Luke 2:10 Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Working with My Dad (By Annabelle Joy Townsend)

              Yesterday I went to work with my dad.  We took the van to a village called Pastores.  My dad and I were going to do a check up with some of the people for whom he built houses.                      


 


Along this road were some of the homes which
 we were following up on.




These are some of the kids I met while in Pastores.
The niña (girl) in blue is Kati and in pink, Sophia.
Though I didn't get the little niño's (boy's) name.




In August I was able to be a part of a team building a house and now I was able to go with my dad on the follow up visit.  It's a great experience and I enjoy meeting new Guatemalans and talking to them in Spanish.  I can't wait to go back again soon.

Friday, December 5, 2014

End of Year Update

Merry Christmas friends and family!  Since Susie does a great job keeping everyone up to date on our family here in Guatemala, I decided our year end video newsletter will update you on the building mission work.  










We have had an incredible five months serving with Iglesia del Camino and look forward to updating you soon on some changes we will be making on the building process in the new year.  Very exciting!  This really is a fantastic ministry to partner with.  We are not just another NGO, we are a ministry dedicated to being the hands and feet of Jesus and sharing his Glory with others.  Lives for many generations are being changed because of clean water, a safe home and most importantly, God's love.

As I mentioned at the end of the video, we really need $8000 to sustain us in Guatemala for the full two years.  I think it's incredible that this is ALL we need!  God is amazing!  Would you consider partnering with us?  $5, $10, $20, $50 a month?  Or would you consider an end of the year one time financial gift?  We would be honored to join together in sharing His love in Guatemala!

We love you all and hope you have a wondrous Christmas.

Love,
Jack

A Month of Thanksgiving (A little late)

It's easier to jump right into Christmas in a land that doesn't celebrate American Thanksgiving.  :)  We are making it a point to enjoy a typical Thanksgiving and remember to be grateful.

Many people are daily posting what they are thankful for on Facebook throughout the month of November.  I have decided on November 1 to write what I am thankful for and add to it each day and then post it at the end of the month. 

NOVEMBER 1:  God's grace.  Some days I lie in bed thinking of all the stupid decisions I have made in the past.  I know, I know, I shouldn't harp on them but ugh, it bothers me to think I made such horrid choices!  Thankfully I am reminded of God's amazing mercy and grace.  Oh, His love is amazing!

NOVEMBER 2:  If God is first, Jack is definitely the next one to be thankful for!  Readers, I do not know how it's possible but Jack is an even better husband in a foreign land than he was in the comforts of the US.  He is just so extremely kind.  I remember when we were first married I would tell people I knew God loved me because He gave me Jack.  I still feel this way, 16 years later. 

NOVEMBER 3:  My parents are coming in just two days.  I am so stinking excited to see them!  When I feel lonely, it is simply because they are not near.  It has been such a blessing to live near them in NC over the past few years and my children adore them.

NOVEMBER 4:  I am thankful for Ava's never ending chatter today.  She just cracks me up.  We went to the market today and I do not believe she stopped talking the entire time.  Love her to pieces.

NOVEMBER 5:  Today I am thankful the church allowed us to borrow a vehicle to pick my parents up from the airport!  This is just a wonderful day.  Thank You, Lord, for giving my parents the health to be able to travel and the desire!

NOVEMBER 6:  Last week Joseph fell.  His front tooth went up into his gums.  After a traumatizing xray which took 6 adults to hold him down, the dentist decided to give him antibiotics and wait a week to see him because the area was so swollen.  Thankfully he is okay but today I am reminded to thank God for Joseph.  Some days are just so incredible.  I am thankful for his smile and giggle and health.

NOVEMBER 7:  I am so thankful for Annabelle.  She is such a go getter with a future planned out.  She wants to be a lawyer.  I take her to the market because she bargains for me and sometimes she is pretty ruthless.  She says, "walk away mom, that's not the best price," in Spanish and the seller will almost always come down.  Thankfully she has picked up Spanish like a BOSS and enjoys meeting new Guatemalans.

NOVEMBER 8:  I am grateful for my friends in the US.  They often send an email, text or FB message which make me laugh and smile.  I miss some remarkable people and look forward to seeing them again one day.

NOVEMBER 9:  My aunt flew in this afternoon.  She has an active life with her grandkids in Delaware and yet she took time off to fly to Guatemala (by herself!) to visit her niece and family.   This same aunt and her daughter and a handful of grandkids drove down to NC right before we left for Guatemala to say goodbye.  They also came to see Joseph at his surf camp after a long drive.  Stuff like this is just huge to me.  My other awesome aunt and uncle are planning to come to Guatemala for a visit in the Spring.  Today I am reminded how blessed I have been with such an amazing extended family.

NOVEMBER 10:  I am so thankful for my Sophie-girl.  Yes, she is smart and creative but what I love most is her heart.  I look forward to seeing what the Lord has planned for her future.

NOVEMBER 11:  I am so thankful for my fruit truck men!  I know I have mention this before here, but I absolutely love getting to know these fine gentlemen and speaking Spanish with them! 

NOVEMBER 12:  Thank you, Lord for blessing me with parents who don't mind traveling in a Spanish speaking country with their non-Spanish speaking daughter!  Today, my parents, aunt and I traveled to Panajachel and took a boat on Lake Atitlan to a small village named Jaibilito.  My family totally let me plan this short trip.  We are childless (Jack stayed home to babysit) for the next 3 days.  Thank you, Lord, for this time of rest and rejuvenation.

NOVEMBER 13:  I am so thankful for my dad.  Today the two of us took an unexpected, wild hike to get to the town of Jaibilito.  Our caregiver said it would take 15 minutes for us and only 5 for him and we laughed at him.  We told him we were runners!  We could do this!  Ummm, it was a CRAZY hike.  Like sliding on rocks, out of breath in the first 5 minutes and passing little girls with machetes and really no path at all.  It was awesome and I am thankful I got to spend the morning with my 75 year old dad who is still in such excellent shape!

NOVEMBER 14:  Today I thank God for Pearl.  It's fun to watch her personality develop.  She admires her sisters dearly and plays nicely with her brothers.  She's becoming a cute little hugger too.  She is the first to run and hug Pop-Pop and Grandma when she sees them.

NOVEMBER 15:  My Grandma Sara is 98 years old and going strong.  I am thankful for the many years she lived near us in Wilmington.   She is a spitfire! 

NOVEMBER 16:  So thankful for my little boy, Jude!  He is a sweet, sweet boy and loves his grandparents so much.  I am so grateful for their special relationship.  And now that they are here, he climbs into THEIR bed in the middle of the night instead of ours!  ;)

NOVEMBER 17:  The local river is brown here.  When I walk by it, I see people cleaning their clothes, cooking food, living aside it.  People, the water is so extremely dirty and this is drinking water for many.  Today I am so thankful that I grew up in a land where I didn't have to worry about disease infested water.

NOVEMBER 18:  I really miss my sister, Michele, and her family.  Every summer my sister and her kids spend nearly a month in NC.  It's such a wonderful bonding time for us, as well as the cousins.  It's been a difficult transition and I am especially going to miss her during Christmas time.  I am so thankful for her friendship and look forward to her texts.

NOVEMBER 19:  I also have a wonderful brother, Rick.   We also see his great family during the holidays and it's a week of playing cards, putting puzzles together and eating!  He makes me laugh and I am thankful for his friendship.

NOVEMBER 20:  I am thankful we found a turkey in Guatemala City.  I am thankful my aunt brought a few cans of pumpkin down with her.  It may seem trivial, but I am grateful to celebrate a traditional Thanksgiving meal with my family this week.

NOVEMBER 21:  I love the market!  I am so thankful I have learned enough Spanish to buy our groceries at the market.  A wonderful friend showed me who to go to and now I don't even need to bargain anymore!  It's a joy to bring a few of the girls with me on market days and I am thankful for this time to interact with Guatemalans.

NOVEMBER 22:  This morning I thank God for so many wonderful new friends here in Guatemala. I never anticipated being greeted so quickly by individuals who were willing to help us adjust so quickly.  I am so blessed and although I think about naming names, I wouldn't want to leave anyone out.

NOVEMBER 23:  I was blessed with my very special Grandma Chando who died way too soon.  The memories I have are such a gift and I find myself sharing them with our children.  I miss her so much and sometimes it hurts.  I thank God for the many years and memories we made together.

NOVEMBER 24:  This evening I am reflecting on how many opportunities I have been afforded.  I walk by so many people every single day who struggle with addiction, poverty and homelessness.  I am so thankful for so many things I have always taken for granted, such as food, a home, an education and so much more.

NOVEMBER 25:  Again, I am thankful for my mom.  Man, I hit the jackpot with her.  She is extremely supportive, even when our decisions might not be the easiest or most popular choices. Today I thank the Lord for my spectacular mom.

NOVEMBER 26:  There are so many people to name but I am so thankful for all of our supporters, both financial supporters and prayer warriors.  This journey is incredible and I am so glad called us to Guatemala and allowed us to work with an amazing ministry but it could not happen without the many churches, families and individuals who made a commitment to come alongside us.

NOVEMBER 27:  THANKSGIVING DAY!  So extremely thankful for the relationship I have with my Savior.  Surely I take this relationship for granted but He is my Friend, my Father, my Love and my Salvation. 

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Change for Change

Just a day after we posted about our financial need, a friend sent us a very loving email to check in with us.  Then the following day, she sent this email and three pics:  

Hey Susie and Family,

I promised to send this yesterday, but got distracted by visiting family.  I want to share with you something that our family has done for the past few years.  I am sharing this with you not because I want to "toot my own horn," so to say, but because this is something that I believe that most any family in the realm of people that we both know could do if they were to commit to it. 

We have an average-sized glass pitcher, and we all put any loose change from around the house, car, found on street, etc. into this pitcher daily.  Amazingly, it gets full a couple of times a year.  We call it our "Change for Change" and as it is filling up, we pray about who we will give it to when it starts to overflow. We have found that God clearly shows us who to give it to before the time comes, every time.  This time, we knew that it would go to your family.  We never know how much will be in there, but it's usually around $100.  

So, yesterday {son} and I took the change to the cool, free coin counter at the bank.  You can take a guess at how much is in there before it counts it, and {son} guessed $110.58.

I have attached some pics of this (yes, the bank ladies thought we were crazy) and the final amount.  This amount will be donated today for your family.  

Again, I'm telling you this only because I believe that if any of your friends and family members were willing to do this, it could make a great impact for your ministry in Guatemala.  We are the ones who are blessed by it, every time.
 Much love to all of you.






"Change for Change" is such an encouragement to us.  Love, love, love this! 

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Frutas de Pickup




Meet our friends, Jose, Daniel, and Jorge.  These three gentlemen drive through the country and purchase produce from different farms and then travel over two hours every day to sell fruit to our area.  As soon as Jose parks the car, the boys jump out and begin cutting fruit open for us to sample. 




The fruit and veggies are amazing but most of all, I really like the fellowship I have with these kind men.  Daniel (wearing a black shirt) is a young man who never went to school but has a strong desire to learn English.  Together, we fumble through our communication, teaching one another a second language.   




After our friends leave, we begin the washing process.  The produce sits in a bowl of water with one cap of bleach for 15 minutes. 




We really enjoy fruit & veggie day!  We buy A LOT and it rarely ever goes bad.   It is a blessing to have them come straight to our door every Wednesday around noon.  Not only does it save us money, but it saves us from walking multiple times to the store and carrying such a bounty on our backs.   




The yellow fruit above, called Nisporo, is my favorite!  It reminds me of a sweet/sour apricot.  It has the prettiest brown seeds inside.  I am drying them out, trying to figure out what I can do with them.  The red prickly fruit on the right is called a Lychee.  You peel off the skin which reveals a sweet juicy white center, which tastes like a pear.




Wednesday afternoons the girls help me wash, cut, chop the veggies to prepare meals for the week.  I usually puree a ton of food for Joseph and freeze his meals for the week. 




For a few hours the kitchen is a mess but it's so nice to open the fridge and take out fresh produce whenever we want!  It is so tasty!



Our family loves fresh guacamole!  It's Ava's specialty to prepare.  She mixes avocado, fresh garlic and lime.  Yummy!


 


The only produce we don't purchase from the fruit truck are limes.  No need to because we have a lime tree in our backyard.  The kids love picking them!  Here's a goofy picture of them picking limes.  ;)




Don't be fooled, we don't only eat veggies and fruit.  I will post about the yummy Panaderia (bakery) across the street sometime in the future...

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Our Need

Well, of course this is a difficult post to write but it is a topic that has to be addressed.

Finances.

Two years ago, when we started funding to serve in Guatemala, we immediately felt the Lord telling us to embrace the financial challenges with a positive spirit.  Jack and I agreed we needed to find peace in fundraising when our flesh felt nothing but humility, which isn't necessarily a bad thing either.  God has provided from the very beginning and we have been so blessed on this journey.

If you are one of our dear supporters who has committed and started to support us financially, thank you for your faithfulness.  We are aware of the financial challenges Americans are facing and we understand the huge sacrifice your gift is and we appreciate you.  It would be impossible to build homes without your support.  Guatemalans would not have clean water without your donation.  People are hearing about the Gospel because of your contribution.  Our family is safely living in a third world country because you chose to step out in faith and support this ministry.

Thank you. 

The reality is, three months have gone by and only 75% of our $1400 committed monthly funding has begun.  Currently we need $350 more a month to sustain our living expenses.  If you would like to join us on this journey, would you consider making a monthly donation for $20, $25, $30, $40, $50, $100 or another amount the Lord puts on your heart?  There are four ways to support this ministry, outlined on the sidebar on this blog.

In addition to that, we need to raise $8000 (one time) for our second year of funding.  This will include $4000 for flights, $2000 for Visa Extension fees/trips and $2000 for medical/therapies.  If we receive additional monthly donations above the $350/month, this number will be lower.

We are so thankful that is ALL we need!  Just six months ago we were not even close to being funded for a second year.  God has provided generously and we are so grateful to have charitable supporters! 

If you have any additional questions regarding our budget and financial needs, please feel free to email us at townsendguat@gmail.com and we would be glad to answer any questions!

Thank you for taking the time to read this post.









(As you can see, Sophie is missing here!  Hopefully I will get a group picture soon!)  



Sunday, October 19, 2014

Facebook

 


Have you checked us out on Facebook?  



Click here to "like" our page, To Guatemala with Joy on Facebook.  


Please share it on your wall and invite your Facebook friends to "like" it! 



Thanks again for following along with us!