Here we come!

We are about to head out to the airport! Please pray for us as we leave this beautiful place where we have grown so much. It is certainly a mix of emotions, but we are looking forward to the new ways God will call us to minister in Alaska. See you soon!

-Samantha

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

A Lesson in Pain

There are people who cry easily and cry often. They are able to emotionally pour themselves out whenever they feel the need and let the world penetrate your hearts. I am not one of them. Over the past several years I have become hardened to the world, to the point that I watched a close friend whom I had known since I was four and who I had taken as sort of a stand-in grandpa struggle through Alzheimer’s and eventually pass away without ever shedding a tear. Not a single one. I saw friends go through hardship, I listened to people’s stories of abuse, neglect, addiction yet never was my heart touched in such a way as to generate an emptional response. So when I teared up for the first time in three years watching an elderly Guatemalan woman sway in worship to words she didn’t understand, that was an incredible moment, and I thought that that was the most intense emotional experience I’d have this week. I was wrong. Last night we dedicated the five houses we built to God, and Hermano Jesus and Dan worked together to present them with the gospel and hopefully lead them to salvation. The first two houses went without difficulty. It was an incredible experience for the team members working with the family as well as the rest of the team covering the house with our prayers on the outside. Then came the house I had worked on and would soon be inside of praying with the family. With the outcomes of the first two families, I was excited to see God save them. In short, it didn’t happen. Everything started out fairly well. The family told us they wished God would bless us for the house we’d built, they were very honest about the fact that they had not been attending church in the past several years, and they seemed at first open to the message that Dan presented. But as time went on, they began to shut down, they claimed they needed to be touched by God, though I coulkd see hi in the tears that flowed from their eyes. My team spent several very long minutes in fervent prayer, all out loud, all at once, begging God to move them to salvation. I could feel the emotion welling up in my chest, but I was in no way prepared for what was about to break loose. I have often tried to understand the anguish God feels when I turn my back on his limitless love and sin. Never have I come close to understanding what God might feel, but when Dan finally turned to us and explained that they just weren’t ready to accept Christ (HOW CAN YOU NOT BE READY?!) I wept. I wept like I never have before and experienced love and anguish for a family I had met only once before more powerful than anything I can describe. For the next hour I basically grabbed whoever was closest, incluuding the family, and held them tight. And while I knew there was still hope for them and they had even agreed to meet with Dan and Hermano Jesus in a week or so, even to watch someone you love so much delay a decision like the offer of Christ was overwhelming. Even so I’m thankful. God showed me what it was like to worship with pain in my heart and tears still welling up hours later. He gave me a glimpse of what he must feel in his infinite love and infinite sorrow when we turn our back on him, even if only for a minute. He opened my eyes and softened my heart, he revealed just a piece of who he really is. For that I am thankful. For now, I ask that instead of praying for me you pray for the family of Israel and Maria, and for their sons Leri and Nelson, their daughter Lassandra (who is getting married Saturday) and for Maria’s sister Esalla. Pray that God would soften their hearts and break their wills, especially of Israel’s, and that when Dan and hermano Jesus return to speak with them again, God might work through them. The families in the two remaining houses were both saved, praise Jesus. And despite the fact that the family turned down Christ’s offer, even they coud not deny that God was in that place. -Levi

Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments

The Saving Power of Christ

Hello all,
I would love to share with you the wonderful day we had with Christ. We have been having an extraordinary time and each new village is filled with an interesting an unique experience.
First, I’ll give a little backdrop of my trip so far. The first day for me was filled with many different challenges and victories. It was 100 degrees, filled with dust, and the people and atmosphere were very chaotic. I was so tired I felt I might not be well the rest of the trip, however, by the grace of God I recovered quite well the next day. This day brought new experiences as well. This village was wonderful and the people were very traditional and all looked absolutely beautiful. The women dressed in traditional dresses, the men dressed nice, and the kids were all very athletic. At these two villages combined we probably saw 50-70 people come to Christ at Hermano Jesus’s fiery preaching. We shared testimonies, worshipped in front of the crowd, and prayed over all the people each day.
The next two days were filled with joyous construction, food, and the love of the kids. In Lorena, the kids had met missonaries before and were prepared for the Christ-centered love they were about to receive. They would willingly jump into our arms, ride on our backs, come us and tickle us, and not to mention yell “dolce” (candy) repeatedly.
Today, however stood out above the rest as we all stepped into a new type of Christ-centered worship and prayer that we had never experienced. We started out the day with breakfast, devos, and singing in the van. We arrived in the village in the morning and hastily finished our roofs and decorations. We had a delicious lunch and Dan explained to us the details of the dedication. Little did we know we would be praying, worshipping, and crying out earnestly to God for 6 hours.
He explained the details which involved giving gifts, a bible being passed out by Dan, and Hermano Jesus preaching the Gospel to the family. In addition to this the rest of the team (with the exception of some time playing with kids) would be praying, worshipping, laying hands on each other, laying hands on the house, and breaking into sub-groups to pray for specific needs.
The first house we prayed for went well. We all sat in a circle and took turns praying and also started singing praise songs. In addition to this we decided at one point to surround the house and pray for the salvation of the people inside. At this house all or the majority of the house excepted Christ. This was encouraging. The second house went very similarly and the prayers and worshipped continued to get deeper.
After the second house I took some time off the play with the children. This included an adorable little girl named Jennifer who I absolutely adored! Children are certainly a blessing from God and we don’t embrace that enough in America. We did the hokie pokie, played tag, follow the leader, and various other games. It was an absolute blast.
After I was exhausted from playing with the children I decided to go back and pray for the third house. This house was somewhat of a blessing and a curse for us. However, it certainly stoked a flame inside of us and allowed us to really focus on Jesus for the rest of the day. As I got to the house many people were around the house worshipping and praying. It gradually kept getting more in-depth and intense. I started praying for the family and also for the Lord to soften my heart so His spirit to work through me.
Soon enough I was crying out to God purely from the Holy Spirit and the prayer just took over my mind and body. I was praying solely from Spirit in one of those glorious moments where the words just seemed to flow supernaturally. Tears were rolling down my eyes and I was just simply joyful for the work God was doing. Tamara was next to me and we seemed to be praying in one mind. Soon enough Dan informed us that the parents did not want to except Christ. At this point we prayed with even deeper fervor and the passion and love just started flowing from within.
Many people including myself had started to cry at this point. We all wanted so greatly to glorify God and to see these people saved that it hurt to see them initially deny Christ. I was sad at one point and joyful at one point knowing that we were doing the will of God. However, a couple of the team members were so sorrowed at this that they cried for 20 or 30 minutes. We all comforted each other and prayed to God acknowleding that His will be done not ours. Eventually, our prayers payed off and we believe that the parents did indeed come or are close to coming to Christ.
Although, this experience was somewhat sombering it gave us the drive and the unity to move on with even more passion. The next house was built for a man who was a widower. We continued to pray and worship God intensely. We were praying with each other, singing loudly, laying hands on the house, and the Spirit was truly working in us. My group decided we should break off and start our own prayer and for about 20 minutes we each prayed passionately for the people in our house, the man in the other house, God’s will, asking for His spirit to be upon us, and asking Him to just drive out any wrong from our hearts. The man ended up rededicating his life to Christ and we were very happy at this.
The last house was our group and the family was overjoyed with the love that was shown to them from the start. From the beginning she was saying “Thank you” and “Bless you” repeatedly. I could tell that her heart was fertile and ready to receive the Good News of Jesus. She had 3 kids and one was too small to understand. The children too looked very fertile as children always are and we were very encouraged. We prayed, watched Dan hand them the Bible and speak, and saw Hermano Jesus deliver a powerful message.

Everyone with the exception of the younger child was ready to step forward and receive Christ. We prayed over them in every area you can think of and then we said the prayer. After they had accepted Jesus we prayed for them some more. We then said our goodbye’s to the family and gave them all hugs. The children looked very somber in a good way and the mother was sobbing uncontrollably.
I can say with an honest heart that I as well as many other team members, have never prayed, worshipped, or hoped so hard in my life. It was truly incredible to experience that level of unity, worship, and love in a single day. We ended the day with a nice van ride, testimonies, car worship, tears, and of course lots of laughter and joy as we got back to base.
We saw anywhere from 80-100 people get saved from simply spreading the Gospel message in small villages and households. God is good and his spirit is alive and powerful today. Our prayers were heard, we were used to work with God, and God was glorified, amen.

-Nate Witt (Boomer)

Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Photos!

I have to add these photos one at a time… so really don’t have much time to upload a lot. But here is just a taste of the beautiful people we have met down here!

Gallery | 11 Comments

Our God is an Awesome God

Our God is definitely an awesome God. So far, this trip has been truly amazing. Currently, this is day 4; and, although they have all been incredible, the first day was unforgettable for me. So, I am going to tell you about it.
On the first day, which was a Saturday, we went to a coastal village to do a medical clinic for the people that lived there. We began our day with group devotions, which couldn’t have been more perfect. We were challenged with the question that if God was to ask you “What do you want me to do for you?” how would you answer? Well, I knew immediately. I really wanted God to help me forget about myself. Constantly, I find my thoughts and sometimes actions reverting back to my own benefits in some way. I knew that if I didn’t pray for God to help me to forget about myself, then I wouldn’t be able to fully experience what I was supposed to on this trip. In fact, I’d already been praying about this on the plane ride here.
I am excited to tell you, God answers prayers. When I stepped out of the van at that village for the medical clinic, I knew that the day was going to be life changing. When I was with those children playing, talking, braiding hair, coloring, and painting nails… I completely forgot about myself. It was almost too easy. All I was focused on was loving these children. What made it even easier was their willingness to be loved and love back. I was surrounded by God in the form of little beautiful Guatemalan children. I was able to communicate a little (thank you high school Spanish!) which was SO COOL. These children were great. I want to talk about one child specifically. I met him at the beginning of the day when he was holding his baby sister, Sophia. His name was Davis, and he was 10 years old. It was evident that he was a fantastic older brother, and had an overwhelming amount of love and patience. We soon became friends and spent a lot of the day together with other children playing. (I’ll talk more about him later)
Later on towards the night, we showed a Jesus film to the entire village and then stood up front to sing and share testimonies. Katie, Morgan, and Derick shared. This really touched my heart. Let me tell you, it’s so powerful to hear your friends speak about trials they’ve had to overcome in their lives; especially these three. I’ve been friends with all three of them for a while, and it’s so encouraging to me that they live out their lives with such joy, servitude, and love despite the low parts in their lives; and, it’s all because they have their eyes fixed on Jesus!
After this, there was a message and an invitation for the people to invite Christ into their hearts. This, right here, is the most amazing part of my night. I was sitting in the crowd, at this point, with a child on my lap. People started to come forward, and I started to cry. I looked up when there were several people, ready to accept Christ, up front praying to our God. My eyes were truly opened in that moment. For that moment, I knew that we were all one in the same. We all loved the same God, the only God, our Savior, and nothing else mattered or separated us from each other. Not culture, language, poverty, appearance, or lifestyle mattered. And then, I saw Davis come forward. God was there that night, and he was working in incredible ways.
We all prayed over these people as they prayed the salvation prayer and we got to see all these men, women, and children get saved. Afterwards, I sought out Davis and he asked me to pray for him. Even though I prayed in English and he listened with foreign ears, I knew he understood the love that both God and I had so much love for him, and we separated, both touched by the Holy Spirit.
God is amazing, and that is just the beginning to this amazing experience. Please continue to pray for the people of Guatemala and our entire team.
Love and God Bless.
-Destiny

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Day 4

Discovered I could do this blog thing yesterday, and wanted to but couldn’t get any computer time. So this is what happened yesteday:

Woke up at 6:00 am this morning. Ate eggs and beans. Left the mission base at 7:00 after personal devos. Drove an hour and a half to a new village. It was a pretty modern, but impoverished village. I thoroughly enjoyed the day. Once we got to the village we immediately separated into our 5 working groups to build houses. My group consisted of Andy, Ben, Destiny, Nathan, Taylor, and myself. The house that we began building was tiny, probably 10 feet by 12 feet. Our house was for a family of 8. We got there and there was a square foundation already laid, and a pile of differently shaped metal and sheetrock. Until we saw the plans we really didn’t have any idea what we were doing. We started by grabbing some metal framethings and bolted them together. We built a short wall tall wall and 2 walls to connect them. We then bolted all the walls together, and nailed the metal to our foundation. We then began drilling the inner sheetrock in. We put up all the inside sheetrock and then some began covering the screw holes with mud (not actual mud but building material) and then some (myself included) put up the outside sheetrock. After we finished the outside sheetrock we were done for the day. Oh also we had lunch today. I was by far the dirtiest of anyone and everyone laughed at me so it was pretty funny. During lunch I climbed a tree and everyone thought that was entertaining as well. I just wanted to experience climbing a tree in Guatemala. After we finished building for the day we played with the kids. We had some tables so probably 30 kids were standing on the tables and they were talking turns jumping into our arms. That was awesome. Hope God will let the people see Christ’s love through us while we are buidling houses for them to live in and soften their hearts for the salvation message in two days. We then drove home, got home at 5:40. Ate dinner, showered, and had free time until 8 when we had devos. The devos all week has been great, really challenging and thought provoking. All week Dan (paradise bound head honcho) has been telling us to put ourselves into the story. Today was on John 18, when Jesus was arrested in the garden. Learned th greek word for the amount of roman soldiers described a specific amount of roman soldiers, namely 600! 600 soldiers were sent to arrest Jesus, because the pharisees had seen and knew Jesus’ power. Then when they came to arrest Jesus, he walked up to them and asked who they were looking for. Once they said Jesus of Nazareth, he said “I am he”. But in the greek the word that Jesus used was the same that the jews knew was used in the old testament for the “I AM”. The crowd fell backward. This blew me away. Then Dan had us put ourselves in Peter’s shoes. Peter was was willing to die for Christ. He was willing to give it all for Him, his all, his everything. But Jesus rebuked him. Dan told us a quote by Oswald Chambers. “Many work FOR Christ, few work WITH Christ.” So often we try to work for Christ on our own, under our own power. We may have started with a desire to to abide in Christ, to be in a constant relationship with Him, but too often we lose sight of that. WE try to do Christ’s work without truly knowing Christ. Of those that attend an evangelical christian church in America, a mere 25% have a personal relationship with Christ. If we are trying to work for Christ, we need to have a personal, close relationship, so that we will know the will of God and be working with Christ instead of working for Him. If we are leading anyone, if we are trying to minister to anyone, we need a personal relationship with Christ. Dan then asked us what percent of pastors fo evangelical christian churches had a personal relationship with Christ. people guessed 30, 50, 85. The answer? 26%. If you are faking it in your ministry, the people of your ministry, your fruit, will be that same way. They will reflect how your walk with the Lord is going. We need to be living and working with Christ, not for Christ.

 

-Christian W.

Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Andy Here

We are really excited about today. We’ll be going back to the same villiage as yesterday and see the kids and families again.

Thanks for your all your prayers. It is amazing the difference it makes here. We are having an amazing time. Today we get to put the roof on the houses we built and stucco the walls. from what I’ve heard the kids in hte village like to get involved with this process, could get messy. Please pray that our project doesn’t take the focus off the eternal condition of the people that will be living in them.

It takes to much time to upload pics and no one wants to do it. Come to our slide show on April 1st and see the people and places we are talking about.

Abiding in Christ
Andy

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment