Reflection: A heart of gratitude

March 2, 2007

It’s been a couple days since we arrived back in Michigan, but the memories still remain. As I reflect back on what has transpired over the course of the past week my heart is filled with gratitude. Thank-yous do not do justice but at this point they will have to do. I thank Dan and Heidi for their willingness to answer the calling God has given them and in turn sharing their passion with others. Thanks for an incredible week of ministry! I thank my fellow team members for their hard work, acceptance and dedication to God’s calling in their hearts. I thank the people of Guatemala for accepting “gringos”. I thank the people that made this trip possible with their donations of money, medicines, gifts, encouragements and countless prayers. Prayers that without having been said, would have made this trip just been another trip. I thank the “technical support staff” for all he did to make our contacts back home that much easier. You know what its like to be down here and have access to our family and friends through this blog. But most of all my heart is filled with gratitude to our God, who had a plan in place before that fateful day in the garden. Who sent His Son to die for my sins, your sins and that’s what we proclaimed on this trip. This was told countless times this past week and with more than just words. The homes that were built, meds passed out, the hugs, the tears, the listening ears and the countless other things that were done were just expressions of this gratitude.

My prayer to God is to continue to sustain those who were added to the book of “life”, to keep Paradise Bound Ministry in the center of His will, to sustain Heidi, Dan, family and staff. To water the seed that was planted in the hearts of those that did not make the commitment to accept Jesus Christ’s invitation to be changed.

My challenge to all who read this is to invest in a ministry, such as Paradise Bound, and answer God’s call in your life to seek and save the lost. It just might be you who is saved.

My Sunday Observation

February 26, 2007

There is only one way I can summerize all that happened here today.   Satan was viciously attempting to stop our work.   Today we were off to another new village and he was aware of the impact we were going to make there.   From early morning it was obvious that the sickness of the team could become a problem.  Then it was necessary for one of the vans to have some work done on the starter.  After a delay in our departure, we were able to leave.  We were almost to the village, when we noticed the last van no longer with us.  We stopped and waited, still no van.  After turning around (not an easy thing to do on a mountain road) we found they had a flat tire.  Another repair and we were on our way.   Pulling into this village we once again found the families there and waiting for us.   The medical clinic was set up and the interaction / building relationships with the kids began.   Satan wasn’t about to give up ~ the team’s over all health was slipping away fast and soon it became evident we would not be able to do the drama here.  Ah, then there was the problem of the van again, yes the starter.  There were people working on it the entire time we were there, yes even while it was dark.  Those who were able gathered for prayer for the van and for the message that was yet to be presented. During the showing of the Jesus film the start of the van was music to our ears.  Yes, they did leave it running so that we would all be able to return to the mission.   Hermano Jesus was still able to present Jesus Christ and there were many who were broken by his words and came forward to accept Christ.  Praise the Lord!   Jesus Christ was triumphant today, not satan!    Keep up your prayers for energy, health, and safety as we complete our time here.

Serving HIM,  Phyllis

Sunday about Saturday

February 25, 2007

Expectations were unknown about the day ahead. How would I witness to some one when I don’t know the language. I learned that God used the love and passion he puts within us to express His Love to them. Even with a van breaking down, we wereputting smiles on the locals as they drove by. We had our own of the wave going. I’m sure they were thinking we wasking others if they saw those crazy Gringos on the street. Our drive did not waver. God is and was working in us and through us. It seems that even when a sickness comes or migranes, it seems to pull the team together. It was fun to see grown ups on the ground playing with the kids,  batting balls and baloons around in the air,  throwing frisbees or kicking soccer balls. God was working through the team whether playing or handing out the drugs. God is pulling out of us new gifts or gifts we never used or thought we had. We are being pulled out of our comfort zones and being used for Him.

Sunday about Saturday

February 25, 2007

Hi from Barb,

Brian asked me to update all of you from my point of view.  What an awesome place in the world!!!  I have never met more gracious people anywhere.  They are so recieving of us and giving eventhough they don’t have anything.  The kids were even playing kick ball in the road with an old plastic bottle.  The fed us lunch twice this week that cost them 1 weeks wages X 5!!!  Talk about giving like the widow in the bible.  I am in awe. 

We are starting to deal with the intestial problems but Dan the Man is quickly on it to get us the right drugs to combat it. 

I worked in the medical clinic last night and it was something to see.  These people are so trusting that what we tell them is true.  Lots of intestinal problems due to bad water in the villiage.  I am amazed at the heart and soul Dan Smith puts into his work here.  His love for the people is evident in his every breath.  He never stops working for them and helping them.  He diagnosed the people in a few minutes and gave us a list of what we needed to give them.  Margarita explains the meds to them and how to take them.  What a blessing she is to this ministry too.  She helps from food prep, to sharing the gospel in the huts during food prep, to explaining meds.  She loves to sing too!!  We have all found a place in our heart for this ministry.  Well it’s lunch time and bible study time so adios amigos!!

Barb

Saturday Again

February 25, 2007

Wow, how can I put into words what we are experiencing here in Guatemala!  The spirit is moving and we are so blessed to be a part of that.   After spending an hour or more in a small city due to van problems, we continued our journey up the mountains to the village.  The majesty of God was displayed in the mountains and despite the thick dust, we were able to see some glorious views of creation.    When we arrived in the village the families were all waiting in line for the clinic.   Immediately we began to engage the children with balls and frisbees ~ it was great.   I found out that running,  playing and laughing at that altitude made me realize I am bit older than I think.   It seems that in every village each of us gets attached to one or two children.   Today was no exception for myself and Mike.  There was a small boy whoose name I didn’t get and a beautiful young girl named Diana that were mine for the day. Can you imagine how my heart just burst when at the end of the gosple presentation Diana’s  family accepted Christ?    This is just one small tidbit of what is happening here and all of the team will be able to share so much more when we return.    Please keep praying as our work is not yet complete.   Serving Him,  Phyllis

Saturday

February 25, 2007

We didn’t get back to the mission base until 12:00 midnight.  Partly because we were stuck for an hour + when one of the vans wheel bearing broke.  We had to get another van and find a used bearing so the broken van could make it back to base.  We arrived in the late afternoon, I don’t know when because I didn’t have a watch.  The name of the village is Chocolate’.  It has only 26 families living there.  It was an awesome time playing and making friends with the kids.  I played frisbee with three + kids for a long time. I got my camera out taking pics of the kids.  After one or two shots, they would run away and get their brother or sister or friend and then have me take another.  The cool thing with the digital is they can see the picture, the bad thing with the digital is I can’t print them a picture.  I’d love to leave them with a remembrance of the time we spent together. Hermano Jesus preached the gospel to the people after we showed the Jesus film.  He gave an altar call and one whole family came forward to pray the salvation prayer and give their lives to Christ.  I suspect more seeds were planted as well.  We will be going to the second village this afternoon.  I don’t know any of the details yet, but I am sure another fantastic Spirit filled experience awaits us.

Brian Van Zanten

What’s in a day?

February 24, 2007

Well, if I was writing about yesterday, Friday, there are 3 ways to answer the question.

I could tell you we woke up to another perfect day.  The sun shining and the temperature in the high seventies.  A few clouds in the sky to keep it from getting too warm and a cool breeze from time to time to refresh you.

Or I could tell you we had breakfast, loaded the vans with the day’s equipment, had a quick meeting and prayer time and boarded the vans for the final day of building.  All the teams immediately went to work sanding down the second coat of drywall, painting the walls, and then begin decorating them with their own “personal touch”.  While this was going on, a few members were going from house to house installing the roof and door for each one, so that by 11:30 ish (I don’t have a watch with me) all the houses were completed.  We then hiked up to the top of the hill to visit a family of a single mom with 12 children whose husband unexpectedly passed away 3 months before the baby was born.  Paradise bound built 3 house for her last year when informed of the families predicament and Hermano Jesus continues to visit her to show God’s love.  As a team we prayed for her and the family.  We headed back down the hill for another delicious lunch prepared by Margarita and the other women of the village.

But what I really want to tell you is that after lunch, instead of first having the fiesta with the villagers, we began dedicating the houses.  As a whole group we go to each house.  The building team for that house pose for a photo with the family they build for.  Then the team, family, Dan, Hermano Jesus and Margarita go into the house.  Gifts are presented to each member of the family from the team.  Dan then presents specific gifts to them that allows for an opportunity to turn the conversation to a spiritual theme.  Then, when as he says, his Spanish gives out, he turns the speaking over to either Hermano Jesus or Margarita or both of them depending on how the Spirit leads him to present the Jesus to the family.  Sometimes they accept and sometimes they do not.

Brothers, Sisters, family and friends, we thank God for your prayers and support.  The whole day was wrapped in prayer; your prayers, protecting us and helping us, and I am full of thanks and praise as I write this to you, because we are going to be adding an extra table at the supper of the Lamb.  All five households accepted Jesus yesterday afternoon!!!  Each one said the salvation prayer with Hermano Jesus and the team.  So lift a prayer of thankgiving to your Lord for the work He has done.  Lift the people of these five households, no . . . Homes, in prayer for the Spirit to fill them  with His presence, His power and peace.  Thanks be to God, our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ who accomplishes all things according to His plan!

Words to not accurately express the feelings of the team.  Humble, happy, exultant, and okay, maybe a little tired 😉 but ready to begin today as we prepare for our first medical clinic visit to a village Paradise Bound has never been to before.  Please continue to pray for us.  Your prayers will be the difference.  We can’t do this without you.  None of us would be here without HIM.  May His name be praised always.  Amen!

Team Guatemala

TGIF

February 23, 2007

Thank God it’s Friday!  Praise Him for what He did today in this village!  We were able to put the finishing touches on our houses today and then present them to the families, along with gifts for each family member from the teams, and beans, flour and a Bible from the mission.  To describe what happened today can only be grasped in pieces, by reading the team’s individual journals, but God was working in the hearts of the people, and at every house people prayed to receive Christ as their Savior.  It doesn’t get better than this, and tonight, although we are all tired, we are all blessed beyond measure, and praising God together for the harvest today!  The fiesta was so much fun, and the children sang and laughed and played and grabbed as much candy as they could, stuffing it down their shirts and just being children.  Your prayers at home played a huge part in what happened today, and we are just hands and feet of a bigger body of believers, of which you are still only a part.  The work of the mission, the prayers of the friends and family of these people, and the petitions of Jesus himself to the Father, have all come together to work in the hearts of these men and women.  Thank you for your continued prayers!  Tomorrow we go to a village that is only 20 miles away, but will take us two and a half hours to drive to.  Pray for us as we bring much needed medicine to these people, and a heavy dose of love also.            

                                                     —-posted by Brenda DeVries 

The Building Continues

February 23, 2007

Day two of building started out like most other days to the sound of roosters and buses honking their horns. We made excellant progress yesterday and today was even better. We were done with stucco and even had windows in by 10:30. This group really knows how to “getter done”. That left alot of time to interact with our village people. You can really see the kids opening up to the gringos. It also helps that we’ve got about 50 lbs. of candy. We then travelled to future sight of Paradise Bound and Dan shared some of the dreams and realities of the site. Tomorrow we will dedicate the houses. Dedication day is what building these houses is all about. Its more than just dedicateing the stucture of four walls. Its dedicateing a life, a heart, to our Savior, Jesus Christ. Sometimes this “dedication”is by the families that are recieveing the home but sometimes this “dedication” is by the people that built it. So be in prayer for the families that will be receiveing the homes that their hearts will be open to the invitation to Christ’s home. Also be in prayer for team members who will dedicate their lives to Christ. The team anticipates a great harvest for our Lord. We are HIS hands and feet . Tomorrow we are HIS love.

Prayer Request

February 22, 2007

Please pray for Tom Bosch.  He continues to have a migrane which came on last night.