Hola familia. Buenos dias!
As we are finishing our breakfast this Sunday morning, you are about to start church back in the United States. We are thinking and praying for you all and can’t wait to share the details of our trip in person.
Pastor Mark frequently refers to our church as a motley crew of misfits. I’m sure everyone from the Delta customer service agent to the staff here at Paradise Bound would describe our group the same way. Many have commented, “Your group could have fun doing pretty much anything”, “Wow. You guys really like to laugh”, “You’re smiling even when you’re not smiling.” In just three days we’ve experienced a spectrum of emotions from belly aching laughter to deep, heartfelt raw tears and connection with each other and God.
Day 1… We arrived into Guatemala City Thursday on time and made it through customs without a hitch, which is a miracle in itself. Prayers are being answered! It was clear, already the first night the spirit was moving. Before collapsing into bed, we sang our hearts out in worship dove deep into devotions. Many opened up about their excitement and fears for the week ahead.
Day 2… We were up and at em by 5:30am the next morning (or 4:30 for those whose phones didn’t switch time zones). After about a 45 minute drive we arrived at San Rafael village where we divided into teams and began building five, one room homes. We pray that these houses are a blessing for all, but our main purpose is to build relationships, show other’s the love of Christ, and help bring them into the kingdom. Many of us had opportunities to converse, both verbally and no verbally, with the people whose homes were were building. Temperatures reached the 90s which made for some grueling work conditions, but everyone pulled through like champs with no sickness. Praise the Lord!
Day 3… Saturday, we began the morning with worship and devotions. When we say “worship and devotions”, it’s more than just singing and talking about God. It’s about total adoration and connection with Christ. It prepares our hearts for doing His will, keeping Christ at the center of everything, stripping away distractions, and focusing our eyes Him.
With hearts prepared, we piled into the vans and embarked on… “a three hour tour”. Good news, our ships, I mean vans, survived. Barely. Although, Green Lakers can even make two track, remote roads and whiplash seem fun. After making it to the village we greeted 93 families and 300 individuals. They were all awaiting medical attention and the children were eager to play. Several of us packed and distributed medication while others built relationships with the kids and families.
After several hours of building connections, a soccer game of “Gringos verses Guatemalans” arose. All star player, Katie Sanger, won over hears as she scored the first and only goal for Team Gringo. The Guatemalans took the win with a score of 5-1.
As the night progressed, we transitioned into sharing the Gospel. Over the next few hours, amazing things happened, but being completely real, we encountered a lot of spiritual opposition. There was an influential individual in the village from a local church that was not completely aligned with the gospel. His presence made it difficult for many of villagers to feel comfortable engaging in the message. Even so, we praise God that multiple people received Christ!
Day 4… This morning, as we head into another village, we ask for prayers that God would protect us from continued spiritual opposition. Pray that hearts would be open to receiving the Gospel and lives will be changed for eternity. We also ask for prayers for several of our team members that are not feeling well today. Pray for strength, energy, and safety as we travel to and from the village.
Heading into the Paradise Bound compound, there is a wall that reads “Prayer does not fit us for the greater work. Prayer is the greater work”. And YOU are part of that greater work.
Thank you for following along and sharing in our journey.