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.

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! 



Saturday, October 18, 2014

My Better Half



So what's Jack been up to?  It doesn't matter what country he is in, he works at only one speed.  BUSY!  Is that a speed? 

Over the past two weeks, Jack has had the opportunity to make follow up home visits to families who have been blessed through the Iglesia del Camino's building ministry. 

It's been a great opportunity to fix any house issues, share the love of Christ and pray with the families.  Six women heard the Gospel and were saved during the past two weeks.  How awesome is God?!

Friends, this is where Jack's heart is.  It gives him pure joy to make these follow up trips.  Whether he is building or fixing or talking to families in his Spanglish, he is serving and doing exactly what he believes God has called him to do.  Nothing is better than walking the path God has laid out.



 Jack's friend/coworker, Luis, shares God's love with families. 




 Jack enjoys getting to know the children while they make home visits.  Many of these beautiful kids have seen/heard of an ipad/ipod, Wii, etc.  They often play with one precious toy, perhaps a ball or truck, and take great care of it.  The "lucky" kids are sponsored and are able to attend school and others will never step foot in a classroom. 





Jack and two other men make the follow up visits and they take time to look over the building.  It gives them an opportunity to evaluate what works, what doesn't and how they can improve the structure in the future.  




Overall, the metal/steel homes are withstanding the constant, pounding rain during the rainy seasons and the infrequent earthquakes.




Unfortunately, many families in Guatemala do not have strong male figures.  It's rare to have a father/husband sit down and hear the message.  Thankfully, below, Luis was able to talk to a father, who is blessed to have a job three days a week.  He works in the village of Pastores, where they are known for making good quality, genuine leather boots. 




These are pictures of women, men and children who are strong.  Many are widowed and living with 8-10 people in a one room house.  



As I mentioned above, six women heard God's Salvation message and believed.  To God be the glory!  Please, please pray for these women.  We need to stand in the gap for them.   Most do not know how to read or have a Bible to read.  Most do not own a car to travel to church to be fed.  They live in a culture steeped in a mix of paganism, Catholicism and Mayan rituals but they heard the message and they turned their hearts to God.  Matthew 18:20 encourages me to pray together for these women, "For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them."






Friday, October 17, 2014

New Address






Jack and Susie Townsend
C/O Iglesia del Camino
6a Avenida Norte #33
Antigua Guatemala, Guatemala




Already 90 Days?!

Where has the time gone?  This week we celebrate living in Guatemala for 90 days.  Time is flying by.  As always, I wish I could slow it down a little.

As an expat living on a 90 day tourist visa, we have two choices to extend our visa.  The first option is to apply for a two year residency which can take 6-9 months.  This option is a little expensive for our family of 8 at $600 per person, therefore we opted out.

The second option is to visit the Guatemalan Immigration Office and apply for an extension.  You provide them with every important document you own (birth certificates, adoption decrees for those that don't have US birth certificates, multiple copies of passports, marriage license, copies of credit cards and many more!) and leave your passports for up to a week.  Hopefully we do not have an emergency and have to leave the country in the next week.  ;)   During this time the Guatemalan Immigration Office will stamp our passports, giving us another 90 day visa.  They will do this one time for a fee per passport but at our 180 day mark, we must leave the country for 3 days.  So to break it down, we arrived in July, applied for an extension in October,  we will leave the country in January, apply for an extension in April, leave the country in July, etc.

Our plan for leaving the country will be taking a 6 hour bus ride to Tapachula, Mexico and stay for 2 nights and 3 days.  Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador and Nicaragua have a pact (CA-4) which allows for open borders so traveling to those countries, even if they are closer, won't give us an extended visa.   

We are extremely thankful the church allowed us to borrow one of the vans so we did not have to rent a van to go to the city.  The chicken bus was always an option but taking so many important documents on the bus would not be smart.   God has really blessed us with good friends who traveled with us to apply for the extension.  We would have been a little lost, not knowing the language.  The Guatemalan Immigration Office is a bit like the DMV in the United States.  When our friend explained we had 8 passports, the worker rolled her eyes and shook her head.  ;)



Sitting in the van, ready to leave!  No car seats available, no seat belts available.  When in Rome...





This city is so beautiful and rich.  Early morning view of Volcan de Agua!



Driving in Guatemala City was a new experience for us.  Though it's a grid for the most part, the streets are one way so it felt like we were going around and around after getting lost a few times.  ;) 




Waiting patiently at the Immigration Office. 





So thankful for my friend, Nancy, who translated for me.   





For real, goats in the middle of the city.  Only here.  





Time to head home!  We will be back in the city next week to pick up the passports with our extended stamp.





And we will return to the city on Tuesday to pick up our passports!