Guatemala City, Guatemala - I received the following news from Byron Benitez and Hiwatthia Jones, missionaries in Guatemala City and directors of the Latin American Theological Institute (ITL). I will try to have the pictures posted as soon as possible.
Tuesday, January 18, 2011
Greetings from the south!!!
We pray that this message finds you well and enjoying this brand new year. We are doing fine here in Guatemala. We arrived back to Guatemala on late Monday night, January 10.
Last Tuesday night was a very exciting time for the Instituto Teológico Latinoamericano (ITL). In fact, the entire afternoon was filled with emotions as we led up to that night's events. As most of you know we have been raising funds to purchase transportation for ITL. Now we have it! The Lord blessed us to be able to raise most of the funds to purchase a BRAND NEW diesel 15 passenger Nissan Urvan.
Please allow us to tell you a little about the evening. First, all the staff, students and their families went to a local restaurant for dinner. After dinner our president made lapel pin presentations to the local teachers. This was the first presentation of these pins to anyone. Following the lapel pin presentations, we did what HAS to be done at every official gathering: announcements! :-) And, following the announcements, everyone was invited to go outside for a quick outdoor excursion.
This was very exciting as we all stepped outside and on the other side of the parking lot was a beautiful new van with a giant red bow on the front of it. And, as we got closer there was a magnetic sign on the van with the institute's name and logo. At this point there was no doubt that the van belonged to ITL. A couple of the students began crying. Our ITL truck driver, Francisco Ramos, was in shock and did not know what to say. The students and their families walked around the van, touched it and made remarks like “wow - look at this!”
The president presented van key to Francisco Ramos. It had been decided that since he, for more than a year and a half, had driven our somewhat dependable ITL truck (really, it was Francisco's pickup), he would be the first to drive the new van back to the institute. It was also decided that our students and their families would be the first to be passengers as the van went for the first to time to ITL. Of course, everyone was ready to leave to experience a comfortable ride home until they heard that dessert awaited everyone back in the restaurant.
We returned inside where a carrot cake with a big “congratulations” on it and ice cream awaited us. Someone commented that this would be a true test for the van with a full load of passengers all full of cake and ice cream. :-) After dessert we went back outside. The sentiments were still high. They walked around the van. They got in and out of the van. They touched the van to make sure it was real. _ What a blessing from God! Afterwards, everyone loaded up and headed home. Byron got the privilege of driving the truck home and NO ONE offered to ride with him. :-)
THANK YOU for the love and concern for the Guatemala work. We send a special THANK YOU to all who contributed funds to help make this moment a reality for the ITL family. Without generous people like you willing to allow God to use you in this way, we would not have enjoyed an evening such as this. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!
As we close let us inform you to be on the look out for other messages from us coming soon. One will be an invitation for you to come to Guatemala to be a part of our first ITL graduation. The graduation event will be combined with our 2nd Annual ITL Lectureship. So, it will be a great time to “experience Guatemala.” The dates are Thursday, March 31 through Sunday, April 2. Lord willing, you should receive all the details very soon. PLEASE make plans to be with us!!!!
May the God of heaven shower His blessings on each one of you! We love you! Enjoy the pictures that follow.
Con amor en Cristo,
"Teaching the CENTRAL MESSAGE in CENTRAL AMERICA!"
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