Sunday, December 4, 2011

We Bought Land For KBI

Since July we have been looking for a suitable property to purchase for our Kekchi Pastor's Bible Institute. We had a checklist of things we wanted:
1. Around 150 acres- this is suitable for our planned agricultural projects in which we will train the men and provide an income source for the Institute and an income source the men can take with them once they move to a remote village.
2. Easy access- as a different teacher will be arriving each day it needed to be on a major road so that they can arrive on public transportation.
3. Access to water
4. Access to electricity
5. Close to a populated area so that the children of our students would have access to school.
6. Within 10 minutes of our new house.

Finding 150 acres for sale was an easy feat, but after looking at 10 different properties, not one of them had even two of the above list. Finally, in September I was shown a piece of property owned by the former Mayor of our town. He just won a spot in Congress recently and did not see a long term use for his land. It is 180 acres, 8 minutes from our house, on a main dirt road we have travelled many times to get back to many unreached Kekchi villages.
It is right next to a Kekchi village (no churches but several witches) that has a well, maintained by the county, to which we will have access to. There is also an elementary school and high school in that village the children from the Institute will be able to attend.
{Village on left of this road and KBI land is on right}
We have started the purchasing process, and while it is technically ours to begin development, we won't have the official deed for another 2 weeks. A side benefit to this land is the presence of many large trees on the property that can and will be used in the construction of the student housing.

Last week I went with an engineer and his surveying team to mark off our plan for the roads, student housing areas and school building, basically the whole populated area. The county has pledged to gravel our roads once we clear the trees out of the way and to run the water lines for us. Having close ties to the major political figure who owned the land has brought many benefits.
Because the land is larger than we had intended to purchase, the price was also higher. We will be using 40 acres for the development of several projects, the largest one being Teak trees. There is a program here in Petén whereby an outside group pays you for a 5 year term to plant Teak and maintain the trees. They in turn pay you a yearly lease on your property. Through this project, our first year's payment will be enough to pay off the remaining balance of the land.

Now that the land is marked off I will be working with the existing Kekchi churches here who have pledged to help us clear the land. There will be lots of machetes, chain saws, bon fires and turkey soup in my immediate future. A new church we visited on our last furlough recently gave us half of the money needed for the school building, so very soon we will be breaking ground on that project as well. After the school building is completed there will be many more expenses as we begin building houses and chicken coops and digging Tilapia ponds.

Thank you for praying for this project and please continue to do so. We are just so encouraged by how quickly this is all coming to pass. God is just bringing things about, like money to buy the property and funds for the construction. We really can really see God's hand on all of this. Thank you to everyone who has been contributing through funds and prayers!

CRAZY ITEM OF THE DAY: The previous owner of the property was paying a guard to keep up the fence post, chop the grass along the main road, and keep people from trespassing and stealing wood. Since none of those jobs were being accomplished I had plans to fire him. While I was there with the surveyors I saw some older kids come from under the barbed wire and leave our land. It just so happened that the guard called me right as that happened and asked me if I was going to keep him on as the guard. I explained to him what I had just seen and asked why there were trespassers on our land if he was guarding it. He immediately responded like it was an obvious answer, "They don't have outhouses so people from the village poop in your woods." Oh great. Good job. I can't believe I missed that. He no longer works for us.


  1. I am blown away (though I suppose I shouldn't be!) by all the Lord is doing with and through ya'll! God is so incredibly Awesome! I look forward to the day I am able to come down and see it all first-hand!

  2. Thanks for keeping up with us. We appreciate the encouragement you always give! We hope you can make can it down here soon! Yes, God is awesome!


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