It's Saturday morning and we were up at 5 a.m. After our 4-hour bus ride over and through the breath-taking Guatemalan mountains we have arrived at the airport.
As I sit in the gate, it's 11:15 a.m. Central Time and Delta flight #906 is scheduled to leave for Atlanta, then onto Baltimore arriving about midnight Eastern Time.
My brain is yet basking in the afterglow of this journey. The only destination that came close to preparing me for life in Guatemala was my trip to Haiti in December a few years ago. About 70% of the Guatemalans live in some level of poverty. To understand life here, one must understand that.
Let me now give you thoughts and share images in Friday's afterglow.
We started the morning at the children's wing of St. Luke's Hospital located with the Hope of Life village. Here babies who have been literally rescued from a premature death are being nurtured to wholeness again. Unbelievable. When I walked in the room, all but one baby was being held and loved on. So, I grabbed little Ana up and here we are:
Next, I got to watch some on our team spend much of the morning with the kids they sponsor through World Help. It was a very tender moment to see the interaction. Jesus-compassion filled the atmosphere.
After lunch we went to visit families who literally live in a dump. They make their living actually going through the garbage in an attempt to recycle glass, plastic and metal to meet their basic needs. And of course ends still don't meet. So, we were there with Hope Alive to provide food and drink for all generations. They are fed three times a week by groups like ours who volunteer through Hope of Life. Watching the children was especially heart-wrenching. I am not ready to post pictures of the little ones yet. It's too real to me. I will, however, post a photo of a grandmother named Pastore. She sat peacefully in the buzzard-filled and smoke-filled dump. My heart broke when I saw her, too, but the countenance on her face curiously drew me in. When asked, "How are you today?" she replied, "I AM HAPPY!" I squatted beside her and asked about the reason for her happiness. She touched her chest and said, "Jesus lives inside me." Looking at her beautiful, filthy feet, I proclaimed the DNA of my blog: "How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news." Pastore indeed gave us good news in a dump. Pictures below:
After leaving the dump, we journeyed to our adopted village to dedicate the first-ever church there. I was asked to lead the ribbon-cutting ceremony and to preach at the first service. I asked two villagers to come and join us and to actually cut the ribbon -- Marta, an old Jesus-glowing, prayer warrior-granny and Freddie, a single dad who drives an 18-wheeler, who let us know he was saved in a Nazarene church. See images of the celebration below. Off-the-charts!
Last evening the Hope of Life orphaned teens who live at The Village of Transformation thanked us for coming by serving us and entertaining us at a full-blown fiesta. Humbling and Holy Ground.
Give away your life... God will give you LIFE for now and for forever.
If you read my blog yesterday about Ingrid, we went back today with all her meds and many others supplies, etc. from Hope of Life Ministries. Her husband sent a message that he wanted our whole group to come by their home because Ingrid wanted a group photo with all of us around her bed. God is truly at work. Keep praying. I told her many are praying for her to be back on her feet. She cried.
I will post again tomorrow about our other Friday experiences. In short, we dedicated the new village church with a packed house. We also visited the families who live at the dump. Words are not enough. But God is more than enough.
(Click below for full view of group photo.)
Give away your life... Embracing Hope not only for yourself but for others, too.
I could spend much time writing about the multiplied blessings I encountered today, however, because one highlight was so "Holy, Holy, Holy" ... I will only share it.
Her name is Ingrid -- a young beautiful wife and mother in the village we have adopted. Our group learned after their last trip that Ingrid needed lifesaving surgery. The money was raised before our arrival and she had the surgery a few days ago. She is at home on her sick bed.
As we climbed the steps and entered the humble, second-floor home, I suddenly remembered my recent trip to Capernaum in The Holy Land, and the New Testament story that happened there -- yes, the story of Jesus healing and saving the paralyzed man.
We were invited into Ingrid's home. There laid Ingrid, her husband and small kids all around. Though sick, she was still beautiful. After Heidi, Claudia, and Angela talked with her for a while, we learned she may still be in a fragile place with her health, in part, because she needs follow-up medicine she can't afford. She didn't even have pain meds. We gave her ibprophen, and promised to do all we can to get the other prescriptions needed by tomorrow.
I asked Ingrid if we could pray and anoint her. She tenderly agreed. We prayed, asking God to touch her body. It was holy ground. Her young son who had been loudly whining since we arrived slowly but surely fell asleep at the head of his young mom's sick bed as I prayed. Such peace fell in the room.
As we consoled her after the prayer, she said with such fervency: "I want to receive Jesus." Heaven came down and glory filled my/our soul(s). Without hesitation, I took Ingrid by the hand again and prayed the sinner's prayed. As I was praying and pausing in English, the translator was echoing in Spanish as I paused and Ingrid was reechoing his echo in Spanish as he paused.
"Holy, Holy, Holy, indeed!" What a glorious day in Guatemala.
(Click image below to view full-frame, the precious recreated Ingrid. See her son peacefully sleeping behind her.)
Keep praying for Ingrid'a healing. I told her: "Don't worry. Worship!" We will return tomorrow.
Before leaving today, Ingrid's husband, Harrison, was tender. He wants to think about it before receiving Christ. But he allowed me to pray blessings over him and his life.
Give away your life... For Jesus' sake to whomever you encounter in your journey.
* 2:15 a.m. enroute to Baltimore-Washington International Airport.
* Arrival 5:15 a.m. for supposed 7 a.m. Departure.
* Actual departure? 8:30 a.m.
* Landed at 10 a.m. Atlanta. Off plane in Concourse E at 10:25 a.m.
* Sprinting through world's busiest Airport in world towards Concourse F for 10:45 a.m. departure. Run down escalators carrying cases. Catch airport train. Run up two more sets of Escalators. Arrive in a pile at Gate F-10 just before plane jetway closes.
* Grateful to be boarded, though winded. Worth it.
* My "taxi" ride at Guatemala texts thinking I missed my plane to Guatemala just before we take-off from Atlanta. I advise otherwise. Whew.
* Wonderful 3-hours to Guatemala City. (More on that Sunday when I preach.)
* Land in Guatemala. Breeze through immigration and customs. My ride shows up just as I am ready to exit the airport. Favor.
* Eddy R., Otto and Antonio and I make the 3 3/4 hour drive in a Chevy Suburban to Hope of Life in mountains in just 2 3/4 hours. A few times I thought I might meet Jesus face-to-face before arriving. (I've ridden on the autobahn in Germany numerous times. The Germans have nothing on Guatemalans when it comes to fast, scary, and breath-taking road driving. One major difference, too -- The Germans have workable seat-belts. Invigorating, indeed!)
* Ate fresh unique fruit called "leeches".
* Had a lovely supper with the team in the open air dining room -- chicken, peas, potatoes.
* Listened to heart-wrenching and heart-warming stories from Bobby, Gene, and Heidi, then Karen closed in prayer.
* Shared some tears and laughs.
* 9 p.m. here now, but for me 10 p.m.
* Showered and listening at this time to worship music through my Bose headphones. "Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus..."
* Praying I won't snore as loud as I've been accused of. The room is nice and cool but the walls are a little thin. :)
* Big days ahead. Anticipating. Thanks for the invite, Heidi. And thanks for the airline ticket, World Help.
Give away your life... Traveling to all the towns and villages to hear and to share Good News.
Personal success in life for me is to be loved, respected, and appreciated most by the one who calls me husband and the two who call me daddy. I am honored to be the son of a fisherman and humbled to be a fisherman (and a shepherd) for the Son. To help others minimize future regrets is my joy-description. Ultimately, I only exist so that Christ can manifest Himself in/through me. In fact, for me, the Secret of Life is found in these 7 words from The New Testament in Colossians 1:27 -- "Christ in you, the hope of glory." I do not consider myself to be "religious" but I wholeheartedly believe that "when relationship RULES, there's little need for rules!" My first published book was released by Beacon Hill Press, Kansas City, on August 6, 2009. It is titled "Relational Leadership -- What I learned from a Fisherman about Leading a Church." My second book from Beacon Hill Press was released in 2013. Co-written with Dr. Brian Charette it is titled "The Stress Factor -- Finding Rest in an Uneasy World." Finally, not to forget, I am master to an 10-year-old Beagle -- The Oreo Pup. COUNT IT ALL JOY!
-- James 1:2-4
My "Relational Leadership" Book. Click Image to review book and/or to order from Beacon Hill Press, NPH, Kansas City. Grateful!
We don't have to. We get to.
Spirit of the Living God, fall fresh on me...
My late, dear, artist friend, David A. Lawrence, painted this dove in the 1970s. It hangs majestically today in my Granny and Granddaddy's old homeplace. Click on Dove Above for David A. Lawrence's tribute page.
From Cradle to the Cross
From His first cry in the manger to His final cry on the Cross, Jesus lived and lives again with His arms-opened-wide saying, "Come to Me!"
i am grateful. kerry i am.
I pray the time you invest saturating on my RomansTenFifteen blog will inspire your life by radically increasing real intimacy with the Wonderful One, Jesus the Nazarene.
LOVE A GOOD NEIGHBOR!
My neighbor, Philip blessing me.
Lil' Boy, Big Sea. I Stand in Awe of YOU, my GOD!
Click Image to visit America's Best Beach, Ocracoke Island, N.C.
His Beautiful Feet
I want to know Christ... in the fellowship of His sufferings...
Spontaneous Baptism: Click Image for Article
Sunday, May 31, 2009, was Pentecost Sunday and a highlight in my life and ministry as 191 in our local church were spontaneously baptized -- some emmersed, some poured, all humbled! Hallelujah!
Human Feet, Holy Water
i am grateful. kerry i am.
Christ in you, the hope of glory. -- Colossians 1:27b