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!