24 January 2011

Fútbol is life!

I had a dream!

Okay, so I spend quite a bit of time at Las Aldeas.  Las Aldeas is the facility where most all of the youth we work with are from. There are 13 homes on site with a capacity of 10 - 12 kids per home. Currently on site there are about 110 kids. Another 35 - 40 teen-agers live off site in 4 other houses, 2 for boys and 2 for girls.

If you visit Las Aldeas you will see many things, but one constant is there will almost always be someone playing on the soccer field! It is part of the culture here, many schools, neighborhoods etc are literally built around a soccer field! If there is a semi-flat piece of land, the soccer field goes there, then the rest is figured out! Many times here you will hear the soccer field of a school, park, neighborhood etc referred to as "holy ground".

Look at the photo below, what do you see?

Soccer field at Las Aldeas
 That is the well used soccer field at Las Aldeas. You can't see in this photo, but the corner where the pic is taken actually goes uphill about 2 feet. There are lumps and dips. Rocks and dust. In the rainy season it is mud.....but they still play!

So..........my dream. For two years I have been praying for God to provide the means for this. I have shared with many people over the last two years my dream of being able to improve the soccer field, level it, put in good drainage etc. 

My bigger dream, which I have been praying for also.......I shared with fewer people, because it seems too GRANDE for here was:
This would be nice because you just can't keep grass there, they can't afford the maintenance so it dies in the dry season, and drowns in the rainy season.

Artificial Turf
So, last November the new Director of CAG, the school our daughter attends, told me he wanted to see the sports teams at CAG do more than just play games. As part of their spiritual development he wanted them to become involved in the community, so he asked if I could help.
I offered to have them, both men's and women's teams, come visit Las Aldeas and play soccer, and teach the kids also.
So we began in December taking the men's team once every other week, and also the women's team every other week, to get to know the kids and teach them soccer and play with them.
It is wonderful! 
Now, after their first visit to Las Aldeas, one of the students came to me and asked if it would be alright for them to do a service project there? He said they would like to help level and fix the field!
HELLO???? Been praying for that for two years!!!!
So, we began to discuss the possibility.
I never shared with them I had been praying for exactly this, just waited to see what God was going to do!

My dream!
A short time later, the Athletic Director for CAG called me to ask a question.
He told me that the students were very excited about the prospect of fixing the field and were looking for more help. One of the students was sharing about it with their parents, and somehow, 

God is really, really good! Las Aldeas has agreed to accept the donation, and we are hoping it will happen soon.
Please pray for this project. There is much that will need to be done to be able to use the turf, leveling, drains, and a good base. 
But the students of CAG are looking for others to assist, and we hope to begin soon!

So, believe in the power of praying for your dreams, God will provide!

Coloring Books for Kids!

If you've read our blog before you know of our strong connection with Casita Benjamín.
The Casita is a care center for kids that is about 2 blocks from the largest landfill dump in Central America. This is a very poor area, very dangerous and very dark spiritually neighborhood.
The Casita is a light for the neighborhood, giving a safe, healthy place for kids during the day, where they receive love, nourishment and instruction in life's basic lessons as well as learning about God's love for them.

Casita Benjamín
One of the things we do with the Casita is provide interns to help with the ministry there. We have been blessed to be able to provide interns for a good chunk of every year.
One of our interns Heidi Harriman served there the first time in 2008. She had a passion to return and help even more. So she did return and served for 8 months during 2010. 
One of Heidi's goals was to begin a sponsorship program for more children to be able to attend the Casita.
This is an ongoing effort, and one thing she has developed to draw attention is a:


She is sending these coloring books to those interested for a suggested donation of $5.
Please click on this link to learn more, and for how to order.

Click on this link to see another great blog about Heidi's coloring books!

The Casita, kids and all of us thank you!

03 January 2011

More blessings!

It is such a blessing to be able to help connect people and ministries together. One of the things I enjoy is being able to combine different ministries to make bigger and better! We do that a lot with our ministry to youth, connecting them to help serve in other areas.
I have mentioned before a ministry here "Abrazando mi Guatemala", that is a local ministry trying to reach out to poor communities by helping with basic needs. We have partnered with them to provide water filters etc. They contacted me shortly before Christmas with a request for some help. They had 1,000 lbs of good used clothing donated, and wanted to give it away to people living around the dump.
They don't really have any contacts there so asked me to help them.
The only thing was, it had to be done before the end of 2010, and...I am slightly busy in December.
But...........can't say no, right?

Setting up for the give away
 Well, you can't just walk around those neighborhoods carrying lots of clothes, so we arranged to use Casita Benjamin, and invite the people to come there. So, Dec 30 we announced we would be there at 3 PM with free clothes.

People arriving
 We arrived a few minutes late, and there were already about 50 people waiting!
We set things up, sorting out clothes by: mens, womens, childrens etc then let the people come on in!

Checking sizes
 In about 20 minutes almost everything was gone! It was actually very organized and was a huge blessing to see so many people happy to receive new things!

Pleased with her selections!
 It is a simple thing, but so very appreciated by the people, clothes here, while inexpensive by North American standards, are still expensive for people in these neighborhoods, and they really have very little. You will often see kids wearing the same shirts day after day.

Candy bags for all of the kids!
We also had some candy bags for all of the kids that came.

It really is such a blessing to be able to do these things, that while they are small things themselves, they really do transform lives here. God is doing great things here, and we are so blessed to be able to watch Him at work and to be asked to help in His work!

Please keep praying, there is always more to be done!