Sunday, July 15, 2012

What we have learned...

It has been a great week here in Guatemala City. Last night, our team had our last debriefing session in which we shared what God has done in our lives. Here are all the responses our team gave:

God taught me…

“that He gave me my values and gifts for a reason, and I am to use them for His glory.”
“I can be a kid and an adult at the same time.”
“how much I like to build, work with people, and that I enjoy teaching/connecting people with themselves, others, and with God.”
“that when we allow Him to break down walls and invade our hearts, He will free us and reveal himself in mighty ways.”
“that I have been selfish in my lifestyle.”
“that His plans for me are greater than the plans I have for myself.”
“not everyone is going to leave; let God use me.”
“my past doesn’t dictate my future; I don’t have to listen to the lies Satan tells me.”
“to take the time to stop what I’m doing and enjoy what He is doing for me.”
“that I need to spend more time listening to the instruction He gives me every day.”
“that the sacrifice that goes into these experiences are worthwhile.”
“to not be afraid and put myself out there.”
“that investing in people is worthwhile, and I need to take the time to do that.”

We could not have completed this trip without all the prayers and thoughts from our supporters. We are so grateful for all of you, and we can not wait to come home and share with you. Dios te bendiga!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

A Couple Highlights from this Week...

Swimming against the flow!  “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” This was the main theme of our camp this week which taught the children that it is okay to be different, and that they don’t need to change for anyone.

 I felt that the work that God allowed us to do not only affected the childrens’ lives, but ours as well. Just to make a kid smile or to just play a game with them made a big difference.  Even though we were only at the  camp for three days we were able to bond and form amazing relationships with the kids. 

We also have had many opportunities to paint and do different work projects at the school! We were able to help out at a place called Kairos,which is a place for people who have cancer. It  allows families that can not afford  a place to stay while their kids are receiving treatment at the hospital. Many families travel a long way just to be able to stay there and take care of their child. We had the privilege of being able to meet a couple of the patients there and even though they have cancer they were the most joyful and thankful people! At Kairos, we painted the walls a bright yellow color and the color immediately changed the whole mood of the place, it brought sunshine and hope! Even though we only painted , God truly worked in us to make the patients there happy!

Written by Rebecca Kidroske

carolinespromiseblog's photostream

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Updated pics from our Guatemala Camp team

Thursday, July 12, 2012

One team member's experience...

"Even though we only spent three days at the camp, I feel like I really connected with the kids. The work God did really changed their lives in a way that I never thought it would.

On the last night we spent with everyone, we split up the girls and boys so we could have a session with them. Rachel and Grace both shared their testimony, with Victoria translating. God used them to reach out to the girls and give them encouragement. More than half of the girls either did not live with, have a close relationship, or know who their dads were. The “plan” was that Chelsea would begin with a bit about self esteem and inner beauty, but God had a different plan. When Rachel shared her story, I could see that the girls had experienced a lot of the same things, and after Grace spoke the tears started coming. Lisa played the song “La Nina De Tus Ojos,” and I could hear the girls crying and singing along. The team took this time to pray over the girls and show them that we truly do care for them and love them all.  I prayed in both Spanish and English, hoping that God would speak to the girls through me. They all needed to know that even though our earthly fathers fail us, our heavenly father never will. I pray that God continues to move in their lives and that they will know and trust that He will always be there with them and will never ever leave.

This night not only changed the lives of all the girls, but it changed mine as well. I didn’t realize how many need people in their life to love and care for them. I want to make some adjustments in my life to let God do something through me to change something in others. Please pray that God will keep these girls safe in their homes and that God will continue to work in their hearts."

Written by Michaela Bate

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Home Sweet Home!

After two and a half days at camp, our team has returned to our Guatemalan home with our gracious hosts. We are excited to be home and rest, but we are also missing all of our precious campers. God truly showed up in amazing ways, just as we expected, and we give Him all the praise. We received as many or more blessings than we gave, and we are witnesses of a renewed hope for the children at Casita Adonai.

Monday, we arrived at camp and had our first service. We partnered with the Guatemalan team from Iglesia Adonai. We were amazed at the talents and abilities God has blessed this team with, and we were extremely privileged to join with them in ministry. We proceeded to have our dance, sports, swimming, and human video/drama classes. The campers loved these classes, and we really enjoyed sharing our talents with them.

Tuesday, our team found that we had started to form strong relationships with our groups, and everyone jumped in to make the day beautiful. Our service was split between the boys and the girls, and God revealed himself to many of the students in ways that we could never have imagined. Gracias a Dios!

Today, we left camp with our students and traveled back to Casita Adonai. There, the other students at Casita Adonai welcomed our team and the campers back to school. We were able to talk with some of the parents and share with them how valuable their child is in God's eyes. The parents were touched by our words, and we were excited to see God begin to move in the lives of these families. God has truly been with us throughout our entire journey so far, and we are blessed by his presence in Guatemala.

This week, we were able to see many campers and one teacher receive Christ for the first time. We ask that you remember us as we say goodbye to our friends tomorrow and thank them for letting us be a part of their week. Please continue to pray for health and strength as we complete our work projects and build relationships.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

“We all live in a yellow submarine – oh I mean taxi!”

One of the hardest things for me to adjust to has been giving up the driver’s seat.  Driving is my thinking time.  Driving is where I feel free and independent.  So coming to Guyana I definitely felt trapped… the jaguar in the cage I saw at the zoo today.  Taxi’s are dependent living in Guyana. 
Most people depend on Taxi’s to take them places and pick up whichever one is closest to them.  However, as missionaries, we have to be more cautious.  Street cars mean questions, marriage proposals and mood music.  So we call a taxi service that we trust and wait 20 minutes every time we want to go somewhere.  I could have already been there in my truck!!  So, once again we hurry up to get ready….only to wait.  And let’s hope we have not forgot anything that we need for the day because that is more money to bring you back to get it.
I cannot wait to get home to my truck and go anywhere I please and take as long as I want in a grocery store or in the bank.  There is no place like home – but there is also no place like Guyana! 
This young missionary girl has adjusted to a lot in seven short weeks….culture, daily living, city living, and just plain ole’ missionary life! 

The Adjustments to Daily Living
·         No pressure in the showers
·         Pumping water
·         Showering with rain water
·         The toilet taking long to fill up
·         Frogs in your toilet
·         No air conditioning
·         Living with open windows and doors 24/7 and putting up with Loud neighbors, community music and yes, the donkey’s till all hours.
·         Slow internet
·         3 television channels
·         Planning life around the bridge schedule
·         Filling up bottles of water each night for drinking water
·         Washing dishes by hand and setting up bleach water to sanitize them
·         Sleeping with ear plugs to buffer noise and an eye mask because the sun comes up at 5:30
·         Heating water to wash my face
·         Paying bills in person – you don’t mail them.
Country and Cultural Adjustments
·         Mosquito’s
·         Guyana dollars and money conversion
·         Shopping in the market…..think of a flea market and you will get the idea
·         Cow poop, horse poop, dog poop, on the roads, the sidewalks, the grass …just poop everywhere
·         Language…it takes work to understand what people are saying to you.
·         Being exposed to Hindu and Muslim faiths and discovering how my heart now breaks for them
·         Small Grocery stores and limited selection of foods that I have at home.
·         The cost of everything – it’s expensive to fulfill your wants and a discipline to live by needs.
·         The elements – heat, rain, mud
·         Sports….Love me some sports and miss my baseball
·         Cricket is the game here and I don’t understand it at all
·         Soccer is called football here and the 2nd biggest sport behind cricket
·         “Proper” girls don’t play sports…..what does that mean for me?
·         Crappy Radio
A Country Girl in a 3rd World City
·         300,000+ people packed in 5 square miles of space ….it is China Town in NYC
·         Banks are crowded
·         Stores are packed like sardines and you are constantly watched and expected to ask for help.
·         Three-stop shopping….you buy it, go to a desk to check it, and then get your receipt checked at the door.
·         Restaurants and shops all have security bars and security guards – some with big guns.
·         Giftland Office Max….It has the selection of walmart in a building that is smaller than Walgreens.

There is no easy convenience living here….
·         Fast Food is slow food
·         Menus are bountiful in options but slim in what they actually have to eat on any given day.
·         McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Cookout, ….none of those.
·         Sweet tea, hamburgers, barbecue – none of that
·         My favorite cereal with real milk…..not happening
·         Dr. Pepper – When it is my lucky day
·         Lots of “Restaurants” to eat in, but you better choose wisely or your body might not like you!
It has taken me a while to accept that I have been a short-term missionary, but I have been and being a missionary has taken some getting used to for this twenty year old girl. 
·         No night life that is appropriate
·         Church services that are three hours long and stretch my limits
·         Worship styles and service dynamics that challenge my personal style and understanding
·         Getting my clothes checked for cultural appropriateness
·         Walking and more walking
·         Being called a white girl umpteen times a day! (Glad people know their colors! J)
·         The constant slang words that I am always being called on the street
·         Not being able to walk through the city without hearing something appalling from a man.
·         Kiss noises constantly….the fruit of self-control has grown by leaps and bounds here!!
·         Using buckets to fill water and dump it into the washing machine – speeds up the process.
·         Stiff Jeans and shirts from line drying
Funny Fears
·         Bed bugs….good incentive to keep your sheets changed
·         Public bathrooms with no toilet paper – learned my lesson…always carry tissue with you!
·         Having to go to the bathroom in a PC outhouse

This list started one night when I was at the end of my limit. I was complaining, complaining, complaining and when it was finally all out I realized two beautiful truths.  One would think after reading this that living here is really bad, but actually living it is not bad.  Living here is just different.  Two, when I think of bad I think of the shacks that are no bigger than one normal sized bedroom. Bad is not the word that comes to mind when I think about living here.  I am still the same Amber, but living in a different place and learning to live differently.