Friday, August 18, 2017

Identity and Overcoming

It has been a long time since I have written. As I have been in this  transition stage, many things have changed and are still changing. I rented a place just before I left but there were problems with the water and electric. Micah has been there working on it and as of yesterday, he was assured that things would be hooked up and turned on soon. It is exciting for me because it a little place on the back of the property that he is moving into with the boys. It was not always easy to schedule times to get together with them to have a Bible study or talk about life but that should be easier now, as least location wise. The downside is that I will now be living across town from much of the work with the Church.

Two girls from Membrillal at the clinic
I am hoping that there will still be plenty of opportunities to work with the Church. While I have not always like some of the jobs, I love the people that God has allowed me to work with over the last 4+ years and I love that many people have seen the love of Jesus demonstrated through that work. My favorite part of these last 4 years has been to spend time with the kids in the schools, build friendships with them and watch them grow. I am excited for what God is going to do with them and hope to be able to have a role in it for many more years.

The primary change is going to be in who I am hoping to serve. God has been reminding me of the call of the Church to minister to orphans and widows. [Jas 1:27 ESV] 27 Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world. In Guatemala, there are 300,000 kids that are orphaned, abandoned, neglected or abused by family members. For 95% of them there is no help in sight even though the Evangelical Church claims about to be about 40% of the total population. Not everyone can take in children and the adoption process in Guatemala is very difficult to navigate but we must act to rescue these kids. This has become my heart. God says that He is a Father to the fatherless but He has given us the task of making that known to them and of showing them His love in physical, tangible ways.
Two friends shared posts on facebook just yesterday that I believe will help you see the nature of this crisis and the role that the Body is called to play in ending it.

from Micah Leier:
Something very sad has happened in Guatemala, but I am also saddened by how many Christians reacted. Everywhere I look at people demanding the death of the attackers, or even torturing them and worse. I have had these thoughts too, and I get angry for what happened, but the God I serve is not a God of hate and death, but love and life.
Instead of looking for revenge, should we ask ourselves how we have failed as much as church?
Because there are so many people with no hope that they are looking for her in drugs and alcoholism, because there are so many without a family that is looking for her in the gangs, and so many without love to find her in the brothel
The solution will not be found in hatred, killing is not solved with more bloodshed. These young people often have not seen any alternatives, they do not have education or hope for the future or often food. They're looking for a way out where they find him.
Now I ask you, in a country where you are supposed to be between 10 % and 60 % Christian, how can you find a gang before you find Jesus and your church? How have we failed so much that although Christians are more than gang members, they " evangelize " more and " serve " more to the poor?
Then before we throw away our stones, let us know if we are truly loving as Jesus sent us. What are we doing to help these people, physically and spiritually? How can we give them hope? And how will we share the love and truth of Jesus?

From Greg Giagnocavo:
This Father tried to Kill his 6 Children with Poison.
This happened right near us.
Here is the TL;DR version.
Mother was sick, and thinking she was going to die, gave away her one-year-old daughter. Simply approached the neighbor lady and gave her the child.
Mother dies.
Father is drunk most of the time and decides he doesn't want the other 6 children so he puts rat poison in their food, with the intent to kill them . Oldest daughter age 11, (who is more less in charge of the children ) notices this and tells her siblings not to eat the food.
Father takes up with another woman, aka, stepmother.
Stepmother doesn't want the children , now ages 5 to 12, so she kicked them out of the house and won't let them back in.
Father allows them back in but tells the children he doesn't want to see them anymore and that he's going to find people to give them away to. He gives 5 of the 6 children away, one by one, to neighbors or friends of neighbors.
But he can't find a family to take the Marvin, age 5.
Stepmother refuses to feed Marvin and kicks him out of the house ; Marvin lives three days by himself on the street.
Neighbor lady notices Marvin and brings him into her house; but she already has five children and simply can't take another child into her one-room house. So she approaches her neighbors, a childless Guatemalan couple.
This childless couple are friends of ours, and have desperately desired children. That same day, Martin moves in with them. That couple came to visit me on the weekend. They brought Marvin along - very cute and very well-behaved.
They really want children and I have been working with them to help them with the paperwork to go through the Guatemala government agency to adopt a child ... but it will take at least 18 months
The couple came over to talk privately to me asking how to do they "take in", or "adopt", Marvin .... 'as legal as possible'.**
Marvin already calls them Mom and Dad and loves playing with his new cousins who live nearby. He coincidentally has the same name as the "new father" and looks similar.
After our talk, the couple decided to keep Marvin and raise him as their own.
So happy for them and for Marvin. And, happy that the other children in the family -- now have loving families to raise them. 👨‍👩‍👦‍👦


** You might wonder why we don't call social services.
First thing, there really isn't a proper social services department in GT, and people are not allowed to adopt anyone they have met before. Stupid and crazy rules.
So if the drunk biological father was reported, the government would take all the children and, you wouldn't be able to see them again. They would be separated and who knows where they would end up.
So there is a very large inter-family sort of informal "adoption system" in in which children are basically given to other people to raise as their own. Not a great solution, but after 40 children died in the government children's home six months ago, many people have a distrust of the government's handling of children.











Amalia's daughter in Zapote


I know that this is long but these stories illustrate the problems that we face. Without a sense of identity found in Jesus and without families, kids are growing up unattended, unloved and fearful. They turn to gangs, drugs, illicit sexual encounters and crime to give them a feeling of empowerment. They are destroying their nations because it is only in destruction that they feel they have a voice. Only when they are feared as much as they fear do they feel a sense of worth. God has been telling me that it is time to step in and break this cycle. I o not know exactly how it is all going to work out or what my role in all of this will be but He has given me a jumping off point for this next adventure. I am excited to see how it is all going to unfold and even more excited for how I will get to see God loving the broken. neglected and abandoned.

I have seen an increase in my expenses as a result of moving out of the Church property. I will now be responsible for my food and housing expenses. I also have an increased the need for a car because I am farther from many of the things that I am doing. Please pray about how you can help out. I know that you all have 30 people asking for money or other help so there is no pressure. Just ask God to direct who to help and how.

If God calls you to support financially, you can send checks to;
Life Church Morris
P.O. Box 679
Morris, IL 60450
In the memo of your check write:
Mission San Lucas

I am also grateful for all of your prayers and for those that maintain contact with me while I am away. Thank you and may you be blessed for your faithfulness wherever God directs you.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Becoming

For the last few months I have been on an adventure that is changing and transforming my thought process. I am still not sure of the final outcome but I know where it has brought me as of today. I have shared little bits and pieces of it before but would like to  share a little more today. This change is beginning to alter the course that I thought I was on and I believe, in the end, will alter it more.

A few months ago I changed my blog name to Papa Jorge. That name grew out of a conversation that I had with a leader in Life Church St  Charles. He was sharing what he saw as a God given identity for me. It took a while to use this as a name but a few months ago, my pastor in Morris, Jonathan Horsfall asked me what my identity  was. Those were not his exact words but that was his question. Who is it that God has called me to be? This reminded me of the words from the leader in St Charles and so I changed my blog name even though I did not have a clear answer at that time.

Over the last few months, I have prayed about this question and many other things. As I have begun to frequently pray the prayers I shared with you previously in Eph 1-3 God started speaking to me and giving clarity to the answer. I want to encourage you to reread that blog "A  Challenge" and start praying these things for yourself and your community of believers. I believe that it is life transforming and eye opening. God has been speaking to me almost daily about some aspect of these verses and as He does, it opens a new understanding of identity.

I shared that God spoke to me about the orphans but this week, he took me deeper into that. He spoke to me about my identity as an orphan and His desire for me to be a son. In Jesus, He has already made me a son but Rom 12:1+2 speaks of our transformation coming as our minds are renewed. There are a lot of wrong ways of thinking that I had incorporated into my life. I had believed a lot of lies and reacted at in a wrong manner to most authority figures in my life. I had adopted a general mistrust of authority and in many ways had lived as the orphan myself. I am so grateful  to Jonathan for walking me through some of these issues in prayer. Through confession and repentance, I started to long for intimacy with the Father that I had often run away from. I mistrusted His motives towards me and felt valued by Him only when I performed to a certain, artificial standard that existed only in my mind and moved frequently. I began to realize His desire for fellowship with me in new and exciting ways.

What I am starting to realize is that to be Papa Jorge is to stand in the place of Father to lost and hurting people. In order to do that, I have to have the identity of son. That does not come from my will or and act of choosing to become. It only comes from being lost in Father. Jesus came to bring us into family. Through the cross, He gave us identity. We had a wrong identity from birth, given us by a fallen world. When we are brought into the family of God, He changes our understanding of who we are but he also changes our relationship to authority. (John 17:20-21 ESV - 20 "I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, 21 that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me.) When we know our Father, we know that we can trust Him and that His plans are good. As a son, I no longer have to make my own way. I walk with the Father and His authority surrounds me. His provision is enough for me and His purposes are enough for me. I am not on my own. I am in a family and under the authority of a Father. I do not have to make things happen, only walk with Him and obey. All the rest is a result of His goodness. I get to enjoy the full benefits of sonship.

One of my favorite verses is Rom 8:19 ESV - 19 For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. This verse has a now and not yet aspect to it. Creation suffers when we are not living out the relationship that we are created for. We were made to live as sons and creation is longing for that to be revealed. While we know that we do not see the fullness of the Kingdom of God here on the earth, we also know that we are being transformed from glory o glory. In this transformation process, God is revealing a little more of Himself to the world moment by moment and answering more of the longing of creation. The restoration of creation is happening little by little as sons are being revealed in the earth.

I believe that the crisis we see of orphaned, abused and neglected kids, along with the rampant use of abortion as birth control are things God wants to end because every child is created as an image bearer of His. To allow the destruction of these children, either in or out of the womb is to destroy what God has created with innate and immeasurable value. The Father has a plan for ending this destruction and restoring the dignity of all life. It starts with the Church learning their identity and to stop living as servant, slaves, sinners and orphans. It will happen when we realize the authority of the Father, vested in sons and daughters. When we know who we are, we gain our voice and speak to the injustice of the fallen world that we live in. We can begin to manifest the Kingdom, as Jesus prayer on earth as it is in Heaven. It is not our work that will do this but rather it is the Father revealing His identity through the body, His children.

I do want to begin to work more with the neglected, abused, abandoned and orphaned. Even more, I believe that the father is calling me to this work. I am planning and praying about how this is going to look. I will start where I am, in San Lucas and ask God to lead me where He wants me to be. I believe that He desires to end this pain and suffering through the Church. I do not know my role in it all yet but will be talking to some friends and people that work in these areas after I get back. I believe that He is saying aim high and trust. He does not want to help a few children but to change the way that we all deal with the need and to show us that His abundant provision is enough to meet the needs foe all.

I am asking that you would join me in praying for wisdom and direction. Talk to me if God gives you insight and wisdom. Consider partnering in the future to see children delivered into the arms of a loving Father, orphans set in families and the Church walking in the power and authority that God has for us.

Col 1:9-13 ESV - 9 And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, 10 so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him: bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; 11 being strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, 12 giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. 13 He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son,

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Change of Direction

A couple of weeks ago I shared with you what I felt led to pray for my life and for the Church. It was mostly Paul's prayers for the believer in Ephesians 1-3. As I started praying these things consistently, God started speaking about some things more clearly to me. I should not be too surprised because one of the things I have been asking for is a spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him. I would like to share some of this with you and then encourage you to go back to that blog and begin praying these things for your life and for the Christian community that you are part of.

A few days after I started praying these things, I had a dream. I usually do not think much about dreams but his one was different. It was clear and concise. I wrote it down as soon as I got up and as I wrote it became even more clear. I was seeing things beyond the dream but I knew that it was God opening my eyes to His heart. As I wrote, I got more insight and direction but not a specific plan. As I prayed about what I was writing I saw that there would be a time to act on these things but first there was going to be a time of waiting for God to work some things out in me.

The dream was short. I was moving into a flop house with a friend. I could not tell you who the person was other than that I knew we were friends. As we approached our room, he told me to wait. He had to check on the kids next door. In the room there was a 3 year old girl and her little sibling. They were just waking up. My friend talked to the little girl for a minute then we prepared to leave. As we turned to go, she said "I am hungry". I asked my friend if we should go get them something to eat since they were obviously left alone. He said, no, they would find something and we did not need to worry about it. This was the whole dream.

As I prayed about it, I began to see that the reason I could not identify the friend is because he was the Church. The children were orphans and our response was the typical response we tend to have. We want to look at needs and we are good at seeming concerned but we often do not go deeper to intervene in people's lies. I think that we feel the situation is too big and our help would not matter so why bother. I know that I often feel overwhelmed by what I see and it hinders my ability to intervene. I suspect that I am not the only one.

Some examples are the things that I see in  Guatemala. It is hard to get good statistics because every source seems to report something different so I usually assume that the truth is in the middle. There are 300,000+  homeless, orphaned, abused and neglected kids in a country of 16,000,000. About 40% or 6,500,000 residents are part of the Evangelical Church. 1/2 of the population is under 21 years of age. 15% of the population is wealthy but over 3 times that number live in poverty, many of them in extreme poverty, less than $1.50 per day. The income of the poorest in the population has decreased in the last 15 years while their numbers have swollen. Violence, rape, molestation and murder dominate the headlines of the national newspapers. In the last week 3 bus drivers and 3 helpers have been murdered in San Lucas, a usually peaceful community.

I felt like God was telling me that this is the natural outcome of people growing up orphans. Not all that are orphans are parentless, Most have at least one parent. The orphan condition comes from living in a fallen world and believing the lies of the enemy that we have to figure life out for ourselves. It is a heart condition that keeps us from being able to receive love and manifests itself in these various destructive activities. People with an orphaned heart will try to destroy what they cannot control. People with orphaned hearts believe they are on their own and the only thing that they can count on is their own effort. Unfortunately that always comes up short, leaving them more empty and more broken, angry and frustrated.

I felt like God was saying that He was showing  me these things because I was going to start working with orphans, street kids, the neglected and abused. I believe that is possible as of now. I know that God hates the fact that there are so many people He created as an object of His love who are being hurt each day because of the corruption of the world and the lies of the enemy. I believe that His desire is to stir up the Church to step into these situations and see people set free. I believe I will be working in this ministry in the future but then he revealed something closer to home for me.

I have been seeing all of the areas of my life that respond from orphan thinking. What was easy for me to see in some was hard in me. God stared showing me the ways that I respond and react that are based on the lies of the enemy. I would like to share with you this limited list, some of which have been issues for me and others that are common for many people. This is not comprehensive but they are just a few checkpoints that I have started to see so that I could recognize areas of my life where I have not been living like a son of God but like an orphan and a slave.


  1. Self awareness: Orphans have an inclination to process every decision based on perceived personal expense.
    1. Selfish motives; If I give or share I might not have enough for me.
    2. Fear of loss; If I obey it is going to cost me something, money, family, home, respect.
    3. I will be taken advantage of: People will use me if I am too giving.
    4. Poverty and lack mindset; How am I going to meet my needs and obligations if I obey God in this?
  2. Self preservation; I could die or be injured.
    1. Fear of suffering; I could suffer or die if I do that.
    2. Fear of the future; If I do this I will not be provided for until my life ends.
  3. Anger; Orphans often respond by lashing out when they are fearful.
  4. Need to be right or agreed with; Being right becomes a measure of worth
  5. Need to succeed; Orphans often measure themselves by if others see them as successful.
  6. Checking out; If I am destined to fail, why try?
  7. Defensiveness; Orphans are often expecting rejection or chastisement so they are ready to defend themselves.
There are many more but this is enough to get people thinking. Are you living like a child of a good Father? Are you secure in the identity that you have been giving through Jesus. If we are crucified with Jesus, we have a new identity. We are sons, through creation first and then by adoption. God has given us a new identity. I am beginning to see how important it is to embrace this identity. If I do not know that I am a son, raised with Jesus and seated with Him, I cannot offer the world the one thing that it truly needs. The purpose of the Church is to make disciples that are sons of God. We are called to call others into their destiny as Holy Spirit leads us. We cannot do that while remnants of the orphan remain in us. God is in the process of removing that. It comes through the cross and embracing it for all of our old, orphaned self and then being raised as sons, fellow heirs with Jesus. This is where I am today, learning to see all of the areas in my life that I am living in and have been embracing this lie. God is teaching me to be a son.

Read the prayer of Jesus for the disciples and let it sink in as you realize it is for you also.
[John 17:18-26 ESV] 18 As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. 19 And for their sake I consecrate myself, that they also may be sanctified in truth. 20 "I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, 21 that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, 23 I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me. 24 Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world. 25 O righteous Father, even though the world does not know you, I know you, and these know that you have sent me. 26 I made known to them your name, and I will continue to make it known, that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them."

God wants to heal us, teach us to live as sons, united with Him and as one in Him and then to transform the world. I am called to work with orphans but it might not be how I though of it. The world is full of people that do not know they are orphans and God wants to bring them, through the cross of Jesus to the place of adoption and sonship. He also wants to use you in this ministry. Are you ready?


Monday, May 8, 2017

An Unexpected Turn

For two weeks I had little to do but rest. There were a few small tasks but not much to keep me busy. The first week was Holy Week and we do not have any teams. The next week was the group from His Hands. They go to the school to get all of the sponsorship information for many of our students. I often dive them but it can be hard for the school when I come. Kids call out to get my attention at the most inappropriate times making it hard for the teachers to do their jobs. I stayed behind while Rene drove them out and dropped them off. It was all good because after the two weeks rest I was rested and excited to get out and work with my great friends from Hinton. It is always good to see Kelvin and his crew so I was excited to get back to work.

The team came in late on Wednesday night and we left at 7:30 Thursday morning to build a house in Zapote. I was feeling good and ready to get started. We carted all of the materials to the house and cut down about a dozen banana trees to make room for the house. About 2 hours in we had holes dug for the posts that would hold the house up and went to carry one from the gate to the house site, about 30 yards, through a narrow walkway. As I got to the clearing for the house I turned just slightly and felt a pop. I thought I was going to go down and pain shot through my knee. I had a slightly torn meniscus for about a year and a half but now something felt really wrong. Every step hurt. I was about to unexpectedly get a few more weeks off.

We has a doctor on the team and he narrowed it down to just a torn MCL or a bigger tear in the meniscus than I had previously. He checked at the sight and then again when we got home that night. I think he had narrowed it down to the meniscus that evening. Within a few minutes of this happening, I remembered that a friend, Joe Leier had a surgical team coming the next week. I messaged him and asked about the team and he told me that their was only one doctor doing surgeries that week and he was an orthopedic surgeon, the one that had repaired his son Micah's shoulder a few months before.

It is amazin whatthey can do through two small hole. $ days afte
It is amazing what they can do through 2 small holes. 4
 days after surgery
I went to have x-rays while the team went to work on Friday. On Monday Patrica, Micah and I made the trip an hour and twenty minutes north to see the doctor. He confirmed Dr Noel's diagnosis that it was a torn meniscus. I was scheduled for surgery the next day. Patricia and I got up early and at 5:30 Tuesday morning she again drove me to San Raymundo for surgery. After waiting for the complicated surgeries to finish, they took me to prep at about 12:45. They took me into surgery a couple of hours later and repaired the knee. It has been 6 days and I am feeling much better. I still have some bruising and a little difficult straightening my knee completely but I am almost back to normal.

When I look at all of the things that transpired, I have been amazed at how God orchestrated everything. The injury happened at the only time it could if I was going to get it repaired before I came back to the States. It happened while we had a team with a doctor and a nurse on the property to check up on me every once in a while and it happened when the best person to repair it would be available. God did not cause the injury but He allowed it to happen at the best possible time.

Many people would ask why He allowed it to happen in the first place. If God is good, why does He allow such injuries to attack His children? Why did He allow me  to have cancer 6 years ago> Why do so many face such bad circumstances? I do not have all of the answers but I have come to this conclusion; He is faithful and He loves us. These seemingly bad circumstances will cause growth in us that nothing else can. Through cancer I learned that I can trust God to lead in the middle of dire circumstances. Through the knee injury I learned something completely different.

The other day I woke up praying about some things and God spoke something profound and painful to me. He showed me how selfish I am. I have done lots of things that would look like that it not true but He showed me some of my motives in doing them. They usually made me feel good about myself but I often still grumbled and complained about the actual work required to accomplish them. Often I would complain on the inside even when I said little with my mouth. I wanted the gratification of helping people and I loved the acknowledgements but often hated the work. I am sure that was reflected in my attitudes at times.

Today, as I read 1st Cor 3 I was reminded that all of our work is to be built on the foundation of Jesus and it will have to withstand a test of fire. Whatever is build poorly, with a wrong attitude and not under the direction of Holy Spirit will burn and we will suffer the loss. I believe God has led me here. He has given me a supernatural love for the people here and a desire to see this country transformed by His love through the body of believers. Unfortunately, I had let my attitude be shaped by selfish thoughts and wrong thinking. I had forgotten to be thankful because Jesus has let me have a role in the work He is doing. I let work displace relationship and is was showing. Fortunately, He has been faithful to give me time to hear His voice and begin repenting of the wrong attitudes and to move Him back to the center of all I am doing. Without Him orchestrating the events with my knee, I may still be working from the same lies. Jesus is faithful to put us in a position to hear Him even when we resist. Thank you Jesus that having a right relationship with you is more important than finishing houses, playing with kids, building stoves or even building schools and \Churches. Thank you that you bring us to where we need to be to learn that lesson.

I will be back in the States for a couple of weeks starting May 15th. I would love to share more with you about what God is doing in my life and in Guatemala and also to catch up with you all. I want to say thank you for all that have been supporting me with your finances and prayers and also to all that have encouraged me. I cannot do what I am doing without your support and encouragement.

If you would consider supporting and praying for me, I would appreciate it. I still need to raise $5,000 approximately to finish this year. You can send support checks to:


Life Church Morris
P.O. Box 679
Morris, IL 60450
In the memo of your check write Mission San Lucas


Wednesday, April 26, 2017

A Challenge

This is not a usual post but rather a challenge foor me that I am asking others to join me in. I am going to pray the following verses from Ephesians for myself personally for the next 30 days and as they become more a reality in my life I am going to pray them over My family, both natural and Church family gor 30 more days. I am asking my friends and family to join this prayer. I am realizing how often I depend on self but want to be completely emptied of self so I can be fully filled with the Holy Spirit. The world needs the Church to walk in the power of God. The disciples turned the world upside down once. We need to see it happen today. Please join me in this prayer, first for yourself and then for all that Jesus wants to use to make himself know. Feel free to share this challenge with everyone and I will be writing a regular blog soon.


Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Even in the Tough Times

I have been having a hard time trying to figure out what to write this week. We spent the last week helping The Oasis staff and a medical team from Texas with a medical clinic in Zapote. It was a difficult week for many. Normally this group was led by the team coordinator Josh Ma. I have helped them with 8 or 9 clinics and he has been the lead on all but this one. He was not able to lead this time because he was very ill. He has been battling stomach cancer and it spread to most of his other organs. He lost a lot of weight because the tumor was so large he could not eat. He had a feeding tube placed in his intestines to try and get him some nourishment. Unfortunately the tube did not seal and leaked into his body cavity causing severe infection. On Thursday one of the Kid's Alive staff got frequent prayer updates and they culminated in the news that he passed away at 3 p.m. 

In my home Church there is a man that has been faithful to attend and pray for many years. He was an encourager for all that were there. He always had a hug and a smile for everybody. When he prayed for you, you knew that you were loved. A few months ago he was diagnosed with cancer as well. He had been going through treatment and when I was in Morris for Christmas I thought he looked good seemed to be doing well also. Chemo destroys he immune system and he got sick. He wound up in ICU a few days ago. This morning he passed away also.

Other than the fact that they were both Godly men and they both had families, their lives were very different. One was young, had left a professional position to pursue missions. The other had worked hard and lived in the same area most of his life. One had a young wife, a small daughter and another child on the way. The other lost his wife to cancer several years ago and his children were now adults with families of their own. Thy were different in many ways but the end of their life journey here has had a singular impact on me

The effect of these two deaths has caused me to question the direction of my life. I am missing time with family and friends in Morris. Someday I will loose people closer to me than these two friends. Will I regret not being there the last few years?  Will I be able to be at a funeral for a close family member or friend, knowing that I was not there when their time on earth ended? I have asked myself this question before but it seemed like there was a greater urgency to have an answer this time. Fortunately, God is faithful to let us know when we are where we are supposed to be.

At Josh's funeral on Saturday, a friend< Doug shared how Josh was ready to go and be with Jesus. He had held on for his wife and children but his heart was ready to be at rest with Jesus. If he was not to be healed, he wanted to go. That type of assurance can only come from a close walk with Jesus. He loved his family but was in the place that he knew Jesus could care for them better than he could.While he wanted to be there for them, he had confidence that Jesus would walk through this with them, comfort them and care for them in the future. He was ready to hear his Father welcome him home into his reward.

We all are going to go through difficult times. We have families that may suffer when we cannot be there for them. Life on this planet can be difficult at times and we are all touched by the brokenness that surrounds us. We have to know the love of Jesus and be confident in the course that He sets for us. Even more I think is that we have to know His love and care for our families. We have to learn to trust Him with their care. He can do what we cannot. He can give them life, both now and for eternity.

I need to remind myself frequently that I am not called to live for this world. That includes the people and relationships that are dear to me. I am called to live for eternity. That does not mean I cannot have real and deep relationships here but that I cannot let them be my motivation. If I follow Jesus I can trust Him o take care of the people that matter to me. My best reward will be eternity, filled with the people I love. I cannot get them there Only God can do that. I can pray for them and share truth with them but He is the one that draws them to a life giving relationship with Himself. As for me, I choose to let go of the here and now so that I can rejoice for eternity with those I love. Who knows,  if I do not obey God's voice one of the testimonies that He desires to use to draw them may not exist.

The best way to get through the tough times is to remember that we are not called to live for this world. The best way to find the courage to follow God in tough places is to focus on eternal rewards and not immediate gratification. Remind yourself that none of us are guaranteed tomorrow so we need to make our choice to obey today. God may not be calling you to leave your country but He is calling you to a risky and costly role. Obedience to Jesus will cost you but the rewards will be worth it.

Friday, March 10, 2017

When Life Gets Busy

It has been a busy month around here. We have had a team of women come and begin the dialogue about ending a culture of violence against women and children. We had our friends from Ohio and Pennsylvania come and help us get started on the construction of the new Church building in San Lucas and we had a group from McKinney Christian Academy in Texas come to build houses and also reach out to the kids in Zapote with the love of Jesus. Each week was different and good in its own way.

Violence in Guatemala is a major problem. Some of you may have seen the story from the government run children's home. Over 30 girls have died as a result of a fire that they set in an attempt to escape this place. They were locked in their dorm rooms like prisoners. The stories of abuse and overcrowding have been hard to read. On Monday night many of the children decided to take action in response to their living conditions. They rioted and 60 or so escaped at least temporarily. The children were returned to their rooms and locked in. That is when the fire was started. I will not share the rest of the story here but will say that you can read about it all over the internet. It is the biggest story here currently. I will say though that it is just one more sign of the need for healing in this country that can only come through Jesus. The conversations that this team of women started is a step in that direction.
Buses bringing people to celebrate

After this team of ladies left, we dedicated the new property where the Church building will be built. We had people from Churches in Zapote, Santo Thomas, Magdelana, Membrillal and Chimaltenango come for the celebration along with 2 teams that were here and leaders from the community and from the CMA. They came on 8 buses and there was between 700 and 800 people. When this building is complete, we will have a much better ability to reach out and help meet the needs of the San Lucas area. It was an exciting day.


Our Fairhaven team from Pennsylvania and Ohio came next. Every year when they come it is a time for celebration. There has not been a project that Galilea has undertaken in the last 17 years that this group has not been a part of. Their history in Guatemala and their friendship are invaluable. This year they worked on numerous projects to begin  the new Church building in San Lucas. They built a storage building with a living area for a guard. They removed many trees, helped establish the grade depth for the foundation, tied columns and footer grids and poured the first footers for the building. They also welded the new gates that will sit at the entrance.. Along with all of that, they encouraged all of us with their presence and their words.

Finally we worked with many of the senior class and  some staff and chaperons from the Mckinney Christian Academy.. This group returned for a second year and they built three houses in Zapote along with a stove. They also went to the school and had after school activities with the kids for three days.They had opportunities for several to share their testimonies with the kids as well as play games and renew some friendships from last year. This group was generous in every way and I would like to thank them for coming and working with  us
In the midst of all of this, God showed me a couple of things clearly. The first was for me personally. If I am not spending time working on my relationships, first with Him and then with the people that I am with, the work is not that important. It is in relationship that our work gains value. If my relationship with God suffers because I am to busy, I am no longer working with Him and it just becomes labor. The value is exponentially diminished because the one who it is for is no longer in the middle of it. If it does not build relationships with the people that the work is with and for, it also looses value. If we are not building relationship, how can we live in the unity that Jesus called us to. We have  just begun to work but without any of the things that give our work value.

The second thing that He was showing me was a different mindset that exists  between a son and an orphan. One leads to  a type of prosperity and the other to poverty. A son knows that he has a father, is loved and has  a reliable source of provision. An orphan feels abandon and needs to try and scrape by on whatever little they can claw out of the world. A son knows that their father has enough and that they do not need to be jealous of others. An orphan always feels like someone else's success has cost them. Orphans cannot rejoice at what someone receives because they feel left out. A son knows that all they have is a blessing from father and he is faithful not just to them but to all that will receive his provision. Not all prosperity is financial but it is all in a mindset that is content, knowing that their needs are being met by someone that loves them. Orphans,in spirit always feel like they lack something no matter how much they have. Their mindset locks them into looking at and comparing their  worth to others and they always come up short. I sometimes fall into the orphan category and am grateful for all of the reminders that I am a son and have received a spirit of adoption.

I am hoping to begin to send out support and prayer letters in the next couple of months. They will be more specific than the blog and will tell you how you can support and pray for me, Galilea and all for the work going on in our projects. If you would like to receive this, send me a message with your contact info and will get you on the list. Thanks