"...great joy which will be to all people."

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, May 25, 2016

Working from Home

Susie is in the city today food shopping for the MANY teams coming starting next week.

In addition to doing school work with the kids, I am getting the solar lighting systems ready for next week by installing inline switches.

So thankful for the teams who provide families with solar lighting kits!  Electricity is extremely expensive here.  What a great help these are to families.






Sunday, May 22, 2016

More Home Visits (Written by Annabelle)

Last week, on Monday, May 16th,  I went with my dad to visit families who were waiting for a house. One of the families we visited had a nine-month-old boy named Eric.  When I was holding him, I noticed their stove.  It was basically a piece of metal held up by some sticks and wire.  It was placed right near the door to their house.  The smoke was drifting directly into their home.  Smoke related respiratory are among the leading ailments in women and children in Guatemala.  A nine-month-old is extremely vulnerable to respiratory health problems.



When my dad asked Eric's mom, Maria, how many people were in her family she said four; Marvin, her husband, Marvin Jr., her three-year-old son, Eric, her nine-month-old son, and herself.  They are currently borrowing a room from their uncle.  It's just one room with one bed which all four are sharing.  The uncle is giving them a piece of land to build on, but Marvin's job as a brick mason helper is not enough for them to build their own home.  In total, there are 15 people in three rooms. Many of them sharing beds or even sleeping outside on the ground.


Like most parents, Marvin and Maria want to provide a better life for their children but they don't have the money to do that.  We are awaiting a house sponsor for this young family who is doing their best to just put food on the table.


Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Follow Up Home Visit

 BEFORE
Back in November, our dear friends, Rick and Erica Penny and their boys came for a visit.  We were able to spend a week of fellowship with their family which was a gift for us.  Before they arrived, they raised money to build a home for Marta and Jose and their two boys.  The Penny's home church, Christ the King, was instrumental in helping this family have a home of their own.  

Last week, Jack was able to visit this sweet couple.  They expressed their gratitude for their new home, which is also a work place for their family to make quality leather products.  Jose explained how thankful he was for a secure home to store his work tools and leather goods, knowing the rain wouldn't come in and ruin his livelihood.  

While Jose works on his leather business, Marta works hard at keeping house.  Dust is prevalent here, especially during the dry season, so constant dusting and sweeping is necessary.  When Jack complimented her housekeeping skills, she told him it is their responsibility to take care of the gift God has given them.  Jose and Marta also told Jack they intend to keep their kids in school to honor God in that way, as well.  

There is a special joy in visiting families after they've received a home.  The blessing of a home is not simply putting a bandaid on poverty.   It is changing the cycle of poverty.  The Mil Casa Project is building homes to allow families to spend their hard earned money sending their children to school, just like Jose and Marta.  









Thursday, May 12, 2016

A Post Written By Annabelle

On Monday, April 25th I went to a school, with a team, to volunteer. When we first got there all of the kids were standing in a large circle. Two teachers were in the middle. The kids said hello to us and then someone turned on some music. One person in the team brought a guitar and started singing.  Soon everyone was singing, dancing and having fun while worshipping God. 

I was standing to the side, just observing, when a little boy came over, took my hand and brought me over to worship with him and some of his friends. 

Later, the team split up into groups, one to give out the drinks and and one to go play soccer with some of the kids. I decided to give out the drinks.  The kids were so grateful and sweet.  Once when I was playing with the Pre-K class I asked the energetic kids to guess how old I was.  One of them guessed 200!  Playing with the kids was so much fun! 


After we left the school for the day, we went to deliver water filters to the school kids' families.  One of the fathers explained to us his struggle with alcohol.  As he broke down in tears, he asked us to pray over him.  We all laid hands on him and prayed.  The father asked us to keep him in our prayers and started crying, then we all did. 

By the end of the day we were all exhausted, but it was worth it.  I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know these kids and being able to play with them.  I would love come back here someday to work in, or open up, a facility like that.  They are not only creating a new generation of believers but also ministering to the kids' parents. 

"Jesus said,  'Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.'"

Matthew 19:14

Thursday, April 21, 2016

It's Been A While...

It's been so, so long.

We've wanted to blog for a while now but really don't even know where to start.

Life has taken us by storm since we got back from the states.  We've been super busy (like everyone!) so we're going to list bullet points to let you know what's been happening with our family here in Guatemala.


  • Jude started going to preschool two doors down from our house.  It's wonderfully close and he LOVES it.  He says he wants to go there for the "rest of his life."  The teachers include him in all of the activities and he's picking up Spanish quickly!
  • The girls are being homeschooled.  Sigh.  This is both awesome and tiresome.  They're doing well and we thank God for a few independent learners.  ;)
  • Joseph is doing well.  He's still learning how to spoon feed himself.  It's taking more time than we ever imagined but we are grateful for the strides he's made.
  • Jack's role has changed considerably.  He's still making pre and post home visits but now he's busy writing up reports and family biographies and it involves a lot of time and paperwork. Visiting families is still his favorite part of the day.
  • We had our first hospital experience!  Jack had to get some stitches when he grabbed onto the metal roof to keep from falling.  Let's say hospitals are very different here!  
  • We've had two friends/families visit from the states.  It was a joy to share the ministry with them and they enjoyed delivering a water filter.  
  • We hiked Volcano de Pacaya...again.  Annabelle and Sophie twice, once with us and once with a team.  The girls love being involved with the teams.
  • Susie is cooking on Thursday and Fridays.  It's a huge job, which she could NOT do without the girls.  Sometimes we struggle with guilt because we truly depend on them for so much. They are amazing young ladies, both strong and helpful.  We thank God for them.
  • Sophie and Annabelle started going to a Bible study for girls her age.  They're studying Acts. They have made some terrific friends.
  • We have built Mil Casas house numbers 1-7.  We are on track to build 100 this year.
  • Sophie, Annabelle and Ava helped make lasagna for 50 two days ago.  Susie was unavailable but the girls filled in with the help of another adult.  
  • Jack will be assisting with 5 house builds next week alone!  We have over 600 people coming to build homes, deliver water filters and volunteer over the next 8 months.  So exciting!  


Thanks for hanging in with us.  We hope to be more consistent with our blog in the future.  Also, our Spring newsletter is coming out soon!  Check your email!

Love,
Jack and Susie


Thursday, February 4, 2016

MIL CASAS PROJECT: CASA NUMERO DOS


"Don't judge a book by it's cover." - George Eliot

Or a home by it's front door.

Almost every home in Guatemala is hidden behind a tall wall and door.  As we pass by, we have no real idea what lies behind the door, who lives there or what the home condition might be.  

We are shielded from the reality of the extreme poverty that lies behind.




Meet Rosa.  She lives in Pastores near the Municipal Building at the bottom of a long uphill alleyway. She has a passion for flowers and her family.  Her son, 12-year old daughter, daughter-in-law, and grandchild all live with her in this tight space.  Currently, Rosa does not have a job.  Her son is a day laborer and works as often as he can but work is not consistent.

Unfortunately, like most developing nations, education is not a priority.  It is not free; families must pay for tuition, books, supplies, and uniforms.  Rosa understands the importance of it, but she does not have the resources to further her daughter's education.  When we made our first home visit, Rosa sadly told us this would likely be her 12-year old daughter's last year of school unless she quickly found a job to help support the family.

What is the cost to send a child to school in Guatemala?  The average is about $30 a month.  That doesn't sound like a lot but when daily wages are $2 - $4 a day, it doesn't leave much for extras. And school is an extra.  Food, housing, and water must come first.

There's so much hope though.

Last night, Rosa and her family slept in their new home.  After Rosa expressed immense gratitude for her home, stove, water filter, bed and staple items, she shared her plan with us.  She hopes to save every penny that would normally go towards those items, to send her daughter to school.  Her new stove will cut her wood fuel in half, and when teams come, we'll make sure they assist the family's medical needs, which will hopefully allow them to save enough to send her daughter to 7th grade next year.

This is hope.  This is how our great, big, faithful God works.




Rosa's old home.


This is where the entire family slept before they received their new bunk beds.


The kitchen area.


Future space for their new home.


Rosa helps her daughter-in-law take care of her 4-month old.


Fruit Cove Mission Team putting the finishing touches on the home.




Thank you Fruit Cove Team for bringing hope to this family in a tangible way.  We will continue to build upon our relationship as we watch them rely on God for their needs.

Contact Information

There are many ways to keep updated on what's happening in Guatemala.  Let's keep in touch!


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EMAIL:

townsendguat@gmail.com

US ADDRESS:  

C/O Rich DeVictor
1116 Millstream Court 
Leland, NC 28451

GUATEMALA TELEPHONE NUMBER:

502-5192-9406

GIVING PAGE:






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