Ivy Creek and others,
We ask for your prayers as we continue on our journey in Guatemala.
This morning we went to a church in “Zone 21”, a place known for its gang violence. There we visited Pastor Jaime at Elim church. Pastor Jaime and his family have worked very hard to have a place for kids to come after school two days a week. They feed the kids, teach them, give them activities, and share the Bible with them. The church and after school program has grown despite many challenges and trials, including a recent threat to the lives of Pastor Jaime and his family. They were thrilled to show us their new additions to the kitchen, a stove to cook on, a floor, and a refridgerator, which sure beats a dirt floor and cooking on an open fire every meal. The pastor has a strong desire to keep the children out of the drug world, which he was heavily involved in years ago. The majority of the young men in the area are given over to drugs and alcoholism. Unfortunately, last week the gang world took one of his attendees, a fifteen year old boy who attended the after school program. He was involved in gangs, probably because he had no parents. This was one of the more sobering moments of our Sunday. The church is in need of a new roof as it leaks badly. Pastor Dave spoke to their congregation from John 1:1 entitled, “Why he chooses to believe in Jesus”. It went well, and the church was very grateful for him speaking. Dave was assisted by our new friend Jonathan, who translated the message into Spanish for him.
Later that day we were eating in a Wendy’s when one of the group members was approached by a little boy wanting food. His name was Juan Carlos. Shortly after meeting him he was sitting at a table with a few of the group members with a gaint baconator combo meal. The first question he asked (in Spanish of course) was, “Do I have to eat it right now?” We were a little baffled by the question, because he looked like he was starving. We soon found out the reason for his wish, he wanted to bring it to his five brothers, all of whom were homeless like Juan Carlos. His father had been killed and he didn’t say what happened to his mother. Meeting Juan Carlos broke our hearts, but there was good news. Our guide, Ingrid, and Jaelene, were able to share the gospel with him in spanish. He listened well and left with the information of a church that could help him. We are praying that he goes there, and we hope you will pray for him too.
Later on we went to the dump. It’s a place filled with busy women, happy children, hard working people, and men who are given to alcohol and drugs. It’s not like anything we see in the U.S. There are places where you can see mountains of garbage, stacked about forty feet high, and in the exact same location there will be houses with people living in the trash. Some of the people there don’t even live in houses, they literally live in the trash. When you walk the streets there are no lack of feral dogs scratching at fleas, young children playing futbol (soccer), and men getting high on marijuana or sniffing paint to get a buzz. The people scrape out a living by scavenging through the nastiness and smelliness that is the dump, looking for things they can collect. They then turn in those plastic and metal items for a small amount of money. The money will usually be enough to purchase pound and a half of beans for there days work.
Soon after touring the dump we went to a church, called Restoration church, which is in the dump. It is pastored by a man named Carlos, who serves the families of the dump faithfully. At the church Jerry gave a message on Philippians 2 through our new friend, Maria, who translated the message into Spanish. It encouraged us and the people of the church to be selfless and to share the gospel with others. After the message Jaelene shared her testimony in Spanish, and the church responded in an a positive way to her testimony, breaking out in applause. We still don’t really know what she said though, because she spoke in Spanish 🙂 They loved hearing what God had done in her and for her. The church was a blessing to us, and they regarded us as a blessing to them.
Later this evening we ventured to Walmart, which was quite an experience. Walmart has a totally different feel to it when there are armed guards all over the entry ways and exits. After eating both Taco Bell and McDonalds we left with multiple buggies full of hundreds of juice boxes and wafers for the kids at the schools we will be visiting.
Lily has faithfully been drawing her camera to document us every step of the way, so there will be pictures. There may also be a video of certain members of the team (Pat McCance’s husband, and the Hughes boy) dancing in the auditorium before church, but don’t hold your breathe.
Please be in prayer for us as we go. Also we urgently ask you to pray for the Elim Church, Pastor Jaime, The Restoration church at the dump, Pastor Carlos, and Juan Carlos.
Dios te bendiga! (God bless you)