Today we started our day with an email from our Home Church - Word Fellowship, that a donation came in for our ministry here in Guatemala. We are overjoyed with such a blessing.
Three hours later, we received a knock on our door from a women in need of food for her children. We went through our pantry and pulled out a few items that would help her out. It just made us realize that we really need to be better prepared for these types of things. It made me realize we have been a bit selfish in our shopping habits and have only been purchasing what we needed. The next time we go shopping, it will definitely include some items like rice, beans and powdered milk for times like this.
The best part is God's Perfect Timing. Butch was knowledgable enough in his Spanish to be able to understand her need and God provided the funds and realization that this is going to be a continuous void we can help fill. It may be just a little at a time, but this is where relationships begin. Our opportunity to share the Love of God and become more connected with our community. What a joy to be used in such a way. It may not seem like much to us who have more than we need, but we have no idea the impact it can have on His Kingdom. This is just the beginning!
If you are lead to help out with something like this, you can give any amount online by clicking on the Donate Button below.
I just love the faces! If you have ever been on a mission trip with us, you know that I love taking pictures. Sometimes at the most inopportune moments. But when I am able to capture faces like this, oh it is worth more than any amount of words.
I think we are beginning to come off the the fast paced life of "busyness" we have been used to back in NJ and getting used to the fact that things just do not work the same. Everything is much slower, in some ways it is good. We have much more time to spend in God's Presence and observe life here in Magdalena. As I look from the third floor just outside of our bedroom, I have noticed one of our neighbors properties. Last week they had a pile of ears of corn laying out to dry. A few days later I noticed one of the ladies removing the corn from the cob. Now there is a pile of something brown. I am not sure what it is, but I am curious to find out. It is just those little things that help me to understand a bit more of what life is really like here.
Just to fill you in as to our belongings, housing, Spanish classes and finances...
The container with our belongings was delayed leaving the port in New York for one week. Then delayed another week in Freeport, Bahamas because of engine problems with vessel. We have been able to track it's course and it is "scheduled" to arrive in Guatemala on April 17th. We have no idea how long it will take to clear customs and finally be released, but our shipping agent tells us it will not take long. We are praying it will be quickly and that they will be gracious with duties and taxes we will be charged.
Housing...One of the reasons we hope things move swiftly is that we are now living alone and have a big, and pretty much empty house, as Chris, Holly and the boys are now living in their new home a few blocks away.
We have been blessed by Chris and Holly allowing us to live with them for our first 2 months here, and for all of the help and guidance they have been giving us. We will continue to live in this house for the next few months. In July or August, we will be moving into another home that is more suitable to our needs. We will still have extra room to accommodate visitors and teams. : )
We have been moving on, what we feel is a pretty fast pace. Not really grasping everything, but we feel it will all work out in time. We have Spanish on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday mornings for four hours. We started out learning together, but four hours is a long time. We have split our time to two hours each, which is much easier and it allows each of us to work at our own pace and tackle our individual struggles. Our Spanish teacher, Julio, is a great guy and we both feel very comfortable with him. He asks us a lot of questions about life in the US and he also shares much about his life and life in general in Guatemala. So we are getting a bit of a history lesson also.
Some of you have provided very generously to our need and we are blessed by your provision. However, we have had a few expenses end up costing us more than we expected - registration of our car, insurance, our residency application, Spanish lessons and a few others, and we are praying that our container expenses will not exhaust the balance of our initial start up funds and allow us to be able to start purchasing some furniture items will need.
We also have not yet met our regular monthly expense request. We have an ongoing expense which we now estimate at about $2,500 per month and a monthly commitment of $300. We are confident God will provide all of our needs, but we just wanted to give you an update as to where things presently stand.
Here is a slideshow of current happenings...
Catch A Glimpse - April 1, 2013
We have been living here in Magdalena for just over a month. We have accomplished many things during our time here so far. Our car is officially registered and has tags, we have filed our residency paperwork, which means we will not need to leave the country every 90 days. And just this week, we found a house to live in, but it will not become available until July or August, so in the mean time we will continue to stay here in The Steed's home, and after they move to their new home, we will stay on here until we are able to move into the other house.
Our Spanish lessons are moving along and we are not quite sure if we are really grasping it. After 50 plus years of only English, it is a bit of an undertaking to retrain our minds to think so differently, but we are praying for patience and understanding of this new language.
We have been helping out with a couple of homes that have been built in the past week. Butch helping the work crews with pouring floors a bit more efficiently and I have been taking pictures for Chris and attempting to talk with the families a bit (just general conversation) and playing with many of the children. We have also been revisiting the homes in progress and taking update pictures, which is helping both of us out, because we have a chance to continue building relationships and become more familiar with the families.
The smells, sounds and sights are so much different here. Most of the time you can smell wood burning because that is how most of the people here cook. It can be quite noisy at times, the barking dogs, the crowing roosters, and there are many people walking the streets selling their goods and each of them have their own sound or call. The Ice Cream lady rings a bell, the scrap metal guy has his own blaring call that comes from a speaker on a vehicle, and the people walking around with their goats selling fresh squeezed goat milk have their own sound, and so on. Trying to capture an image of all of this in words is something I just can not achieve. It just needs to be experienced first hand. I spend a lot of time just looking around trying to take all of this in.
Many times we find ourselves feeling a bit lost, with not much to do. Our lives used to be so full of "stuff" to do, but we are beginning to venture out on our own a bit, going to tiende's (corner stores) here in the pueblo, driving to some local grocery stores and to Walmart. Our progress is slow, but it is good.
We miss our family and friends terribly, and God knows exactly what we need and when the time is right. We are grateful for the phone calls and Skype and FaceTime sessions we have had with some of you. It helps us out more than you can imagine and we always look forward to our Sunday morning chats with Pastor Markus, Michael, Jessica and anyone else who may be at church bright and early on Sunday mornings.
Here is our latest video... Catch A Glimpse - 2
We are so grateful for our partners, Chris and Holly Steed and their family for opening their home to us and for all of the help and guidance they are providing as we begin our journey here in Guatemala. Life would be a bit more difficult if God had not placed then in our life.
Week 2 - We spent a few more days with the team from Journey Church, Dinner with Antonietta and Jose Martinez, a Guatemala family we met on our first visit to Magdalena. Dinner with The Kunkel Family, another family who is serving here in Magdalena. Then off to Lake Atitlan for Intermissions Conference. Great worship, workshops and fellship.
When leaving, I was drawn to a sign on the side of a car - International Orphan Rescue - it reminded me of where I am and how my mind used to think. Just a few weeks ago if I would see the words "Orphan Rescue" I would think of animals as that is such a common thing in NJ. But here in Guatemala, it is about children. Oh, how things are different here. Each day I realize just how small my view on life is, and how much bigger My God is.
Much of our ride home from the conference I spent praying for God's protection over this beautiful country filled with so much pain, and for God to help me to understand just what it is that breaks His heart and to use me in ways I could never imagine.
It's Official! We have booked our one-way tickets to Guatemala. The Big Day is February 11, 2013, which, by the way, is exactly 18 months from our very first trip to Guatemala. God can really turn your life around when you are constantly in His Presence.
If you would like one of these cards mailed to you, with our contact information, sign-up for our Newsletter and furnish us with your mailing address in the "comment" section. If you are a member of our home church, Word Fellowship, you can pick one up there.
You just never know how the little words that come out of your mouth will impact the world. Just one word at a time and I keep seeing God working.
I love the opportunities that have been opened for me to share what God is doing with us. I feel that if He can do something this amazing with Terry and Butch Alcorn, then He can do it with a whole lot more of us.
Sometimes I feel as if I am boasting, but I am quickly reminded that I am a testimony of the great things God can do when we are obedient. Here is just one example...
Since I have been blessed with the scarf ministry and online yarn business, I have come in contact with more people in the past year than I could ever imagine. One of them is the DHL driver who delivers yarn to my home. His name is Chuck and he is a very kind, sweet man. He always has a smile on his face and is very careful to remind me that the package may be heavy, or a bit dirty due to it's journey and also when he will be on vacation, so I know I will need to sign for the package. Well, of course I have told him what it is that he keep delivering to my home and about the ministry. Recently I shared with him about our move to Guatemala and some of what we will be doing there. Just last night, I arrived home and saw Chuck was there delivering an order and noticed him talking with Butch. When I got into the house, I asked Butch what they were talking about. He told me that Chuck would like to pray with us before we leave for Guatemala. I had to hold back the tears. Wow! Even the DHL driver! You just never know who will be touched.
This morning as I awoke, there was another song going through my head. It is a reminder of just how much God loves each of us. It is through this, that we can find true peace.
I have constantly been praying for God to show me ways to prepare myself, through Him, for the life He has planned for me in Guatemala. This week as we are enjoying a visit by our Mission Partners Chris and Holly Steed and their boys, Holly shared her difficulty in finding joy in many of the situations that are placed before her in Magdalena. That has been weighing heavy on my heart, as I wonder if I may experience the same.
Just last night in our Small Group at church, one of our worship song was the one above. It reminded me that no matter what I may see, what I may think, or what I may feel, I can always count on God to show me my Joy! Yes, I am amazed! Yes, I am loved! And yes, God provides ALL of my needs!
From In Touch Ministries...
Made Alive in Christ
1 As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 2 in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. 3 All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful naturea and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath. 4 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions--it is by grace you have been saved. 6 And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7 in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. 8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God-- 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
Anyone who thinks of himself as a pretty good person ought to take a look at God’s assessment of humanity. He says we all come into the world spiritually dead and are ruled by Satan, his world system, and our own sin nature, or flesh. In the Lord’s eyes, we are children of wrath who deserve only punishment.
On the other hand, God is so pure and holy that He is totally separated from all sin and cannot look upon it with any favor or approval (Hab. 1:13). Everything He does is appropriate and beneficial; by comparison, even mankind’s righteous acts are like filthy rags (Isa. 64:6). Yet even though we have nothing of value to offer Him, the Lord wants us for His own and has done everything necessary to draw us close.
Those of us who have placed faith in Jesus Christ have been made spiritually alive in Him, and all our sins have been forgiven. There’s a striking contrast between what we were and who we now are in the Lord. But this change has nothing to do with how good we’ve been. Even the faith with which we respond to the Savior comes from God. We can never make ourselves righteous; it’s all a gift from Him. And once He declares us justified, we will never be pronounced guilty again.
God has said that in the ages to come, He wants to show the “surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us” (Eph. 2:7). For all eternity, we will be showered with this awesome demonstration of His love. As great as our blessings are now, they’ll pale in comparison to what awaits us in heaven.
I woke up this morning with this song in my head
That’s What Faith Can Do…
There are many mornings I awake with the words of a song running through my head. I just lay and ask God what He wants of me that day? Well, on this day, He wanted me to begin working on our blog. One of those things that I need to be in the correct mindset to accomplish. Then, as I usually do not long after I get up is read my email. I subscribe to “In Touch Ministries” daily email devotion, which I always look forward to starting my day. I just wanted to share with you what was waiting for me in this email that was just what I needed to inspire me to begin what God put on my heart for the day.
God Acts On Our Behalf
We have become so accustomed to this hurried world that we've begun to demand speed in our spiritual life too. However, God "acts on behalf of those who wait for him" (Isa. 64:4 niv). Wise believers endure until the fruits of His labor appear.
In this devotion, we'll look at three reasons believers are called upon to wait. First, God may be preparing us to receive His blessings. Perhaps we need new skills or greater maturity. Sometimes people require fresh spiritual insight before their hands are ready to hold what their hearts desire. For example, David waited years to sit on his appointed throne. But when he did, he was a wise, strong, and battle-tested king.
Second, the Father is often teaching His children to have confidence in Him. How would believers ever learn faith if God immediately fulfilled their every request? In my own life, the Lord has often said two words: "Trust Me." And He has never been late to meet my needs. No matter how we justify rushing ahead of God, doing so amounts to saying, "I don't trust You."
Finally, the Lord will at times withhold blessing to protect us from harm we can't see. We may never find out what caused the delay. But be assured that God examines the object of our desire closely before placing it in our hands.
Waiting is rarely easy, particularly in this instant-everything world. But rushing ahead of the Lord short-circuits His plan. Believers who do are left unsatisfied, and they often must live with terrible consequences. Be patient while the Lord works out details. His best is on the way.
And so, I began...
You can take a look at our "About Us" page and see what faith, trust, patience and obedience were just a few things God needed to show us and how this part of our journey in our life began to develop as we saw God carrying out His Plan for us...
Here is a little video just to give you a glimpse of what God has shown us...
|Butch and Terry Alcorn in Guatemala||