After the most amazing, busy, stressful, relaxing, productive, refreshing and fun time over the holidays in the states, we are back in Chichicastengo and feeling more excited than ever to see God at work, and to see His hand outstretched to these people we are falling more and more in love with. We loved seeing so many of you during our time in the states, drove hundred of miles across country, visited at least six states, laughed with and hugged our families, Andrew worked for his dad, I enjoyed every second of time I could get with all the sweet little ones in our families....nights of sleep overs, baking parties and getting to particpaote in the precious every day activities we miss with our families. Andrew and I were deeply refreshed and encouraged in the Lord and are now ready to step back into the battle that is continuisly warring in Guatemala, as redemption becomes the cry of the land!
English class continues and one of the little girls I teach hasn't been able to continue because again poverty's voice is lounder than education as is so often the case in Guatemala. With the help of sweet friends in the states we are going to be able to sponsor her to be able to continue to go to school and receive an education, giving her once again, hope for her future. We've been able to get her books, shoes, back pack, uniform and all her necessary school supplies. Even one of these items would be an impossibility and therefore school would not be an option otherwise, and she has also been helping to support her family by working. Through our dear friends generosity a forever difference is being made in this little girl's life.
On the "home front" adobe bricks are being made for the new add on for our little house. We have just enough funds for this beginning step and we are so excited to see God bring the provision to us to be able to make the house livable. We often walk through the house, over dirt floors, falling down crumbling dirt walls and dream of our own space and place to call home! We feel so incredibly blessed to be able to work towards this as a couple.
The shoe factory is up and running, this is a huge VICTORY for the community as it is bringing needed jobs and soon will be providing shoes for those in need. We can't walk through the village without being approached by children who ask for shoes for school (especially now since the school year here has just begun), or to work in...the terain is rough so shoes are not a nicety but a nessesity. As a ministry we have so many hopes and dreams for this shoe factory that we see this small beginning as only scratching the surface of what God has in the future for this endevor.
Because the water program which consists of giving individual water filters made of clay and clodial silver is expanding, this simple but highly effective system has made such a name for itself that neighbors of those families within the pilot program have now approached the community health workers and us as a ministry to ask if they too could benift from these amazing filters that they see as making such a difference in the health of their neighbors. We just recived an order of a 100 new filters that we will be distributing them to these families in need. Speaking of water.... ask anyone in the minsitry about the well and you are going to hear that amazingly we have now reached 485 feet and water has finally been reached, not enough water to sustain the present or future ministriy at Pray America, but prayerfully that is right around the corner.
We are writing this from beautiful Antigua as we are picking up our first mission team for this year and bringing back Scott, Melissa and their two babies back home after spending ten wonderful days together in Chichi. I loved seeing how as only children can, bridges were made and crossed, crossing the gap of culture, laungage and other barriars. We pray daily that these gaps will be crossed and walls will come down, and as we walked the streets with Scott and Mel's kids I was amazed to witness this happening. Neighbors that I have desired to meet and befriend, beyond just casual greetings, would come pouring out of their houses to hold, touch and play with the babies. We laughed, talked, compared baby stories and felt like we became such a part of the community in a deeper way than we had until now. It makes me so eager to see God bring orphans and children at risk into the ministry of Pray America and in very tangible begnning, the foundation to our first orphan care center is being laid, covered by the prayers of many, and clearly directed from the heart of God. We stand back in awe as we have the privelege of being apart of such redemption.
We have new staff who will be joining us in March to come along side us and help with leading our mission team groups. Not only is this a gap that we have prayed that God would fill in the ministry, but He also blessed Andrew and I espeically with this couple, being our dear friends and family, David and Maggie Brown! Please pray with us and for them as they make the sacrificial transition and join our team and our hearts in ministry.