Day 7: Trust, Delight, Commit

Psalm 37:3-5: Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. Take delight in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord trust in Him and he will do this.

For many of us, this mission trip was our first trip to Guatemala. God commands us to trust in the Lord and do good. We experienced an amazing opportunity to serve God in the mission field. God’s children saw His grace and received and shared His Love. We took delight in the Lord and he gave the desires of our hearts and we as a team will continue to commit our support to these children through our prayers, and sponsorship. God certainly rewarded us beyond our dreams and expectations. GOD IS LOVE.

 

 

 

Reflection from Dave:

Today I was fortunate enough to meet my prayer partner, Florecita. she is a beautiful and fun-loving girl who to my surprise and joy loves to play soccer. Julie and I just recently sponsored her and had not been able to write yet. However, I was able to hand-deliver our letter along with a photo of my family and pets. She immediately embraced me and periodically throughout the day would run up and hug me. As we said goodbye she asked if I would write to her and told me, “God bless you.” These children are so excited to see us and maybe even more excited to receive our letters. I encourage anyone reading this that has not sponsored a child to do so immediately. The love you receive in return and the good that you do cannot be measured.

 

Reflection from Karen:

What an amazing day God gave us today. We finished our painting project in the morning and after lunch, we crossed the street to work with the children. What a highlight to meet my prayer partner and share many hugs. The home visit gave us all an insight to a wonderful family whose prayer partner is Melba. The mama and papa were open about their relationship with Jesus

Reflection from Carol:

Today was the day I was able to meet my family’s prayer partner, Cesar, an 11-year-old boy from Tecpan. After talking with him, I not only learned about his favorite class in school, English and his favorite sport, soccer, but also about his love for his parents and siblings. (He has 10 brothers and sisters.) I also learned of his parents’ desire that he grows in his knowledge and love of the same Jesus Christ that I do. I was able to tell Cesar that the congregations of Zion and Faith would also be lifting him and his village up in prayer. My first prayers for him will include petitions for his day to day health, continuing his education, and like his parents, that he would grow in his love for our Lord.

 

 

Day 4: Rejoicing with the Children at Verbena CarePoint

This is the day that the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it. -Psalm 118:24

The children were very excited to see us and spend another day together.

As a team, we helped the children create sock puppet animals to tell the story of Noah’s Ark. Carol read the story in Spanish and the rest of the team acted out the story with the animal puppets. The story concluded with an animal parade with the kids’ puppets as the animals followed Noah out of the ark and singing “Rise and Shine and Give God the Glory”

   

   

There were snakes, tigers, dogs, giraffes, turtles, just to name a few. The kids imaginations ran WILD! It was neat to see how excited they were to make the puppets.

                           

Freetime was similar to yesterday and included chalk art, parachute, soccer games, hanging on Dave, twister, and jumping rope.                 

 

Another activity the children did was making traditional Spanish candy. We were then presented a basket of this candy as a thank-you from AMBI.

 

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Saying good-bye was bittersweet because it will be awhile until we see them again. Our relationship grew!

                 

Reflection from Julie:

Today God blessed me today with the opportunity to meet and visit with my prayer partner’s (Yostin) extended family.  I met his Madre (mother), Tia (aunt), Hermana (sister), Sobrino (nephew) and Sobrina (niece).  Yostin is blessed with a very supportive family. They love God and they love each other. 

God has shown His hand in so many ways in the past four days.  He has made it obvious that He has been present starting with the planning process and throughout each day of our visit.  I could not have envisioned the joy I have felt the past two days.  I pray that God continues to bless and protect Yostin and his family.         

Reflection from Dave:

The mission trip has so far reflected the ups and downs of life in Guatemala and today was no different. I was able to see the power of our Lord, the sweetness and kindness of the children and also the area that some of them live. One of the boys, Johny saw that I did not have one of the bracelets the group handed out and he took a rubber band off his hand and placed it on my wrist. I was able to see God working on Fredy and the enormous change in just one day. He was smiling, laughing, giggling and even said a few words. I saw Fredy, Johny, and their brother, Leonardo leave the CarePoint by themselves. No one was there to pick them up, to take them home, or make them feel safe. My heart sank. I saw the difference we made in two days, the difference Faith and Zion are continuing to make and the great need for our further support and prayers.

A Day of Service

“Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not people” -Ephesians 6:7 

Children’s Hope Chest is an international organization which provides services to children in poverty through CarePoint sites. These sites in Guatemala are partnered with the local organization, AMBI. Zion and Faith have committed to two of the CarePoints in Guatemala, Verbena, and Tecpan by sponsoring the children attending the CarePoint. However, not all of these children have sponsors. Please prayerfully consider being a sponsor to one or more of these children as members of our team have noticed differences in just 6 months since the last trip.

   

 

Today we spent the whole day at the Verbena CarePoint. Candie, the CarePoint director, was presented with supplies for the children including bubbles, jump ropes, soccer balls, and a bible. Also, monetary donations from Zion and Faith allowed the CarePoint to purchase tables and chairs to furnish their site.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The day began with introductions of the team to the children and CarePoint Staff.

We completed a craft with the children that involved painting planters and planting herbs in pots for the cooks to use in the food for the children.

         

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Children were provided snacks, lunch, and dinner which was prepared on-site. Nutrition has improved since the last visit and this is evident in the kids’ health. 

   

Most of our time was spent interacting with the children. Activities included puzzles, bubbles, soccer game, playing on playground equipment, Simon Says, catch, hide and seek, and jumping rope.

      

We ended our day with the bible story of Young Jesus in the Temple. His friends and family thought He was lost, but He was in His Father’s House.

We are lost, but Jesus opens His loving arms and invites us into His Presence.

The team asks for your continued prayers for perseverance, energy, and strength.

How Great is Our God: Guatemala Day 2

We had the wonderful experience to attend Iglesia Del Camino in Antigua for a bilingual worship service this morning. The message was centered around the minor prophets and specifically Amos 3. In Amos, God calls the people of Israel to help the poor and needy.

Antigua is graced with the presence of a cross on the mountainside looking over the city. We had the opportunity to climb stairs up to it and look over the beautiful landscape of the city and Volcàn Agua.

               

 

Our local guides Ada and Lizzie helped show us the culture and cuisine of Antigua by taking us to an authentic Guatemalan restaurant, walking around the artisan market, and taking in the sounds of Antigua.

 

                  

We finished our day with an Avocado Tour which Julie Sostak had arranged prior to our arrival in Guatemala. While the avocados were outstanding, that was not the highlight of this trip. God orchestrated a plan to allow us to cross paths with Alida, our tour guide. Her story of faith, her life, and her commitment to serving others was filled with both joys and tragedies. We laid hands upon her and uplifted her in prayer.

 

Our devotion message was based on James 1:2-3, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.”

This was a reminder of God’s constant presence in our lives and those who we meet on this trip. As we go out tomorrow to serve at Verbena CarePoint, we look forward to the joy that comes through Jesus and spreading His love to the children we meet.

 

Mission Team Arrives in Guatemala City

Matthew 28:19-20: Go therefore and make disciples of all nations baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always to the end of the age.

 

Facts about Guatemala:

1. Guatemala has one of the highest poverty rates in all of Latin America.

2. Children under age 5 are chronically malnourished.

3. Families struggle to provide children’s basic needs and cannot afford school expenses.

4. From 1960-1996, a civil war left many children orphaned and abandoned after 200,000 Guatemalans were killed. UNICEF now estimates over 370,000 orphaned.

 

We have the awesome privilege to share the story of Salvation to the people in Guatemala.

 

Signs of God’s Presence:

Our suitcase full of supplies for the activities and Bible story with the children weighed EXACTLY 50 lbs.

After lunch, we looked out from the roof of our guest house, and saw the beautiful rainbow peeking out from behind the clouds.

The cross of Christ is evident in the architecture and building landscape of Guatemala City. His presence with us this week is comforting to see.

 

 

Busy getting ready for Guatemala Mission Trip

Introducing the Guatemala Team from two congregations:  Faith Lutheran, Oakville, and Zion Lutheran, St. Charles

Working on crafts for the Guatemala children.

Working on the Blog

We are getting very excited.  The team will leave on Saturday, July 20.  Please pray for safe travels and that God’s name will be glorified.