Juan Fortin Computer Lab Project

Over the course of the past couple years, we have been working closely with Juan Fortin Rural Mixed School to help them receive a donation of computers from York College.  Their previous computer lab was literally stolen from them as someone was slid a key from a staff member and their previous equipment was stolen.  Our biggest concern was to make sure this does not happen again.  We installed a security gate, bars over the windows, a 4 lock system for entry, as well as secured each computer to the desks.

With two short-term teams that came to Guatemala, we were able to repaint the room, install desks and the aforementioned security measures, test and install the computers, and run a dedicated electricity line to power it all.  Since the beginning, the kids and adults equally were excited to see the completion of the project.  This public school is attended by a handful of students served by the Serving At Risk Families ministry and now they are getting an education in computers along with their regular studies.  Below is a video dictated by the school’s director along with pictures and video detailing the process.

The project has also called attention to the great necessity of public schools in Guatemala for more attention from the government and they have supplied funding for a private security guard and will soon be installing a security camera over the school that will be monitored by the local police headquarters.  Additionally, Servants in Guatemala received recognition from the municipality and was granted audience with the vice mayor of the city.  The vice mayor expressed interest in helping us in future projects and was greatly appreciative of the service we provided for this school and the children it serves.

Dylan’s Free eBook

Some of you have heard about it, some of you have not.  Here’s the skinny!

Since the beginning of my spiritual transformation in 2008, I have been writing daily blog posts/ bible study updates.  In working through the Celebrate Recovery program at York Christian Church, I realized that it was time for me to truly start seeking God’s truth and better understanding His Word.  In trying to study the bible and make notes, I quickly learned that I did not have enough room in the margins of my bible to annotate all my thoughts.  It quickly progressed from typing in a word document to finding a way to share my thoughts on Facebook and eventually starting my own website to organize them and subject them to public scrutiny.  After all, the only way we can learn is by testing our thoughts to see if they are true.

As time has gone on and I have continued this method of studying and sharing, I have developed quite a storehouse of bible study posts covering different topics and almost 30 books of the bible!  A close friend of mine once told me, “geez man, you have enough material to write a book or two!”  This thought has always stuck in my head and I have been slowly developing and writing my thoughts down for a very open and challenging book.  I feel as though the Holy Spirit has gifted me with an inquisitive mind about how things work that is accompanied by my faith and a desire to see others experience the wonders of God in their lives as I continue to experience personally.  As God continues to reveal to me the things He wants me to ask and reveal in this book, I have been researching how exactly I would go about publishing and advertising it.

My friend’s words kept resurfacing in this process and as I prayed about it, I asked God to show me if He wants me to pursue this and how.  I have learned that the most important part about putting out a book is advertising.  As missionaries, we are on a limited budget and certainly do not feel it would be appropriate to use money we have received from sponsors to publish a book!  I discovered that thanks to advancing technology and the increasing realm of the digital world, there are websites that can help anyone publish a book and the only cost is a percentage of the sales!  Now, I’m sure you’re wondering why then I would give this book away for free.

As I mentioned, advertising is key.  To sell books, you need a good advertising team/plan and a fan base.  If you don’t have a fan base, you need to create one.  Enter my free eBook.  The idea is to create a following of my books.  Since I already have the base material for devotional books, the meat of the work is done.  All that is left is revision, formatting, and publishing.  Granted, this also is a lot of work but at least I am not starting from scratch (like the book I hope to publish in the future).  My hope is that by publishing my first book for free, I can gain enough publicity to be able to sell my next devotional book at a nominal price and get some sort of return out of it.  In the long run, I hope to build enough capital and readers for when I release “the big one”.

In missions school, we learned about business as missions.  Generally, this is a topic that includes using business as a way to minister to others whether they are customers, staff, associates, and anyone else running a business brings you in contact with.  A side benefit of business as missions is being self sustaining.  As you learned through our recent Furlough Fifteen letter, we are still trying to build our monthly regular support to fulfill our budget.  One way we hope to offset this deficit is by doing whatever we can to earn some money on the side so as not to be wholly reliant upon our supporters.

So, without further explanation, here is the link to find and download my devotional eBook centered around the Apostle Paul’s letter to the Romans.  Enjoy!

I Get To Be The Doo!

I’ve never really been one for titles, especially those that make me sound like a turd.

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Ok, now that I have you laughing, it’s time to get serious people!  There is a lot going on here in Guatemala and I want to talk about it.  Ok, maybe I was being too harsh that time.  I’m trying to find the balance here…work with me.

This past week, our boss, founder, and president of Servants, Inc. came down to sign what we hope will be the final paperwork for legitimatizing “Servants de Guatemala,” the new Guatemalan counterpart of Servants, Inc. The reason for this is partly convenience as well as legitimacy for future projects and growth.  But that’s not really why I am writing.  I’m writing because of the part we get to play in it.

I along with Missy have been asked to be the Director of Operations (DoO) in Guatemala while the jefe (boss) is not in country.  Now, some might say, “Woohoo!  That’s awesome!  You got promoted!”  Others may ask, “Ok, now what?”  Well for right now, nothing changes.  Now that the paperwork is signed, I am officially in charge of officially representing the organization officially here while Trent isn’t…officially. (sounds important and official and stuff, I even have my own Spanish business cards!)

As the ministry here grows and we begin to receive more missionaries here full time (check out The Smiths 2 Guatemala and Val in Villa Nueva), there will be more logistics and strategic planning involved with the organization “on the ground” here in Guatemala.  Additionally, we are currently looking for land to build on!  Servants is looking for a piece of land suitable for missionary housing, team housing, offices, storage for project materials, as well as space to start community outreach projects like schools and job opportunities.  This on top of our regular duties we are currently managing like interfacing with families, coordinating sponsorships, and communicating with the organization in the States on a regular basis will be in our charge.

It is quite an honor to be considered worthy and capable of this position.  Even though it seems like a small undertaking right now, we can’t get much smaller so we will only be growing!  With the grace and guidance of God, we hope to be able to live up to the expectations of our organization and the needs of the people of Guatemala.

As I think about it, maybe I would prefer the nickname “Scooby Doo”.  Missy can be “Daphne”.