"...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."

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!


FACEBOOK: 


TWITTER: 


BLOG:


EMAIL:

townsendguat@gmail.com

US ADDRESS:  

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

GUATEMALA TELEPHONE NUMBER:

502-5192-9406

GIVING PAGE:






We would love to hear from you!  








Tuesday, February 2, 2016

MIL CASAS PROJECT: Casa Numero Uno

On Monday, the first house of Mil Casas (One Thousand Homes) Project, went up in Pastores, Guatemala!  What an exciting time for the ministry and people of Guatemala.  Our team this week is from Fruit Cove, Florida.  This wonderful church sends two teams each year.  They were just here two months ago!  They already plan to come again in November to bring their youth group down to work.  It's so wonderful to meet new people who have a heart for showing Jesus to others.  

Annabelle joined Jack on Monday to visit the team as they were constructing the house, as well as visit with the family.  It was his first visit back to see the Villegas family since November.  Angel, father/husband works in the city printing t-shirts and his wife, Ana Yancy, cleans homes and cares for their two children.  They no longer have to share a home with Angel's parents and they are very excited about that!   

Bathroom and Water Source


Annabelle went for a ride and enjoyed meeting Andrealita, the youngest Villegas.


The picture below is their former home, which they will make into a bathroom.


Our Fruit Cove friends are awesome!  This team may only have 6 people this week but they are working hard and have raised money to build two homes!


Annabelle says the picture doesn't do justice in showing how steep the hill really is!  Also, the house at the top was where the family used to live.  It was not much bigger than the double bed inside.


The Villegas family has a beautiful view of the gorgeous mountains in Guatemala!  We were huffing and puffing by the time we walked this far.


Sorry this picture isn't great!  Angel and Ana Yancy are a sweet couple!



If you would like to raise money for a family to receive a home, please let us know!  Send us a message to townsendguat@gmail.com.



Monday, February 1, 2016

WE'RE BACK!

After a lovely 4.5 week stay in the United States, visiting NC, Tennessee, Virginia, Delaware and New Jersey, we are back home here in Guatemala.  It was a tearful goodbye and although we miss seeing our friends and family regularly, we are so thankful to have the opportunity to serve in Guatemala.

Just a few changes for our family in 2016:

JACK:

1.  He is now the Director of Mil Casas.  Mil Casas translates to "One Thousand Homes".  The past 18 months, Mil Casas has been building homes as a trial period.  Modifications have been made on the homes to reflect a better quality home and now Mil Casas is set to begin with houses number ONE and TWO this week!  This is a very exciting time for IDC and the Mil Casas Project.

2.  Jack will continue co-leading the IDC young adult Bible study but they've stepped it up.  They'll be meeting every week now.  They're looking forward to studying the book of Matthew this Wednesday!

3.  Every Friday, Jack will teach English to some of the Guatemalan staff at IDC.  It started out with only the guys in the shop who pre-fabricate the homes and has grown to include more staff.  This is one of his favorite jobs at IDC.

SUSIE:

1.  Susie will continue teaching English classes with Patsy for the next few months.  Patsy's English is growing leaps and bounds!

2.  Susie has been asked to edit the new webpage.  She will be working with Patsy on translating the Spanish/English site and making changes.  They are so happy to work together.

FAMILY:

1.  As a family, we have offered to help cook for the teams on both Thursday and Friday evenings.  We aren't sure what this will look like as of right now because there are 8 of us, but we have a few options.  Either Susie and the older girls will cook or Susie and Jack will cook.  And of course, we will continue to help cook on the weekends for special events.  This weekend, Sophie, Ava Mae and Susie helped cook for 55 people. What a wonderful, busy weekend!

2.  The kids have asked to be more involved in the ministry.  They have great servant hearts and they are eager to make home visits, build homes and continue to serve in the kitchen.


Please continue to pray for us.  Specifically, for the Lord to give us strength, joy, contentment, and stamina.  Thank you, friends!






Visit to the US: Driving!!!

We have wonderful, supportive friends who allowed us to use their vehicle while we were in the US. This is HUGE.  We needed a vehicle which would hold 8 people!  The Bestuls have 13 people in their family so I know this was a huge sacrifice!

A few pictures of our car adventures:











As you can see, we did a lot of sleeping in the car!  Had to make up the sleep somewhere since the kids spent a lot of time playing hard with friends and family.  They were extremely happy to see snow!  :)

Thanks again, Bestuls!  We love you!

VISIT TO THE US: Church Visits

We were so blessed to have the opportunity to share how we are serving Guatemalans through Iglesia del Camino (IDC) while we were in the US.

A shout out to the wonderful churches who hosted us:


Grace Community of Topsail in Hampstead, North Carolina

Bible Baptist of Wilmington (see blog post here)

Mount Vernon Baptist in Axton, Virginia

Cornerstone Church in Vienna, West Virginia

Grace 210 in Hampstead, North Carolina

Union Church in Seaside Park, New Jersery

Topsail Baptist in Hampstead, North Carolina

Christ the King in Wilmington, North Carolina







What a gift it was so share what the Lord is doing in Guatemala through the IDC building ministry. A special thank you to these churches for their hospitality, welcome, prayers and giving.