Day 5 - Posted by Brad
As the week goes on, the emotions begin to run deep. We have been spending all of our days seeing poverty, broken families and sickness. In every home we have visited, we try to boil things down to one thing…this life was not designed to be lived apart from God! No matter what dire situation you may find yourself in…quit running from the God who created you, stop trusting in your own strength and wisdom, trust in Christ as your only hope for getting to Heaven, live only for Him and love others around you.
These simple principles were designed by God to protect us, give us joy, guide us and ultimately save us. Live by these principles and you will experience the abundant life Jesus desires for us. Turn against them, and you will ultimately experience hopelessness, pain, loss and desperation.
We started the day off with our daily devotional over breakfast. Because today was market day in Tecpan, we took the opportunity to go purchase the wardrobe, tables and chairs for the family we built the house for, and purchase twenty more blankets.
Tommy continued to be blown away by the Omniscience (all knowledge) of God. As we walked down the street of the market, Tommy said that he looked at the hundreds people walking down the streets, knowing that God knows every one of them and cares for them. When we visit the villages, it is the same. God loves them and will provide for them. God has orchestrated every home visit and conversation.
We drove up to the village again and dropped off the wardrobe. It was so fun seeing the family again. Even though they have only been in the house for two days, they have already made it their home. When we walked inside, we were all blown away at how good it smelled. One of the things Guatemalans do when they bless a house is to sprinkle pine needles on the floor. If you look closely at the picture above, you will see the green needles. It makes the house smell wonderful. They had already been using the stove, the wife had built a little space to stack her household items and they added a board to their bunk bed for added safety for their daughter Carmelita. It really felt good to see them already taking great care of their new home.
Speaking of Carmelita, she has truly grabbed Rick’s heart. She is an adorable little girl. I think Rick will have to keep coming back to Guatemala to visit her every year.
We then drove to our first stove install of the day. It was such a sweet family. The dad’s name was Santos and he was very interested and attentive. They have four young children (one was sick and in bed while we were there). His wife was Marta. The last time Chris visited, he was not a believer. This time, Chris was encouraged that he now had accepted Christ as his savior. Scott gave Santos a multi-purpose tool (Leatherman). It was fun getting to watch Scott teach him how to use it. He even found a few ways to let him use it to help us.
We had to walk down a long trail to get to their place. We saw a lot of pigs along the way. Of course, the problem with pigs is that they leave little “presents” along the path for you to find and step in…ouch!
We continue to hand out a lot of black shoes, backpacks and clothes. The need is overwhelming. The kids flock from everywhere if you pull out a bag or suitcase. Rick brought many warm hats again. The kids loved them.
After finishing with Santos, we ate lunch in a nearby church that is being worked on. Little kids follow you everywhere. There were many that patiently sat near us and watched as we ate. They were very polite. At the end, Josua gave them all sandwiches. Wow were they excited and thankful. Chris said that those kids will never forget being in that church. Even if they have never been in the church before, they will certainly feel they can come again. Maybe they will even make their parents bring them.
We then went to our second stove install. This was Katarino and his wife Felicia. They had four young children. Katarino is a farmer. He said that his crops grew very well until 2010. Ever since then, they have done poorly, which means they don’t make as much money. On the first visit, Chris said that Katarino was friendly but somewhat reserved. On this visit, he was much more open to listening to Chris and one of the Guatemalan volunteers named Pablo. Pablo really hit it off with Katarino. At the end, Pablo prayed over Katariono and Felicia. It was such a powerful moment. Hearing Pablo pray in the local language was so amazing. The walls of Katarino’s heart began to fall. Tears poured from his eyes. It was so good to see that. Pablo now has the opportunity to go back and follow up to see how God is working in his life. That’s what this trip is all about. In fact, Gale said it so well tonight at dinner, “We are here to see unbelieving people come to faith, and believing people use their gifts and lives to support and love others”. Scott loved hanging out with the kids. He even worked on the Guatemalan fist-bump!
I was deeply challenged by the conditions I saw in one of the homes today. I have written about it before, but the living conditions for so many of these people are terrible. As you will see from the photo, there are huge gaps in the walls that allow wind, rain and cold to come right inside. They were very thankful for the blankets. I want to say thank you again for all that gave to help these families.
During the day, Chris noticed that the Guatemalan volunteer (Pablo) seemed a little different than other days. When Chris asked him, he said that the weather sometimes makes him sad. When pressed again, he said that the color of the sky can make him sad. Finally, Pablo told Chris that his employer in Chimaltenango called and fired him today. Pablo enjoys being with us and serving the Lord through home visits and construction. He loves it so much he decided to not go in to work and stay with us. He goes in at 4:00 a.m. to work a 14-hour day in a fabric factory. But, he loves serving others. We are looking in to ways that we can help Pablo with direction. He currently grows peach trees. We already have an idea. Many women weave traditional clothing in Guatemala. Instead of making the woman go to Tecpan and other towns to buy thread and then go back and sell the finished items, we would love to possibly have Bethel purchase all of the supplies and let Pablo run with the business for himself. He would supply the women, and then come back and sell the items, all the while paying the women a higher wage. Pablo’s wife is also a weaver, so that is a potential. Please pray for everyone involved in that plan.
It is such a huge blessing to be serving with these men. We have one last full day to install stoves, give out blankets and serve. We are all happy and healthy. Please continue to pray for our health and efforts.
Dios te Bendiga,