"...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."

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Thank you!

Thank you for your prayers!

Susie's surgeries were successful and she is recovering nicely at home.

Jack is back to work today building with the last team visiting before we leave.

Time is flying by.

Thank you again for praying for Susie's surgeries.  We love you all!

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Prayer Request

Hey friends,

Since January, Susie has had strep throat 6 times.  Due to this chronic infection, which she has had for years, Susie will be having her tonsils removed tomorrow.  While she is under anesthesia, she will also have hernia surgery.   Only in Guatemala can you get a two for one!

Please join us in praying for a safe, clean surgery with no complications.  We are also praying for a quick recovery! 

Thank you in advance!

In Him,

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Important Update

Warning:  This update is long and way overdue.

"Many are the plans in a man's heart but it is the Lord's purpose that prevails."

Proverbs 19:21

First, let us apologize for not blogging in a long while.  It's not that we haven't had anything to blog about, there's actually so much to share!  Mil Casas is such an amazing ministry and we are so honored to work with exceptional people every day.  Our days are full.  Jack has the wonderful opportunity to visit families in the neighboring villages of Santa Maria de Jesus and Pastores.  Susie and the girls cook dinner for teams.  The older girls also translate for medical clinics, after school programs and wheelchair ministries, to name a few.  And the days when all of us are on the schedule, it's a juggling act to make sure someone is with the younger kids!  It has been a tremendous gift to serve in Guatemala.  We are nearing our third year here and we all agree this was the greatest move for our family.  There is a joy we have received that hasn't compared to any other and we are extremely grateful the Lord brought us here.  

The ministry has reached out to thousands of families in multiple ways from medical clinics, activities for children, water filters, stoves, after school programs, homes and much more!  The objective is to bring the Gospel to people where they are, physically and spiritually.  During the past three years, Jack has had the opportunity to visit over 300 families and has seen first hand the need of His healing in their lives.  Of those families, almost 100 have received a new home, stove, bed and water filter but ALL have heard the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  The improvement in their physical health is immediate through clean water and shelter.  This allows us to share a tangible example of the healing Christ offers spiritually.  We love how God uses everything to testify to His amazing grace, which He gives abundantly!

We want our supporters, who have so generously given us unconditional love and support, to know that we are returning to the US in June.  Three years ago you helped raise money for us to stay for two years and when we needed to extend that to a third year, you gave boldly.  Faithfully, you stepped up and met our financial needs so we could continue working in Guatemala for an additional year.  We thank you.  Mil Casas thanks you.  However, the funds are not sufficient for long term living.  After prayerful consideration, we know we need to return to North Carolina.  Frankly, we do not feel like this is a closed door to Guatemala.  We have no idea what that means for our family as of right now but we are spending time in prayer and seeking His guidance.  All of us absolutely love Guatemala; we have met and worked with incredible people through whom the Lord has truly developed amazing friendships.

When we moved from North Carolina to Guatemala, we did not know how the transition for our children would be.  We were warned about how difficult the adjustment could be for the entire family.  In contrast, we are still in awe at the ease of the transition.  All God!  The kids adjusted so quickly and Guatemala became home for them.  Of course, we missed holidays in the states and special time with family, but their adaptation to the culture and language was almost flawless.  There were a few rough days, but many more amazing days in which we give God all the glory!  In the blink of an eye, one year turned to two years and two years turned to three years.  Without a doubt, the Lord has given our children a love for serving and living in this marvelous country.

Therefore, our biggest concern right now is for our children.  Unquestionably, they consider Guatemala their home.  We believe the Lord has His hand upon our children, and He is ultimately directing our paths but we acknowledge returning to the US will have its challenges.  Our kids are reluctant to return.  We see them flourishing here, involved in ministry and Bible study and church and it's hard not to feel some apprehension.  We trust in the Lord's plan and even during this time of change, we praise Him and call Him faithful.

It will be wonderful to catch up with family and friends when we return to the US.  We want to give you all a great big hug of thanks for your kindness!  Additionally, over the past three years we have met so many fantastic people who live in the US; our family hopes to visit some of these new friends in the future!  It will be a joy to see what God has planned for the next step in our journey of life!

Some of you stood up when we dedicated our children to the Lord and agreed to help guide them in His ways, others were there when our children decided to follow Jesus, and many of you prayed with us when we left the US in 2014.  You interceded for us.  We thank God for you.  Would you please pray for us now?  Would you intercede for us as we readjust to a new life, culture, career and ministry?

Prayer Requests:

1.  As stated above, please pray for our children as they struggle with what inevitably feels like a loss to them.

2.  We need a job, vehicle, and home in the US.  We know God will provide all three and thank Him in advance for His provision.

3.  Pray for Mil Casas.  Pray the Lord will bring someone to fill Jack's role.  We trust this next person will be outstanding for the ministry!

4.  Continue to pray we will be good stewards of our financial situation.  We humbly ask our supporters to continue giving until the end of August, which is the earliest Jack will receive a full time paycheck from teaching.  Jack will line up part time work until that time and thankfully we will live with Susie's parents until we are on our feet again.  Certainly we will still incur expenses and therefore will need an income during this interim period.  As always, give as led by Him.

5.  Please join us in thanking God for the wonderful work He is doing in Guatemala.   Pray for the many brothers and sisters who are seeking to do better all the time in this breathtaking country which endures the heartache of severe poverty.  Rest assured, God is being honored here.

"The Lord Almighty has sworn,
'Surely, as I have planned, so it will be,
and as I have purposed, so it will stand'"

Isaiah 14:24

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Give the Gift of Opportunity this Christmas! (EDIT: Price Change)

We are so glad to have a team from Murphy, North Carolina this week!  They have been working hard building homes on their first IDC trip.  These are some of the kindest people with HUGE hearts. It's an honor to meet new people each week who have a desire to share the love of the Lord with others.  

This is going to be a short, blunt blog post because we are asking for help.  In addition to a home, the families receive a stove, bunk bed and water filter but we would love to gift some of the families in need of work with a tortilla stove.  Would you consider donating $200 $100 this holiday season for a family to receive a tortilla stove?  This will allow a family the opportunity to bring in extra income which would be a tremendous (long term) help for them!

If you would like to donate a tortilla stove (pictured above) please send us a message to townsendguat@gmail.com.

Thanks for following!  

Jude Update

My sweet friend, Chris, sent me this message a few weeks ago:

"The name Judas comes from the Hebrew 'Judah,' which means 'praise.' Judas is the Hebrew spelling, while Jude is Greco-Roman."

I love that!  It's a great reminder to praise God every time this loveable boy snuggles on my lap, kisses me all over the face,  runs around the house with more energy than I can fathom, holds my hand as we walk to school and so much more!

Jude, affectionately known as "Teddy" at church and "Samuel" at school (Jude is difficult to pronounce here) is such a gift to us.  

Our first boy after parenting four girls was a completely new experience for us.  It's an honor and we are still adjusting to his energy!  ;)

What does Jude like to do in Guatemala?

*  Jude loves school!  We are so thankful that he has completed a full year of pre-school in Guatemala and now speaks Spanish!  He enjoys playing with his good friend, Juan Pablo.  

*  Jude absolutely loves going with Joaquin to visit homes.  Joaquin is almost like a grandparent to Jude and gives him lots of attention.

*  Jude asks a ton of questions.  It doesn't matter if he's met you for the first time or he's known you a long time, he will ask all about your car, your house, your job, anything!  He likes to know how things work and his biggest desire right now is to learn how to drive a car.  Or a truck.  Or a tractor.

How can you pray for Jude?

*  Jude just started his school vacation.  In January, he will begin Kindergarten/First Grade.  He is eager to learn how to read.  

*  It's not easy doing school with the older girls when Jude is home.  He's a blast to have back at home but it's challenging to do school work with his energy.  Pray for all of us.  

*  Please pray for us as we parent this rambunctious, loving, little guy!  We cherish his affection and sweet spirit.  We are so blessed.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Joseph Update

We frequently have people tell us how much Joseph has grown since we arrived in Guatemala 2.5 years ago.  It's always such an encouragement to hear that.  Sometimes, as Joseph's parents, we don't see the massive improvements because we are working on the day to day strides which often seem so BIG.  When we intentionally think back to some of the earlier days when Joseph first came home, we are truly amazed at the positive changes he's made!

Joseph is a strong, joyful boy who LOVES music.  He laughs and dances when music is played.  He immediately changes when it comes on and it calms him when he's upset.  We take a pair of headphones and an ipod with his favorite music everywhere we go.  It's so fun to see his face light up with his favorite songs.  He also knows the words to them and often sings along with them.  It's difficult to get a good video of him singing because, even though he can't see, we are certain he knows the minute we break out the camera because he stops singing.  ;)

What does Joseph like to do in Guatemala?

*  Joseph enjoys worship music at church.  He claps to the music and has a wide smile on his face from the beginning of music to the end.  We are still working on making it through the sermon.  ;)

*  Whether in a car or wheelchair, Joseph loves the cobblestones streets here!  He yells, "bumpy, bumpy," while traveling the roads of Guatemala.  He also loves having his window down while driving and says, "feel the wind?" as the wind blows in his face.

*  We have some incredible people in our lives who love Joseph.  When they come to the house, they call him by name, go over to talk with him and touch him appropriately.  It's such a blessing to have some loving people who step out of their comfort zone to approach him.

How can you pray for Joseph?

*  We recently found someone willing to do occupational therapy with Joseph who has extensive experience working with people with special needs.  This adds another $125 into our monthly budget.  We are praying the Lord will provide those funds.

*  Joseph's sleep patterns are just awful.  We realize this sounds dramatic but it's the truth.  He wakes up every morning between 2:00-3:00 am and stays awake until 7:00 pm.  We have tried wearing him out during the day, giving him a nap, keeping him up later, melatonin, etc. but nothing changes.   Pray as you feel led.

*  We continue to work on teaching Joseph to feed himself.   He has zero desire to learn how to use utensils.  He's come so far with eating issues so we praise God for those amazing changes and pray we all have the patience to continue teaching him how to use a spoon and fork!  :)

Friday, November 4, 2016

Purses for Sale!

Would you love to have a 100% leather purse this Christmas?  Perhaps you would like to give a few away for gifts?

We have a good friend, Elio, who makes leather products and sells them to our teams.  He makes boots, purses, belts, wallets, etc.  This summer, we had an amazing team from Wilmington come down and they fell in love with Elio's work!

This team decided to raise money to build a home for a family by selling Elio's original purses.  This is a WIN-WIN-WIN.

1.  Elio wins because he gets more business which supports his family.
2.  The family in need of a home wins because they will receive a new home in 2017!
3.  And YOU win because you get a new leather purse.  Or maybe your loved one wins because they get a new purse for Christmas from you!

We have someone coming down to Guatemala from North Carolina the first week of December who is excited to help us bring the purses to you.  They will be delivered to your home (in the Wilmington area) or can be picked up in a Wilmington location between the second and third week of December.  If you live outside of the Wilmington, NC area and would like it shipped, please add $10 to your cost.  We would be glad to ship!

Here are the four designs we are offering:

Large leather purse ($85)

Cross Body Purse with Adjustable Straps ($80)

Medium Purse with Front Pocket ($85)

Double Strap Purse (Lined Inside) with Top Zipper and Front Zipper Pocket ($80)

Please send us a message at townsendguat@gmail.com if you would like to purchase one of these beautiful purses!  We look forward to raising money for a family in need!  Thank you!