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.
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.
THANK YOU ST. ANDREW!
You are a tremendous blessing for us, you will be rewarded in heaven for your love and sacrifice.
We Love You!