27 October 2012

Coming Soon! A Busy Season!

Every year about this time I begin to freak out just a tad over all that is coming up. 
And every year the Lord guides everything and it all comes together in my hap-hazard way and one way or another we get through it, look back and say "WOW, are we blessed to be a part of all this or what?"
Of course each year there is more as we have added things and people every year. But that really just makes it all better!

Our biggest item coming up quickly is our annual Nochebuena (Christmas Eve) outreach event.
Every year we host a dinner and outreach for families that live by the dump here in Guatemala City.
Christmas is a depressing time in this area, very few are believers and most cannot afford a tamale dinner or presents for their children. It is a dangerous, spiritually dark neighborhood.
So we form a servant team with our youth that come from difficult backgrounds themselves, and we sing carols, have a program and drama for the children, an evangelistic message for the adults and a traditional Guatemalan dinner of Tamales, Pan & Ponche. Each child receives a wrapped gift and each family a gift basket of basic goods.

Servant team 2011
It is a huge amount of prep work as last year we had about 250 people and expect that again this year.
We have many meetings with the youth to practice songs and a drama to perform.
We have an all day outing to buy gifts for 150+ kids. We have another outing to buy all of the goods to make 65 - 75 gift baskets.
Then we have an all day activity with our youth at our house to wrap gifts and make the gift baskets.

Christmas Carols in the street!
 We have another all day activity at our house with the youth to bake 1,000 of Sandi's famous Christmas cookies, and also to make decorations.

The Christmas story
 Then on Christmas Eve we load up our rented bus with everything and head for Casita Benjamin in Zone 3 to prepare for the event. The youth decorate the facility and we get ready for the people.
We will again this year begin out in the street. We will set up speakers etc and sing Christmas Carols in the street to attract more neighbors. We had the street filled last year! Then we will have a short Gospel message and invitation out in the street, then have families that have already signed up enter for the children's program and dinner.

Some of the children!
Each year the Lord provides for all of the needs, and we are confident He will again this year. If you are interested in helping just ask us how! We still right now lack about $2,225 of our budget for the event.

Right in the middle of this planning time I will be making a 10 day trip to the USA to visit three churches and a big missions conference at Texas A&M University. 
You can see what that is about in the blog post before this one!

Birthday celebration!
November is also a month with LOTS of birthdays for us. Between friends and family here and in the States we have about 17 birthdays to celebrate!
For those of our youth here, we always try to make it a little more special for them.
Sadly I will miss several due to the trip I will be making to the States.

Schools here end in late October or November, so each year I have many graduations to attend. Sometimes even as "Papá". I  enjoy very much the opportunity to share in these special days with our 'kids'.
Again sadly, due to my trip, I will miss two very special graduations.

 Also in November we will be having an all day outing with our church for a service outside, with picnic lunch following and also baptisms!
After having changed the dates twice for this, it will now happen while I am in the States :(
This is especially sad as one of our special young ladies, Alejandra will be getting baptized and I won't be able to help be a part of it.

 We continue with the legal process to gain guardianship of Luis, a 15 yr. old boy we have been involved with for 5 years. Please pray with us this will happen soon.

Also there are all of the ongoing ministry functions, La Luz Brilla which we are still learning how to do it, but it is serving it's purpose and helping change the lives of some young women. We currently have 4 more interested in coming, and need to find more sponsors to help make this happen.
We continue working on pretty much daily basis with lots of youth. Almost everyday something is happening!
Sandi continues with the weekly ladies bible study in our home for many maids in our neighborhood!

It may sound busy, but we are so privileged to do these things that I feel like the most blessed person here! 

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