Monday, March 10, 2014

God's Vision is Becoming a Reality

Two years ago I stood in a worship service at my church and for the first time in my life I experienced God giving me the gift of faith.  I have had faith for things before but this was different and I sensed that He was doing something big.  A vision for a new building for our partner church and school in Guatemala City was given that day and in the weeks that followed God confirmed that it was from Him by giving me Isaiah 61  
and then showing me that the vision of this building had actually been made into building plans 7 years before.  We named the campaign Hope Grows
You can read that story here.

In the next few months we shared dreams with our partners and agreed to work together to raise the funds to see the  building built.  $100,000 is a lot in my opinion.  I knew that if it happened God would have to do it.  I'd love to tell you that I did not grow weary in fundraising.  But that wouldn't be the truth.  What I can tell you is that God used this experience to stretch me in so many ways.  Each time I began to doubt that it would happen God took me back to that Sunday morning church service in 2012 and my faith soared.  The doubts weren't exactly that God would not do it.  I believed it was His dream.  My doubts were with how He would do it.

There was fundraising, which I hate.  People giving sacrificially which was beyond humbling.  Our partner church in Guatemala sold food to raise funds and a young adult from the church even made hats for us to sell.  The ladies in our Threads of Promise sewing project gave so much of themselves and then went further - and gave more. Our Board of Directors posted about the need on social media more than they probably wanted to and sold puzzle pieces.  There were days when God asked me to be BOLD and talk to people.  And there were days when He told me to wait - that He would bring the money from people and places I would never expect.  And He did.  Many of you were part of that process.  "Thank you" just does not seem like enough.

The accounting has been done and there is $97,000 in the Hope Grows Fund.  While we await the total from a local fundraiser we know that the $100,000 is within reach.  Our partner church is ready to break ground and their team has spent countless hours over the past month perfecting the plans and working out the details.  When I arrived in Guatemala two days ago they were in the middle of an evangelistic crusade that they had planned for and prayed over for a year.  They were thrilled with the attendance and even more thankful for the people whose lives were changed as they gave their hearts to Jesus. 

As the final service ended in a time of praise our team was instructed to move to the building that will be torn down in order for the new one to be built.  What commenced was one of the most precious moments I've had in Guatemala.  Two boys from the church who attend the school walked in with hardhats and tool belts on.  They were carrying cement and tools.  Leaders from the church shared, including Orlando whose children attend Casita Adonai and are sponsored through Caroline's Promise.  Orlando will  lead the construction project and is thrilled to have the opportunity to serve his church while earning income to support his family.  The thought of that just hit me.... 

A Dad whose kids are sponsored through CP now has a job - leading the construction of this new building.  Why would I think God would do it any other way?

Orlando carefully spread concrete and then invited me to lay the first block.  Of course this is all about partnership so I asked him to help me.  Partnership.  What a beautiful picture.
 

I wish you could have been there as we all prayed for God to lead, provide, give wisdom, protect, and use this building to heal a community by leading people to Himself.  You were there - because you are a piece of the partnership.  Without your prayers and support HOPE would not be growing in Guatemala.

What's next?  We're not finished.  God has to be the head of this project and we need you to pray with us.  Really........pray.  Will you join us on Wednesdays to pray for the Hope Grows Project?  Each week
we will give you specific things to pray for through this blog, our facebook page, and our newsletters.  Right now these are the biggest concerns.

*  We are trying to identify a location to rent for the older grades to have school while the new school is being built.  Our younger kids will remain at Casita in the part of the school that is not being torn down. God knows where this place is.  We need him to lead us.

Orlando and his team.  We are thrilled that this project will provide income for many in the area around the school.  Pray that God will lead the right workers and that He will protect them.  Pray for Orlando and the Board that is overseeing construction.

*  Permits.  If you think there's red  tape in the States - you haven't seen anything!  Pray that this process will go smoothly and quickly and that God will lead them to the right people who can provide the permits.  The church wants no part of paying people "under the table" which is a normal part of life  here. God can open doors where they all seem to be shut.

*  Pray for Pastor Carlos and Delmi and the Director of the School, Sarita as they deal with all of the transition and issues that come from having the school in 2 different locations.  Pray for the finances needed to cover the rent of additional space.  Pray for the kids and teachers.

*  One of the sweetest parts of yesterday was hearing them challenge the church to buy a block for 50 cents.  This is quite a challenge considering the fact that the average person in this community makes $1 a day - IF they have a job.  Their goal is to sell $5000 blocks.  It will take sacrifice.  Will you pray that God will continue to bless this congregation and teach them about His faithfulness as they give?

*  The $100,000 raised should complete the first floor of a third story building.  We are praying that construction will be complete by the end of October in time for the church's annual Vacation Bible School that draws over 2000 people.  We will continue to raise funds for the second and third floors but will be able to start the new school year in January with the first floor complete. Once we know the total amount raised by a local fundraiser we will update our Hope Grows Puzzle Project.  Pray that people will not grow weary in giving. 

I don't cry a lot.  I just don't.  But I've found myself so overcome with praise to a God who invites us to be a part of His work - and joins us with other like minded people who want the same.  I'm so thankful for you and your partnership with us.  My prayer is that as you watch Hope Grow in Guatemala City you will also see it grow in your life.