Saturday, June 29, 2013

Guatemala Family Team Saturday

Dan helping a child during the clinic.
Today as we began our journey for the week, we started working hard immediately. One of our team members, Dan who is a dentist, started helping some of the kids at Casita. His ministry is a blessing to not only the children, but also everyone to who is involved. While half of the team was helping the children, the other half were busy entertaining the children waiting for assistance.
Caroline was there to comfort Keila before seeing the dentist.

Lisa had an opportunity for Matthew to share at the firehouse. Despite
the language barrier,there was still a brother hood among the firefighters.

Matthew, Bryson, John, and Thomas taking a tour of the station.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Wilson Visits Lake Atitlan

Cultural appreciation is an important element of every Caroline's Promise mission trip. We want our team members to not only grow to love the people we are serving, but also the country where they live. Our team from Wilson Community Church were given a taste of Guatemala's beauty on a day trip to Panajachel located on the shores of stunning Lake Atitlan.

The 3-hour trip from Guatemala City to Panajachel is an adventure in itself. On the winding mountain roads travelers see farmers working land terraced along mountainsides, rural villages and amazing views of mountains and valleys.

Lake Atitlan is one of the worlds deepest and most beautiful lakes. It is surrounded by several volcanoes. There are thousands of indigenous Mayan people living among the 12 villages around the lake. A trip to the area provides the rare opportunity to meet and interact with people from an age old culture. The villagers still wear traditional Mayan dress and speak in ancient languages.

Several of our team members opted to see Panajachel from above...on a zipline! The hike through the jungle to ride the zipline was a tough one but seeing monkeys and coatis in their natural habitat along the way was a treat. Once they were strapped to cables 200 feet above ground they enjoyed a thrilling ride above the lake, mountainside, waterfalls and trees.

Our trip to Pana also included some shopping at open-air markets and lunch. We had a wonderful time and everyone now has a new layer of appreciation for Guatemala.

Sunday afternoon at Herona

Several years ago the owners of a retreat center about 30 minutes from Iglesia Adonai asked them if they would do a children's church for the kids living around the retreat center.  Each Sunday afternoon youth and young adults from the church travel to this area, called Herona and share Jesus and lots of love with these kids.  In the dry season up to 200 children will attend and the Pastor has started conducting classes for the adults living in the area.  There is a lot of poverty and need, and no church in the area to minister.  We're thankful to be able to join these leaders of Iglesia Adonai as they minister to the least of these.  The following post was written by Abby, a member of our team from Wilson Community Church.

Youth from Iglesia Adonai leading worship at Herona
Today was a day that I cant even put words to describe the impact it had on me. We arrived at this beautiful resort complete with orange, lime and banana trees. Tropical flowers were everywhere the nice green grass was not. Absolutely gorgeous.

About 65 children arrived running with excitement into the building (it was raining, heavily). White chairs lined up rows for the children to sit in, with these beautiful youth from Iglesia Adonai in the front with microphones leading worship. High tempo and fantastic dance moves to each word. It was nothing like I had ever seen.

There was one particular boy that grabbed my attention. He was being carried in by one of the youth young men. I snatched him up because he was upset and crying. There was no mistake that this little boy was literally crusted in dirt from head to toe. Dirt under his
fingernails, dirt filled up every crevice under his chin and he and all the children smelled of smoke. Bathing was scarce and probably not in his near future. I took him to the back and cleaned him up a bit with some baby wipes (praise God for those). He was a gorgeous little boy with or without the dirt. Once cleaned up we took him back to his older sister (who was about 10 years old and taking care of him and 2 other siblings). He calmed down and wound up falling asleep sitting straight up in his chair. Nixa picked him up and swaddled him while he slept.

The children had a blast playing games and singing songs for 2 hours. Now it was snack time. Each child received a cup of soda and a tamale. Most children ate it right up. Then there were others that took a few bites and wrapped theirs back up into their napkin. We found out that they were taking this tamale home to share it with other siblings and family members. One tamale. Just one they were going to share with family members. One tamale. Its amazing to me to see that these starving children are so selfless. Absolutely amazing.

So after seeing these children filled with dirt and hearts full of love, we took the bus to go see where these children lived. Picture the forts we made as kids with chairs and bed sheets. Replace the sheets with scrap metal, and that is what their homes looked like. Several families could be sharing the same 12x12 home. A wood burning fire to cook on (which explains the smoke smell on the children). Think poor, and then realize you can't fathom how poor this is, and these kids are STILL happy. Truly amazing.

God is everywhere. Whether you are in a multi-million dollar home in America or in a "fort" in Guatemala. God can and does put smiles on your face if you are willing to accept his gift. Our God is an awesome God. He creates miracles every day and will continue to do that.
Lord, please bless these children. Inspire them to live out their dreams in your name Lord. Praise you for all of these special children. And thank you for this life changing moment in my life, Lord. Praise YOU in all of your works. Amen.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

God of this city

This post was written by Caroline's Promise Board Member, Tami Rumfelt who is in Guatemala this week with our team from Wilson Community Church, Wilson, NC. You can follow her here

“Greater things have yet to come,
greater things are still to be done in this city”

I've sung those words and listened to that song on the radio countless times.  It’s a powerful song, no doubt.  

But today, this is a brand new song to me.   Today, I watched as a group of kids from Guatemala city learned to sing this song in English.  They’ll perform it for their schoolmates later this week.

These kids from a part of the world where 1 in 4 of them are malnourished. 
 Where Mamas sell their babies because they cannot afford to feed them, or the rest of their family for that matter.  Where sex trafficking is big business.  Where gangs terrorize communities.  Where, in many households, fathers are either absent, or such a negative force, it would be better if they were.

So, when these kids from this city sing these words, it’s enough to make you weep.  Or smile.  Or both.

You’re the God of this city.
You’re the King of these people.
You’re the Lord of this Nation.
You Are.

You’re the light of this darkness.
You’re the hope of the hopeless.
You’re the peace to the restless.
You are.

There is no one like our God
There is no one like our God

Greater things have yet to come,
greater things are still to be done
in this city.

There is no one like our God
There is no one like our God
-Chris Tomlin, God of this City

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Dreams coming true in Guatemala City

Delmi & Carlos Rivas, Pastors of Iglesia Adonai
When you talk to Delmi Rivas you’re pretty much guaranteed to hear the word “sueños” many times.  Sueños is the spanish word for dream and Delmi has many of them.  Dreams for the children at Casita Adonai.  Dreams for the people of her church, Iglesia Adonai.  Dreams for the spiritually and physically starving people in her community. 

Thankfully, Delmi’s dreams are provided to her and enabled by the God of our Universe.  So, it should not be surprising when her dreams come true.

One of her dreams has been to have a women’s outreach event for the ladies in the community around the church. Our team from Wilson Community Church was honored to be able to help this dream become a reality. 

Around 200 women were treated to a delicious, homemade breakfast of tamales (which is typical for a special event, even at breakfast), coffee and cookies.  Teens from the church and students from Casita Adonai served the ladies.  The tables were absolutely lovely 

thanks to the gifted women from the church who made beautiful flower arrangements for the
The sixth graders from Casita Adonai served the women
event.  Delmi said that many of the women who came to the breakfast never have the opportunity to eat a meal in a nice restaurant, so she wanted the setting to feel like a fancy breakfast out.

The women were also treated to worship music and a message of encouragement from CP Board Member, Tami Rumfelt.  At the end of the event, Delmi invited the women to come up to the altar if they would like to be prayed for.  Over 100 women came forward for prayer.

Delmi said most of the women at the breakfast were not currently attending their church, so her hope that this would be an evangelistic event was fulfilled. She and Pastor Carlos were also very happy that so many of the women and teens from the church helped to make this event a success.  It was truly a beautiful partnership.

When the event was over and our team was back at Delmi’s house for lunch she said the

event was everything she had dreamed of and even more.  She admitted she had been a little nervous because she had no way to know how many people would show up.  She was delighted when nearly every seat was filled. 

We can’t wait to see which of Delmi’s dreams comes true next.  We can only hope to be in Guatemala so we can see it when it happens.

"Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen" -Ephesians 3:20-21 (NIV)

Friday, June 21, 2013

Our First Summer Team Leaves Today!

Today the first of three teams departed Raleigh, NC for Guatemala City.  Caroline's Promise has partnered with Wilson Community Church for the past two years and we are excited to see them leading their own team (with a little help from CP Board Member, Tami Rumfelt)!  What a fantastic way for this smaller church to get their feet wet with short term missions!  We were able to train them and build trips around their specific gifts and desires. 

All of our teams focus on the dreams and needs of our partner church in Guatemala, Iglesia Adonai.  It is this model of partnership that we have found to be the most effective.  The Wilson Team will hit the ground running with a Women's Outreach Breakfast.  This has been a dream of Pastor Delmi Rivas for years.  The women of the church are decorating the building and each has been challenged to invite five ladies from their community who are not Christians.  There will be special music, an amazing breakfast, and a special message from our very own, Tami Rumfelt.  The focus of this event is evangelistic.  Will you pray with us that these women would understand how much Jesus adores them and that they would open their hearts to him?

On Sunday the team will assist in children's and adult ministries and spend the afternoon at a church that Iglesia Adonai is planting.  The rest of the week they will host a Vacation Bible School type program with the kids at Casita Adonai and spend their afternoons teaching adults English and tutoring kids who are struggling academically.  And let's not forget the zoo!  The preschool through Kindergarten classes will be treated to this special field trip!  We are excited about how God is going to work in and through this team in the next week.  Please keep them and the two teams that will follow, in your prayers.