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 26, 2014

Our final post from Guatemala.

Its hard to believe this is our last night in Guatemala. Much has been accomplished but it still seems the time has flown by. Today most of the team got up early, leaving Panahachel a little after 7am. We arrived at our hotel just as the US-Germany match was starting.  The hotel had a room set up with a large screen TV for us to watch the game.  During halftime we had a nice snack of french fries and iced tea.  Even though the US lost we still had a good time watching the game. The rest of the team came in as the game was ending, so we distributed lunch money and sent the students off to explore the town for the afternoon.  The leaders had a nice lunch with the Guatemalan and Salvadoran  team members, and after that joined the students for shopping and exploring.

At 7pm we came back together for a celebration dinner at the hotel. There was a marimba band in full costume and a wonderful traditional dinner, and then dancers in traditional costumes and masks. Everyone was in good spirits and excited to be going home (but sad to be leaving). After dinner we had one final worship and sharing time, during which William (the evangelist from El Salvador who traveled with the mime team) presented a message challenging the students to continue to build on their faith.

The first Saturday group and the Sunday group will be up early tomorrow (about 3:30am) to be able to get to the airport to catch their morning flights. The second Saturday group will have a slightly more leisurely morning.  Before you know it we will be home and greeting you all in person.  Please be praying for one more day of good health and nice, smooth connections through the traveling process tomorrow.

Our final Word of the day is from Joshua 4:5-7. "... 'Go over before the ark of the Lord your God into the middle of the Jordan. Each of you is to take up a stone on your shoulder, according to the number of the tribes of the Israelites, to serve as a sign among you. In the future, when your children ask you, 'What do these stones mean?' tell them that the flow of the Jordan was cut off before the ark of the covenant of the Lord. When it crossed the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. These stones are to be a memorial to the people of Israel forever." Our prayer is that  the memories and pictures and souvenirs and scars the kids bring home will serve as reminders of the work God did in and through them during their 2 weeks here in Guatemala.

As a wrap-up, here are some of the things the students learned during their OCA 2014 experience:

*have seen how a relationship with God brings peace and joy in difficult circumstances
*you don't always have to be doing something to serve God
*am reminded through the mime of how generous God is
*realized how much we need to rely on God for strength
*'loving' someone is different than 'enjoying' them; love them first, and whether or not you enjoy them keep loving them
*the littlest things matter; if nothing else they may be seeds to something greater
*you cannot change peoples' circumstances but by introducing them to Jesus you enable them to change their perspective which may subsequently enable them to change their circumstances
*it is not "one and done"- we will see these people again in heaven
*God's plan is better than ours (even though it can be hard to see at the time since his time frame is so much wider than ours)
*God comforts us in hard situations
*God provides direction through our experiences
*God uses the regard (awe?) in which the youth we serve hold our students to reach them with words that they would not hear from adults ("they're so cool we will do whatever they say")
*The Guatemalans we served along side were wonderful examples of selfless living
*what was first perceived as a language barrier actually serve as a relationship 'bridge'
*we cannot measure a person's response to God based on their response to us
*we need to be in the moment, and not concerned with what might have been or what will happen in the future
*unexpected things (big or small) bring people together
*can teach about God through the simplest things (such as chalk drawings of the cross)
*God is a God of joy (worship, soccer, the scenery, etc.)
*being a Christian is more than just being a Christian- we need to act on our faith
*true love is truly unconditional
*"I will pray for them until I have no breath"
*be proud of our "name" (who God made us to be)
*when we can't do any more, we need to remember God can and that we can still pray
*we serve a God of miracles
*we need to be aware of (and respond to!) God's still, small voice
*always be second; be generous
*we are conditioned to default to our comfort zone so we need to intentionally step out in faith
*we actually feel more blessed (rewarded) when God provides in situations where we cannot
*God is a God who goes before us (prepares our way)
*technology is a barrier to relationships with God and with others
*2 Corinthians 2:13 "...the fragrance of the knowledge of Him"
*God will be generous when we pray
*it's not about me (this was our theme)
*pray without ceasing, because God answers prayer, but then be sure to acknowledge his answer
*God rewards obedience with joy
*don't just learn about God (intellectual), experience Him (all dimensions of life); love Him back
*don't let circumstances rob you of the joy of service (don't be disappointed when the plan does not go our way)

Here are a last few notes from students:
I hear I've been requested to write by my lovely sister Abby... Hi Abby and parents! I've been having a lot of fun on sports team, and I got to share God's love with so many people. We went to a military school and 14 people came to Christ after watching the drama which was amazing to experience. I'm sure you're wondering if I got injured, and yes I did... On the second day... I got kicked in the ankle, and now it's a little swollen and bruised. I'm doing fine though and I miss you! See you soon! P.S. Nick says NYAN!

-Maria Emerson

Apparently our fan club wants a shoutout. So hey Cam and Bret. And our families. Children's has been great and this trip was a great experience for us all. Looking forward to see everyone tomorrow.

-Colin Fox and Seth Barnaby


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home