"...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."

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Winter Newsletter

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And the House is Up!

I wrote about Mardoqueo's family here and here last week.  They had a desperate need for a home.   Only one week passed from pre-visit to funding to house build!  Everything happened very quickly.

This particular house build was very special to me.  I won't go into details on social media out of respect for the family but everyone was extremely emotional and life changes were made.  God is so good.

Last home build of 2015!

I had a sweet little helper.  :)

We don't have any teams visiting so it was just us four guys building this home.

Handing the keys over!  What a blessing to be a part of this ministry.

I am already looking forward to visiting this family when we get back in January.

This family is eager to celebrate Christmas in their new home! Amen!

Merry Christmas,

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Quick Run to El Salvador!

Jack came home last Tuesday and told me he had to make a quick run to El Salvador two days later, on Thursday.  Our Salvadoran friends, Patsy and Joaquin, needed to go back for a visa renewal. Unfortunately, they have been having car issues for a while now and they asked Jack to drive them. 

The next day, I was talking to Patsy and she TOLD me we were all going!  Like our entire family!  She wanted to show us her birth country and share her culture with us for one full day.  We left at 3:00 am for a tumultuous drive to El Salvador and didn't return until 1:00 am the next morning!  What a long, long day with lots of driving hours in the car.  As you can see in the pictures below, El Salvador is absolutely stunning.  

Do you remember the blog post here where I mentioned Patsy's pupusas?  Well, we ate pupusas, not once but twice when we were in El Salvador.  And they were so YUMMO!  

Patsy and Joaquin have really welcomed us into their family over the past year.  We've developed a very special friendship and I thank God for these precious friends.  

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Well that was QUICK!

So within an hour of posting the blog about a family in need of a house in Santa Maria de Jesus - a house was sponsored for them!

Luis (36 years old), Maria (33 years old), Hector (17 years old), Rosalinda (15 years old), Edgar (13 years old), Jose (11 years old), Maira (3 years old), and Oscar (6 months old) will have a home next week!

In my blog post I mentioned hoping they would have a home by the end of 2016.  This is a whole year sooner than I anticipated.  Praise God!

Their kitchen has an open fire and a single pot.

Living area for their family of eight.

 Their dirt floor floods every time it rains.  The raised concrete pad will be a tremendous help!

Luis will take down the old house to make room for the new home.

I know they are happy rainy season is almost over!  We sure are at our house.  Susie is ready to be able to hang up our laundry without worrying about the afternoon rain each day!

Here are five (one on Rosalinda's back) of the family members.  They're so happy to be receiving a home.

Jude was my happy helper for the visit.  He wanted to stay and play.

What an amazing Christmas present they are receiving this year.  My wife always says it's a gift to live and serve here.  I completely agree.

Take Your Son To Work Day

My friend, Mordoqueo, who works in the shop, has family who live in Santa Maria de Jesus near him.  They are desperately in need of a safer home.  Jude and I went on a pre-home visit yesterday to visit the family.  Hopefully they'll have a new home by the end of 2016.  If you would like to raise funds to sponsor a home, please let us know!  

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Staying Active

The girls and I have been trying to stay active by running together.  This weekend we participated in a race in the coffee farm, Finca La Azotea.  We support La Azotea by purchasing their coffee (best around!) and taking guests to visit the farm when they visit us.

The girls ran a 5K with their friend, Lizbet, and I ran the 21K with my friend, Nancy.

Here are some pictures:


If you would like to purchase coffee from La Azotea, we will gladly bring one pound bags to NC with us.  Send $10 for every one pound bag to PayPal address:  townsend164@bellsouth.net.  Let us know if you want whole bean or ground.   For friends not in the NC area, please add a flat fee of $5 (per order, not per bag) if you need us to ship it to you.  


Monday, December 7, 2015

Thanksgiving 2015

As I mentioned in our last post, we had two teams down for Thanksgiving week.  This year the IDC ministry decided to cook a traditional Thanksgiving meal for the teams.  I had such a good time working with my friends, Bill and Kaye, and all four of our daughters preparing for the big meal.  Three turkeys, one ham, 30 pounds of potatoes, endless yams, two HUGE pans of homemade dressing, 10 pumpkin pies, 60 yummy pecan pies, cranberry chutney, 16 pounds of green beans and endless banana pudding for 60+ people.  What a joy it was to spend our Thanksgiving holiday with new friends.  

Super Teams!

It warms my heart when people from the US take a vacation week to come down to Guatemala to work.  Volunteering to work the week of Thanksgiving, just blows my mind.  I love everything about Thanksgiving.  Being reminded to give thanks to our Creator for all that He is just humbles me.  It also humbles me when a person leaves the comforts of their home and their family to spend the week of Thanksgiving building homes.  FIVE homes to be exact.  Two teams came down the week of Thanksgiving and built FIVE homes, in addition to working at Campos de Suenos Feeding Center.  These individuals ROCK.  I had the gift of getting to know them this week.  My family made friends that we will know for life.  

Here are some pictures taken from Thanksgiving week:

Climbing up the hill with all the house supplies.  Often the vans can't park near the house so they have to make a trek carrying the materials.

Such a great, hard working team!

Ava Mae and Annabelle joined one of the teams throughout the week.  They were able to assist with two house builds, in addition to climbing Pacaya with the group.

Another awesome family received a home!  Love the after pictures!

Our daughters made a new friend.  What a treat it was for our girls to hang out with her all week.  They now have a new pen pal and they're already begging her to come back soon!


As I mentioned earlier, these two teams were super!  They worked extremely hard and we give thanks to God for their generosity and lovingkindness.  

Friday, December 4, 2015

Fuego...The Show Off!

"In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth." Genesis 1:1

Volcan Fuego, approximately 20 miles from us, has been extremely active lately.  We have had the privilege to watch it from our rooftop.  It's absolutely beautiful with lava flowing down the mountain side.

Three nights ago, with Joseph sleeping soundly in bed and the other kids dressed in their jammies, we packed them up in the car and drove 10 miles closer to get a better view.  We gave the kids a mini candy cane and told them to pretend we were looking at Christmas lights.  They agreed it was even better than a light show and we sat on the rooftop of the car and watched the Fuego in awe.

Sadly, we rarely take time to stop and be silent and just wonder at His mighty creation.  Watching Fuego reminded us all of God's huge power.  Worthy is He.  Psalm 46:10, "Be still and know that I am God.  I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted on the earth!"

My ipod doesn't take very good pictures so I stole these from two friends.  Photo credit goes to Michael Watkins and Joaquin Aragon.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Penny Family Visit

What a blessing it was to spend a full week with my friend, Erica, and her family.  During the day, the Penny family worked super hard and at night, we reminisced and laughed for hours.  What a fun week to spend time in fellowship with dear friends from the states.

Walking around the beautiful city of Antigua!

The girls had so much fun visiting with Charlie and Andrew.

Rick and Andrew packing supplies for the home build.

Time to build!

Such hard workers!  

Erica and Rick enjoyed spending time with the family.  Marta, Jose, Cesar and Maria were thankful for all the gifts the Penny family brought, and especially for their new home!

Campos de Suenos Feeding Center

Climbing Pacaya!

Unfortunately the day was cloudy but regardless, it is always an amazing climb and beautiful view.  

Kids were tired every night!

In just three weeks we will see the Penny family again when we go back to the US for a visit.  My heart is full knowing we have such special sisters and brothers in Christ who support us, encourage us, and love us.   We are looking forward to seeing friends and family later this month.  Thank you, Rick, Erica, Charlie and Andrew for the special visit!