As some of you may remember I posted a blog back in August of last year about us leaving missions school early and not going to Guatemala. We had just found out at that time that the outreach trip part of our missions training was going to be postponed until we were in Guatemala and had about 6 weeks worth of language training behind us. We were supposed to have done this trip in March of this year but some things came up and it didn’t work with the schedule of the missionary, Tony, who will be leading us on this trip. We all decided to wait until Tony’s schedule settled down a little and we were completely done language school. Now the time has come!!
On Sunday, August 11 we, along with Colleen (a long term missionary here in Guatemala and one of our missions school partners) and Josh (a long term intern in Guatemala), will be leaving from Villa Nueva to start our 7-8 hour trip into one of the mountainous regions of Guatemala. We will be traveling about 2-3 hours to Chichicastenango and make an overnight stop to visit a discipleship training center called ASELSI ministries. We are very excited about this as this may be a program we can use for discipleship within the churches God calls us to serve. After our day in Chichicastenango we will leave on Monday, August 12 to drive another 2 hours to Huehuetenango where we will visit a missionary woman named Helen Extrum who has lived in Guatemala for about 60 years. She is one of the missionaries who has served in Guatemala for the longest amount of time. We will spend some time talking with her and gleaning what information and tips we can about missionary life in Guatemala and some specific challenges women face as missionaries. After our time with Helen we will complete the remainder of our trip, about 2-3 hours, to Jacaltenango. This is the town where Tony, his wife Carrie, and their 3 children live and minister.
For our first 3 days in Jacaltenango from August 13-15 we will spend time meeting with church leaders there discussing the start of their church and the different challenges that can come from working with churches in another culture. We will also learn more about the Mayan culture, how that compares to the Latin culture in Guatemala, and things we need to be aware of when ministering/serving with these different cultures. We will then be spending time with Carrie learning about family life and the different obstacles families can face while in the mission field.
On Friday, August 16 there will be a medical/construction missions team arriving to serve with the ministry in Jacaltenango. During this time we will be learning more about hosting teams and how that impacts the lives of the missionaries that are here long term. We will also be working with this team, specifically the medical part of the team, to learn more about medical missions. We are blessed by this opportunity to learn more about medical missions because our U.S. home church, York Christian Church, has a team coming in February of 2014 that is part medical missions and part construction and we have been asked to help with the medical part of this team. Having this opportunity to work with a medical missions team during our outreach trip will be a great learning experience for us to use for the February team.
We are also greatly blessed by this team that we will be serving with in Jacaltenango because usually they hire translators to help them during their trip but because they will have us there serving with them they decided they do not need the translators and will instead be using that money to supplement our trip for us. Part of the reason the trip was postponed when we were in missions school was because it would have cost us $2000 per person and none of us had the money for that. It was decided to do it once we were in Guatemala so we could cut out the airfare cost. Now that we don’t have to worry about airfare and the team is supplementing part of our trip the cost of the trip has come down to about $270 per person.
We are praising the Lord for the incredible blessing of everything that is available for us to learn on this trip, for the things He will teach and show us that we can’t even begin to imagine yet, and for providing this trip at such a savings from what it originally would have cost. We also praise and thank God daily for all of your faithful prayers, love, encouragement, and support!! We ask that you would join us in praying for safety, growth, knowledge, and that we would be completely open to whatever the Lord has planned for us on this trip.