04 July 2011

Excursión Familiar with families from Zona 3

We know there were many of you praying for this outreach we called 
"Excursión Familiar"
and want to report that your prayers were heard and it was a WONDERFUL day!
The idea was to have a day for families, which most rarely have an opportunity to share. Many of these families don't have both parents, or if they do, the dads are not very involved, or are abusive, acoholics, addicts etc. My main objective in the beginning was to have an outing where we could share with the men mostly, to encourage them of the importance of being involved, and of being a good role model for their children. As well as to share the Gospel as most have never surrendered to it. Then, to give them the opportunity to have an undivided day with their children.

Getting ready to load the buses!
We rented two buses, and hoped we would get a good turnout. We set a limit of 80 people, hoping the Lord would send us a little more! Well, once we got buses loaded and left for the parque, we had an even 100 people!

Forming lines (kind of) to enter the Parque
We left the city and went to "Senderos de Alux" an eco park on top of one of the mountains outside Guatemala City, about 7,500 feet elevation. It is a beautiful place with trails, lookouts, a zipline, play equipment, BBQs and more! Only about 5 of the people had ever been there before!

The long trail down to our area
We had a covered BBQ area reserved that had a large patio with it.
One of our biggest concerns was the weather, as we are high up, and it is the rainy season. We were praying along with many, for a nice day. Well, it began to rain lightly right as we arrived at our spot. But, it soon stopped, and by lunch, we were getting a little sun! Praise the Lord!

The women received an encouraging message
 We began the time by separating the women and the men, each receiving an encouraging message.
Meanwhile the children were playing with some of our youth that came to help.

Gathering to sing worship songs

After the messages, we all gathered around the covered area for a time of worship through music. Oscar brought his guitar and led us in alabanzas to the Lord!

Lots of family fun!

 There was also some free time for families and friends to just enjoy the fun and beauty that was around us!

Cutting peppers, not sure hermana Raquel trusts me...

 Hermanas Ana y Raquel, with a few of us helping, got the fires going and began preparing a delicious lunch!
We had carne asada with chirmol, elote, potato salad, tortillas, watermelon and juice!

Free for all time!
 There was plenty of time to explore and play while lunch was being prepared.

Some sweet times the kids will never forget!
 We saw smiles everywhere...even on some faces I hadn't seen smile before!

A day to relax and truly enjoy family!
Truly, for many of those attending, it was literally the first time they had ever done something like this as a family.

Hermano Samuel sharing the Gospel
 Before lunch was served, hermano Samuel, gave a very clear and simple presentation of the Gospel and an invitation to accept it. At least a couple of people, including one dad, publicly acknowledged accepting the Lord!

I was even asked to share a few words 
 Then I was asked to share a few words as the host before we could eat.
It was truly a privilege and a HUGE blessing for me just to be there in the presence of those people.
My heart was just overflowing watching the families smiling and relaxing.

Ended the day with three piñatas!
And, as with any good party, we ended with piñatas...three piñatas to be exact!
I think the adults enjoyed them as much as the children, they were right in the middle scrambling for candy too!
But, as all things eventually do, the time came to go home. Everyone helped pack everything back up, up, up to the buses for the ride back to the real world. 
What a joy to watch the faces, buses filled with smiling contented people!
Please keep these people in your prayers. That the seeds planted would receive water and nutrients, that the seeds would sprout and grow. 
Pray that the men especially would take what they heard, and experienced, and desire to become better husbands and fathers.
Pray we would continue to see more doors opened through these events, and that we may enter and be a part of these lives.
Praise our God for a FANTASTIC day!


 A few more pics of random things from the past week or so...

We had a two day mini-retreat with 4 or our interns at Las Buenas Nuevas in Panajachel.

Intern retreat at Panajachel
We seem to get a lot of former interns that come back to visit! Allison, an intern from 2010, came back for a visit and had dinner with us and two of this years interns, Alex and CJ. We had a fun evening, but whenever I try to have a serious discussion....

You try to have a serious moment...
Sometimes Sandi even has trouble being serious...
was it something I said?

Really, trying to be serious...
 We continue to have youth activities on Saturdays and had Alex and CJ join in.
Here we played some fútbol even though it rained a little...wet is okay when it's this much fun!

although not in this picture,

The end of another fun afternoon!
A wet, but happy little group this Saturday!

01 July 2011

Intern Retreat

 So, haven't posted in a while, but not because we haven't been doing anything, more because we're always doing something! We have been busy with our interns, mostly with Alex and CJ in at the Casita. We have spent a lot of time with them, Ellie has been sick, but is now getting well. Then Alex got sick. Funny how that works, several of us got a little cold, flu like thing from little Ellie.
We have had the girls home with us most week-ends and it's been fun. We've also had other guests, overlapping so the house has been busy! Sundays are always a treat as we take kids to church with us, and never really know how many we might have until we pick them up. Sometimes they come home with us after church for the afternoon also. Like Father's day...we had a house full ALL day...it was wonderful!
Always extra activities along with our time for the interns.
We also just had a mini-retreat with four and a half of our interns. We took Marissa, Lauren, CJ, Alex and Ellie to Panajachel on Lake Atitlan. Along with Oscar and myself, Sandi & Maria. 

Visit with the Foote's
Highlight of the trip was having lunch and visiting with Danny and Daphne Foote and their 5 kids.
The Foote's live in Santiago, Atitlan, which is across the lake. We rented a boat, took a ride across the lake to the Foote's own dock! 

Alex and Ellie on the boat ride
 The Foote's had a great lunch ready for us, then we spent time hearing their story of their work in Santiago, and even learned a few words in Tz'utujil, the Mayan tongue spoken there,

Dinner and the all women Marimba band
Back in Panajachel, we had a dinner out and were entertained by an all female Marimba band. They were very good, and the food wasn't bad either. We spent some time worshiping back at our 'house' and then spent some time with the interns sharing experiences and frustrations, hard things etc. It was a really good time of knowing them all better and growing much closer as a group.
This is a very special group of young ladies.

These kids and more, with their families, will be at the outreach "Excursión Familiar"
I want to briefly share about an upcoming outreach we will be having. This coming Sunday, July 3rd, we will take two buses filled with families from zona 3, in the neighborhood right alongside the largest landfill dump in Central America, out of the city to "Senderos de Alux". This is a beautifil eco-park, on top of a mountain with trails, kids play areas, beautiful views of Guatemala City and fresh air! Many of these families have never seen anyplace like this! The purpose, however, is primarily for the men. Many children basically live in single parent homes becomes the men choose not to be involved. Many are drug users, or alcoholics, in gangs etc. Abuse in the homes is more common than not, both spouse abuse and child abuse. We will have messages for the men about the importance of being a good role model, etc, and the damage when they are not. There will be an evangelistic message for all, lunch, games for the kids and for the families, prizes, piñatas....a full day of fun!
Please pray for this event, that God would prepare and soften hearts for the Gospel that can change their lives!