Guatemala Day 4

Guatemala Day 4

For those of you who’ve been on a mission trip you understand the need to be flexible and prepare for the unexpected. Wednesday was one of those days we didn’t know what to expect. No team had come to Jalapa without a Dr. to do a basic health clinic of vision, hearing and blood pressure screening. We did just that, then created records of everyone who came so future groups can pull up information on children or adults and view some of their medical history. By the way, over half of the kids failed their hearing test. Invitations were sent out to the Christian school and public school children. We had no idea what to expect and we really didn’t count on a line of children and parents waiting for us when we got there. We ended up seeing about about 50 kids and had time left over to start some painting and leveling off some dirt on the anticipated new soccer field.

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Guatemala Day 3

Guatemala Day 3

Guatemala is filled with old world beauty giving off a sense of charm, unique to its surroundings. The door pictured here at our hotel is one of several in the city. Weathered, ponder worthy of the stories it could tell of the people that passed through or the events witnessed throughout the years. Our choose daily theme brings us a reminder that our choices can be like picking a door to walk through. You may not know what’s on the other side or what kind of turn your life could take when we are careless with our choices. With a step to go on this side of a door / a choice, our journey can take us around a dangerous corner, or a road filled with consequences of regret. However, with Jesus leading the way our decision making is deferred. The living and active Christ in us, through the power of the Spirit, leaves the daily decisions we need to make in His hands. Jesus said in Revelation 3:20 He is standing at the door awaiting our knock, inviting us beyond the door into a life-long friendship with Him. That is a door always available but only accessible when we make the daily wise choice to enter.

Our team had another amazing day doing VBS outreach in two neighborhoods. We’ve been teaching foundations of the gospel and reinforcing those concepts with a braided wrist band craft representing the coming of Jesus, the death of Jesus and the return of Jesus. Adios for today!

Day 2 VBS

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We had two locations with two different sets of kids for a morning and afternoon VBS. All of our students were involved leading the lesson, game time or craft and have done a fantastic job. Our theme as a group has been choose daily. Each night we’re gathering to debrief the day and hear from two or three people how scripture speaks to the idea of “choose daily”. We’ve heard about choosing to trust, choosing to listen, choosing to surrender and more. Pray that we continue to bond as a group and we all go to another level of growth and our choices to obey. What is in front of you today that has you choosing?

Guatemala Day 1

Guatemala Day 1

Our team arrived safely Saturday evening and were eager Sunday morning to start the day. With lots of sunblock in hand (sorry Indiana friends) we went to the park with the youth from the Jalapa church. Our morning was spent playing games, sharing testimonies and passing out our individual testimony cards to others in the park. We got cleaned up and went to the Sunday service which started at 4:00. It’s amazing how in just a short amount of time, in spite of a language barrier, risking a conversation resulted in really good connections with those in and outside the church. great first day! God is good.

For Marcus & Anthony…

The following is the testimony shared by recent graduate Daniel Huebel at The Vine on March 10, 2013. 

For Marcus & Anthony
Matthew 5:4.. “Blessed are those who mourn.” 

“That is something that Christ says. He knows that you will mourn. He is your rock when you when you are weak. He is there for you when you feel like you are alone and broken.

Seven weeks ago yesterday, my best friend (who was 17) Marcus was going to the gas station with his (19 year old) older brother Anthony. At the same time that they were pulling into the gas station, the gas station was being robbed by two men with guns… As they pulled up with Marcus in the passenger seat and Anthony driving the robbers came out. One of them stopped in front of their car as it came to a stop and shot my best friend Marcus 9 times, and ran off… (They) only shot at Marcus. His brother Anthony could only look on as his brother was taken by evil in this world.. I got a call from Anthony that night. I hit the ground in tears from that call…. and I did the things that you shouldn’t do. I disrespected my parents. I disrespected everyone I came into contact with… I blamed myself..

“Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up. (James 4:9, 10 NIV84)” –

I asked those unanswerable questions… You know, “Why didn’t I do something? Why didn’t I call them and make plans that day? Why didn’t I do something that could have changed the outcome of Marcus’s life?” The next three weeks I changed my way of thinking. I contacted Nick. I let people know that I was in pain. Not to bring them into pain with me but to start the healing process. Three weeks later I got a call from Anthony at some early hour. He just wanted to talk. At least that’s what I thought. We spoke for about 30 minutes. Nothing sounded different about his voice or what we were talking about. We were planning a night to hang out like the old days… I got call later that day after the phone call with Anthony. From an Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Dept. Detective, that Anthony decided that 30 minutes after getting off the phone with me that the pain was too much… That the weight of being the last one alive in his family besides a distant uncle was too much. That morning he decided to shoot himself and take his own life. I felt like I wanted to die that day… It’s a God thing that I got a call from Nick that day and asked me to come and put a screen on the wall. He was my rock. He didn’t know what I just found out. But God knew. God sent him. It was no coincidence that Nick called me that day. I cried. I cried for hours. But another God thing is that I went to a Chrysalis Flight last weekend… I met a guy named Roman who lost his brother in a tragic car crash. It was no coincidence that Roman was put in my life. That was all God. Isn’t God just amazing. It’s amazing how he does things and gives us hints of…. “Hey this is my doing. That hey this my work.”  

 “Heal me, O Lord , and I will be healed; save me and I will be saved, for you are the one I praise. (Jeremiah 17:14 NIV84)”—

And that because He loves us we are healed. And our sins are gone…I know we have mourned over that with Garrett, the church has experienced many losses… Vern, Rob, Garrett, and others… But when we see the grieving what we sometimes do not see is the healing and positive strength we see build from the loss of friends, family, brothers and sisters of Christ. We are given a new outlook on life and the greatness of every day that God gives us.. This doesn’t mean we forget about lost lives, it doesn’t mean we lose the memories of them that we had, it doesn’t mean that we fall short and do not feel worthy enough to be healed by God.. God gave his life for us. He died for our sins, for the sins of the evil that populate this earth, for the sins of the weak, so that they can become powerful, so the sick can be healed, so the faithless can become the faithful.

As we grieve and mourn we do not see and notice that The Lord is healing us and giving us a new beginning. “O Lord my God, I called to you for help and you healed me. (Psalms 30:2 NIV84)”–

I wanna close with this thought.. Whenever you feel like you are in a time of grief and a time of loneliness. Just remember always that God is always there with you and if you pray and give up all your sins and losses to him that you will feel a renewed life and a life without the burdens and sins that weigh down on your shoulders or on your hearts.”

– Daniel Huebel