29 May 2013


Hard to believe but I actually wore a tie twice within a three day span!
Interestingly enough, October & November are when we normally attend lots of graduations, but in May we have now had three very special ones!

Maria receiving her diploma!
 Saturday, May 25th, our daughter Maria Alejandra received her High School diploma from Christian Academy of Guatemala!

Christian Academy of Guatemala Class of 2013
 We are very proud of Maria, she finished an excellent senior year receiving very good grades from a very tough school! 
She finished exams (she only had to take one, being exempt from all others) May 16 and then went on a five day Senior Trip with her classmates to Orlando, Florida!
They had a great time!

Graduates celebrating!
 So, what is on the horizon for Maria?
She will be with us the next couple of months helping with our intern program and with a team coming the end of June.
Then in late July we will travel to Texas for Intern de-briefings and spend a week there. Then at the end of July, Sandi and Maria will travel to the Northwest and Maria will get settled in there.
Her plans are to work and study at Whatcom Community College.

Maria with the proud parents
There are still many details to be worked out, where to live, find a job etc.
 so we would appreciate your prayers for these things and a 
smooth transition for her.     And us.

Seminaristas de la Universidad de San Carlos 2013
 Two days after Maria's graduation, I found myself wearing a tie again!
One of our long time youth, Diana Ramirez, was completing a huge step toward her college graduation.
They have to go through what is called Seminario, and is a huge team project where they do a study of some topic and form a conclusion and recommendations for solutions or improvements. 
They finish with a ceremony where the groups present the project, show their work and methods and then present their conclusion and recommendations.

Diana con los papas orgullosos
 Diana asked as to go as family for her and share in her success with this step toward her college graduation!
We are very proud of Diana, a very hard working young lady!

22 May 2013

Jovenes Return!

After 5 months of no youth group activities we re-started the grupo de jovenes!

Getting started
Some people may recall that after leading a youth group for several years I combined our group with a new group being led by Samuel & Katy Montero they started at our church "Heme Aquí Señor" in Feb. 2012.
For reasons outside my control, the group ended last December hoping to begin again in January, but never did. Then in April the Montero's met with Sandi and I to see if we could re-start the group again outside of the church.

Playing spoons
 So we agreed to meet in our homes and begin meeting again, with Samuel & Katy leading.
We had our first "new" meeting April 28th at our house to explain to the youth our plans and agree on times etc.
Due to commitments, our next meeting would be May 19 when we would start with new lessons etc.
That was last Sunday and we had a great start! After a short opening and a time of worship we broke into smaller groups, one for older girls, one for younger girls and one for guys.

Small group lesson and discussion
 We began a great lesson book called 'Diez Pasos de Discipulado' or
Ten Steps of Discipleship.
We are looking forward to watching our youth grow and mature spiritually through these lessons.
Please keep us and our youth in your prayers to seek Him and strive to be more and more Christ like in all that we do.
I LOVE our kids!


 Many upcoming activities, visitors, interns etc. to follow and pray about.
Our summer EMERGE intern program has already began with one intern, Lauren Arant already here, studying Spanish for a couple of weeks in Antigua. Six more interns will arrive over the next month or so with it all ending at Next Step in Texas July 21 - 24.
Please pray for our interns, that they would be impacted and changed for their time of service here.
Lauren Arant - May 17-July 24     Casita Benjamín
Katelyn Sundin - May 30-July 24     Orphanage in Santiago, Atitlán
Emily Marsch - May 30-July 24     El Oasis
Robert Engle - June 13-July 24     Casita Benjamín
Andrew Ware - June 13-July 1     Videography
Erica Contreras - June 27-July 24     El Oasis
Carys Meyer - June 27-July 24     Casita Benjamín

Also coming soon is our annual Excursión Familiar with the families from around the dump in Zona 3. This is a special event for families with few resources to go away to a nice place to have a family day. Something many have never done except for this event.

Waterfall & small river in background at Finca El Edén
 This years event will be held on June 23rd, and we will take everyone to
  Finca El Edén!
Finca El Edén is about an hour away near Escuintla heading toward the Pacific coast.

Lush peaceful setting
 Finca El Edén is absolutely beautiful and we will have the entire place reserved for just us to enjoy for the day. The finca has a river running through it, lush vegetation with plenty of shade. A pool, basketball court, fútbol field, lots of grassy area to play, trails to walk, large patios, covered area and outdoor kitchen!

Pool, play areas, trails, B'ball court, fútbol field & more!
 Excursión Familiar is an event we host in partnership with Casita Benjamín.
We rent two large buses, provide a wonderful lunch and take families for a day out.
These are families from a very poor, dangerous and spiritually dark neighborhood. Most of the kids come from single parent homes, very few being believers but the only requirement is that if there is a male involved in the family, he must attend or the family cannot go. Each year the number of men in attendance has grown.  We plan to fill the buses to capacity and will have around 130-150 people. 

Amazingly beautiful place!
We will arrive in the morning, have a little free time while we get organized then we will separate into groups and have an evangelical message for the men, one for the women and another for youth.
The children will have a time of games, songs and a little program just for them!
Then there will be a delicious lunch, and lots of free time for the families to enjoy the place.

Please pray that lives would be reached for Christ through this event and that the families would feel the love of Christ through all of us that will be serving them.
If you are interested in helping with a gift you can send it to Camino Global and say it is for:
Casita Outreach Events Acct # 062877

Community Bible Church team 2012 at Casa Kairos
The end of June with have another team coming! June 28-July 8 we will host a group from Community Bible Church in Baton Rouge, LA.
They brought a team for the first time last year and we have formed a special bond with this church!
They will primarily be serving at a Christian school in Puerto San José on the coast.

21 May 2013

Felicita graduates!

Sunday, May 5th, 2013 was held the 141st commencement ceremony for Berea College located in Berea, Kentucky.
Sandi and I were in attendance, to watch our daughter Felicita receive her Bachelor of Arts degree majoring in Child and Family Studies.

Sand sculpture honoring the graduates!
 Sandi and I had to be there, even though Felicita thought it was silly for us to spend all that money just to watch her walk across a stage.

Felicita and her friend Valerie
 We arrived late at night Thursday (actually very early Friday) in Berea and were able to spend a little bit of time with Felicita before the graduation Sunday.

With Felicita outside the chapel on campus
 She had a practice to attend, and a dinner with classmates etc, but we did have some time together.

The most beautiful graduate! (and shortest)
 The ceremony was long, and the Charge to the Class speech was, frankly, long, boring and not very inspiring, but when the time came, I couldn't have been prouder watching through tears as Felicita received her diploma!

We are so proud of this young woman that never attended school until she was turning 12 years old, and even then starting in English when she didn't even speak it, then earning a full scholarship to Berea College, making the Deans list her junior year, and finally graduating from Berea College!

You are a tremendous blessing to us and we love you Felicita, 
may God guide you and keep you in all your caminos.
Seek Him in all things and He will not let you fall.

Congratulations Felicita!

Primer cumpleaño - First birthday!

May 3rd was the first birthday of our "nieta", Elizabeth Saraí Canil Gonzalez!
So, we needed a big party! Right?

Elizabeth Saraí "La princesita"
Sandi and I were leaving for our daughter Felicita's college graduation in the USA May 2nd, 
so we moved the party up to May 1st, a holiday here in Guatemala.

Mamá e hija
 Elizabeth is the daughter of Erika Canil Gonzalez, one of our girls in La Luz Brilla.
We are very close with the entire family, Erika is the oldest of 5 siblings, and her brother Luis is living with us. They are like family with us and Elizabeth is just like our nieta. She is truly a great blessing and gift from God for us.

Her first piñata!
 Every birthday here needs a piñata!
Elizabeth's first time hitting a piñata, and later when others had their turn, she became very upset that they were hurting the bunny!

Lot's of candy

One candle & chocolate cake!
 We had to have chocolate cake after eating chuchitos and tostadas!

With her tia & tios, Sonia, Oscar, Luis & David
It was the first time in a very long time we were able to have all 5 siblings together!
Great day and just the first of many more, Lord willing.

Roperos and repairs

 Our friends from Alaska, Blaine & Becky Anders, who spent all of March with us last year, wanted to do the same this year! What a blessing for us!
Blaine arrived in February to spend a week in Antigua studying Spanish.
Then the brginning of March Becky arrived with their friend Chuck Gerwig.
Chuck would spend just a week with us but what a week!

Becky & Blaine Anders planing some wood!
Their project was to build roperos, or closets, for the bedrooms at La Luz Brilla, the transition home for señoritas.
Blaine and I bought all of the materials before Becky and Chuck arrived, and they jumped right into the work!

Chuck "can fix anything" Gerwig!
 They had assured me before they came that their friend Chuck could fix anything. Well, I don´t know if he can fix anything, but he did fix everything we brought him to fix!
He started with our car. He brought all the parts with him, and with minimal tools, put a new timing belt and complete tune-up for our 4Runner.
He also fixed my air compressor and Sandi's bread maker. That was the best, we are now enjoying fresh bread almost daily!

He makes a mess but the results are fantastic!
 Put a LOT of work into the roperos, the girls at La Luz Brilla love them, and they are definitely made with love.

The garage became a very efficient shop

New closets for bedrooms at La Luz Brilla
  After a couple of coats of stain and the hardware they were installed in three bedrooms.
Absolutely HERMOSOS

Nearly finished products
Blaine & Becky also went with us to Puerto San José, where Blaine built some cabinet face frames with doors for Colegio Génesis. He also installed several doors for classrooms.

Picnic lunch at Cerro de Alux, a park overlooking the city
 After the Anders left we welcomed another couple for a week in April.
Karen & Steve Metzger from Baton Rouge, LA wanted to come get to know us and learn more of our ministries here. They are very interested in perhaps "retiring" soon to be basically self-supported missionaries and wanted to learn of opportunities here in Guatemala.

Steve & Karen Metzger with us in Panajachel
We had a great time getting to know them and showing them around. We also took an overnight trip with them, and the girls from La Luz Brilla, to Lago de Atitlán. 

Spring is TEAM TIME!

Spring usually brings many teams to Guatemala, and this year is no exception.
We were involved all or in part with 3 teams over February & March, and also had a cancellation.
In February I spent several days in Huehuetenango with a team from Snoqualmie Valley Missionary Alliance church in Maple Valley, WA!
In March was our annual visit from St. Andrew Presbyterian Church of Denton, TX.
This was our 6th team from St. Andrew having faithfully brought a team to serve with us each year since 2008!

Zane showing off his cowboy skills!
 Our main project with St. Andrew was to put a new roof on Iglesia Evangelica Esmirna, in Puerto San José, Esquintla, on the Pacific coast of Guatemala.
However, the first thing awaiting the team when we arrived in Puerto San José were several motorcycles and a visit to a ranch to ride horses!

Brandon & Brandi ready to join a M/C gang!
 Praise the Lord everyone survived the experience!

Brett nearly gave us all a heart attack
 Brett was a constant need for prayer while on a motorcycle, but Jerry was definitely scarier to watch.

Singing at Iglesia Monte Sión
 Our first night in Puerto San José we were invited to a special service at Iglesia Monte Sión, where the St. Andrew team served in 2012. It was a wonderful service with the church giving thanks and praise to God for their new roof that St. Andrew provided and began in 2012. They presented a beautiful plaque thanking St. Andrew for their help.

Program & testimonies at Colegio Génesis
 The team also visited a Christian school Colegio Génesis. They had two programs, one for younger kids, and one for the older ones, where they sang, had some stories and shared a couple of testimonies.

Putting a new roof on Iglesia Evangelica Esmirna
 The team also put an entire new roof on Iglesia Evangelica Esmirna!

When you're at the coast you have to visit the beach!
 They spent a couple of hours at the beach also, playing and relaxing.

Finished roof!
 We were able to complete the installation of the new roofing before we left.

Painting the benches for the church
 Those on the ground while the roof was being finished were also able to paint all of the benches for the church!
After returning to the capital, the team also visited Kairos House, had a tour of the city, and spent a day in Antigua.

Team from The INN at Western Washington University
After St. Andrew returned to the States, during Semana Santa we were able to spend several days with a team from our home town! It was a group of college students from WWU in Bellingham, WA! 
The INN was one of our first groups when I was directing Brother's Keeper Ministries, and we arranged and led many trips for The INN.
It is always a joy to have them return and be able to accompany them even if only for a few days.

VBS activities at Iglesia "La Hermosa" in Huehuetenango
We spent several days with them in Huehuetenango where they were painting a small rural church in the mountains, and doing childrens programs in the afternoons!