Bats, Rats, and Reindeer
We have continued to have quite an adventure here in Guatemala. We’ve had the privilege of meeting so many wonderful people here in Estanzuela, Zacapa. Sunday morning we attended the service at Iglesia de Amigos. Chuck and Alison shared the gospel and gave people an opportunity to receive Christ and then the team ministered to them at the altar. We do not think they have ever experienced anything quite like it. What an honor to be carriers of God’s presence to these precious people!
Sunday evening we made a house call to meet the wonderful family of Jim's friend, Oscar, who lives in the US. We were welcomed by his large family and felt instantly at home as they stole our hearts. Sarah was able to do a routine check-up on the family matriarch, Rosa, who is 80 years old and has dementia. We were all able to pray with her and also extended a blessing over the whole family. After we prayed in a moment of clarity, we all laughed as Rosa told to ciate aka “shut up”... twice! We then had a great team devotional as Amber challenged us all to seek the Fathers heart for Reckless Love... to receive it and give it.
Monday our day started with worship in the sanctuary at the church. The presence of God was so heavy in the room as we believe God is shaking foundations in the church to deepen roots. God is using us to help to usher in His presence and shift the atmosphere. Heather led us in a devotional in which she discussed the importance of sacrifice and submission of our whole heart, every broken piece. We then hit the streets to visit a local daycare and love on the children who stay there everyday, while their parents are working. They were such a joy. Covered head to toe in stickers, Alison shared the importance of receiving Jesus into their hearts and many children prayed to receive Christ. We then played in a sea of bubbles and balloons.
Our team spent the afternoon up to our ears in gift wrap, tape, and candy preparing everything for the remainder of the week and our other outreach projects in the community. As we left the church, God blessed us all. As we drove down the street, we passed right by the local reindeer farm in the streets of Estanzuela. They may or may not have been made of hay. We debated for several minutes as to whether we should turn around and check these reindeer out. As the man was packing up the farm, a van full of Americanos pulled up waving dollar bills. That is when the local street became Wall Street, as Jim and Lando negotiated the price and then we bought out the reindeer farm. We now collectively have more reindeer than Santa. The man we purchased them from smiled with such pride when we asked for a photo. While we were able to bless him, he blessed us equally in return. We aren’t sure if he went home or went Christmas shopping for his family with his new inheritance.
That evening, we went back to spend more time with Oscar's family. We bought pizza, gave gifts and made crafts to share. Kenedi opened the night playing the guitar and leading worship with the team and the family. Then we were able to share community with each other. Chuck and Jim had the opportunity to have a great conversation with Oscar's brothers about relationship with Jesus. We ladies enjoyed crafting with the children and taking with the women.
The evening ended in the most tender and peaceful moment as we all gathered around Mama Rosa and had the honor to worship with her. Such peace fell over the room as she smiled and tapped out the beat of the songs that we sang. Many were in tears as we united in the Lord’s presence, entering with thanksgiving and worship over Mama Rosa. We saw such improvement from the previous night and she did not tell us to “shut up” this time. Ha ha. We again prayed a blessing over the family and with many hugs and photos said Chuck’s famous line, “Asta la vista baby!”
We came back to the hotel and were able to share about our day and to pray for Chuck as he prepared to return to the states.
Twas the night before Chuck left
and all through the house (hotel)
every creature was stirring, even the mouse.
We had just settled down to pray for dear Chuck
When up on the roof, there arose such a clatter,
Amber sprang from her chair as the rat sent us a scatter.
(it dropped down from the roof and almost landed on Amber’s head!)
This morning we started the day with pancakes and prayer. Sarah shared with us about setting an atmosphere with our words and our worship. We all talked about God assembling a small choir to usher in His presence in the places we have visited and discussed the importance of speaking life over ourselves and over God's children. We then hit the streets again. We were able to visit a second group of precious children. Again, it such a joy to share the love of Jesus with the children of this beautiful country. Jim made a new best friend named Jonatan who touched our hearts as he shared his smarties with every member of the team.
When we left the childcare center we then traveled to a local senior care center. We were welcomed with open arms. We started our visit with worship. The pastor and the elderly people joined with us. Alison and Pastor Carlos then lead team in prayer for healing and salvation. All of a sudden, one person after another began to approach us for personal prayer. One man who came forward asked to receive Christ in his heart after we prayed for his body to be healed! There was such love and joy amongst these people. We also gave them goodie bags full of candy and jewelry for the women. All the ladies beamed as we adorned them in jewelry that perfectly matched their individual outfits. Just a reminder that God is in every detail. We then had the honor of giving every one them a gentle hand massage for their fragile fingers.
It's has been an amazing couple of days here in Guatemala. Even though Chuck had to leave us early to get back to work, Jim was left with a roommate that sleeps all day and makes all kinds of noise in the room at night….his new pet BAT!
Thank you for your many prayers. We can feel them!
Blessings from the team!