Home Sweet Home

We arrived at the Des Moines Airport safe and sound around 5:00 p.m. today. We were greeted by warm hugs and many tears of family members and friends. What a welcome home! We are truly blessed to be part of the family of God!


Last Day – Grand Finale

Our last day in Guatemala began with breakfast at 7:30 a.m. After that we had some free time to visit the orphanage before we had our devotions in the morning. We started out by handing out t-shirts…followed by revealing our prayer partners for the week and handing out our remembrance gifts. We then prayed over the outgoing seniors…Megan Coon, Jordan Lowry, Drew Richmond, MaKayla Scanlon, Jaynee VandeWeerdhof and Mark Ver Steegh. These are an amazing group of young adults that you can be very proud of. We love them all so much and they will definitely be missed next fall. We then handed out letters to each youth written by the parents….they LOVED them and many tears were shed. Thank you parents for taking the time to let your kids know how much they are loved. We also gave a quilt made by Wilma VerSteegh to Dan, who leads Paradise Bound…he was touched by this.

In the afternoon, we went to the town of Antigua to go shopping. We ate at Pollo Campero…a glorified KFC. We then went to the markets for shopping…we all loved bartering to get our purchases at the best price…some did better than others. 🙂

Our devotion time tonight was absolutely AMAZING!! It was based on Luke 24:13-35 and how Jesus himself was real and risen to those he met. Is He real and risen in my life? Will He be a month from now? A year from now? Our mission trip in Guatemala is soon over, but when we get home it will just be beginning. We were able to commit and rededicate our lives to Christ by nailing on the cross things we want to give up. We then did “soaking prayer”, where we went around and placed a hand on each other and prayed and encouraged one anothing silently. This was so amazing and touched us all. Our lives will never be the same.

As we type this, it is 11:15 p.m. and we will have a wakeup call at 3:00 a.m. to arrive at the Guatemala City Airport for our flight at 6:40 a.m. Pray for safe travel and as we go through customs. We plan to arrive in Des Moines at 5:04 p.m.

We truly have felt all the love and encouragement from everyone, and we thank you for all your support and prayer. God is good, all the time…all the time, God is good.

Blessings and love from Guatemala,
Margie, Tami, Diane & Gloria

Day 5 – Medical Clinic Day Part 2

We started the day off not as busy as the past mornings we’ve been here. Since we did all the prep work the day before, we had free time to journal, play with the kids at the orphanage (by the way they have six adorable little kiddos) or do whatever.

Our devotion time was really good! It was taken from Matthew 14:13-21. Dan taught us to make it personal – who am I in the crowd? Why am I following Jesus? Am I like the disciples questioning how can we do this OR am I more like Jesus and doing?

After a delicious lunch we headed off for the medical clinic. We went to a new location and it just seemed different than the day before. However, we could feel God at work through our youth. The night was absolutely amazing! People pouring their hearts out to Jesus and accepting Christ for the first time – words cannot describe it!

Tomorrow we get to sleep until 7:30 am! We will have some free time before we head off to Antigua. Please continue to pray for safety on the roads, no sickness and continued work on the hearts of all of us. Although tomorrow is a free fun day our work here is still not done. We will have our final devotion time to end our week in Guatemala.

God Bless!
Tami, Margie, Diane and Gloria

Day 4-Medical Clinic Day

What an AWESOME day we had today. Some started the morning off sorting meds to take to the clinic, while others were packing rice and beans to take to the village. We also had our devotion time before we left, because we knew it would be late getting back.

We left around 12:30 to head out. Rick, Kip and Jon were very thankful they didn’t have to drive today. We went way up into the mountains, but our drivers were amazing.

Paradise Bound had not been to the village for 3 1/2 years so the people were very excited to see us. We unpacked the meds and the suitcase full of toys and began to watch the people arrive. It didn’t take long for the first NO, NO, SI (Duck, Duck, Goose) to begin. The smiles and laughter on the small children was music to our ears. The kids also kicked the soccer ball around, threw a frisbee, played london bridge and the Hokey Pokey. This was a way to connect with the people before the Gospel was presented. They loved all the toys we had brought along.

After all the families were seen at the clinic, we sang some praise songs and our kids were able to give their testimonies. They all did an awesome job, you would have been proud, because we all were.
They then showed the Jesus movie. Lots of men, women and children came to see what was going on. The pastor then presented the gospel and we were able to witness many accept Christ. This was probably one of the most exciting things many of us had ever witnessed.

We could definately feel the Holy Spirits presence this afternoon, and tomorrow we get to do it all again.

God’s Blessings,

Diane, Margie, Tami and Gloria

Day 3 – House Dedications

We left at 6:30 a.m. for the work site today to finish our homes and dedicate them to God. We each painted the inside of our home turquoise and then were able to decorate them each differently. We all chose at least one Bible verse to paint on the wall in Spanish and also found out we have some creative artists in the group. They all turned out quite amazing.

After lunch we were ready to begin the house dedications. Each family was given the gifts we had purchased for them….they all loved everything that we gave them, and we enjoyed presenting the gifts to them. After that the gospel was presented to each family by Dan and the Spanish pastors. This was quite an AMAZING thing to be a part of!! ALL of the homes that we built accepted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior!! In all, we were a witness to twelve people giving their life to Christ and one rededication. It was a powerful day for us all and something we were all blessed to be a part of. During the dedication, each group that built the house participated with the family inside while the rest of the group prayed, sang songs and read scripture outside. Praise God that we were able to be a part of this! It is hard to put into words what we experienced….the Holy Spirit was at work in a powerful way. Be sure to ask your teens about it when they get home.

Tomorrow we get to sleep until 7:00 a.m.!! We will be getting medicine sorted for the medical clinic in the morning and plan to leave here around noon. Please pray for us as we travel…I think it is a two hour drive and on bumpier roads than we have experienced yet. 🙂

Some additional notes…
– No one has been sick.
– You are able to comment under each individual name on the right hand side of the screen as well as the group blog. The kids are all very excited to read the blog and see if they have any comments.
– Also it looks like the time posted on the blog is not when we actually post it. It is 11:15 p.m. currently as we typed this.

Blessings from Guatemala,
Margie, Diane, Gloria & Tami

Day 2 – Housebuilding Part 2

Our day began at 5:30am with a similar breakfast as yesterday. We headed for our worksite at 6:30am. The farmers were already in the field hoeing their corn on the mountainside. The little kids were lining the dirt roads asking for “dulce” (candy).

Once we arrived at our site we started out sanding our walls getting them ready for the next coat of mud. Then the madness began – they call it stuccoing. All 32 of us worked on all the houses together. We had runners bringing the “succulant sweet salmon” stucco to the ones troweling the stucco on. We were like an army of ants going to a picnic per Kip! Stucco was everywhere – on the houses and us. The kids of the village had fun leaving their handprints on our youth’s clothing.

For lunch we did not have rice and beans nor beans and rice. We think we had what was called tostados – guacamole or chicken! Maybe it was ironic that as we were eating chicken there were live chickens running under our chairs!

After lunch the guys worked on attaching the porch to our houses while others once again sanded the walls. The youth again enjoyed playing with the kids from the village. In fact we have a little mini Maison! We finished with our work just in time as it began to rain. Some of us were happy with the rain as we used it to wash off some of the stucco.

On the way back to the base we got to experience a Guatemalan gas station. We also had a treat for supper tonight – Domino’s Pizza and soda pop! After supper we went through our extra suitcases to prepare for our house dedications tomorrow.

God is certainly at work here! During devotions we talked how “many work for Christ but few work WITH Christ.” Another thing we’ve been talking about is “Not to choose is to have chosen.” We’ve also been learning how to read the living Word in a different way – as if we are part of the story – not just reading a story. “God sightings” are shared every night as well.

Prayer requests: Praise God that we are all still healthy and no one has gotten hurt. Praise God that He has kept us safe while driving to and from our sites and the base. Also, we have a BIG day tomorrow. As Dan said we will be working physically in the morning and spiritually the rest of the day as we dedicate these homes to God. We know that the enemy will be working extra hard tomorrow -so prayers are appreciated.

God Bless,
Tami, Diane, Margie, Gloria & Kip (once again everyone else is in bed) 😀

Day 1 – Housebuilding

Good evening…in reading some on your posts, I realized I forgot to let you know that we did receive all our luggage.

Our day started with a wake up call at 6:00 a.m. and ready to leave for the worksite at 7:00 a.m. After a delicious breakfast of scrambled eggs, refried beans, chips and canteloupe we were on the road. After a very bumpy (Diane says bumpy does not describe it…it is bumpier than that), we made it to where the cement pads of our five houses were in the village. We were greeted by many kids who were excited to meet us. We met our families and had a time to pray with them before we started construction. This was a special time that meant alot to us and them. Today we built the framework, put up sheetrock, taped & mudded, and put on stucco board (Diane and I have no idea if that is the correct name for it). Tomorrow it will be ready to stucco and another round of mudding and sanding.

Our lunches were a concern of ours before we left, but we had nothing to fear. Our lunch was rice and beans and homemade tortillas. Rick even liked them!! Tomorrow we hear it will be beans and rice. 🙂

We really connected to alot of kids in the village. We were impressed with how our kids were able to communicate with them with their Spanish expertise…or lack thereof. The little kids are just adorable and are quickly becoming attached to us, as we are to them.

Our devotion time tonight was led by Dan, the missionary here. We started out with singing some of our praise songs. He challenged us to examine our hearts and the reason as individuals have been called by God to Guatemala. Through the scripture of Mark 10:46-52, we were asked to look at God’s Living Word in a way we never had before. This was an amazing time.

As we type this as, we are the only ones still up…everyone else has gone to bed and all is quiet. Our wakeup call tomorrow will be 5:30 a.m. to be on the road at 6:30 a.m.

Thank you for all your support. We loved reading your replies! Please pray for changing hearts, not only in the Guatemalans, but in our youth.

God Bless.
– Margie, Diane & Tami

P.S. We celebrated Rick’s birthday today with fabulous Lois cookies!! They were great…as always.