Antigua

Hey Friends and Family,

Yesterday we had an opportunity to go to Antigua and experience a little bit of the Guatemala culture.  Antigua is a city in Guatemala, that was about an hour from the Paradise Bound base. It is a pretty well known place for tourists. We went there to experience the market. Everyone had a great time bargaining for good deals. It was cool to see that many of the people selling things to us at the market spoke English well.

We are beginning to pack things up today and will be leaving shortly for the airport. We all look forward to seeing you tonight and sharing how God was at work during this trip to Guatemala.

Thanks for your continuous prayers this week!

Love,

The Ivanrest Guatemala Team 2015

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Dedication Day!!

Dear Prayer Warriors at home,

We did not have access to internet for most of the day yesterday so we couldn’t update until today.  The team is doing well and only a couple people have very minor digestive issues so that is a huge answer to prayer.

I feel our team has the absolute best day to update the blog as this was the day we dedicated our 4 houses and gave the message of salvation to each of the families.  Our whole team started at house #1 and went through all of them from there.  Each building team went into the house with the families and the pastors and Dan.  They handed out all the gifts to each person in the family and then Pastor Pablo proceeded to tell them a story using a bag of beans, a bag of salt, and a soap.  He used this as an analogy that they could relate to.  Beans are filled with all the nutrients they need to fulfill you, give you energy, and help you grow.  Salt adds flavor to your food, and the soap you need to keep you clean.  He then took out the Bible.  Like the beans, you need to read the Bible to fulfill your needs.  You can’t just read the Bible, you have to open your heart to hear its message and consume the words to be saved.  Do you use just a pinch of salt or a whole bag of salt in your food?  Just a pinch of salt makes a huge difference in your food, just like reading your Bible consistently will add excitement to your life.  Lastly, the soap obviously keeps you clean and is necessary for health, Christ in your life can cleanse you from your sins and enable you to have a relationship with Jesus Christ.  He ended by asking them if they accepted Jesus in their hearts.  Every single family member did!!  Approximately 20+ people will join us in paradise someday!

While they were inside the house, the rest of the team was asked to put hands on the house and either pray, read scripture of sing quietly.  This was a new experience for most as we don’t often do these things out loud or as long next to other people.  One interesting thing we noticed was that right before each family went into the house, the wind really picked up.  Many of us got chills and in talking about it later, we all realized it was the movement of the Holy Spirit.  After dedicating 4 houses, we came back spiritually revived but also spiritually exhausted!

During our small group time, we were asked to use one word to describe our feelings on the day so below are our groups words:

Lily-Powerful

Tyler-Unexplainable

Kaleigh-Eye-Opening

Graham-Unexpected

Justin-Intensity

Kris-Faith-Building

You would all be so proud of your kids!

 

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Final Building Day

Today we woke up, did our self devotions, and departed for the village where we have been building houses. Today was our last building day because tomorrow is the day that we dedicate the houses. We worked as a team and stuccoed (pink cement outer layer of the houses) all of the homes. Most of us had more stucco on ourselves rather than on the houses. After, we painted our individual houses with designs and Bible verses. Many teams had a blast doing this. Our group specifically was able to recreate a drawing that the boy from our family drew. It was a very cool experience because they were very happy to have that on their walls. All day there were dark grey clouds above the village, but the rain held off until all of us were done painting. That was a major gift from God. After a great day of painting, we had a great group devotional time. We read John 18:1-11 which was the story of when Jesus was arrested. We discussed how most of our Bibles translate verse five and six that Jesus said “I am he,” but Dan read his version which said, “I am.” The soldiers were knocked down, and we talked about how sometimes we have to be knocked down to see how much we need God. The main point, however, was that rather than being like Peter and working for God, we need to work with God. We ask for your prayers as we dedicate the houses tomorrow. We ask that you pray that we have the ability to work with God rather than for him.

Thanks for all the prayers!

Allie, Jeremy, Amber, Ryan, Eric, and Allison

Medical Clinic #2

Today was somewhat similar to yesterday. We woke up and got to spend time doing team devotions. As a team we are getting to know each other better, which has led to us opening up and sharing our stories with one another. After this, all the teams came together for a group devotion which started out with singing. More and more people are becoming more open with each other which has led to powerful moments praising God. Our devotion today came from Matthew and was about how Jesus fed the 5000. We talked about how God can work through small things to create big impacts. This was evident in the rest of our day. We rode in the vans to a village that was located in the mountains about 2 hours away. During the drive to the village, the scenery around us was amazing and we could definitely see how big God was through that. We were greeted by kids running after the vans as we pulled into the village. To our surprise the people that came to the clinic were fewer than what we expected. Fewer people means healthier people, God is good! We started building relationships by doing activities ranging from doing nails, giving hand massages, coloring, playing soccer and even baseball on top of running the medical clinic. We also spent quality time focusing on building relationships with the adults especially the mothers. These smalls things led to many of them opening their hearts to receive the message later in the night. After we played games and built relationships, we all sat down to watch the Jesus film. At the end of the film our group came up to the front to sing several songs and Emma, Jeremy, Hunter, and Graham were willing to share their stories. It was extremely powerful! We can’t wait to see what God has in store for us tomorrow!

Thank you for your prayers!

Hunter, Emma, Erin, Lisa, Matthew 1 & Matthew 2

PS Emma is dozing off as we write this. It has been a long, but fulfilling couple of days!

Medical Clinic

Today we headed off on a two and a half hour journey to a medical clinic in a village. It had been two years since Paradise Bound had been there and it had been a very unwelcoming atmosphere. Paradise Bound planted a pastor there and since then he has been struggling with sharing Christ with these people. Today it all changed. When we arrived the kids were very welcoming. It was a very hot day outside, but that didn’t stop us from sharing Christ’s love. Many of us played with the kids. The kids loved any new toys we had to offer them. We painted the girls nails, colored in coloring books, played with sidewalk chalk, jump roped, played soccer with new pumped up ball, and many more. There were also some of us working in the medical clinic. A nurse would talk with each family and give us a paper sharing what medications they need to receive and we would fill those orders. After the medical clinic was wrapped up, we showed them the Jesus movie. The movie shared with the villagers the life of Jesus in Spanish. When the movie was done, our team was invited up to the front to sing. While singing in front of those villagers, you could feel the Holy Spirit there. After a few songs had passed, a few of our team members shared their testimony’s about their struggles in their lives and how God remained faithful to them.  We then walked off stage and gathered with the villagers while Hermano Jesus preached to them in Spanish. Even though we couldn’t understand exactly what Hermano Jesus was saying, we all knew that the Holy Spirit was among us. A couple minutes later, Hermano Jesus welcomed the villagers to open their hearts and accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. It was a indescribable moment for us to witness Jesus working in so many peoples lives. This was a huge improvement from two years ago when almost no one had come forward to accept this invitation. Later, we packed up and said our sad goodbyes to these people who we had made strong relationships with.

Thanks for your continuous prayers and support during this trip!

With Love,

Emily, Erica, Laurel, Matthew M, Alex, Bill, and the rest of the team

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First Building Day (Day 2)

We were woken up this morning at 5:30 after staying up till midnight. We woke up to a beautiful view of the valley and sunrise. We all spent time in devotions, writing in our journals before we left for the day. Next we traveled to a village that was a mile away, but still took 45 minutes to get there due to rough roads. When we arrived at the village, we split up in our four groups and started to build the four houses. Before we started building we placed the family in the middle of this 10×12 cement block and prayed for them. It was different than many of us had done before. We learned how to pray the Guatemalan way. It’s a moment of powerful prayer with many voices being raised to our heavenly Father at once. After the time of prayer built the frame, put up walls and cement siding, also we attached the roof to the porch.  We were all struck by the way the families wanted to help be involved in the process of making their new home. The father of the family worked directly with us many times through the building process. Often times we had twenty people sitting around watching us build, which gave us the feeling that being there meant a lot to them. After we were finished building for the day, we ran around with dozens of kids and playing games. There are pictures posted on the blog of our progress so far.

 

We value your continued prayers as we participate in the medical clinics at the villages over the weekend.

Thanks for reading.

Kirs, Ty, Graham, Lily, Kaleigh and Justin

We Made It!

Hello All! We are happy to inform everyone that we have arrived safely at Paradise Bound Ministries. We had no issues at the airports, for that we give thanks to God! We spent time in Atlanta getting to know one another better because of our long layover. After a long day of traveling we are all ready to crawl into bed and get some sleep. We wake up at 5:30 Guatemala time (7:30 Michigan time) to start our first day of building. We are thankful for your prayers, and ask that you keep them coming!

God Bless!

Guatemala Team 2015