Sunday, May 1, 2011

The End ... for now

Tuesday we were able to meet one of the RCS's sponsor children. He is not much of a little kid any more. He is doing his 4 month practicum for teaching in Macohan.

On Wednesday we were up early and on the road by 6:00 am heading back to civilization.

We were in Antigua for lunch at Camparo's. ( A better fried chicken than we have) Later we took a tour of the old city including a 400 year old cathedral which has been destroyed by earthquakes.. twice, and a cloistered convent. Our girls were thankful they live in the twenty first century.

We spent some time in the market, matching our bargaining skill against the pros. The locals are so good that most of us think we got the better deal.

On Thursday we were up early, 2:30 am, and off to the airport. An uneventful series of flights to Houston, Calgary and finally Regina made for a long day. As we walked off the plane in our home airport we were greeted with a great sight of many family and freinds.

As I look back over the last week and a half I am amazed at the growth in our students and myself. We have seen first hand what God can do if we jump into his will with everything we have. As Les described it, most of us will go through our life standing in the shallow waters of the river that is God's will. Safe and in control of our own walk. Some will trust God totally and jump into the middle of the river and let it take you wherever He wants. Those are the type that He can use and that accomplish fantastic things in his kingdom. Les challenged us to jump and let God have control of where our lives go.

I want to thank all of those who supported us with prayer and finances. There is no doubt in my mind that it was worth all the effort.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Going Deep

We started the day at Macohon, what a wonderful experience to be involved with their morning devotions. (More like an all out praise for our Lord). The kids are so cute and want to give big hugs to everyone. Karren says it is like getting your breakfast for the day. A hug line is definitely the way to start any day. Our next stop was the sink hole near Chicoy. It has been an important place for Mayan witchcraft for centuries, but the local witches are not happy because, since Impact built a Christian school at the bottom of the hill (you have to go right by the school to get there) and their daily prayers go forth each day creating a sweet smell in the spirit world, the power seems to have gone out the place. I am sure we lent a hand in that too as we had a wonderful praise time there also.

Next we stopped and played with the kids at Chicoy. (the first school built after the Peters arrived in Guatemala)

In the afternoon we went to San Antonio to an afternoon program where they help the kids with homework and give them a nutritious snack. We sang some songs, put on a skit and made a craft before spending some time playing with them. If you ever want to learn Spanish quickly skip the classroom and just play with kids. Our team is really starting to pick up a lot of Spanish words and phrases.

In the evening we went to a nearby house and took some corn to the local mill where it was ground into a dough like consistency. We then formed the corn meal into doblados. A corn tortilla folded over some cheese, then deep fried. Careful with the hot sauce.

Each day seems to be a flash of deep emotional experinces. It is so hard to separate them into individual events. Tomorrow will be our last in Tactic (that is so hard to wrap my head around, that it is almost over). We will be working in Purulha painting the new nurse's room, leveling some ground for a new classroom and generally cleaning up construction materials. In the afternoon we will visit some more sponser children and pack up as we will be leaving very early Wed. morning. This may be the last post unless I can find a conection in an airport along the way. Thank you for all that have been praying, please do not stop yet as we have some complicated conections yet to make.


Monday, April 25, 2011

Easter Sunday

We went to Purulha to join with the small church there for morning services. We sang a couple of songs then Alex and Angelica gave their testimonies. We were served some delicious bun/pastries and a sweet tea.

After Lunch we went to a coffee plantation for a tour of the facilities. Very interesting.

We went to the Vida school Church which started at 4:00 or 4:15 or 4:30 depending on which culture you are from. 2 hours later we were blessed and filled with God's presence. We were able to continue the inward looking later in Devotionals with Karren and Rocky.

Tomorrow we will finally get to meet the kids at the schools as their Easter break is over and they will be back at school. We will also get to enter the sink hole and experience the spiritual battle that is that place. In the afternoon we will be able to work with the kids at San Antonio.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Saturday - Hospital Day

Saturday morning we were up to be in time for a 7:00 breakfast, by the way there is no time change here so our internal clocks should not get mixed up and we will continue to get up at 5:30 when we get home. (Maybe not)

We went back to Macohon to finish moving dirt from where they had dug a new well, the clay that came out of the hole made me think of Regina. I understand that as of this week they now have water again in the school here. For the past year they have had to haul water because the old well could not keep up to 130 kids. There is a water system in the town but it was designed for a town of 200 and there are 2000 people living there now.

After lunch we travelled to Coban and visited the hospital. We broke up into groups of 5 or 6 and, with a translator, moved from bed to bed giving a stuffed toy, asking some questions about the sick child and their family then praying for them. The child in this picture was waiting for heart surgery which should happen on Tuesday if all the medicines and blood are still available. The main ward was a large open room with about 40 beds, approx. 30 of them full. It seemed that each bed had at least 3 or 4 extra family members milling about. It was a holiday weekend so maybe it was especially busy but it sure made for a crazy place. Some of the group went in to the children's burn unit, which was just a room off the main ward. Again no special precautions seem to have been made for preventing infection as there were many family members around. That room was very hard for the team as the children were suffuring a lot. When we were done there the girls went into the maternity ward and prayed for the moms and babies. While the team was there a baby was born and some of the girls were in the room when the nurse brought the baby in to clean it up. Most had never seen a baby that was less that 5 minutes old.

In the evening we went to Les' house and listened to a man named Victor who is teaching at Chijacorral. He told us his life story and how, as a child, he was a little wild and was kicked out of the public school at the end of grade 5. He came to Impact's school, (called Beerseba then). A team of Canadians were working on leveling the basketball court then so it might have been about the time we sent our first team. He went to "help" a Canadian team who were building a house down the street from the school because they might be giving out candy. A man name Israel happened to be helping that day and he spent some time with the neighbor kids singing bible songs. Victor says he never forgot that day and 2 years later he gave his life to the Lord. He is now a teacher in Impact's Chijacorral school and is studying theology classes in order to become a pastor. You never know what will grow when you plant a seed in Jesus' name.

Sunday we plan on attending a small church service in Purulha, going to a coffee plantation and attending the main church service at Vida school.

Friday, April 22, 2011

A Busy day of Work and Play

We started our day at Mocohan moving dirt from one side of the playing field to the other. Someone else had dug a well and we were moving the excess soil and leveling a sloped area for a future meeting/devotions room will be.

For those who were on the 2006 team these pictures will have special meaning as that team was the ones to dig the first foundations for this school. Due to Holy Week the students are on holidays so we did not have the help that we usually pickup from curious neighbourhood children. Some of us spent some time washing down desks and cleaning classrooms.

In the afternoon we split up into two groups and visited some of our sponsor children. This turned into a very powerful experience for the team. The joy you can see in the child's face and the unbelievable gratitude in the faces of the parent. Some of our team chose to sponsor a child while on the trip and so got to chose from a group of pictures. We then went and visited that child. The really neat aspect is that the family did not know we were coming or why. So the surprise was even greater. Each visit had it's special moment so you will have to enjoy (endure) a lot of stories when we get home.

Some of RCS families have been sponsoring a child for a few years so it is very special for those children to meet us. The look on Jordan's sponsor child's face when Karren told him who Jordan was will stay with Jordan for many years.

In the evening we joined the youth group at Chamche for a bbq and some ice breaker games. Mr. M did not catch the water balloon very well so he had an embarrassing wet spot for a while. (It was raining and the humidity was very high so the spot stayed a long time.)

After the BBQ we loaded everyone into vans. Our van had an estimated 40ish stuffed into it. (this is a very large van but it was crowded) and went to the other side of town for a soccer game. The teams were mixed, girls, boys Guatemalan and Canadian. Heber made teams of 6 or 7 and we played winner stays. There started out to be about 8 teams. Two hours later the diehards were still playing which meant only 5 or 6 teams were still there.

Tomorrow (Saturday) will be another special day (They all seem to be special) we will go to the worksite in the morning and then to the hospital in Coban in the afternoon to visit and pray for sick children and to deliver gifts to the moms in the maternity ward. Some of our team are looking forward to this and others are a little apprehensive. I do not think we will have trouble getting to sleep tonight as it was an exhausting day. Thank you for your prayers so far, please know they are working as we are quite healthy and our work has been productive.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Last day at Chicholom VBS

Thursday woke with promise. A fresh rain the night before had washed the dust off, cleaned the smokey haze and generally revitalized a tired and sleepy country side (and team). We had a lot of fun in the morning with a market activity where they were given a Spanish shopping list and a a variety of activities to do, 100 Quetzals (about 12 dollars) a camera to record the activities and 90 minutes. Teams of 5 went scurrying through the mass of people and little vendors looking for things that (with their limited Spanish) most had no idea what it was they were looking for. One team took more than 30 minutes trying to explain that they wanted a barbershop not scissors.

Julie and I were nearby just in case someone needed something.

It is amazing what you can find if you look in the right place.

Tallying up the points for price and size of items.

In the afternoon we went back to Chicholom to play with the kids. Sam explained salvation and gave an invitation. Many responded with a beaming pastor watching and taking notes on who to follow up with. We were a little worried about the commitment level with such a mass response but Les reminded us that it will be an opening for the local pastor to visit the family and open a dialogue with them also.

It is amazing to me how quickly you get to see mud brick and thatched roofs as normal.

In the evening devotional the hosts had a cake for Mackenzie's birthday. Karren could not help but play an old but good trick on her. It was worth it, at least to me, as the cake (the part without her nose print in it) was very good.

Tomorrow starts a new phase of our stay here as we go back to building on a work site and visiting sponser children.

Reflecting on another full day...

As I am writing this I am listening to Heather and some of the team sing and play guitar in the common room upstairs, I can hear the students laughing on the rooftop deck and I can see students quietly journaling.
We ended our evening tonight with a debrief time where each of us shared a memory that will be forever etched in our minds. Many of the students shared a moment with one of the children at our children's ministry site at Chicholom. So many were touched by the happy spirit that these children demonstate in spite of living with so little. They are happy to just be played with. We were able to share the love that Jesus has for each of us with them and tomorrow we will be inviting them to make a commitment to the Lord. The pastor shared his testimony and ministry with us. He started the church 4 years ago by praying and singing with his wife and 2 children and it is now a church of 38 people in this little village. We had approximatly 140 cildren again today.

Other team members shared something about our visit to the Church of Chixim where they saw people in spiritual bondage worshipping to "the Black Christ", a carved image that is believed to have the power to heal and answer prayer. (Not Jesus but the image itself has this power). They saw people leave offerings at the smoke blackened crosses in front of the church. They saw the blending of the sacrifice to the corn god Chixim with witchcraft and "christianity". Our group was able to spend time in the church of Chixim exalting our living and one true God by speaking His names and glorifying Him.

We next travelled to a new property a few km west of town that Impact was able to purchase a couple of years ago. They have started construction on a bridge to cross a creek (3 m wide). A very interesting way to build a bridge. Make two concrete abutments then drop two trailer flatbeds on it. And presto a bridge. Guatemalans are very resourceful. They have started the well by hand digging it. It will eventually be 12 m deep. By next year they hope to have new guest accomodations ready for the visiting teams so they will not have to rent the current guest house anymore. Their vision for this property is far reaching and would take a lot of space in this blog.

We again were able to travel to Chicholom in the afternoon where the children were waiting for us this time. It seems the shyness has worn off quickly.

What a wonderful time of telling stories and sharing the truth about Jesus.

Tomorrow we will do a market activity, then spend our last afternoon with the children before playing a soccer game (should be interesting) with the youth i the evening. Please pray for us as we will be asking for a life commitment from the children. For most of our team this will be the first time directly asking for someone to turn their life over to Christ.

We thank you for your prayers and support, keep praying as so much more can be accomplished here and in the hearts of our team.