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.

Monday, June 27, 2011


Well, another trip has come to an end. God is so good. We have deepened existing relationships and created so many more new ones. At our medical clinics we served nearly 1,400 people, both the drama and mime teams presented the Gospel to thousands more, and the childrens team ministered to hundreds of children in schools and orphanages. The basketball team was able to build relationships with players from many different schools and towns, and the service team left enduring evidence of God's compassion through fresh paint, a new roof and a reconstructed wall. By Kingdom measures the trip was an amazing success - praise be to God!

Through out the trip we saw God work in amazing ways, both among those we served and us as we served. He had one last surprise for us on our homecoming day. As you may remember, the team was divided over 3 different flights on 3 different airlines, flying through 3 different connecting cities. We all left at different times and had expected to arrive in Minneapolis over the span of about an hour. As it turns out, through an interesting set of delays and tail- and head-winds all 3 flights arrived in Minneapolis within 5 minutes of each other! As a result we were able to enjoy the full-throated welcome home from the crowd of families and friends. A wonderful, final encouragement to all the students and staff who had given so much of themselves in the preceding two weeks to the people of Guatemala and El Salvador.

We can't thank you all enough for your prayers and support. Without out supporters none of this would have been possible. Know that because of you the kingdom of God has been expanded and the churches in San Marcos, Malacatan, Guatemala City and San Salvador are greatly encouraged.

Stay tuned. It won't be long and we will be starting up planning for OCA 2012. And please do not stop praying for our partners in Central America as well as the people we ministered to. Their needs go on, even as we return to our "normal" routines!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

The last night in Guatemala for OCA 2011

A final greeting from Guatemala from OCA 2011.

We got into Guatemala City about 8 this evening. We were 2 hours later than expected because our drive was a bit more interesting than planned. We left the Decameron in Sonsonate, San Salvador about 9 this morning. Our first challenge was the bridge over the river that separates El Salvador and Guatemala was partially washed out by the recent rains and there were many many vehicles, mostly semis, backed up waiting to get across the now one way bridge. By God's grace (and some negotiating by our lead driver Eddy) the police allowed our vehicles to move up through the line so that in the end it "only" took about 2 hours to get through customs on both sides. It is normally a 30 minute ordeal. We talked to one of the truck drivers that was waiting on the Guatemala side and realized just how blessed we had been - he had been waiting for 3 hours on the El Salvador side before he even got to get into the line to wait another hour or more to go through the El Salvador side. As we were driving away from the border crossing we counted 37 semis waiting on the 2-lane road to go into El Salvador. Yikes!

The next modification to our trip occurred about 20 minutes later when were required to take a detour over a dirt track that barely met the definition of a roadway. Another bridge on the main highway had been completely knocked down by the swollen river running beneath it. We had had a lot of rain, especially at night, but never really thought about the potential impact to our travelling. We bounced along corn fields and meadows with grazing beef cattle and then crossed a single lane bridge which we were pretty sure was built for tractors and pickups rather than semis and tour buses. So we held our collective breath and closed our eyes (except for the driver, of course) and went across one by one, sort of. Drivers in Guatemala have a hard time waiting when there is open road in front of them. Shortly thereafter we rejoined the main highway and were on our way again for Guatemala City. Of course, about an hour out of the city it began to rain again so we had to slow down a bit due to road conditions and increasing traffic. In the end we arrived a little over two hours later than intended.

Once here in the Panamerican Hotel (our lodging one last time) we had a good pizza dinner and a final big team time to recap the trip's highlights and allow everyone to share what they had learned on the trip. It was a great conversation - the students have exeprienced God in so many ways. And now its past midnight and everyone is in their rooms, repacking their bags and (hopefully) getting some sleep. We will be up at 7:30 to load the buses one last time and then have breakfast from 8 to 9. Jaime Lopez, the SEPAL director who is our trip coordinator, is going to present his story, so it will be a wonderful way to end our stay here. Then it is on the airport and the start of our journey home.

Every one is feeling pretty good, although there seems to be a cold starting to make the rounds. Check the flight information Krista provided so you know when and where to find your student tomorrow night. We are all sad to be leaving this beautiful country and wonderful people, but very excited to be coming home to see you all.

If you would like to here more of the stories of this year's trip come to the Missions Fair at Wooddale Church on July 30 and 31. We will have information on our trip and team members there to share their stories. All of Wooddale's other missions activities will be represented as well so it is a great way to find out what is happening all over the world.

Have a good night! We will see you in person in less than 24 hours!

Friday, June 24, 2011

R&R day

Hello from the Royal Decameron in Sonsonate, El Salvador. This is a beautiful resort on the Pacific coast. It has been very hot and sunny since we arrived yesterday afternoon so everyone is enjoying the beach and pools. Last night we had a great team worship time with siinging, students sharing what they have learned, and a special message from William, our Salvadoran evangelist. A very powerful night. There was a huge thunderstorm during the meeting which added to the the experience. We leave in a couple hours (around 1pm for a 5 hour bus ride back to Guatemala City. We will be in the Panamerican Hotel for tonight and then tomorrow we head back to the States. Below are a couple posts (everyone has been too busy relaxing to write much) and some more pictures. If you don't see your student in the team photo don't worry, we didn't lose them. There were a couple kids who came late so they are not in this picture but they are in the "official" picture that will be available after we get home.

Thanks again for your support!


I have been changed! God is so AWESOME and He has continually shown His love to all of us on this mission. As a co-leader on the Service Team, I had the privledge to work with some amazing students who showed extreme patience, perserverance, and strength. We endured many days of painting in extreme heat/humidity in San Marcos/Malacatan/Guatemala City as well as building a wall and a roof for two families in San Salvador. The team was split in 2 for the projects in San Salvador. I worked with half of the team on building the roof. We worked really hard to accomplish the task in 2 days; I was really proud of the team for what they did. God works in crazy ways! Quick story...I was about to go up on the roof right before our lunch break. The houses in the neighborhood that we worked on were directly next to each other (they share a wall on either side). I climbed up the ladder and used the neighbors' wall as a support to climb up onto the roof that we were working on. My knee slipped and went directly into the roof of the neighbors house (no worries Brenna, I was fully supported outside of my knee). Immediately, the lady from the house next door came out of her house holding pieces of her roof asking us what happened and if we were going to fix it. I told her that I was extremely sorry and that we would definitely fix it.

As we were fixing it, we noticed that she probably was experiencing water issues even before I put a whole in her roof. So, in an effort to show God's love to her, we added cement to her roof and caulking on the inside to prevent the flow of water from pentrating the inside of her house. She had a big smile on her face when she noticed that we were doing more than just fix the hole. As funny as it may seem, God used my knee to help this family in a way that we would not have even known about. How cool??!! After we finished the roof...we prayed with the father of the family. Then, we all gave him hugs...when the last person gave a hug to him, his face was full of tears - tears of extreme happiness! It was amazing to be a part of that experience! Tomorrow, we will be home...but, the mission isn't over. My prayer is that my life, as well as other fellow Christians' lives, will be in a constant state of mission. We are blessed, let's use our blessing to bless others even if it is in our own country! Brenna - I will see you and Junies (our baby to be) tomorrow night! Miss you and love you lots!

Tom Ramy

Hey Family!!!
This is Katie Hauge. I lovve you guys so much and i miss you all!! This trip has been an absolutely incredible and life changing experience! God has worked in some incredible ways and i am so excited to tello you guys about it when i get back. I can't wait to see you guys tomorrow!Please have a MIlos sandwich for me. Dad: I hope you had an excellent father's day, I want to celebrate with you guys when i get back. see you in less than 36 hours!!!i can't wait!!

Much love, Katie Hauge

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Our last day of service as our trip draws to a cloes...

Good evening! Our last day of service has drawn to a close, and it has been a long, fruitful day. All of the teams put in a full day of service. Everyone was full of energy for their last opportunities to minister to the people of El Salvador. I will leave it for the students to describe their experiences - its much more meaningful hearing it first-hand.

Tomorrow is our R&R day so people will have time to post individual comments then. In the meantime please pray than our trips ends as well as it began, with the students not losing focus on why we are here, even as they take a day to relax and (hopefully) enjoy one last sunny day in El Salvador. It was beautiful today, with lots of sun and blue skies. It started clouding up as evening came on, and by the time we were in our worship time there was a tremendous thunderstorm outside the church. But by the time we were done with the service and a late dinner of pupusas (a Salvadoran specialty) the rain had reduced to a light sprinkle so everyone was able to get to their homestays without getting too wet.

Tomorrow we get up early so we can leave by 7:30. Our goal is to get to the hotel we will be staying at tomorrow night before 10 in the morning so that we can partake of their buffet for breakfast. Then the teams will have the day to swim and lounge and talk through their experiences. Then it is one more day and we will be home. It is hard to believe we are at the end of our adventure. It has been a great trip, with lots of different opportunities to see God's mercy and grace in action. Hundreds of people were exposed to that grace through the efforts of your children and many more people have been added to the Kingdom of God as a result.

So we are thanking God tonight for His care and provision and praising Him for what He has one for us and all the people we have served. Thanks again for all your prayers - we could not have accomplished anything without them.

Hasta manana!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Only one more service day left....

Hello again from San Salvador! We had a great day of service today.

The children's team went to 4 schools, mime was able to perform 4 times, and the basketball team played 3 games (winning 2, including a good night game in Saltetpeque, where basketball is a big time town event). The drama team performed at all the basketball games. Medical had another strong day in clinic, seeing over 200 people. And the service team split into 2 teams so they could help re-roof a house and build a wall for a backyard at another house.

It was a little warm in the morning, but then some heavy showers came through midday and cooled things off nicely. Later in the afternoon and into the evening it was quite pleasant. Everyone (except mime, who had a performance in another town) was able to see the last half of the basketball game so itwas a fun way to round out the day. There were over 200 people from the city there so we had a good crowd to see the drama and hear William's passionate preaching of the Word. When the invitation was given there were 20-30 in the crowd who indicated they had received Christ for the first time. So whether the basketball team won or lost, the night was a success with regards to increasing the kingdom of God.

Tomorrow is our last day of service. Everyone is feeling pretty good again so we are looking forward to finishing strong with that home stretch burst of energy. Please pray for good weather and good spirits and that we all see the hand of God in whatever we are doing.

Here are some additional notes from our students. They are enjoying reading your posts -
thanks for the support!

Mi familia y mis amigos! Hola! O my gosh El Salvador is the BEST. Today was our first day of ministry in el salvador and it was amazing. the El Salvadorians are so awesome! the childerns team performed 4 times today and every time was SO incredibly fun! I got to know a girl named Karla really well and am planning on writing her a letter when i get back home! :) Its funny because a lot of the kids ask me "have you met justin bieber/Lady GaGa/Usher??" hahaha. One of my favorite parts of being on childerns team is seeing the kids bow their heads, fold their hands, and repeat the prayer of salvation. It actually brings tears to my eyes. today was another VERY hot day here. I just got done playing a game of futbol. SO FUN even though i am so bad hahah. I am staying in a homestay with 10 girls! its SO fun! Well i hope everyone at home is great! praying and thinking about you all! hope its not as hot as it is here! LOVE!
Taylor Hansen
P.s. Mom, i traded my watch for your gift in Antigua...so you can add NEW WATCH to my birthday list...i keep looking at my emtpy wrist. THANKS. LOVE.

Hey family and friends (Andi haha),thank you so much for your encouraging notes, I've been dying to get on here and read them. Thank you so so much for your prayers. The trip has been wonderful so far! Due to the lack of sleep and hard work all day I would think I would be absolutely exhausted (and sometimes I am) but I've been surprised at how much energy and strength I have and I know it only comes from God so praise God! :) Some highlights of the trip for me have been going to the
ocean, getting to know my homestay families and other team members, and spending time with all of the kids here. Even though I'm not on childrens team I've had plenty of amazing conversations and opportunities to spend time with cute kids :) Andi, this little girl Hilary was helping me paint this church and she put a little handprint on my shorts that have your handprints:) so cute. I gotta go but I love you so much guys. Andi, thank you SO much for your notes, they have honestly been an immense blessing to me. I read the one from Ri Ri last night and almost cried it was adorable. Tell the family I miss them. Mom, I miss you a lot. It was so great to see you and Mares before I left, I can't wait for our girls weekend :) LOTS OF LOVE.Ash
P.s. Grandpa I could tell that your message was from you because you always write in all caps :) I love you guys, thank you so much for your prayers.
P.p.s. Imba, IMKU. Can't wait to get home and give you a big hug!! :) Love you bunches.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Last stop - San Salvador

Tonight we are in San Salvador, the capitol of El Salvador. We had a relatively uninteresting drive down from Guatemala City. One of our minibuses had a flat tire so we were a little delayed, but the border crossing was very smooth so we made it into San Salvador about 2:30. We had a lunch at the church we will be partnering with and then went to the university for a basketball game. Our team came back to tie their team and went on to win by 2 in overtime. It was a very good game and fun to watch. But better yet was the response to the halftime mim presentation. It was also cool to see the two teams form a circle at half court at the end of the game and close the eveing in prayer.

During half time the mime team presented the Forgiven By His Love sketch , and after William gave the message and prayed with the crowd he asked for a show of hands of those who had accepted Christ for the first time. Out of a crowd of 75 people or so 12 raised their hands. So regardless of the outcome of the game our visit their was successful. After the game we went back to the church for a baked chicken dinner and then got everyone off to their home stays for a much-needed night's rest. We start our last 2 days of service tomorrow. Its hard to believe we are already into our second week and our third and final city.

Here are some comments from the students and some pictures from tonight's game:

Well hey hiddy ho friends! We are all sitting in a cool (finally) basketball gym watching our boys play the U-17 National Salvadorean team..not doing to shabby! The Mime team will be presenting the gospel at half so we're excited to see that! We have finished our extremely long drive from Guatemala City to San Salvador and are a tid bit tired from our 5:30 am wake up this morning. We still have a few who are a little sick but overall we are doing really well health-wise. Each team is thankful for another break from ministry so that we are ready for our final week of service! Thank you for all of the support everyone has given our team. Continue to pray for reception of our gospel throughout El Salvador this week!

Special shout-out to the fam (Ma, Bret, Colin, Kyle, and Amy), Otis, Shore, Garrett, Zozzy, Tranny, and one of my faves: Mr Garten! (Hope the knee scope went well if that happened already) Praying for everyone back home, thank you teachers that are following us! (That's you Shatz!)

Adi para ahora,


Hello everyone!! I'm so excited to tell all of you the amazing things that God has been teaching us on this trip! We have seen Him work in so many ways and have learned so much! The past days have been mostly fun things such as shopping and the beach. However, I'm anxious to get back to serving and see what God will do here in El Salvador! Thank you for all of the prayer! It has been helpful in getting me through some difficult experiences such as eating mushy plantains and beans which for a picky eater like me is a struggle. :) Seriously though thank you and please continue to pray for our last ministry days, sick people, and overall energy for the group!

family- Christina and Dad: Happy belated birthday and Father's Day! I love you both! Family: Today when I was struggling to sleep on the bus,l I kept imagining our house! I hope you guys are having fun with Hannah! (if its not to hard it would be great if you could wash my sheets....thanks! haha) Love you and miss you!]

ELisabeth Solfelt

Hey friends and family! the first thing i want to say is that it is HOT. like i havent sweated this much in my life. everyone in the group smells. anyways, God has been working in awesome ways on this trip!! A cool story about God's amazing healing power happened to me on saturday night. I get swimmers ear really easily and its really bad. So since we went to the ocean, i got swimmers ear. It didnt hurt all that much at first. But when I started to get ready for bed, it was aching pretty good. then i woke up in the middle of the night with my ear throbbing. i got my drops and took advil. i tried going back to sleep, but it was no use. So i sat up and prayed prayed and prayed. the pain lessened a little. and i fell back asleep. and i woke up with NO pain at all and usually my swimmers ear lasts for like a week. this is just ONE of the MANNNY stories of how God is healing, blessing, and helping us on this trip. God is amazing. and i can not WAIT to see what his plans are for El Salvador! :) I hope you guys are doing great! miss you and love you!!
hey mom and dad, i miss you. wish you were here with me!! :)

Taylor Hansen

Dear mom, dad, Sarah, grandma, grandpa, and everyone else,

We crossed the border into El Salvador today! It was a 9 hour process (the drive from Guatemala City to San Salvador and the border corssing) and I am exhausted. We are sitting at a basketball game right now at the University of El Salvador. It is insanely hot here (mom you would die). We went to a black sand beach and waterpark two days ago and it was super fun to jump in the waves! I havent gotten sick yet, which is really nice. But I will throw up if I eat anymore beans, eggs, plaintains, or tortillas (sorry if that was what you were planning for my welcome home dinner).Yesterday we went to Antigua for shopping and I enjoyed bartering with the sales people and got all of you presents (: On saturday night I had a homestay at a really nice house in Guatemala city that was in a gated community and the best part was that it was me and Morgan Rolfing! For dinner at that homestay we had ramen noodles,take-out pizza, and hot cocoa, I don't think I've ever had such a good dinner. And for breakfast, we had pancakes and hot cocoa. Not a ton of people are sick but there is not a lot of energy because of the long bus ride today. Happy fathers day Dad, hope it was great!

Love you all and miss you!

Kalli Thommen

p.s Please buy bagels and fruit for when I get home, gracias.

Hey guys!
I'm in El Salvador! It's super hot here but really beautiful. We are at the University of El Salvador right now watching our basketball team play UES. I wanna tell you all the awesomelicious stuff that has happened when I get back, but I just wanted to let all my friends and family that are praying for me that I am ALIVE and I am not sick!! Todd, Mom, Desi, Ben, Maddie, Annika, and Matthew <3 I love you all so much and miss you. Thank you so much for your prayers and I can't wait to see you all and tell you all about how God has been working during these two weeks.

Love muchly,
Briana Griggs

P.S. Rich, Adele, Emily, and Catie - Lisi says hi and she loves you so much! See you soon! <3

Hi everyone!We just arrived in El Salvador and it is very hot here,but more of a dry heat.We only have two more full work days which is hard to believe! I have seen so many incredible things that God has created.The people of these countries are so gracious and have such passion for Jesus. It is really encouraging for us on the team to see fire in the hearts of these people. I miss you family,so much it's crazy! But I am praying the homesickness will go away so the last days here will be great.Continue praying for us and i love you Mom, dad, Jennifer, Luci and Lily!

Maddie Bessinger

Hi Everyone,

This isn't going to be super long (sorry mom), but I can show you guys in pictures better than tell you. It's day 9 and I've taken around 900ish. Happy birthday, Dad and Happy Father's Day! The children's team has been doing well. It's been tirig and I've stayed mostly healthy (only the usual but not very bad, and I got sunburned. I even used sunscreen!) It's really pretty here and the locals are super nice. I miss you, guys and am excited to get home. Love you, Dad, Mom, Cate, Elizabeth, Aunt Marleen, Gary and Sherly. Oh and thanks for letting me know about band. I haven't seen the blog comments from anything after day 5. I'm anxious to hear about choir here or at home.

Love you lots.

ps. sorry, this is me writing without spell check... (:

Monday, June 20, 2011

Overnight in Guatemala City

We're back in the Panamerican Hotel in Guatemala City tonight. This morning we enjoyed a service with the Renueva Church congregation. We had an hour of worship with great music, followed by a presentation by our mime group and then a message presented by Mark. Afterwards we emjoyed a spaghetti dinner with the church families before heading for an afternoon of shopping in Antigua. It was cloudy by the time we got there but the rain held off so it was nice and cool for all the bargaining and treasure hunting. We left there about 6 and came back into Guatemala City for a gourmet meal at a place very familiar to everyone - a mall food court. The Mile Flores mall is one of the largest and newest in Guatemala City and has a lot of the favorite restaraunts from home.

From there we came in to the hotel and right to bed. Tomorrow is another early morning as we will be leaving at 6:30 for San Salvador. We have to build in a little cushion to our travel time as we have to cross the border and it is never certain how long that process will be.

We're heading into our last 2 days of service, so please pray for renewed energy and excitement for our team. Everyone is feeling the pace a bit now, and it gets a little harder to be enthusiastic about things we have been doing over and over for the past 2 cities. God is good - he has been providing for us and protecting us is ways we could not have imagined or planned.

I'll post again from San Salvador when I can get connected. Thanks for all your support so far. The team has had a tremendous impact on the people of Guatemala, our partner churches, and each other. We are looking forward to whatever God has in store for us in El Salvador.

Dios te bediga!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Malacatan to Guatemala City

Good evening from Guatemala City!

Today was a rest and ride day. We left early this morning (6 am) from Malacatan and headed back to the City along the coast highway. Leaving early meant we all had to sleep on the church floor last night in order to have everyone to the buses on time. A "fun" bonding time. On the up side the church was airconditioned so the sleeping area was cool. On the down side we only had about 15 matresses so most of us slept on the nice soft tile floor.

Our drive was about 4 hours or so on a reasonably straight highway (not North Dakota straight, but close) since it was on the coastal plain. Our lunch stop was at a water park in Puerto San Jose, a litte town outside Guatemala City on the Pacific Coast. The team had a couple hours to swim in the pools and in the ocean. It is a black sand beach so it was a new experience for much of the team. The waves were good and it was a nice sunny day so everyone enjoyed the break. As we drove into Guatemala City around 5 it started raining.

It was still coming down pretty good when we arrived at the Iglesia Reunueva (Jaime's home church) so we got a little wet unloading the buses. But they had a snack of hot coffee, sandwiches and cookies for us so it made for a warm welcome. From there the team split up to go to home stays for dinner and bed. Tomorrow we come back together for church at the church and then will spend the afternoon shopping and exploring in Antigua with the church families. Tomorrow night we are back in the Hotel Panamerican in Guatemala City and then off to San Salvador Monday morning.

I will try to get some more of the students to post comments during the day tomorrow so you can here more stories of what God is doing in them and through them. This is a strong team and God has been good in providing us opportunities to share his love and grace. Please continue to pray for strength and healing. We have a handful of students who are experiencing the not-unexpected intestinal issues so they would benefit greatly from your prayers. Our medical team and a doctor from the church are caring for them and hope to have them up and able to enjoy our day of worship and relaxing in Antigua tomorrow.

In the meantime, here is a post from one of the students from the medical team and few more pictures.

Charlotte Hallstrom: DIOS LES BENDIGA from Guatemala! I hope you all are having a great start to your summer! We miss you all SO much, but God is doing AMAZING WORK through us! Today alone, the medical team served 330 people, making that a grand total for the past five days around 1000 paitents. I feel so blessed to be here, and God is doing great things in me. I came into the experience with few expectations,only because I didn't want my expectation hindering from the work that God could potentially do. But he has blown me AWAY! Not only has he provived me with a new love for others, but he has broken me down and built me back up in a way that I hope will change the way I live from now on. He has introduced me to new friends and made other relationships stronger. I am so blessed to be with this group of students who refrain from judgment and pray for me even when I don't ask. Yesterday I wasn't feeling well and I sat out from the afternoon clinic. While I was sleeping in the church, the Service Team surrounded me and prayed over me and the two other sick people I was with. The amazing thing is that we all felt a MILLION times better in a matter of hours. PRAISE GOD! Thank you all so much from your prayers and love. We need it mucho!! I love you Mom and Dad and I miss you a lot!! Happy Father's day Dad, I couldn't ask for a better father to help me grow to be more and more like Christ. You are amazing and I love you so much! (Steve says Hi)
AND: HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO THE MOST AWESOME BROTHER IN THE WHOLE WIDE WORLD!!! You are so SICK E! UMETFEVA-I miss you and I can't wait to see you all!God Bless

P.S. Megan P. wants to say that she loves her parents so much and HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOM!!!!

the beach

worship time

Cam, Jaimie and Sam teaching physics at a school where the basketball team played and the drama team performed

making friends


building relationships with Victor and William from El Salvador

Friday, June 17, 2011

some pictures

Malacatan Day 2

The days are flying by! [sorry - no pictures today. the connection is being difficult again. following is input from some students]

Hello loving parents and supporters! This is Sarah Wiczek from the medical team. I am sitting in a clinic at the moment in the central market of Malacatan. I can hear the people making exchanges, honking their horns, and promoting their products and we are in ther center of it all. Our clinics have been very successful and everyday we have seen many more pacients than expected, which is wonderful! We have had a few urgeries and in the very first one all the students trickled out except for me. I was doing totally fine and talking about getting a snack and then I fainted. I looked at our translator, Alex, and told him I was dizzy then down I went!Ooops:) Don't worry, Mom. My head is fine:)
The team has been amazed with the faith of the Guatemalans. The way they pour out their hearts to the Lord in worship captures my attention. This place, by nature, is so humbling. But so is their worship. I want to be all in, like them. I want to give all that I have to the kingdom! I have to get back to serving. It's my first day I stepped out of the pharmacy and into intake! Woo! Thanks for your prayers!
Blessings from Guate,Sarita Grande
P.S. Momma, will you call Rachel to make that salad for my party? I forgot to ask when I saw her:/ That would be wonderful:)

Hola familia! I've been speaking spanish all day, it's hard to stop. We had our fourth clinic today and we're just about to break for lunch. Other days I worked in intake, but today I just helped give out meds. It's awesome to have a chance to use my spanish! I love being on medical team! I feel like it was totally where God wanted me to be. We work hard, but it's definitely rewarding. Both of my home stays so far have been fine and the people are sooo nice. Okay, I'm going to go eat lunch now.
Love you all soo much,Michelle M
P.S. I haven't gotten sick yet, which is great!!

Hello everyone! we've been doing show after show, but it's been great. The kids have been really responding to our mime sketch, even though we've had many, many technical difficulties. All the kids come and swarm us Americano's and ask us many
questions, but they've been mainly about our personal lives and stuff, so we prayed that our preformances would be completely about God, and not about us. After each show, all of us go and talk to the people who we just performed for, and at our last
performance some of us got to have some great spiritual conversations. One girl said to Carly that she can't see the Holy Spirit, but she can feel it's work in her life, like a blind man can't see the sun but can feel it. Many people are coming to Christ. :) Please pray that our technical difficulties would subside, that those who are a little sick would get better and the healthy people wont get sick, and that God would keep our spirits up. Thanks!
Love you all and God bless,Katie Barrett

Hi Family!! Guatemala has been an amazing experience! We are doing several shows everyday; our record so far is four in one day. Yesterday, When we were on our way to Malacatan, we stopped at a national park which was a rainforest. The waterfalls
were beautiful and it was an amazing way to experience God's creation in a way we don't get to see in Minnesota! I could never predict the impact the mime skits were going to have on the people of Guatemala, but people are coming to Christ every
performance!! Last night we performed for the church of Malacatan and our peers; the room was filled with the Holy Spirit and it was an amazing night. Please continue to pray for our sound system to work and for good health.
I miss you all so much,Amy Greene
P.S. Dad, I got your note this morning and cried tears of joy! Such good news :)

Hello family and friends! I love Guatemala sooo much I never want to leave.Yesterday in San Marcos we went into the rainforest! There was a breath taking waterfall and trees I could never imagine in my dreams. God did amazing things here in his creation. The mountains of San Marcos were so moving and beautiful. Every hill, mountain, stream, and flower are so full of life. Being on the mime team has been such a blessing. I have gotten so close with my fellow "mimos" and I cant wait to do another performance at 3 o'clock. Please pray for our sound system. At our last show we lost electricity and may have busted our extra fuse. Satan is trying hard to stop us from winning more souls for Christ but the Lord is stronger. Also please pray my strength is renewed. I am feeling a little under the weather today. Overall Guatemala has been better than I could ever imagine!I love you so much and miss you! I think of you every single day!Caroline Welch

Hola friends and family,
We are only five days in but it seems like so long. The people here in Guatemala are so kind and they are changing my life every day. Today we started our second home stay. My mime bros and I had a great night hanging out with our host family. We had fresh watermelon, homemade honey, and freshly squeezed orange juice. I have had so many opportunities to use my spanish and it has been truly been a blessing. Miming in many different schools both christian and nonchristian has been a blast. Our team has grown so close and we have spread the truth of the Lord throughout San Marcos and Malacatan. We have had some difficulties with weather and our sound systems but God works the most through the hard times. For all of you that wish to pray for the trip, I would like you to pray for good weather, good sound systems, and good health throughout the trip. We have had so many great experiences so far and I hope we have more to come. Mom, Dad, and Tyler: I miss you so much and I hope you are doing well in Minnesota. I hope you aren't too lonely without me. Can't wait to see how God continues to work in my life!
Miles Book

Heyyyy parents!!! It's Taylor Hansen!!! I am so excited to update you about how the trip has gone! It honestly has been incredible. We've been in Guat for 5 outof 14 days, and its already been life changing. Being on the childrens team, my eyes
have been open to so much. The first day went to an orphanage and my heart broke to see all the childern, but my heart filled will joy when I heard them sing "Mi amigo es Jesus" (my friend is jesus)! :) The kids in Guat are so loving and ADORABLE. The
Childrens team is tiring, but honestly God has strengthened us and energized us so much! I am completely depending on God. Everyday so far, we've had a large group worship service at the end of the day. Each day, everyone seems more and more
passionate for the Lord!! Last night we got our new home stays! Mine is right next to a slaughter house. So every morning at 4 in the morning the steak market is replenished...haha. I chose to sleep with my ear plugs in. Speaking in spanish is SO
much fun. Another awesome thing that i love seeing in the schools that we go to is the smiles they get when we simply give them a sticker that says "Cristo Te Ama" (Christ loves You). They honestly treasure it so much. :) God is honestly amazing. He's provided for us and has truly touched the hearts of the Guatemalans.I miss you all at home! :) i hope jackson jumped far on saturday! hahah. Love you Mamma and Dadio.-Love you so much, Taylor Hansen

David says HI BUBBA!!! and HI MAMA!!! <3-David Kenuston

Happy belated birthday Christina Solfelt!-Elisabeth Solfelt

Helloooo Quinn Family! Rachel here. So as you know, I take French at school...So my new favorite words are: Olah, "aqui?? Aqui?! (for when i hand out stickers to the kids), si, no hablo espanol, je parle francais, etc. But its kind of funny because they can understand some of my french! So at the home stays, we all speak a little "Franespanglais". I already lost my shampoo, conditioner, and soap soooo that could be a problem if you know what I'm saying. (just kidding, I'll borrow) OH and MOM, my "camping towels" are literally the size of a slightly oversized NAPKIN. My home stay mom laughed and gave me a Strawberry Shortcake towel. The kids love that we come visit them and we LOVEE them. they are actually SO cute. They all ask us for pictures and today a kid gave me a duck that he made out of paper. Its preee-tee sweet. My shower last night was in a bucket. Kind of. sort of. And our home stay has a German Shepard that I normally would not be frightened by but let me tell ya..I am scared of this dog. We go on the roofs of buildings a lot and the mountains are SOOO pretty i LOVE IT. We drive through clouds. It's awesome. Oh and whenever i show people pictures of my family they say "bonita" so go translate that! God has been doing amazing things on this trip and I am loving every second of it!! See you lata (asta la vista) LOVE YOU ALL! even whinie. kind of. bye bye bye

Hey mom and dad!!! Im here in Guatemala and I've had an amazing experience so far!! Everyday we go to schools or orphanages and do a presentation for the kids with singing, clowns, puppets and other fun activites! They love it and at every school we
pray with them to ask Jesus in their hearts and its amazing to see how we can impact their lives!! Also we got our new home stays yesterday and Im in a house that has a lot of bugs... and I had to shower with a bucket while spiders were everywhere... it was scary! I am having a TON of fun with the kids and I love to see their smiles and excitment. the church services have been SO powerful and during worship everyone is so on fire for God and it's so encouraging to bring that passion for God back home!! I miss you all!!! See you soon! :) Love you! -Carly Hansen

Mother, father, alyssa, nicole and maddie, hello from Guatemala! It seemsas if the United States doesnt even exist anymore. I am in a completely new world. From a nice warm showerto a bucket filled with cold water. From frosted flakes to warm milk and
corn flakes with fried bananas. What a change! But how awesome God has been to us on this trip so far. Each of our dramas we have performed has made an impact on the children. He has provided when we needed Him most. From providing roofs to allow
us to perform in rain to the use ofa generator for power,God is so good! Also, we visited Queszal (spelling?), in search of the national bird of Guatemala. I found myself submersed in a rainforest, with birds above, vines, rivers,waterfalls, and more! I found a purple snail which i will show a picture to you. All in all we can definitly tell God is doing work in our lives and in the lives of the Guatemalans. Please keep the prayers for continuous good health and to stay strong with sharing the gospel! I miss you all so very much and LOVE YOU!-Jamie Crum

Denice and Danielle, The Childrens Team has been great. Tell Danielle we've been doing El Sapo everyday and the children here absolutely love the song. We have teamed up with clowns from Guatemala, song and game leaders as well as some good
interpretors. We have had to make changes to our programs because of loss of electricity or rain. Even though we've had some challenges, God is good, and we've seen many children respond to the message and accept Christ. We leave for a park
today, something different for this year, but the team does well coming up with ideas to share with the Guatemalans. We are planning on getting some ice cream for a treat afterwards. It is pretty warm here in Malacatan. Love you and miss you,

Mom,Dad, and Sarah,
Hola from Guatemala! Its so beautiful here in San Marcos and Malacatan. I'm having so much fun and have been using my spanish a ton (but sometimes its still hard to communicate). The kids at the schools here love our drama and always want pictures and our autographs. Two days ago we went to this beautiful rainforest, and we swam in a waterfall. The waterfall was super pretty . My first home stay in San Marcos was awesome, the people were nice and the house was nice too. Now, in Malacatan, my house is a lot less nice and has a cardboard roof...but the people are nice and they have 8 day old puppies and a 4 year old boy. Malacatan is super hot, like 100 degrees. I've been making a lot of friends with my disney princess coloring book, all the little girls want to color in it and follow me around all day after I give them stickers. After each of our drama performances, a pastor named William gives the gospel and then we have the kids fill out cards with whether or not they accepted Jesus into their heart and so far hundreds have!! The churches we go to are all very welcoming and they give us good food. I like the food here a lot, we eat a lot of beans, tortillas, and platains. Anyways, keep praying for the team. Love you and miss you guys!-Kalli Thommen

Dear Mom and Sisters,(Amy is giving me a massage right now so we'll see if i can do this effectively...) GUATEMALA HAS BEEN SO WONDERFUL! I haven't gotten sick yet because of the vitamin packet that you gave me so... THANKS MOM! People keep teasing me that it smells but I just keep my chin up and drink it because i respect you and know that it will keep me healthy! (: Mime is going SO well and the team has really learned how to work together! Everybody emotes so well in the parts and i've been told that this has been the best year for mime in guatemala. THANK GOD! During our last preformance the electricity went out and me, ames, and miles were left to finish Goal without music... we did it! Afterwards, even though we couldn't finish the program, we had amazing talks with the children and I think God wanted us to talk rather than preform at that moment... Amy and I are in the most amazing homestay ever! It's a young couple with two children and everything is very humble and beautiful. Even though they don't have much, they have the most amazing love between them! It makes me want to live simply so I can have love like that for everyone! I rewrote my testimony today and I think that this version is better (: i love and miss you mom! I love and miss you Jessica! I love and miss you Michaela! I have pictures of you two in snow gear so I can show them how cold minnesota is... I LOVE YOU!!!!!!! love, Christina Erickson

Mom, Dad, Alex, Paige, Blake -Hola!!! I am having so much fun in Guatemala!!! I LOVE going to all of the different schools and playing with the kids!! It is so amazing and all of the kids love taking pictures with us and learning words in english. Our team is so much fun and all of the kids are so cute and excited to see us! Yesterday on the way to Malacatan from San Marcos we walked around in a rainforest and saw two waterfalls which was really cool. My homestays have been so much fun and the families are so willing to serve us and excited to talk to us. They give up their beds and rooms for us - it is amazing how generous the people here are. They are so passionate about Jesus and are truly living out their faith. The food has actually been pretty good here,
but we haven't had anything sweet so I really want something sweet and chocolatey. It is really hot here in Malacatan, and I took a shower last night with buckets of water in my homestay...it was an interesting experience! I haven't gotten sick yet,
which I am really happy about. Please keep praying for our trip! I love you and miss you so much! Love, Morgan

Querida familia,Miming is great! Every day is a new adventure. Today we had a great response even though the electricity didn't work and without music we had to stop. We just ate pizza for lunch (delish) and later we have one more performance. My homestay is awesome! The family has five children and they really like spiderman and explora Dora. Hopefully I will get to take a rainbucket shower tonight ;) Love to you all, thanks for praying for us!

olo Momma, dad, Bubba, and MaggieGreeting Amerrika (chuckle). This trip has been an amazing experience so far. one funny happening happened during our nature
walk. during this walk we observered alot of neat nature, there was alot of beautiful trees and water falls. Drew and i decided to go off trail and go adventure a water fall. the mission was a success until i slipped and fell into the water. It was pretty neat. the second and final thing i will be sharing with you today is about all the kids we are meeting on this trip. we have gone to 7 schools already, performing songs, skits, puppet show, and just having fun with the kids. I have taken alot of pictures so no worries mom. Love you much!
David Dragon Knutson

Hola, Dad, Mom, Joel, Kyle, Erik, & Dog.My first flight ever was fantastic, I only lost my luggage 7 times! I'm kidding, it really was great taking 2 different planes from MN to TX, and from there to Guatemala city. The experience has been amazing already, and we're only 4 days in! Feels more like 4 months! I have a plethora of stories since the adventure began, and pictures to go with them. I can't help but feel that every time I take a picture, no matter how detailed, I just can't capture the magnificence of God's mountains, forests, and sights here. I haven't gotten sick yet, and i dont plan to, but if it ends up being that, oh well.Basketball has been a success! through making new Guatemalan friends and playing with the teams of the schools, we have led
hundreds of young people to either re-Committ to their relationship with Christ or accept him for the first time. I guess the skit from the drama team, along with the message from Pastor William and a testimony helped us reach this result as well :).
Anyway, my spanish is getting better, I am growing from the time spent here, and the food is muy delicioso. Looking forward to the next 10 days here, and making the most of the time We have left. My prayers are with you Joel, that your transition from home to the Naval Academy would be smooth (Impossible right,) and that Mom, Dad & the hermanitos would keep out of trouble since I'm not there to keep them in line.Keep me in your prayers, hope all is well,- Ryan Davis

Mom,Dad, Emily,Taylor(and Holly) :) ,I have had such a wonderful experience here so far! Every day we perform our drama to new crowds of students, and each performance gets a different response. I have been so amazed at the amount of students who tell us about their faith; and each day, over 100 kids have begun relationships with God! My home stays so far have been so great. The families are so kind,sometimes willing to give up their only bedroom for us! It's been rough not knowing Spanish, but I'm learning! And today I had a very interesting experience.When we went to a bird refuge park a couple days ago, apparently a couple mystery bugs bit my ankle. The bites started to hurt and itch, and then they got bigger and started to look more like blisters. You know about my experience with blisters;). Anyway, so I talked to the doctor today, and he told me that the bugs had bit me and left these barbs in my skin! So the doctor made me lay down on a table as he cut open the bites and took the barbs out. The "mini surgery" hurt a lot, but I had my whole drama team and a few other amazing supporters standing with me, praying, and holding my hands the whole time. I am SO thankful for the group of people here with me and the relationships I'm building! I
can't wait to tell you more about how God is working here when I get home. I love you guys so much and I hope you're having a wonderful week! I pray for you every day, and I MISS YOU muchas! Did you like that expert use of Spanish there? (P.S.: do the roar.)-Hannah Ainslie

Hello!Another awesome day in Guatemala! I am loving the children's team. I couldn't ask for a better "job" than to hang out with little kids and make them smile. I am continualy amazed by the joy these kids have and it is definitely inspiring. Today
while walking through a market I got to see a few skinned, dead chikens and cow intestines and other various insides hanging from one of the stands which was...interesting. We also ate Sarita's ice cream for the first time today and it was fabulous. Maddie Bessinger and I also took a shower using a bucket last night which was a new experience as well. The home stays have been super cool, it's awesome to be immersed in the culture. I am so thankful for all of you praying for us! -Abby EmersonP.s. Mom and Dad -- see Michelle's p.s. and coordinate with Mr. and Mrs. Bluem (:

Thursday, June 16, 2011

On to Malacatan

Buenas tardes from Malacatan, Guatemala! After a day and a half of service in San Marcos, today we made the short drive down the mountan to Malacatan. We are now in the coastal plain, so we are more used to the altitude, but the temperature is much warmer so it's kind of an even trade.

We stopped at a national park on the way down the mountain. It was a beautiful place - a valley cut through the mountains by a small river. It is a reserve for the national bird - the Quetzal. Wewalked down to where a nest was supposed to be, but we did not see any birds. It was a good walk, though, down to the river. Everyone had fun climbing around the waterfalls and river. After climbing back up to the top where the buses were we all ready to sit down again for a bit.

Driving again, as we got closer to Malacatan the rain started in. It wasn't real heavy, but quite steady. It continued for the rest of the afternoon so it made things a little more interesting. The basketball team could not play a game, but they still went out on the court (in the rain) and shot around with some students from the school. The drama team put on 2 performances so they were still able to share the message of God's love and grace with the students.

The Children's team went to a local school and had a good afternoon. They were able to do their program inside, but then went out to the playground and played games and jumped rope with the school children in the rain. Medical did another half day clinic. It was in a much smaller facility, so they really felt the heat and humidity. They had a good day as well. Please remember them especially in your prayers as they will feel the effects of the climate more than any of the other teams.

Mime was able to do their program at a local school and at the church service this evening. They are continually improving their skills, and every presentation has a powerful impact on the audience. Service spent the afternoon painting some of the classroooms at the church so they were able to be inside as well. Everyone is still doing fairly well.

As we start our next set of service days we will continue to encourage the students to eat and drink - especially drink. Here in Malacatan it is hot and humid. It will likely rain every day with temperatures in the 80s and 90s.

The church here is very excited to have us back. Last year was our first year here and it went really well. This year they have prepared even more for us. Every one is staying with a church family, so we all have an opportunity to build significant bonds with our brothers and sisters in Christ. The worship time was amazing,with lots of music and active worship. The church has nearly doubled in size since last year, from around 300 to nearly 600. The pastor is very dynamic and they are an outreach-oriented congregation. We are looking forward to 2 great days of ministry.

I will close for now as it is once again time for bed. We will work on getting some student input for tomorrow's blog entry. God bless you all, and thank you once again for your prayers! And thanks for the responses you are posting to the blog. We will make them available for the students so they can see the depth of support they have back home. Here are a few pictures of the earlier days.

Buenas noches!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Days 2 and 3 -- San Marcos

Day 2 & 3 - San Marcos

Hello Families and Supporters!! Here are updates from each of the teams about what has happened so far in the trip. God's hand has been evident in many ways.

As soon as we arrived in San Marcos we went to a school with 120 kids from ages 1 to 12. The kids just connected right away and did an amazing job performing and interacting with the children. We joined with some local leaders, including a clown, and we started to figure out how we could all best work together. We also went to an orphanage where we had a chance to show
love to the kids. Today we had a program at a school of 500 students and again it was so neat to see how well the team related to the children. There were times where they were each surrounded by 20 or more children all trying to get their attention and talk to them. It was so neat! We're leaving soon for two more programs this afternoon.
Lynn Martinson

Hi!I'm so excited to share all of the fabulous things that God has done so far on this trip! One of my highlights so far has been being able to use my Spanish that I have had in school and communicate with the people in Guatemala! On the first day, Mark challenged us to look out the our bus windows and say "That person was made in the image of God" about everyone that
passed. I have been learning that even though we live thousands of miles away and our culture is different, we are all one in Christ and have been made in His image! I can't wait to see what else God has in store for this trip!
Elisabeth Solfelt

So far this trip has been AMAZING! Everything is so different and it's awesome to be able to be immersed in this completely different culture. I was afraid I would not like the food here, but I have loved (almost) everything that has been put in front of me. The coolest experience so far was worshiping at the church that is hosting us last night. Even though we didn't understand each other completely our whole team and the Guatemalans were singing and dancing together. It was a really eye opening experience to see that even across cultures we are still worshiping the same God with the same passion!
Abby Emerson

We are having a great time here at the church. Our main job has been painting the outside and making some small fixes to it. To explain the color of blue that we used would be hard it's mostly smurf with a dash of deep blue ocean. If we had an award for the worst job Tom takes the cake...or beans... as it may be. His work on top of top of a ladder balanced on weak plastic
makes him a superhero. Our journey that started so long ago is now kicked into high gear. Some of us are tired but we have been tired before. What we do is take all of what God has given us and we use it to serve Him in every way we can. God has been great!!!
FranskeOh ya Mom, I'm ok.

Hello families!! This trip so far is beyond awesome. I think everything I have experienced has been something I have never done before. Service team began painting the church yesterday and we are almost done. It's blue with grey trim and looks pretty sweet. We had an out of body experience last night at our church service. Everyone was up dancing and singing. It was
a really cool thing to see not only myself indulging in giving my all to praise Jesus but doing it along with everyone else on the trip. I'm so excited to see what's in store for all of us because I know it's only going to get better from here. Please continue to pray for our safety and health! Much Love.
Brady Ramm
Words cannot even begin to describe the experiences that we've had, the memories that we've already made, and the things God has done in and through us already on this trip. The church service last night was incredible- people were so excited and filled with the Holy Spirit. It brings tears to my eyes just thinking about it. There's something about worshiping the same God with other people around the world, praising Him together, and sharing fellowship. The food has been INCREDIBLE and the home stays have provided interesting stories haha :) I'm so thankful for the families that opened up their homes to us.
Thank you so much for praying for us!
Ashley Aamot

San Marcos....what a great time of ministry! The Mime crew did four presentations at four different schools. Their audiences ranged in size from 70 to 250. They presented the Gospel to 511 students and teachers through these four outreaches. Towards the end of each presentation after our national evangelist, Luis Gilbert gives an invitation, response cards are distributed and collected while the team interacts with audience members. From the four presentations, 413 response cards have been collected. Although we do not have a specific number of first time decisions at this time, we anticipate many responses. Praise the Lord!!!! The mime crew is healthy, definately engaged and excited about the ministry they are having here in San Marcos. From a leadership perspective, this mime crew is very into what they are dointg here and doing an outstanding job. It is a pleasure serving the Lord with them and sharing in the experiences we've had to date.
Chris Erickson

Hello Everyone!!!! Today the mime team had four shows! They all went really well and we had great responses from all the kids. All the kids want autography and pictures with us! It's so great it's likewe are celebrities. All the people are so excited to see people from the United States. They like to comment on how tall we are and how short they are. Our first home stay was last night and we are so thankful for all the families for their hospitality! I am having such a great time here, but I do miss home. Please keep all of us in your prayers because tomorrow we are traveling!
Carley Shaw

To date, the team has played 3 games. The first game was played in from of 400 students. It was an excellent showing of hands at halftime to receive Christ. Our second game was not scheduled, the orginial game with the school was cancelled. So we went to a school near the church and asked if we could play. Their team was very good and it was a close game which we
won. We will be on the local news tonight as they filmed some of the game and interviewed the coach!! We played our third game 40 min outside of San Marcos. We won easily, but their girls beat us at soccer. The team visited a national park. Everyone is healthy and Stefan Dellis scored the first 2 points for the team this year. Everyone on the team is now on the scoring board. Keep praying.
Steve Healy

Hola from Guatemala! It's hard to imagine it's only day 3! We have packed as much as we possibly can into each day. Last night we had a praise service with a Guatemalan worship team. It was absolutely incredible. I don't think any of us have praised God with that much enthusiasium before, especially with not even completley knowing what we were singing. I have learned so much about the differeces between us and the Guatemalan people, however, we are more alike than I ever could have imagined. I'm also so grateful to be on the basketball team. We have played three games and we have been treated like heroes every step of the way. The rainforrest we went to today was awesome and it has the same problems as us. And yes mom I'm fine.
Nate Hilgenkamp

Monday, the team performed at the halftime of the basketball game. This was the first public performance infront of hundreds of high school aged students. The students were energized by the experience and the reception of the message with the audience. We performed again for our hosting church and host families as they threw a welcoming service for us. Today, we performed at both of the basketball games. The students are really growing from delivering their faith stories during our halftime shows. The public declaration of their faith is making them more bold and open with the people of Guatemala and with each other on the whole team. Actively using their spiritual gifts and being submerged in a full time ministry has definately
started a change in their hearts. I wish you could be here to see it. You will see the end resault. Thank you for your prayers. God bless.
Deitric Newman

We have been playing the numbers game, and for this post, will continue to do so. In the weeks and months before this adventure, the medical team has been collecting donations and purchasing medical supplies, scores of thousands of vitamins and a handful of lesser pleasant items. For customs' sake we knew the exact amount of pills and capsules, lot numbers and and bag numberof EVERYTHING. Counting scrubs and green t-shirts after every bathroom stop on the road has been, from a parent's prospective, most important. Clinic Day 1, we were to see 40 people, 50 time permitting. We returned to our church HQ after 136. A good number for what was to be a "half" day. Today we saw another 160. While nearly 300 were given hygienic advice, medical attention and vitamins/medicines, we have kept in mind the biggest number of all. We are priviledged, both Guatemalan and Minnesotan, to worship our ONE, all powerful, creative, loving God.
Justin Satterberg

Sunday, June 12, 2011

We made it!

We had a couple hours to get settled in and orient ourselves to this new environment. Many of the Guatemalans that will be traveling with us stopped in to visit and meet the students. Then we had a good dinner of traditionally prepared lomito (grilled skirt steak) and chicken with wonderful fresh guacamole and local vegetables. To wrap up the night we had a brief time of worship and reviewing the days events.

Tomorrow we are up at 5 and on the road by 5:30, headed up into the mountains to San Marcos. We plan to be there by lunch time so the teams can start serving in the afternoon. So we are putting the kids (and adults!) to bed by 8 tonight. Surprisingly enough, no one is complaining, and most of them are already in bed (it's 7:45). In case you are wondering, the team did a great job dealing with all that goes with travelling. Everyone pitched in when something needed doing and they all waited patiently when things didn't happen quite according to schedule.

I'm sure they already have stories to tell. The ride from the airport to the hotel took us right through the city where we saw a sort of half-size Eiffel Tower (that we got to drive right under), two different parades for political candidates (complete with brightly colored flags and shirts and LOTS of people), ruins of ancient brick aqueducts, and a never-ending array of Guatemalans staring at the buses full of wide-eyed gringos.

I wanted to include some pictures from our afternoon at the hotel, but the connection can't seem to handle the upload, so you will have to trust me that they are amazing pictures of your students. I will try again tomorrow if I can find a better connection....

So far everyone is doing well. I think a good night's sleep will do wonders for everyone - I know I am looking forward to it. I will try to post again tomorrow night if we have internet access.

Thanks for all your support! Hasta manana.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

...3 to get ready....

Well here we are, on the brink of departure. After spending the afternoon collecting up and packing all the luggage onto the truck we are all ready to hit the road. This evening we had our send off service and now each has headed home for final packing and maybe a couple hours sleep.

The send off service was great. Thanks to all the parents, friends and supporters who came out to see the teams perform and pray over the students. The mime and drama teams both presented their programs and did an awesome job. I can't wait to see the effect these presentations have on the people of Guatemala and El Salvador.

We will gather together again in just a few hours - 2:30 in the morning! We will arrive in Guatemala City in the early afternoon and then make our final preparations for Monday which will be our first day of service. Thanks for all your support. Keep checking back. We will try to update this blog every day or two in order to keep you up to date on what we are experiencing.

Sunday, June 05, 2011

It's Almost Here!

Hello OCA Guatemala/El Salvador supporters!

Since Coach (Tim Fox) has been writing the majority of the pre-trip posts, I thought I'd give him a break and be our trip's freshest typer! Today is June 5th and we leave on June 12th, THAT'S 6 AND A HALF DAYS! Is everyone pumped? I know I am!

Actualizaciones de Equipo (Team Updates):
  • El Equipo Médico was working on finishing up packing all of the medications and medical supplies that we are taking down for their clinics today.
  • El Equipo de Mimo had another practice to work on their skit(s) that they will be showing the the people in Central America.
  • El Equipo de Servicio finished ordering the bags for the trip and handed them out over the past couple of weeks and are working on putting together the teams shirts for our trip.
  • El Equipo de Baloncesto has been perfecting their athletic abilities and attitudes that they will be demonstrating on the trip.
  • El Equipo de los Niños has been practicing their puppet shows, songs, and games that they will be entertaining the kids that we come into contact with on the trip.
  • El Equipo Dramática has been learning the characters in the skit that they are putting on - they had help from the others on the OCA trip and Chicago missions trip during the Missions Retreat Weekend since they performed their skit for the first time in front of people and had helpful criticism.
  • The Big 3 (Mark, Beebe, Coach) have continued their awesome leadership in Boston..I mean Miami..I mean as our leaders on the trip. Thank you for all of your commitment to helping get all of the details figured out (Especially the airlines)!
Well, there you have it. All of the teams are coming along well, growing as teams, as a big group, and as individuals. Thank you parents, siblings, relatives, friends, coworkers, acquaintances, and whoever else is reading this now, for taking time to see how we are doing and supporting us in whatever way you have chosen!

Someone will be keeping up with the blog throughout the trip (probably Coach). Continue to come back and check out the blog to see what new happened in Central America!

Don't forget, SEND-OFF SERVICE this SATURDAY JUNE 11th from 7pm-8pm in the HILLSIDE ROOMS at WOODDALE CHURCH. Be there and pump us up for the trip that we will leave on 9 hours afterwards! Plus, I heard there are a couple of skits that are being performed by multiple teams...

Continue to pray and be thinking about us,

-Cam Fox

P.S. If anyone is wanting to see the video the Drama team is putting on during the Basketball team's half time, here's the link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cyheJ480LYA