Friday, August 22, 2014

Rhino USA Trip Details

this is an incredibly exciting and special time for us here at bvsa!  in two weeks, we will be arriving with our varsity rhinos for a 10 day trip in the USA!  they are unbelievably excited (giddy) as we prepare for the big trip.
from an "opportunity standpoint", this trip will be nothing less than unimaginable. the exposure and experience alone could help mold these guys into young men that will have "seen the world" outside their little village.  i pray they'll bring back a certain confidence that will help them be better future leaders of Buena Vista.
from a "soccer standpoint", this will be interesting!  we'll be playing high-level, US-select teams.  those of you that know our boys already know... we're much smaller!  but we're scrappy.  the boys are nervous!  how will we match up?  no matter what happens, it will be exciting just to be there

will you come out and support the boys?  imagine how special they would feel if the field was packed... surrounded by all of their "gringo friends" cheering them on!!
take a second and think about life in their village... remember the life of extreme poverty where they come from...  and consider how AMAZING it would feel to be cheered on by screaming fans - while playing their favorite sport in the USA!!
please come out and help make these guys feel like the champions they already are!  then come spend time with them at one of the scheduled post-game "rhino fiestas"!

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

varisty boys headed to the USA!

when we got the news that the visas were approved!
the details are still being worked out for the varsity boys USA trip, but we're expecting to be in Jacksonville, FL during the weekend of Sept 6th for a series of soccer games.  We are also hoping to get to Savannah, GA for a day, before heading to New York City for a few days as well!

*we still need help. YOU CAN CHOOSE ONE OF THE RHINOS, AND SPONSOR HIS TRIP.  maybe lead a sponsorship effort with your office, ladies group, poker buddies, whatever...  use it as an opportunity to share about the boys and whats going on in guatemala!  

click here to help sponsor a rhino's trip

during the trip, there will be a few different "events" where anyone who wants to come and show some love to the Rhinos will be invited!  we will also post all of the game times and locations as soon as they are confirmed.  more info coming ASAP.


almost a year ago, somebody threw out a comment - seemingly in passing - that if there was any way to get the varsity boys to the US, they would pay for the flights.  i didn't think he was serious.  but several times over the next few months, it came up again.  he was serious.

then... through the referral of another friend, we were invited to pay in some high-level, select-team games in the US!

then... we started looking into the passport and visa processes, and even though it was obviously going to be extremely complicated, we decided to pray and ask God if this was his will.  we decided to pursue it.

then... we had some friends who have a youth ministry in the states do a big fundraiser to cover the costs of the very expensive visa applications, even though there was a good chance we'd be denied (especially considering the immigration issue in the US right now).

then... after months of paperwork, tracking down dads who had abandoned their kids long ago, meetings with lawyers, power of attorneys, trips (30 kids and 60 parents) to immigration and the US embassy, more parent meetings, online applications, interview preparations, and MUCH more...  by God's grace...  we received the visas!

in one month, we will be taking 15 boys who have grown up in extreme rural poverty in Guatemala to see Florida, Georgia, and New York City.  they'll board 7 airplanes.  they'll play soccer on top-notch fields against american kids their age.  they'll see sandy white beaches.  ride a train into Grand Central Station.  see a MLS game.  experience New York City.  Times Square.

are you kidding me?!

most of these kids grew up in cornstalk, tin, and mud brick homes with dirt floors.  they've been walking miles into the mountains each day to bring back firewood on their backs... since they could walk.  most still battle with extremely difficult living situations, not to mention a dysfunctional and/or abusive home.

what a joy and privilege to be able to do this for these guys!  while some might say its too much, overkill, or over exposure... i don't think so.  i think exposure to new things - big things - will help form the boys into qualified and capable men who can lead the village of Buena Vista in a new way.

the upcoming trip to the states is not "reality" for the boys.  they know that.  longing for nice cars, boats, houses, and other material things they may see... is not reality.  in fact, it may eventually help them appreciate the simplicity of life in Buena Vista.  it will lead to deeper conversations, and hopefully, to a very well-rounded perspective.

which is where our job here at the academy comes in.  i've spent practically every day with these boys for several years.  our job as mentors - second parents - is to balance out the nonsense through daily life and example.  no different than all of us do with our own kids.

all of us here at bvsa are so excited about this.  i can't even imagine seeing Pato's face when that first plane takes off.  or Nicho's face while riding the inner-tube behind my dad's boat.  or any of their faces during a late-night walk through Times Square.

i'm also excited that many longtime friends, family, and supporters of the rhinos will have a chance to see the boys while we're there... hug their necks... and cheer them on as the play.

i'm excited for the boys to be in a new place - a new country - and see how God uses the experience to teach them something new.

and i think i'm most excited about the potential bonding experience.  we've been through a lot lately as a team.  we've stuck together and fought through some tough times.  i believe in my heart that this is perfect timing for something special to happen that brings our varisty family of boys even closer together! 

we still need some help making it happen.  if you are interested in sponsoring a boy, 

Saturday, August 2, 2014

dr. Carlos' new clinic

celebrating the opening of the new clinic
over the last several months, we have been working hard on a special project.  with the support of our friends Alex & Marie Dunlap, a new clinic that can serve the community of Magdalena and Buena Vista has been completed.
if you have followed our ministry or my blog, you have heard much about Dr. Carlos.  he's been a dear friend for many years.  we've been through so many things together...  and in the process he has earned our absolute trust.  not only is he a good friend and great doctor, but he has demonstrated time and time again to have a unique intuition and understanding of whatever situation is at hand.
we believe God has used (and continues to use) Dr. Carlos in a very special way to serve his community.  because of that, we want to get behind his efforts and support him.  over the years we have not found many locals that are truly devoted to serving there own community.  so when we do, we want to provide our full support.
dr carlos surprised us with a new sign at the new clinic
last week, with a group of friends in town (made up of primarily Alex & Marie's family), we were able to complete the finishing touches of the new clinic, and officially open it for business!  it was a special and emotional time when we finally opened the doors for Dr. Carlos to see.  (we had kept him away during the week so that we could surprise him at the inauguration.)  at one point during the tour, Dr. Carlos "let go" and enjoyed a long cry as he hugged his wife, Neli.
click here for pictures of the new clinic!
Dr. Carlos will be offering a free clinic every monday from 9-12, and free physical therapy on tuesdays!  we're praying a special anointing over the new clinic and new home, as well as over Dr. Carlos and his team as they use this new blessing to be a blesisng to others.