Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Christmas 2008

We have been concerned about our visa situation. It looked like we were going to have to drive to Guatemala City in order to go to the Immigration building to get an entrance stamp on Jimmy’s passport. Then drive back to Petén, drive back to the Belize border, and pay fines for the both of us and see if they would let us out this time. There is one loophole in the system, you can fly out without an entrance stamp and you do not have to pay any fines. We still had vouchers for Spirit airlines, since they messed up our last two flights, so we ended up flying to Florida for Christmas. It was half the price of what it would be to do all of the above. We did not feel like we needed a break, but we definitely enjoyed our first Christmas home in a couple years.
We fly in and out of Ft. Lauderdale, so we always get a rental car to drive to Jax. Our first car smelled like smoke, so we asked if we could trade. They gave us a free upgrade to a Mustang!

On Sunday we went to our home church and got to share about our ministry for the first time! Jimmy spoke in a men’s SS class and I spoke in a women’s class. Jimmy also spoke in the Spanish ministry and then got to share a short testimony in the main service. Trinity has had a big part in our ministry with the team they sent, monthly support, the special offering for our building, and also all the individuals who are so faithful to pray for us. It was great to finally be able to tell them about what God has been doing in the last 2.5 years. With all the gifts from individuals and the church while we were there we should have enough money to fix my truck... that was unexpected!

On our drive back to Ft. Lauderdale we saw a Pollo Campero!

CRAZY ITEM OF THE DAY: My mom gave me 40 spools of sewing thread to bring back with me. The only thread they sell here is like sewing with toilet paper. These spools are very valuable to me. We were only allowed one 50 lb suitcase each due to the holidays, so the spools ended up in a carry-on. Guatemala has just started taking everything out of your carryon one item at a time and inspecting it after you go through the x-ray machines... sometimes more than once. Before our flight to FLores a female security guard told me that I could choose 3 spools to keep and that I had to throw the rest away... she said I could make a rope with all of that thread. There was no way we were going to let that happen. Jimmy ended up convincing then to let him check that bag. When we got to Flores we saw that they had stolen Jimmy’s beef jerky out of his bag. Welcome back!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Drama

Thank you for praying for our kids’ drama! I enjoyed watching the kids’ reactions as more and more adults showed up. They were filled with nervous excitement, especially to have their parents there. We had a mom and dad come for the first time, plus 2 other first time moms. We also had an older sister who just started her own family come. The parents who are Christians and come faithfully were proud to have their kids as part of the Bible study. The new parents were surprised to see all the work that their kids have been doing and learning about for the past year. There were a couple kids whose parents wouldn’t come. Please pray that God will encourage them, I know they were disappointed. I will never understand why a parent wouldn’t walk 5 minutes to our building to show their kid they cared. Please pray that these kids especially will sense God’s love and how much He cares about them. One guy’s dad told him he had to move their horse to a new grazing area right when it was time to start. He did it intentionally so that his son would have to miss his part. So... we have a long way to go, but we are not the only 2 anymore. There are other Christians now who want to help us reach their own people! Please keep praying for NH. Here is the music video portion of the drama that we all had fun putting together:

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Ready For a Whopper?

We usually joke when we rent a vehicle from New Horizon that the one in charge of the vehicles probably just keeps the money and doesn’t pay the town. NH has a lot of community projects since they are socialistic. Unfortunately someone in charge always ends up stealing either all or the majority of the profits before they get to divide it all up. Hmmmm... why don’t they ever get called greedy socialists? The town council told us this week that he was stealing the money, so we needed to pay them directly. This is a common occurrence too. They know someone is stealing, but are too afraid to confront them. I guess the only thing guerrillas are afraid of are each other.

Well when we got to NH yesterday. We had at least a dozen people who wanted to go with us to Santa Rita. We were told that the camioncito (truck) we had reserved was still in Santa Elena being fixed. So we just took those who could fit in our truck with all the chairs and borrowed a couple tables from the school in Santa Rita. PRAYER REQUEST: that we get enough money to get my truck fixed in Guate so that we can use it too. This would avoid all this hassle.

While we were in Santa Rita the truck that was “being fixed in SE” pulled up with a bunch of soccer players from NH and SR in in. They had lied to us because they had given our reservation away. Then we found out that Kimberly’s step-dad had been driving drunk and flipped it. We didn’t get the entire story at that point because we were having our Bible study.

On the way home, Jimmy got a call from one of our friends in NH. She was concerned because a story was going around NH that Jimmy had flipped the camioncito and now Kimberly, Gerardo, and Mateo were in the hospital. Gerardo and Mateo’s mom was panicked. Jimmy told her we had never received the camioncito, but had heard that it had been in an accident.

At this point we were a little concerned to pull into NH. People are lynched here a lot, before they get to explain the entire story. Thankfully we found Gerardo and Mateo’s mom to show her they were still alive since they were with us. Then we told as many people as we could find the true story.

The part about Kimberly was true. She is in the hospital along with 2 other people. We do not think anyone is seriously hurt, but please pray for them. Another crazy part is that the drunk who wrecked the truck came back to NH and borrowed someone else’s car to drive family members to the hospital.

Not sure how the drunk who puts 3 people in the hospital gets off scott free and we, who had nothing to do with the incident, get accused of it. This place can make you go nuts!
We did have 2 great Bible studies. I am so proud of our people that came from NH. Aquilino greeted every person that came and talked to them a long time. He is so friendly. Quincho wrote down everyone’s name for me (some of which this was their 3rd time!) Gerardo gave everyone a cup of cinnamon tea (a very popular drink here which Jimmy made especially for his Bible study). With all of the craziness, these are the ones who make it worth it. Their lives have been changed. They are different people than they were a year ago and their fate obviously has changed. I cannot wait to see what God has for them!
Aquilino from NH, Jimmy, and Eulalio from SR (he was very proud of his bright shirt!)

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Glad Today Is Over

Today was the most frustrating day EVER! Between my video camera and half my kids being gone, the day really never had a chance. Not really sure why this drama is so difficult... if something could go wrong it has. For example, this is just a little thing in the sea of ridiculous things to choose from, we only could find a blond baby doll in the market to be baby Jesus. Jimmy decided to permanent marker his hair black (I was just going to wrap the doll in white fabric and no one would have know the difference, but we have already covered that today.) After all the kids touch it wondering why the doll is sooooo funny looking, now our baby Jesus’ face is completely black... so much for racial accuracy. There are also black fingerprints on everything that was touched after the baby’s hair.

On a positive note... as effort to put today behind us... here is a clip of our video. It is Romans 5:8. The adults like seeing themselves on camera too!

CRAZY ITEM OF THE DAY: We were behind this truck the other day in the city. There are no mirrors on this truck. All 3 are gone.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Guatemala Is Treating Us Good

For the last few days we have heard metal on metal when we brake, so today we drove to Santa Elena and got the brake pads and two rotors replaced on Jimmy’s truck. It was around $80. The mechanics asked about my “automatico” and sadly Jimmy had to tell them it is still broken down in our yard like it has been for the last year. At least now we have one good experience with a mechanic in this country. It was even done on time... that is a first for here too!

Please keep praying for our Christmas drama; it is this Sunday. We have a lot of videotaping to do tomorrow and we are having some issues. My video camera may record a minute after you press the restart button about a dozen times. Melissa thoughtfully left her video camera for us to use, but we just found out it is too nice for my laptop! Please pray that we get it done somehow.
All of our props will soon be finished. Becca, do you recognize the roofing material! We would probably be finished with everything already if Lucha would stop eating chunks of our tomb!

After lots of TLC, my rose bushes finally have lavender (the photos makes them look pink) and white flowers on them.
For the month of December the Maxi Bodega gives out toy vouchers every time you buy groceries. We have have been saving ours. It was fun to spend them today. We found leggos for the little kids to play with during the adult Bible studies. We found hula-hoops for game time and found out that neither one of us can hula! We also got bubbles... all for free!
Lucha loved the bubbles!

Please pray for Aquilino’s mom. She lives by herself and had a cow on a rope. Something spooked the cow and her arm got caught in the rope and she was dragged. She is in the hospital in Chiquimula. She will live, but they are not sure how much use she will ever have of her arm and fingers. Aquilino is such a nice man and is really worried about his mom. He said that he was very thankful that God saved her life. He and his family are part of our Bible study in NH.

CRAZY ITEM OF THE DAY: Who would have ever thought an illegal Guatemalan living in the States would ever wire money to a Gringo living in Guatemala... well today that happened!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Santa Rita Week 2

It is so interesting starting from scratch again. I keep seeing all these new faces and wondering what stories will unfold. I am trying so hard to remember their names. They need to just wear the same clothes every Saturday for a month!

The large truck we rented last week from New Horizon was broken down, so we had to just take Jimmy’s truck. Because of that only Carlos fit this week. Jimmy recorded an announcement like we have in NH and drove around in his pickup with it loud to tell everyone we were starting. We thought that might be easier to hear than the loud speaker at the store, but tonight we found out it isn’t as official. We are still not sure which is best, but are not sure if we are going to be allowed to use the loud speaker each week anyway.
Jimmy had 11 come inside. It is mostly men. They sang so good! After it was over one 66 year old man named Aaron asked if we could sing again so he would not forget the song!
The 2 ladies that came sat in the back. They were very shy.
We might have started a little early. The kids’ time needs to meet before dark, but then at dark everyone starts preparing dinner. We might need to wait an hour in between the two or go earlier in the afternoon.

Some stayed the entire time but were too afraid to come inside and only listened through the wall (it is a chain link fence). We had several of those in New Horizon too in the beginning. One I remember used to sit on his bike smoking right outside the window each week... it was Carlos (yellow shirt)! Now he is a Christian and is our biggest helper!
As we were reviewing last weeks’ lesson I asked them why God made us and one kid said, “To have a relationship with us!” That made my day!
CRAZY ITEM OF THE DAY: It is COLD here so we took a 5 gallon thermos of coffee for the adult Bible study. Before we left poor Carlos was loading up the thermos and dumped hot coffee down his back. For the trip home we tied everything down and Carlos was standing in the back of the truck holding onto the the two stacks of chairs since there wasn’t any comfortable place to sit. The thermos was sitting lower than everything else, but some how the lid flew off and Carlos got another shower of coffee right in the face for who knows how many miles! We didn’t realize this ‘til we were already back in New Horizon. Of course we went back in the dark looking for the lid along the highway. Somehow Carlos spotted it with his little keychain flashlight. We were very thankful because we use that thermos all the time.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Christmas Time!

Please pray for our Christmas drama. It will be the Sunday before Christmas Day. Satan keeps fighting. The point of the drama was to help people see the story of Christmas. The children are telling the story to encourage some of their parents who don’t already come to at least come that evening and hear the Gospel. I have lost three kids already whose parents said that they could not participate after they had learned their part. There are still 9 sets of parents where either one or both do not attend or do not attend faithfully that still might come to see their child/children in the drama. The whole point is to spread the Gospel. We are videotaping the dress rehearsal to give each child a DVD. I know eventually everyone in the village will end up watching it, so please pray that God will use this outreach.
I have already invested at least 15 hours just this week on sewing alone, so I am very thankful that my mom was here to help me. I would have never been able to get everything done in time.
Jimmy has been working on the set. He put up all the spotlights yesterday and has been paper macheing the tomb.
This is the wood shop down the street from our house. Jimmy built a stable, but they are building the manger and cross. It is all out of cedar and very cheap... maybe because it takes them FOREVER!
We are a little overwhelmed. With our new work we have less time and tons of things to get done before Christmas. We were planning on just skipping decorating for Christmas in our house, but then my mom and Melissa brought us some Christmas baking things. I couldn’t stand it! So we put up our tree, turned on the Christmas music, and baked some cookies on Monday.
CRAZY ITEM OF THE DAY: We had Pizza Hut the other day. Once we moved from Santa Elena it started taking off! First an air conditioned grocery store, then a Pollo Campero, now a Pizza Hut, and a Burger King sign went up the other day. Crazy!!! We might live closer to a big city than we think. Las Puertas is still my favorite restaurant!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Whew...That Was a Busy Weekend!

This was our first weekend Bible Study in Santa Rita! We really didn’t know what to expect. Some of the people know who we are, but when you are around a bunch of other Gringos, you all just blend together! We are extremely happy with the turnout! When we got there, the lady at the town store announced on the big megaphone for all of the kids to come to the town meeting hall.
40 kids turned out with one dad who wanted to know what it was all about. Shelley taught on Creation. They were a little shy at first, but eventually they realized how much fun it is to participate!
Some parts of teaching are easier than New Horizon. At least we have already taught this before and have the curriculum and songs already made up. We also rented one of the trucks from New Horizon to be able to take our chairs, tables and people from there to help us out! That was a big benefit!
In New Horizon it took three months after holding the kids’ studies before any adults started coming. Here in Santa Rita we had 19 our first night come inside, 5-6 standing outside listening and 5 come after everything was over! Most were older men that came. One man had a lot of questions about our intentions and why we were there. It was great to be able to answer these questions for ourselves for once and put their minds at ease. I didn’t take very good pictures of the adults because the flash disturbs at night. Here they are flipping coins and Jimmy is talking about the probability of one person fulfilling all of the prophecies in Scripture.
One of the men from the town council came with his wife, baby, and mom.
Carlos, Rafa, Monse, Wendy and Alejandro went with us this week. Wendy and Alejandro are young, but their grandpa is the president of the town council in Santa Rita and you may remember that Wendy accepted Christ about a month ago. We left New Horizon at 2:30 and got back about 8:30. It was really nice having the guys there to help load up the truck while we talked to people.

In New Horizon we had a normal school vacation Sunday. Summer break here is during harvest time, so that the kids can help. Families are gone for weeks at the time harvesting corn. Shelley taught on Psalm 23 and Jimmy is in the middle of a series about the family.
Thank you for continuing to pray for these new works. Some of the adults from New Horizon will be going with us next Saturday to help us announce. Please also pray for their hearts; that they would be open to hear God’s message.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Everything Times Two

For Family night about 250 came! We showed a quick kids movie while the people were showing up and then the team sang 2 songs they had learned in Spanish and did a wordless skit. Jimmy got to go through the entire plan of Salvation and then invite everyone to our Bible study. He also got to explain why we were there in a way that might prevent future problems (something we learned in New Horizon).
Passing out Coke and popcorn
Wordless Skit
Our team with Abel, our bus driver, and the card they made him

Please pray for tomorrow. Our first Bible study in Santa Rita will start at 4:00 followed by the adult Bible study at 6:00. We are hoping to take several people from New Horizon with us to help announce. Please pray that God will bless. We are very excited, but also completely exhausted right now. It is all up to God anyway, not us! We have learned so much from working in New Horizon. We are thankful for all that experience, but are aware now of all the things that can go wrong. Satan does not want us there just like he doesn’t want us in New Horizon. Please pray that God will bless and protect this new ministry in Santa Rita.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Couture Costumes & Men’s Day

Our team members all made it home safely. We were so thankful for each one of them. My mom is staying for 4 extra days! We are making costumes and props for our Christmas drama. I’m so glad she is here. She is a big help, plus I love being with my mom!

Men’s Day was a success! We had 8 teams in the tournament plus many came to watch.
This year’s goals were much nicer than last year’s. We ordered them several weeks ago, but Jimmy and his dad were still in Santa Elena until late the night before waiting for the metal worker to finish them. Jimmy’s dad brought nets to put on them too.
2nd place team

Jimmy’s dad scored the winning goal during a shootout that put his team into the championship game!
Jason sharing his testimony
1st place team
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