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           December 2011

         Guatemala Pics, Dec '11 - Page 1

Casa Shalom, Guatemala
We are late getting the newsletter out because I wanted to include the report of our trip to Guatemala taken the 5th thru the 9th of this month. The team consisted of 15 from our home church including all of us. This is the first time we have traveled as a family to the mission field since 2008 as our Nigerian trips have been hindered as you know by the continuing violence there. We went to the orphanage, Casa Shalom, to take Christmas to the 47 kids there which was less than the 58 that we originally had planned for. This was due to the fact that two thirds of the kids at the orphanage are there by court order coming from dysfunctional homes to which they are returned when the courts deem their home environments improved.

94 Pair of Shoes
Upon our arrival at the home, we toured the grounds then had free time meeting and interacting with the kids who ranged in age from 2 to 26 years. On Tuesday the team and all the kids went to town to pick out shoes which was the main thrust of our mission. Each child got 2 pair of shoes: a pair of sneakers and a pair of black formal shoes for school. It was organized chaos but in just a little over an hour we were all on the bus again headed back to the home with 94 new pair of shoes. After a delicious lunch, the team helped with a project that the home was undertaking; moving 8 - 10 tons of dirt to level out a future parking area!! We all slept good that night! Wednesday was field trip day and we went with the kids to play soccer at some local fields in town. This was a time of ‘embarrass the gringo' for even the little children were better than us at the game. However, it was a great time of fellowship and fun, plus it got us out of shoveling dirt. That waited until the next day, Thursday, when we finished off all that we could do of leveling the mounds of dirt that had been delivered.

Trip Highlight
Thursday night was the highlight of the trip, at least for me, when we had a traditional Christmas dinner with the kids and then presented each of them with gifts that had been provided by our church members as well as some of you. Dinner consisted of tamales wrapped in banana leaves which the children really enjoyed. The team was honored to serve these precious children and staff and then present their gifts. As I said, most of these kids are from dysfunctional homes where they might not have gotten one gift let alone a half a dozen or more. So they were very surprised and thrilled when they each got a stocking containing the latter which were all theirs to have and enjoy.

Links in the Chain
As is always the case, the last day arrived much too quickly and on Friday afternoon, after a very short morning, the team loaded up on the bus and headed back to the airport for the States and home. Over half of our team had never been on a mission trip before and several had never even flown. Yet without exception, all agreed that they had received a greater blessing than they had given and were making plans and looking forward to returning. Our children, too, were blessed even as they were a blessing especially as they were able to use their Spanish speaking skills to help the rest of the team interact with the children and staff at the home. Robert became the team's defacto interpreter to the point that a couple of the ladies used him to bargain for them during a shopping expedition. We may never have a chance to meet with many of these children again even if we do return to Casa Shalom because of the transitory nature of their stay there. Our prayer is, however, that even in the short time that we had to share with them a seed has been planted that they will know that they are worth something; that there is a better life than what they are used too; and most importantly they have a heavenly father who loves and cares enough for them to send strangers to be his hands and feet and arms and voice extended in love.

Thanks To All
Our warm thanks and deep appreciation to all of you who shared in this outreach by either sponsoring a child or helping with our expenses. There is still an outstanding need of $2000, however, that we would ask you to prayerfully consider helping us to erase.

Your Servants In Christ,                                                             Invitations for Ministry - 2012
          Larry - Sarah                                                      February:  Pune, India, P&M Conference
     Robert, Lauren, Kristen                                         April:        Ghana, W Africa, P&M Conference
                                                                                          TBD:        Nigeria, W Africa, P&M Conference

We want to wish you all a very
Merry Christmas
and the
Happiest of New Years

Guatemala Pics Dec '11 - Page1