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Hola!  Como estas?
Estoy bien.  Me gusta escribir en español.
For your sake and mine though, I will switch back to English.  Throughout August and early September, I was furiously studying Spanish in preparation for a World Orphans trip to Guatemala.  Now, I hope to continue learning it for fun and for future trips.
Our trip to Guatemala was incredible; both informative and emotionally impactful.  Our team of ten spent seven days soaking in the culture and history of the country, learning about the work of World Orphans and our partner organization, AMG, pouring concrete for a soccer court, and fellowshipping with many wonderful people.  Though we only scratched the surface of all that is going on in Guatemala, we left with full minds and hearts.
Since this was a vision trip to inspire and prepare churches in the United States to partner with churches in Guatemala, the format was very different than other World Orphans trips.  We spent time touring the city to learn about the issues affecting Guatemalans including poverty, drugs, gangs, violence, and unemployment.  Then, we learned about the solutions that World Orphans provides alongside AMG and the local churches.  Our ministry in Guatemala is focused on family preservation and wholistic care for children.  Families are stabilized.  Children are safe, provided for, and loved.
Though my eyes and ears took in tragic scenes and stories, my heart stayed encouraged.  The church is at work.  The people of Guatemala are persevering against all that is stacked against them.  Teachers are spending 25 years serving in a school in the worst zone of the entire city.  Pastors are adopting children whose mothers abandoned them for drugs.  Children are laughing and smiling as they go to school. There is hope.
After such an intense trip, I needed time to debrief and process, but I did not have that luxury.  Instead, I launched right into working at Collyde Summit, a conference for church leaders in the tri-state area.  My friend/volunteer and I spent two days conversing with people about World Orphans and inviting them to get involved.
Once that event wrapped up, I finally got some time to relax at the World Orphans staff retreat.  This annual event in Estes Park, Colorado, allows our de-centralized staff to fellowship with each other and with the Lord.  For me, it was so good to remember that I am on a team with others who have the same God-given passion. 
Each morning on the retreat was spent in worship, Bible study, and contemplative prayer.  Three days in a row, I spent an hour lying out in the clear mountain air alone with my Lord and Savior.  I got to “be” instead of “do.”  It was glorious.
After being filled up all morning, the afternoons were times of fellowship and recreation.  We hiked 5.5 miles at 8,500 feet, visited Estes Park, and saw the sites at Rocky Mountain National Park.  All the while, great conversations were had and friendships were deepened.
Upon returning to New Jersey, I vowed that I would spend more time being still before the Lord.  However, life has not been conducive to that plan.  I am already caught up in a swirl of planning several road trips to attend college missions’ events, following up with the contacts from Collyde Summit, and working with my church to prepare for the next steps with World Orphans.  Do not get me wrong, all of these things are great and God is blessing the work.  I just need to remember that it is not about me, but about Him.
That being said, please pray for the following requests:
  • Pray for…
    • the people of Guatemala and the churches there who are doing counter-cultural work to care for orphans and vulnerable children.
    • churches in the U.S. to step up to partner with the churches of Guatemala.
    • the Collyde Summit attendees to take action to advocate for orphans.
    • me to have peace and to stay rooted in the Lord as I travel, speak, and connect with people about World Orphans.
Thank you so much for your partnership.  I hope you can see, as I do, that God is clearly using us to care for orphans and to show His love to the world.
God bless!
Guatemala Pictures
Staff Retreat Pictures
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