Saturday: The Conlcusion

All of our team have returned safely, but not unchanged. Except for a lengthy and somewhat troublesome exit through customs in Houston, the return trip was uneventful. Oh, and the pastor almost locked the keys in the church bus at Buck-ees.

Our presentation to First Baptist is scheduled for Sunday, August 19 at 6:00 p.m. But don’t wait until then: speak to a team member about their experiences. You will be inspired  and perhaps even challenged.

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Thursday: Day 6

A very quick post at the end of the day. We enjoyed a day of relaxation at Antigua and then shared a sweet time of fellowship with our partners in Guatemala. Then testimonies and words of gratitude were shared around the room, some from Texas and some from Guatemala City. We find our hearts strangely tied to these people and this place. While we are anxious to come home and be reunited to family, a part of this remains here.

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Wednesday: Day 5

After an evening when many of our team members were a little ill, we began the day full-strength. We started at Mission Belen with many projects. We divided and conquered these tasks. Some delivered three bunk beds and ten food baskets. One person accepted Christ as savior during these visits!

At the same time, other team members hosted a medical clinic, giving thorough health checks to about a hundred patients. We prayed with each family, and here, four more accepted Christ. In short, our time was wonderful and fruitful. We pray that God will bless Pastor Saul and Pastor Hugo as they follow up with these new believers.

Many of our team members were able to reconnect with friends they made in previous trips. Seeing how believers have continued in the faith is a great encouragement.

Wednesday afternoon we hosted a Vacation Bible School for about sixty children and their parents. The great Bible story from John 10:11 about the Good Shepherd was shared. The kids loved the stories, songs and crafts. Every individual part focused on the gospel.

In the evening we went to the Pilgrim’s House, a soup kitchen for street people.  Many of the people’s faces told sad stories, but once again we were able to share the hope we have in Jesus. We then served a simple meal, including second helpings for most everyone who wanted more.

Our day has been long. Leaving about 8:00 a.m. and not returning until about 8:20 p.m., we are tired, footsore, and spiritually drained. But today as with all days in Guatemala, we would not trade the experience. We came alongside the local churches here and participated in Kingdom work. We were even privileged to see some of the fruit of our labors.  Glory to God.

 

 

 

 

 

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Tuesday: Day 4

We visited another remote village today named Xenacoj, where Brother Bartomeo and his wife minister to a growing mission congregation. We hosted VBS for about 35 kids and a good number moms.

This mission point is being birthed out of great pain. Brother Bartomeo and his wiferecently lost their son to alcoholism. They are pledged to growing both a mission church and a rehab center inspired by their personal tragedy. But as we asked Brother Bartomeo about the needed construction, he asked us not to pray for buildings, but people. He knows churches are built of people.

Continue to lift our team up. Several have a stomach bug and want to get well quickly so they can participate fully. God blessed us with two nurses this trip, Tracy Ayers and Debbie Duke. We are grateful for their counsel and help.

Tomorrow we travel to the mission congregation at Belen, which we know well from previous mission trips. We’ll deliver another bunk bed, conduct a medical clinic, teach VBS, and end the day ministering at a homeless shelter.

Blessings,

smj

 

 

 

 

 

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Monday: Day 3

This post is a group project. Several members of the team contributed.

We started off today with a devotional about not being spectators, but being participants. In Luke 9, Jesus equipped his disciples with the power to go out, heal, and spread the word. Our first journey we REALLY put aside the spectating, and headed DEEP into the jungle to the recently erupted volcano Fuego! DC

Deep into the jungle is indeed where we traveled. About an hour and a half from Seteca, where we are staying, we arrived at a secluded village that was surrounded by mountains, volcanos, and plant life that we in the US consider “exotic”. We met with about 60-70 villagers, men, women, and children, and Bro Steve presented the gospel message to the group. After praying with the group our team began passing out much needed supplies to the families. They received a bag that had a few basic food items (corn flakes, beans, rice, sugar, etc.) and a small basket containing a few soap items. The families were very grateful. Before leaving the village we had an opportunity to pray with the pastor of the village church and a pastor from a near by community. The trip to the village and back out of the village had some intense passage points, steep hillside, narrow roads, and GORGEOUS landscape. As is often the case in trips like these, our team was not quite prepared for what God was putting in our path next. He was faithful as He always is, though, and prepared our hearts and minds to serve His people in ways they needed. TA

After leaving the village area near the base of Fuego (the erupted volcano) and passing out food baskets to the families that were displaced when the volcano erupted, we headed back down the hillside. When we came to an intersection at our turn, we came to a roadblock where many people were standing around along with police and rescue personnel dressed with facemask, gloves, and helmets. We discovered they were bringing out recovered body parts from the rubble and placing them into small plastic containers. We gathered around with several family members of the missing and prayed with them. JW

At our VBS we enjoyed sharing with the sweetest kids I’ve ever experienced. I was amazed at their eagerness, openness and contagious smiles. I’d like to think their good spirit came from the patient work Pastor Carlos and his wife, Yolanda have invested in them, their families and their community. Each week Pastor Carlos not only preaches, but he and his wife feed the children out of their own pocket. And we prayed with an AIDS patient, sharing the gospel with him. SJ

As we were wrapping our work for the day, we were less than 20 minutes from the Pacific Ocean, so we decided to check it out! The beach was very unique, as it was cover in black sand! We thought our work was finished for the day, but it was not! A guy pulled up on his four-wheeler renting it out for 30 minute blocks. I told him we wouldn’t be there that much longer and offered to pay for a 15 minute block. He declined. We were standing around enjoying the view when he changed his mind and decided to rent it for 15 minutes. (God was at work!) Well pastor Saul and pastor Ruben saw that as 15 minutes to share the gospel and pray with this man. Hallelujah! God’s word says to always be ready!

 

 

 

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Sunday, Day 2

Your prayers have been answered today. We’ve been blessed in worship, in ministry, in hospitality and in safety. All has gone well.

We enjoyed fellowship around the table at breakfast together, then left for Christo Est El Camino Iglesia Bautista where Amanda Wilder gave her testimony in Spanish and Pastor Ruben preached a super sermon about the local church. Our group also sang well. Then the host church treated us to a fine dinner as their guests.

Next we delivered bunk beds, which requires walking and a bit of muscle. They aren’t light and we have to carry them quite a distance, then fit them through very tight doors. We shared testimonies and the gospel with each family and prayed for them.

In the evening we worshiped with Misión Resurrección. Erindida Contreras shared a testimony, yours truly preached and Craig, Jr. sang special music in Spanish. We finished the day wit dinner out.

All in all we are very tired but feel that God used us today. Tomorrow we travel to Escuintla.

Blessings to all,

Steve Johnson

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Saturday, Day 1

WE MADE IT! Except for the extreme pat down of the pastor at TSA in Houston the trip was smooth. The officers mean it when they say take EVERYTHING out of your pockets before screening!

The weather in Guatemala is gorgeous (low 80’s) and the city is filled with flowers and green. Our host pastor, Brother Saul Perez, greeted us personally at the airport and encouraged us to be persistent in sharing the gospel, urging people to a complete understanding of becoming a Christian.

Then we traveled to Walmart for supplies such as bottled water for us and snacks for VBS. The store is a curious blend of the curious and familiar. You could find your way around easily, but might be surprised by the guard tower in the parking lot.

Pastor Ruben’s college roommate, Caesar Casasola, invited us to dinner with his aunt and uncle. What a feast of local food, prepared on an outdoor grille and served in the cool of the evening! Back at the seminary where we stay, Craig Jr. led a devotional about how the disciples were changed by the coming of the Holy Spirit. They became bold and fearless witnesses. He encouraged us to let the Spirit fill us for the work ahead.

Tomorrow promises to be a full and fruitful day. We will help with worship at our host church where Pastor Ruben will preach at their anniversary service. Then we will join the church for a celebration meal. In the afternoon we will deliver bunk beds and participate in worship at the mission in the city dump.

Thank you for your prayers and support. May God bless worship services in the kingdom churches in Caldwell and Guatemala this Lord’s day.

Blessings,

Steve Johnson

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