Karin has the rare perspective as one who was a member of the first team from CP going to Guatemala. Read on as she shares, not only stories from this trip, but shares the transformation she sees happening.
1 Corinthians 15:58 “Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.”
Twenty-two of us were each called to go on the October 2015 CPCC Guatemala Mission Trip. There was no doubt that we were called. We may not have understood why but we knew we were supposed to be there at that time. I believe God was calling each of us to serve and be served, to change and be changed, to be His light and to see His light. We were allowed to be part of what God is doing in Los Verdes Guatemala!
Seeing the transformation…
My husband and I had the privilege of being on the first trip in January of 2013 and amazing things have happened since then. Two and a half years ago, the Learning Center was a dream and Vacation Bible School (VBS) was done in a local church and the corridor just outside.
In 2013 there were 30 kids. The first day of VBS the kids were crying and the mothers were watching carefully to see what we were doing with their children.
Now, 140 kids come running, smiling and with arms open wide for a hug. The moms have smiles and trust the staff and the regular visitors from Indiana. As the staff walks through the community, kids and moms flock to them and the men smile with a respectful greeting. God has built a wonderful partnership between Connection Pointe Christian Church in Brownsburg Indiana and Vision Trust Guatemala which shines brightly in the Los Verdes Learning Center and local communities.
Then and Now…
When we were there in 2013, Rut Chamales shared with us her vision for a Learning Center on the top of a very steep mountain side. She had a dream to grow the learning center by one grade and class room each year. We saw the land in 2013 but it was hard to image a Learning Center there much less one which would grow with a new classroom each year.
They have three class rooms, a playground, a kitchen, bath rooms and a beautiful climbing tree which also serves as a perch for children during bible story telling time. The site is supplied with clean, filtered water and flush toilets.
The staff is wonderful…
They are full of love, patience and encouragement. The children are very well behaved under their supervision while they both learn and play. They have an academic curriculum and Bible stories.
Experiencing the body of Christ…
Though we live thousands of miles apart, speak different languages and have different styles of worship there was a bond that can only be explained by the unity we have in Christ through the Holy Spirit. The Los Verdes staff and our team became one and had a wonderful week of VBS. Together we taught the stories of Noah’s Ark, reminding us of God’s promises and His fulfillment of those promises, Daniel and the Lion’s Den reminding us that God will take care of us as we obey His commands and follow Him, and the story of Jesus and Peter when Jesus called Peter leave his trade as a fisherman to become a fisher of men.
Learning and so much more…
While the learning was taking place something more amazing was happening, we were all experiencing the love of God. How could these strangers from different countries be so connected? There was not one empty team members lap during Bible story time and many of us had more than one child on our laps and others nearby smiling. As the children arrived we were greeted with warm, tight hugs, smiles and kisses. As they left for the day, each one of us received a hug to hold us over until the next day.
Matthew 25:34-40 34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
A sweet partnership…
Just as Matthew 25 instructs us, we were to meet the physical needs of those who needed support. We were able to deliver food to 19 homes and we had the privilege of installing wood burning stoves in 25 of the poorest family’s homes. Each of the families was asked to pay something for the stove, pick up the heavy parts and take them to their home, prepare a flat level surface for the stove, and be there when the team got there to install them.
They went above and beyond. In each home there was a man there to help us and the wives and mothers talked with us as we installed the stoves. The people were so grateful. The heat and smoke from their traditional open fires was expensive and hazardous to their health.
We had the privilege of mourning with a family who had just lost their five-year-old son to meningitis because they could not afford the medicine. We experienced the Holy Spirit ministering to these parents through one of our team members. Even though the prayer was in Spanish, we all knew that we were experiencing the work and words of the Holy Spirit. Later that night, it was confirmed, this grieving mom was mad at God and had not let anyone minister to her until that night.
Last week we saw firsthand the work of the church body and of the Holy Spirit.
We have all come home changed … having served and been served and having loved and been loved … through the powerful love of Christ Jesus.
Please pray with us for the 140 children at the Los Verdes Learning Center, the wonderful staff and the people of the local communities.