We have always been very blessed to have many different Christians from many different places become a part of our work by participating in a mission team during the summer months. This year was no exception. Allow us to share with you some of the joy and blessings that these individuals brought to us here in Guatemala.
The first team came July 11 – 20 and was made up of Christians from various states. The team leader was Lesha Colglazier, from Indianapolis, IN. Thank you Lesha for another job well done!
This year’s team was composed of the following individuals (see group picture above):
From Roscoe, TX: Roddy Alexander, Danny
Boren, Faith Boren, Austin Browne, Marty Browne, Coy Roper, Caden Smith, Cheyenne Smith, Kylee Smith, Mirian Solis
From Florence, AL: Buddy and Billie Baker, and Pam Wade
From Piggett, AK: Jerry (not pictured) and Donna Morgan
From Holly Springs, MS: Miles Morgan
From Senatobia, MS: Katie Martin
From Los Angeles, CA.: Aralee Hernandez and Ashley Figueroa (Byron’s mom and niece).
Thursday was a travel day when most of the members of the team arrived at various times. Friday was a day in which the group was able to do some sight seeing around the city. At the end of the day, we had a fellowship dinner at our home. This dinner serves several purposes: to provide a warm welcome to our U.S. guests, to acquaint our guests with many of our local Christians, and to play a healthy game of Jenga (well, maybe this last reason is not a real purpose, but everyone seems to look forward to it). Don’t ask who won!
Saturday was a full day of work for the team. They participated in a seminar at Linda Vista entitled “A Church after God’s Own Heart.” They were involved in many areas, such as children’s classes, ladies’ classes, men’s classes, teens’ classes, and great fellowship.
Sunday, too, was a full day. We were able to worship together with the saints at Linda Vista in the morning and in the evening services. The team was involved in teaching and preaching during our worship and Bible class. The children had two special treats. First, Pam Wade prepared a puppet presentation for them. Second, Jerry Morgan, normally a missionary and Bible teacher, doubled as a magician and kept the children entertained for a little while. The team members were really eager to serve and to help in any way that they could. We really appreciate the Christ-like spirit they demonstrated as they served their Guatemalan brethren.
In addition, after enjoying a good lunch made by one of our sisters, Adela Garcia, the team went to the Amatitlan National Hospital. The church at Roscoe prepared Teddy Bears with the name of the Linda Vista Church on the tag. These were given away along with the care packages that were prepared by the ladies at Linda Vista. In the packages, we included some necessary items, like water, toilet paper, soap, tooth brushes, items patients do not get when they are admitted. We also included a tract with a Bible message. We are proud of the team as they encouraged the patients, prayed with many of them, and passed out lots of smiles to bring joy to those in difficult times.
Pray to God that some of these patients may be touched by our kind deeds of praying for them and visiting them in their time of affliction, or by the message they were given in the tracts.
On Monday, we began a work project scheduled at our preaching school facility, Instituto Teológico Latinoamericano (ITL). Really, there were two projects taking place at the same time. The first one was a special three-day class taught by Dr. Coy Roper. Brother Roper writes for Truth for Today, has written extensively and has taught in many brotherhood universities. We felt privileged to give our students and other local brethren that were invited the quality of teaching from Brother Roper’s vast experience. His subject was Basic Beliefs, a series also found online and in printed form through Truth for Today (see the following link: http://biblecourses.com/English/AllLessons.aspx). These special classes took place Monday through Wednesday during the morning hours. Benjamin Montejo served as the translator.
The second project involved most of the rest of the team in a remodeling project. Since the facility where ITL is located now belongs to ITL (be looking for another report about this exciting news), we felt it would be a good time to make many of the necessary changes and repairs. The team painted the whole facility on the inside and outside. They also worked with a local brother who is a carpenter to build book shelves for all the student rooms. Our students accumulate quite a few notebooks and books throughout their study here and did not have a place to put these valuable tools. Now, the shelves will allow nice and appropriate placement of these things. Also, screens were placed on all the windows. Mosquitoes are pesky pests, so these screens are really practical and needed. Finally, the whole computer system, the copier and Internet was rewired in a more efficient network.
On Wednesday night, the team was involved in teaching the church’s adult and children’s classes. They again did a fine job and we are thankful for their hard work and preparation.
Originally, the remodeling project was also to end on Wednesday and the team was scheduled to have some time off on Thursday. However, this team graciously chose to forego their time off and to continue to work one more day at the ITL facility! It was such a blessing to have such servants!
On Friday, the team did take some time off and traveled to Antigua Guatemala, enjoyed a visit to the coffee plantation, did some shopping and had a good and relaxing time. We ended the evening at Linda Vista, where the church planned a going- away activity for the group. It was fun and encouraging to see the sweet fellowship that took place among brothers and sisters in Christ.
The week was so full and the blessings were so numerous that we did not feel the 10 days while the team was here. We pray to God that they, too, were encouraged by their visit and service. We hope they will make plans to return next year!
If you have not been to Guatemala on one of these mission trips, we really encourage you to come! We believe it is a life-changing experience. Already there are plans of teams coming in June and July of 2014. There may even be one in August. So, hopefully one of these times will work for you to be able to be with us next year!
Again, a special thanks to our July team for your excellent work here in Guatemala. Also, thanks to everyone who is a part of our work through your financial contributions, your prayers, and your participation in many other ways. May God grant us all the peace that passes all understanding!
Byron E. Benitez
To see the report from Guatemala with pictures, please click here.