Our work is finished... for now.
While traveling back to the U.S. yesterday, I had a lot of time to reflect on our ten days in Guatemala and all that this trip has taught me. This verse from John gets right to the heart of it:
If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? 1 John 3:17 (NIV)
Sometimes our hearts can harden toward "giving". We mistrust because of corruption and abuse by people working for the wrong reasons. Or because of people accepting charity instead of working when they're able.
After we left Mazatenango yesterday, we took a three-hour bus ride to Antigua, an historic Spanish Colonial town and the former capital of Guatemala.
We each picked how we wanted to spend our day of R&R today. Some of us-- based on little information-- picked the volcano tour. So we were up early and ready to leave this morning at 5:50 a.m. for a hike to the top of Pacaya, the most frequently visited volcano in Guatemala... which has been regularly erupting since 1965. 🙈 Despite this, the volcano and national park-- created to protect the area-- are popular with tourists.
The six of us (Rick, Janine, Susan, Nell, Judy and I) boarded a minivan with two Canadian girls and took off. We stopped again to cram in a nice Brazilian guy. We had been given paper bags with breakfast as we set out from our hotel and Janine suggested we give our food to people who needed it more than we did.
I can't believe it's Friday! I thought I would say thank God it is, but as we leave Mazatenango, I have mixed feelings. I'm ready to get home, but a little sad to leave. We all have made friends with people that we may never see again....on this earth. We will see them in heaven and we won't need our interpreters or my "Google Translate" app. (Joe especially loves the camera part of the app.)
Selfless Medical Ministry
I forgot to mention yesterday that we toured the Boca Costa Medical Mission. Dr. Sergio Castillo (in blue scrubs above) and his wife Veronica (to the right of him) are incredible witnesses for the Lord. They chose to move to this very remote area (some would say jungle) to take care of precious people that others shun.
We’re six days into our mission with only one day left before we start our trip home. We’ve built 60 stoves and repaired 12, lead bible study for roughly 110 children each day, ministered to the residents in an elder home, made lasting friendships, and realized how many more blessings we are receiving than giving. It really has been a humbling experience. We've read all your emails and comments, and love that you have been with us on this journey. You make us smile and we love you for loving us!
Jesus loves the little children
Today at VBS the children heard the story of Creation and why God made them. They were told how special each one of them is to God and how Jesus died for them. They all bowed their heads and prayed the salvation prayer for Jesus to come into their hearts and help them live for him.
As part of our morning devotions, Janine gave each of us a painted stone or shell from Topsail Beach to remind us of the love of Christ and of home.
Christian Fish and Crosses
Each day we've been teaching the children Bible verses, singing, playing and praying with them. Today, Marilyn and Daniel talked with them and prayed with them to accept Jesus into their hearts. It was such a sweet and special time.
Nell led an inspiring devotional this morning and gave each of us a "witness" bracelet, which represents the love of God and the wonderful plan he has for each one of our lives. Our goal is to give our bracelet away while witnessing to someone before we leave.
Our daily journey to Xojolá
Traveling to Xojolá is an experience in itself.
Today was an absolute win-win for everyone!
Rich led us in devotions this morning and reminded us how God wants us to love our neighbors as ourselves. Our entire team boarded our colorful bus and we headed up to the villages. We passed though a town called Samayac which is known for people who practice voodoo, witchcraft and other Mayan rituals. Pray for them.
Rick led our devotions this morning then we headed to Adolfo Yurrita's Cacao Farm in the village of Montellano, San Miguel Panan. We toured his property learning about various plants and trees that he grows for their nutritional and medicinal properties.
We are refreshed and ready to serve today after a great night's sleep! Jim's morning devotion helped us prepare for a wonderful day visiting with the Elders in Mazatenango and learning to install stoves in Xojolá.
After a looonnnng and tiring travel day yesterday, it was early to rise this morning, and what awaited me? Blessings from back home!! Thank you for reaching out to us, praying for us and making us smile.
"Wish Julia and I could be with you! Enjoy and we will be praying for all of you!!!!”
"Thank you all for serving. God Bless you all."
“How cool is this? Bill just showed me the site! Saturday morning here and I bet you all are running on adrenaline. Lord, I know you have chosen this team to help your Guatemalan families. Be with our team on their journey, and continue to be with these families long after our team has left. Hugs and kisses to you all.”
I'm Karen, a member of the EAMC Mission Team from Topsail Beach, N.C. I hope to share our experiences of ministering to the Mayan villagers of Guatemala though our photos and bits of information about our day-to-day projects.