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 14, 2012

Malacatan Service Day 1

Hello from tropical Malacatan.  We thought it was hot before, but that was nothing compared to here.  Luckily we have a cloudy day today so it is easier for everyone to be out serving. Today's word, from our devotional, is Luke 4:14-21.  In it Christ essentially declares who he really is - the Savior of the world- and why he stepped into humanity.  The message is a good one for the team as we start serving in a new city. The primary purpose is to preach the good news to the poor  (whether it be the poor in spirit or the poor in resources).  The others, proclaim freedom for the prisoners, recovery of sight for the blind, release of the oppressed, and proclaiming the year of the Lord's favor all flow from that over arching objective.  Keeping that as our goal will provide the proper context and motivation to accomplish whatever tasks and opportunities God puts in front of us.

But enough from me. We have lots of input from students so I will turn the microphone over to them.....
Hey guys, this is Gabby! I, for one, am having a great time. Guatemala is beautiful and the people here are so polite. My first home-stay with some 9 other girls was incredible. It was a hostel thast had cooks and maids that were super sweet to all of us. My 2nd home-stay is about 20 minutes up the mountain from Malakatan, and my house mom has 3 little girls, ages 6, 4, ande 3. They're adorable! Seeing all these different lifestyles is really humbling and makes me extremely grateful for what I have back at home.

Hey this is Lauren! My home stay in Guatemala City was great. I was with a group of 9 other girls and we stayed together in a Hostile. Last night was the first night in Malacatan... What a change. I am in a homestay with Jordie. Neither of us speak spanish and our host family doesn't speak english - so you can imagine what a challenge it is. It is very hard to communicate and not to mention, it is super sticky and sweaty here. What a combination! I have been able to meet some new people and I love my sports/drama team. Allison says hi! And she loves the worship here! This trip so far has been very humbling and exciting!

Hellur Bloggers! This is Lexi Holsten! This trip has been such a great experience so far. By their actions and hospitality, we can all see that the people of Guatemala love Jesus. God has worked through each one of us, and it's cool because none of us have the exact same experience. Everyone has a different team, a different homestay,and a different approach to each day. From Aleve to Malaria pills, I forgot ALL my medications. (Sorry Mom...) In a way, it was a test of perseverence and trust. I prayed and asked for mercy because I forgot the things that usually help me the most. I have not had one ounce of pain and all that glory goes to God. The Childrens Team is so encouraging, and the kids are adorable. I want to wrap them all up in bubble wrap and take them home with me! ...Actually though.

Hello everyone this is Leah Jordan! The trip has been really amazing so far. In Guatamala city I stayed at an Orphanage for HIV positive. On the first night in Guatamala city, my homestay group got to play with the kids and that was really nice. The drive up to the orphanage was really pretty because of the scenery of Guatamala City. Now that we are in Malacatan I am staying with a family who has 3 girls, ages 10,6 and 3. They are so cute and the family is really nice. I am Staying with Lexi Holsten. Being on the childrens team has been really cool so far because at every school that we go to, there are always kids who accept christ for the first time. I want to wrap this up by saying that I am super grateful for the opportunity to serve in Guatamala for these two weeks. Adios for now.

Hi, Mom (y mi familia)! Hola las personas todas!This whole trip has been such a...crazy, amazing experience. I have sleep on the ground, seen so many stray dogs, sing silly songs with kids ranging from 4 years old to 15 years old. Now, I am not a person of many words, nor do I like to go out of my comfort-zone, so you can imagine my emotions going crazy. I have taken Spanish for 4 or 5ish years and I have no confidence in it what-so-ever, but I am happy to say that I am trying my hardest to communicate with the people! Spanish class did diddily-squat for me (if you don't get what I said, it means that it did nothing for me- didnt prepare me at ALL). The people here are so in love with God and it is an amazing experience to witness their love for the same God I worship. Estamos los ninos de Dios, y Dios te ama y a mi. Miss everyone in Minnesota but our work is not finished here. With love, Camrie Vlasak.

Hey everyone! This trip has been amazing! it has definetely pushed me out of my boundaries and my comfort zone so far. I know through me being put out of my comfort zone God can use me in so many unique ways that i cant even imagine! In Guatemala City I had the amazing opportunity to stay at an orphanage for children who were diagnosed HIV positive. Unfortunately society has rejected these amazing,cute and adorable kids because they were diagnosed with HIV. Some of the kids were even abandoned by their own parents when they found out about their childs condition. When I heard this my heart broke.I thought how could anyone leave these kids!? right then i just felt God's love overflow within me and I was able to share God's love with them by just hugging them and playing with them. Because of their condition they do not get touched a lot and so they are always constantly wanting to give hugs :)they are sooo adorable! One prayer request is that everyone stays healthy and that even though we may be tired is that we can just persevere through and still have a lot of energy and love to share with the people of Guatemala! thanks guys! love, Taylor Schmidt

Hey Mom & Dad! This is Mariah! I have been having a great trip so far. Today we went to an all boys school and I did lots of face painting. Most wanted a Barcelona or Guatemala flag. The children are so adorable. They are so loveable and even though they dont know us, they want to sit in our laps and take pictures. They get involved with all the songs and actions and its so cute to see them all praying. For the first three nights I stayed in a hostel with 9 other girls and 4 adults. It was so nice! We slept on bunk beds and had really nice meals. The food is mostly beans, rice, tortillas, meats, and vegetables. The food is actually good, not that funky! So, for the first three nights we were in Guatemala City but now we are in Malacatan.

The family I am staying with now only speaks Spanish, so thankfully Marissa, the girl I'm partnered with, knows Spanish pretty well! I want to tell you so much more but I cant fit it all on here! The people are so friendly and its such a blessing to be here! Love, Mariah! Adios!

Hola mis amigos!
I can't even begin to describe how incredible this trip has been so far. Right now we are in Malacatan. It is absolutely beautiful. A rather different scene than Guatemala City. I LOVE my home stay! In Guatemala City I stayed in an orphanage for all HIV positive children. Please pray for them, they rarely get loved and held and fed as much as they should. Now, in Malacatan I am staying with a family of 4. Their home is so beautifull!! They also have a dog named "Doggie" but they pronounce it "Doogie." She is such a cutie. Doogie makes me miss my puppies! I am so glad hat I am on the childrens team. Even though there is a language barrier I can feel the joy and the love from all the children. At a school in Guatemala City they all wanted our autographs! We felt famous! We give tons of hugs and kisseson the cheek. Our childrens show is about an hour long and we sing many silly songs. They get stuck in my head every night. I have not yet had any tortillas or beans. I'm kinda surprised! But I've decided that Guatemala has the best mashed potatoes I've ever eaten. Seriously. Anyways, please continue to pray for safety and health for us. I have so much more to say! I'll tell many stories when I get home so be prepared Momma and Dad. Love you all so much! ~Morgan Allen

Hola everybody!Hi Mom, Dad, and Trevor!
This trip has had an amazing beginning so far. We just finished our fifth performance for the childrens team.I did a lot of face painting today, painting suns and stars. I even made one boy a cow with all the paint :) we are currently in Malacatan after an amazing stay in Guatemala City. My last host family and the one I have now have been really nice. Neither one spoke much english, so it was really cool to practice my spanish.All the kids have been awesome, participating in our games and songs.After each performance, they come up and want hugs from all of us. In one of the schools,they wanted our signatures, so we were all signing their arms. The people here have such an amazing love for Jesus and I love being able to be with them and show them even more of God's love.  Love you all and I can't wait to tell you all about the trip!
Emily Bolz

Hola familia!
This is Jordie, i am having a great time in Guatemala! My first home stay in Guatemala city was fantastic! i felt right at home. Each one of the schools we have traveled to for the children's team has been a blast! Each and everyone of the kids are so happy to be with us, and love the balloon animals! My favorite part of the children's team so far has been the kids wanting us to sign their hand or a piece of paper,so cute! I appreiciate your prayers and support on this trip!! if you could  pray that i could communicate well with my host family right now in malacatan that would be great! Thank you! Love you all , and miss you so much!!

Buenos Tardes Mom, Dad, Mooser,and Aaron! We're having such an awesome time in Guatemala! God has been very faithful and has provided me with good health and super safe and amazing home stays. We're in Malacatan eating lunch right now and it's really hot! We've been to 5 schools so far and each one is such a blast (I'm getting really good at face painting the Guatemalan flag and hearts). The kids are so awesome and so happy that we are here. I'm having an unbelievable time getting to know everyone better and seeing God in such unreal ways. Miss you guys and home a ton, but I'll see you soon! Much love,

Hola from Malacatan!
I dont know where to start, we have had so much fun and done so much already, and the trip has only just begun. we started in Guatemala city. The schools and children there were so receptive to us.  They were also very cute.  For my first home-stay I stayed with Annie Haakenstad. The family we stayed with was so nice and hospitable. The kids spoke english, so we didnt have to use much of our spanish.  In the evenings we attened a local church. It was so cool to see the similarities between Wooddale Sr. High and the Guatemalans.  We traveled nine hours to Malacatan. When we got here we sat around and shared how we
have seen God work so far on the trip. It was realy cool.  For this city i hyave a home-stay with Gabby, HaileySue, and Elise. It is great, the famly is very nice. They dnot speak any english, so we have to comuicate through spanglish and charades.  This morning we went to an all boys school. They were very cute, and willing to listen.  Now you are somewhat up to date on what has been going on down here. Mom,Dad, and Katie, i miss you guys a lot, yes you too kt.  Dad, the verse you inclosed in my first letten was the same verse Mark talked about that night. How cool is that? Love you guys so much! Adios!
- Sami Stinchfield

Hey hey!
This is Kristen and we are here in Malacatan! This is first day we have been in this city and yesterday we traveled about 8 hours on a bus from Guatemala City. In Guatemala City I had the most awesome home stay, they were so nice to us and told me that we are welcome to stay with them if they ever come back. The childrens team has been to 5 schools and every one is such a different experience but they are all really fun! Today we went to an all boys private school of about 1st-6th graders. All of the kids here are sooooo precious!!! We have seen God work in so many cool ways already and its only the beginning. I can't wait to see what else is in store. I miss you guys so much and love you soo much!!
-Kristen Hendrickson


  • At 8:39 PM , Anonymous Kerry Fox said...

    Love hearing how God is working through you as you serve Him. Know you are prayed for often and loved much! Praying Hebrews 11:1 for all of you, that you would know God is at work even when you feel discouraged or weary!

    Tim, I spoke to Colin and Cam tonight! They are doing well. Tomorrow will be the last of the adventures for Colin- mountain biking. He climbed Mt. Ida with Dylan, and did extreme shopping. He cut wood and worked on a deck. He is on work crews all next week. Please pray for him to get some rest this weekend and for endurance next week.

    Cam climbs Mt. Ida tomorrow. Both boys seem very content. Colin volunteered to go early and gave his testimony Tuesday night. Colin is with Joe and Jonah. Cam has Cole V. and Noah B. in his cabin. It was great to hear from them! Jodi and I are getting together tomorrow night.

  • At 8:51 PM , Blogger Bill Schmidt said...

    It was so fantastic to read your blog (same for the others too)! What a life changing experience to work with HIV kids and share with them your love of Christ! So proud of all of you and can't wait to hear your stories first hand when you get home. Love ya!

  • At 9:22 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    We are so happy and encouraged by all your testimonies! Y'all are being such blessings and the hands and feet of the Lord down there in Guatemala. Mariah, we are so happy to hear you are well and enjoying your experience there. So glad to see you were one of the people commenting on this blog today! :) We love you! God bless you all...press on!

  • At 9:29 PM , Blogger The DeJongh Family said...

    It's beautiful to hear how you are experiencing God's Love simultaneously! How your understanding 1st hand, there's great gifts in Giving and Receiving God's Love! Simply Beautiful!
    Deuteronomy, 3:24
    O' Sovereign Lord, you have only begun to show Your greatness and the strength of Your hand to me, Your servant...

    To God be the Glory for the things He has done :)))
    Love & Prayers of support,

  • At 5:12 AM , Anonymous Kris Terp said...

    It was great to see your comments and know that you are safe and having a good time. I can't wait to see you in TN! Continue to let God guide you with his love, Dad.

  • At 7:35 AM , Anonymous Carina Smith said...

    It is truly exciting to hear of the great things that are being done in His name! Camrie - I love your post, you crack me up! Don't tell your teachers you weren't prepared, but your Spanish doesn't seem tp reflect that.

    Continuing to pray for renewal of spirit, body and mind for all of you to enthusiastically shine His light to the Guatemalans as well as each other each day!!

    Camrie: nothing new going on around here. Papa arrives next week. Even though Susie is the only one home with us, it is actually strangely quiet here with you and your brother - did you ever think that possible?? :-)

    Love you tons!!

  • At 8:27 AM , Anonymous Alayne boelke said...

    I am so excited to read your posts everyday and follow your journey. God is using all of you in so many ways! I love seeing your smiling faces in the pictures. Guatemala is so beautiful in so many ways. I can't wait to sing songs with the children's team when you get back! I am praying for all of you. Alayne

  • At 8:33 AM , Blogger Connie said...

    From Tim's posting it sounds like the trip is going well! I am so glad. I can't wait to hear about all the amazing things that I am sure God is doing in you and through you! I am continuing to pray for all of you to have renewed strength physically and spiritually each day! Give all my Guatemalans friends a hug. Miss you and love you tons!

  • At 8:54 AM , Anonymous Joelle Syverson said...

    What a huge blessing to get to read your post, Ellyse. I am praising God along with you for His faithfulness in keeping you healthy (I know that was your main prayer request). Dad and I are very proud of you and all the kids on this trip. What an encouragement to see a generation of young people make such a huge impact on the Kingdom for Christ...continue to SHINE for Him!! Love you and miss you tons!

  • At 9:09 AM , Anonymous Sharon Allen said...

    So good to hear from you!! I enjoy reading the blog each day. Sounds like you are experiencing some incredible opportunities to show and feel God's love and provision. Excited to hear all of your stories when you return! Proud of you all for your dedication and hard work. Love,love,love you! ~Mom

  • At 11:28 AM , Anonymous Curt Swanson said...

    Hey thanks for such complete updates to what's going on. Some of the experiences your all having one can just say WOW. Julia - Can't wait to hear your experiences. Were all so proud of you. Were all praying for you.

  • At 1:25 PM , Anonymous Mia and Dan said...

    How wonderful to see photos and read about these incredible experiences. Thinking of you every day and sending lots of love!

  • At 3:52 PM , Anonymous Mel said...

    Awesome to read the blogs...so inspiring. Thanks for keeping us updated and providing us with specific requests. Praying for all of you in the heat and for renewed energy. ..So grateful for your service to the Guatemalans, press on in your good work for the Lord. Excited to hear all the details and to see God work in each of you. A shout out to Buddy,love and miss ya.
    Jim and Mel Angell

  • At 4:33 PM , Anonymous Brian and Patty Bolz said...

    It was so good to "hear your voice" this morning when we read your blog! We can feel your excitement as you write about your experiences so far. I thank God every day for the opportunity for all of you to be able to serve the people of Guatemala in his name. We also were thrilled there was a birthday celebration for you and the others on Monday. We thought about you all day and what a wonderful memory to turn 17 in Guatemala! Tim, thanks so much for taking the time to keep us all informed back home. It is much appreciated!

  • At 8:43 PM , Blogger Karen said...

    It was great to hear from you! Sounds like you are having an amazing time. I hope you are being bold and trying new foods. Don't be afraid to try to use the Spanish you know. You might surprise yourself with how much you actually remember. Looking forward to learning more about what the sports/drama team is experiencing. Take lots of pictures. Keep sharing the love of Christ. Emmy and Erin say hi. Jared left for Hungary yesterday. Pray for health and safety for him too. Love you, Mom and Dad


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