How Was the Trip?

Today is the 6th full day for Joyce and I and our work partner, Jack Duerst to be back in the USA. One week ago we were finishing up the last of the projects we had set out to complete at "Selah" ... the Josiah Venture retreat facility in Eastern Czech Republic.

We are so appreciative of all the encouraging smiles, words and conversations we've been able to have since we've been back. Of course, the winner for the "most-asked-question" would have to be the title of this blog ... "How Was the Trip?"

That question always throws me a little off ... not because I don't expect, but it really is hard to put into words the experiences we have as we go to another country and serve. Honestly, we don't consider ourselves all that special ... but we are humbled and feel very privileged to have the kinds of opportunities that we do.

I guess what makes it the most special are the people we get to work with.

Yes, there certainly are some "exotic" parts of eating different foods, seeing, hearing (and yes, even sometimes speaking) other languages, but in the end, being away from the familiar gives an opportunity to see other people (and ourselves, certainly) in a different light.

We've found that people everywhere have some of the same basic needs; to be recognized, respected and loved ... to share joys and sorrows, to connect with others in meaningful ways ... and to live a life of purpose.

These are the things we remember most about each "trip" ... and the answer to the winning question is pretty much centered around these thoughts ... "It was great!!! ... We met some fantastic people. We got to work with some really great young men and women! ... and finally ...

"You've got to come with us next time!!!" ...

So, click here on this picture album to enjoy the of our last few days ... and thanks again, so much ... for being with us! Stay tuned for future adventures!


WOW!! What a Great Team and Great English Camp in Slovakia!

It was just 2 weeks ago that you last heard from us ... (that may seem like way too long of a time for our readers!!). At that time our Slovakia English Camp Team was packed and ready to fly ... and honestly, much of these 2 weeks are pretty much a blur!!

I'll try to pick out just a few highlights to share here ... but suffice it to say that everything about this camp was a "home run!" ... despite Amanda's luggage being lost for 3+ days ... and almost an entire week of rain!

The team did great ... and from what we saw and heard, the students really enjoyed all of the camp's activities, English classes, sports events, hikes ... and even the food!

It was "rise and shine" at 6 am for the leaders ... to get personally ready (with some strong coffee!) and then a meeting with the American and Slovak camp leadership team. That was followed by a very full day ... with lights out somewhere around midnight. Although midnight was the "official" lights out call ... there was always some "after hours" talk going on in the Man Cave! ... which Dave and Peter's room (along with Tomas and Robo) was officially christened the first night ! Actually, I don't think any of the leaders had more than 5 hours of sleep per night for the entire week! It's amazing what energy young people have after midnight!

Our cook was a gas! ... and we enjoyed getting to know her ... and her sweet smile ... and readiness to pour the "early morning coffee" for the old guys!

We had days filled with songs, dances (ask Steve and Terry to do the camp dance for you!) ... English classes, team-building activities, sporting challenges, American sports (baseball in the rain!), evening talks and "E-Nights" ... which were environment nights; designed to create an atmosphere for further discussion on various topics.

Here are a few more pictures of the team in action!! ... just click on THIS LINK to view an on-line album! ...

And here's ANOTHER ONE! (photo album, that is)

We want to thank everyone who gave, prayed and tried to follow our escapades! As I'm sure you can tell ... this camp was a great success!! Please ask us to tell you some stories when we get back!

Stay tuned for more adventures!!


Packed and Stacked and Ready to Roll!

So after nearly 6 months of planning, preparing and praying ... our team of adventurous servants have packed a mountain of duffel bags with teaching materials, sports equipment, treats, t-shirts, and everything else needed to help host an English/Activity/Adventure Camp in the country of Slovakia!

Our team consists of (l to r) ... Joyce Johnson, Jack Duerst, Peter Duerst, Amanda Chartrand, Steve Duerst, Dave Johnson and Terry Sullivan. Everyone except Jack will be traveling together. Jack will be joining us in about 10 days.

We'll be flying out of Minneapolis this afternoon (Wednesday) ... skip across the Atlantic Ocean tonight, and have breakfast in Amsterdam in the morning. From there we fly to Vienna, Austria tomorrow afternoon.

In Vienna we'll meet up with all of the other North American Teams who are coming to help with these camps all over Slovakia. The camps are hosted by our partner organization; Josiah Venture ... and specifically their Slovak division; TCKompas.

From Vienna we'll take a bus to Zilina, Slovakia where we'll gather for an exciting time of getting to know our co-workers and preparing to connect with the Slovak students who come to camp.

After spending a couple days in Zilina, we'll make our way to the camp where we'll greet the students with raucous and crazy excitement!

Our goal is to help build bridges into the students lives through teaching English, leading fun activities, teaching, coaching and playing "American" sports like baseball and football ... and all-in-all, having a blast!

Above all, we want to share the love of God with these students, most of whom have never had the opportunity to hear a clear explanation of how much God loves them and wants to have a relationship with them.

Recently, as I was thinking about this camp, I had a "small" inspiration ... I thought ... what if, what if, what if ... God would use the 6 of us to really impact the lives of the 60 or so students who come to camp. And what if, what if, what if ... those 60 would go back to their friends and family and really impact the lives of 10 people each ... As the Bible says, that would be "hundred-fold" fruit!

Would you please pray with us and for us to that end! ... That God, in His great grace and love, would use these 6 humble and pretty inept folks to bring 100s of people to Himself!

In addition, please pray that we travel safely, that no one gets sick, that our luggage all makes it to its destination on time and that we connect deeply with our new Slovak friends! Oh, and pray for our families, who also sacrifice that we can go and be a part of what God is doing in Slovakia!

Stay tuned to this blog for future updates! We appreciate comments and encouragements!


KECY Team 2011!

We're super excited to introduce the KECY Slovak English Camp Team for 2011!

Six courageous and adventurous folks will venture forth on June 28 on a 12 day trip to Slovakia. Our Eastern European partner, Josiah Venture, is the sponsoring organization for this event. And, specifically, we will be working on the Slovak arm of JV, called TCKompas.

Our team will be partnering directly with a leadership team from a church in the Slovak capital city, Bratislava. They are organizing the camp and currently promoting this opportunity in their local schools.

The essence of this camp is to help be "bridge builders" ... by offering English instruction done by native English speakers to high-school students. That's the "English" portion of the "English" Camp. The rest of the camp experience for these students will be filled with ice-breakers, games, events, hikes and other relationship-building activities. Ultimately, our goal is to connect these students with young leaders from the Bratislava church, who will work to follow up with the campers throughout the school year. Our prayer is that God would use us to impact lives and draw them closer towards knowing Him!

So, give thanks for Amanda, Joyce, Steve, Terry, Peter ...

... and "Coach Dave!" ... (he wasn't able to be in the team picture!) ...

Please pray that we'll be effective "ambassadors for Christ!" ... and that God's love will shine through each of us!


Full Circle!

The final days of work on the conference center expansion in Eastern Czech Republic were filled with beautiful weather and very satisfied folks!

Kyle and Dave continued to cut pieces and build frames for the 24 windows in the 2 cabins. That meant 48 frames and trim (24 inside and 24 outside!). They completed 18 of the outside frames and 16 of the inside frames.

Jon and Chris spent copious amount of time filling holes, sanding and painting the frames; making them ready for the installation. Unfortunately, the paint sprayer quit working around noon on the last day, which made it unable to put a second coat on the frames and begin the final installation.

Even though we were disappointed that we couldn't install them completely, everyone was very pleased with the final outcome and what we were able to accomplish!

Probably the best part was the great friendships and strong bonds that were created with our new Czech carpenter friend, Tomas Klim ... and his helper, Petr.

It was fun to pose in front of some of the completed window frames with all of us (left to right): Jon Shields, Dave Johnson, Tomas Klim, Kyle Stratton, Chris Ehlert and project manager/good friend, Petr Bozon.

We're hoping and praying that they can finish these cabins in the next month ... in preparation for a big conference the first weekend in May.

So, once again, we left an impact ... and chunks of our hearts behind ... in hopes of someday returning again, perhaps with some more "NEXT" adventurers! Oh, ... but our adventure wasn't over!!

We were scheduled to take an early flight back to the states ... leaving Krakow, Poland early on Thursday, March 31 and arriving home in Minneapolis late that day. So, Petr Bozon took us to Krakow in the afternoon, where we had booked a little "gasthaus" for the night ... in preparation for an "O-dark-thirty" departure. We had a little time to snap some "tourist shots" in Krakow and enjoyed coffee on the town square and a few minutes of souvenir shopping (that's all that a guy needs, right!?).

"Oh, how nice!" ... you're probably saying! ... well, it was nice ... but the adventure wasn't over. After enjoying a nice Polish dinner at the restaurant -Chłopskie Jadło we made our way back to our guesthouse to get a short-nights' rest! When we turned on the computer for one last email connection, we discovered that our flight from Krakow to Prague was cancelled ... and that we needed to start our return trip ... not from Krakow ... where we were ... but from Prague! ... which was an overnight train ride away! So, we checked out of the guest house (without even laying down on the beds!) ... got a taxi to the train station ... went up and down and round-and-round to finally obtain tickets, and at 10 pm boarded an overnight train to Prague!

Click here to see a short video of us waiting on the platform at the Krakow main train station!

Everyone had a great attitude about it ... even during some "tense moments" ... when some guys of questionable character slowed down before us in a pretty dark part of the Krakow train station! But, everything turned out fine, and now everyone is home safe with family and friends!

Thanks to everyone who gave, prayed and encouraged us with your words along the way! Much was accomplished ... with both hands and hearts! Stay tuned for the NEXT Adventure ... which isn't very far away, for sure!!!


Not all Work!

OK, so some of our readers are calling for more information! They're asking, "What have you guys been doing for the last 4 days!" Well, hopefully this update will help!

On Thursday and Friday we put in full days working on cabins near Hotel Malenovice. We are refining the process to get as far as we can before we leave on Friday. At the same time, we're enjoying getting to know our Czech co-workers ... carpenters Tomas and Petr ... and the welding crew! Not to mention the caulkers, log setters, painters, plumbers, and whoever else happens to show up! Its a busy place! You can see a few pictures by clicking HERE ...

Also, you can view some videos of our escapades by clicking on these links - VIDEO 1 ... and ... VIDEO 2.

Friday evening was spent having a wonderful visit and meal with the Ellenwoods in their home in Cesky Tesin. For those who are connected to my facebook page, you know that this family is in the midst of an amazing opportunity! Their son, Noah (15 yrs old) is in the final 20 (10 men and 10 women) of Cesko Slovensko Superstar (the Czech/Slovak version of American Idol). You can view a video of him singing on Saturday night (March 26) ... by clicking HERE!!

This young man has taken a solid stand for his faith, and his family's work as missionaries here in Eastern Europe. What a joy we had being with them on Friday night ... then ... oh, yeah!! ... traveling to Prague on Saturday to see Noah perform LIVE!!! What a blast! Actually you can see us a little on Live Czech TV by CLICKING HERE!! Look for us at about 47 seconds! Chris Ehlert is wearing a bright yellow NEXT t-shirt, and Kyle Stratton is sitting next to him with a camo cap on!

So, our Saturday and Sunday were spent being on live Czech TV, TOURING PRAGUE (click on the link to see video) with some Czech friends of Dave's and getting back to Frydlant nad Ostravici.

We're looking forward to a couple full days of work tomorrow and Tuesday! ... so stay tuned for more!


Couldn't Be Better!

The team arrived!! Hooray!

As I was walking back to the hotel last evening after doing some more "prep work" at the site ... I saw a small station driving past with 3 guys wearing baseball caps inside! My heart leaped for joy! They made it!! After almost 48 hours the guys were finally at their destination! I'm so thankful for the calm and easy-going nature of these 3 guys. They all came with the greatest of attitudes and perspectives through the long travel delays, and we're all certainly glad to be here!

We got them checked in, and settled into our accommodations right away, took a walk down to the site for a look, then hiked back up "the hill" to have supper! The goal was to keep these guys awake until at least 9 0'clock! ... and for the most part, it worked!!

There were some very distinct sounds reverberating through our room last night, and some of us decided that ear plugs were the way to go! But, everyone slept well and woke with great expectations and hopes of a productive day. And it certainly was! We got a great start on trimming the 12 windows in one of the two newly constructed cabins. Our hope is, by Tuesday night next week to have all the windows trimmed! That goal is definitely within reach!

We're especially enjoying working alonside the Czech carpenters, Tomas and Petr. Kyle is already learning some Czech construction terms! Ask him what v vaze means!!!

So, here are a few pictures and a short video of today's adventures ... enjoy! Oh, and for those wanting to know what the accident report looks like ... a few slivers were encountered, one band-aid was used, and legs are just a little sore from the hike up and down the hill. I think everyone will sleep well tonight ... oh, and from the sounds of things, one already is!

"The guys" ... Jon, Tomas, Kyle, Chris, Petr

You can watch a video of today's activities by clicking on THIS LINK!

Stay tuned!


Waiting ...

Well, my guys were supposed to arrive this afternoon in Krakow ... but ... due to some problems on their departure from Minneapolis to JFK in New York, they were unable to fly across the ocean last night.

After a very long and tiring travel day ... they made it to New York, where the airline put them up in a hotel ... in preparation for their departure tonight to Prague (7:30 PM EDT). So, when its all said and done, they'll have been traveling for over 2 straight days to get here!

Chris, Jon and Kyle will (oh, please!!!) ... arrive in Krakow, Poland on Tuesday afternoon at 1:25 Central European Time. We'll be there with smiling faces and caffeine loaded drinks to make sure they make it to our final destination ... Frydlant nad Ostravici ... and Hotel Malenovice.

As far as my schedule ... well, as most of my "followers" know ... there isn't much moss growing under this "rollin' stone" ... so, today I worked some more on Selah projects, moved all my stuff ... and all the tools, over to the projects at Malenovice, met with the carpenter and talked through the plans, and got settled into our "quarters" at Hotel Malenovice.

Here are a couple pictures of the cabins we'll be working on.

Our main task will be to trim out all of the windows ... inside and out! There are 12 windows on each cabin, so we're gonna have our work cut out for us ... but I know these guys (and I've really been braggin' them up!!!) ... so I think we'll do pretty well. And, oh ... the weather is supposed to be beautiful all week long!!

Stay tuned!


"Selah-ing" Along

The mountain-side retreat house called Selah in Eastern Czech Republic has been my home since this past Monday. My dear friend and colleague, Mel Ellenwood, invited me to come over ahead of our NEXT International outreach team to help finish up the "rolling to-do/punch-list" of items that are necessary to complete before this facility can be opened for regular use by Josiah Venture staff who desire a place to come and be renewed and refreshed! Anyone who's gone through a building project knows how long it takes for all those little pieces of trim to get put on, so I was glad to come and help Mel for a few days!

At first, being here completely alone was a bit strange ... especially since I usually don't sleep at the site where I'm working. I guess it's happened in the past, but I've most often been with a team. In this case, all of the essential necessities were available at Selah (water, heat, electricty ... and some pretty sweet furnishings, if I might add), so why pay to stay in the town. Mel probably didn't think about it, but having me stay right here insured that he'd get a few more hours work out of me if I didn't have to pack things up and travel down the mountain! He was right!

I've settled into a nice routine ... just in time to move out and go across the valley to stay with our team of guys coming on Monday (March 21). These 3, Chris, Jon and Kyle ... will be traveling to Krakow, Poland from Minneapolis, where they will be met and transported to Frydlant nad Ostravici, Czech Republic. (click on the blue letters to read more about this town! We will be here until March 31, working on the expansion of Josiah Venture's conference center, Hotel Malenovice, which is just across the valley from Selah!

As far as what Mel and I have been doing ... well ... you'll need to check a couple videos!

Click here on SELAH PUNCH LIST to see some of the projects we've been doing.

Click on THIS LINK and you'll see what thing are looking like outside!

Just as a teaser ... here are a few pics from around Selah this morning!

Please stay tuned for more adventures!!


Project Eternity

As you look at the picture on the left, obviously, it wasn't taken in Wisconsin in February! No, actually, this is one of the last shots of me that was taken in Czech Republic last August. I had been working on Selah, the JV retreat center for a couple weeks and I was about an hour away from jumping on a train to start making my way back to the US.

Although I left the people and the project physically, I never really left emotionally ... and so ... when Mel Ellenwood and I began to dialog about remaining projects, I jumped at the chance to return!

My tickets are purchased and I'm strong into the plans for getting back to Czech in mid-March. One of the greatest joys about this trip is that I get to take a few friends along!! A couple carpenters and a close family friend are cued up to be a part of the team!

So, what about the "Project Eternity" title? ... Well, I have a very strong commitment to invest my greatest and best resources to see "His Kingdom come and His will be done ... ON EARTH ... as it is in Heaven. Eternity is written on everyone's heart ... and as we invest in serving others, I truly believe that we are working on "Project Eternity" ... so stay tuned ... its gonna be a wild ride, as usual!!


Los Quatro Gringos en Guatemala - Day 7&8

These past two days have once again been filled with some amazing opportunities to experience first-hand some of the rich history of Christianity in Guatemala. One of the cornerstones of the development of the Christian church has been the deep commitment to Christian education.

On Monday we visited La Patria School where Mario Fernandez is the General Director. Mario's strong faith, significant life's experience and long history in education have well equipped him to lead this school. This is the oldest Christian school in Guatemala and was established by North American Presbyterian missionaries in 1912. It was very encouraging to hear this rich history and God's faithfulness in the lives of the founders on to those who lead the school today.

Today (Tuesday) we visited America Latina, which is the Christian school founded by the father Becky (Zapata) Fernandez in 1954. This school has 2 campuses with a total of nearly 1500 students. We were treated to the "executive tour" by Becky and one of the administrative assistants. Besides being inspired by the vision and passion to provide Christian formation and education to Guatemalan children, Dave was especially impressed by a visit with the "ice cream man" ... who has been providing the kids with sweet cold treats for 47 years!! He is the only ice cream man allowed to sell ice cream in the school!

The leaders of this school also have a great vision for future development, even for the establishment of a very unique Christian University ... under the direction of Becky's brother, Virgilio Zapata, Jr. What an inspiring and visionary leader! We are eager to share much of what "Junior" would like to see and how teams of short-term workers of all kind can help accomplish this vision!


Listening, connecting, encouraging!

Sunday was truly a full day, but a great day of connecting with our brothers and sisters here in Guatemala. We attended the church service of Iglesia Biblica El Camino, which is the church that Enrique and Becky Fernandez planted nearly 20 years ago. It was really fun to sing along (in Spanish) with the worship team! Click on the video below to hear the church praising God!

After church we met some of the Fernandez' closest friends who had helped start the church.

They accompanied us to lunch, where we met the Doyles, a couple who is doing construction ministry here in Guatemala. Brennan is from Rhinelander, WI and Mariajose is Guatemalan, and also an architect. They are using their talents to serve a variety of ministries with facility development and construction. It was a joy to sit with the Doyles in their home and dialog about the reconstruction of the Fernandez' home.

Our days continue to be filled with incredible opportunities to get to know a wonderful group of people here in Guatemala and encourage them in whatever way we can! Thanks for following our escapades and encouraging us with your comments!


Wonderfully Weary!

Our team concluded "phase 1" of our time in Guatemala today with some very "impactful" activities. The first thing we did after breakfast this morning was deliver gifts to the children of the orphanage we were staying. It was wonderful to love on these beautiful children and give them much enjoyed presents. We'll hope to post some pictures on our web album tomorrow (Saturday).

Next, the team boarded a bus for a cultural outing to the historical city of Antigua. This was the former capital of Latin America, but was destroyed so many times by volcanic eruptions and earthquakes that they moved the capital an hour northeast to Guatemala City. We enjoyed visiting a number of shops decked out in a beautiful array of colors, and purchased a few souvenirs to bring home. One of the neat events of the foray into the "mercado" was running into a few folks who were in Guatemala drilling a well with Living Water International! I'm hoping to be able to connect Oscar Chiquito of Los Olivos church with LWI's Guatemalan rep to see about getting a well drilled in one of the villages where Los Olivos is working.

We rode the bus back to Sumpango, where we quickly helped load the Woodlands Church team's 30 action packers and 30 suitcases on the top of a "chicken bus" ... ready to head to the airport in Guatemala City. These buses are pretty sweet rides ... decked out to the max!

Our experience with the Woodlands team was excellent, and it appears that the doors are wide open for some kind of connection to continue with them in the future!

We are now in Guatemala City; Christi and Cherise are staying with our friends' family, the Fernandez, and Joyce and Dave are staying in a comfortable hostel. We're looking forward to a restful night (without a 6AM wake-up call!) ... and then some time looking at some potential ministry projects here. Hopefully we'll be able to upload some pictures and videos tomorrow.

Blessings to all ... thanks for all your encouraging comments! Buenas noches!


Doing it for the least of these!

Our team of 4 is doing well on Day 4!! Yesterday (Wednesday) ... Joyce, Christi and Cherise continued sharing God's love in practical ways by serving with the Woodlands team at the clinic. Cherise especially connected with some young boys who were helping people move from one place to the next. What fun to share smiles, laughter and hugs!

The clinic opens about 8 AM and there are already dozens of people lined up outside. After a group prayer, the seats fill up fast with people waiting for all kinds of services. They aren't left for long, though ... as the providers and their assistants invite the people in to the "exam rooms" to evaluate the patient's need.

Everyone is attended to with love and compassion. One of the very essential components and great blessing to all of us are the national translators who work right alongside the providers. The day is busy, but after 8 hours and over 200 patients, everyone is still energized and filled with joy and thanksgiving.

Each day the team boards a bus and heads back to our accommodations at the orphanage. Wednesday's bus ride was "extra eventful." What normally takes about 15 minutes took us about an hour. There was a "bus jam" at one of the major intersections ... and we watched 5 buses pass each other (ours being one!) with inches between!

Lots of pictures were taken ... and some video, which you can see a little of below!

While the girls were serving at the clinic, Dave was able to go with Pastor Oscar and 5 others to visit a nearby rural village where the Los Olivos church is serving the community in some amazing ways. To see the poverty of this village and hear the stories of how God is opening doors to show his love by bringing practical help was "heart challenging" and at the same time, super encouraging! The highlight (and emotionally charged moment) of the day was being invited to serve a noon meal to over 350 children and mothers who are receiving a nutritious meal three times a week. Our smiles were soaked with tears as we waited on these dear people.

God spoke to me (Dave) very clearly as we loved on these kids. As Jesus answered those who were asking how they had served Him, He told them that when you serve "the least of these," you are serving Him. The children in El Yalu are definitely among "the least of these."

All four of us will return on Wednesday of next week to serve again, and have everyone experience this tremendous work! I'm posting just a short video here for people to "get a taste" ... but I'm sure we'll have much more to share when we get back.

Tomorrow we visit La Antigua with the Woodlands Team, see them off at the airport and then back to Guatemala City for the weekend. Thanks for all your encouragement!


Guatemala Update - Day 1 & 2 - Excersing the Heart!

Greetings and Blessings from Guatemala!

As the morning church bells ring out the start of another new day, our hearts are feeling strong by the tremendous experiences of the last couple days.

On Monday, our flights from Minneapolis to Guatemala City were mostly uneventful (except for a brisk "sprint" from one end of the Houston airport to the other! We made an easy transition through customs and were met with smiles and hugs from our friend, Becky Fernandez. It was great to renew our friendship of 18 years!

The night was short as we had a 5:45 departure on Tuesday morning from Guatemala City to Sumpango and our temporary residence, the orphanage Los Misioneros Del Camino. There we were warmly greeted by the Woodlands Church team, a great breakfast, wonderful Guatemalan coffee and an encouraging morning devotion.

After breakfast we boarded a school bus for the 10 minute down into the center of Sumpango and the community center where the clinic was being held. The clinic has a number of different services they offer, including; general medical care, optometry, Ob/Gyn, a pharmacy and a "spiritual clinic" where elders from the Los Olivos church talk with and pray for the people who come.

Dave & Joyce started off in the optometry department, fitting glasses. They quickly learned to ask (in Spanish) ... is it clear "claro?" ... is it better "mejor?" ... and most importantly, to say, "Dios le bendiga!" ... God bless you!!!

Christi and Cherise volunteered in the pharmacy, where the filled prescriptions and counted lots of pills! More Spanish words ... "una ala dia" ... "one-a-day" and also "Dios le bendiga!"

The wishes for God's blessings were returned to us in many ways ... through the words that were spoken, the smiles of the people who were being given care, and the thankfulness in their eyes!

We returned to the orphanage where we heard testimonies from a number of team members of how God showed up "big-time" in their lives and in the lives of the people they were attending to. The evening ended with an amazing story from the founder of the orphanage; Leonor Portela. 25 years ago, this lady of incredible faith started this orphanage. We were inspired and challenged by her life of faith and trust in God! Please take a look at their website by clicking on this link: Los Misioneros del Camino.

Today, Joyce, Christi and Cherise will once again be tending to patients at the clinic while Dave takes a "field trip" with Becky, some of the leaders from Woodlands, and Pastor Oscar Chiquito. El Yalu is an outreach location of Los Olivos church, who is sponsoring the clinic, and serving the people of the region with the love of God! This should be another exciting day!

Thanks so much for following us and praying for us! These first few days were tremendous! ... and we've agreed that their theme should be a quote from the cover of the brochure for the orphanage where we are staying:

“There is no exercise better for the heart than reaching down and lifting people up.”

We definitely sense God using us to lift up the lives of the people around us! We look forward to sending more reports in the days to come! We have some pictures posted in an on-line album which you can access by clicking on this Guatemala Album Link.



January 2011 - Guatemala!!

In the shadow of active volcanoes lies the Guatemalan town of Sumpango.

This town of 33 thousand people will be our first stop on a 10 day outreach in Guatemala. We excitedly looking forward to this new adventure for a NEXT International outreach team.

The team is made up of Dave, Joyce and Christi Johnson, and Cherise Nielsen. Our first opportunity will be connecting with a medical mission team from Plover, Wisconsin. We're looking forward to learning from this group who conducts a number of medical missions each year. Our desire is to serve in whatever way we can, helping to reach out to the people in this community with the love of God.

We'll also spend some time with Oscar and Karla Chiquito.

Oscar is the co-founder of Los Olivos Christian Mission. This organization is reaching out to people in this city to help meet physical, education and spiritual needs. We are eager to explore the possibilities of possibly sending teams here in the future to come alongside Oscar and help meet these needs.

We'll leave Sumpango on Friday to go back to Guatemala City. There we will be visiting a church on Sunday, and looking for how God will connect us with other ministries.

Please watch the blog for future updates!