Monday, August 11

Vacation and Guatemala

We got back from vacation a few days ago. It was good. Good times with Family and an opportunity to rest our minds for a few days.

Now we're getting back into the swing of things and starting to see what's left to be done before we leave. We're eager to get over there so we can have some time to adjust and prepare before the students arrive on September 1st. Ideally, we'll be able to purchase our tickets this upcoming weekend or early next week.

August 10th was our original departure date. Financially, things are still coming along. God continues to show his faithfulness. We're not quite at the 80% benchmark needed to purchase the tickets but getting dangerously close. We're considering adjusting our budget temporarily and going without a car for a time to ensure we're able to get over there before the kids do on September 1st. With most of our fellow missionaries already at BFA there is a sense of urgency in the air, but we do feel at peace with where we're at and trust in God's timing.

On a separate but related note:

Yesterday was dubbed, "Guatemala Sunday" at Mendham Hill Community Church. Its the Sunday after all of the church members get home from our church's annual missions trip to the Guatemala City dump, where literally tens of thousands of people live their lives among the garbage. Every year this Sunday is especially powerful and this one was no different. Walking into the service there was some insecurity around the fact that we'd already said good-bye to number of people we were about to see again in just few moments. We hadn't hit our original goal.

Guatemala Sunday is made up mostly of interviews with a short message at the end summing up the experience. The interviews were emotion filled and left a powerful impression on everyone in attendance. In the end our executive pastor John approached the experience from a different angle then I was expecting. You see, one thing Mendham Hills Community Church brings to the situation in Guatemala is money. We've become a big financial supporter of the ministry down there. Each year the number of MHCC members that go to Guatemala grows, this year being 64. Its a powerful statement and an impressive figure. Lots of homes are built, doctors provide medical care, and sports camps are run complete with uniforms and all.

John has been going to Guatemala for a number of years now. He sees the difference we're making with our dollars and will admit its impressive in some ways and a blessing to the people who live in some of the direst conditions on the face of the earth. However, his message wasn't about counting new homes, the number of lunches given out, or new children sponsored. It was about the true reason MHCC continues to go down every year. With all of the money in the world our church wouldn't be able to fix the existences of everyone in that dump. We wouldn't be able to take the pain of life away. We might be able to make people less hungry or prolong life through better living conditions and better health care. This would not however make these people's lives filled with more joy or purpose. John's purpose in the dump has changed. He goes now because of the potential eternal impact his actions and those going with him might have on these people. Many of the men, women, children, and babies will die before their time in this place most people would say God has forsaken. However, there is a small ministry down there working with a relatively small church who has decided to make building the Kingdom of God on top of garbage a priority.

The service yesterday left me feeling connected. My process now is related to every single one of the sun burnt faced people who came back from Guatemala. The connection is not complex. In the end we're all charged with Building the Kingdom. Whether its doing it brick by brick in a dump in Guatemala City or doing it through the lives of missionary kids in Kandern, Germany. We desperately want to be part of this organism that is proclaiming the love of Jesus to those who don't know him.

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