Monday, July 14, 2014

July Update

It has been a very exciting time here in Guatemala as the World Cup went on. There were soccer games every day playing in every place where there was a TV. Most people wanted a Latin American country to win, and the final game was between Argentina and Germany. Unfortunately Germany won and many people were disappointed.
Our University students just began their second semester and did very well the first. I believe that God has new people in mind as students to start at Maximo Nivel, the English language school. We have four students there now and it is an excellent program that is intensive and they truly learn to speak English in the two years they are there. It seems as though everything has worked in this way, that God puts a vision somewhere, people show up that He has in mind, and so do the funds to sponsor. He is amazing. We are also going to advertise for a sponsor for a young man of 18 years  whose name is Felix who is interested in learning guitar. Not only is he a very sweet teenager with a relationship with the Lord, but him and his family has been hit with extremely difficult times in the past few years. He had a twin who passed away and now he is also struggling to finish his last year of high school but has a difficult time because he seizes often. This family has had to pull together and draw near to God because there has been nowhere else to turn. Right now, the Father is in Canada picking strawberries for 6 months to earn money. They have expressed that they miss him so much but understand why he needs to be there.

With the group coming in August, there are going to be people that will be able to meet Felix and interested in music and we would love to pair them up as a sponsor and student. We will provide him with a guitar and his instructor will be someone from the church who can teach him worship music, which he loves most of all. I know God is going to put the pieces together! It is also my hope that it is an encouragement in Felix’s life as well as the life of his family.

I hope everyone enjoyed their 4th of July, I was thinking of home, especially of Catonsville the whole day a Catonsville knows best on how to celebrate our Independence Day!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Photos of the Community Garden in Chirijuy├║

 
Workers from the Municipality and Ministry of Agriculture
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
A harvest of radishes!
 
 
 
 
 
More harvest!

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Halfway through the year!

It is almost June, which means the 6 month mark of the year. How quickly time passes without us even realizing it. Our University students are finishing their first semester, and the rest of the students are taking their mid-year exams.

We have a community garden that Lisa has begun in the area of Chirijuy├║, with 30 women who have been broken up into groups to take care of their plots of land. These women love being in charge of their plots and it is especially exciting when it is time to harvest. We are in the process of preparing and working out details for the group of 63 people coming in August to volunteer from a church in Iowa. We are very excited to have such a large group of people interested in what God is doing here in Guatemala, but there are so many details and logistics to be worked out. We will have one group of 20 working in various projects with smallchangeforbigchange (doing Vacation Bible School and installing stoves), another group will be working with an organization called ImaginInGuate constructing a house, and the other group in Xenacoj working with the Hope Haven factory (constructing and distributing wheelchairs). There is no doubt that God has a plan for this team since everything seems to be falling into place as it should, and the resources are being provided. We are also putting together here our “dream team” of workers and volunteers to be available all week long!

Other than that it’s been almost a month since I’ve been home, and I still miss seeing my family every day. The rainy season has begun and it is sweet to listen to the rain when it’s pouring outside. I tend to love cloudy days more than sunny and so this time of year is beautiful. Thank you always for your support in the project and for me, God always provides for my needs and I am thankful always!

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Home and Disneyworld

I am back in my home in Guatemala and it is always strange to be back. I was able to spend my first week back in Catonsville. Most of all, I spent the time with my family. I didn't have very much on my schedule so that I was able to be with them. I even enjoyed taking my sister to school and picking her up each day! It is so different to be able to connect with people again face to face and in person. I am very thankful for Skype, but it is not the same. They encourage me by supporting me in this project, although it is the most painful thing imaginable to be apart. This time back, I have seen the most change in my younger brother who is 11. Being with him and seeing these changes was quite a shock, but it is exciting to see how he is growing.

The second week I was fortunate enough to get to Disneyworld! My family had planned this vacation a few months ago, and had been wanting to do it for a few years now. It was magical! My family, my sister and her family and father-in-law and sister-in-law went. We bought three park tickets and spent all day going to the Magic Kingdom, Hollywood Studios, and Epcot. The rest of the days we spent at the pool and resting at home. By far the most fun we had was just spending together, laughing and joking and enjoying the time without any distractions from work or being at home. Words cannot express how thankful I was to be with all of them and be able to spend that "magical" time with them. 

I began work again yesterday, but also am trying to get into the routine. It is always a transition to be back in the US and then to be back in Guatemala, but worth it. I thank all of you who continue to support me and smallchangeforbigchange, I will never be able to thank you all enough.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Holy Week and Team from Ohio

 
It was another exciting week for many reasons. On Sunday started Holy Week, the most famous week in all of Central America. Especially here in Antigua, as you might have remembered from before, it is a week full of processions, alfombras (colorful photo), food, time with the family, and many Catholic traditions. Everything is colorful and smells of insense and of the different traditional plants they use on the alfombras.The streets are full of people from all over the world. It is a time of reminder of Christ and what He did on the cross, and how that affects our lives today. It is an encouragement towards a deeper relationship with Him, and to see where our hearts’ focus is. Here, Good Friday is celebrated more than Easter Sunday. But it had me thinking that you cannot have one day without the other, and that each day is equally important. Christ died, and in that moment washed our sins away. But He also resurrected, and came to life again to provide us with eternal life. It is beautiful.



We also were blessed to have a pilot team of two men from the Vineyard Church in Ohio with us this week. It was an excellent week of stoves installation as well as a chicken coop. But the great part about having these two here is that they understood how important it is to spend time with these families, and really talk to them and hear their
stories. We spent a lot of time sitting around and sharing, as well as prayer. They “get it”. The more we talked with them, the more we realized they were on the same page, as far as the fact that the projects we do are a hook to lead people to the love of God. They are hoping to come back sometime in the future with a team from the church.

 
I will be heading home in less than a week! I will be there for about 8 days then go with the family to Disneyworld in Orlando. I am looking forward to it immensely, it is always so REFRESHING to see them and spend time with them face to face instead of over a computer screen. I hope to see many of you who are in Catonsville during the time, at least to say hello and thank you all for your support that you continually provide me and smallchangeforbigchange!

Monday, March 31, 2014

ACT Mission Team from Utah

It is always a great encouragement for us to have teams. Not only do they bring excitement for the experience of being in a new place, but also a spiritual spirit of encouragement. There are so many incredible families that we come into contact with each day that it is a special gift to be able to introduce volunteers to these people and have them share their lives with them. It is unforgettable for all involved, as many of you know who have been on mission trips.

This past week we had a group of volunteers that had come the year before to practice English with some of our English students as well as install stoves. It is a powerful group of believers who have left the Mormon Church and are now Christ-following Christians. We installed 7 stoves altogether, and one specifically for tortillas for “Mama Lola” who has the tortilla and tayuyo business. What is great about this group, one of the women in particular, is that they love to share with the families. We spent a lot of time in each home as well as during lunches (which are prepared in homes in the communities with our families) just talking with them and exchanging stories of God’s love and inspiration in our lives. It is such a beautiful thing!


Thursday, March 13, 2014

More Business Opportunities

Hello!

I'm sorry it's been so long since I last wrote. We just recently moved into another house, which is a huge blessing from God because it has an office in the front! We have been wanting to have some type of office and needed a place to direct people to come as well as meet with people. God put this house right across the street from where I was living before! I am so thankful for it, and finally everything is moved in and put together.

We have also had two more opportunities in Verapaz to start a businesses! The same family that has
the store lives right next to their Mother and sister. The mother, in her 60's, has been traveling to Guatemala City every day to work, and not earning very much. It most likely takes an hour and a half to get there, as well as return. She makes tortillas and a snack that is a tortilla filled with beans; and only needed the beans, and flour to begin making them. Therefore we sponsored large bags of all of those things, and were able to help her start selling them in the area. This way, she will make some money and not have to go to the city every day. Her daughter, is working with her to take the orders from people in the community and deliver what they need. It is an amazing way to see this family working together to help each other out and collaborating and supporting one another.

Down the road, there is another family who has desired to start a business. The Mother's name is Ericka, and she used to make traditional food for lunch and sell it. She has not been able to do that because she did not have the resources to begin. We were also able to sponsor her in her dream to make food and sell it to members of the community and in town. When we went to visit her, her sheer joy and excitement was undeniable. She could not stop smiling, and wanted to show us all that she would make.

Each family understands that this was just a "push" to begin their ways to make money. Therefore this is the only time smallchangeforbigchange will provide them the food and materials. They are to be investing the money and will be buying everything in the future. It is incredible to see God's hand in this project, and leading it towards helping these families with the desire to work and giving them the chance to start! I love seeing how He just leads us to the people we need to be in contact with, and then provides the resources to allow them to get start. Thank you always for your prayers and support! God is amazing!