Today we headed over to a local plantation where Paradise Bound’s airstrip is located. We got a tour of the plantation, they grow a huge variety of organic produce there, have coffee, some hotel rooms, etc. We were able to participate in some activities such as fishing, ropes course, sliding down a hill, among others. We were then treated to a wonderful lunch of salad, chicken, potatoes, corn, rice, tortillas and all the coffee we could drink. We spent some time up at the airstrip talking about future plans for Paradise Bound ministries and then had a time of God sightings while sitting in the hangar. Then it was time for our final trip back to base. Showers, packing, a light dinner, and final devotions are on the agenda before we head to the airport at 8:00pm (10:00 MI time). Our flight leaves just after midnight local time. Please pray for safe travels to the airport, safe flights, and an event free time going through customs in Atlanta. We are expected back in GR at approximately 11:30 am. We have a long night of travel ahead. Sad to be leaving, but also anxious to get back home.
We got to sleep in a bit today, all the way until 7:00 and will be heading to another village after lunch to run another medical clinic. Please pray for the weather to be favorable for a large turnout and that many will come not only for the medical supplies, but also stay for the presentation of the Gospel message. We had a good response on Sunday night at the first clinic, and pray for even more lives to be touched today. We have a couple hour drive each way, so prayers for safe travel and no motion sickness!
Wow. What a beautiful day. Today was not a very physical day, but more so an emotional day of prayer and perseverance. Each group completed their houses; decorating each inside wall with bible verses and special paintings from the family and each team. Each house was unique in their own way, made specially for each family.
We started the day similar to the previous 2 days; breakfast, personal devotions, and our hour drive to the village! When all the vans finally rolled up the steep, gravel hill we all knew the day would be very different than the rest.
We walked down a narrow, steep dirt hill to get to the first house, the blue teams house. This house was farther away from the rest of the teams houses. Right when we took our first steps on the flat ground, we were all in awe at the view! The blue house had more open ground than the rest of the teams houses. Facing outward we gazed upon miles and miles of mountains, valleys, jungles, even the some volcanoes, wide open to see. It was such a God sighting to see this; compared to other mountainous places there is NONE like Guatemala. The blue team, along with their family poured inside their house with Hermano Jesús, the pastor, and a few other staff members. Small fire crackers were let off at the beginning and end of each house dedication. Some of the fire crackers even flew far and hit some of us!
Inside each house, we presented all the gifts to the families. Some of us needed to show them how to use tools, or equipment given to them so that they can make use of it! After the gifts, the family members one by one stood up too share something on their hearts and letting us know how they felt about our work for them. The team members then stood up, to introduce one another, and proclaim to them whatever we felt necessary to say, whether thanking them, or saying we’ll pray for them, etc.! Hermano Jesús would then come in and speak God’s word. He gave each family beans, salt, soap, and a Bible. The family then got asked individually if they wanted to accept Christ as their Lord and Savior.
5/5 FAMILIES ACCEPTED THE LORD JESUS CHRIST TODAY. Each house (5 families) accepted Jesus into their hearts today. Wow, was this an amazing thing to witness and be a part of!
While each team went inside their houses to dedicate, the remainder of the team had a very important job as well. Soft music was playing while team members surrounded the house constantly. The team members laid hands on the house, praying, reading scripture, singing softly. It was such a peaceful, amazing thing to be a part of and feel. Tears were shed while hands were being laid on one another, it was a very emotionally empowering hour. Each dedication lasted an hour.
All in all, today was a day that deeply impacted the team. A little rain throughout the day but that did not stop us!
– Melissa DeVries –
Today was stucco day. This is, for those who don’t know, weather proofing as well as insulation. It is a thick substance like cement. It’s pink and you spread it out across the outside of the house. As opposed to working with our separate groups, we all worked together one house at a time to make the process go quicker. After the stucco was done, we went into our separate groups and painted the house walls light green. After this was over, we added some decoration to the walls. We added things like the families’ hand prints, flowers, and most importantly Bible verses on all four walls. For example, my group put Isaiah 40:31, Matthew 28: 5-6, and “the grass withers, and the flowers fade, but the word of the Lord endures forever,” some vines, and the families’ hands. Today we probably made the most progress with our relationships. Our group had the family paint with us; even the 2 year old girl. Tomorrow we will dedicate the buildings and give them our gifts. Now that we’re back, it is time for pizza and an Euchre tournament.
We were up at 6:00 am today and left the base by 7:00 to head out to our villages to begin construction. The villages are only a mile from base as the crow flies, but as the locals drive it took us approximately an hour to get there We have one team finishing up the last house in Las Minas while the rest begin construction in Buenas Aires. We had no serious injuries, nothing a little bandaid couldn’t handle! We all met together for lunch and were served an authentic Guatemalan meal of tortillas, rice, beans, and salsa. The local families treated us to some cold Coke and Pepsi which was a big hit! All teams made great progress, we arrived to empty cement slabs and departed at 3:00 pm leaving fully constructed, dry walled, mudded, sanded homes ready for painting and stucco tomorrow! Everyone was pretty dirty so it was a rush to the showers upon returning to base. After cleaning up several of us headed downstairs to play with the kids in the orphanage. Many of the kids were impressed with our “alto” (tall) and “pelota” (bald) guys 😉 We really wish we knew what they were saying, but they just want to be held and loved on! Just finished dinner and we will have devotions before heading to bed for another early morning tomorrow. Please pray for continued safety on the crazy roads and while working. We have been blessed with beautiful weather and no sickness, please pray that continues. Buenos noches!
Thanks for your prayers thus far on the trip. As mentioned elsewhere our travels went very smoothly. We absolutely felt prayed through customs and the tough parts of the process.
Yesterday (Sunday) we drove out to a remote village that was West (I think) of San Anton. There we prepared to run a medical clinic for the village members. We were a little surprised to arrive and find no one gathered (other times there is usually a line before the team even arrives). We had arrived a little early, which could have been a factor. Once we got set up, people did start arriving and there was a pretty good line. We saw about 25-30 families. I (Fig) was on the outside crew we kept the children, and even some of the adults, busy in the meantime. Besides soccer, stickers, nail polish, jump room, etc. Spencer and I rigged up a suspended 9-Square game. All of our activities were a huge hit. Following the clinic, we set up and showed about an hour of the Jesus film (The newish History Channel one). Following that we sang a few songs, shared some testimonies and then had the local pastor present a message and do an alter call. The Holy Spirit was present in the room and we felt and heard His presence through the tremendous downpour of rain. This rain drove stray villagers in to the meeting hall rather than having them linger outside away from the presentation.
In the end dozens of people went up front to receive Christ at the end – Men, women and children. Team members were also moved to rededicate/recenter their lives to Christ as well.
We were up at 5:45 to eat breakfast and head to our first day of house construction. Pray for safety on the job and unity in our team! It’s been an amazing time so far and we are trusting the unity we are experiencing and displaying is a part of our witness as well.
I will try and post a picture.
We arrived in Atlanta on time yesterday and were able to meet up with Kaitlyn and Erryn from Nebraska. Our flight out was delayed, but in the end it was worth it. Seeing the clouds being lit up with lightning from above was amazing! We all made it through customs and only a few needed to have their suitcases go through the x-ray machine. We were then able to meet up with Dan and Anya to begin our 2 hour drive to our home for the week.
I was disappointed for the first timers since they won’t be able to really see the sights of Guatemala City. They’ll be able to get somewhat of an idea of what it’s like when we drive to our med clinics and the village we’ll be building in, but it’s not quite the same. It’s such an eye opening experience driving places while you’re here; I can’t even really explain all the sights (partly because it gets dark earlier here than at home). While it’s easy to forget that not everyone lives the way we do, this trip will hopefully serve as a reminder to be appreciative of the affluent areas in which we live.
Currently most everyone else is sorting pills and other medications for our med clinic later on today. A few others are working on a project that Anya had. As of this time, I’m not sure if we’ll be going to a mountain or coastal village for our clinic today. Either way, we’ll need prayers for the villagers; prayers for healing and good relationships to be made, but most of all prayers for open hearts.
Thank you for all the prayers yesterday during our travels!