24 March 2011

Getting robbed...what a Blessing!

So, I want to share a HUGE praise with you all!
Won't sound like it at first...but, it still astounds me!
Tuesday morning our car was broken into and we lost a lot.
In the previous post you can read about the team we just had here from St. Andrew Presbyterian Church in Denton, TX. 
The team left Monday afternoon, and Tuesday morning I went to the gym to swim (for my back, Drs. orders). While in the gym someone broke into our car and stole lots. Tore the dash console open to steal the radio. I left my cel phone and my wallet in the car, because the parking lot is guarded and there is nowhere secure in the locker room. Anyway, I had an extra large amount of cash because I need to pay the remaining bills for the team that just left. So, they stole the stereo, my cel phone, and lots of money. BUT...PRAISE GOD, AND BIG. They took the time to go through my wallet. Think about this. You're a thief stealing things from a car in a guarded parking lot with people coming and going at about 8:30AM. You want to get stuff and go as fast as possible...right? You find a small wallet, what do you do? Well, I would put it in my pocket and go....later, in a safe place, I would go through it and throw away what I don't want.

My license

Okay, well, whoever did this, made a conscience decision, I believe it was Spirit led, Susana is sure it was angels, but I had money folded up in my wallet between cards etc. They removed all the cash, but they left, my driver license, my cedula (national ID, hard to get and replace) my tarjeta de circulación (proof of ownership for the car you must have at all times) my credit card and debit card!
You have no idea how much trouble, time and money it would take to replace those things. All told we probably lost around $500 including phone, stereo, cash and fixing the door.

Cover of my Cédula

So, I have replaced the phone and put the dash console back together (they took it apart carefully, not breaking anything!) and fixed the door lock which they forced with a screwdriver.
I am sooooo thankful this didn't happen while the team was here.
I am sooooo thankful for God's providence in this. There just is no other explanation for finding my things. Even the pictures of my kids were replaced in my wallet!
We are so blessed, we lost a few things,  but that's all they were...cash, radio, phone...
we were spared the tremendous stress, time and cost of having to replace IDs and other necessary things.
God is good...ALL THE TIME!

23 March 2011

Equipo San Andrés es lo mejor!

Some of our FAVORITE people came to serve with us from St. Andrew Presbyterian Church in Denton, TX March 13 - 21. I'm sure some of you are wondering why they are some of our favorites.....well, for starters, they brought me a supply of red licorice and Root Beer!
This was the 4th consecutive year we have hosted a team from St. Andrew for Spring Break. This years trip was full of many different experiences for the team.
We started the first morning by taking them to Puerto San José on the Pacific coast...yes, we visited the beach!

Equipo San Andrés
 In Puerto San José we worked at Colegio Evangélico Génesis, a school connected to the CAM church in San José. The colegio has 220 students and is working on completing a 3rd floor.

The students loved watching the gringos work!
 We poured concrete columns, demo'd some walls, plastered a lot of walls etc. We also put chain link fence around the perimeter of the roof area which also serves as a small fútbol field!
The team also were the program for the Tuesday night children's program at the church, with games, story, crafts and songs.

Plastering walls at the colegio
While we were in San José I had the privilege to take 3 of the team with myself and Rony Montepeque, the director of the colegio, to visit some of the 8 daughter church's of the CAM church.

Giving filters to Iglesia Monte Sion
 We met some pastors and elders of the churches, and heard some of their successes and challenges.
We also gave out several water filters at each church, for the church to use and also to give to the families with the greatest needs.

Giving filters to another baby church  
 All told, we gave out 20 filters throughout the day. And it was a full day...when we left we were told it would be about a two to three hour tour. Remember, Gilligan was told the same thing! Well we ended up being gone all day!

Taking a ferry to visit another remote church plant
 But, it was a GREAT day! We took a small ferry to cross a river to visit a small remote church. The ferry had many gaps and holes in the floor, with the water just a couple of inches below, but it was fine.

We gave out more filters at this church
 We also saw more Mango trees than most people see in a lifetime! At this church, we ate yellow Mangos picked from the tree, drank and ate Coco picked from the tree, ate Oranges and green Mangos with Limones picked from the tree. (Did you know they have at least 9 different types of Mangos?) We also saw Papaya and Almond trees on the church property. So...guess it was a lot like Gilligan!

New swings at Las Aldeas
 After three days in San José we returned to Guatemala City. We then worked two days at Las Aldeas, painting the inside of houses and also repaired play equipment and provided new swings. There were afternoon activities with all the kids after they returned from school.

Breakfast with the Tia's
 One of the high-lites for me was being able to do something special for the Tia's. The women who are in charge of the houses and 115+ children that live there. Their job is one of little thanks and recognition, the children always getting the attention. But I have witnessed the love and sacrifice given these children that mean so much to me, and wanted them to have a special day. So, with a few of the girls from St. Andrew, we took all the Tia's out to breakfast, then returned and the gals had a short program to encourage and thank them. I was able to explain our ministry to the many new Tia's also. 

The Tia's with their new aprons
 Then, the Tia's all received wonderful gift bags the team brought for them, and each received a beautiful apron made by Jan Lewis.

Lago de Atitlán
 There also has to be some 'cultural' experience so we took a day and visited the Mayan ruins at Iximché on our way to beautiful Lake Atitlán. Makes a long day to do all that but it was a wonderful day!

Singing at Iglesia Heme Aquí Señor
 Sunday we attended the church Sandi and I have been attending the past month+ and really enjoy. It is Iglesia Heme Aquí Señor.
The women of the team sang four songs for the church after an hour+ of worship with the church worship team.

Brandon preaching
 Then, Pastor Brandon was given the opportunity to give the message through a translator. For a first time with a translator Brandon did GREAT!

 Then, after 3 hours at church the team deserved....TACOS!

Visiting Casita Benjamín
Monday morning before heading to the airport we visited Casita Benjamín, where a team from St. Andrew had worked two years ago. We sang several songs with the kids, then the children sang some songs for us! 

What the team doesn't always get see are the benefits we receive after they return home. Their service at Las Aldeas last year opened many new doors for me there. And their service this years is going to do the same. They helped us start a new partnership with ministry in Puerto San José. Their return to Las Aldeas and the activities and program for the Tia's will for sure grow our youth ministry there.
You are a tremendous blessing for us, you will be rewarded in heaven for your love and sacrifice.
We Love You!

03 March 2011

As Much Fun As Pulling Teeth!

Hi. This is Sandi. I'm just so excited to share about the privilege I had to join a team from Minnesota last week to do some dental & eye clinics in many different villages in Huehuetenango. 

Sandi and team from Minnesota
I was invited by Edwin Martinez and Gail Davison and am so thankful for the invitation they offered me to join the team and be blessed.

Dr. Rick DDS, Nurse Sandi, Nurse Nancy & Dr. Jeff DDS 
We had two Dentists, an Eye Doctor and several talented nurses, painters and children's workers. We saw God working in many miraculous ways as we came into contact with hundreds of people.

Sandi giving parasite medicine
I had the privilege of passing out over 200 vials of Parasite medicine, and most of the people were very grateful (although several younger children really didn't appreciate it much.)

Space age stuff for these kids!
But one of my favorite experiences was witnessing an 8 year old boy see clearly for the very first time. The Dr. checked his eyes and said that he had MANY problems and didn't think that they would ever find the right prescription (out of the many pairs of used glasses they had brought)

Seeing clearly for the first time!
but they found the perfect prescription and I got to watch as they put them on him and he said, "I can see!" and looked all around in amazement at the beauty of the mountains and people and things that he had never in his life seen clearly before. Then, I looked at his mother, who put her hands up to her face and cried as she watched this miracle before her eyes. It was so, so touching.

Dr. Rick pulling more teeth
After, passing out all the medicine, I had the privilege of working with the Dentists and an OR nurse. Just putting on a pair of rubber gloves and working with the medical people brought joy to my heart and made me realize how much I missed working as a nurse. All I did was help clean instruments and hold down some children for extractions and hold the peoples hands to help them through, but I never realized how much joy that could bring to me. The Dentists (as well as the others) were so loving and caring, it was just a blessing to watch them work.

Church service in Aguacatán
During the week, we also attended 3 church services, a funeral (which was so sad but it was very impactfull to us all), a singing and evangelism time in a market place, painting in a school and 2 maps in the Huehue Guest house, and several kids meetings. We also, had the chance to give out 12 Water Filters in Agua Dulce. It was busy, busy, busy! The fellowship we shared through out the week was so awesome, and I am so, so thankful to God for allowing me to enjoy such a blessed week.