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Guatemala Blog: Day 6

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THURSDAY - DAY 6: THE PENULTIMATE

Today was our last day leaving the mission house to go minister to people. 

It’s safe to say that all of us are saddened by this; Kiana went as far as proclaiming that we could accidentally leave her behind. I’m sure that her mom, Mrs. Coombs, would be more than happy to have Kiana off of her hands. 

The day was not much different from any of the others. We got up (at a more reasonable time I’ll point out), had breakfast, did a devotional, and then made our way over to the heart of the city where we did home visits and our faith lesson.

Blake decided to scare Kiana and myself by telling us that we had to lead the Spanish songs with a microphone in front of 250 native Guatemalan children. We were so nervous that we begged Kevin, of all people, to lead the songs instead. It was at that point that Blake felt so sorry for us that he let us know that Oscar—one of the Guatemalan missionaries that leads the children each week—would have the microphone. Our relief was tangible and may or may not have caused us to be more enthusiastic than we had been the days before. I guess we should be thanking Blake? That’s a hard pill to swallow.

It is now Thursday night, though most of you will be reading this on Friday, and this week has flown by. It seems like just yesterday we were young and naïve, smelling the fresh Guatemalan air and not quite knowing what to expect. We are now much older, wiser, and closer. If any of you would like to know what Blake’s feet smell like any one of us would be happy to oblige, though I can’t promise that we won’t be surprised by your request.

The house visits were followed by the faith lesson for the youth and Guatemalan children. Once again, we led the Spanish worship songs (Vanessa, we need you) and Kevin taught the lesson. I can’t complain about his sharing today because he had remembered his notebook. 

All in all, it’s been a great trip. Don’t take my word for it though; we still have a full twenty-four hours left. Pray that we all have a great last day and that God will reveal whatever else He needs to reveal. 

From all of us here in Guatemala, I’m Amanda Crossman. Stay classy, planet Earth.

CLICK HERE to follow the Groundwork Guatemala Facebook page.

DAY 5 PICTURES ON FACEBOOK

 GROW Leader, Amanda Crossman


A Note From Blake...

Hey family!

It was another great day here in Guatemala City. Carlos, one of the Guatemalan missionaries, led us in our morning devotion where he asked us who God was to us and why.  As we went around the room to hear everyone’s answer, the Spirit was tangibly moving in each and every single one of us. Some of us said that He was our creator, others that He was our best friend, and others still that He was our Father. It was interesting to hear the differences in the youth’s answers and the Guatemalans’ answers. 

After our devotions we made our way over to Gonzalez Park where we started the day by doing home visits followed by lunch and children’s programming. I know that I haven’t mentioned it in the previous blogs, but women are seen as second-class citizens down here. Something that struck me today and yesterday was how Oscar has taken a step to change the culture by empowering young women as leaders that help him with the faith lessons. It may sound like a silly thing, but for the Guatemalan culture it’s a big deal. 

Laurie Bandy had given me a book to read that I had brought down for the trip titled a Lineage of Grace which talks about women in the Bible who played a role in changing eternity (Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, Bathsheba, Mary). It puts into perspective how women are treated poorly down here yet they are the ones who impacted the story of Jesus greatly. 

I am thankful for all the women that we have been able to meet down here in Guatemala, like Sandra, Ana, Aracely, and Ginny. They have all shown us God’s love through their selfless actions throughout this week, and our experience would have been drastically different without them. 

Thank you for all your prayers and support; we all appreciate it. I ask that you continue to pray for us as we rest and prepare for our journey home. 

~ Blake 

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Guatemala Blog: Day 5

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WEDNESDAY - DAY 5: PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT...?

First and foremost, I would like to inform everyone of our early morning. I know I said that I wouldn’t bore you with the little details, but I feel like this is definitely something worth sharing with you all. 

Now you all know that yesterday was a long day, but what you don’t know is that today breakfast was served between 6:00-6:30am. I know for some of you that is a normal day, but when you’ve not been able to sleep in on your Spring Break because you’ve been out in the sun playing with less fortunate children to spread the word of God and you have to wake at the crack of dawn to eat, I think sympathy is definitely deserved.

After we ate breakfast—which was hard to enjoy because of the unholy hour at which we communed—we immediately commenced our two-hour journey to Buena Vista. I’ll admit that we weren’t all pleasant this morning, and by ‘all’ I mean me. I had good reason to be unpleasant though, Kiana got carsick (which she adamantly denies, she blames her sickness on her ‘malaria pills’) and decided that the best place for her breakfast was in my hat. It was a great morning full of wonderful smells, loud talking, and jerky driving.

We arrived at Buena Vista at around 9:00am and immediately started our work for the day. Once again we were split into groups, this time only into two. Joe and Stacey had both sponsored kids that they were supposed to visit today, which is what we based the groups on. Those who wanted to go with Stacey went with Stacey, and those who wanted to go with Joe went with Joe. 

I can’t speak for everyone when discussing these house visits; I’m only human after all. However, I can say that each time God reveals something different to us. When we come together at the end of the day each and every one of us has a varying opinion that we share with each other and discuss. While today I was shown the joy that the children here radiate despite their circumstances, Kiana might have been shown something different. Hopefully that it is not okay to throw up in your friend’s hat, but what do I know of what God is doing in her life?

The house visits were followed by the faith lesson for the youth and Guatemalan children. Once again, we led the Spanish worship songs (Vanessa, we need you) and Kevin taught the lesson. I can’t complain about his sharing today because he had remembered his notebook. 

After the faith lesson, we spent time with the kids. This group was a bit more feisty than the last; most of their free time was spent calling Joe ‘muy feo.’ He wore that title like a badge of honor, proclaiming that he was ‘muy feo’ until he found out what it meant. For those of you who don’t know, ‘muy feo’ means ‘very ugly.’ It’s safe to say that we spent our fair share of time convincing Joe (and the children) that he was actually ‘muy bonito.’ We successfully convinced one of the groups, I’ll let you decide which. 

We soon wrapped up the lesson and made our way back to the mission house. The drive was less eventful than this morning; I’m happy to report that none of my other clothing items were stained by Kiana’s digested food.

Today was especially impactful, because while God is showing each of us something different, we were unanimous in our concluding thoughts of the day. We all felt that we were subjected to a major reality check. There was reminder after reminder of the conditions that the Guatemalans live in.

At one point we made our way down a steep incline to a river where a two cousins were doing their laundry in the water (one was 19 and the other was 9). Going back up was especially hard, not only because of the physical strain it took, but also because of the realization that these two ladies and many other women had to carry a full load of laundry/dishes back up the hill by themselves while we could barely do it with nothing in our hands. 

Please continue to pray for our safety and that God will keep on revealing things to each of us throughout the remainder of our trip. 

Once again, this is Amanda Crossman signing off reminding you to not only have a great day, but to have a Guatemalan day.

CLICK HERE to follow the Groundwork Guatemala Facebook page.

DAY 4 PICTURES ON FACEBOOK

 GROW Leader, Amanda Crossman


A Note From Blake...

Hola, Faith-Filled, Big-Thinking family!

I find it fitting that Amanda ended the blog with, “Have a Guatemalan day” because the more we submerge ourselves into the culture here we are finding that for some of the people we meet, despite their circumstances, are filled with joy! 

Today was a defining day of this joy. Amanda had talked about our experiences at Buena Vista but I would like to paint a larger picture for you. Because we live in central Florida, when you see ‘Buena Vista’ immediately Disney and beautiful lakes pop into your head however, this Buena Vista was substantially different.

Trade the lakes for sugar cane fields and Disney for Mickey Mouse shirts on children covered in dust, mud, and flies. Buena Vista is a village that is located in a sugar cane field that is quite literally the middle of nowhere. Here the only water you will find is in the garbage filled, bug infested water of the river or the shallow wells that they may or may not have. 

I share that with you so you can, hopefully, imagine what this looks like. Water is something that is crucial to living but none of these people have it on command in their homes like we do in the states. Despite not having water, which I would consider a huge struggle, these people still have this deep sense of happiness, joy and hope. It is no doubt that this happiness, joy and hope is coming from the comfort in knowing that they have a savior who loves them deeply. 

As a team we may not be here to dig wells or install running water but that is okay because the Guatemalan’s we have encountered are drinking from the well of living water, which fills them with joy, hope, and happiness. We know that when we share the Gospel in the homes of the Guatemalan people it does not go as an empty story but rather a Word set out, accomplishing exactly what it has said it would. 

What well are you drinking from? I’d encourage you to be challenged and changed by answering that question honestly. This is one that we, as a team, have had to ponder throughout this week as we observe the joy that the Guatemalans radiate. 

Thanks for your continued prayer. 

~ Blake 

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