Wednesday, July 11, 2012

With all do respect...indescribable emotions

25 minutes. 9 hours. 3 days. Just how much time does it take for God to penetrate the heart of a teen? We might never know. But what I do know is that it will not matter what our plan for the teen program was. In 25 minutes today Jeanneane shared her heart - and for the first time in a large group - a deep part of her soul. In 9 hours we were blessed with an opportunity to minister to a group of teens who may otherwise not ever hear about the love of Christ. 3 days - can they make a difference? Can our silliness, laughter, tears, hugs, and honesty shared reach 70 young souls?

Matthew 19:26 says "With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible." In the core of my being I believe that God went before us and prepared the hearts and minds of these teens to receive information about Him - to receive hope, forgiveness, love - knowledge of their true identity, purpose, and path. It would be impossible to explain in words how I felt when a group of young men pulled us aside this afternoon as we said our goodbyes to tell us how much it meant to them that we came to spend time with them, that they learned a lot from us and hope to see us soon. To receive a giant hug from a beautiful young woman and be told (if I understood her Spanish correctly) "God bless you and thank you for being here with us."
As Heather and Paula explained to us - we were invited into the school (a public, non-Christian school) to teach teens about some important topics and also to share some of our other thoughts with them. We weren't sure if we would never be invited back or if it would be a big hit. I believe God was working on the hearts of the teachers and principal as well. The principal expressed his gratitude to our team and we receive applause from the kids. Can you imagine? I admit I have bitterness in my heart toward American public schools where teachers are being persecuted and kids told to not hand out Christmas cards because it might be "offensive". Not in Guatemala. Not when God has a plan.  We can tell you more about the awesome time with the teens at a later date - but in the meantime, please pray for the teens to feel God's prompt to accept the free gift of grace and salvation.

Switch gears

Take a moment, right now, and think of the possession you own that is your most valuable, most prizes, most important physical possession.  Perhaps it's something you're really proud of.  Perhaps it's something that has been passed down to you as a family heirloom.  Do you have that image in your mind? Now picture yourself giving it away to a group of strangers you met last week. Hard to imagine, right?

I wish you could be inside my head to maybe better understand how I'm feeling right now about a special gentleman named Jose.  Jose was very shy the first day I met him - the helper on the construction site I was assigned to. The son-in-law of the couple we were building for.  A young man, about 25 years old, with a wife and 2 year old son.  A young man with a big smile, a tender heart, and tennis shoes so broken his feet were coming out the ends.  By day 2 on the construction site he began joking around with us more and telling us more about his family.  By day 3 he was showing us the ropes and felt comfortable enough with our (ahem...horrible) construction skills to take a step back and watch us pour some of the cement floor.  Fast forward to today.  Today he explained to us that he was finally able to complete his middle school education last year because he didn't have the money to attend school.  But during school, he had the opportunity to do some art-type classes and painted something he was very proud of and that hung in his home. And then he gave it away. A gorgeous painting you see in the picture below.

He gave us what was probably the most valuable thing his family owned, something very dear to his heart. But in his words..."there are no words to express how I'm feeling. How much I appreciate you being here and what you've done for my family. You will always be in my heart." After crying what felt like the last tear in my head - I accepted this amazing gift along with Cindy on behalf of High Pointe Church and our Mission team. I'm overwhelmed and was reminded today what true love is. That sacrificial, heart-wrenching, entirely humble, and completely selfless love that compels you to throw the entirety of who you are into your emotions and the way you relate to others.  I wonder if maybe I finally get just a small portion of how God loves us?

Indescribable emotions. Tears of joy. Goodbyes too difficult to say so exchanged for "Hasta Luego" instead.  It's easier to say "I'll see you later" than to say goodbye. Want to know the best part? It's true. Whether I see Jose, the families, the teens, the children, or others who have grabbed at my heart since last week again in this life - I know I will see many of them in heaven.

God is mighty, and huge, and all-knowing. He divinely placed our group here with these people and used us for His will.  For those who know'll know that rendering me speechless is a pretty difficult task. So with a broken yet overflowing with joy heart I will leave you with may never know why you are where you are or who you're with - but God knows. And that person, that situation, that moment, is exactly what He planned for you.  Lean in. No...jump in. Head first, heart first, with all of your being. And never look back.

~ Jenn

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Our Hearts Are Full

Praying with Petrona after
 delivering medical supplies.
Some of the teen boys.
Today was full of God's work. I felt incredibly blessed to see all God did today. First we delivered medical kits to ten homes in Cerro de Orro.The kits supplied the families with medicine, vitamins, lotion and other supplies. I saw mothers with bright, joyful smiles as they received the kits. I heard from the families how they were healing since last visited by other High Pointe mission teams. One of the most inspiring moments of the day was listening to prayers in Tz'utujil, Spanish, and English while praying with each of the families. At one home we discovered a women named Isabella had injured her knee. We were able to transport her to the hospital in Santiago to receive treatment. She received medicine, was placed in a splint and learned some exercises to help with the injury. Isabella mentioned that her level of pain was greatly reduced. It is so amazing to see God work in such powerful ways.
We spent the afternoon teaching the teenagers at Paguacalin Cerro de Orro. The teens had a blast playing games with us. Victor taught today's main lesson which was discovering God's purpose for one's life. The teens also learned about the importance of internet safety. I couldn't believe the amount of laughter from all of the teens when we played one of Paula's games involving a balloon. The teens had to pass a balloon around in a circle without using their hands.  During small group time with the teens, many of them shared that God's purpose is important in their life. Overall we all had fun being goofy and connecting with the teens. Please pray that tomorrow will be a day that glorifies God as we wrap up our work with the teens. Pray the teens receive God's truth with open hearts and that lives are changed.

The girls playing the balloon game.

En Cristo,


Monday, July 9, 2012

God Can Do Unexpected Thinngs

Today was a great day because God allowed our team to go back and work with the families and finish building the houses. During the afternoon we went to a school named Paguacal. This was my first time working with kids that are close to my age. I was very surprised that things went very well. During my time in the school one of the kids who was in my group came to me and asked me to sit next to him. I was very surprised that he came to me and started to talk to me. I was not expecting that something like this will happen to me. God showed me there that he can do many things with out you knowing. I thank God for giving me this great experience so that I can do the work here  for God.

Buenos Noches,
Big Baudilio

Sunday, July 8, 2012

A Day of 'Rest'

After devotions and breakfast we began the day with walking through Santiago and doing a little shopping. After lunch we gathered together to prep for the Teen Program that begins tomorrow. We reviewed the schedule, went over the games and learned the song "Beautiful Things "  in Spanish. We  got ready to go to church service in Cerro de Oro. When we got there we were greeted by Pastor Tomas. Entering the church people would turn to watch us, especially the children. They would smile and wave.  One little boy ran down the isle saying "hola" and waving at us. The service was a lot of worship of singing, praying and praising God. Even though we could not understand a lot of it, when we shared later that night all of us had felt God's presence and had realized that God is here, he is in the U.S. and in every country around the world hearing praises in every language. What an AWESOME God! Later, we had dinner with  Pastor Tomas. During dinner he shared with us and answered questions. While he said he was thankful for us being there and the work we were doing, we can't help but realize we are doing very little compared to what he is doing for the people and for God's kingdom everyday in Cerro de Oro. At the end of each day we share special moments that happened during the day. Tonight there was not a dry eye in the Hacienda. The experience is doing so much in the hearts of our team it is difficult to put into words.

Thank-you for your prayers and encouragement!

In His Love,


Saturday, July 7, 2012

Construction Day 3

Today we started with our devotion then breakfast, then on to the building site, day three, possibly one more day to lay the floor. Today is Saturday, 7 July 2012. We were able to get the big stump, that we had been working on for two days, out and another big rock.  We leveled the ground from the area we removed all the rocks and stump from, and then we had to move the rocks to another area.  Some of the rocks took three to four of us, and the other rocks took two of us to roll.   When we thought we were through with the outside rocks, Pedro our contractor told us that we also needed to remove two rocks from the kitchen area, fortunately they were much easier to remove.  By the time returned from lunch, Pedro and Jose had the roof rafters were up and the first sheet of corrugated metal for the roof was up.  By the end of the day the entire roof was in place.  Paula Darr is an amazing, strong woman.  She was busting rock and using the crowbar right along with the guys and sometimes more so.  Our translators, Cesar and Ranfis were right there helping all along the way.  The last hour of the day we sifted sand in preparation to make concrete for the floors.  The bus ride after lunch to the site was very quiet, as we all are feeling our muscles and fatigue.  But at the end of the day there was more talking with a sense of accomplishment from doing God’s work over the last three days.   Tonight after dinner for desert we had ICE CREAM!!  God is great! 
Signing off, this is Victor Shermer
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Friday, July 6, 2012


As we do each morning we began with devotions and worship. I love the time we spend in worship together, we don't always get the words or the tune quite right but there is still such beauty in the collective sound of our voices as we prepare hearts for all that we will see and do each day. It is such a wonderful way to begin our day in community and harmony with one another.
Today was day two at our construction sites and we are seeing progress both in the building of homes for the families we are serving and the in the relationships we are beginning to create. On the site I am on it seemed that as walls were going up others were coming down. It was such a joy to see Bryan and Baudilio reading and playing with the kids and also watching our team work together along side our construction leaders.
Tomorrow will be our last day working on the site and will be a difficult day as we say good bye to people we all feel we are just beginning to develop relationships with. Please be in prayer for each of us as we process our emotions and experiences, tomorrow will most likely be the first difficult day that we have had to face so far.
I need to sign off now we are about to loose our Internet, but wanted to say a huge thank you to everyone who has been praying for us, we have already been seeing how God has prepared the way here and continues to sustain and challenge us each day. It is truly amazing so far.

Buenos Noches - Jeanneane

Thursday, July 5, 2012

The Work Begins

Buenas Noches,

Today was our first day building houses in Cerro de Oro. We divided into two teams and worked on two homes. The work is very hard but it feels so good to serve these families.
Victor & I mixing cement
 In the morning I was on the team with Paula. We made a chain and moved a large wood pile. You can imagine that we would come across some interesting critters in the process. Paula got to the bottom of the pile and let out a curdling scream. A crab welcomed her to Gualemala. She thought it was a huge spider wanting to sit down beside her. We didn't let that happen. Yesterday Cindy had a hard time with the long and curvy bus ride to Santiago. We were worried that she would struggle on our trip to Cerro de Oro but no more motion sickness. God is good. And since we left Seattle on Tuesday my achilles has not hurt at all. It's crazy. Thank you everyone for your prayers.
Bryan reading in espanol
The people here are so generous and the children are precious. Three little boys helped us sift sand in the afternoon. Little Charlie, Javier, and Emilito. Their presence gave us the boost we needed to finish the day. It was a great day!

Hugs & kisses to everyone back home, David

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Traveling Day #2

Today we travel!!!

Before we headed off into the wild blue yonder...we shopped! While we were shopping for the familes, we also found some good bargins at their local Walmart. From Dave's favorite to Victor's new mustach fixer upper and of course makeup tips from you know who... Our journey to Santiago we had plenty to see and plenty time to rest. Please keep us in your prayers and take care everyone.  Holly

Jenn and Cesar


Makeup Tips 101

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

We Have Arrived!

Yay!  After a long day of interesting travel we have arrived safely at our hotel in Guatemala City.  We are tired but very happy to be here.  :o)

The team met early this morning at 5:00 am to depart from the church office and take a shuttle to the airport.  Everyone was in good spirits, mostly awake and excited to begin our journey.  The traffic was not too bad and we arrived at Seatac in good time.  That however, was the last of our 'on time' schedule for the day. 

The lines at United Airlines were very long and although we allowed ourselves a little more than 2 hours, we boarded our flight with 13 minutes to spare.  No one had eaten breakfast and those who love it were not able to have their Starbucks fix.  However, once we were on the plane, it was delayed for an hour due to mechanical issues.  So we chatted, some slept, and I prayed (not comfortable with flying on a plane that is having mechanical issues) and I am sure some others did as well. 

Our flight was uneventful and when we landed in Houston we had plenty of time to relax, grab a bite to eat and simply enjoy getting to know each other a little better.  I must say there are some very funny people on our team.   And since our flight to Guatemala was delayed 40 minutes, we had even more time to enjoy the laughter.

Once we got to Guatemala City, everything went smoothly.  We met Cesar and Julia, two of our translators and trip leaders, at the airport.  No one had issues going through security or customs.  '

And now we are all in our rooms, ready to catch some shut eye and prepare for a day of shopping for supplies for the families and then traveling to Santiago.

I will say that a day like this would normally have me on edge and worn out.  First, because we were short on time and nothing was going the 'usual' way.  And second, being an assistant leader and knowing that I am responsible for the people I am with adds a little more stress.  But today, I received a wonderful reminder from a prayer card with a verse of scripture that carried me through the day.  It gave me a sense of peace and helped remind me that God called us here and he is in the details big and small.  Therefore, he would make sure to get us where we needed to go when we needed to be there. 

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving,present your requests to Him and the peace of God, which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus"  Phil 4:6,7

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Humbled and Overwhelmed

One week from today our team will be commissioned by the church to go and and spread the good news to the people of Santiago and Cerro de Orro.  Then that evening we have our team packing party to pack the school supplies the church has donated and make sure the suitcases weigh the right amount.  It is a fun night for the team as the excitement, nervousness and reality hit that we are about to leave.

As I sit here this morning while my family sleeps, drinking coffee and thinking about what I have to do today, I am overwhelmed by Gods love and generosity toward me.  I am reminded again that I am not worthy of the blessings he bestows upon me and I am humbled that he has chosen to give them freely regardless.

This evening my house will be full of friends who have stepped up to help care for our kids while I am serving in another country.  Not one friend, but many.  There was a period of time when I thought I would not be going on this trip.  Our caregiver had some personal issues come up and was no longer able to work for us.  Therefore, I had no childcare.  With Corey working the swingshift in Everett that made things extra hard.  And having a child with disabilities......well in my mind that made it near impossible. 


If you read any of my posts from the February trip you will remember that God has placed this word in my life this year, over and over.  He has been working on my faith in so many ways, big and small.  And I guess this was just another lesson, although for me, a huge one.

It really does take a village to raise a child.  And I will see that village tonight.  To know that so many people care about our family, our kids, and are willing to sacrifice their time to help us out is overwhelming.  As the calls and offers of help came in, each time it took me back.  But today, this morning, I type this through tears.

Dinner.  And thank you's.  That is what I have to offer.  But what I am getting in return is so much deeper.  Peace.  Love.  Support.  So much more that I cannot put into words right now.

Each one of you that is helping our family, or helping someone else on the team, YOU are also going to Guatemala.  Without you, we would not be there.  This is not just about us.  This is about each of you as well.  You are there in love and spirit.  So thank you!  Thank you for your donations of time, money, school supplies and prayer! 

Faith.  Mine has at times been as small as a mustard seed.  It was when I lost Austin's caregiver.  And some may say that is cliche'.  However, God's promises are true!  I never stopped prayng for his help and more importantly his will.  Yes, I prayed that I would still be able to be a part of this wonderful team and travel to Guatemala with them.  But I also prayed that if it was his will that I stay behind, that I find peace in that.  I gave it to him.  This has not always been easy for me. 

Well I need to end this somehow, but can't quite find the words.  I will simply say Thank You once again.  And I am sure this will not be the last time you hear about another faith lesson that our wonderful father is teaching me.  I can only pray they get easier as I am learning to trust him and listen more.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Welcome To Our Team!

Welcome to the blog for the summer HPC mission trip to Guatemala.  We are so excited to start sharing our journey with you!  Let me introduce you to our team members.  Heather Zagar will be leading the trip this year with the help of an assistant leader in Paula Darr.  Other team members include Holly Robinson, Jenn Matthews, David Hiegel, Baudillio Mowreader, Bryan Clifford, Victor Shermer, Cindy Edlund and Jeanneane Haley. 

We are all very excited to be heading to Guatemala in July.  We have been working hard on putting together a teen program for the youth in Cerro de Orro.  Along with teaching the teens, we will be helping to build 2 houses and bringing medical supplies to the families that we have previously built homes for. 

Our team has bonded quickly already in the short time we have had together.  This past Saturday we spent the day at Camp Arnold working on team building activities and learning more about one another.  And learn we did!  It was great to see everyone encouraging each other, supporting one another, learning to listen more, and really working as a team.  We had several team members stretch themselves beyond their comfort zones in some height obstacles/exercises.  And of course we had a LOT of laughter too.

God has already been doing some very amazing things amongst our team.  Each of us has had some challenges personally from health issues, childcare, work and money to deal with.  But we have prayed (and continue to do so) for one another and encouraged one another and have seen God overcome each obstacle.  We know that He has called us to go on this journey and that He will see us through it.  As I type this I reflect on the Israelites as Moses was leading them out of Egypt.  God was in front of them and behind them every step of the way.  He was there physically!  Although we may not be able to see him today, we know he is with us and we know he is guiding our steps.  He has paved our way, will lead us and will come behind us to finish his work.

We invite you to come with us as we go along the journey He has called us to.  We will use this blog to share our stories and to ask for specific prayer requests.  Feel free to comment at any time.  We would love to hear from you!