Day 6/7 – continued 2-4-12
Well, we made it to the airport. I was ready to sit down and write the blog. I looked to find wifi. I saw the “free” airport wifi. I think the reason it is “free” is because you can’t use it. In all the years I have been here, I have never been able to use it. So, I am sitting in Pizza Hut using their “not so free” wifi. At least the pizza is good.
We had a chance to reflect on yesterday as we were driving to the airport. I am glad I had the chance to think about it. First of all, I hit a wall physically. I woke up and felt tired. I had been pushing pretty hard. Getting up early to organize, and staying up late to update the blog and manage the pictures. It was a cold morning, and I could not warm up. We went to the first house and spent time with Manolol. He is such a nice young man. He loves working with video and computers. He has been volunteering for some time with a local television station to gain experience. In fact, last year he came to film the church service where Pastor Juan’s church had their regular service, but then we sponsored a dinner. I had the chance to preach at the service. I guess I was on the local television station that night. Does that make me a televangelist? Anyway, the volunteer job went away, so now he is without a job. Like many Guatemalans, he does not have a high school diploma. Even as talented as he is, when he talks to employers about a potential job, when they hear he does not have a diploma, the interview is over. In addition, Manolo suffers from arthritis. The cold weather really affects him. So, when we were there, he was in a lot of pain. This was the point where I physically could not continue. We began to pray, and there were 11 of us in a very small room. I had to step out. Fortunately, Jeff and the other men spent an awesome time praying over Manolo. They prayed for his healing and for his job possibilities. I hope you will join us in praying for him.
I had to go back to the hotel and get some sleep. The group went on to the next house, and I took a two hour nap. It has been a long time since I have slept that hard. When I woke up, I felt completely refreshed. I learned a valuable lesson about pushing too hard. I am glad to learn from it, but wish I didn’t miss the next visit they went on.
The guys then went to Berta’s house. Berta is the wife of Luis, the alcoholic man we met last year. Berta is the daughter of a very faithful member of Juan’s church named Jesús. Jesús was one of the men who came to our men’s Bible study on Wednesday. We is such a wonderful man. Last year, we met Luis and prayed for him. We told him how much his life meant to his family. How he needed to break the addiction to alcohol through Christ. Unfortunately, Luis has not taken the steps he needs to. He continues to remain addictied to alcohol and is currently living in the streets. I understand that his health is not very good, which is obviously predictable. Fortunately, Berta remains strong in Christ. She continues to love her children and provide the love and spiritual nourishment the kids need. While Berta lives in a good home, she suffers from a lack of clean water. The well she draws water from is not deep enough and she does not have a water filter. So, we are committing to help deepen her well and give a filter.
Feeling 100% better, I met the guys at a local pizza parlor, and we went over to the church for the vacation Bible school. There is a group of young Guatemalans who work with Bethel and host VBS programs. They did a fantastic job welcoming the kids, entertaining them and sharing the message of Jesus Christ. Juan has 40 children in his church. They were all encouraged to invite a friend. Well, the word got out and 167 children showed up. It was a great time. They got a photo of themselves which means so much to them. They also got to make a “salvation bracelet”, where the colors represent certain aspects to our salvation. The highlight for me was where Scott dressed up as a shepherd and told the kids about Jesus, who is the ultimate shepherd. He did a great job!
We then hosted a dinner for Juan’s church, where the members came together for a time of food and fellowship. Just like last year, it was an amazing time. Last year, Juan’s wife and the women of the church cooked all of the food. We did not want to burden them again this year, so we decided to have the food catered. Juan had a friend who could help us. The food was delicious. We had the chance to strengthen old friendships we began last year, and make new ones. This dinner has meant so much to what we do. It gives us a chance to connect with the members, show hospitality and build friendships We took a lot of pictures, and had a wonderful time. At the end, there were a lot of hugs and tears. We will miss our friends, but look forward to seeing them again next year.
We called it an early night because we were all physically exhausted. I got up at the last minute for breakfast, which was great. We had a great time of fellowship talking about all that God had done over the trip. The staff of the hotel was so wonderful. There was a woman named Berta who remained loving in spite of our cries for hot water and lack of internet. She always had a pot of hot water waiting so we could have coffee. We said our goodbyes and headed out.
On the way to the airport, we stopped and took pictures of a volcano that was letting off a little steam. The volcano’s name is “Fuego”, which means “fire”. It is very well named.
On the way to the gate, we stopped to shop and talk. Scott looked up and started talking to someone. When we turned around, we saw Richard and Clint from Highview Baptist. They were returning from their church trip to the city of Pacux. You never know who you will see in Guatemala!
Well, that’s just about it for today. We still have two flights ahead of us, and I am sure a lot of blogging material. I pray for smooth flights and safe arrival in Louisville. I am going to use the flights today as a chance to reflect on the trip and I will post some more thoughts in the next few days. I know that Jeff has a lot he wants to share, and I will post that as well. Please pray for our flights today.
Dios te Bendiga,