Sunday, July 10, 2016

Tour Day

Saturday was our tour day and Nury took us around Antigua, the former Guatemalan capital city, to see some of the historical sights and visit some of the local markets.  We stayed the night at Nury's mission guest house (an extension of her house where mission teams can stay on their last few days) and had a wonderful breakfast and devotions, followed by some of the local Mayan ladies bringing their goods and setting up a small market for us.  These were all ladies from Nury's church, so we wanted to buy as much as we could then to support them.

After some shopping, we headed in to Antigua with Nury as our tour guide.  We visited the Cross on the Hill, which overlooks the city and took a team picture (I'll upload it later).  We had a great view of the volcanoes from there as well.  Then we headed in to town and visited a restored Catholic church.  We had lunch at Pollo Campero (think fancy KFC - but better) and then toured a chocolate factory where we got to make our own chocolate bars.  While we waited for the chocolate to cool we went to a local market and did some shopping.  After hitting another market, we headed back to Nury's for our final team meeting and devotions and a busy night of packing.

The team is coming home healthy and excited with lots of stories to share.  We can't wait to talk about all of our experiences and the things we've learned.  

We are about to board the plane to Atlanta, then we part ways to our different destinations (Nashville, Flint, Detroit and Milwaukee).  Pray that everyone makes it through customs fine and we arrive home safely late tonight.

Final Day of Clinic

There are a lot of stories we could share from throughout the week but I wanted to share a special one from Friday that really tugged at my heart.  On many eyeglasses trips, near the end of the week you will run out of the some prescriptions.  Well this trip we were running low on -1.00 and -1.25 glasses by the second day in Guatemala City (clinic day 6 including Zacapa).  On the last day, our church host came up to us and asked "Did I hear you are running out of -1.25 glasses?" and we were completely out.  So she took her glasses off and handed them to us, right when we had someone that needed a pair of that prescription.  She was willing to give up her own clear eyes for a while so someone else could receive new glasses, and that just brought tears of joy to my eyes.

When we were packing up to leave, she came up and told the team "Thank you so much for coming.  I saw Jesus on all of your faces and in the work you did.  It means so much to me that you care so much for my people."

We finished the week strong by seeing 256 people and handing out 303 pairs of glasses on Friday, bringing our week totals to 781 people served and 1113 pairs of glasses given out!

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Make-up post from Friday

Wow!  Our last day of clinic was an incredible one.  We saw 256 people and have out 303 pairs of glasses, but more importantly we finished strong in sharing God's love with the people of Guatemala City.  There are some greAt stories to tell, but we got in late last night to Nuri's house and had problems with the wifi (*gasp* how could we survive!).  Im typing this from my phone as we stop for lunch on our tour day but we will post more tonight.  PrAy for safe travels as we head home tomorrow.


Thursday, July 7, 2016

Today was a Great Day!

Some interesting stories were shared today! However, before we get into that, I'll do a brief summary of our day. We started off with a scrumpcious breakfast of bacon and eggs. As we got the clinic started, we thought, okay, we're gonna have a busy day! Wrong. The day started off just like yesterday and we served about 97 people in the morning. However, as the afternoon rolled around, the clinic began to seem very empty once again. Contrary to our thoughts, we served about 117 people. But again, on the bright side, we turned no one away! After what seemed to be a pretty long day, we took our drive back to our mission home. We were served a delicious dinner consisting of wonderful chicken, tomatoes, and green beans. Just like every night, we carried on with our devotions and discussions about our day.

This is Rolando.  I want to share a story about what happened today.  As we were doing our work, teaching about human trafficking, I got up to throw away some trash.  As I was walking through the kitchen of the church I was stopped by one of the workers Sofia.  She was speaking with another woman (we will call her "Sara"} who had asked her what we were teaching upstairs.  Sofia told we were talking about human trafficking.  Sara then told her she was a victim of human trafficking.  Sofia asked if she wanted to speak with me about it.  (Only about four people know about what had happened to her.) She said yes and we began to talk.  She told me that she is from a Latin American country and she came to Guatemala about 12 years ago.  Like most girls, she was promised a job working as waitress.  Shortly after her arrival she was forced to work as a prostitute to pay off her "debt".  After "working" for four months she was able to escape.  Fast forward 12 years, she told me that she has been carrying the shame and guilt of being involved in that "work".  It is not uncommon for her to cry and have nightmares about her abuse.  I was able to share the love of Jesus with her and told her about the peace and joy that is found in Him.  I asked her if she wanted to pray and we did.  She asked the Lord to forgive her of her sins and to come into her heart.  I told her she is now a child of the King and there is no condemnation.  There is nothing greater in the world than seeing someone come to know the Lord  I don't know who was happier her or me.  I have often said that the difference between a vacation and a mission trip is; a vacation if fun, a mission trip are fulfilling.  I thank God for allowing me the privilege of leading someone to Him. Who knows, this may have been the only reason we were sent to Guatemala.  If it was, then it was well worth it.

Written by: Eden and Rolando

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Hola Empty Clinic...?

Today was our first day of clinic in Guatemala City. We served only about 114 people completely undermining our expectation of about 250 people. On the bright side however, we had to turn no people away even though we were worried we'd have to turn many away! Our morning was quite busy and we thought that it would keep up throughout the day, but obviously, the bustling flow died down drastically after our spaghetti lunch. The afternoon was extremely slow, with only about 20 people and those from Guatemala working with us, receiving their glasses. While the clinic was extremely slow, we kids got to enjoy plenty of soccer and basketball! We were able to play with the few local kids there and teach especially one little girl how to shoot a basketball! (She has an impressive shot) ;) On the way back to our mission home, we encountered a little bit of roadside entertainment during a hold up in traffic. A man was putting diesel fuel in his mouth and spitting fire off of a torch! Nothing like some good ol' Guatemalan creativity! Our night concluded with a spaghetti dinner and our devotions/debriefing. We kids all laughed extremely hard all night and throughout dinner and by the end, claimed that "we all got an ab workout because we laughed so hard!"
It is probably an extremely good thing that the "kids of the team" are all placed at our own table in the garage/kitchen so that we can be AWAY from the adults! On the other hand, we are all asking for a special prayer for Mark because he was sick all day today and is quite an important addition to the team and we want him healthy as soon as possible. All prayers matter and are greatly appreciated!
It was definitely a great day to serve the Lord! Adios!  Written by: Sarah + Eden

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Back to Guatemala City

Greetings from wonderful Guatemala city!  After 4 days/nights in Zacapa (elevation 390 feet and average temperature of 95 degrees) we are back in Guatemala City for the next 3 days/nights (elevation 5000 feet and average temperature of 75 degrees).  We're already enjoying the cooler temperatures and are excited to start our clinic at a new site tomorrow morning - bright and early (clinic starts at 8am).

When we arrived at the church tonight to drop off our glasses and supplies, they told us they have been advertising on the radio about the eye clinic and hope for 200+ per day.  We are starting out with doing 150 and we'll see where that get us - if we have time for more we'll get in as many as we can.  We won't pass on a chance share the Good News with someone and help improve their quality of life with glasses that help them to see better.

In Zacapa we saw just short of 450 people over the 4 days (2 full days, 2 half days) and handed out over 600 pairs of glasses (some need 2 pair - distance and reading), as well as some sunglasses we brought along.  We're also adding a new component to our eye clinics this year, handing out eye dropper bottles with a recipe card so they can make eye drops.  Many of the people we see have red eyes or itchy or dry eyes, which will all be helped with eye drops.

Pray for us to be re-energized for the start of the new clinic tomorrow and strength as we finish out the week.

Monday, July 4, 2016

4th of July - Part 2 (by Sarah)

Kyle also tried to hunt geckos with a rubber band, no trophys yet.  Third day of the clinic for some reason had some harder patients come through the clinics today that slowed us down today.  We still saw many clients, about 133 people.  At one point we had to open 4 dispensing stations because of the crowd.  This was our most exhausting day yet.  Plenty of time for playing with the kids.  The trafficking team finished their training today.  We heard very encouraging stories of motivated trainees.  They are ready to start tackling the problem head in and set goals for themselves. we have half a day of clinic and are off to Guatemala City.  Everyone on the team is well and doing great!

I've attached a few photos of some of the group doing their tasks, as well as the beautiful USA flag cake we were surprised with at lunch (yes, that is a firecracker in in!).  They had a confetti gun that was supposed to rain down fake $100 bills on us but they couldn't get it working.