Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Day 13: Remember the Seriousness

DAY 13: Remember the Seriousness

Read: Jude 17-23.

As you read Jude, verse 17-23, you’ll see that the Christian life is a long road that will, at times, be full of difficulty and scoffers.  But Jude encourages the believer to be built up by faith and prayer.  Satan, the accuser and liar will work hard as you are only days away from getting started on your mission in Guatemala.  Do not be discouraged, but “keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life” (v. 21).

In addition, look at the seriousness of the instruction in verses 22-23.  “Have mercy on those who doubt; save others by snatching them out of the fire; to others show mercy with fear, hating even the garment stained by the flesh.”   As God’s people, we have an obligation to show mercy and engage with the world in such as way that may snatch others out of the fire.  This is serious.  Their future is the fire apart from God’s intervention and you, according to this verse may have a hand in that intervention!

While it is important to remember that you are not a savior, nor do you have the power to save, you represent the King of Kings, the Living God who does save.  Love God, have faith and pray, and you may have an opportunity to snatch someone out of the fire.  

Challenge: Remember the seriousness of why you are going on this mission trip: to show mercy and maybe snatch the lost out of the fire.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Day 12: Take Part - The Top 10 What Not to Do's

DAY 12:
Take Part – the top ten what not to do's

READ: Matthew 5:13-16

I found this excerpt on a short-term missions website and had to share it.
Believe it or not, it's possible to have a bad short-term missions experience. Most times, this is not the fault of the situation or organization. Often, the root cause is the short-termer's own attitudes and expectations.
To maximize your short-term experience, AVOID doing the things on this Top Ten checklist:
  1. Keep narrowly focused on "spiritual" activities. Since you want to win people to Christ, focus on only the loftiest of things. Avoid menial work like data entry, loading trucks, or working on buildings. Such things will distract you from your primary task.
  2. To tighten up your schedule, eliminate personal prayer and Bible study. You will be so rushed away that you probably won't have time. Besides, can't you get all the spiritual food you need from group devotions and from church services?
  3. Stay organized and on schedule. Set detailed goals before you go. Establish schedules and refuse to deviate from them. Do not accept delays, last-minute changes, and impromptu visits and invitations. Those things will just keep you from getting things done for God.
  4. Help the missionaries by pointing out their mistakes. Bring them up to date on what you've heard are the latest trends in missions. Some missionaries are stubborn. So, you may need to enlist some support among the nationals for your views about how things should be run.
  5. Get involved romantically with someone. Being away from family and friends makes this the perfect time to get involved romantically. While it may distract you slightly from the work, you will be able to expose national Christians to America's progressive dating customs.
  6. Don't embarrass yourself by trying to pick up the local language. People are always saying that English is spoken all over the world. So, insist that those people use it with you.
  7. Immediately begin pointing out your team members' faults. Time is short. It will be difficult for people to make the needed changes if you don't help them right from the start. Focus your helpful criticisms on team leaders.
  8. As you go all out in warring against dangerous germs, don't eat any of the local food. To be sure, you may miss some friendly opportunities with "the natives," but you'll keep those awful germs at bay!
  9. Keep your distance from team members who couldn't raise their full support. They may try to mooch off you. Don't give in. Sweating over finances builds faith!
  10. When you return home, scold your home church and friends for their lack of commitment, for their weak prayers, and for their inadequate giving to missions. This may be one of the few times you will have their deferential respect. Make the most of it.
If you'll do all of these Top Ten things (or even some of them), I can promise you a bad short-term mission trip.
adapted from Commissioned, January/February/March 1995

We all have these tendencies within us and it would be entirely possible to put our priorities over the wants and needs of others. It will be important to be a team player while we go. This means laying down your life (wants, needs, desires, expectations, etc) for the good of the ministry taking place.
CHALLENGE: Spend time in prayer today asking God to help you see through his eyes, to put His agenda ahead of your own, and to prepare you for what he has in store for you.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Day 11: The Power to Serve

DAY 11:
READ: Acts 1:1-12

Have you ever seen a really good movie or eaten at a new amazing restaurant? The moment the movie is over or you leave the restaurant, you are telling everyone how great your experience was. Anyone who will listen will probably get the same glowing recommendation from you because your excitement is too much to contain.

The disciples were a part of something amazing. This man they had followed for three years had taught them some amazing things about life, about God, and about how to serve. This man was killed but three days later was ALIVE! They saw miracles, heard his teachings, and were empowered and emboldened to speak about what they had seen and heard.

In Acts 1:8 we see that we will receive power when we receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. If you are a believer then you have that power. The amazing part about that verse is what happens when we receive this power. We, like the disciples, have no choice but to be His witnesses, at home, while we are away, and in the entire world. This is better than any movie or restaurant. This is Jesus!

CHALLENGE: Share Christ with someone on your Pray & Watch list today. Spend time preparing your heart for sharing in Guatemala!

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Day 10: Serve with Gratitude

DAY 10:


David’s life was full of ups and downs. In Acts 13:22 we read that despite all the ups and the downs, David was a man after God’s own heart. This passage in Psalm 103 is written by David and comes from a deep place of gratitude.

When working with student groups who were working in the summer to do roofs, fences, painting etc, the question “Why are you doing this?” often came up. The answer that was given was simply – God gave me a gift. I’m serving you because I am grateful for the life I have with Him in my life…it brings me joy.

If you are a believer, you have already accepted the greatest gift that one can receive. You now have a chance to serve God with gratitude and show others that the gift you received can be theirs as well.
We sing a song at Risen Life called 10,000 Reasons. Here are the lyrics to the second verse:

You're rich in love and You're slow to anger
Your name is great and Your heart is kind
For all Your goodness I will keep on singing
Ten thousand reasons for my heart to find

We have so much to be grateful for. May we take this opportunity to serve the people of Guatemala as another opportunity to be grateful to an amazing God!

CHALLENGE: What are your grateful for in your life? What can you be thanking God for? Write some of these things down and praise God for his unending love and grace!

Friday, May 27, 2016

Day 9: Serving with Gladness

DAY 9:

READ: Psalm 100

Have you ever been part of a job or service project where you can tell who is there because they want to be and who is there because they have to be? When we serve out of obligation it takes the joy right out of the whole thing!

In his book Desiring God, John Piper states that the chief end of man is to glorify God by enjoying Him forever. We bring glory to God by simply enjoying Him! What an amazing gift!

As we enter God’s presence we choose to enter thanking God for who he is and that in turn leads us to praise!

May we choose to serve with gladness!

Praise God for this opportunity to serve! 

Challenge: Spend time thanking God joyfully for the opportunity to serve the people in Guatemala. Pray that God will help you enjoy Him

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Day 8: Overcoming Prejudices

Day 8:

READ: Jonah 1:1-3, 3:1-10; 4:1-3

The story of Jonah is a familiar one. We like to focus on how Jonah and Nineveh both get second chances from God. Our God is a God of second, third and 95th chances. But think about it this way: Jonah’s prejudice of Nineveh and the people who lived there was one of the problems that started everything. He (Jonah) believed himself to be better than the people God called him to serve.
So Jonah did what a lot of us do. He ran. 

We will be removing ourselves from our home, our familiar places and our comfort zone. The important thing to remember is that just because our way of life is comfortable to us, that doesn’t mean that it is better. Guatemala will be far outside our comfort zone and we may already be forming opinions of the people we are called to serve. But unlike Jonah, we will choose not to run but to face this challenge head on. 

God has called you to a task. He has called you to serve. It is important that we do so with proper intentions and realize that life over there is very different from life over here. When we are faithful to do what God is asking and step out of the way, God will amaze us with his love, compassion, and mercy. 

CHALLENGE: Spend time in prayer today asking God to clear out your expectations and head into this trip with a clean slate. Ask God for forgiveness for any prejudices that you have formed.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Day 7: Acting Like What You Are

Day 7:

READ: Matthew 21:18-19 and Galatians 5:22-23

This is a really interesting passage. Jesus gets mad at a fig tree for not having figs and it withers and dies. What could this possibly have to do with our trip?

Jesus was looking for fruit from a fruit tree. The job of the fruit tree was to have fruit. Without fruit or growing fruit, the tree is not serving its purpose and is taking up valuable nutrients from the ground to do nothing. Jesus curses the tree for being a waste of space and the tree withers and dies. 

In John 15 we learn that Jesus is the vine, and we are the branches from that vine. As we remain in Jesus we bear fruit. Galatians 5:22-23 tells us what that fruit is. It is important to act like what we are.
While we are in Guatemala it will be important to have the fruit of the spirit both with each other and with those we come in contact with. If we have love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control, we will be saying more than we ever could with words.
We need to remember the Kingdom we represent and that will help us produce fruit!

CHALLENGE: Spend time remembering who you are in Christ.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Day 6: Making the Ordinary Extraordinary

Day 6:


READ: Acts 4:1-20
In this passage, Peter and John have been arrested after preaching with conviction and power that Jesus had been resurrected. 5000 were saved that day! Peter and John are then called to give an account for what happened. Their response is equally as bold and powerful as the previous day.
Jesus has the power to make the ordinary into something extraordinary. Peter and John were fishermen and as such were not educated, but here they were before some of the most educated men of the time and preaching with power! Where did that come from? It could only have come from Jesus and the power of His gospel.

Have you ever limited yourself by saying “I’m just a _______”? Jesus takes the broken vessel that you are and uses it for amazing things.
2 Corinthians 4:7-11
But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; 10 always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. 11 For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh.1

While we serve in country, it will be important to always direct attention to Jesus, we have amazing power but that power comes from God and not from us. 

CHALLENGE: Spend time praying today, asking God to use you with power while we are in Guatemala. Ask Him to experience his presence in tangible ways while on mission! Ask God’s forgiveness for when you’ve limited yourself.
The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. 2001 (2 Co 4:7–11). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Day 5: Empowered and Commissioned to Serve

Day 5:

READ: Matthew 28:16-20

We all know this verse as the Great Commission. Jesus makes a few things very clear. First, all authority in heaven and earth has been given to Him. The Bible Readers Companion puts it this way:
Authority of Jesus (28:18). When Jesus claimed “all authority in heaven and on earth,” He meant that there is no one or thing with power to limit His freedom of action (cf. Matthew 8). It is significant that this affirmation is linked with the command that we “go” and make disciples of all nations.

How often Christians hesitate to witness to others. How much we need to remember that nothing—no hardness of others, no ridicule, no hostility of government or ruling power— can limit the power of the Gospel or prevail against those who obey Christ’s command1

Another significant part of this passage comes in verse 20. We are to teach others to observe everything that Jesus has commanded us. This means that we need to spend time in the Word so that we know what Jesus has commanded us! When we have fears, struggles, or adversity come our way we have an assurance that Jesus will be with us. We are empowered and commissioned to serve!

CHALLENGE: Spend time thanking God today for the Gospel. Pray that God will help you proclaim the gospel boldly both at home and while we are on this trip.
Richards, L. O. (1991). The Bible readers companion (electronic ed.) (629). Wheaton: Victor Books.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Day 4

Day 4:
READ: Luke 18:7, Colossians 4:2-4, Psalm 27:4, Acts 12:5, 1 John 5:14

The next qualifications of prayer are that prayer should be persistent, definite, and in accord with God’s will

Colossians 4:2-4 is a familiar passage to those of us from Risen Life Church. These verses are the theme verses for our evangelism program called Pray & Watch. 

Pray & Watch is simple. We identify our neighbors by simply noting who is around us at work, school, play, and at home. We spend time praying for our neighbors by name and look for opportunities to serve and for opportunities to engage them in spiritual conversation.

Our prayers should be persistent, definite, and in accord with God’s will. When we pray for our neighbors or the people around us, we are asking God to set an intentional path in front of us. We should meet each challenge or conversation with eagerness and excitement. 

While we are in country, our neighborhood is simply expanding. Praise God!

CHALLENGE: Spend some time today thinking about your Pray & Watch list. List them in the notes section below. Pray for each of them today. If you see them today, make an intentional step to talk to them and see how you can serve them today.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Day 3

Day 3:
READ: Psalm 145:18 and Matthew 6:7 and Colossians 1:15-17

The next qualifications of prayer are that prayer should be sincere and simple.
These passages show us that God knows our heart…there is no magic series of words that will get us the things that we want. We are spending time in a relationship with Jesus who holds all things together!

Colossians 1:15–17 (ESV)
15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. 16 For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. 17 And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.

Do you have a worry about the trip? Are you concerned for the lost people you know? Pray about it. God knows your heart and even before you ask, He knows. Bring it to Him. 

This will come into play during our trip. While we are in country, we will find that there are language barriers, cultural differences, and other road-blocks. Rest easy, knowing that our sincere, simple prayers for these people will be heard.

CHALLENGE: As you go through your day, simply take time to pray simply and sincerely for the people you come across.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Day 2

Day 2:

READ: Hebrews 11

The third qualification of prayer is prayer should be in faith. 
This passage in Hebrews is an amazing passage that is also known as the “by faith” chapter. Consider just one of these “by faith” stories. Abraham was told by God to leave the land of his fathers to a land, which God would show him. We can read over this lightly but this was a HUGE decision. Abraham had no idea where he was going; he only knew that God was sending him. God covenanted with Abraham not only changing his name but making good on his promise to make his descendants more numerous than the sand on the shores. 

Think about what God has called you to do. You are leaving your place of comfort, to a strange culture, away from what you know, simply because God has asked you to. Despite everything you can think of that would stop you from going…here you are, ready to go. You are stepping out “by faith”. We don’t know what we will experience or what God has in store for us, but we will step out in faith.

Our prayer life should be the same. God wants a relationship with us. He wants you to know Him.
Hebrews 11:6 And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.

CHALLENGE: Spend time thanking God for the call to go that you have answered “by faith”. Pray that God will give you direction.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Introduction and Day 1

You are ready to begin one of the most challenging yet rewarding experiences in your life. Living out the Great Commission is truly one of the most rewarding experiences that we can do. You will find that in reaching out to the people “over there”, you will want to do the same for the people at home. 

When one prepares for a trip it is always important to count the cost. How much will it cost me to get there and back? What should I bring? Is it going to be hot or cold? What will I eat when I get there? It would be awful to start heading to your destination and realize you packed shorts for a blizzard, or that you had enough money to get only halfway there.

As we prepare it is also very important to count the cost spiritually. Over the course of the next 15 days we will examine God’s will for us as individuals, we will prepare to be a blessing in all cultural circumstances, and in the process will seek to grow closer to Christ through the process.

Day 1:
We start with prayer. 

Prayer is defined as, Fellowship with God through Jesus Christ, expressed in adoration, thanksgiving and intercession, through which believers draw near to God and learn more of His will for their lives. Scripture stresses the vital role of the Holy Spirit in stimulating and guiding prayer.1

READ: Psalm 10:17, Luke 18:13-14, 1 John 5:13-15 and Hebrews 4:14-16

In Wilmington’s Book of Bible Lists, Wilmington suggests 8 qualifications for prayer. The first is that prayer should be humble

Humble. Humility. Respect. Submissive. Content. Are these words that describe how you approach God in prayer? If not, try it out. By putting God where he belongs in our lives as we pray, we align and prepare ourselves to work with God’s responses.

The second qualification of prayer is that prayer should be bold. When we have humbled ourselves and placed God where he deserves to be, the will of God and where he is moving will be easier to see. If we begin to pray with boldness to our God who is bigger than our fears and reservations, we will begin to see amazing things.

CHALLENGE: Spend today thinking about your humility in God’s presence. Spend time simply humbling yourself before our God. Ask God to prepare you, and to use you as you prepare to go on this trip. Pray boldly!
Manser, M. H. (1999). Dictionary of Bible Themes: The Accessible and Comprehensive Tool for Topical Studies. London: Martin Manser.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Here We Go Again!

The countdown has begun.  Risen Life will be sending a team of 18 men and women with the goal of sharing the Gospel in Guatemala.  The team will be in the final stages of preparing and will soon be packing bags, grabbing passports, and leaving on a jet plane.

Our team has done quite a bit of spiritual preparation for this trip.  We would like you to join us as we prepare more.  Over the next 15 days we will go through a devotion series together.  This will help those who go but will also help those who send. 

You have sent us, now prepare with us as we aim to be an encouragement and a light to the people of Guatemala. 


Monday, May 16, 2016

The Work is Only Beginning

To read the original post on the Hungry for Life website click here.

This post by Sean

Every morning we have a word of the day that we should focus on throughout the day.  Today the word was celebration. Ecclesiastes 3 reminds us that there is a time for everything. We have spent the last week working very hard to help build a house, stoves, and a church. While I have been reminded and feel that rest and celebration is well deserved, it feels different.  I want to celebrate.  I want to enjoy a job well done, but the job isn't done.  The church building isn't finished and there are more people than I can count whose every day reality is a poverty that I can't imagine.  It is for this reason that I am grateful for Iglesia Galilea and Pastors Merari and Tono.  This church has loved on us and shown us how easy it is to love others and share the Gospel in the process.

Today we walked through the city of Antigua as tourists.  We purchased souvenirs for loved ones and coffee to bring back home. We enjoyed a great meal at a restaurant that is worlds away from places like Zapote and Membrillal.  We took pictures and spent the day in celebration.  I am proud of our team.  I am proud of the work that we have done here.  I am overjoyed that our hosts are just as thrilled as we are with the work completed.  But here it is:  I want more.

I want the passion for the Gospel to be spread in Guatemala and back home.  I want to see lives changed.  I want to spend my life doing things that matter for the Kingdom.  I want to see through God's eyes and be the hands and feet of Christ.  I want our church to be emboldened and empowered by the Gospel and be willing to reach more and more.

Our team is on a mountaintop right now.  I recognize that.  But from this mountaintop I can see the next peak and it is a place that I want to be.  While we eagerly anticpate flying home tomorrow to see our loved ones, I am just as eager to continue the work that God has started in me here in Guatemala.  Our work in Guatemala is done for now but our work at home starts tomorrow.  I pray that you will join our team and be just as eager to reach Salt Lake City as we have been to reach out to Guatemala.
We're coming home.  Let's get to work.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Christ's Love in Guatemala

To read the original post on the Hungry for Life website click here.

This post by Kelly a.k.a. Chris Tomlin

As a team we start every morning off with an excellent breakfast and a devotion prepared by one of the team memebers.  The passage for my devotion was Luke 14:15-34 juxtaposing the picture of salvation with the cost of discipleship.  When you look a little closer at the cost of discipleship you will notice it's not really about 'cost' it's about choice.  When you choose Jesus, you make a 180 degree turn and take everything that is most important and set it second to Jesus.  Luke said it this way in verse 26: "If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters--yes, even his own life--he cannot be my disciple."  It sounds intense but it's really that you WANT to put Jesus first because he first loved you. The passage is about love, and appropriately responding to God's love and sacrifice for us.

As we conclude our work here in Guatemala I look back and see a lot of suffering, poverty, and hopelessness.  But more importantly I see God's Love overwhelmingly displayed through the Christian servants here.  As you've heard we have two big projects and two small projects we have completed.  We built two stoves, one house, and part of a church.  In a jungle village far from a paved road we were able to give an old man and his daughter a new home.  He had suffered from a stroke and spends his days in a wheelchair.  I'm not sure the last time he's had a shower, or even a change of clothes.  But after two days of work he had a smile on his face. Although we couldn't communicate very well, the local pastor was able to share the love of Jesus with this family, just as we where able to share a house.  At the conclusion of our time the new house was filled with locals and us, all praying over this man in different languages.  It was an experience I will not soon forget.

These types of experiences are not common for me in my middle class life in the USA.  In fact my life is often far too comfortable, and in that comfort I lose sight of the love that Christ has for me, and replace it with temporary happiness provided through whatever fancies me at the time.  I don't struggle with having shelter or food, or a job like the majority of the people in Guatemala.  However, the slow deceit of complacency threatens to strangle the life and love of Jesus from my heart and bring me to the boredom of mediocrity.  Luke says it this way in verses 34-35 "salt is good, but if it loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again?  It is fit neither for the soil nor for the manure pile; it is thrown out."  This is one of the major threats of our Christian culture in the USA.  Lord keep me from mediocrity and complacency whatever the cost!  I NEED places like Guatemala, I need to feel the pain of real life and see the real saving grace of Christ.  Would one choose to live a life of comfort here on Earth to then forfeit a life in heaven with our God?  Let it not be for me!  "Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds because you know that the testing of your faith developes perseverance.  Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything." James 1:2-4

Tomorrow we have a day off and although we will spend it shopping for souviners and seeing the sights, our hearts will be on heading home to our families and loved ones.  My wonderful wife and child are by far the highlight of my life here on Earth and I can't wait to see them and share our experience here in Guatemala.  But more important even than them is living a life sanctified by and for Christ. My prayer is that we can love Christ the way he loved us, and place him first before anything else, regardless of our circumstances.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Here I Sit in Guatemala

To read the original post on the Hungry for Life website click here.

This post by Jared

The Gospel calls us to go to the nations. I have prayed and pray often that God would conitnually allow me to be involved in the taking the Gospel to the nations. Here I sit in Guatemala. God is faithful.

This trip for me has been a return to the nations. Over the last several years my passion for evangelism has dwindled. A growing family, learning to pastor in a church, the rigures and pressures of life, have together crowded out my passion for evangelism and work among the nations. I came to Guatemala wanting to reconnect with what it means to serve the world under the banner of the Gospel, and I have.

God has drawn close to me in ways that I have not experienced in quite some time. Saturday was great handing out tracts and going door to door in Jesus name giving out invites to Iglesia Galilea. I can't speak the language, I look like a tall silly American (which I am), but in my weakness He is strong. I joyfully handed out the Gospel to many. It is interesting how this is exactly the type of evangelism we have been practicing in SLC over the last few months. Sunday I was impacted by Merari's sermon at Iglesia Galileia. He administered the Gospel well, and reminded me of the power it has to heal even me. Monday and Tuesday it was good to begin work in Membrillal doing construction on a church. Pure service in the name of Christ. I laid cinder blocks to begin building the walls of the church, and I took great joy using the construction skills God has gifted me with to bless others. So simple, so important. Wednesday was spent in Zapote building a house for a poor family. The man that lived in the house was wheelchair bound living in a dirt floored tin shack. Again God breathed life into my heart as I considered this man's position in life and my own. I was the imprompto sawmill for our project and as I cut wood I kept looking back and seeing this wheelchair bound man through the  window of his tin shack staring back at me as he sat in darkness. I struggled afresh with the suffering this man deals with everyday. I wondered where God was to help this man, and I realized it was me and each and everyone of us that was there building him a new house. We have so much, so much opportunity, so much potential, and so much responsibility. To whom much is given, much is required. As I rode home in the truck, in a phenominal thunder storm, I considered how I need to give more of my life again to those in need in our world. They need physical help and the Gospel. It is not enough for us as Amerian Christians to sit by and do nothing while we entertain ourselves to death. I want to do more.

As I sit in another gentle rainstorm this evening back in San Lucas, I ponder the mystery of the Gospel. Our efforts seem so small, so insignificant in this the swirling mass of humanity here in the jungle surrounded by volcanos. The Kingdom of God is growing here, and yet it grows alongside the wicked. How I long for the whole world to be under the rule of Christ. But for now, little by little, the Kingdom of God grows in the midst of a dying world. The Gospel is life.

Today our team split up. Several went back to Zapote to finish tearing down the old house next to the new house we had built the day before and help the family get fully moved into their new house. I spent the day back in Membrillal bending and tying rebar for our concrete pour on Friday. This concrete pour will be the culmination of much of our work here. Please pray that it will go well. Our team has done so well that we have earned the title the "Utah Machine" edging out another Canadian team for the hardest working team that has partnered here in Guatemala. By the end of the week we will have done two more days worth of work than the church here was excpecting and hoping to get done. They are stoked and so are we.

I have made friends now with several of the pastors and workers from Iglesia Galileia. They are all normal guys. They have families, they have dreams, they have skills, and they have a heart of the the mission of God. When we sit down at the marriage feast of the Lamb, it will be these men first in line.

Tomorrow I am told I will teach the youth from Iglesia Galilea. I can think of no greater passion of mine than to teach and preach in the nations even for just a short time. When I think of myself in the nations this is what I see. I pray that I will be able to do more of this, and for the rest of my life I will be in the nations.

I have missed the nations. Here I sit in Guatemala.

Will I see you in the nations?

P.S. Give my love to Amie and the boys whom I miss!

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Back to Zapote

To read the original post on the Hungry for Life website click here.

This post by Greg

This was a long day. To clarify, it was a really long day. But it rocked us, changed lives, and was just plain awesome.

We started today quite a bit earlier than the other days so that we could get on the road to Zapote, which is about 90 minutes, 4 river crossings, and a lot of dirt road farther away than Membrillal. Our word of the day today was mercy - so for devotion we got a small taste of how we are nothing and deserve nothing in the presence of our almighty God - via Job 38. We then piled into our vehicles and made it to "town" by about 8:00 and by 8:30 we were divided into 2 groups. The bulk of the team went up the hill to begin work on a new house, but Sean, Ashton, Gerry and I accompanied Rudy and Pastor Jose Luiz the opposite direction on foot to work on a stove for another family.

I can't speak much to what went on with the house site, but down the hill, we built a stove in under 3 hours. Understand that to build the stove, there is a lot of cement that needs to be mixed, a lot of dirt that needs to be dug up from where ever, and a lot of bricks that need to be cut and soaked in water. Sean, Ashton, Gerry, and Jose Luiz worked at such a feverish pace that Rudy and I barely left the little structure where we were laying brick - which I was grateful for, because the sun was unbearable when accompanied with the incredible heat. By 11:30, we were back at the church loading the truck up with bricks for the other stove - but before that we shared some time with the family who we built the stove for. I remember clearly what the man of the house said.

    "En el nombre de mi esposa, mi hija, y yo, muchas gracias, porque yo se que nunca NUNCA es posible a pagar para esto."
 "In the name of my wife, my daughter, and I, thank you very much, because I know that it would never NEVER be possible to pay for this."

Then he lost the ability to hold back his tears. At that moment my flood gates were opened, and we talked longer and prayed together. The team hiked back to the church somber but incredibly encouraged.

After loading supplies into the truck, we met up with the rest of the team. When I got to the site, about half the posts necessary for the house were in the ground, and there was significant progress on the rest of them. Our smaller team prepped for the stove to match the new house, while the rest of the crew wrapped up a few things. We ate lunch back at the church, refreshed ourselves, and collectively made a silent commitment as a team - we were going to finish that house and the stove today. Work started at a feverish pace. Our two teams meshed back into one, and we seriously broke speed records. I continued to lay brick for the stove with Rudy, while all around me were ladders, people with saws, hammering, sheets of corrugated tin, digging, mixing, cutting, door building, and just about every other thing you can imagine. Before long, the structure was together, the stove had made significant progress, and Kelly was standing on 4x4 beams 10 feet in the air putting together the roof.
The team worked furiously as a unit until about 5, when the jobs became less plentiful, Matt started taking selfies and lots of things were cleaned up. We completed everything for the woman and her wheelchair-bound father - even wiring a light into the new house. Tono rolled the elderly man in, and the group gathered inside the house, where we all were able to experience a scene that mimicked the one I wrote about earlier in the day. As we were praying, the rain that had held back all day finally broke loose. We high-tailed it out of there, and had a crazy drive back. It was REALLY raining. To cap things off, Taylor fell asleep on my shoulder on the way back.

To sum things up - we're exhausted, but this day was incredibly rewarding. It's why we came here. Blessing people this way is what we who are more fortunate are commanded to do. Through our work, the gospel was shared - I remember Jose Luiz telling one of those who received that God has never left them. I am blessed and encouraged, and I hope you will be too. Thanks for all your support, and a quick shout-out to my amazing wife - thanks for caring for our 5 crazy and amazing kids while I do this. I am not worthy of your love!