Today we got to sleep in a little bit because it was a clinic day. We had a breakfast of delicious chocolate chip pancakes and watermelon, they really spoil us here. In the morning we had time to do our solo time with God, and to visit the orphanage.
The orphanage is a cute building with many small children, from babies to young kids. Although most of us can’t communicate with words with the children it is amazing to see how open they are to getting to know us. There aren’t really words to say how great the women who work in the orphanage are. They work 48 hour shifts, because they live so far away from base. They take great care of the kids, and they are caring, strong women. Dan reminds us that loving on the kids is great and encouraged, but he also reminds us to love on the nannies too. Pouring love into them so they in turn can continue to pour love out on these children. (I think this is probably a concept all of us can apply in our lives back home as well.) Many in our group have taken this to heart, and change diapers, and do other odds in ends for nannies. Hopefully our help is making their days a little easier. The children bond quickly, and some even cry when team members leave. It is heart breaking to think that they don’t have a family to love on them, but it is reassuring to know that nannies provide a steady and happy life for these little ones.
The rest of the morning we packaged the medicines that we took down with us. We had assembly lines repackaging the medicines into individual portions. We made sandwiches for our dinner at the village and packed rice and beans to give out after the clinic.
Devotions led with worship, praising God and preparing our hearts for the day. We studied Matthew 28: 1-10. From here we discussed having faith in stepping outside of your comfort zone, essentially taking a leap of faith. Today’s devotion was very touching to each of us as we prepared to spread God’s love to a village in the Highlands. Dan expressed to us how much we would be stretched spiritually, emotionally and physically in which we need to seek Jesus and not have fear. God is with us as we go and spread His Word to His people and will always meet us along the way.
After devotions we took a very bumpy ride along the Pan American Highway taking all sorts of twists and turns, down and up the mountain and sometimes along the very edge of the mountain. We got to drive through a small town and saw all the different shops and got to people watch as we went. We stopped at a gas station to fill up, and they had a security guard with a big gun. This is common place in Guatemala, mostly as a precautionary measure. They have gas attendants here, that work on commission, so we got excellent service. After quite a long trip through the mountains, about two hours, we finally reached the village where we would set up the clinic.
Upon arrival, the families gradually trickled outside of their homes as we got off of the buses. We had dulces “sweets” ready to give to the kids as they LOVE their candy. Once we got a soccer ball out and rolling, the kids started joining in on the fun. Even our 70 year old team member joined in. Goes to show that anyone can serve in numerous ways. They are incredible soccer players to say the least. We definitely got schooled. Many team members received some bumps and bruises from falling on the the rocky grounds. It wasn’t the greatest terrain for soccer but it was what we had. In addition to soccer, many rounds of Pato, Pato, Gonso (Duck, Duck, Goose), ball tossing and tag going on. Nail painting, coloring, hair braiding and Futbol Americano were also some other activities played in the village. The little kids’ faces lit up with joy and their smiles widened as we took the time to sit and just spend time with them. Most of us do not speak fluent Spanish so it was amazing to see how we could communicate non verbally and still have strong connections.
It took some of the older community members a bit to warm up to us. The adults usually stood around the outskirts in the shade. The guys of our group did a great job of going and simply talking with them. Tom and Glen chatted with the same group of gentlemen for a long time. It was funny because the young adult men were questioning how old a couple of our team members were and guessed Tom V. was 101 years old. Eventually they even let Tom ride one of their motorcycles. The young men eventually joined in on the soccer games and were incredible.
During this whole time another part of our team was working in the clinic. There was a long line of people out of the door. There was a table full of medicine, and two sides to allow us to get through patients faster. There were a few Guatemalan nurses their who helped diagnose the families as they came in and then our team members packed the necessary medicines for each family. At this time families were given a ticket for the rice and beans hand out later that night. Inside the clinic the team members got to know the families really well as they were explaining their medical needs to the nurses. The members also got to play with the little kids of the families as they were preparing the necessary meds and make connections with them. The med clinic lasted approximately two hours, serving many families.
As we ate dinner in the classroom, consisting of PB & J’s, ham and cheese sandwiches and various chips, the children were peeking into the window to see what was going on. It was difficult to see their sweet little faces pressed up against the window as we ate our dinner. The team was curious as to whether the people of the village were going to eat dinner or not.
After dinner the team members prepared to go to iglesia “church” with the people of the village. Once most of the village was there they showed a movie that Paradise Bound calls the “Jesus film”. It was in Spanish and covered the life, works, death, and resurrection of Jesus. Having been in Spanish and not being able to understand what they were saying, it was amazing to see the emotion and love pour out through the movie. After about 2/3rds of the way through the film, the power cut out. We all started to get a little nervous as a few people got up to leave. Someone ran to get Dan and he got the system back up pretty quickly, fortunately not many people had left. Some team members felt that this movie section didn’t go so well as many people were not paying attention, however after the movie they noticed a change.
Right after the movie our team went up to the front to sing praise songs. “Great is Thy Faithfulness”, “Open the Eyes of My Heart” and “Great I Am ” were on the playlist for the night. When worship was over Dan announced that 3-4 members would share their testimonies in order to share the power of God’s love and grace with the villagers. This was done because there is a preconceived notion that Americans live elaborate lives without any problems. But we all know that is not true. By having Dan translate each testimony the villagers were able to understand what was being shared.
Once testimonies were complete, the sermon kicked off. Which is also where the title of this blog post comes in. Pastor Jesus (hey-zoose) spoke to everyone in the room about loving God with your WHOLE heart and accepting him into your heart as well. Through a booming, passionate voice, Pastor Jesus gave a message that was so powerful that if the people were not paying attention before, were definitely paying attention now. After about a 45 minute sermon, the music cued for the alter call.
Indescribable. That is the word to describe what happened next. The Holy Spirit was felt throughout the church as it settled into each other’s hearts. Villagers and team members experienced something so moving that you would have had to be there to fully understand what happened. As the people of the village come forward, members of the team laid hands on them while praying out loud. Tears fell from the faces of everyone, souls were saved and the power of God was overwhelming. What an incredible thing to witness. Team members range in age from 16-70 and seeing everyone connect and engage on such a deep level with those around them just goes to show what an incredible God we serve and how selfless the members of our team are. Villagers of all ages came forward and cried out to God, dedicating their life to serving God and sharing his word.
After the powerful and moving experience shared by all of us and connecting as one we passed out Bibles to the villagers who openly accepted Christ into their hearts, in which they were extremely happy to receive. We shared a lot of hugs and tears of happiness before we left the church and loaded up supplies. We prayed as a team before leaving thanking the Lord for His goodness and providing the power to do His work in this village. We prayed for Pastor Jesus as having the power of the Holy Spirit move through you as such is a very emotionally and physically draining. We were so thankful to be a part of this village and their church, please keep them in your prayers as they continue their walk with Christ.
The ride home was still long, but uneventful. When we arrived back on base we had an hour to get down with our showers, because they only run the generator for short periods of time. Most of us were exhausted from a long, but wonderful day, so we went to bed pretty soon after all of us had cleaned up.
We covet your thoughts and prayers as we move on to a new village tomorrow that is even larger than today.
~Team Bridgeway/South Olive
(Written by: Collin, Hailey, & Melissa)