Saturday, June 10, 2017

Closing Out our Time in Guatemala.

Friday and Saturday – the Finale

We had such a busy day on Friday, that we didn’t get a blog written, so today we will cover both Friday and Saturday.
Friday began with our final workday in the morning.  During this time, our team “sprinted for the finish” by completing the wall around the church and filling several columns with cement.  In support of this, sand was sifted, mortar mixed, blocks cut (and some recut), and the seemingly never-ending feeding rock, sand, cement, and water to the cement mixer.
When the work was finished, we cleaned up and had lunch and headed for Membrillal for VBS.  It is a special experience to share this experiene with the children.  There were about 135 children present and they had a wonderful time.  It was difficult saying goodbye to them when VBS was over.
It is a particularly special time for me to visit the school at Membrillal since I get to see the two children I help sponsor through Source of Hope Ministries.  Jorge and Carol recognized me immediately and we shared some special time together including taking selfies.
After dinner, we went to the Iglesia Galelia Youth night.  Tono and Sean joined the youth band and I got to “man the mixer.”  Josh gave a message that used the passage about building on a firm foundation to tie our building work to living our lives based on the firm foundation of Jesus.  After the worship time, we played games together and had a great time.
Saturday was a day to sleep in (one hour).  After breakfast we joined with Iglesia Galelia to hand out gospel tracts and invitations to attend church throughout San Lucas.  It was such a blessing to share the gospel with people, some of who said they would be in church on Sunday.
After lunch, we went to Antigua to “do the tourist thing” which included scouring the many markets for “priceless” gifts to take home to our family and friends.
As I consider all that God has done through this team, I am in awe.  This experience showed me what the church can do when it sets out to live out the Great Commission.  I am so thankful to have been a member of a team of dedicated members of the Body of Christ.  As I leave Guatemala, I am sad to leave the friends we have lived and worked with.  My prayers are with Iglesia Galelia as its people are making such a positive difference in their country.

We had another early start on Friday morning as we only had a half day of work because of VBS in the afternoon.  Our work consisted of pouring a lot of cement into the giant rebar columns, wasn’t the hardest day of work, but in my opinion the messiest.
After our half-day of work we headed back to the compound for lunch and headed to Membrillal for our second day of VBS. For the second day in a row, while the children were singing to the playing of Sean and Tono, I began to tear up. Just seeing all those kids who don’t have a lot singing and screaming out to God and proclaiming their love for Him was a very emotional experience for me. After that the activities began. I was part of the games and recreation group. It was so heart warming playing musical chairs with the younger kids and playing soccer with the older kids. It was a great experience talking with them and encouraging them with the little Spanish I knew. When I thought the tears were over for the day, I got three huge hugs at the end of the day from two little girls and one little boy. It was so heart warming to see the influence we all had on all those kids but was so hard to have to say goodbye to them.
After dinner that night, we went to the youth service at Iglesia Galilea that they hold every Friday night at 7.  It was so cool to see all the teens worshiping God with such passion. After the service we played numerous games with them and enjoyed some fellowship time with them.
Saturday we began our day with some street evangelism. We walked around the town of San Lucas for a couple of hours and handed out invitations to Iglesia Galilea for Sunday service. Through my day of handing out cards, not a single person rejected an invitation, which was very encouraging. 
Afterwards we had lunch and headed to Antigua for our tourist day. It was very cool to see the town of Antigua and very fun to walk around with the team. We all did a little shopping and got a better taste of the Guatemalan culture there.
We could not have asked for a better trip. God kept us all safe and we got through all the hardships we encountered. I was astonished at how well the team got along and how well we all bonded. Thanks for all the prayers, they paid off. God is good!