August 21, 2017
Greetings from Guatemala. The team arrived safely with no bags checked at customs. Everything arrived and nothing forbidden. God is good. We took the long ride up to the Promised Land in San Pablo where we are staying right on lake atitlan. We had a great day of worship. Two services one English and one Spanish. We enjoyed some games in the sun and are now preparing for a day of work building a wall to surround the play area where the children come for the after school program. Thanks for your prayers and support.
After a beautiful day of rest, worship, play and adventure walking around the town of San Pablo (where we are staying) we woke early ready for a day of service at the Happy Tummies location. Happy Tummies is an after school ministry for children providing homework help, free meal, a safe place to play and relax and free health care for the children of San Juan. Most children go home to empty houses with no supper or to a home where they are expected to work after school to help provide extra income for the home.
Manuel, bus driver extraordinaire drove us through the winding streets - you would not think a bus and truck could fit through but we did with less than 2 inches on each side of the bus. We arrived at block building on the back side of a grove of coffee bushes where Happy Tummies is located. Our task was to dig the trench (8-10 feet deep)for the footers of a 10-12' high wall. The sand and rock removed was sifted and separated for use as backfill and drainage materials. We took a break during the eclipse as the sun's intensity was dangerously high here at that time. During our break we had lunch and played with some of the children arriving for the Happy Tummies program. After lunch we resumed digging, sifting, moving, and gagging materials. We took breaks by rotating to play with the kids - one of the primary objectives of our mission.
Thanks for your prayers. Everyone is doing well physically, we were able to exchange money at the bank without issue, and the weather has been hot but with a breeze. Today we return to the wall and Pastor and Donna teach the pastors in the morning.
Your Guatemala Team
Yesterday was a great day. Pastor Dan and Donna worked with the pastors and their wives (about 70-80 people in all) teaching a seminar on why it is important to have time with God each day. It was refreshing to see so many people committed to working with the churches and all were eager to take in the information. Donna was very popular with the women who connected with her immediately and her ability to speak Spanish opened up some awesome conversations.
Meanwhile, the rest of the team traveled back to San Juan to work with the Abuelitos and children at the Happy Tummies location. RT was a huge hit with the Abuelitos who quickly adopted him as one of their own - and he immediately had about 20 new grandparents. About 45-50 children arrived for the Happy Tummies program. The skits Marilyn and Dianne wrote were a huge hit and the kids loved the face painting and games. About half of our team ended up with painted fingernails including all our teen boys as the children found it more fun to paint our nails than to have us paint theirs. Mandy, Tim, Abby, Karen and Pastor Dan had the opportunity to sit down for a personal visit with Tula (one of the teachers) and learn more about her family and life. Like us she has the same worries about her teen daughter making good choices and her children staying safe. We prayed with her and blessed her with a bag a groceries. Today we travel up the mountain to a remote location for the same type of ministry but with people who have even less.
Thank you for your ongoing prayers.
Your Guatemala Team
Yesterday was another great day of service and ministry here in Guatemala. We traveled up the mountain in the school bus, 17 hairpin turns on a road that makes 240 between Colden and Springville look like a smoothly paved road. Up in the mountain we visited a public school and provided a dental workshop and free dental kits (toothbrush, floss, toothpaste) for every child and teacher with leftovers for the future. Impacto, the ministry here in Guatemala with whom we are teamed up, provides a free breakfast to all the students at the school. The school in return has given them 30 minutes of instruction time every Monday, Wednesday and Friday to teach the Bible to the students. We provided games and the dental training during lunch so as not to take away from the Bible training. It was organized chaos, but very rewarding to bless the students.
While were walking to the school we passed a memorial service for a man who had recently died. The people in this region take 40 days to mourn holding various concerts, or memorial services every day during the 40 days. This particular one reminded me of an impromptu band you might hear on the streets of New Orleans.
After ministry at the school we traveled to the church in Panabar where we participated in some home visits. A home visit is like a pastoral visit where 5-6 team members and a translator have a chance to visit the home of one of the children's families. We shared about our lives and learned more about the lives of the people here in Guatemala, provided a special gift of groceries and then had a chance to pray for the family.
As soon as the home visits were over we returned to the church in Panabar where Impacto holds the happy tummies for the children after school. Young children go to school in the morning and the older children go to school in the afternoon. There were around 75 children who came to receive a free lunch, help with homework and have a safe place to play. We had a great times serving lunch to the children, leading the puppet skit - where grandma's wig fell off to the great amusement of the children, doing some crafts with the children and then playing games. We also helped move dirt where a wall is being constructed. It was hard to say goodbye to the children.
Today we return to San Juan for another day of ministry with the abuelitos and children. Thank you for your ongoing prayers.
Your Guatemala Team