In October of 2010, Chris and I lead our first mission trip to Hope of Life International. It was the first time we walked down the dusty road that is Hope of Life village. During that trip I met a little girl that stole my heart. Her name is Belsy. She was so shy but she would fill my backpack with the most beautiful flowers that she would pick for me. Belsy would wait for me to walk past her house in the morning and take my hand as we walked to the work site. She would help me work and sit with me while I rested. I couldn’t speak a word to her. I had only recently learned that “Hello” was “Hola” not “Ole”! I remember being so worried about how effective I would be for the Lord when I couldn’t even speak the language. How can you build a relationship when you can’t say more than 3 words. However, I also knew the power of the Holy Spirit and I trusted that God could overcome all barriers. The Lord used her to teach me that love crosses all borders and shatters all barriers. Love is powerful and sets us free because God is Love and Love is Hope! And it is because of His love and hope for a better tomorrow for the families of Hope of Life village that we continue to serve them each and every day.
One thing we have learned about Guatemala this past month is that April is very HOT!! We have seen “feel like” temperatures as high as 120 degrees F. Sweating is the new normal, which really isn’t too bad. We asked someone before we moved if you get used to the heat and they said “no, you get used to sweating” and that is true. I am very thankful that we put fans in the school when we built it!! They help tremendously!!
This month in the “escualita” or “little school”, (this is what they call the school for tutoring and preschool) I had so much fun teaching them Roman Numerals. Most of the children had to learn them so we are practicing in a group setting. I know why teachers love their jobs!! As they continued to learn these numbers they were so excited!! They love to learn and they are like little sponges. I continue to work with them on mathematical basics, place value, and <,>,=.
I recently learned that they do not have textbooks for the children in the school here in the town of Llano Verde. Only the teachers have textbooks. I am praying through this right now, but I want to provide textbooks for the school for all the children in January.
This month, Chris and I, along with Whitney, another missionary serving here, taught First Aid classes and CPR classes to a large number of the staff here at Hope of Life. We taught 5 First Aid classes and 4 CPR classes. If you attended both classes, you received a certificate! We gave out about 90 certificates!
Chris continues to help with the medical needs in the village, is learning how to care for babies and infants in the hospital and is working with Mark on projects within the ministry. Mark and Chris installed a dumbwaiter that was donated by a member of Mt. Comfort UMC. This will help the women that work in the kitchen so much. They carry heavy trays of food up and down 12 steps many times a day for every meal. This dumb waiter will carry those trays for them!!
May 10th is Mother’s Day in Guatemala. The ladies at the daycare and “escualita” planned a celebration for the mother’s of the village. They planned games with prizes and served chicken and rice for a special dinner. The women of the village awarded Marta with the “Super Mama” award! It was a lot of fun and the mom’s were greatly blessed!
We had church until midnight one Saturday night this month. They do this the last Saturday of every month. This is when they serve communion. At the end of the service Pastor Mynor thanked everyone for coming and staying awake and recognized how difficult it was. He then said “if you think it was hard for you, think about Chris and Paula, they stayed the whole time and could not understand a lot of what was being said”. We laughed. He was right, but we used the time to pray over each person in church, the village, future projects, our upcoming mission trip and our families. At first I thought how I am going to do this, I must be honest, but the Holy Spirit quickly reminded me that I am not in church for me but to worship Him. I thanked Him for that reminder and it was a great evening of worship and prayer. We are still learning Spanish everyday, “Poco a Poco”.
On May 11th, Chris and I had the great privilege of celebrating Belsy’s 15th birthday. When we met her 7 years ago when she was only 8 years old, I had no idea the plans God would have in store for her or us. The day before we left in 2010, we ask her mother if we could be Belsy’s sponsors and write to her. I will never forget the translator telling us that her mother was asking us if we would take Belsy home to the United States and raise her. That’s when I realized the desperation of the people, that a mother would give her child away in hope for her to have a better life. But you know what, God had not left them. He saw their needs and their desperation. He knew that help would be on the way for all the people of this village. He had plans of hope and of great love! He had chosen beforehand, hundreds of people that would be willing to sacrifice what He had given them to bless someone else thousands of miles away. He prepared the hearts of people who knew that giving is receiving!
We are so blessed to be in Belsy’s life, to be in all of the children’s lives here. They enrich our lives and bring us so much joy! It is so exciting to see all the opportunities that they have now, opportunities that only a couple years ago seemed impossible for them. God has blessed them greatly by using many of you reading this right now! I just want them to know how great God’s love is for them and the power of that great love, the kind of love that moves mountains, crosses borders and shatters barriers!
Dios Los Bendiga!
I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Ephesians 3:16-19