Friday, June 19, 2009

Guatemala, 2009

In all my excitement of writing the last note, I forgot to say what we actually did. Our actual idea for the trip was to do a "Champions for Christ" sports camp for the kids. I got to teach a bunch of 6-9 year old kids how to play baseball and soccer.

They weren't too thrilled with baseball, but they loved soccer. I'm not sure if we actually taught them anything in that arena actually. Most of these kids grow up with a soccer ball (or futbol) around. So Monday thru Thursday we did the sports camp. We started off around 9am and went until about 1pm. It may not sound like much, but remember, this is under the Guatemalan sun. But the temperatures were about like Charlotte actually. I was just amazed at my energy levels. I was only getting about 5-6 hrs asleep a night for some reason. Usually, after 2 nights of that, I would've been really tired and cranky and no fun to be around. But there was a real grace for it. And thankfully, all the fields were provided due to an anonymous donor. One of our translators and friends, Rolando, had the hook up for that. So, whomever it was, thanks a ton. Through sports, we were able to teach the kids some valuable lessons in life.

I had to keep reminding myself that they children I was dealing with were 6-9 and not youth. So I had to be really careful when addressing wrong attitudes. I didn't want to just snap at them, but I wanted to find out what was going on with them and give them something to look forward towards. All in all, i think the camp went off pretty well.

After the camp ended on Thursday, we headed up the coast to a coffee plantation somewhere in the Guatemalan hills. The place was phenomenal! It had a great view of a nearby river and cities. We ended up taking a small bus load up. Now mind you, the road to get up to this plantation was not flat by any stretch of the imagination. The bus driver literally had to get a running start up the hill or the bus may not have made it. It wasn't nicely paved roads the whole way up. This is Guatemala after all. No, the incline up the hill was pretty steep. It was probably at least a 45% incline. So we went up to the plantation and spent the night there. We also had a small worship time and water baptismals. A number of folks on our team got baptized in water and then a number of the children did as well.

After leaving the plantation, we went back to the children's home, changed clothes and repacked for a quick overnight trip to Antiqua. That was our sightseeing time. What's a missions trip without a sightseeing time? We hit various markets there and toured the Casa de Santo Domingo.

This is a brief synopsis of my trip to Guatemala. Further details available upon request.

Guatemala 2009, Pt. 1

I want to start this note off by thanking everyone for their support for me on this missions trip. There was a lot of planning and running around that I did for this trip. It's amazing how much type of administration/ behind the scenes type of stuff goes into planning a trip. Luckily, I'm largely wired for that so to have George, who was the leader of the trip, ask me to do a lot of that was fun for me.

We started getting together and uniting as a team the end of March of this year. We started with Friday nights and then did Friday nights and Saturday afternoon. We would have a Friday night meeting for prayer/worship and take care of admin stuff w/ the group and then do sports training Saturday afternoon. we had to go over the guidelines for baseball and soccer. My family did a lot of baseball/softball and I played soccer. I knew the rules for baseball but not much practical application of it myself. I was afraid to play catch b/c i couldn't catch a baseball very easily. But soccer was always my thing.

So in any case, we would be getting together as a team and start from square one. We even did a Biblical Foundations series which was really fun. Going over just the basics and then building on that. Starting off w/ salvation and then getting into healing and baptism of the Spirit.

It's amazing how unified the team still is! Despite the fact that half of us are from different churches in the area here, the common factor is Jesus! (What a great foundation to build on!) I would often tell the team that even after the trip, I won't be able to forget about them. Which is true to date because thanks to modern technology, we still keep in contact!

So after all the training (sports, Biblical), we set off. We flew out Sat. June 6, '09 @ 6:30 am from Charlotte. All the while, i was even getting to meet the folks who lived down in Guatemala via none other than Facebook. So when I got there, I felt like i knew a lot about them already!

I knew going into this trip that I wasn't going to be doing much preaching at all, but more of just letting Father God love on me and giving me His heart for the children I would be ministering to and just loving on them as Jesus would. I did get to give a brief message the one night to a small village, but it was a quick 10 minutes. And most of them were there to receive food that we were giving out. None the less, myself and George preached for a bit and the team did some hands on ministry. Including praying for an elderly woman and seeing her getting up and walking w/o a walker! Jesus is sooo awesome! (Take that satan... in ur eye!)

I can remember the very first night of arriving at the childrens home where we were staying, we get out of the van and in under 5 seconds, we were surrounded by little kids! I loved it! Hugs all around. These kids didn't care how much we knew, they were just there to receive love from Jesus who loved them! And I was there to freely give it away! The uncle/big brother/future father in me came out! I once heard it said that people don't care how much you know until the know how much you care! I can't tell you how refreshing it was to just hold the kids and just love on them! While we were traveling around w/ the kids, they would just come and sit on your lap and sometimes just fall asleep. It totally broke my heart to think of all the broken homes and lives that these children come from. Some of them were orphans and some of them were probably more like foster kids that had to be taken from their homes b/c of bad child hoods. Just simply saying hello to them really ministered to them. My hat goes off to the volunteers who are there much more full time than we were. I was blessed to be able to help a few of them out w/ some technical difficulties they were having w/ their computers. I figured I have the skill, use it. After all they do, its the least I could do.

And the friendships that I made while being there are priceless! All our translators and everyone who helped out... impossible to forget all of them! We started off w/ a core team and that team just kept growing! By the end of the week, our team doubled in size! Let's see, there was Quikay and Carol (the leaders of Fundaninos (sorry about the bad spelling here folks), Janet, Sonja, Sonia, Carla, Carolina, Sigrid, Ana, Diego, Marco, Rolando, Vivian and Holly. (If I forgot anyone, someone will correct me.) And those are just the folks who were there that were on the team. Some of our team weren't able to go due to financial reasons... Mallory and Michael.

We have just a few pictures of the trip. Only a little more than 3,000 I think. And check out Voyager Expeditions website @, we're working on getting things all together. We got a lot of video as well, which we'll be putting that on the website someday.

And thanks to all those who supported me financially and w/ prayer here in the States! As always, its my joy and privilege to represent you and Jesus out there. May you be blessed abundantly.