Guatemala Blog - DAY 5, 2019

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Hola mi familia!

Today was a wild roller coaster for many of us here in Guatemala! As we left the mission house this morning almost half of us were filled with excitement to be able to see our sponsor students again, or for the very first time. When we finally arrived at Amitatlan, we unpacked the vans and went on our little adventures to see the sponsor students and their families.

Prior to coming on this trip, I was not sure of what to expect. I have seen God move in so many different ways. Over the last few days, I have been contemplating whether or not to sponsor a child and have been wanting to contribute by donating to the overall mission of Groundwork Guatemala (which will still be done) but, after speaking with my family, I opened the book for the Gonzalez Park scholarship students and found a 7 year old young boy named José.  I felt God was telling me this was the child I needed to sponsor.

Upon our arrival, I went on my house visit with Yansi, Elizabeth, Toni, and our Guatemalan missionaries, Carlos and Marvin. As José’s mother introduced herself, I immediately felt God’s confirmation in my sponsorship. She told us her name was Christy! I was completely floored because, as some of you may know my wife’s name is Krystie.  This was meant to be!

Christy stated she lives in the house with José, her daughter Daniela, and her husband Benicio. We each learned about each other’s families and I was honored to receive a family picture of them from Christy. We were able to share scripture, pray together, and also take a couple of photographs so that we can remember this visit.

Here’s where this whole story gets CRAZY!!!

During lunch, Elizabeth shared that she was looking through the scholarship students last night and came across the picture of José and was praying about sponsoring him. When she prayed, she felt that God told her José was meant for someone else. Again, I was floored with this and received confirmation from God again!

A little later, the students began to show up in the park and the other team members began playing a wild game of soccer. Needless to say, the team members got schooled in soccer by the Guatemalan students! While I was playing soccer, I turned around and there was José walking right towards me! Without hesitation, José embraced me with the biggest hug!!! He immediately gave me two gifts that he picked out for me at “La Tienda.” (It was a small bag of chips and a lollipop.) José and I spent the rest of the afternoon playing catch with a football, reading a book, and having a conversation! The smile on José’s face never left!   

The visit that I had with José was incredible but the hardest part of this visit is trying to answer a little boy’s question of “When will you be back to see me?”  I sadly had to reply with the answer of, “I don’t know.” Although this saddens me, what I do know is that God will show me the way and guide me to return to Guatemala so that I may visit with José and his family.

— Eddie Moss 

God Is Moving

As our time here in Guatemala is coming to an end, God is still continuing to work in incredible ways! Just a quick bit on Eddie, before leaving on this trip he told us with a BOLD voice that he, “Doesn’t pray out loud and doesn’t close his eyes during prayer.” He had also shared with me that he wouldn’t be sleeping all week because he was going to be away from his family.

Needless to say, Eddie has prayed out loud, closed his eyes during prayer (maybe it was an excuse for him to get in a quick nap), and is sleeping soundly at night! It has been incredible to watch God open up Eddie’s heart and use him in multiple ways that he didn’t think were possible!

As the Guatemalan’s share with us before we leave for every visit, “God is in control!” Please continue to pray for us as we finish up the week!

— Blake 

Guatemala Blog - DAY 4, 2019

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Que onda mis amigos!

Today is Wednesday March 20th and it was probably one on the best, yet longest days of the week! The day started off with an early breakfast full of fruit and delicious cereal at 6am because we had a long two-hour drive to Buena Vista, which translates to “Good View”.

The road to Buena Vista includes scenic routes of four main volcanoes (two of which are active) and concludes with a nice drive through a sugarcane field. Buena Vista is nothing like you’ve seen before… it is truly a scene from National Geographic Magazine. This lovely little village is located in the Pacific Coastal Plain, which resembles the nostalgic humid heat of Florida.

After unpacking the van, we were able to use “el bano” and get a move on! Our time in Buena Vista started with a field trip to the local school. Again, this was nothing like we have seen before.

Classrooms were intermingled with each other, children were running around eating fruit and popsicles, and the teachers were congregating in the center of the “organized chaos.”

It was a low for most of us today to experience these alarming conditions for an educational institute, but as Toni put it in our debrief over dinner, “at the end of the day, the Guatemalan children are still kids, and they all just want to play, be with their friends, and learn about Jesus.”

After the school adventure, we embarked on some different house visits. I had the opportunity to go see my sponsored student, Exequis Salvatierra. When we first arrived he sadly was not there because he had to be up at 3am to go work in the sugarcane fields with his father.

I did, thankfully, get a chance to talk with his mother and she was kind enough to tell me about how much of a hard worker he is and that even though he has to get up so early to go to work every day, he still maintains good grades and attends church every day.

I later had the chance to get to talk to Exequis in person and during our thirty minute conversation I learned about his work, his studies, and his loving family. There in no doubt in my mind when I say that he is a humble, hard working, and motivated young man that is not only achieving his goals, but also providing for his family and being an amazing role model to his younger siblings and the other young people in Guatemala.

After my seemingly short talk with my sponsor student we took pictures, hugged it out, and then we unfortunately parted ways again, not to see each other for a while, but God willing I hope we will be able to come back next year so I can see how much we both have grown, not only in our studies, but in our faith walk and our love for Jesus.

There were two other house visit groups that went out which included Stacey visiting her sponsor child’s family, and another that met with a woman who has a very sick mother-in-law.

These home visits, which took place in vicinities that we wouldn’t consider a home upon first glance, were incredible per usual. The average homes in Buena Vista are held together by corrugated metal and old wooden posts so it an eye opening experience, no matter how many times we walk through those doors.

When the home visits concluded, we were able to take another field trip to the river and to see rubber trees where Exequis also works. He single-handedly tends to 300 of the trees a day! Our pal John-Michael even walked away with a “homemade rubber bouncy ball.” Ask him about it; he’d love to talk to you! We finished the day with successful faith lessons for both the kids and the teens!

Combined, we saw about 150 children today! Incredible! We are officially all back safe and showered after quite a warm and dusty day. Thank you to our friends and family back home for all of the prayers and support. We will continue to shine the pure light of Jesus here in Guatemala for the next two day so stay tuned for more blogs to come!

Buenas Noches!

— Joe Griffin 

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