"...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, September 29, 2015

Pupusa Lesson

Okay, so I enjoy food.  Jack enjoys food.  The kids enjoy food.  There is little we won't eat.  Aside from Pearl, who oddly enough is the only Guatemalteca in our house, we all absolutely LOVE Guatemalan food.  

I have a dear friend named Patsy, who I tutor English to three mornings a week.  She and her husband, Joaquin, work at the church.  They were born and raised in El Salvador but moved to Guatemala nine years ago. 

When I expressed my appreciation for local food, she insisted on teaching me how to make a pupusa, which is a street food found in our area.  Patsy quickly informed me pupusas are originally from El Salvador.  According to her, Salvadoran pupusas are MUCH better than Guatemalan pupusas. 

In this picture, Pasty is teaching Sophie and Ava Mae how to nestle the meat, cheese and beans into the dough ball.

 Pictured from left to right:  Sophie, Pasty, me, Annabelle, and our friend, Carol.

Pupusas take a while to make.  Teaching someone to make pupusas takes patience.  I am amazed at the prep time that goes into it.  Forming the dough ball is an art, which Patsy has clearly mastered.  We had such a wonderful time, laughing and giggling.  And I agree with Pasty, Salvadoran pupusas are the best!  

Friday, September 25, 2015

Coastal Home Visit

In January we received a call from a pastor down the coast in Puerto San Jose explaining to us that a couple from his church, Omar and Ruby, were in need of a home.  Pastor Ronny informed us he had a team coming to work in March but needed IDC to help lead the construction.  A recent motorcycle accident damaged Omar's knee so badly that he could barely walk and could no longer work as the caretaker of the church.

 Omar and Ruby lived in a shelter made of palm brances, much like this picture:


The climate where we typically build homes is much different than the climate at the beach.  Pastores, the local community we typical build in, is approximately 5000 feet above sea level and the average temperature is around 78 degrees Fahrenheit and only changes by about 10 degrees all year round. Puerto San Jose at the coast is at sea level, only 14 degrees north of the Equator.  It is HOT!  The average temperature is 91-100 degrees Fahrenheit.  Omar's home would be our first build in a warm climate.

Luis and I made a trip to visit Pastor Ronny, Omar and Ruby last week.  We were eager to see how Omar was healing, how Ruby and the children were, and also to check out how one of our homes was holding up in the hot climate.

Omar and Ruby's new home:


Pictured below is Omar, Ruby and their 3 children, along with the neighbor's child.  Omar and Ruby take care of him while his parents work.  He wears bandages over his head and body because he was badly burned from falling into a large pot of boiling beans.  Omar and Ruby are a blessing to his family and are so thankful they have a safe, secure home for children. 

The family was very hospitable.  They were even concerned because Luis and I were wearing long pants and heavy shirts.  We were sweating in the shade!  They cut fresh coconuts from a tree and "Abuelita" (Grandma) insisted we have some watermelon.  

So how is one of our metal homes fairing in their climate?  It is hot inside, as we anticipated.  The family is not bothered by this because they are used to the heat and they assured us the metal home cools down quite nicely at night.  Their in-laws have a block house that warms up during the day and stays warm well into the night.  Therefore, we believe the metal structure was a good choice for them.  We suggested extending the roof of the shelter in front of the home so that it would provide additional shading.  This would help with overheating.  

Omar, Ruby and family, along with Pastor Ronny are pictured here:

Today, Omar is a fisherman.  He is able to take some of the non-sellable fish home to feed his family and share with others.  He expressed his gratitude for their new home, telling us the money he would have had to save for a new home, is now being used to send two of his children to school!  Praise God!  As an expression of his gratitude, he gave us his bounty of fish.  I tried to refuse, knowing they needed the food more than I did, but Pastor Ronny said Omar would be insulted if I did not take it. So, after a long day traveling, I took them home, put them on the grill and shared the gift with my family.  We talked about how this was not just a gift, but a sacrificial gift from a full day's work.

Once again, I am so honored to be here and meet incredible human beings.  I am humbled daily.  Thank you for your support and encouragement.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Baptism Sunday

Last Sunday six people were baptized at Iglesia del Camino.  The kitchen committee put together a pancake breakfast to celebrate.  Whenever the church has food, people come out!  The church is in the city so a lot of folks just walking by come on in when they smell food.  ;)  The girls and I helped make pancakes, bacon (HUGE treat here) and fruit salad for over 250 people.  We worked both Saturday and Sunday prepping and had a great time.

Baptism Sunday at Iglesia del Camino

Here are our six new friends who were baptized.  Pray for them, please.  

Sophie still does not like to have her picture taken.  She's such a beautiful hard worker!

Our friends mixing the batter!

We had three people flipping pancakes, Mrs. Barbara, Sophie and Annabelle.

Ava cut strawberries.  Her hands (and mouth) were red.  ;)

Annabelle LOVES making pancakes!  She enjoys doing this for the family on Saturday mornings, too.  

Here I am serving the delicious bacon.  Oh, it smelled so good! 

More friends serving.  It was a delightful day!


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Monday, September 14, 2015

Dia de Independencia

This week we are celebrating Guatemala's Independence!  It's a very big deal here.  And apparently Costa Rica, El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua also celebrate their liberation from powerful Spanish rulers with just as much passion as Guatemalans.   The festivities started last Friday and will continue on until Tuesday evening.

Here are some pictures of the kids celebrating around town on Friday.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Sometimes it's Like a Puzzle

Occasionally we are able to partner with other ministries to combine resources and meet greater needs.  Many families live in conditions that are unsanitary, unsafe and unlivable.   It's unacceptable. We do the best we can but sometimes we lack resources, finances, time, volunteers, etc. and need to combine efforts with other ministries to get a job done. 
Last week we were able to partner with a group of volunteers who I had the opportunity to work with a year ago.  Keith, Jessica, and Steve returned to Guatemala with some real estate broker friends to help another family receive a home.  

This particular family had a space between some concrete walls, but they did not have the means to do much more than place some tin sheets between them to make a roof.  The tin that was being used had many holes, leaks and just crumbling away.  They were living in a 12' x 12' space.  The decision was made to remove the old tin but keep the concrete walls.  We were not going to just put a new roof on the house, we were going to add a second level!  For the first time ever, the ministry was going to build a home that had a second level, creating twice the space.  The house is a modification of the normal design.  Instead of it being our usual 12' by 16', it was modified to 12' by 12' to fit the space available.

This took three times as long as our normal house builds but it was worth all the effort.  I am so honored to be able to help with this unusual build.  Praise God for putting together a great team and reconnecting us to help another family see the Gospel in action.

We carried the material by hand down a small alley.  The entire build was a puzzle.  Trying to fit into small corners and spaces very carefully took extra time and care.

Below is a picture of the space the family was living in before.

In this picture, Mardoceo & Fernando are assessing the plan for the decking of the second level.

My friend, Mardoceo, is a master carpenter at only 24 years old.  He's incredibly talented.

Aaron is a great asset to the team at only 19 years old.  Such a hard worker!

Fernando is our lead welder in the shop.  He led volunteers in building the 2nd level.  He's a great team member!

Here is a panoramic shot of the 12' x 12' space. 

Not a huge amount of space but a huge blessing to this family.

It looks old but it is strong.

Here is Keith, one of the volunteers who came for the week, looking over the work and enjoying the view.

A customized spiral staircase was installed to best utilize the space. 

I really enjoyed working with this team again!

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