Monday, August 31, 2015

October 3 Picnic with Carlos & Delmi!

Please join us for a picnic with Pastor Carlos & Delmi Rivas.


Saturday, October 3, 2015
Shady Grove Wesleyan Church Fellowship Hall
119 N. Bunker Hill Road, Colfax, NC
Look for Caroline's Promise sign and balloons
3 p.m. - 6 p.m.

We will have a fabulous meal with NC pulled pork barbeque sandwiches and all the fixings!
Ages 12 & up - $8
Under 12 - $5 (hot dog or barbeque)
Kids 3 & under eat free

Purchase your ticket and reserve your space here
Deadline is Wednesday, September 30

All proceeds go toward construction of the 3rd floor of the school!

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Prayers for Guatemala

Many of you have heard about the political unrest in Guatemala.  It's so hard to know exactly what is going on but one thing is sure........we need to pray.  For the past several months we have watched our friends protest in a peaceful manner.  I (Lisa) was there during one of these protests and the energy was electric.  The order and unity blew me away.  This article explains how the protests began. 

Corruption has been exposed and the Vice President has been arrested.  Guatemalans are asking that the President resign.  Presidential elections are scheduled for September 6 and most of our partners and friends feel like the candidate that is most likely to win is just as corrupt as the current President.

As Delmi and I talked by phone yesterday I heard the concern in her voice regarding another issue:  The lack of rain.   A quick search led me to this article that explains how the current drought situation could threaten to kill up to a million people.  It didn't take long for me to think of the ridiculous rate of child malnutrition that will obviously rise. 

Christians in Guatemala are uniting and praying and trusting God to intervene and change the course of their country.  We need to do the same.  Would you consider praying each day between now and September 6?  Perhaps you will feel led to fast something.
Regardless of how you do it - please pray. 

I was doing a little search today on prayer and was drawn to James 5.  You can read the entire chapter here.

It begins by talking about rich oppressors being judged.

"Come now, you rich, weep and howl for your miseries that are coming upon you! Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are moth-eaten. Your gold and silver are corroded, and their corrosion will be a witness against you and will eat your flesh like fire. You have heaped up treasure in the last days. Indeed the wages of the laborers who mowed your fields, which you kept back by fraud, cry out; and the cries of the reapers have reached the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth.[a] You have lived on the earth in pleasure and luxury; you have fattened your hearts as[b] in a day of slaughter. You have condemned, you have murdered the just; he does not resist you.
-James 5: 1-7 NKJV

Then James speaks of being patient and enduring.....
11 Indeed we count them blessed who endure. You have heard of the perseverance of Job and seen the end intended by the Lord—that the Lord is very compassionate and merciful."

And the power of our prayers.....
"16 Confess your trespasses[e] to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. 
The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much."

And finally, a prayer for RAIN!!! 

17 Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain; and it did not rain on the land for three years and six months. 18 And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth produced its fruit."

I don't begin to understand all that is going on in Guatemala; however, I know how to pray. I choose to sacrifice myself this week and pray for my friends and the country that I love.  Thank you for joining me.   

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Wilson Community Church Returns from Guatemala

Wilson Community Church sent 17 team members to serve at Casita Adonai and Gerona the last week in July. Among all of the amazing moments of the trip, here are a few highlights:
                  
In Gerona, the team was able to take part in the first Quinceañera! As this event was a big deal for the community, just being able to attend and sing Amazing Grace for them was an amazing experience. In preparation for the trip, the team collected formal dresses and hair/make up supplies for the girls and their moms. Seeing them all dressed up was a very special moment. 
               
Each year the current sixth graders go on a special trip to Pana as a graduation gift. Our team was able to pour into the 11 sixth graders by having one-on-one time with them to play, swim, and pray. God really showed up during the boy’s devotion time as each one accepted Christ. We believe that God will continue to use these students for his kingdom. 

Also, the team members that returned from last year were amazed by the progress and growth in construction. Seeing how God has continued to provide a school for the children was such a blessing, as the children seemed to enjoy their new classrooms, and most of all being able to play in a safe place. 
           
Our team learned a great deal while serving in Guatemala. The things that God taught or showed each of the team members during the week are:

1.       I was reminded that God can be seen anywhere you go and should be seen in everything you do.
2.       I am completely overwhelmed by how happy my sponsor kids are. Pray instead of worry. It really works.
3.       When you do things for God’s glory, even things that normally terrify you, God gives you wisdom and peace of heart to see them through.
4.       In Mark 12:44, Jesus commends a woman for giving out of her poverty. In Guatemala, God showed us that anyone can be a conduit of grace. You don’t have to have a lot of material possessions to bless others.
5.       I am reminded of the importance of being present in the moment. Spending time with people is easier here when we aren’t distracted by unimportant things.
6.       God’s call to his children is the same no matter where you live, and he encourages us in his word: “ and let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart” Galatians 6:9
7.       God’s beauty shows in his creation and through the love of his children. It’s a blessing to be able to share God’s love.
8.       Everyone in Guatemala will return a smile. That kind of warmth is something missing in America. And surprisingly enough, that subtle thing can change the whole attitude of the community.
9.       I learned that the people are so nice and so joyful no matter how poor or cold they may be.
10.   God taught me that building relationships are important.
11.   God taught me to care about everyone.
12.   I was reminded this year that the local church is what Christ has given the world to be his hands and feet. The church is the hope of the world for them to see the love of Christ.
13.   This trip revealed to me just how big the needs in Guatemala are. I know that I can’t fix everything, but I CAN do something. And that something means everything to these kids.



Click here to watch a video of our week serving in Guatemala.  

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Interested in our work in Guatemala? Join us for a few days in October!

October Vision Trip to Guatemala

Have you ever wondered what our work in Guatemala is all about?
You've heard us talk about our partner church.  Have you ever thought about joining us?

We are praying for new partners who are passionate about education, child sponsorship, business skills training, business training, micro loans, and of course ministry of all types!

In October we will offer a unique opportunity for pastors, business leaders, and individuals to join us on a short vision trip.  You'll visit our ministry sites and meet our partners.

Your only cost is your airfare!

If interested, please contact LisaHolbrook@carolinespromise.net or 336-669-7340

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Lies and Truths

On one of the last nights of our trip the women’s team decided to read the lies and truths that the women from both retreats (Pana and Gerona) wrote.  We cried as we heard the ugly things satan has spoken over them.


Lies:
I’m never going to prosper – get ahead – I’ll go to hell.  I’m not worth anything.  Noone loves me.  Jesus doesn’t listen to me when I pray.  I’m not worth anything.  My family is bad.  I have no future.  I can’t pray for anyone.

God doesn’t exist.  Who would believe in God?  God can’t forgive you.  You are a bad mother.  You are a sinner.  God doesn’t love you.

You’re not a good mom.  You’re not a good wife.  You’re not a good daughter.  God cannot use you.  You are weak.  You don’t have any ability.  You can’t be happy.

Nobody values me.  I’ll never be successful.  I’m not worth it.

I don’t do things that the Lord finds pleasing.  God doesn’t like me.  Depression in the deepest part of me.
I feel like dying because I don’t have the strength.  I work a lot and I feel tired.  Nobody values what I do.  You can’t do it.  You are shy.  You aren’t wise.  You don’t have worth.  You don’t have character.  You aren’t prepared.  You can’t be a good leader.  You aren’t able or capable.  God can’t forgive you.  You don’t deserve it.  You’re not worthy.

I can’t pray.  I don’t have time to go to church.

I feel like leaving my house.  Sometimes I think about God and everything (bad thoughts) go away when I pray.

Sometimes I think that I’m ugly.  I think that I’m good for nothing.  Sometimes I think that nobody loves me.  Sometimes I wish that I would die.

You don’t have a purpose.  You aren’t beautiful.  God can’t forgive you.  You have done bad things.  You cannot be healed.  You’re never going to prosper.  You’ll never travel.  You’ll never have relationships with people. 

My husband will never be free.  My son will never be free.

I’m never going to prosper.  I’ll never change.  My past will always be here.  I’m not worth anything.  God will never forgive my sins.  Nobody ever believes me.  They always think the worse of me.  But God has changed me.  Thank you father for having mercy and for helping me to not believe or feel these lies.

People always think that I’m a liar and they think that I haven’t changed even though God has already changed me.  There is always someone who says the opposite.  

The first church I went to was Catholic – then a Christian church.  Things have happened with pastors and a lot of times I tell myself that if all this bad stuff happens in churches it’s better for me to stay in myself and not hurt anyone.  Just help whoever I can.


And as we read the truths, we began to rejoice:


Precious jewel that should shine 

I’m your princess

I’m loved

The Holy Spirit is with me

I’m your beloved daughter with a special purpose

He is always with me

I trust in God

You are my daughter.  I bought you

Your desires should be like Martha – an instrument for your service.  Love God and love myself so 
that I can love other people.

I know that you love me.  I have infinite covering from you.  I have your coat on me.  Your protection.  I’m the niña de tus ojos.  Thank you God, I love you

A new purpose.  A new love.  A new trust

Because I love you like the daughter of my eye.  Because I am your father I will always be with you.  I will never leave you.  I will always be with you.  I love you.  I want you to be happy with what you have.


Our last team activity was to pray and then burn the lies.  It was a perfect ending to an amazing week of ministry with these women.  I am so blessed to have been able to share this with them. As I watched them pour themselves out over and over, I also saw God fill them back up.



Thursday, August 20, 2015

Miracles at Shama

Our partner church, Iglesia Adonai is planting a church and holding services for kids and women every Sunday afternoon.in the community of Gerona, right outside of Guatemala City.  There is a beautiful Christian camp there called Shama. As we are blessed to know the owners of this camp, our ladies team was able to join the women’s ministry team from Iglesia Adonai to host a retreat for women from both communities. Twenty ladies from Adonai and Gerona arrived on Friday afternoon for a 24 hour retreat. Upon the arrival of the women from Gerona, the ladies from Adonai greeted them with corsages, and our team placed beautiful gifts on their bed, at the table for each meal, and in the services.  After the warm welcome and corsages, their first stop was a Mary Kay makeover. While walking them through this process, Ruth and her team spoke life over them. After makeovers, the ladies got their hair cut and styled…and of course had their nails painted! You could see the beauty they have inwardly and outwardly shining through…and the best part was THEY saw it as well!
With a fresh makeover and beautiful dress, each lady was escorted down a red (pink) carpet at the entrance and into the dining room where the tables were beautifully set with real linens, candles, and flowers.  Many of these women only eat tortillas or rice each day so the meals at Shama were a treat; however, it was difficult for us to watch them take our leftovers and bag them to take home to their families.
During worship, some of women from Adonai joined Angela and our worship team, which was a sweet surprise and gift to worship with them.  God provided Angela everything she needed as she led us into the presence of Jesus.  After beautiful moments of worship, Kristi spoke at our evening session and added an invitation to accept Jesus for anyone who had never made that decision. While at first no one responded, as we were praying one of the women from Shama, Aracely, shared that she wanted to accept Jesus and become a Christian!  Over the years in which we have visited this camp and used it for various ministries, we have come to know Aracely and her family, and she recently attended our first Threads of Promise sewing ministry in Gerona.  I believe that it was the relationship with Oneida and the other ladies from this program that led her to this moment where she wanted to know Jesus personally.  A miracle—one of many on this trip!  As we drifted to sleep that night we heard the laughter of women.  Some were sleeping in a bed for the first time, bathing in a shower instead of a sink, with hot water instead of cold.  Not only were their bellies full, but also were their hearts.  As were ours.

On Saturday Leslie shared her lesson, and Kaitlyn taught the women to worship through sign language to the song “I can only imagine.”  They loved it!







At our final session a woman from Gerona asked for prayer for a bacterial infection in her leg. For 15 days she suffered from it, and the medicine didn’t appear to be working.  Swollen, red, and very painful, the leg began to heal right before their eyes as Kristi and Leslie prayed with her over the infection.  As the infection went away the swelling went down, and the redness disappeared.  God is amazing!



 In the final service, I shared about forgiveness of others and of ourselves. As we walked the women through the process of identifying people that they needed to forgive, it was a painful time yet full of liberation and freedom.  Our service concluded with us joining the ladies from Adonai in washing the feet of the women and praying for them.  



I wish I could adequately describe all that happened.  There is so much. God did SO much, and as we reflected on all that He did we realize that this is just the beginning.  God created a special bond with our friends in Guatemala, and we began to see them being a light in their community. They were claiming that community. Instead of letting fear hold them back, they were walking in boldness and sharing the love of Jesus with their neighbors with the authority that He has given them.  Delmi wants us to return, and so we will begin the process of asking Jesus when, what, and how.  Our desire is to combine with the Women’s Ministry Team at Adonai and host a conference for women in the community next year.  I want to personally thank you for your prayers and support of these women.  I fully expect to return and see them walking in the truth that God has spoken over them – they are a light in their community.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Beauty, Tragedy, Water Pitchers, and Truth

Our vision for the women’s team was to invest in the women’s leadership team from Iglesia Adonai (our partner church) and then help them lead a retreat for women from their church and the community of Gerona (where they are planting a church).
God gave us three things that we felt like He wanted to accomplish:
  • Help the ladies feel and understand God’s love.
  • Establish unity by walking them through the process of forgiving themselves and others. 
  • Encourage them to believe what God thinks of them and begin walking in the beauty of who He created them to be.
Teachers, students, moms, worship leaders, speakers, first timers, and veteran mission team members, all between the ages of 11 and 46, created a very diverse team. Despite the unexpected challenges and changes that the first 24 hours of the trip brought, God helped us fight through the frustration. Our diverse team of 13 boarded a bus with 15, full of laughter and excitement, ladies from Iglesia Adonai as we travelled to Panajachel, a touristy city on the breathtaking Lake Atitlan.  Generous support from donors made treating these ladies to 24 hours at a beautiful hotel possible, many of whom had never been to a place like this. After taking the time to settle in, the ladies realized that God wanted them to enjoy their time there.
Through practical, everyday examples, Leslie shared the importance of getting our strength from God daily and spending time in His word. Afterwards, Ruth spoke on our beauty as women and then treated them to a Mary Kay makeover.  As laughter once again filled the air, it truly began to feel like a slumber party! 
We joined them for dinner after a brief rest, and beauty is the only word that could adequately describe them as they stepped out of the elevator, dressed in their best and glowing.  After dinner we returned to the conference room and prayed for God to take control of our evening session; it was in that moment that Delmi shared with me that she had just received a call from the son of Ofe, the Director of Women’s Ministry.  Her 35 year old daughter died unexpectedly, leaving Delmi unsure of how to proceed.  As we prayed I sensed God saying that He was going to use this tragedy to unite this group. After prayer, Ofe went with Delmi and Carlos back to the city to be with her family. Our “plan” for the evening session quickly shifted to a time of praise and prayer.  God was doing just what He said He would do – unite this team of women.  The next day we learned that they had stayed up until well after 1 a. m. sharing, laughing, and praying.  Precious!  Unity was happening.  
The next morning, Kristi talked about the Samaritan Woman’s encounter with Jesus at the well. Although it was not the custom for men to even speak to women in public, Jesus not only spoke to her, but also let her know that He knew who she was.  She must have been shocked when he revealed details about her life and sin. Through His love and forgiveness, the Samaritan woman was radically changed. Jesus gave this woman, who prior to this encounter was nameless, a name in Christ.  She no longer needed her water pitcher, as she now had living water; therefore, she left it behind at the well and returned to her town to proclaim what Jesus had done for her! Many came to know and follow Jesus through the testimony of a woman and her encounter with The Man who knew her name.  
After this powerful message, our plan was to have a time of communion with the ladies and then wash their feet as Jesus had done for his disciples. To no surprise, God had a different plan.  Several weeks ago, I (Lisa) had the idea to have the ladies identify the lies that they believe about themselves. In contrast, I also had an idea to have them ask Jesus what words He would use to describe them.  I sensed that He wanted to give them, like the Samaritan woman, a new name, but I wasn’t sure where this would fit in our plan.  As Kristi finished and we began to move to the time of communion I felt the freedom to change direction.  Our worship leader and translator, Angela helped me as I asked them to write down the lies that they so easily believe.  I whispered to her, “I need some sort of container for them to put these lies in.”  We looked around and simultaneously saw a water pitcher. How perfect! Just like the Samaritan Woman at the well, the ladies put their lies in the water pitcher and left them behind.  It was undoubtedly difficult for the ladies, but they were so willing to trust God and let go of those lies. 
The next step was to pray and ask God what He thinks of them.  As we prayed the women began writing, crying, and believing the truths that God was speaking over them. After asking if anyone wanted to share the words God gave her, Merli stood and said that she had never had this happen to her before, but she saw an image in which she was standing before a bright light. Angels surrounded her, and God was looking at her.  I asked her what she thought God was saying to her and she said “I don’t know.  I just feel that He loves me.”  In that moment Kristi said, “God is saying that you are the light in your community.” Overwhelmed by the realization that God was not only speaking to Merli but to me as well, I burst into tears…uncontrollably sobbing as I never have in public.
Three years ago when He gave me the vision of the new building that would benefit both the school and the church, He told me that it would be a light in as well as heal the community, and that people would be drawn to that place and to Him. All this time I’ve thought He was talking about the physical building, but in that moment of Kristi speaking truth over Merli, God showed me that it is not the building – but the people that are the light in the community.  He is healing them and using them to draw people to Him.  They are the church – the light in that community.  
After a service like that, it’s hard to leave; however, most of the women boarded a small boat and traveled across the lake to the village of San Juan.  Angela, a Noon Day consultant, was able to visit a lady there who makes beautiful fair trade products which are sold through Noon Day. Meeting these amazing artisans first hand was a true gift for not only Angela, but also the rest of the ladies as well. Through this rocky boat ride in which the ladies had to fight through their fears, God united people in a rather unexpected way!

So much happened in a little over 24 hours.  We were blessed, excited, and exhausted as we returned to the city.  Satan wasn’t happy about all the good that had happened, and several team members struggled with sickness and very real spiritual attacks that night. Once again God was faithful and used team members to help each other fight through their struggles. Stay tuned for the next blog post where we will share of the miracles that God did at our last retreat.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Join us for Graduation and/or VBS this fall

Our next teams to Guatemala will begin in October and you have a choice!

Graduation/Vision Trip - October 27 - November 2 with the option of staying through the VBS trip.
This team will assist with 2015 Graduation and visit our projects in Guatemala.

Vacation Bible School Team - October 31 - November 7, 2015.
This team will focus on assisting our partner church with their annual Vacation Bible School.  In the morning you will serve at Iglesia Adonai where they average 1200 people for VBS.  In the afternoons you will serve in the community of Gerona where we expect 200 kids. This trip is open to children age 10-16 accompanied by a parent and adults 17 and up.  You need to love working with kids and be able to handle organized chaos!

Cost is $1000 plus airfare.  Cost of airfare is dependent on your location and can be booked by Caroline's Promise.

Application and $100 non refundable deposit are due by August 25, 2015.

You can find the application here