Serving in different ways

Posted by Rick

God can use us to serve in many different ways. He allows us to use the abilities and talents we have, no matter what they are.  For the 7 of us getting ready to travel this Saturday, we will be physically providing our time, muscle and hearts to the Bethel Ministries team as we help the people of Guatemala.   Others have their own unique ways of serving……

In the process of the Wheelchair Collection Project last fall, I connected with a nice couple in our area – Don and Jackie Wells.

jackie

Jackie was the first person to notify me she had equipment to donate. I was excited to pick up the wheelchair, walker and a few canes, as this was the beginning of a huge challenge for me.  Upon arriving, Don and Jackie inquired to where the equipment was going.  I excitedly shared the details about Bethel Ministries International and then gave them the website. http://www.bethelministriesinternational.com  Many who donate never inquire about the destination – which is ok. The act of sharing or giving is a blessing in itself. However, if I have the chance to share about the destination, I am overjoyed to do so… especially when it is Bethel Ministries.

The Wheelchair Collection Project was completed (on our end) in 2 months and was full of challenges and answered prayer. Once the container was loaded and on its way, I decided to called Jackie and Don to give them an update- especially since they were the first to donate and expressed such an interest.

At that time, Jackie shared that she had spent some time looking at the Bethel website. She was moved by the compassion and generosity toward the widows, orphans, poor and disabled in Guatemala.  She wanted to help more… she wanted to serve in a different way … she began a project of her own….

Now, Jackie is around 80 years old and has a heart the size of Guatemala. Jackie’s hands remind me of my Grandma Lucy, afflicted with arthritis. Any work her hands do require much more effort than my own.

Last week, I picked up her project. Jackie hand-made gifts for the people that Bethel Ministries serve.  Jackie has made beautiful, 4 inch tightly crocheted crosses.

jackie-cross

Each cross is stapled on a card, tied with a ribbon and has a label “Vaya Con Dios”, meaning  Go with God. All were then neatly wrapped in plastic and placed in boxes.

337 crocheted crosses!    Yes…. That is not a typo…. 337!!!  Each one takes her 45 minutes to make.   That is 252.75 hours of crocheting!

jackie-cross2

Jackie shared, that as she crafted each of the crosses, she would say prayers for the people that would receive these! What a blessing this will be for so many! What a blessing Jackie and her family are! They are serving the people of Guatemala in a different and special way!

She enthusiastically said, “if they like these,  I will get to work right away to make more for the next group going down”

jackie-family

Many thanks to Don, Jackie and their family for the many hours of lovingly making these gifts for our friends in Guatemala.

What an AWESOME way to SERVE!

We look forward to sharing these as we travel to Guatemala next week. What a wonderful way to bless the people of Tecpan, Guatemala!

Dios te Bendiga Jackie!

Rick

Here is the family

Posted by Brad 1/19/13

One week from now, we will be in Tecpan, settling into our hotel rooms.  We are all so excited!old-front

The best news, we now know who the family is that we will be building the house for.  Bethel passed along their information, so I thought I would share what we have:

The family has suffered so much.  Due to personal problems the father suffered from years ago, his children haven´t had the chance to study.  No one in the family can read or write.

The father is a bricklayer.  With that money, he sustains his family which is not very much. His wife stays home and takes care of the children and grandchildren.

Their children go out and get fire wood close to the home to be able to cook. They have an outhouse, a well, and wash their clothes and dishes on a stone.  They don´t have electricity.

Thanks to the principal of a local school, we met this family. They saw the necessity of the family who were in bad condition.  Until a new house can be built by the team, they were helped with pieces of wood, tin, plastic and some clothes.

family-kitchen

Dad: Mario, 48 years old

Mom: 41 years old

Their children’s names are:

  1. Sara, 18 years old……. Doesn´t work or study.
  2. Lesbia, 17 years old…. Doesn´t work or study.
  3. Claudia, 15 years old… Doesn´t work or study.
  4. Jose, 11 years old…….Doesn´t work or study.
  5. Elmer, 8 months………Is sick and has Pneumonia.

Grandchildren (The mother of the children works in the fields, see gets to see them every 2 week. We don´t have the name of the children’s mother):

  1. Yoni, 4 years old… Is deaf
  2. Miguel, 3 years old.

stove mama

Please join us in praying for this family.  We are so excited to go work alongside Bethel.  One week to go!!!

Dios Te Bendiga,

Brad

Answering the Call to Serve

Posted by Rick – 1/10/13

The 26th is fast approaching. Back to Guatemala! I like the sound of that! Who would have thought 2 years ago, I would be saying BACK to Guatemala. Prior to the summer of 2011, I would have been hard-pressed to find Guatemala on a map.

In July 2011, I traveled to Chimaltenango with a group to work with Bethel Ministries. Cliche though it may sound, the trip changed me. It was humbling to work with Bethel and see the many facets of their mission. Chris and Donna Mooney and their team have such a heart for the people of Guatemala. Our entire mission trip was a great experience. Afterwards, I knew that somehow, someday, I would be back.

Fast forward to August 2012. Chris and Donna came to the US to visit family, as well as visit some churches. One portion of their trip brought them to Iowa! We were excited to have the opportunity to reconnect with our friends from the south! While we visited with Chris, he explained how Bethel was experiencing a shortfall in wheelchairs and equipment due to supply problems in the States. Chris hugged me and said that he believed that I was to help with that problem. Now, this was one of those “chill run down your back” God moments! Less than a week prior, during my quiet time, I had been praying for God to start using me in a practical way to serve. Chris’ request was an obvious answer to the prayer! After sitting down with Chris and Donna, and with John and Jean Mitchell of “On His Path”, we said we would do our best to help.

Though it seemed lofty, our goal was to send a 40-foot-long shipping container full of wheelchairs and medical equipment to Guatemala in early November. With less than three months to coordinate, and a mountain of equipment to find, our task seemed insurmountable.

Flyers were posted. Newspaper articles and press releases were written. Ads were posted on Craigslist and numerous phone calls were made all in hopes of finding medical equipment to send to the Bethel. Countless prayers were lifted up throughout the process. Slowly but surely, a few wheelchairs and crutches at a time, God provided the equipment.Through much prayer, and the hard work of a team of willing ministry partners, we sent the container to Guatemala on November 6 . Our total equipment numbers are as follows:

126 Wheelchairs, 33 Power Wheelchairs, 246 Walkers, 214 Pairs of Crutches, 26 Canes, 16 Commodes, 64 Boxes of Miscellaneous Supplies and Donated Items. Several monetary donations were also received to aid the wheelchair ministry

It was amazing how God enabled so many different people to come together to make this possible! To use the words of one of our volunteers, “This project truly exemplified the Body of Christ.” Many people and ministries worked together toward the common goal of honoring God.

It has been a blessing to be a part of this equipment drive ministry. The Lord used it to test and strengthen my faith! Through it, God answered prayer after prayer. Just when I would get down, thinking we would be short of equipment, prayers would be lifted up and doors would open and donations would appear! God revealed His power again after Thanksgiving, when I specifically remember praying that I would get back in the Wheelchair collection mode. I prayed that the connections made in the past few months would produce fruit. Literally, 3 hours later, I received a phone call regarding a large donation of wheelchairs; that afternoon I loaded the trailer with 12 wheelchairs and other equipment! WOW!

We did, however, have one slight hiccup in shipping the container. Hurricane Sandy hit the day before we loaded the container, virtually shutting down the east coast shipping point. It was decided that we would pursue Plan B, and send the container to the Bethel by way of California. Though we hoped the container would arrive in Guatemala in time for Christmas, God had other plans. A dock worker’s strike in California forced all shipping out of that port to shut down, stalling our container for one month in a shipyard. Subsequently, the container was flagged to be checked by US Customs to be checked. As we here in Iowa learned of these events, we became very discouraged. One evening, John Mitchell and I, along with our families, specifically prayed for the strike to cease so Chris and Donna could get the equipment they so badly needed. The next morning, God answered our prayers! I received notification that the strike ended, and the container shipped! Even now, the container is on its way to Guatemala. Ironically, the container’s estimated date of arrival at Bethel is January 29 — three days after we arrive there for our mission trip. (I actually thought when loading the container that it would be kind of cool to be there when they received it……I had no idea then that I was even going South again)

During the process of collecting medical equipment, I made a connection with a Bethel Ministries partner in Louisville, Kentucky – Brad Clark. Brad and I worked together on coordinating the logistics of getting equipment he had collected for Bethel delivered to Iowa to go on our container.

Though Brad and I spoke frequently during the collection, I little suspected we would soon meet. Just prior to Thanksgiving, he contacted me with an invitation to join his small team of men from the Louisville area to travel to Guatemala in January. I was excited at the opportunity, especially considering that we will be able to distribute the chairs that we collected!!!

My first trip South was a mixed team of 10 men, women, and teenagers, which was great. However, I am excited about the prospect of this trip being a small group of men. I am also excited about the focus on this trip; how it will focus more on SERVING alongside Juanito to serve the people of his church, and to meet and serve alongside all the guys on this trip. I also look forward to serving my friends at Bethel Ministries!

I know God has great things in store for us!

To John, John, Brad, Scott, Tim and Keith: I am anxious to meet and serve with you all. See you in 16 days!

Dios te Bendiga

Rick (Ricardo) Fulton

PS: There are many opportunities to help Bethel. Please consider participating in our ongoing wheelchair and medical equipment drive, so that the people of Bethel Ministries might better be able to serve the people of Guatemala. Check out their website at www.bethelministriesinternational.com     If you have any connections for equipment, please contact Brad, myself or any of the guys on the team!  Thank you!

Amazing how God provides!

Posted by Brad – 1/5/13

Less than 3 weeks to go.  It is starting to seem real…almost!  This is always the hardest part for me.  Just like other things in life, when you have a lot of time until something happens, you are able to put it aside and just know you have a while to wait.  Inside of one month, it becomes much more difficult to be patient.  It begins to seem real.  Almost in reach!

It was so cool to see how God built the team of seven men we have going.  All from very different backgrounds and life experiences.  It’s going to be a lot of fun to serve alongside them all.  Fundraising is always the most difficult part.  You have a list of projects you hope to accomplish.  Sometimes it is a long list, as we are able to do so much in one week.  You never know what kind of support you will ultimately be able to raise, but you simply rest in the fact that this is God’s trip, to do His work, for people that He loves in Guatemala.  So, He is in control.  As always, He blows me away with His faithfulness to provide.  I have been so proud of everyone on the team.  They have been working hard, spreading the word about the trip.  Friends, relatives, neighbors and co-workers have all come together to help us achieve the goals that we have.

It really is a team effort, and that team includes everyone who has helped us get to where we are today.  And where is that?  I am very happy to announce that we have officially reached our fundraising goal for the projects we hope to accomplish!!!  Exciting!!!  Thank you to everyone who has helped us.  That doesn’t mean that we can’t still use some financial help.  We always find needs in Guatemala that we did not plan on.  So, if you can help us prepare for the unseen, great.  But, it is such a relief to have this time as we approach the trip free to make last minute preparations, get packed, pray, read God’s Word and learn the words to some Spanish praise and worship music.  That’s right…we plan on singing along with Pastor Juan’s church in Spanish.  Won’t that be quite a sight (and sound).

Less than three weeks.  What a blessing.  I know that each man is excited to get down there and do the work we plan on doing.  Allow ourselves to be used by God to do His work, not ours.  That is always the best part.  We go down there with plans, and then we finally get to see what God really has in store for us. It’s not about accomplishing a list of items.  It’s about letting God use us as He wants to.

Praying with families.  Spreading the Word of God.  Loving those who God brings us into contact with.  It doesn’t get any better than that!  Well, it could be better.  We could be flying to Guatemala tomorrow!  🙂

Dios te Bendiga (God Bless You)  And I really mean that!!!