Sunday, June 13, 2010

The fastest two weeks of my life...

Buenos Noches de Gautemala!! (Good evening from Guatemala!!)

I first of all, would like to say thank you to all who have been following and praying for us on this journey that God has assembled and ordained for. Your efforts have really made the difference!

Today was a very hard day. It seems just yesterday we were meeting the youth at our base church (Authentica Palabra de Vida/Authentic Word of Life); and here we are at the end of our last day in Chuquimula. It was a very reflective, but sad day. It started with a traditional Guatemalan breakfast of black beans, scrambled eggs, tortillas, and a chorizo-like sausage; it was delicious! Then we shortly departed for church, and the group, again, split in two; half going to San Juan Hermita, half staying in Chiquimula. In San Juan, my group was able to hear the local pastor give a short sermon right after Jason gave his testimony as I translated it into Spanish. There were not many there; only about eight young boys, plus four men who came late. However, you could see the spirit was moving in those who heard, because all were either attentive or somewhat uncomfortable with what was said. Praise the Lord! We also got to sing two songs in Spanish, and one song in English for the small congregation. The group that stayed in Chiquimula worked with the kids, and listened to Dr. Best finish his two part mini-series on healing; today's main point being that God heals each person depending upon their needs.

We then went to the Cordero's for lunch and had yet another traditional, but delicious, Guatemalan meal. These burrito-like things contained black beans (of course), beef, grilled green onions, and sour cream, all folded into a flour tortilla. After that we relaxed and spent time with the family until about five, when we again met with the youth one last time. We shared with each other, both American and Guatemalan, what our favorite parts about working together, and the trip overall. The results were surprisingly the same: We all enjoyed the strength and joy and love the other group shared with each other and the world around them. What a blessing to hear a confirmation that we have been accurately portraying the love of Christ! We had worship, in both languages, and ended by all singing together "La Nina de Tus Ojos" or "The Child of Your Eyes". There were many tears, but we made it through the first round of goodbyes. Then we returned to the Cordero's for dinner and some fun with the Guatemalan version of Black Cat fireworks (which, by the way you can buy over 1,300 of them for around $3.50 US). We had tostadas, a flat taco shell with various toppings including, guacamole, beef, black beans, and a tomato sauce. The hardest part was definitely saying goodbye to the three kids; Kevin-11, Nathan-6, and Amy-5. Please keep them in your prayers.

As I look back over the two fastest weeks of my life I can't help but be filled with the joy of the Lord, as David was in 2 Samuel 6. He has done so many great things for and through us, and I would like to just recap a few:

-He provided us with safe passage regardless of what the weather was like.
-He brought us to work with a truly amazing family who has sold out for Christ in their country.
-One member of our group has discovered what it really means to follow the Lord! What joy there is just in that!
-He has transformed a group who was petrified at sharing their stories with their own group into a group of powerful Warriors whose testimonies have touched hundreds, if not thousands, of Guatemalan lives.
-He kept us safe against the attacks of the enemy, and has brought many, including us, into a deeper walk with him.

These are all great things, but the thing I will always remember, was the miracle that occurred on Thursday. We arrived at the church and began to load food bags into the truck. we were instructed to load 50 bags. Four members of our team counted the bags we put in the pickup, and all agreed that there were 50. We all watched as Pastor Oseas tied down the sacks securely. Well long story short, when we got to the mountain that was over four hours away, we gave away (again, we counted) 55 bags!! And when we returned to the church, there were still 50 bags left. That doesn't seem all that important, but Oseas had bought exactly enough food for 100 bags. Many people counted the hundred we prepared that night, including myself. God quite literally did a miracle! He multiplied our bags and gave us five extra! Praise the Lord!!

This is just one of the many other stories we will tell you when we all get home in just two days!! Tomorrow we head to Antigua, to spend a day there in the markets. Pray for safety please! That is all for tonight, Thanks again.

In His Grip,
Wes Cates

Ps- I just want to take a minute to say I love you! to all my family, Friends, and Megan. Thanks for your unwavering support!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Another day in the mountains

Today was another earlier morning. We were up at 5:15 am and devotions at 5:45 am. We then went over to the Codero's home and had eggs and oatmeal for breakfast. Then after a quick breakfast we loaded up the bus and went to the church load up another fifty bags of food to take up to the village in the mountains.

Once we got to the nearby Chorti village we all got out of the bus and loaded the team up into three flatbed trucks and took about a fifty-minute ride up the mountain to the village in the back of these trucks. The view and the scenery were amazing. The mountains were so beautiful in the morning, everything is green and the clouds were in the background with the sun shining through. You just get the overwhelming feeling of God's presence in that place; it was awesome.

So then we finally get up to the mountains. We then unloaded and met the village people that had came out to greet us. As you looked down the dirt paths and saw the women and children from the villages come out to see us the joy on there faces of just us being there was moving. Some of the old women came up to us and gave us kisses on the check and told us "God Bless You" in Spanish and that is really what we are doing it for, we are not doing of this for thank you's or anything in return but simply for God and the glory of His kingdom.

So after we got settled Pastor Oseas gave a short message to the people and event though we could not understand what he was saying, you just knew, the Holy Spirit is so strong in that man and he fills anyplace he goes with his words, even in the middle of Guatemala up in a small mountain village God is present. After the short message Chris Holcromb and myself (Jason D'Amico) and went over to the truck to get the bags ready for the people to receive. Then as we handed out the bags we then prayed and laid hands over every bag that we handed out, and it was so amazing to see the joy on these people's faces when we gave them the bags. We knew we were giving out more than bags we were giving hope and a sense of spiritual renewal that they would be okay for at least a little while and that they know that God will always provide for them no matter what.

As we finished up with the bags we kissed everyone goodbye and and proceeded back down the mountain and headed back to the Codero's house for lunch. After having lunch we had some down time. So in that much needed time of relaxation, we took the pastor's kids swimming at our hotel. After swimming around and relaxing for the afternoon, the team went to the church for some time of fellowship with the local youth group from the church where we talked and got to know each other and we also shared some of our testimonies which were very moving and very powerful.

After the testimonies Pastor Oseas gave us a final message about the work we had been doing and how God had been using us in this time that we had been in Guatemala. He then prayed over all of us and just gave a moving Spirit filled prayer over the whole team. It was kind of just some closure and wrap up of our time here. After the fellowship session at the church we came back to the Codero's house to eat dinner, which is always my favorite part, and then headed back to the hotel to rest and get ready for church in the morning.

God is present in this place. The way He uses us as well as Pastor Oseas to reach out and minister to these village people is amazing. The bags that we gave out today were much more than just food. We were giving these people new life and hope for themselves and for their lives in Christ.

Friday, June 11, 2010

A Day of Blessings

Today was truly a day of blessings. We got the opportunity to sleep in this morning which was very nice, we had devotions at 8:45 and breakfast at 9:30 which was two and a half hours later than yesterday.

We ate a quick breakfast and headed over to the Corderos children's school and surprised them. It was so awesome seeing the looks on their faces when they saw that we were there. They were able to share a big part of their lives (mission's teams) with the other class mates.

Pastor Jane did an awesome job running the show and having them say things in English throughout our program. Many of these kids could speak a little English so that helped a lot. Addie taught them about Jesus and what being a Christian is all about. Pastor Jane translated and had them interact in English it was really a cool sight to see these kids just soaking up everything that we were talking about and having a fun time. It was a really fun experience for us and the kids.

After we left the school we went to lunch at the home of John and Diana Lubeck who are long term missionaries that have been in Guatemala for 38 years working with the Chorti people and bringing the Gospel to them and one of the ways they are doing this is by translating the Bible into their native language which is totally different from Spanish and it just so happens that they are the only Americans that speak this language.

After an amazing meal they took us into there living room and told us there story of how they became Christians and how God had lead them to Guatemala it was an amazing story that seemed to capture the whole team. After they finished the story we had coffee and probably the best cinnamon rolls I have ever had.

After our coffee break we went back into the living room and they talked to us about love and marriage and a little more of their story it was really touching and moved pretty much every one on the team. The message was so powerful; both of the missionaries "preached up a storm" (literally and metaphorically). We were stranded for a little bit but it was good because we got to know them a bit more it was awesome.

We then said goodbye to the Lubecks and headed to the hot springs where we enjoyed the cool air and the warm water. It was very relaxing and rejuvenating there was a lot of great fellowship time and a lot of great talks.

Today was truly a blessed day that the Lord has given us and I can't wait to see what tomorrow will hold.
David Guthmiller

Thursday, June 10, 2010

More than physical

Hey bloggers, this is Addie again. It was Erica's day to blog, but she stayed home today due to stomach sickness. The good news is that she was feeling better this evening and will hopefully be ready to go tomorrow and the rest of the trip.

Today started off with a devotional from Erica on 1 Corinthians 13. We discussed the meaning and the very foundation of how to love someone. It is more than words, it is action, a decision to love someone takes work. We then headed to our contact's house and were fed pancakes and eggs! Delectable! It was the good start to the day we needed.

When we were finished with breakfast, we headed to the church to load the 50 large sacks of food we created earlier. We had an assembly line set up to move the bags quickly (thank you Henry Ford) to the pick-up. We loaded up in the van and the pick-up and headed up the mountain. We stopped only once on the way up, making the trip about 3 hours.

We arrived in Zacapa and ate lunch with the team. From there, we loaded up in the back of two trucks (about 7 in each) and drove about 30 minutes into the mountain village. As soon as we got there, we broke out the soccer ball and started to play. Ha! My first time being goalie and I didn't do half bad (against 10 year olds). Another form of entertainment was creating balloon animals for the children. Our Global Infusion contact was super good - she was cranking out flowers, swords, and poodles, while most of us were lucky to give the child a snake!

During this time, quite a few people were gathering around the outdoor court. Our job was to entertain the children while most of their parents listened to a sermon from our contact and Dr. Best's testimony. The sermon was about the woman at the well, a story found in John 4. Oseas described the physical need the woman had and the importance of her spiritual need, a very fitting sermon.

Then we were able to pass the food out. This was an emotional time for the team. We saw many families walk away with food for many weeks. This was tremendous in itself, but the majority of these people carrying this load were older, small-framed, women. They could lug a 60 pound bag over their shoulder better than most! Witnessing this, it all seemed to make sense; this is why we came, to be the hands and feet of Jesus, to feed people both physically and spiritually, to show how much God loved these people with our actions.

It was a great experience and as a team we are so blessed to have this opportunity to serve in this capacity. For the people who walked away empty-handed, please join us in prayer that the Lord would provide and multiply the food in those bags. We serve a God who is in the business of miracles and nothing is impossible for Him!

We finished the afternoon with an ice cream cone and then drove home through lots of rain. Praise God for the safety in traveling today and that the rain was held off until we were finished in the mountains! Praise Him for who He is and for the love He has shown us by sending Jesus to willingly die on a cross, so we would not have to! Please take time in the next few days to think about the many blessings God has given you and thank Him!

Thanks for taking time to read this and pray for us!

Team Guatemala (Addie)

Wednesday, June 9, 2010


THE DAY. From the mind of Joni through the hands of Addie Swi-Fly.

6:39 - Woke up. I was tired but I was excited for the day and my devotional.

6:43 - I took a shower to wake up.

6:53 - Went for a walk around the courtyard around the hotel. I felt nervous about leading devotionals, so I listened to music and tried to collect my thoughts.

7:15 - Gave devotional. Romans 12:17 - forgiveness and sacrificing ourselves to live as Jesus.

7:49 - Loaded up in the big red van "Toyota."

8:10 - Arrived at Cordero's house for breakfast. I was so excited about the "Guatemalan Experience" which consisted of "empanadas" [bean filled toritillas] and "tomales" [meat filled corn bread] and coffee.

8:55 - Cortnea and I left for the high school. I was nervous about teaching the STEP, because I knew how hard it would be and I really wanted them to get it for their competition.

9:00-11:00 - Arrived at high school and met the team. (Aesdeao) And taught the team along with my faithful friend Cortnea Ralston. They picked up on the STEP extremely quick. I was surprised and proud of the girls, I could tell they really wanted to learn it and it was fun teaching them. At the very end, the team showed their appreciation by buying us bags of water.

11:05 - No sight of scheduled transportation.

11:30 - Cortnea, Karin [Guatemalan translator from church], and I walked to the bus station and waited on three different buses because of their load. (I was apprehensive about public transportation in a bustling unknown city. It was one quetzel each, we sat at the very back and communicated with a man from Guatemala who spoke French - Go Figure!)

11:38 - We met up with the rest of the team at the house we were painting.

11:42 - Started painting purple trim on the house.

1:57 - Stopped painting for a lunch break (Jelly and favorite!)

2:19 - Went back to painting.

3:22 - Paused for a short break of soccer, what else? It was raining, so the painting had to stop for a short time!

4:01 - Returned to painting, rain or shine, this house had to be painted. We worked on the front of the house till 9pm. Note to bloggers: DO NOT ADD WATER TO PAINT. During this time, we fixed up things in the house, when we were waiting on paint.

Later - Paint arrives! We are able to finish the painting. Git'R'Done! I felt accomplished for the family's sake. We gave the family something to be proud of. We had a touching prayer of dedication for the family when we were finished. We had our own Extreme Make-over Home Edition with our own host Wes Cates (Ty), we were able to say "MOVE THAT BUS!" It was so much fun!

Even later - when back to the Cordero's house for supper - bbq chicken, mashed potatoes and two cups of coffee.

It was a great day! Please keep us in your prayers as we experience the last days of our mission trip!


Tuesday, June 8, 2010


Today was a huge day for our team! It seemed like two days all in one! We started at 6:15 with our regular morning devotions in which we talked about the passage Matthew 7:21-23 and Philippians 3:10. We talked about how we as Christians should not just talk the talk but walk the walk and that can be hard to do. We also talked about how much we want to know who Christ is and that takes effort. We have to read the Word and seek the Lord. All in all it was a great start to our day even though it was so early.

After our morning devotions we headed to the Cordero's, our contacts, and had another wonderful breakfast with eggs, beans, rolls, and oatmeal. After breakfast, our group split up and went to two different schools. Erica, Wes, Chris, and Joni all went to the "elementary" school where Chris and Joni gave their testimonies. I say elementary, because it was supposed to be elementary but there was a range from 5 to 16 year olds in the school. Laura, David, Addie, Brittany (GI contact), Faith, Dr. Best, Cortnea, Jason, and myself all went to the medical university. While at the university, we did our sin skit, our new image of God skit that Brittany taught us, and Laura, David, Addie, and myself all gave our testimonies, one testimony in every classroom that we visited. After the fourth classroom, there was an hour break before the next classes started so we all hung out in the in the little courtyard they had, getting hydrated and snacking! During that break, everyone who went to the elementary school came back to join us and we had our full team again. We visited two more classrooms and Joni and Wes gave their testimonies. We reached a ton of people just within that university! It was such a great feeling!

Our next item on the agenda was stopping by the supermarket to get food for lunch. Jane, our contact, asked if anyone wanted to go in with her because it had AIR CONDITIONING!! All the girls went and it felt wonderful. I could have stayed in their all day!! We then headed back to the Cordero's house for lunch where we had ham sandwiches and chips. We were all exhausted after we ate that about three-fourths of our team took about an hour and half nap at the house. We were definitely well rested and ready for our next school.

Next, we went to our last school for the day where we put on a similar program for the students like we did the past couple of days. We sang songs, did our skits, showed off our talents, Erica gave her testimony, and Dr. Best gave a message. It was cool to see how the Lord worked through them. If don't know, Dr. Best is Erica's grandpa and the stories that they told correlated. It was awesome to see and experience!

After we finished our program, we headed to the church where we began sorting and bagging the food we are going to take to the mountain villages on Thursday and Friday! The youth group was also there helping us. At our debriefing, the general consensus was that everyone did their part. Individuals worked on their own task knowing and working toward the big goal in the end. It was such a great feeling when we got it all done and to reward ourselves, we had potato sack races. It was so much fun and the best part was that I won one of them. Okay, not really, but it was a great way to end the day with all of our hard work.

We then headed to the Cordero's house one last time for dinner where we had a roast type of meat with potatoes, rice, and salad. It was awesome! After we finished eating we all hung out together. We had a great day and there is no better way to end the day than to fellowship with one another. We reached a lot of lives today and the best part was that it was all for God's glory!

Thanks for reading,
April Burns

P.S. Mom and Dad I love you and miss you so much! I cant wait to see you in a week and tell you all the stories that I have. Have a wonderful day!

Monday, June 7, 2010

June 7th

Today was a wonderful day full of God's blessings. We started the day around 7:15 when we woke up and had our devotional. I led the devotional today and it was over the verse 2 Corinthians 4:8. The verse is "We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus' sake, so that his life may be revealed in our mortal body. So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you." This verse was really important to me because we should always remember that even when we are frustrated or tired or worn out and feel like we can't go on, it's important that we all are united and that we remember that nothing is too much to handle with the help of God.
We started the day thinking we would be having breakfast at our contacts house, but when we arrived we were told to get back in the van because there was no time for breakfast. We arrived at a technological charter school that consisted of mostly young men. We had the responsibility of leading an hour long presentation. We sang a few songs and Jason gave his testimony about what it is to be a developing Christian man. I felt like his testimony was really effective for the young men because it is important for them to understand what it is to be man and what it is to live up to the Lord's expectations verses the world's. After this we went and had a breakfast of eggs and pineapple cinnamon rolls. Our contact Jane always cooks us the best and most nourishing meals.
We then got in the van and headed over to the church to do some decorating. We colored and cut out lots of drawings for the nursery. It was awesome to see how all of us were able to use our talents to glorify God. We really enjoyed listening to the Sterling College Praise CD and singing along. The Guatemalan's at the church also really enjoyed the music as well so it was awesome that we could spread our music to another country.
After this we went to a college and gave another presentation in which Wes,Addie, and Cortnea gave their testimonies. They really touched a lot of people and it meant a lot when one of the teachers said after wards that she knew we had saved at least 85% of the kids at that school.
After wards a girl walked up to us and introduced herself. She is a US citizen who was born to illegal immigrants in Boston. They moved back to Guatemala when she was eight and she is now fifteen. She told us how she was told a few years ago that she had a brain tumor. She ended up having surgery but in the middle of the surgery she began to bleed a lot and they were only able to remove half of the tumor. She prayed and felt very close to God throughout her illness. One night she had a dream in which Christ told her "Your faith has saved you." Two weeks later when she went to the doctor the doctor told her that she had been given a miracle. There was no sign of her tumor and she seemed to be completely healed. After her sickness she began to feel disconnected from God. She expressed to us her desperate longing for a close relationship. She felt that no matter what she couldn't have the intimate relationship with Christ that she once did. We prayed over her and asked God to bless her and prosper her. This was a very emotional experience for not only the girl, but many of our team members.
After this we worked again at the church where Erica and I started painting a mural on a wall while the rest of the group worked cutting out and coloring a border for the nursery. We then went to the Pastor's house for a wonderful spaghetti meal and fellowship. Wes enjoyed playing with the children and lighting off fire works while the rest of the group sat on the roof enjoying the breeze and the company of each other.
Overall this day was amazing. I can't wait to see the way that the Lord will bless us in the following days and the ways he will help us touch the people in this country and each other. Thank you for all of the prayers and thoughts!! --- Laura Allen