Well, we have made it on the plane. We got most of our supplies brought with us. We had a few hairy moments weighing our bags (praying that they were all under 50 lbs) but they all made it! We had some interesting episodes with the tickets but all went pretty smoothly.
So now we are on the plane. Since my apple headphones won’t work due to the jack being a different shape, I’m watching Family Feud with captioning. That is an interesting experience! I got a window seat and decided to open up the window. Being that it is dark, I didn’t expect to see much, however, God had some things in store for me.
Many of you may know that I love storms. The beauty in them, the wind, the power, … I just love them. As I am sitting in the plane and reflecting on how far God has brought me, and how much he has restored me from my “dark years” (a story for another time), he gave me quite a lightning show. It is so beautiful to watch the lightning jump from cloud to cloud: white, pink, and even red! I didn’t even know lightning came in red! (Maybe it is due to pollution or something?) Sometimes the little things can mean so much. God and I just had a little moment watching the lightning.
Of course it is gone now, as we have passed the storm.
Many on our team have been to Guatemala before. It is interesting to listen to their stories and see their excitement in returning. I have been getting to know them a little better today as we have sat and talked in the airport. We all come from such different places in life but I love how we come together for a common goal.
It’s Sunday night and tomorrow starts the mission work. We got in to our hotel around 2am (4am EST). After falling asleep we woke up multiple times to the very loud resonating church bells. I have to say, I wasn’t even upset. It’s been so long since I’ve heard church bells, and these were old school. The kind that takes an actual human to ring. Beautiful. However, they did just about give me a heart attack when they rang for the first time at 4am!
We all had breakfast together and throughout we kept hearing huge booms. Like cannon fire or bird bombs that universities use to get rid of pigeons. Turns out that they are used in the celebration of Corpus Christi (Body of Christ) for Catholics. In fact, Mark, Luke and I checked out the parade for the culmination of this holiday. In our efforts to figure out what was going on, we discovered that tomorrow is Guatemala’s Armed Forces Day! (Fun note: Clay and I were married on the USA’s Armed Forces Day)
Realizing that we might be late to church because of our wanderings, we headed back and made it to church in PLENTY of time. 🙂 The message was great. The pastor spoke in Spanish and a translator Spoke in English. The sermon was part of a series called “But, God.” I originally thought it referred to when we complain, but there was a twist. This is when we say “But God did_______________ in my life!” What an interesting way to look at this.
We focused on Acts 3:11-15 where Peter is addressing the crowd about Jesus’ death. The people had crucified Jesus BUT GOD raised him from the dead. Peter used this moment to show how God can restore. He also restored Peter. Peter had denied Jesus three times BUT GOD restored him.
We are to use these testimonies to show others God’s love and to further his kingdom. What an important message for those of us who have come to serve in Guatemala. These are the things that will show others how Jesus has worked in our lives and can work in theirs.
We spent the rest of the day touring Antigua and learning about Guatemala. You know me, I had to read everything in the museums!! We also spent time sorting through all the bags of supplies and getting them ready to give out. As the rules changed regarding bags, we had to work just to get the supplies here. They were mixed in with personal items and were definitely not organized! We got it done and went to have dinner. We had great fellowship with each other and tomorrow we will start on our work!
Tonight is the first night of reading our cards that the church sent us with. I will sign off in order to read one!
Today was our first work day. We split up into two groups. Group 1 built the house and Group 2 did 5 water filters and bought all the supplies for the house. It was such a blessing. I was in Group 2, so I was able to participate in bringing 5 families water filters for their homes and then LOTS of shopping for the house that Group 1 was building.
After dropping off the supplies for the house, Group 2 left to do water filters. Every house got a water filter system that lasts 15 years if kept up properly. Every family also receives a bag of groceries and items that our church has donated. Our first house was with a woman and her son. She had more family but they were not at the house. I got to be the first one to demonstrate how to set up the water filter system and how to care for it. I also got to tell the family all about what our church has done to love on them. From the shawls to the school supplies to the stuffed animals. She was so touched. She absolutely loved her shawl and the colors chosen to make it. The fact that people prayed over her shawl and over her was so touching to her. Despite my rocky start with the filter demo, I think she was very touched.
Secondly we went to house where the couple had been married 52 years!!! They were so sweet! Their daughter was there and she was also super kind. They were so grateful for everything. They had dirty water, so the filter was a life saver for them. Michele did the presentation and she did great! They absolutely loved the shawls! We were able to give the daughter her favorite color and she was so excited! This family was such a blessing to be with. They showed us pictures of their family and really invited us into a little of their lives. They were so touched by what we brought to them that they were tears eyed when we prayed. The husband was always so loving toward his wife. We were able to leave supplies and toys for her MANY grandchildren which was fun. This family was so loving and we had a lot of fun talking about life.
Third, we went to a house of a family, but only the dad and kids were there. The gentlemen had severe liver issues, so his wife had to go to work to support the family. Erica did great on her presentation and the gentleman was so thankful. He loved the blue shawl we gave him for his wife. Although we speak different languages, you could tell that he was so thankful his wife had something special because of all the work she is having to do. Of course, after the presentation I went over and spoke with him some about how I would continue praying for him. I know the hardships of liver problems after the things my mother went through. He was the bread winner for his family and now he is not. That is hard to handle. Especially on top of all the struggles that go along with a severe liver problem that is not being medically treated. I have to say that this man and his kids really touched my heart. All the families do, but this one hit home. Mom had such a struggle, so seeing what this man was going through really touched me.
Our fourth and fifth house was actually the same one. They met us at a meeting point and they took their items home after we left. These two families were so sweet and their little girls were a hoot!! So fun! I did this presentation too and I have to say it went a lot better than the first! These ladies had a family member who had received a water filter a few years ago. They were so excited to receive it because they understood how life transforming clean water can be.
When we finished up with filters, we had to go shopping for the house. The church raised enough money that we could really fill the house up with great things for the family! It was so amazing working with this family. They were so humble. They didn’t want to impose on us in any way, or take advantage of us, that they wouldn’t tell us what they needed. However, we were able to figure it out. It was so much fun shopping for them! We were like an HGTV show! We were able to fill their house with food, kitchen and bathroom items, table and chairs, towels and blankets, and more.
Shopping reminded me of the markets in the Middle East. Very similar to the Arab market in Jerusalem. Except the clothes were different, the food was different… ok everything they sold was different! But the layout and how it operated was exactly the same. Very interesting! We also went to a supermarket and brought a TON of groceries and house items for them.
This family was so humble and they were so grateful. They helped the team build their house. They even spent money buying us bags of coffee from the husband’s job (he is a roaster for a coffee company). They wanted to make sure that we knew how appreciative they were.
At this point, it was clean up time and dinner. It was such a rewarding day. Everyone in the group had moments to share, during our devotion time, about how they were touched and how they saw God at work.
Another group here is from Tennessee. They sound just like people from home. It is good to listen to them talk! :).
Time to head to bed. More work tomorrow!FOLLOW ME