Posts Tagged With: connecting

When I’m found in the desert place…

Blessed be your name!

We spent the week before Easter getting to know a new part of Guatemala–the desert! This year’s EMM Central America retreat was in Chiquimula, at a World Vision center there. Five families, including 18 kids (13 of them boys!), joined together in wonderful, precious times of worship, prayer, fellowship, teaching, and a little fun. It’s hard to say if the adults or the kids enjoyed it more. Friendships were forged and renewed and I think it’s safe to say we all left feeling very encouraged by our time together.

The adults discussed healthy marriages and parenting in the context of ministry as well as being passionate Christ followers. It was refreshing to discover that we all shared similar struggles and to discuss various solutions and just to know we aren’t alone. Some of the most special times were in the evenings when we spent time praying over and blessing each family including each individual family member. God knew what we all needed and his presence and faithfulness in providing it was soo good!

Here is a slideshow of some highlights from the week:

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On our way home Friday, we stopped in Coban to check out the ‘alfombras’ or ‘carpets’ being made for the Good Friday processions. It is amazing the amount of work put into these just to have them trampled on hours later. Here is a time-lapse video someone did where you can see the whole process (in Antigua, Guatemala).

We enjoyed a relatively quiet Easter after the full week, and this week the boys started the second quarter of their school year and the rest of us are working on what needs to be done before heading to the States for the summer…a lot!

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Fun Easter picture…keeping it real!

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A Welcome Visit

We just said good-bye to a team from our home church that visited to see and learn more about our ministry here. It was a wonderful, blessed time that we are very thankful for. Some of the members shared their pictures with me, so I thought I would use them to put together a photo-post of some of the things we have been doing. (Roll-over picture to see caption, click on photo to see larger image with full caption.)

The first Sunday the team drove a couple hours to attend the village church in Checalte. Some of the ladies wore Kekchi outfits they had purchased the day before at the market (except Esther who insisted on wearing the skirt we purchased for Abby three years ago. It was a bit on the long side!) During the service, Pastor Gene shared a short sermon that Ted translated to Spanish and our friend Rigoberto translated to Kekchi. Some of the team also sang some hymns. The congregation wanted to share with us as well and sang a couple songs of their own including “I Have Decided to Follow Jesus” in English.

Throughout the week we visited several villages where we have built relationships. We started the week with a coffee tour. The team learned about how coffee is grown and processed.

Another day, the team travelled a couple hours to Chisec to visit and pray for a church in the process of constructing a new building. The pastor here, Pablo, was one of the first Kekchi Mennonite believers back in the 1960s.

We also visited Chiquixji to meet Felipe and his son Wilmar and family. Ted and I first met this family when we visited on our vision trip three years ago. We continue to be blessed by this relationship. We also visited a nearby benefício, or coffee processing facility, to see possibilities for future work.

Near the end of the week we travelled to a village garden that Red Paz (Peace Network)–an organization that Ted works with quite a bit–helped to initiate. Red Paz goes into communities and works to teach helpful skills both in agriculture and in peacemaking. They are the group that has partnered with Ted and the national organization Anacafé to help teach good coffee-growing techniques to Kekchi farmers.

This visit was followed by an uphill hike to visit some friends–Federico and Marta and their two boys. They are a wonderful family that has seen many challenges in the last several years. We had a very special time of prayer with and for them and enjoyed shopping Marta’s beautiful weavings–bags, placemats, table runners, and more.

We ended the visit Sunday by visiting our local church in Chamelco. The team again shared in song, but the most special part came after the service and after lunch. Rigoberto’s family joined us to go down to the river and fulfill a request Abby made several months ago that we thought would have to wait until next summer.

Although these were the scheduled events, there were many other special moments throughout the week, some captured on film and some not. We were truly blessed by this visit and praise God for everything coming together the way it did.

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Our special visitors:

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To say goodbye is not to forget

goodbye

I came across this quote this past week and it really hit me. We have been saying so many goodbyes lately, and they are getting harder and harder. Yes, our goodbyes do mean going away at this time, but it is our prayer they do not mean forgetting. Although we cannot be directly a part of all the lives we were before, we still hope to be able to share in each other’s lives and support each other. We are very thankful for Facebook and email and Skype that allow us to continue to be connected in spite of physical distance. Not only can we share with others about our lives and how God is working in another part of the world, but we can also hear from you all about your lives and how God is working here!

We left our house and home community two days ago and already we have received several emails and notes from friends. This is such an encouragement to us even in this early stage of our travels. We covet your prayers greatly, but hearing from you is just as important to let us know we are not forgotten.

So, maybe we should not say goodbye, but see ya later, knowing that we will still be able to share our lives and with the knowledge that we will see each other again, and that this span of time that we are gone is very short when compared with the eternity we know we will have together.

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