Monday, August 31, 2009

sleeping in mud

i am drenched! just got home from helping a family we love get a tarp down on their floor so they can sleep above the mud tonight.

they stay at their in-laws house, and don't have beds so they sleep on the floor. tonight there was a crazy rainstorm and their kids came banging on the door asking if they could borrow a tarp. i was thinking it was going to go on the roof to help plug some holes... but it was to cover the muddy floor they were sleeping on.

i am heartbroken thinking of them as i sleep comfortably in my bed tonight...

Friday, August 28, 2009

deeper relationships

the last few days have been busy with helping the schmidts get settled. car, furniture, fridge, groceries, home repairs, and misc trips to the city for various things. it has been great to be able to help them get up and running.

but its crazy how strange it feels to have not been out in buena vista (the pueblo we are working in) in a few days. for me it is a sign that we are truly growing close to the people and developing deeper relationships with the locals. there are many people, families and kids that i think about constantly and i am anxious to see them this weekend and see how they are doing...

Monday, August 24, 2009

reunited with friends

mark & gina, with their 4 precious kids, arrived in guatemala today on one-way tickets.

praise god for bringing great friends to work with us here. there is so much to do...

they bring gifts, talents, and a big bold love of jesus with them to serve side by side with us as we reach out to this community. i honestly cannot believe they are here, and living only 3 doors down.

6 years ago we all left jacksonville for pennsylvania. this is where the ministry (lifestyle) of deepStream began: give god everything, and follow jesus anywhere... live life to the full... live your ministry - every day... life is ministry!

who would have thought this desire to live in such a way would have led us to being neighbors in a small poor village in guatemala! makes me wonder what lies ahead...

Sunday, August 23, 2009

thanks for the reminder

today i was checking out of a local grocery store and i watched a huge black spider (body about the size of a golf ball) with yellow markings climb over the cash register. it walked right onto the keyboard. the cashier looked at it and completely ignored it. i think god used this little incident to remind me that i live in guatemala...

Saturday, August 22, 2009

update on stefani

so honestly, stefani's trip to the specialist was a bit of a faith step. (stefani is pictured below)

at the time, we didn't have the money to pay for her surgery, and neither did anyone else who is here working with deepStream. we had enough to take her in for diagnosis but that was about it. in fact, a friend who was here that day gave us $80 to go towards her appointment and all of her tests.

we all knew going in that that we'd get a quote from the doctor on the surgery. we knew stefani's mom would here the amount. we knew we wouldn't have enough.

but we knew we could trust god to provide. we would tell stefani's mom that god is GOD and he can do all things.

the doctor quoted us $625.

the next day as i was checking emails, theresa (who handles our finances) had sent me an email to let us know of 2 unexpected financial gifts that had come in.

one for $550
one for $50

we had spent about $50 that day on stefani's appointment and tests, leaving $30 left from the friend that had given the donation that morning.

$30 + $50 + $550 = $630. all received the same day we took stefani to the doctor, and received the quote for $625.

for those who don't know how we live, this is an absurd amount of money for us to receive in one day!

will you join us in praise of our awesome God - who knows our needs before we need them! let this encourage all of us to step in faith first, trusting God fully to meet us there.


But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

Matthew 6: 30-33

Thursday, August 20, 2009

stefani

over the last several months, we have grown close to a particular family. kerrie, sarah and amy have really connected with the mom and girls... and guicho and i with the boys. (they have 4 boys and 3 girls.)

a couple months ago we were talking with the mom (maria) about their needs. we asked if they needed anything in particular that we could pray with them about. because everyone knows our ministry build homes, this question usually leads to being told how much they need a new house. but maria said their house was fine, that they have plenty of tortillas for food, and don't need anything like that.

then in tears she proceeded to share with us that her youngest girl, stefani (pictured to the right) has an intestinal polyp that is very dangerous. she has had it for a long time, and it causes great pain when she uses the bathroom, it bleeds frequently, and she has been told that it is cancerous.

she cried as she talked about it.

living in the kind of poverty that they do, it is almost impossible to get something like this treated. they would need to get to guatemala city to see a specialist, have tests run, etc.

they wouldn't know where to begin. they have probably never been out of their town, they don't read or write, and they don't have a dime to spare.

long story short, we (dSg) arranged appointments... and today sarah and kerrie took stefani and her mom to a specialist in guatemala city. she was officially diagnosed and we were given all of the information we needed for surgery and procedures going forward. they also took her to a lab for bloodwork and surgery prep.

be praying for her as we plan to get her scheduled for a biopsy and for surgery.

thank you god for leading us to this family and this precious little girl!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

would you like a new home?

today was incredible. we have a few guys here visiting from lake city, florida. the entire week has been amazing, but today was just awesome.

one of the guys and his son are here representing their youth group who raised 3k to build a family a home. another guy who is here, along with his wife and kids, donated another 3k towards a home. so over the last few days we have visited 5-6 families, allowing them to connect with the locals and determine who they'd like to build for. right away, both of them knew exactly who they wanted to bless.

today we shared the news. it was simple, beautiful, and emotional. (video here)

these families living conditions will be RADICALLY TRANSFORMED within the next couple months.

even better than that, they will witness the radical and transforming love of christ.

today i am thanking god for letting us serve him here in guatemala. what a joy to be a part of it. also thanking him for these generous people whose hearts are broken for the poor and are stepping out and responding. praise jesus!!

Friday, August 14, 2009

lake city boys

today a group of 6 men from lake city florida arrived. unlike most of our visiting groups, this group is a collection of guys from different backgrounds and different churches. its incredible actually, how each of them ended up here.

one is a close friend and supporter of ours. over the last several months, as he talked with different people about coming to guatemala, God assembled a very unique and specific group to make the trip.

tonight we all hung out and talked through the chain of events that got each person here, and as i sit here writing i am still in amazement at all of the stories.

looks as if God is up to something. such a joy following Him and watching things like this unfold...

Thursday, August 13, 2009

emily

one of the most precious faces i have ever seen knocked at the door today. i was working on the computer and almost didn't get up to answer it...

a 6 year old girl named emily was standing there. i had seen her before, but never really talked to her. i know her big brother pretty well.

she asked if we had any trash she could go through, to see if she could find something to eat. my heart broke. i asked her if she was hungry. she said yes, and that her family is too. she was so beautiful and innocent.

"love your neighbor as yourself." as yourself!! the scripture is ringing so loud in my head i can't hear anything else.

we help them. how can we help everyone? god, help us.

tonight emily and her family are hungry and cold. many families, some that live only a few feet away from us, are hungry and cold.

God - increase my wisdom and my faith. thank you for giving me a reality check as i was sitting there worrying about my family's monthly support.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

edvin

edvin is an 11 yr old boy that lives in buena vista. he hasn't been able to get out of bed since he was 4 years old. undiagnosed, he lost all control of his body, and now has no muscle tissue whatsoever. this is what happens in extreme poverty. you don't just go to the doc and get things fixed.

in the last year, we have seen God use edvin in many ways. my friend alex who visited had a life changing connection with edvin. through visitors, he has been rehabilitated on a regular basis. people bring milk, food, and vitamins.

currently, a college kid named mike is staying here for 3 weeks and walking 3 miles each way, every day, to spend half days with edvin. they are exercising, reading, drawing, praying, and hanging out. yesterday, mike brought edvin down to our jobsite to play with the other boys. it was beautiful.

over and over i have heard people ask edvin, "do you believe you can walk again?" "do you believe in the power of God?" "do you believe in miracles?" and every time, he shouts back "si" with enthusiasm and a smile.

edvin is slowly improving. in fact, we've seen incredible growth over the course of a year. but it seems that the real change is happening in those that visit. could it be that God is using edvin to change others, and not the other way around? we may look at edvin and feel sorry for him (poor, handicapped, malnourished), but could it be that in God's eyes it is us who need more help? using God's scale of "poverty", i wonder who is the poorer? us or edvin?

Listen, my dear brothers: Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him?
James 2:5

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

juaqin prays for us

today we delivered beds (donated by some friends of ours) to a family that we recently finished building a new home for. they were so excited, climbing up to the top bunk and pretending to sleep...

the father stopped to share with us his thankfulness. he said he prays for our family every day - that god will protect us here in guatemala. "this is a dangerous place to live, and these are dangerous times. so i pray for you every day that god will keep you safe."

what a blessing to know that this kind, poor, family who lives on about $2 per day is praying for our safety. they recognize that we are out of our element, that we have "risked" our own security to help him and his people.

i told him i cannot think of any better way for him to show his appreciation than to pray for us just like he does. i believe god hears his prayers, and is honoring them...

Saturday, August 1, 2009

thinking about my kids

watching jake play today at the soccer field made me think. he is the only gringo on the team - on the field for that matter. blond and blue-eyed, he sticks out like a sore thumb.

amazingly, he beams with confidence here. he does not hesitate to speak spanish. of all my kids, he is clearly the fearless one... engaging conversation everywhere he goes.

i know he knows everyone is looking at him - all the time. when he hangs out with his team, they all stare at him as if they are captivated by a great movie. in these moments, he shines. he is funny, he dances, he laughs. he even laughs at himself.

while the girls aren't quite as socially confident as jake (here in guatemala), they are getting better each day. they are older, so getting embarrassed is more of a concern, and there is more of a desire to say things correctly. but their confidence is growing and they are very content.

changing our environment, culture, and language has been a difficult transition for all of us. but it's nice to see the positives sometimes. i can see my kids gaining strengths - developing character - in ways that will benefit them for the rest of their lives.