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 18, 2012

Last day in San Marcos

Good evening.  We are just starting some team worship and teaching time.  Today was our last service day in San Marcos and everyone is feeling the end of the trip approaching even though we still have most of the week left.  The teams had another strong day in spite of a persistent light rain and cool temperatures.  Its a little unexpected to see a row of students all sharing a blanket to ward off the evening chill.  So much for Minnesota blood.....

Thanks for all the posts.  The students are taking the opportunity when they can to see what you all have written.  It is all great encouragement for us.  They are a strong team, but everyone needs a boost now and then.   Tomorrow we leave for a half day of service in Solola, and then we will pack up our team bags for the last time.  I don't know when I will have access to the internet again so I may not be able to give you an update until Wednesday when we reach our R&R location.

Our word for today is from James 1:2-4 - "Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything."  We are starting to prepare the kids for their return to their reality.  They have seen God move in big and small ways during the trip and we want them to lock in these experiences as touchpoints of  grace to draw on when they hit the rough spots in their "real life".

Here are some more student posts.  Sorry, no pictures tonight due to a low battery.  I will recharge it and get you caught up the next time I am on.

Hey Dad (Kris Terp),
    I'm having a great time here, but I can't wait to come home!! It's ridiculous how grateful and thankful God has made me throughout this trip. I've been recording a lot with the GoPro so I can't  wait to show you everything. Happy Father's Day!!!!!! I wish I could've been there to celebrate it with you. P.S. Will you let me know a little bit of what the plan is for me getting to Tennessee? I'm asssuming Olivia is picking me up from the airport but I'm not entirely sure. Thanks! Love you, Gabby

hey Dad!
SO yesterday was Fathers day and at night we had a service. While we were worshiping all of a sudden the song "I am desperate for you" comes on. So im singing along and then I realize its your favorite song!! and it was perfect because it was on fathers day:) I think it was definetely a gift from God that we got to sing your favorite song anyways I hope you had an AMAZING fathers day cuz u deserve it. I miss u and mom dylan and peyton a ton!!!!! say hi to briggys and webster for me :)
love you! Taylor S.

Dear Family!
I am so happy to be in cooler weather. Malacatan was sooo sticky and blah, San Marcos has been cool and wet. It rains a lot

here. The kids here are also so ADORABLE! I have taken soo many pictures and I can't wait to show them all to you. My homestays have been amazing also. However, I am roomed with a girl (Laurel) who doesn't spreken (speek) any spanish at all, and you know my spanish is only so-so. But we seem to be getting along just fine with the language barrior. Love you OOOOOOOOOOOODDDDDDLLLLLLSSSSS! And hope the house isn't TOO quiet without Cole and me. I have been praying for you guys and Colie. I miss y'all but I'm having so much fun here :p Love you tons. ----Camrie Vlasak
P.S. The coffee here is AMAZING!! You'd love it!

Hello Syverson clan, Im writing from San Marcos and it's way cooler here which feels really nice. My home stays here have been interesting to say the least. It has been a cool experience looking back for encountering the power in the peace of God when we call on Him. No worries, I'm totally safe and healthy and having an AWESOME time. God is really present here and I'm learning alot while soaking it all in. Thanks so much for the prayers and I miss you guys alot. I'm really sad I missed Father's Day (Love you lots, Dad! You're the best and I greatly appreciate everything you do for us). Can't wait to see you guys when I get home!! Love you lots! Ellyse

Hey Peterson family, its Mariah! I am in San Marcos right now and its sooo amazing! It is my favorite city so far! Its cool weather and very mountainous. We are up at 8,000 feet and so we are practically in the clouds. Its so beautiful. I am taking lots of pictures! The schools here are so awesome. There are much smaller groups than in the other cities. I like that because then there is more interaction between us. I just finished eating this amazing ice cream from a shop called Saritas.
Its very good!! See you soon, and love you! Love, Mariah Peterson

Hey Mom and Dad
Right now I am in San Marcos and it is our last full service day before Rest and Relaxation. On Saturday we went to a waterpark on our way to San Marcos from Malacatan. It is so pretty here and I am taking so many pictures. I can't wait to see you and Becca on Saturday. I can't believe that she has called three times already. I can't wait to get home to tell you all about my trip and I can't wait for Hawaii when I get back.
Love, Leah Jordan.

I was able to read your post that you wrote. Hi Emy and Erie! Miss you guys. San Marcos is very cold for the most part. Normally, I am always hot... but here, I have goose bumps all the time. I praise God because I haven't felt sick at all!! Upon arriving here, a number of people started feeling a little sick. Im not sure if it is the altitude change or what. Surprisingly, there really hasn't been weird or bad food that I have had. Maybe all the places purposely made american food for us - who
knows. Please pray for the kids who are sick! I am with 4 other girls in my home stay here in San Marcos. Muchhhhhhhh better experience than Malacatan! It will be sooooooo nice to be able to throw my toilet paper in the toilet once I get home, along with bushing my teeth in the sink... as opposed to spitting in toilets and showers. Can't wait to come home! Love, Lauren Falkanger

Hi mom and dad and Cassie!!
I'm here in San Marcos in the mountains. It's a lot cooler than the tropics in Malacatan. Today we went to 3 schools and did our little program for the kids. They were really crazy in one of the schools. My home stay here has been a very unique experience and I will tell you about it when I get home. Yes dad, I am watching out for bugs. There are plenty.
Love, Caroline Ahlgrim

Hi Mom, Dad, and Trevor!
San Marcos is so different from Malacatan. We are all wearing sweatshirts and longer pants. It is so crazy. I've had some unique home stays while I've been here and I can't wait to tell you all the craziness that has involved in them. On the first day here in San Marcos, we went to an orphanage. It was my favorite place by far. And yes, I did want to take them all home with me. We have done eight shows in this city and just finished our last one. Tomorrow we are planning on going to another
orphanage in a different city. I am so excited to go there. See you in a couple days! I can't wait for my own shower and bed. I love you all!
~Emily Bolz

We went from hot to cold, sweating to hot tea, humidity to dry air, and energized for God to energy from God. We are ending our serivce days here in the next 24 hours or so and it has been a life changer for all of us. It's crazy to think that we are more than half way done, but it's also relieving knowing that God did his work and that we can take our experiences and apply it to our lives when we get back to the prairie.Thank you family and friends for your prayers. On behalf of the team,
we all appreciate it! Peace and Blessings. <3 Lexi Holsten

Wow, all I can say is wow. Guatemala has captured my heart. I started out this trip unsure of what to expect,and I still am a bit unsure of why I am here, but God has been revealing so much to me everyday. It is simple things that make me so happy I'm here. A smile, an encouragement, a new brother/sister in Christ, this beautiful place, amazing conversations, and so much more. Currently I am in San Marcos, this has been my favorite spot so far. This whole experience has been amazing, but it feels weird to think that my time in Guatemala is coming to a close. (To Emily Guimont- I have taken your advice to ride the chicken bus at all possible times) Thanks, everyone for your prayers and loving thoughts.
See you soon-Marina

Guatemala is totally beautiful. I started out being really nervous about being away from my family for so long, but now that I have been away from them for a little more than a week, I am doing okay. San Marcos is WAY different than Malacatan. It is much cooler here, and we drink a lot of coffee(the BEST coffee I've ever tasted!) and really good hot tea instead of Pepsi. Miming has been super cool because our team is absolutely insane. God has totally gotten ahold of my heart and convicted me
of a whole bunch of things that I can't keep in my life if I truly want to be a follower of him. Dad~ Happy late Father's day, and I promise to bring you back some awesome Guatemalan coffee. I got some guatemalan candy for Adam. I miss you all and I'm super excited to see you guys again, and take a *HOT* shower, and sleep in my bed.
Love you all :)
~Audrey McCormick

I am so glad that I am here on this amazing beautiful trip. All the things my dad, brother, and sister said are so right. I love Guatemala so much. So far we did about 19 Mime Perfromances. They all went well.Even when we had our bad days they still went well. It's crazy how these kids think we are so famous. They love to take pics and get our autographs. It's so amazing to see how many new brothers and sisters are coming to christ. I feel like this trip brought me closer to God. When we were in Malcatan I had a very intresting home stay. My friend and I didn't know any Spanish, and ourhome stay mom didn't know any English. But some how with God's help we told her that we are from Minnesota. Then she brought a friend who spoke English and he used to live in MN. Then she brought another friend to her house. He grew up in Guat but he got taught English from his friends, and school in Guat. Then she had another friend who lived in the states, and just moved to Guat last year. So God is totally working, I met some amazing people, but cant wait to be back home. Love you all
-Jasmine White

Hola familia! I am so glad that I am here in beautiful Guatemala. The Children's team performances have been going great, get ready to hear me singing when I get home. I have also had a good time in my homestays. 2 have been with a bigger group of guys in a nice house and the middle one was just me and one other person who didn't know Spanish so I got to practice my spanish speaking skills. While there I also got to take a bucket shower and have a new least favorite food, cereal with steaming hot milk. Overall, I have had a great experience and God is definately working in Guatemala and in me. Thanks for all the prayers. See you soon! - Peter Hienz

Today was fun- Buddy 

To start off, happy belated fathers day dad!! this trip has been pretty amazing so far and I am excited to keep working! But, watch out mom and dad! I may not want to come back!! Just kidding :) Love you Mom and Dad (and Rach)
    <3 Laurel

Joe Arnold ;) Rodgers: So today was sweet. Yesterday we torn a whole bunch of clay shingles off a roof. We kept the good ones and tossed the bad ones in a pile. After we finished Elle and I decided to assist the great people of San Marcos by fixing their road and fill in the potholes of a coble stone/ dirt road with the left over broken tiles. While we workedthe common passer by actually stopped their cars to say how much they appreciated it. About an hour into our back breaking assistance to
the people, a woman walked up the street and started picking up tiles and throwing them (praise God not at us!) and speaking in tongues. Not actually but it wouldnt have suprised me... we continued our work and she soon left. We worked for another hour and a half and filled in all of the major holes. Upon returning to our work place we found the tiles tossed on the pastors retaining wall and not only the big chunks but had SWEPT the entire road where our tiles were. So that was fun and
accomplishing.. :P Love you fam! Hey Mahers!
HASTA!    -Jose

Hey dad!this is julia! i love you and i'm soooo glad fathers day was a good one for you! today we went to three schools and at the last one i shared my testimony to the kids! i was really nervous cuz the kids were really little like 4 but i decided to just do the big version because maybe i could help some teacher or some adult helper! so yeah and for dinner we had steak and potatos and rice =] so that was awesome! but i love you and tim and miss you guys! give tim a BIG hug from me!!

Hello Family & Friends. (Its Libby Shirley:) ). Today we served our last day here in San Marcos. It was a full day (3 Mime performances). The days here in San Marcos have been FULL...yesterday we had 4 YES 4 Mime performances. It is chilly here in San Marcos and it is AMAZING how quickly us Minnesotans got used to warm weather and still feel COLD here...tehe. I hope that
all is well is MN.You can pray for us to continue to serve WHOLE HEARTEDLY no matter where we are or how exhausted we may feel. Please also pray for the teammembers who are not feeling 100%, pray that they might be encouraged and have faith that GOD IS AT WORK IN THEM. God bless you all...or as they say here "Dios les bendiga". Family-I am doing well health wise...PRAISE GOD. I love you. -Libs
THANK YOU, Libby Shirley


  • At 10:02 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Howdy Caroline. Thank you for the note. Thank you for watching out for bugs. (Ohhhhhh creepy) I'm going to Lake Beauty on Sunday, but i'll see u on Saturday night. I'm a Blimp this week. (Find out what this means when you get home.)
    Love Ç@$$!£ ;)

  • At 10:02 PM , Anonymous Kerry Fox said...

    It was great to hear from all of you! Hopefully you will bring back the sights and sounds of Guatemala so that on a daily basis you can look back and see how God provided for you in unimaginable ways while you were there.

    Enjoy the R and R! Mentally and spritually prepare for your return to Minnesota. Sometimes the transition back is not as easy as students and leaders think it will be.

    Praying for you Phil. 4:11-13 as you return. Be content in every situation and look to our great God who provides strength in every circumstance.

  • At 10:06 PM , Blogger Carmenhansen09 said...

    Hello OCA Team- I am living vicariously through your blogs! What an amazing trip I am having through you! I am hugging the darling children you are serving and seeing the smiles on the faces of the family with the new roof with yellow paint! Thank you so much for giving all your love and service to Guatemala. You are His hands and feet. "How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, “Your God reigns!” Isaiah 52:7
    ANNIKA! I MISS YOU A WHOLE LOT! But I got to see a picture of your smiling face in front of a crowd...! Yeah baby! And I think I saw you puppeteering? Not sure about that. Praying for you! Are you thinking in Spanish yet? We're all good-Just met with Fati tonight and she gave me samboosas and hugged me 4 times. Can't wait to hug you! Love Mom (Dad and KJ want to hug you too) (Don't know about Thor?)

  • At 10:12 PM , Anonymous Paula Miller said...

    It was such a relief to finally hear from you Nikki! I've been so worried for all of you and praying for safety and good health. It sounds as if God has been working through all of you to help the people of Guatemala. Can't wait to hear more! Love you and miss you Nikki!

  • At 10:32 PM , Blogger Connie said...

    Heidi, I'm sure you are about ready for that R and R. Stay strong and lean into God. He will provide you with all the strength that you need to finish serving him. We all missed you Sunday at Julie's and Jim's. I really can't wait to hear all your stories. Love seeing the pictures. Dad would love it if you posted something. Love and miss you tons Connie

  • At 10:40 PM , Blogger Karen said...

    It's so great to hear from you again. Many people have asked me if I've heard anything from you. I love your comments. They make me laugh because you tell it like it is. Can't wait to hear all your stories, as I am sure Emy, Erin, Paige, and your other softball friends will enjoy! Lots of people are praying for you and your time there. I'm glad you haven't been sick. Treasure your last days there and go make a difference in lives of the Guatemalans. I love you. See you Saturday. Pray for Mackenzie and family-her Grandma died Friday, I'm going to her funeral tomorrow/Tuesday. Love, mom (Karen)

  • At 10:43 PM , Blogger Karen said...

    It's so great to hear from you again. Many people have asked me if I've heard anything from you. I love your comments. They make me laugh because you tell it like it is. Can't wait to hear all your stories, as I am sure Emy, Erin, Paige, and your other softball friends will enjoy! Lots of people are praying for you and your time there. I'm glad you haven't been sick. Treasure your last days there and go make a difference in lives of the Guatemalans. I love you. See you Saturday. Pray for Mackenzie and family-her Grandma died Friday, I'm going to her funeral tomorrow/Tuesday. Love, mom (Karen)

  • At 10:49 PM , Anonymous Joelle Syverson said...

    What a treat to get an update from you, Ellyse!!! We are so thankful you continue to stay healthy and have experienced God in amazing ways...can't wait to hear more when you get back! We think it is incredibly powerful the impact ALL of you are making on the people of Guatemala. We pray for continued perseverance as you continue to serve. Lean into Him and let His light shine!!! Love you tons!!

  • At 11:01 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Hi to you all in Guatemala! Love to hear of all your positive experiences and how the Lord is moving in your hearts and giving you such a love for the people there. Mariah, mom and dad are soooooo excited for you to come home. We miss you so much but are so happy to hear from you on the blogs. Thank you for remembering your mom and dad back here in MN. Haven't heard anything from Win OR seen him in any of the CO pictures. We love you and pray for your whole team for a wonderful rest of the week, health, and a safe return to MN!!!!

  • At 11:22 PM , Anonymous Kelly and Joe Jasper said...

    So wonderful to read the posts from many of you. It really helps us get a feel for what you all are experiencing and helps us know how to pray as well. Jack, are you one of the ones who is not feeling well? Have barely heard a peep from you, nor seen a photo of your sweet face (embarassing I know) so you have got us wondering. No matter what, know we are praying for you and the OCA team to finish strong, and give God the glory. By all accounts it sure sounds like God has been doing some mighty work in and through the OCA team! So faithful is He. Sending MUCH love. Hugs too! XOXO

  • At 12:26 AM , Anonymous Kris Terp said...

    Hi sweetie, (Gabby)
    So glad you're spreading the gift Jesus gave you.
    Yes, Olivia will be picking you up and you will be flying to TN on Saturday. I will meet you there, and can't wait. Please travel safe and bring the GoPro to TN and we will watch it there.
    I will continue to pray that GOD uses you and your team to help guide those less fortunate, and that he protects you and your team as you carry out your good deeds.
    Love you, Dad

  • At 7:42 AM , Anonymous Tawny Book said...

    Hey Tyler! Love the posts and all the great stories from everyone. It's amazing to hear how God is changing lives-- Can't wait until you return. I've got HUGE news. It will blow your socks off. Here is a tiny hint. Six plus one equals SEVEN. Enjoy your R&R day! Keep the Children's Team excitement going. Love you--Mom

  • At 7:43 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Hello to Jessica and the entire OCA team! We have really loved reading the blog entries and following along on your trip. (Grandma and Sydney are following along as well). Haven't heard a lot about the medical team. Hopefully, you are helping as many as possible. We hope you are feeling well and eating well. It sounds like most kids have been enjoying the food. Jason is at church camp this week, so it is quiet around the house. Excited to see you on Saturday night and hear about your journey. Sending all our love. Mom and Dad!

  • At 8:36 AM , Anonymous Curt Swanson said...

    Julia, Really surprised me and so fun to talk with you yesterday. Tims face just radiated when he listened to voice mail greeting from you. Tim is really having fun helping with leading games at VBS this week. Glad you were brave and shared your testimony with the kids. Really proud of you. Tim and I keep praying for you.

  • At 10:52 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Hi Natalie! It's been incredibly exciting to see how God is using each one of you and each team to do His work. It's wonderful and remindful how God can use anyone with a willing heart and spirit. We're excited to hear all of the stories! FYI - you are all set for JH Ranch. See you on the flip side!! Mom and Dad.


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