Operation Central America

Come and see what is happening on the Operation Central America missions trip. Also learn about the teams and their prayer requests.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Three Days in Chisec Complete, Now to Villa Nueva

Good evening from Guatemala City! Today we drove through a gentle rain most of the day, coming back to Guatemala City from spending three nights in Chisec. At Chisec all of the teams worked hard. It was amazingly hot when the sun was out and quite humid so we went through a lot of water. It started raining yesterday and was still raining when we left this morning. It prevented us from being able to play soccer with the youth group from the Chisec church but we were able to finish the service work before the rains came.

The students and leaders are doing great. There are a few who are experiencing some upset stomachs and intestinal "processing issues", but so far nothing very serious. Please keep praying for good health for everyone as we continue to experience variable sleeping conditions and food. Tomorrow we will start service in Villa Nueva and go into new home stays. Thanks for your continued prayers. Here is a perspective from some of the students....

Mime Team written by CJ:
Hey all, overall, the mime is going very well. Prestly says 'hey mommy I miss you...not really :)' The whole team took a trip in the rainforest the other day, and the bumpy ride was fun and death defying, kidding, kind of. The reactions from the audience has been nothing but positive. Our pastor from El Salvador said he has seen changes in the faces of the audience, and some little kids cried when Jesus is crucified. Amanda says 'Mom I'm alive.' Some people on the team have had to switch roles and Steph Tebbe did very well when she was put on the spot. Very impressive. I guess I'm a really sweaty Jesus. My shirt is drenched every single time we perform, or just stand around. I am making less mistakes every time we perform. The restof the team is amazing, I couldn't ask for a better team. My stomach is mad at me, but besides that we're all good. A few sicklings is all. We were able to swim a few times which is so incredibly refreshing in this heat and humidity. Miss you family, friends, more than you know. P.S. Victor, Josh, Kike and William all came back!

Service Team written by Scott S.
Hey everyone! we are all having a great time here with everything we have been doing. Me and Jeremy stayed in a home and slept in hammocks outside under a tin roof while it rained every night and it was a pretty cool experience. communicating with all of the people is hard but we are definitely getting a lot of work done. In Chisec Andy, Jake, Nick, and I worked on painting the whole inside of the church and although a bit frustrating it was a good time. They were using some old paint rollers and using really watered down paint,and when brought out the fresh rollers and thick paint things really started to improve. many of the children that were hanging around in the church building picked up paint brushes and paint rollers themselves and helped us the best they could. it was really cool to see that. we also went with the childrens team for a little while and helped out with the kids. Many kids really enjoy throwing around the Frisbee! some of the locals helping out painting wanted to change the color of the paint and decided that adding gasoline was the best solution. it did change it a bit but it definitely changed the smell of the room. We made it work and got the church finished! also I was feeling real sick and after painting for a little while I felt like i had to throw up. so i ran to the bathroom quick and threw up a lot. after going back into the church i noticed that i didnt feel my retainer with my fake teeth in my mouth! so i ran to the toilet and had a very interesting time digging through a very dirty guatemalan toilet for my retainer. but i found them! with my bare hands. im feeling a whole lot better from that and now everyone is dealing with the usual guatemalan symptoms. its been a great time so far and we are excited to continue to work in the next city! its a lot of work but it is worth it and is a great time! we miss you all a lot! see ya soon. (leader's note - we will clean the retainer thoroughly before he even thinks about putting it back in!)

Medical Team written by Missy Vavra

Hola padres! (hey parents!) We just arrived back to our "home base" in Guatemala City after our three day stay in the town of Chisec. We had our first home stays of the trip and LOTS of different experiences that we have enjoyed sharing with each other at breakfast at the nice hotel where we were very fortunate to eat three excellent meals while there. Although everyone has pretty much experienced their own medical issues/ bodies adapting to the food and climate in unpleasant ways, lack of American plumbing has been significantly missed by all to say the least. We still have high spirits and have been able to share with each other the love we've experienced with the Guatemalans, with each other, and with God. His love has definitely been seen in incredible ways and it is so encouraging to hear how God has worked through us, despite the language and cultural barriers to share the love of GOd. The first day of the clinic was definitely overwhelming for us all. We were thrown into this city after a six hour bus ride of mountain roads and we were all a little mixed up on the time of day and our energy levels were out of whack but it was amazing to see how we pulled together and got right to work. There were already tons of people waiting in the church where we set up the clinic and so we got to work immediately. I was really excited to use my spanish that I've been studying for six years...little did I know, the people in Chisec speak Ketchi!! Luckily we had Chisecians who were willing to sit with us for hours in our makeshift intake area and pharmacy station to translate from Spanish to Ketchi (no english/spanish translators but enough of us knew Spanish to figure out a working system). By the second day, we were pros atrunning this clinic instead of it running us down. Team members who didn't know much Spanish, aside from Hola and me llamo, stepped in and took vitals for patients in intake and served as the walkers who walked patients from the waiting area to the doctor and from the doctor to the pharmacy, and also served amazingly well in the pharmacy filling prescriptions. The others of us who could make us of our spanish knowledge communicated with the translators and patients to obtain their symptoms and information about the patients. Working in the church, in the clinic, was a challenge, we all faced obstacles that we didn't necessarily prepare for but I think God had prepared our hearts for our service and we were able to help so so so so So many people it was incredible. We've grown quite close within our medical team and I think this was probably the hardest town considering the circumstances that we worked under (according to the students who went on this trip last year). Most of the patients we saw had worms and complained of stomach problems and rocks in their eyes. It was hard to see all the small children and infants who were dehydrated and some of the more severe cases, non responsive. We have been working with a dentist and his team of students who have been extracting teeth so that's really cool that we have the medical and dental resources to provide these people. I hope in the next town our prayer and teaching area of our clinic can work out, with the language barrier (ketchi/spanish) and lack of sufficient translators, we couldn't provide that part of our clinic which is the most important spiritual aspect of our service. We have adopted the phrase "Dios le bendiga" that we say (meaning God Bless you) to the people and they are very gracious and seem to understand that we are here to serve GOd.

Side note: It's really cool to see one of our leaders on the trip, Victor,from El Salvador, lead intense in-depth talks about God and his life with God and our lives with God and his message is all about the Bible and how to live essentially. The Bible is the truth, there is only one Christianity, one way, and that is all found in the Bible. So, as he has accentuated to us, ask yourselves "have you read today?" Parents, you can take on the challenge too, Christianity is a race, start running with your eyes fixed on Christ and start living the life that GOD has given YOU. =) Dios le bendiga!


  • At 12:08 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    It's so great to hear that everything is going well (besides your stomach)! I know you're having a great time and have touched many lives by your performance. Keep it up! I can't wait to hear more about it. My whole family is praying for you guys down there. We miss you!


  • At 1:00 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Hi Julie,
    Thinking about you as I remember our time we spent in Colorado last year. I'm sure your living quarters and bathroom facilities are not quite as plush, and it sounds like the heat and humidity is a bit much. But I know your positive attitude is shining forth like always no matter the circumstances!!! I'm so glad you are helping lead this great group of kids! I pray that God is cheering you on daily in many diff. ways. Take care yourself and thank you for serving!!!

    Peggy T

  • At 1:14 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    So cool to hear all that God is doing.

    Miss you all!


  • At 9:51 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Hey everybody-

    Thanks for sharing the stories. Scott the retainer story just might have been TMI. It is so great to hear how everything is going. It's hard for me to picture you all being somewhere other than Campur.

    Mime team- Keep up the good work being adaptable. Each performance will be differnt- Bring as much passion to each performance as you can- you will be amazed by the responses of all the people raising their hands at the end of the trip.

    Children's team- I hope all is going well with all the games, songs and balloon animals. Take time to rest on the bus so you can give all you can to the next stop along the way.

    Medical- It sounds like you are all doing great! Keep up the good work. I know the days may be long but when you look back on the trip and the people you served you will feel truly blessed for this opportunity.

    Service- Great work with the paint brushes! In 5 years of service I've never had them add gasoline to the paint...interesting. Keep working hard and take time to play with the kids- I think that is a big part of your job too!

    Leaders- Glad to hear things are going well. Enjoy the upgrades of life in Guatemala City and I hope the cipro hasn't had to get pulled out yet. Jeremy- since you've been gone I've cleaned your office and organized everything!

    Guatemalans- and William! So sorry I couldn't be there this year. I miss the joking around and seeing you all! You are all such a blessing to this trip and the students! We couldn't do it without you!

    Tim- Thanks for the note- I miss being there to help out! As you can imagine with 8 more days to the wedding- I'm making spread sheets and to do lists and updating agendas! A lot of what I did on OCA...just for a different project! God bless you all!

    Sarah Bancroft

  • At 10:25 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Wow, Chisec sounds amazing. It sounds like all the teams are doing great! Missy, the medical team sounds awesome. I loved being on that team last year. It sounds like you are learning a lot and sharing the love of God in new and exciting ways, different from how you realized. Keep working hard! All the other teams sound like they are doing amazing too! It is so cool to hear how God is working in all of your teams, keep up the hard work! I miss you all. Have a great time!

    Chelsey Payne

  • At 3:20 PM , Anonymous Kerry and boys said...

    Thanks for the update. Brings back fond (and not so fond) memories! You have got to love Cipro!!! It is warm and sticky in Minnesota today...but nothing like what you are experiencing! Keep up the hard work and make the most of every opportunity God gives you! Thinking of you...
    Kerry, Kyle, Bret, and Colin Fox

  • At 4:51 PM , Anonymous Mark Johnson said...

    Hi Kayla,
    I was so excited to see the next blog today. I check about six times a day hoping for news. I hope you are doing OK with the heat and are sleeping at night. Is the white staying on your face with all the heat and sweat. I suppose you can do your part of the Mime in your sleep by now. I hope you are remembering to take pictures because I want to see where you stay, where you perform, who you stay with and everything else. Are you going to bed hungry or is the food agreeing with you? Are the days long or do they go by fast? What do you do between the mime performances? Help the other teams?

    It has been in the 80's here the last few days so it is hot here too (Except in the air conditioned house, sorry but I had to slide that in). Big Scott arrived from Florida last night so we stayed up late catching up. I'll miss you on Fathers Day Sunday. I am going to suggest Red Lobster for lunch. Do you want me to eat anything for you?
    I love you more than all the stars in the sky Jelly Bean. I am looking forward to seeing you next Saturday. I pray for you many times throughout the day. Hugs and kisses.

  • At 5:05 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Sounds like you guys on the medical team are doing a great job!! I'm glad to hear that you're all getting the hang of things. I had so much fun on the medical team last year, but it did take us a while to figure out the routine as well. I hope you are having a blast serving the Lord! Praying for ya!


  • At 12:34 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Wow Missy, we couldn't have been more excited to see that you had placed a post on the first day! We miss you so much and think about you every minute!

    I am worried about your stomach and sleep and am praying that everything is fine.

    When we read your comments; we thought who is this person? You are no longer my baby, but all grown up and contributing in a way that I can't even imagine. We are bursting with pride. We always knew God had big plans for you and this is just the begining.

    Take care of your health, and enjoy the adventure.
    We can't wait to see you!
    Love you lots!
    mom, dad, nick and rach.

  • At 1:44 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Hi Julia!!!

    I just found these comments and that we could write back! Pretty shocking technological discovery for me, of course. Dad and I were so excited to read about your team's news. Were you able to help translate? I'm sure you and all the other gals - and Mark - have been such an immense blessing and source of joy to all the people you encountered while in Chisec. I don't know how I could have handled seeing the little children come in that Missy described...too heartbreaking - but we are so happy that you are all there to help the dear little babies and their families and have been praying for all of you throughout the days that you have been gone. I can just imagine you beaming your beautiful smile upon each of them in your clinic and lovingly offering them "Dios le bendiga". We miss you very much.

    We are also wondering if you're one of those whose stomach is not doing well. Little Margy has been praying specifically that you "feel better." I told her that maybe you are one who hasn't gotten sick and she abruptly told me, "Well no, mom - I think she's sick like everybody else..." and has consequently continued to pray that you aren't "very sick". No use trying to argue with her! :)

    James mostly enjoyed reading about Scott's issue with his retainer... nothing new there. I spent most of my week auditioning my kids for NC-ACDA, dad's gearing up to finish his project under the screen porch tomorrow and Margaret and I will be alone each day next week after James leaves for camp on Monday. She is so excited to have "girl time". Oh.. and here's another "no surprise".... James was slicing an apple on Wednesday and accidentally mistook the end of his palm for a portion of the ill-fated apple. He dressed it himself and never fessed up until the next day when it was too late for stitches - he would have had three and instead the Urgent Care doc had to prescribe heavy duty Keflex as an antibiotic. I only noticed the next day because by then he had put black duct tape around his hand to hold on the band-aid. Is there a future for James as a medical team member? We think not!

    Long enough. We think about you so many times a day and know you are doing amazing work there. We will continue to pray that God sustains and strengthens each of you down there and that Jesus is being made known through all the love you are so generously sharing with the Guatemalans.

    We miss you very much and love you so very much Julia.... "infinity X eternity...."


  • At 12:31 PM , Anonymous Janice said...

    Hey Lauren! Why haven't we had news from the Children's Team?! Hope that just means you are all too busy to write and doing great things down there. Thinking about you lots and praying every day for good health and stamina and enough sleep and food to feel well and help others around you. Hope you are also bonding with all the other teams and team members! We are all well, just talked to Grandma and Dad about you and they send their best wishes! Lily is fine, silly as ever, and we'll all be glad when you arrive back in MN all safe and sound. But don't get homesick cuz before you know it you'll be back here and you are on a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity! Focus on enjoying every moment and I hope to see pics of everything you've experienced, all the people you've met. God is doing great things through you and you are amazing, I'm sure you are touching many lives! Love you lots - M.O.M. (ha!!)

  • At 6:01 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...


    Thinking about you everyday. I am very proud of you. You are making a difference in many lives. Keep up Gods work. Sounds like you're all very busy. Drink lots of water and wear your sunscreen. Take pictures. Love you lots.


  • At 10:15 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Steph, your Mom is helping me recover from surgery which was successful. She is staying overnight which is a real blessing for me! We read the blog site on my computer and prayed for you!! love, Aunt Laura
    PS glad to hear God is answering our prayers for your health.

  • At 1:33 PM , Anonymous The Foxes said...


    Sorry we missed your call. We went to church early. Colin has soccer practice at 6pm...so we'll be gone for awhile tonight. Working on vacuuming, laundry, dishes, and mowing today (I hope, as we have had alot of rain). Colin and Bret hope to go to Lifetime to do BB (and Bret to lift weights). Beeker continues to intermittently vomit, so we may be going to the vet tomorrow.

    Not much in the way of news from Project Colorado. Just discovered I had the wrong hotline number...so I've heard one update so far. They are white water rafting and a hiking up one of the mountains this weekend. A few of the kids have been sick (including Libby) and were taken to a clinic. Just bad colds, no swine flu.

    Hope all is well in Guatemala. Happy Father's Day!!!

    Love ya, Kerry and boys

  • At 3:49 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    I have been reading your blog today and catching up on all the amazing stuff you are encountering. Scott S., the retainer story has to be one of the funniest mishaps to ever occur on any OCA trip! So encouraged to read that the leaders sanitized it for you before it went back in!
    I have been praying for every one of you and can't wait to hear about how God used you to touch lives in this part of the world. He has a definite plan for you on this trip! I'll be chaperoning at Boats and Bonfires on June 29th, so be sure to be there---I am all ears! Love ya, Heidi Mogck

  • At 6:49 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Our Parents of Teens prayed for the Guatamala team today and hope you felt the extra power while serving today. We will ask for BIG answers to all spiritual growth requests for all.
    Grandpa came over today and we showed him your track pictures. Hope you are doing well!!
    Mom and Dad

  • At 7:31 PM , Blogger kenneth said...

    Hi Kayla!

    It's exciting to think of you on this mission trip as we read about it. We're looking forward to seeing your pictures when you get back and hearing about your mime performances. Your mom told me (Jane) last night that you were terrific!

    Lots of love and blessings,
    Aunt LJ and Uncle BK

  • At 8:12 PM , Blogger Business Development Coaching by John McMunn, McMunn Enterprises, Inc. said...

    Thanks for your note, with the update...Ty & I are praying for you, and your Team. Just a reminder, Tony has heart surgery early Monday morning in Boston, so keep in in your prayers. On this Father's Day, I want you to know how proud I am to be your Dad, Ceej...I love you. Continue to make a difference!


  • At 10:28 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    As a father, it makes me proud to hear your exploits to get your retainer back. I am going to let our Dentist know what pains you have taken to retrieve our investment!! God Bless you in your service to the Gautamalan people! God has a plan to move the hearts of people you will come in contact with- Keep up the energy and pray for each other as these opportunities come your way.

    Dad and Mom Stensrud

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