel for these two weeks. Their hearts and eyes are open to work of God. We have so much to learn from them. Me, Autumn, Monica and Diana :)
It began to rain so we brought all of our luggage to the apartment which is around the block. Kristen has lived here for the past three weeks and we will all be living here for the next two weeks. It is super cute and nice. We chilled here for a while and then we went back to the church to get Kristen’s stuff. When we got there the courtyard of the church had flooded and the pastor’s house had flooded about an inch. We started using buckets to move the water and then we got a little pump that helped a ton! All of the carpet was soaked! God definitely sent us over there at the right time. They desperately needed help getting all of the water out of the courtyard.


The second God moment of the trip happened later that night. We ordered fried chicken for dinner and no one thought of the fact that we needed cash to pay. We all put all our cash in the pot and it was the expect amount we needed! God is in control of everything!
Today we went to the village of Bejucialito which is about 45 minutes away. We played soccer with them and visited some of the houses. Kristen is very close with a boy named Gilmar. He was not at home but his mother was and she was making tortillas. She showed us how to make them and then we helped her. It was great
J. The children love to be held and sit in your lap and hold your hand. They are so precious. I hope we get a chance to go back!
We came back to the city and ate at Casa Chapina. We had granadas, tostadas, guacamole, frijoles, tacos and Jamaica. We got some groceries then headed back to the apartment. Tomorrow we will go to three different church services.

Thank you for all of your prayers for me and my family. Jonny's appointment went great and his first batch of treatment will be July 5-7th.

Funny story of the day: We were talking to one of the boys in the village and they were talked about a girl named hannah who had come to the village. He said hannah montana? He lives out in the mountains and even he has heard of her. CRAZY!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Just Passing Through

I drove home last Wednesday and Thursday and spent the week with friends and family-watching movies, celebrating father's day,eating fro-yo, laying out at the pool, running with Pops, and celebrating Ab's 17th birthday!

I have really enjoyed my time at home but I am excited to get to Guatemala. Today I will fly to ATL and meet up with my team. Then on Friday we will fly to Guatemala. Please pray for safe travels, for our baggage to arrive on time, for our team to mesh well and work well together and for God to prepare our hearts for what He has in store for us.
More prayer requests: My dad is in Uruguay leading a mission trip for two weeks. Tomorrow Jonny has an appointment and they will discuss when treatment will start.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Fun at work

During the school year I only worked a couple hours a week but for the past month, I have been working full time. The ladies I work with are no longer just co-workers but they have become some of my good friends.
There is a girl named Dallas and she sometimes wears her hair up ontop of her head and it looks like a beehive. A couple Fridays ago, some of us decided to wear our hair just like hers. When Dallas saw our hair she used some choice words but she thought it was funny. And Dr. Kyler thought it was funny too!

The other day, Tosha was trying to load some brackets but everyone was trying to get stuff out of the drawers that she was sitting by. We made this sign and turned on the flasher. Beware of wild beast!

Samantha had a baby shower a couple Saturdays ago so we all decided we would go and where something zebra. Some of the girls couldnt make it but we still had a good time. Im so excited to meet little Sophie Marie :)
As you can see some of us embraced the zebra idea! Thanks Tosha for not letting me down!

Dallas called in sick one tuesday becuase she had pink eye. She felt better on Wednesday but on Thursday it had jumped to the other eye. It looked terrible! So we put out heads together and came up with a solution, an eye patch! We used a dry angle, a rubberband, a stapler, and Shannons artistic skills.

Brittaney had the duty of watering the plant and she could barely keep it alive. She passed on her duty to Dallas and now the plant has a little flower. Yes, we got excited over a little flower :)
I'm so glad I have gotten to know these ladies better. They are so much fun and great co-workers. We will have so much fun when I get back in August!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Rain or shine

Who knew that I would get so dissappointed while handing out cards promoting a church on the street corner of San Francisco in the rain. Some people would walk right by and not even make eye contact, some would give you the hand, and others would say no thankyou.
This morning before we went into the city I read John 15. The verse that I meditated on all day is verse 18 which says if they hate you, remember that they hated me first. Also, verse 20 says if they persecute you, remember they persecuted me first.
When I remebered this, it made me think of how small my persecution was compared to the persecution Jesus and the disciples received- beatings, being spit on, and ultimately death. When people rejected our info cards, we were being persecuted. But it is hard to call it persecution when we compare it to the persecution that Christ received. They weren't spitting on us or beating us. This experience reminds me to daily ask myself, what am I doing that would cause people to persecute me? If I am living out the christian life, I should face persecution.

Although many people were rude, there were the few people who were very thankful for the card and there were those fellow christians who said encouraging words. I thanked God when a brother/sister in Christ encouraged us.

I was very discouraged at different times today, but God is using us. Normally the epic website receives about 30-40 hits and day and today it received over 300.
Tomorrow we will spend another 6 hours handing out info cards about epic church.