Wednesday, January 26, 2011


So my deep thought of the day came this morning when I was walking the dogs at work.

I'm outside thinking, it's pretty warm today. Even to the point of contemplating that I overdressed and I'm getting hot. So I check to see what the temperature is. 25 degrees Fahrenheit. Then it dawns on me. Less than two weeks ago I was in Guatemala. I had been there long enough that I was feeling cold when it was under 65 degrees Fahrenheit. That was pretty incredible as I was thinking about it. But we just went through a spell here where the temperature was below zero. We won't even discuss the wind chill.

So because my mind always heads this direction.... this is much like most people's relationship with God. It's all in their perspective. They don't do terrible things like their best friend's second cousin so they must be a pretty good person.

It's like perceived truth versus Absolute Truth. I mean I was happy with my job and pretty comfortable living to save as much money as I possibly could. Until this last trip to Guatemala, reading "Radical" and God giving me verse after verse after verse after verse confirming that He wants soooo much more. Then the chances that I had to see God work in powerful ways. Just because I was out of my comfortable American bubble and had to rely on Him. Now this all seems pointless and unappealing to me. It's really weird and something I can't really explain. So I just continue to pray.

So I was pondering how much our human perspective gets in the way of us allowing God to do what He wants to in our lives. Remember... He doesn't force us to serve Him. That's the cool thing about God. But why wouldn't you want someone with your best interest in mind to be in control of your life? And believe it or not, He doesn't take all the fun out of life. John 10:10 tells us just the opposite. "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly." AMEN!!!

I was also thinking about all of the people who try and justify their sinful actions. As I contemplated numerous conversations I have had over the years I noticed the same theme. It was because they were going off of their perspective. Rather than what GOD SAID.

Anyway... then I was done walking dogs and it started getting busier so my mind couldn't wander as much. So I'm sure it's a thought that hasn't completely played out in my mind. But this is all I have for now.

Though I guess I want to share the Our Daily Bread devotional from the other day. I don't know if it completely ties in with my thought of the day. But who cares, it's good and this is my blog :-D

Driving in the Dark

I’ve always thought that I could get through just about anything if the Lord would tell me what the outcome would be. I believe that “all things work together for good” in the end (Rom. 8:28), but I’d do a lot better in dark times if I knew exactly what the “good” would look like.

But God usually doesn’t show us where He is taking us. He just asks us to trust Him. It’s like driving a car at night. Our headlights never shine all the way to our destination; they illuminate only about 160 feet ahead. But that doesn’t deter us from moving forward. We trust our headlights. All we really need is enough light to keep moving forward.

God’s Word is like headlights in dark times. It is full of promises we need to keep us from driving our lives into the ditch of bitterness and despair. His Word promises that He will never leave us nor forsake us (Heb. 13:5). His Word assures us that He knows the plans He has for us, plans for wholeness and not for evil, to give us “a future and a hope” (Jer. 29:11). And He tells us that our trials are there to make us better, not bitter (James 1:2-4).

So the next time you feel as if you’re driving in the dark, remember to trust your headlights—God’s Word will light your way.

The Word of God provides the light
We need to see the way;
It shows us what we need to know
So we won’t go astray. —Sper

You won’t stumble in the dark
if you walk in the light of God’s Word.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Guatemala v2.0

So here are the emails I wrote for this year's trip. December 14th through January 13th.

Thanks to everyone for their prayers. God did and is doing amazing things.....

T-minus 9 days till Guatemala
05 December 2010

Hi everyone. I finally had a chance to get everyone's email addresses together in one spot. So this is a pre-flight update that doubles as a test of addresses I have. If for some reason you are receiving this and you don't want any emails that I send out during my time in Guatemala, please let me know. I am just using the list from last year plus sending to those of you who I have talked to and are interested in hearing about the trip.

Margaret and I are doing well in our fund raising and getting the presents for everyone at Hope Haven. God is definitely been faithful. As of today I met my goal and slightly exceeded it!!! So praise God for that!!! Especially since I got a pretty slow start on my fund raising :-S

Things are changing on a daily basis in Guatemala. Today Pat and Bill are helping Rosa's move all of the children, furniture and even the playground equipment. Here is the email I received from Pat today...


Pues, when we got to Rosa's on Friday, only 2 days after our last visit when the entry gate had 2 locks on it, the gate was open, but the landlord was parked in the middle of it! So we waited to see if/when he would leave, and it wasn't long before he did. We then learned that Rosa was can you keep a home w/out electricity for over 2 months, but really even worse, w/out water??? Think toilets to start, add no water for bathing or cooking AND NO RESOLUTION TO THIS SITUATION! Top that off with the fact the the landlord spoke to the potential new landlord of the home close by, telling him all lies, so the possible new landlord withdrew his offer for this house. Good thing in the end cuz what would it be like to have yet another selfish, mean, dishonest, landlord with poor values who doesn't care about kids in jeopardy??!!! Thru a friend Rosa found not one but 2 houses in Mixco on the same lot, which, as you leave the airport driving to Antigua, is right after Guate. These houses have sat vacant for 2 years, they are behind 2 gates, BUT they're not in the best locale. For those who have visited here, you should see the roads taken to get there!!!! in-cree-eee-blee!!More later about the new digs because we need to focus on the immediate prayer need....MOVING 27 kids and staff! Tonight will already be the 2nd night Rosa and kids sleep in the new place, sleeping on the mattresses on the floor. But at least they have tiolets that work AND electricity!!(only in one of the houses, but that's OK for now). There is only tomorrow to finish the move, so here is prayer request #1. There is still a lot to move including the playset, which we'll need to disassemble AND move in one day! oi vey!!! FYI, our California church was just here in the beginning of November and built this playset for Rosa, so here's a foto BEFORE we tear it apart.....bother! Please pray that all is completed safely AND before we lose the light. Request #2: the kids, especially the older kids, and the staff, have worked from early each morning til well into the night, at times w/little food and drink, especially the ones who've worked at the "old" place; they're beat, and, may I add, they also haven't had opportunity to bathe. #3: Rosa is really struggling with all of this; she really needs to be lifted in prayer as the Spirit leads.
OK, that's it for now..gotta get to sleep...big day tomorrow!

Gracias y Dios les bendiga!

So from talking to Pat on Skype, it sounds like there is going to be plenty of work for us. Our flight arrives in at 8pm on Tuesday the 14th. The very next day is when we will be taking the Christmas presents to Hope Haven. On the 16th they will be starting their 2 week Christmas break that Mark Richard gave them this year. So we will be busy in the morning getting the presents that you guys couldn't get for us here in the states (60lbs of sugar, cell phones and motor oil). Thanks for all of the donations. Alot of people are going to be blessed by your generosity..... in the Name of Jesus!!

I'm very excited about this trip. Because of the busyness of life I really didn't have a chance to stop and think about it a lot until I was sitting in my stand for deer hunting. That's a great place to have long uninterrupted conversations with God. It's really interesting since for our trip last year we had everything planned out almost months in advance. Here we are 9 days away and plans are still changing. But after seeing God work last year, He is in control of all things. So it's easier when our plans aren't there to get in our way of following Him.

When we get in to the country it sounds like both the Mossmans and Scheminskes are going to be waiting at the airport, ready to attack us with hugs. I'm looking forward to this :-) It's going to be great to see them again. We will be splitting our time with both of them as they see fit. We left the when and where we need to be up to them. They have been ordering and shipping things for us to bring down to them. It's great to be able to bless them in this manner also. You never really think how blessed we are in this country to have anything we need practically at our fingertips. Please pray that everything goes smoothly with TSA and customs. Please pray for our safety and those we are going to be able to live the Love of Jesus to while we are there.

Scheminskes church in Colorado has also been collecting needed items for us to take down as well. So that will all be shipped to me tomorrow. We are going to be taking our full luggage allowance for a total of 4 checked bags and 2 carry on bags.

Well... that is all for now. Thanks for all of your continued prayers :-)

In His Service,

Ps. If you didn't have a chance to read about my last trip (or just want a refresher) you can check it out here....


Ahhh... the smell of chicken bus exhaust!
15 December 2010

Well I figure I had better let everyone know that I'm alive.

I'm back to the land of brushing my teeth with bottled water and not flushing my toilet paper. And I love it!!! Driving through Antigua was great last night. It was nice to be back. Even with all the nasty smells and crazy traffic.

We just got back from Hope Haven (the wheel chair place we volunteered last year). We took all of the Christmas presents for the workers. Plus Pat made an awesomely moist chocolate cake. Then her kids in her English class had made little goody bags for everyone too. It was soooo awesome to see all of our friends from last year and meet the new faces.
Praise God all went well for our travels yesterday. The only trouble we had was with our cheese when we were leaving Green Bay. But after they swabbed all the blocks for explosives and x-rayed them again... they decided it really was cheese and let us pass. There were no flight delays and we got through customs when we reached Guate without any problems. No questions, xrays or opened bags. The guy looked at our forms and smiled and pointed at the exit. We were greated by a group of cheering American missionaries. I admit that I probably look like a dufus on the pictures they were snapping. I was getting pretty tired by that time so I wasn't operating at quite the same enthusiasm level. One of our suitcases got alittle beat up but everything in side came through in one piece (it was the flowery one mom :-S ).

When I was at the Green Bay airport I met up with one of our clients from work. She was traveling to the US VI with her daughter and her dog. We ended up meeting up with them again in Chicago and Miami. Good thing she didn't have a ton of lipstick on or I would have had a red cheek. Everytime she saw me I received a hug and a kiss. Sad thing is I can't remember her name.... just her dog's name :-P

Well I had better go. God Bless everyone!! Thanks for all of the prayers and support!! It's sooooo great to be back in Guate!



What God has been teaching me
21 December 2010

Dios te bendiga!

This past week has been great. We have been having a chance to bless people in the Name of Jesus with smiles, hugs and the items we brought down. A couple of days ago we bought Pollo Camero meal (local chicken restaurant) for all of the kids at Rosa's. They generally just eat tortillas, rice and beans. So it was nice to bring variety to them. Then we spent several hours just interacting and loving the kids there. I have MANY new amiga's!!

I have had a chance to bless people with the books that were donated to me from CVM (Christian Veterinary Mission). They are basic husbandry books for goats, chickens, pigs and rabbits. All in Spanish!! So far I have given them to Pastor Roberto who has a congregation of about 50 an hour from Denny and Phyllis' place. Also Rosa received them because she is hoping to start raising animals to help out her children's home. Today we are going to Chimaltenango with Denny and Phyllis to take presents (30#'s worth that we brought with us) to the family with 9 kids that they are ministering to. They raise goats and chickens so I will have a chance to give them books as well to help out their livelihood.

With Pat and Bill we had a chance to go to the malnutrition ward at Santo Hermano Pedro's in Antigua There we fed and held the children that were there. I discovered that that is not my forte. It was contrasted the next day when we went out to Mark Richard's house to house sit for the night. I had a chance to clean up a dog's fight wound abscess and work with the boa constrictor that has been a mystery to the other caregivers. Mark (the guy who runs Hope Haven) is currently in the States with his family. So there is a rotation of people that house sit his place so it's never left alone. Anyway.. the poor snake had 2 lights burnt out. So it was at ambient room temperature (60degrees) rather than the 80-90 degrees that it should be. So the problem was it isn't wanting to eat it's hamster. I got it warmed up but hadn't eaten by time we had to leave for church. Though back to the abscess (hope you aren't eating). The reactions of Pat and Margaret were interesting. They were grossed out by the process but it obviously didn't bother me. Just the opposite reactions as at Hermano Pedro's with the kid's spitting their food all over as we fed them. And nasty diapers and stuff. I guess God gives us all our own strengths. Though I do absolutely love the little kid's at Rosa's children's home. I guess I can't deal with the whole special needs thing.

We get to see the kids at Rosa's several more times as we go back there to do the projects she needs. Since she just recently moved her needs have changed. Instead of an awning over the laundry area. She needs an awning over her cooking area, which is outdoors. Plus some bunkbeds need to be moved around so there is more storage space etc. Plus there are several workers at Hope Haven that sleep on the floor. So we are planning on making platforms for them. We have the keys to the Hope Haven shop since they are now off for Christmas until Jan 3rd.

So even though our trip is completely different from last time it's still cool to see how God is using us. Last Friday we also had the chance to interact with the 4 girls that take English lessons from Pat. She had some things she needed to do in town so Margaret and I were left to work with them. We discovered that playing Telephone was a great tool! Later we went back and made chocolate lollipops to take to another children's home that is run by the pastor of their church (and his wife).

My morning devotions have had an interesting theme. Even though I'm just 'randomly' opening my Bible. Right before I left on this trip it was II Cor 9:6-15. Now it's been Acts 4:32-37, Acts 2:42-47, Jonah 1, James 1 - 2 and Psalm 121. Plus I'm reading the book "Radical" by David Platt. There is a theme here that is going on here. I'm excited to see what the future holds on this path that God is leading me down.

Well... it's about time for us to leave. We are heading to take the gifts and play soccer with the kids. Then we will be going back to Pat and Bill's for a couple days before coming back here to Denny and Phyllis' for Christmas.

Hope all is going well with everyone!



The Hitchhiker's Guide to Guatemala
03 January 2011

Happy New Year!!

Sorry it's been so long since I wrote an update. I'm doing well and having a good time. God has just been doing so much that I have been focusing more on Him rather than writing home.

So I will share what I can about what we have been doing. Though most of the spiritual journey is between God and I at the moment. Well and those that have been ministering to me. It's been amazing to see how God lines things up. Timing, places, people. Just everything. Before this trip I had been praying for clarity as to where He wants me in life. I have been restless with just living in the status quo. He has given me many gifts and I desire to use them to serve Him in everything I do. So He is molding me and directing me as the picture of my future in Him becomes more and more clear. Praise be to God!!! He is sooooo awesome!!!

So I left off the last email right before Christmas. We had wrapped all of the presents that Margaret and I brought down for a family that the Scheminske's are ministering to in Chimaltenango. So on the 21st we drove up there to deliver the gifts. We had a translator with us, Susie. There are 11 all together in the family. We handed out the gifts which they planned on waiting for Christmas to open. Then the story of how the presents came from Scheminske's church in CO to us in WI so we could transport them down. Taking time out of our lives and jobs to come bless a family we never met but knowing we wanted to share the love of Jesus Christ. The parents had gone to church earlier in life but now admitted to falling away. So the Gospel message was shared in a clear and powerful way. It was just amazing. Praise be to God that we had a translator. Then it was discovered that I worked with animals. When people hear that I'm a veterinary technician, in their eyes I'm as good as a So out of the woodwork came chickens, goats, a possum and a cat. For some reason the dogs that were wandering around weren't presented to me. The goats were surprisingly in great condition. The chickens were too... though I have discovered that giving chickens grit for their crops isn't practiced around here. So I have been educating everyone I can. Most of the time the chickens are confined to sand floors so they can't even get it naturally. I guessed the cat's age correctly. Though I was then questioned by the mother why it had it's fur fall out when you pet it. It was a white domestic medium haired cat. She was afraid that it was going to go bald. So I had to explain that cats shed naturally and in the States people will brush their cats on a regular basis so the fur doesn't get all over. That really struck me how there are so many simple things that people aren't educated about.

So after handing out the presents we went to the local indoor soccer half arena. It was the Guatemalans vs the Gringos. Needless to say they whooped us. Though I did score 2 goals!! Then we took turns defending the goal and getting pummeled by balls. I do have to say that despite the fact I couldn't use my hands (thanks to my splint) I didn't do too bad. When the dad would kick though I thought I was going to No bruises developed though so it's all good.

Driving home back through Chimalt I was once again saddened by witnessing the red light district. Those poor women caught in that bondage thinking there is nothing better for them in their lives. So many of them hanging out of the doorways are so young too.

The next day I was sick so I stayed at home (Mossman's this time) while Margaret went back to see the kids at Hermano Pedro. So I guess of all days for me to be out of commission, it was perfect.

The next day (23rd) I was feeling much better. I read Matthew 4:18-22. Jesus was calling the first disciples... and the IMMEDIATELY followed Him.

We had a chance to go buy the lumber for the building projects we had lined up. When you go to the lumber yard here, you put in your order and then come back later. All of the lumber is rough cut so they cut it to the size you want and also plane it if you want. They use massive amounts of water during the process so your lumber is soaking wet and weighs a ton. It's all very interesting. It's also interesting to contemplate how long everything takes in this country. In the States we are use to instant gratification. But here, everything is a time consuming process.

Christmas Eve we went to Hope Haven. We are using their woodworking shop since the shop is shut down for the holidays. We got all of the wood cut for 3 beds and 3 desks. They are for the employees of HH who have basically nothing. We stopped in at one house to get some measurements. They are fortunate since they have concrete floors rather than dirt floors. But other than that they are sleeping on vinyl covered mattresses on the floor. After a long day of playing with power tools we went to the Christmas Eve service at church. Their tradition is after the service they serve tamales and fruit punch (traditional with pieces of the fruit in it). Afterwards we went back to San Cristobal with Denny and Phyllis. They have a great view overlooking Guatemala City. We heard rumors of the spectacular fireworks displays at midnight on Christmas Eve. Earlier in the week we had gone down to the marcado in Antigua to purchase a few things to add to the overall display. Fireworks are amazing here. You can get a 19 round repeater that shoots up in the air and explodes into a gigantic explosion. Almost the size of the professional displays we are use to for the Fourth of July. All for around $18. The comes the 10 meter roll of firecrackers for $5. Margaret got these crazy butterflies. You light them and they take off spinning and shooting sparks all over the place. The first one launched and landed safely and successfully. The second one took a much different flight pattern. It veered off of the street, over the neighbor's wall and had a magnificent display of sparks through their garage door windows. As we retreated behind our own wall we saw tail lights. 30 seconds after the flight of the butterfly the owners of that garage.... came home. Whew. So at the stroke of midnight I witnessed more fireworks than I have seen in all of my previous years. Words and pictures can't accurately relay how incredible it is.

Christmas Day we hung out until the afternoon. Then we headed out to the children's home run by the pastor and his wife of the church we have been attending while we are in Guate. Once again I had to check out the chickens. Yesterday at church I gave the pastor, Victor, a set of my animal care books that I have with me. They grind off the tips of the chicken's beaks here in Guate so they don't do as much damage when they peck each other. We met some other great missionaries at the dinner too. It was a giant turkey dinner with all of the trimmings.

The day after Christmas there was no church service so we basically hung out. Read our Bibles and books. Talked and watched football. I'm still reading the book Radical. It totally fits everything that God is doing in my life. We aren't called to complacency in our Christian walk. It has become so easy in America while we are pursuing the 'American Dream'. But we are called to so much more than that. I praise God for the people that He has put in my path on this trip to learn from and watch as they live out their faith.

Monday the 27th I went to the gym to get moving after a weekend of eating and sitting around. Then we went shopping for hardware and screws for our building projects while we were still in the larger city. After wandering around Antigua I will never complain about things that are "not available in Clintonville" at our local Fleet Farm. Our variety and quality is more than we could ever hope for. Later Denny and Phyllis took us to meet Bill at Rosa's Children's Home. He was going there to drop off firewood. So we were able to switch out the bunkbeds she wanted. When she had moved several weeks ago bunkbeds were put up that didn't have storage units that fit under them. So even though I didn't think I would lay hands on them again, we reassembled the bunkbeds we had made last year. It's amazing how light the afore mentioned water logged lumber gets around here after drying We also had a chance to hang out with the kids again. Carolina is my buddy since we discovered we have similar names (my middle name is Caroline).

We made it back to Antigua in time to go to the evening YWAM (Youth With A Mission) service. It was great. The DTS (Discipleship Training School) team from Montana led the whole service. It was like God picked every single song and both messages to confirm what He has been telling while I'm here. He is such an awesome God!!! I had a chance to meet the people who are friends of those from my church who are going through the same DTS. They looked very surprised when I mentioned a name that they recognized.

Tuesday we headed out to Hope Haven to work on our building projects. We are getting pretty proficient with the use of tuk-tuks and chicken buses to get where we need to go. On the way over their we stopped at a house where several missionaries live. We had seen Samuel several times without a sweatshirt so we stopped to deliver an extra one we had along with us. He is a young man from El Salvador that is a paraplegic thanks to a random shooting 6 months ago. He is currently working and being mentored at Hope Haven. Since then I have seen him several times and he is always wearing that sweatshirt. Believe it or not. At 5,000ft it gets pretty chilly at night. I'm sooo going to freeze when I get back to Wisconsin in the middle January.

While we were at HH working on the beds/desks our new friend Dot came over. We met her at church and she also is staying at the casa de missionarios. She came over to use a secure internet connection. She was by the door of the shop and yelped all of a sudden. She had been stung by something. Now up to this point the only insects I have observed are mosquitoes and flies. I saw it since she had squished it where it had stung her. What ever it was it was half the size of a mosquito. You could literally see the swelling traveling up her thumb. She was also in great pain. She asked if I would pray for her. As I held her hand and prayed for the Great Physician to touch her since He is the best medical care we have while in a 3rd world country the pain began to go away for her. When I was done I looked at her hand you could actually see that the swelling had stopped. It was like a defined line by her joint where her thumb attaches to her hand. 5 minutes later I went to check on her and you could see the swelling had greatly reduced already. It totally blew me away. The day before she had told me of when she had just been up in the mountains where she ministers. She had been led to a boy who was seizing and unconscious. She prayed for him and within 10 minutes he was alert and sitting up. She is a nurse and figured from the symptoms he had and what his parents told her that he had severe strep throat that had gone septic. Why do we underestimate God's power so much? It's totally what I read in the book 'Radical'. Our confidence in the American Dream has diluted the reality of Christianity and our dependence on God.

So we also made two 4'x6'x12" bookshelves for Rosa's Children's Home. Larry, the one American at Hope Haven, looked at the bookshelves we designed and built. He commented that they look Amish grade and they would be able to set their engine blocks on top without them sagging. Lol. Funny thing is I didn't build them as strong as they could have been. Lol. We didn't feel like dodging traffic to walk to the lumber yard to get more materials. Margaret says it's like a game of Frogger.

Wednesday and Thursday were spent finishing our building projects. One of them was a drawing table for Gustavo. That was interesting building and designing considering the limited resources down here. But I'm pretty happy with how it turned out.

Friday (New Years Eve) we met up with our friend Dot. We headed out of Antigua to go visit the macadamia nut farm. We were ready for the breath of fresh air that was awaiting us out there. Dot commented that she didn't have enough Q (money) on her for the trip there and back. As we were waiting for the correct chicken bus to come down the road, a lady stopped and asked us if we wanted a ride. We all felt at peace about the situation so we hopped in. Come to find out she was a nurse and a Christian. So then she dropped us off at the driveway for the farm. After touring the farm being talked to by the ultra-liberal earth first anti-Christian owner we headed back out to the road. So as we were waiting for a bus another truck stopped. This time it was a guy that had been at the farm and saw us there. He was heading through Antigua back to Guate. So once again we felt peace and accepted yet another air conditioned ride. He was an engineer that works on machinery for the coffee industry. So in conversation Dot mentioned her sadness that Larry, from the macadamia nut farm, didn't know Jesus Christo. So in conversation he revealed that he didn't know Jesus Christo either. But was interested in Him. Unfortunately we came to the end of our ride too soon and he was on a time line. So we parted ways and said a prayer for him at lunch. We were kicking ourselves that earlier that morning we had cleaned out our backpacks which included the fact we no longer had the Spanish Gospel of John booklets with us. But God knows. He is seeking and we pray that He sends someone in to his path to continue to point him to Christ.

Well... I have more to write but we are leaving now. So I will be out of internet contact until the 12th or so.

God Bless.

Live life with purpose for Him!!!



From an illegal alien to a native citizen
14 January 2011

Greetings everyone!!! Wow. The last email was packed full of things and this one probably won´t be much different.

As I begin to write this I´m sitting at a bus station in San Pedro Sala, Honduras (and it will be finished back in Wisconsin). I know, I know. You thought I was going to be in Guatemala the whole time. Well.... when God opens a door you have to walk through it.

So let me back up to where the last email left off. New Years Eve. Wow. That seems sooooo long ago. After the trip out to the macadamia nut plantation we were back in Antigua. There we enjoyed a nice lunch together. It was just great having conversation sharing our stories and what God has been and is doing in our lives. Dot was enjoying the female companionship. Then we walked to the square and caught a taxi up to the cross on the hill (think Granite Peak/Rib Mountain size 'hill') that over looks Antigua. It's lit up at night and visible from anywhere in the city. It was fun over looking the city. It was cool considering that at the viewpoint of the cross up on the hill. When you are on the streets in Antigua you can't see any of the beauty that is behind the old crusty run down walls. But when you are up there you can see what is hidden beyond the walls. It's much like how Christ sees us. It also reminded me of 1 Samuel 16:7.

So then Margaret and I caught a taxi down to San Lucas to meet up with Denny and Phyllis again. The way our schedule has worked out we have had a pretty good mix of staying at Mossman's and Scheminske's on our trip.

So New Years Eve there were more great fireworks to be observed out over the city.
New Years Day was just a great day of conversation. I actually had a great time of being discipled by Denny and Phyllis.

Sunday we went to church. It's kind of sad that this is my last Sunday at this church. I definitely enjoy the pastor. I had a chance to give him a set of my books from CVM (both English and Spanish). His wife also took my email address for if they have more animal questions that the books don't answer. After church we stopped at Hope Haven to pick up the book shelves that we made. Rosa's is only one exit from Scheminske's so it worked out well. Plus they have a truck rather than trying to get them up on top of Mossman's luggage rack. So then we finished off the day by watching the Packers beat the Bears!!!

Monday we headed off to Monterrico. It's a black sand beach on the Pacific Coast that Margaret had seen in National Geographic. But also it is the get away for D+P. It was an adventure getting there. I guess there are 2 ways of getting there and we got to experience both of them. On the way back we drove over the bridge. But on the way there we come over the crest of a hill and see this old flat bottom boat with weather worn boards covering the floor. It was powered with an old 25 HP outboard motor. So lo and behold that was our ferry. The pictures I have from that are incredible. But interestingly enough I felt more at home doing that than even navigating the Antigua area of Guatemala. I also had a chance to see quite a number of mudskippers (Gobies) in real life. That was super exciting since they had fascinated me as a child when I was reading all of my nature books and magazines. If you don't know what they are, Google them.

The beach was great. It was a great time to spend with God and digest everything that has happened on this trip already. I got some good Bible reading, praying and book reading time in. Plus the night sky was incredible there. I always thought I could see alot of stars where we live in WI. But I could hardly pick out Orion in the sky because of all of the stars that were within and surrounding him. Amazing. Staring at the sky while listening to the roar of the waves crashing on the the beach just made you feel really small. But to think about how much God cares about ever detail of our life. It was just overwhelming. Psalm 8:3-4

Tuesday morning for some reason my body woke me up at 5:15a. So instead of laying there just listening to the crashing waves outside the walls of my room I decided to wander down to the beach. It was amazing out there. So I was alone walking down the beach as the sun came up. It's great because of where Monterrico is situated, when you are looking out over the ocean you are actually facing just about due south. So we were able to watch the sun rise and set out over the ocean. There were pelicans swooping down over the breaking surf looking for their breakfast. Coconuts, lemons, shells and pumas rocks had washed up over night. Along with an unfortunately plethora of trash. But I also got to see 2 'shooting stars', a flying fish and countless little crabs.

I had a chance to finish reading "Radical" and then started in to "Crazy Love" by Francis Chan. I think they were looking at some of each other's notes when they were writing their books. Or else it's just the work of the Holy Spirit :-D Which I also did a Bible Study on that whilst I was laying in my hammock in the shade. We had a chance to do and built alot of things on this trip. But it is great how we also had a chance to spend quiet time with God as Margaret and I both seek His direction in our lives. Also we had a chance to build more relationships this time. Which is what we are called to do. Actually as I was sitting in my hammock I was thinking and praying for the discipleship house my church has just about completed. I pray that it will be used to facilitate many great things for the Lord in our local community.

I had a chance to release a baby sea tortuga (turtle) in to Pacific Ocean. It was a pretty cool. Especially since I am definitely interested in observing creatures in God's creation that I haven't seen before. The individual intricate and unique design never ceases to amaze me. Unfortunately I lost my sunglasses on that beach. The next morning when I realized it we ventured back there. But lo and behold, either Davy Jones or a set of sticky fingers are now in possession of them. This trip is note worthy though because on the way back to where we were staying, we had some traffic congestion in the village. We had the wait for the bovine with very large horns to get out of our way. You just never know what you will experience in a 3rd world country... well technically they have reached developing country status. When we got back Phyllis and I took a horse ride down the beach. It was another great opportunity to observe God's Creation and talk about the deep things in life.

We got back to Mossman's about mid afternoon. We went in to Antigua to get some supplies for the next portion of our trip. When we were waiting for a tuk-tuk to go back to the house I was offered my first weed. The boy who was offering me a 'high time' was only about 16 years old and spoke very good English. He just laughed and walked away when I told him I didn't need weed because I had Jesus.

So at 3am we woke up so we could get ready and in town for the shuttle to pick us up. Then we were on our way to Honduras. At the Honduran/Guatemalan border I discovered how effective everyone's prayers were when we had entered the country several weeks before. Remember we were worried that our luggage would be questioned because of everything we were taking down. So we were praying that there wouldn't be any trouble getting in to the country. The lady who stamped our passports had been on a very animated cell phone call. Well I discovered that saved me from a longer night at the airport. As the border official scanned my passport he had a quizzical look on his face. After scanning it a second time he called someone out of the nearby room. I was then ushered in to that nearby little room. Fortunately that official spoke English because at this time I was separated from Margaret. He pointed to the computer screen to have me verify that my identifying information was correct. As I glanced at the screen I noticed that my status was listed as illegal. After was seemed like an eternity everything was worked out though. What had happened is when I left the country in November 2009 for some reason it never registered in the computer. So their records showed that I had stayed well over me 90 allowed days. So I had to explain all of the travel dates from last year and this year. Fortunately when he asked where I was from in the States we discovered that we had a connection. He had lived in Sun Prairie, WI for 5 years. He also liked to fish in our lakes. So praise be to God without too much hassle he switch my status in the database and let me be on my way!!

Margaret and I spent our first night in Honduras in Copan. Since we had nothing better to do as we waited to catch the first bus out in the morning we went to the Mayan Ruins there. It was very interesting and made the ruins we visited last year look small and insignificant. It's amazing to think that such things were built before all of our fancy heavy machinery. The size and precision definitely impressed me. I also had a chance to see more wildlife. There were many guacamayas (large parrots) and huatusas (cousin of the guinea pig). I didn't see any tree sloths or monkeys which supposedly live in that area of the jungle too.

So we boarded the bus bright and early again to continue our trip farther in to Honduras. When we reached La Ceiba we switched modes of transportation. We were on a 152 foot catamaran for an hour and a half until we reached our final destination of Roatan. There is a children's home Sandy Bay Children's Home/Bayfield Children's Home that we stayed at for 3 nights. Though the we were really only there for 2 1/2 days since we got in super late. Don Shire is the president of the board of directors and had asked me to consider a full time teaching position there. We had a chance to talk to the director for several hours as I learned more about the ministry and the position. I fell in love with the kids and the island and could totally see myself living there. Plus they speak both Spanish and English. BUT... after much prayer and consideration, God has shown me this isn't where He wants me. Though it was a great experience. We also had a chance to experience a white sand beach to contrast the black sand beach we had seen just a few days before. Angel, Norlan, Destiny, Sandy, Danny, Edwin, Yui, and all the other kids definitely will be in my heart for a long time. Norlan is 12 and amazing. He has seen so much in his young life. He saw a man shoot a girl. Been beat up by his alcoholic father who eventually hung himself. He's experienced the affects of violence, drugs, alcohol and illicit sex. But after coming to the home he learned of Jesus and now hopes to become a preacher when he grows up. My 'Pray for China' bracelet started a very long conversation about Christians being persecuted for their faith around the globe. That was a concept he had never heard before and an interesting one for me to explain to a 12 year old. I had a chance to leave with him some of my Spanish Gospel of John booklets I had brought with me. I also gave Orsy (the director of the home) a set of my animal husbandry books.

So we headed back to the mainland on the last ferry of the day so we could catch the next early morning bus back to Guatemala. We got on the bus at 5:15am and didn't get back to Mossman's until 9:15p. There were a couple stops but they hardly counted. Fortunately there was adequate leg room, air conditioning and movies. BUT... staring at that blue chair in front of me got VERY old. Plus the roads aren't what you are use to in the States. They curve up and down the sides of the mountains. Through a plethora of villages with countless tumolos (speed bumps). Oh... and then there is the portion of unpaved roads. On our highway system the trip would probably take half of the time. We also witnessed another situation where God was clearing our way and watching out for us. When we were switching buses in San Pedro Sula we overheard that the buses going in to La Ceiba (where we had just come from) were delayed by a minimum of 2 hours. The cabs drivers were mad about something and had set up early morning road blocks. So at that moment I was glad that we had taken the first bus out. Even though it had meant another wake up call before 4am.

We spent our last day in the country taking one last trip over to Hope Haven. All of the beds and desks had been already distributed to their new owners. I had a chance to pick my present for the youth group too! From their we went in to town to meet up with Wally in front of Pollo Campero. Wally is a missionary that works with Mission Impact. He had seen my carpentry work and was impressed enough that he offered me a teaching position at the school in Santa Lucia. It is an amazing facility that is run very well. The focus is discipleship and education. You can't attend their educational classes without being in their discipleship program. Unlike Roatan, God hasn't given me a definite answer on this one yet. Plus Mission Impact has their roots in Wisconsin :-) So we shall see as God continues to lead me. I do know that I'm open to where ever He leads. He used this trip to let me see how easy it is for us to try and put God in a box with pretty paper on the outside. But He wants us to allow Him to do so much more. So who knows. I'm back in the land of snow and ice getting ready to go back to working with the youth group on Sunday and saving animal's lives on Monday. But even here I can continue to grown in my relationship with my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I can step forward in living radically for Him. (yes, I loved that book and it challenged me greatly)

I do know that although it is nice to flush my toilet paper, brush my teeth with tap water and even open my mouth in the shower. I didn't have a moment of homesickness on this trip. Even though it was a week longer than the last one. I felt sad that I had to leave my brothers and sisters that I had a chance to serve with and leave the people that so desperately need Jesus. Paganism is such a part of their daily lives. Wally told us that the trees along the road are painted white because it is believed to keep the insects off. Also he retold of the superstition that is still widely practiced of hanging women's underwear in the avocado tree that has stopped producing. It's believe that it will embarrass the tree in to bearing fruit again. Or even my experience of the lady in the village not knowing that cats shed naturally. Or at the children's home learning that they are actually instructed NOT to give grit to their chickens. But who knows where God will call me to in the future.

So even as I'm being challenged, I pray that each one of you will be too. Where are you at with Jesus? Is He in control of your life or do you have Him stuffed in a little box that fits in to your life with your job, family, house and overall comfortable American life? Are you listening to what the Bible says to be true or are you going along with the socially acceptable attitudes of today's American society? Are you living every day sharing the love of Jesus to the lost and dying world around us? Remember... we are created to serve God, He isn't there to serve us. He also desires that we live life more abundantly.

"The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. "- John 10:10

Now off to continue digesting everything as I move forward living life on purpose with Jesus at the helm.

In His Service,