Saturday, April 11, 2020


I thought I would post our March Update here in case you don't receive it. It is basically a Covid-19 update.
The view from Jimmy's tractor
Thank you to everybody who reached out to us asking personally how things are going during this unsure time in the world. With all of the families living at the institute counting on being paid each week for their hours, it really has given us an opportunity to practice true faith in a way that glorifies God. When you stop and process the what if’s and how’s, it can be scary. Right as churches were closing in the States and we were realizing our support would be down, Jimmy got a call from a farmer offering him the job of mowing his large property with the institute’s tractor. It took Jimmy 3 days and soon after he was actually paid for it, which often doesn’t happen here. That got us through last month except for our personal power bill. Then later a friend we met on furlough texted and said God put it on his heart to meet a financial need we were having. His gift covered the light bill. I have no idea how God will continue to take care of us all here, but I believe with all my heart He will.     
The owner of the property took this shot with his drone. You can see the tractor and the pretty rows between their saplings. He was happy because this was the first time he has not lost a tree when someone mowed.
 Guatemala has been slowly increasing restrictions on everything, usually without warning. The local government and police seem to be taking things the president puts in place to an extreme. Churches and schools were shut down first. Then a 4PM to 4 AM curfew was put in place where you would be arrested if you left your house during those hours. Businesses were pressured/forced to close and lay people off. Then due to the government fearing Holy Week and how much people usually travel during this holiday, they said you couldn’t leave your department and now the local government is not allowing us to leave our town. There are lots of talks of 24 hour lock-downs due to the hysteria, that could last for weeks. I don’t know how my own family will get groceries or how we will be able to continue taking them to the institute to stock the store. Although they do have plenty of live chickens and chocolate fruit, ha! The people making the laws, do not live in rural places or understand how most people in this country financially live from day to day, and not close to a grocery store. They plan on trucks coming buy with meat and veggies to sell. So many families are becoming desperate. They just want the right to provide for their families.
The first year students completed their chicken class and got their baby chicks delivery right before the shutdown.
 We are at a very low risk of Covid-19 infection and our pastoral students are at an even lower risk, living and studying at a private farm. Honestly due to this being a backpacking tourist area, I believe the virus came through here in January, but there are no tests to prove it.
We are used to local laws changing for no reason, even when there isn’t a perceived crisis. We are used to the grocery store being out of essential items and making great food from home with whatever random ingredients we can find. Long lines to get something done, while annoying, are pretty standard. Our regularly scheduled homeschool schedule will finish next week without missing any days. Our kids don’t notice anything being different other than missing their friends from local school. It is sad that our church outreaches to the neighboring villages have been cancelled with no way to do them online as the access of our people to technology is limited or non-existent.
The energy company has been giving free power to poor people so to make up for it they raised everybody’s rate by 12%. This not only affects how much we pay personally at our house, but also greatly increases operating costs at the Institute. This is especially hard right now during the dry season where the majority of our energy cost is running our well to water trees, chickens and students! The forecast for the next 10 days is 105-107 every day.
In good news, this has reinforced for all of our students the need to be self sufficient. One of our graduates starting his church in the village of Sepur spoke with Jimmy today. He is still working in different AG projects in the village as a day laborer. His chickens are large and fat and he is selling them to the village who can’t travel to buy meat from other markets. Jimmy asked him if he needed any help and he turned him down. “We have everything we need.” What a beautiful testimony. Before Jesus calms the storm Giovani is honoring God with his faith!
As members of God’s family, we are all in this together. I hope and pray that we will recognize God’s hand in all of our lives as He cares for us and that He will use it to do great things for His Kingdom and that none of us will get in the way! Thank you to everyone who continues to pray for and support the work here in spite of the uncertainty in your own financial future. Your families are in our prayers as well!
Jimmy preaching last Sunday
This is the funny I included in our update:  Jimmy set up a live feed from our house to the institute. The students can watch from a couple different places on the farm. This past Sunday while Jimmy was preaching he could see video from the salon where there is a TV set up. Raul was in there watching the service and Jimmy saw him get up and start beating something with a broom. He asked about it later. It was a pit viper!!! I’m not sad I missed that service!

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