Guatemala Mission Trip - July 2011

Tuesday, July 12 - AM

Let me start with two things:

1. Spanish keyboard on the computer - keys in different places. So please excuse the weird symbols and typos - if I take time to correct, we will never get this done.\

2. Internet is slow and so far we have been on the go with little time for me to get on the slow internet, so updates may be more brief than I had hoped. I snuck out of bed before everyone else to get online this morning.

After getting settled in with breakfast and a short orientation yesterday, we had a few hours for some sleep. \then lunch and after lunch we went to Teen Challenge, where some of the kids played soccer with the men at Teen Challenge.

Last night we took coffee and rolls to the homeless. I just have to say that with susan, it's not your ordinary visit to the homeless. it was a fun time.

two young men asked the ywam director to take them to teen challenge tomorrow to start the program, so that's pretty cool. we returned to our base about 9\;30 and we were exhausted. most of us had slept less than 6 hours since Saturday night.

this morning we will have a time of training - teaching the kids some dramas and preparing for other ministries later in the week. Then this afternoon we

will go back to teen challenge - this time to do a program. the kids will do a drama and jason will speak. We have free time after dinner tonight - don't know what our plan is yet.

here's a fun little quiz we put together -- i'll send answers tomorrow or next day.

once we arrived at the airport on sunday night, we had a 5-hour wait until our plane left. see if you can match the person to the activity -- this is how they spent the majority of their time in the airport\

draw a line from name to activity

Danny                 Socializing
Colette                Socializing
Jason                  Word puzzles
Fred                   Attempted to sleep
Frederick           Attempted to sleep
Anna                  Attempted to sleep
Brittany              Reading
Liz f                   Reading
Lorren                Reading
Daniel                Reading
Cory                  Listen to podcast
Rachael              Listen to podcast
Liz d                  Facebook
Ian                     Listen to audio book
Kirby                 Idling
Michael              Idling
Denae                Staying fresh
Brianna              Eating
megan                People watching

BONUS question; 4 people sprawled out on the floor in the airport in an attempt to get some sleep -- name them.

Thank you for your prayers - hopefully will send another update tonight or tomorrow morning.\

Tuesday, July 12 - PM
Although most of us are still a little tired, we all slept really well last night and woke up with renewed strength feeling much better this morning - so praise God for that answer to prayer!

To follow up on the two young men who asked to go to rehab at Teen Challenge, here's what happened this morning: There were actually 3 that asked to go -- 2 of the 3 were at the meeting place this morning. David (YWAM Director) picked them up and took them to Teen Challenge - unfortunately, Teen Challenge did not
have any openings and they are on the waiting list to get in.

After breakfast this morning we had a great time of worship together before splitting into two groups for training. The kids (plus Fred) learned 3 different dramas to present at Teen Challenge this afternoon. What a treat to see these kids pour themselves into a drama.

After lunch we headed out to Teen Challenge. The kids performed their dramas, and a few of the girls spoke afterwards, explaining the dramas and encouraging the men at Teen Challenge. I'm not going to share details of everything because I want the kids to have "news" to share when they get home, but I can tell you that after only a few hours of rehearsal, they were impressive and we were very proud of them. Jason spoke after the dramas and did an excellent job.

Tonight we have had free time -- which has been wonderful! Some are playing games, some are reading, some are just hanging out; but it has been good to have some down time. Another good night's sleep and we should be at 100%!

Tomorrow morning we will do some more training for children's ministry, then head out to do a program at the garbage dump. We expect about 100 kids age 6 to 14.

Thank you for your prayers - we are having a great time!


One of the dramas we learned has two muscle men. What two people do you think were cast for these roles?


Danny Reading
Colette Listening to podcasts
Jason Listening to podcasts
Fred Listening to audio books
Frederick Idling
Anna People watching
Brittany Reading
Liz F Trying to sleep
Lorren Reading
Daniel Idling
Cory Facebook
Rachel Eating
Liz D Trying to sleep
Ian Staying fresh
Kirby Trying to sleep
Michael Socializing
Denae Word puzzles
Brianna Reading
Megan Socializing


Danny, Fred, Liz F and Kirby sprawled out on the floor at the airport

Wednesday, July 13
It's about 530 on Wednesday evening.

This morning our groups learned several new dramas for the children and one new 'family' drama for our ministry at the dump. I'll try to describe the 'dump' a little better for you because it wasn't anything like what I had pictured.

First - get the picture of our dumps out of your head -- not even close. We walked through the 'dump' to get to the neighborhood where we met the kids. The streets are paved and it smells like the dump, but it's really pretty organized and much cleaner than I was expecting. I think a better description might be like a big recycling center. There were ALOT of kids! Cute kids!! We did some 'clown' dramas and then the story of Noah and the Ark, and the 'family' drama.

After the dramas, there was an invitation for families to come forward for prayer and we prayed for those families. Then we made about 300 balloon animals, painted fingernails and did face painting. (Thank you, Roger and Sheryl for teaching us to make balloon animals before we came -- it was a huge hit!)
After lunch this afternoon we were planning to go to the park outside the Presidential Palace to pray for Guatemala, then tour the Presidential Palace; however, we were rained out and the Palace was closed, so we had to go to Plan B. Plan B took us to a local mall for a roller coaster ride (inside the mall -- not your ordinary mall) and ice cream.

We've had LOTS of rain! This morning while at the dump, the dark clouds were coming right at us. I didn't notice because I was busy with the kids, but Susan told me that she was praying the entire time that the rain would not interrupt us. Those clouds took a turn and went right around us -- and we felt nothing more than a few sprinkles -- until we got on the bus. As soon as we got on the bus, the rain came pouring down.
And speaking of the bus... When we arrived at the airport, they picked us up in the YWAM 15-passenger van, which would be our transportation for the week. Well, just do the math -- there are 19 of us and about 5 YWAM staffers that accompany us everywhere we go -- so yes, that would be 24 of us in that 15-passenger van. That's not an issue here in Guatemala -- nor are seatbelts. However, on the way back from the airport, the YWAM director felt something wasn't right with the van, so they took it to the auto mechanic across the street and it hasn't returned - it's having some major repairs. So since the van is in the shop, somehow they were able to get a very nice school bus for us to ride around in -- with an excellent bus driver. I think this is the Lord's answer to our prayers for safety!

Tomorrow morning we will do a children's program at a nearby Christian School, then in the afternoon we will go to Pierdes Vivas. Pierdes Vivas is the program that our VBS kids gave their offerings for.
Thank you for your continued prayer! So far everything is going very smoothly and we are really enjoying our time here.

Thursday, July 14
We had another great day today. We started this morning by going to a Christian school and doing a program. When the program was over, the school kids all ran back to their classrooms and got their autograph books -- and then spent the next half hour or so getting autographs from our kids. It was a lot of fun.

After lunch, we sent a small group to the Ronald McDonald House and the rest of us went to Pierdes Vivas (the program that our VBS took offerings for). Those that went to the Ronald McDonald House came back very inspired -- feeling that they had definitely received more encouragement than they had given. Those of us that went to Pierdes Vivas got to see the building our VBS offerings will help to complete and also had a great time with the kids there.

The theme of all our programs is that God answers prayer. And today, again God held the rains just long enough for us to finish our program and then the clouds opened up and poured down the rain. We have seen God's hand in all that we do here -- again and again! So it's been pretty awesome that the message we are sharing is that God answers prayer and we are experiencing answers to prayer every day!

Tomorrow we will again break into two groups in the morning. One group will be going to a retirement home and the other group will go to a home for abused women. Both groups will perform some of the dramas we have learned and share testimonies. Then in the afternoon we will go to another neighborhood near the dump and do another program for kids.

We are so proud of our kids. Some of them have really stepped out of their comfort zone and have done things they never thought they would. Several of them have shared testimonies in our programs about how God has answered prayer in their lives and it has been such a treat to see them step out and trust God for the courage to do so.

Our God is an awesome God!

PLEASE NOTE -- We have so much to share about our trip that we have decided to have a special MISSION REPORT CELEBRATION on SATURDAY EVENING, JULY 23RD AT 6:30pm. Our kids want to perform the dramas they have learned and give you a real taste of what we've been doing here -- and we just don't feel like we can squeeze it into a small segment of a Sunday morning service. So please mark your calendars and plan to join us for our mission report and dessert next Saturday evening.

Friday, July 15
Well, we've just returned from another busy day. We've been to the old folk's home, to the women's shelter and to the dump -- and we're tired!

The people at the old folk's home were delightful! They enjoyed our music and dramas -- and some even learned to play "go fish" today -- although from what I understand, they pretty much made up their own rules and it wasn't a very structured game of "go fish".

There were 7 women at the women's shelter that a small group of us went to. Some of us met with the women and the others played with their kids in the yard.  I was drawn to one young woman who had tears streaming down her face during the drama our group did about broken families. After the drama, I shared with them a little bit and then we prayed for them one-on-one. I had the privilege of praying for Elena (the woman who was crying during the drama)and her broken family.

The women at the shelter make jewelry out of coffee beans and then sell it, so many of us did a little shopping while we were there, too.

This afternoon we went to another area of the dump. This was a bit rougher than the first dump neighborhood we went to, but we still enjoyed it. Our time there was cut a little short because of the weather and the time, so we had to leave with some kids still waiting in line for their face painting, which was a little disappointing to us.

Tonight after dinner we will have a time of worship and sharing together.

Tomorrow is what we are referring to as Labor Day. We will leave our base at 7:00am and go to a new children's home approximately 1 hour outside of Guatemala City. They still do not have children, as they are in the process of getting approval. Part of the process for them is to maintain the home and the land it resides on, as the government officials can show up at any time and the home needs to be in perfect condition to receive approval. So we will be serving alongside them in their fields, and in the home in a variety of different ways. Some will paint, some will be hauling blocks, some will be searching fields for rocks on the ground. (It probably will not surprise some of you to know that Fred and Frederick have volunteered for the rock search and are actually quite excited about it - hoping they might come across a snake or two along the way!)

It's hard to believe that this is already Friday - our time here is passing quickly (at least for us)! Thank you for your continued prayers. I believe we are all doing well.

Saturday, July 16
Wow -- it's been a long day!

We left early this morning to go to the new children's home for our "labor day". It was actually a pretty nice drive -- everything is so green here and we saw a few volcanoes on the way.

The home is quite spectacular - there is no doubt that any child who gets to be placed there will feel privileged and special. We split into four groups at the home -- for chopping weeds (with machetes), moving rocks out of a field and painting. We worked until 1:00pm, then had lunch and went down to check out the river just below the house. We were all filthy, hot, tired and sweaty -- but our bus driver (Fernando) mentioned that we were only five minutes away from a drive-thru safari and he thought we would really enjoy it. We were in no condition to go anywhere, but this seemed like an opportunity we couldn't pass up.

So we went to this drive-thru safari and we had a blast. There were zebras, monkeys, giraffes, lions, hippos, parrots, buffalo, deer and lots of iguanas.  After the drive-thru portion, we got off the bus to go through the zoo section (yes, filthy dirty, sweaty and smelly -- moms, you would have died), and saw all kinds of birds, snakes, cats, (the jaguars were our favorites) and more monkeys. We had a lot of fun.

We had beautiful weather all day (even a little too hot for the hard work outside), and then when we got on the bus to come back to our base, the rain came down. God is working in every little detail!

Tomorrow we get to sleep in a little bit before we go to church -- and we're all jazzed about that!

At church tomorrow, our team will do one of their dramas, maybe a few testimonies, and Danny will preach. We're all learning how hard it is to speak through a translator -- very challenging to keep focused and not lose your train of thought -- so please keep Danny in your prayers for tomorrow.

Sunday, July 17

Are you impressed with my Spanish? Well, don't be -- unfortunately, that's about 25% of my entire Spanish vocabulary after a week in Guatemala.

It's late, so this will be short.

We got up this morning and went to church - and Danny shared the message.   Afterwards, we came back for lunch, then this afternoon put the 'secret plan' we have been conniving all week to work. We arranged for the YWAM director and his wife to take Susan and Mario out for coffee -- so that we could decorate the place and prepare for their surprise party. This evening we had what you might call a second wedding reception for them - and we had a blast!

Tomorrow we will have a time of praise and worship in the morning, then leave at 10:00 to do more street ministry in an area called La Linea. Please pray for all things tomorrow - I believe everyone on the team is a bit apprehensive. We've done some things that are really outside our 'normal' and have really stretched us, but tomorrow will be a little different and even farther from our 'normal'. Pray for us to have courage and tender hearts; and as always, for our safety.

Thanks for your continued prayers. Every day we have seen God work out every last detail for us and we just could not have asked for things to go any smoother than they have!

Monday, July 18

It's 10:21 pm and the internet here shuts off automatically at 10:30, so I'm typing fast!

This morning's street ministry went well. I'm not going to describe it here -- we will do that on Saturday evening, but our faithful God undeniably showed Himself again today as we were on the streets!

Tonight we returned to the park we visited last Monday night. It was fun to go back to a place we had already been and visit with a lot of the same people we saw last week. It is easy to see how Susan and the other YWAM staff are building relationships with the people at all these different ministry sites. We enjoyed our time out with them tonight.

Tomorrow we are going to be "tourists" and travel to Antigua for a fun day of shopping and site seeing.

Then Wednesday we will visit an old folk’s home in the morning. After lunch we will have a debriefing here and prepare for our program at home on Saturday evening. Our plane leaves here at 8:00 on Wednesday night - we arrive in LA around midnight. After clearing customs, we'll make the drive back to Bakersfield and expect to arrive somewhere around 3:00-3:30am.

Please pray for our safety as we travel over the next few days! This has been a great experience for all of us! We so appreciate all your prayers and support. We look forward to seeing you on Saturday evening so that we can share about our trip!