Thank you all for your email messages and encouragement last week! It was a tough week but I am tougher for it! I am also feeling abundantly blessed through it as I got to witness several answered prayers!
It is my goal to provide a weekly update during the time I am here in Guatemala and the work of Recycled Lives. Here goes for week 2:
Spanish lessons: I am continuing to study and learn spanish daily. This week my light bulb moment was understanding the name "Chupacabra"... yes I know this does not seem all too exciting for most but after a frustrating day of feeling completely lost in past imperfect conjugated irregular verb formations my head was exploding like the volcano fuego. I decided to take a break from the verbs and review animal names. Chupar (to suck) was a verb I learned and Cabra (goat) now that strange name for the "fictional" creature makes sense.....
Clinic and Activity Center construction: Praise be to God as we continue to see slow but steady progress on the clinic. This past week we are praising God for His goodness in that we received word the cement for the floors and skimming the walls was donated by a local Guatemalan cement company! We also received a generous donation that will support the materials for the construction of the roof!!!! Thanks be to God! Step by step this dream continues to come true to have a center where we can provide space for health care teams, a physician on a semi regular basis and the food distribution and mission team activities! The estimated material costs remaining to complete construction is approximately $10,000 ($1,000 for the electrical, $2,500 for windows (16 windows x approx $150 ea), $2-5,000 for other items (doors, septic, plumbing materials, paint, fixtures,etc.). We are still in need of funding for the workers to construct the floors and roof with the current donated materials (only $200/wk supports a salary for local men to supervise volunteers and perform the majority of the labor.)
March mission team: Brad arrived on Sunday and we have been enjoying preparing for the arrival of Kelly and Dave this afternoon. The team will "hit the ground running" starting tomorrow with serving a meal and offering some games and activities in San Gabriel (the community surrounding the garbage dump). Friday we will be installing a wood burning cooking stove for a family and teaching her how to make Recycled Lives' top secret kettle corn through gifting her with the tools and supplies needed to add this product to her small home business of selling sweet breads. This family has been on our care program since 2011 when one of my mission teams built them a home. We have assisted this family through high school for their 2 boys, helped them when the father died of diabetes (some of you may remember the story of Lorenzo from the hungry feast event). Over the weekend we will receive training in intercessional prayer through a couples prayer retreat hosted by a YWAM (youth with a mission) missionary couple I met nearly 2 years ago (Her name is SHAWN and her spouses name is Dave) LOL! Funny how God works.
General update: Following my request for prayer last week for the return of water, it finally returned that very evening I sent out the request! Thank you for praying and thank you God for blessing that request!
Brad and I were able to do a social visit yesterday to the Salazar family. They recently lost their mother Isabel about 2 1/2weeks ago. Please pray for them as they are grieving quite hard as Isabel was the glue to the family. It was quite the blessing however to hear the 14 year old provide comforting words of hope to his sister that they need to unite together in prayer and going to church and to rejoice in knowing their mother is no longer suffering as she had been suffering greatly from severe diabetes. Please lift this family in prayer as they process their grief and adjust to life without Isabel.
I was excited to be able to start our first ladies prayer and yarn club in Guatemala. I love to knit and have been wanting to lead a group of woman in a yarn club back home for some time now. Last November I met a woman here in Guatemala that had the same desire. When we connected she nearly cried when I shared my wish to do this back home with women. She has been desiring to start a crocheting and knitting prayer group for women here in Guatemala but didn't have the resources to do so. I put together 10 kits for her to start her group and also donated a suitcase of yarn and was blessed to see her lead her first group of woman last Saturday! (photo attached) I learned I am going to stick with knitting...crochet was quit hard for these knitting hands! These ladies had a wonderful time. It was a great blessing to see a group of women learn not only a hobby that is relaxing but one that could potentially provide a small income.
This past week I have been surrounded by people sick with very bad colds (am pretty sure it is influenza for the severity of illness). I have been fortunate enough to only be mildly sick with a few days of a minor cough, headache and body aches but I am feeling much better this morning as I write. I have been using an essential oil blend since my arrival on a daily basis to boost my immunity. Please pray for my home stay hosts and spanish teacher, they have been sick with this horrible cold for close to a week.
The volcano Fuego (fire volcano) has been very active. Attached are a few photos from what it looks like during the day and at night. It surely is one of God's most amazing creations!
- for all persons suffering throughout the world that lack physical resources but most importantly that do not know the saving relationship available through Jesus Christ. For each of us to know and "go" (work) in our personally God-given ministries to reach all persons lost and suffering.
- for the families we assist to not only know the comfort of shelter, water & electricity but the comfort of their Savior Jesus
- for the salazar family and women in our yarn group
- for the mission team's first day of ministering in San Gabriel and our prayer retreat and its leaders
- for my entire family as I am away, I miss them dearly.
- for me to continue to learn and be able to speak spanish so I may minister more directly to the people I have been called to serve
:) Shawn Johnson
Founder and Executive Director