We visited the Itza people last Thursday 3rd November. Jesse and Christian had already gone to scout out the village earlier. They asked to speak to someone who still spoke Itza and were introduced to one of the last men who spoke the language. He is now the person in charge of a group trying to bring back more of the culture and language to the younger generation. He had a table set up in his house with bowls in it and when they asked what it was, he said it was sacrifices to the same winged god that they sacrificed to in ancient times. However obviously they weren’t human sacrifices anymore..!
Jesse and Christian were able to share the whole gospel with this man, who softened toward them as he realised they weren’t there to push anything on to him, just to share what we believe and to love on the people.
When we went back as a group later, we visited this man first, all 21 of us (a couple of us didn’t go house to house) squeezed into his living room. As we visited it started to pour rain so loud that we could hardly hear each other speak! The people there mostly have corrugated iron roofs so it made everything louder. When it lessened from a downpour to more of a steady medium rain, we got up and split into groups to go door to door.
My group visited a couple of elderly ladies in a house not too far from the first one. They both were healed (they warmed up to us more after they realised they were healed!), and one of them then asked us to come with her to see her daughter’s family, as her daughter needed prayer. So we walked up the hill around the corner to another house. One daughter had been in pain since having her most recent child. Her head was in pain and part of her back. We all felt a sudden increase of faith as we laid hands on her, and when talking about it later discovered we all felt a strong sense of burning fire on our hands. As we prayed we literally felt the Lord working as the pain left her head, left her back and she also told us that her chest had been in pain too and that it too was pain free! She was evidently happy about this and then asked us to pray for her son, who was very destructive and would constantly grab things and break them (he actually was in the process of breaking something as we came in the door). They then grabbed another daughter (of the elder woman) who had been bleeding non stop for 20 days. We prayed for her and loved on her, and shared the story of the woman with the issue of blood. She became very joyful as we prayed and we laughed together as God’s presence came. We are believing for total healing.
|Yes, they are pigs. And a chicken.|
|The Itza leader's back porch. Corrugated Iron is the norm for roofs.|
|Steep road down to the lake! We are camped on the other side. About 1/2 hour away.|
Halfway Across Guatemala in 1st Gear!
Earlier on as we were travelling into Guatemala, the transmission on Shekinah, one of our 4WDs completely failed. We hitched the camper to the small RV and then towed Shekinah behind Open Heaven (the big RV) to a mechanic, the only transmission specialist in the area. We were told that he didn’t have any parts in Guatemala and we should go look back in Belize. So Jesse and Christian got a lift back to the border (1/2 hour away) and checked in every mechanic in Belize, but to no avail. We figured we would have to buy new parts from the US and get them shipped to us, a cost of at least $1800. However the mechanic then said that he found some 2nd hand parts in Guatemala City and was able to fix Shekinah for us for $600. We were so overjoyed and happy at this news!
So on Friday we received Shekinah back and on Saturday, started to head closer to the border. However about one hour into the journey, Shekinah again lost all her gears except for first. We called the mechanic who refused to come help us. So we kept driving, praying all the way and camped the night at another lakeside. We decided to sleep overnight asking the Lord to speak to us what to do and in the morning as we worshipped, a few people got the words to “Go slow”, to keep on going with the original plan for driving and that God wanted to amaze us. So we headed off again at 10am, going 30 miles an hour (about 50km) as our highest speed. We drove trying not to stop too much as we had heard it was dangerous to be on the road in this country after dark.
|Where we stayed overnight|
|The family owners of the park|
|Zoe showing off her shell :)|
|Sunset on the lake|
Following the GPS’s instructions as well as a road map we had bought at the border, we found ourselves suddenly on a dirt road in a town where the road became just too narrow for our vehicles to even pass! Backing up 2 RVs, 2 4WDs pulling campers and a station wagon is no easy feat but we managed it, and were directed by several locals to turn down another dirt road where they said the next town “El Cho” was straight through only an hour away and from there an easy drive to where we wanted to go. It was just starting to get dark so we figured we would go down that road, and either stay in El Cho or continue on.
|On the Road again - poverty is normal here|
|Dirt road village... just before our "1 hour" drive!|
|Yes! Straight through! El Cho! Only an hour!|
The dirt road soon turned into steep 4WD trails on the edge of cliffs, however it would be impossible to turn around as they were only just big enough for one car at a time. It was so steep that we had to keep stopping to let Shekinah have a break, as the transmission heat light kept coming on. However Open Heaven the big RV was just behind us and would not be able to stop as we could. So we drove further apart and finally took a left fork which took us onto the original road on the GPS. We waited for the other vehicles to arrive but no one came. So Ted got out and walked back to find out what was happening. He took my pink headlamp with him (thanks Katie!), which we thought was quite funny. Visions of jaguars jumping through the windows filled our heads as we were still in jungle and knew that jaguars only come out at night! Christian was in the front seat and keep jumping and going “AHH! Did you hear that?? What was that sound?” He has a habit of loving to scare us. So we mainly didn’t get scared. But we did hear a swarm of bees somewhere which we felt safe from as they wouldn’t be flying at night.
Eventually Ted came back after at least 20 minutes saying that the boys station wagon had overheated and they were all back there. Jesse and Ben then came running up saying they had walked all the way from the other vehicles and been chased by many dogs. Also the other camper had started to slide off the cliff they all had to struggle to pull it back. We unhooked our camper from Shekinah and drove to a place where we could turn around, to go back and get the other vehicles as the dogs were too dangerous for the guys to go back. It was quite funny and felt like a movie as we first found Open Heaven (filled with some of the girls and Zoe) and the Buick wagon (closed and abandoned) in the dark, and later found the other two vehicles way back down the road. We were able to lead them up the hill to the others, and found out from some passing locals that El Cho was now only 40 minutes away. We decided to keep on going as they said the road was paved beyond El Cho.
We ended up driving another 4 hours, sometimes driving where there were steep drops on both sides of the road and sometimes having to pass other trucks (utes for the Aussies!), mostly which were police vehicles loaded with soldiers and other people. It was election day in Guatemala so we figured they were carrying all the ballots. At one point we had to drive through mud and water past another steep drop, we went first, then Open Heaven came next. As Open Heaven went through the mud the sewage pipes broke off, spewing sewage all over the road! The people stuck behind it smelt the full power of the fumes and then had to drive through it… Needless to say there is now no usable toilet in Open Heaven, unless you want it to go straight on the road!
We arrived in El Cho as everyone was partying and drunk after the elections, and found a hotel to park in – some got rooms with showers roaches while a few of us stayed in the RVs. We went to bed with the sounds of partying and some gunfire, glad to finally get to sleep and full of joy that we had made it and that the roads were meant to be better from then on…
|"God Is Here"|
|Struggling up the steep 4WD roads|
|The roads WERE better after El Cho!|
|Once again, Gorgeous scenery :)|
|Building a better bridge|
|As we were stopped on the side of the road, waiting for the others to cross a bridge, this drunk man comes to our window to talk to Christian...|
|After some honest talking about Jesus, they receive Him into their hearts :)|
|We left them with Spanish "Nuevo Testamento" bibles|
Currently we are staying in the driveway of a special needs orphanage here in Chimaltenango, Guatemala. Yes, the roads were better since El Cho J We ended up here as Christian has a friend who is part of a team called the “World Racers”, who take one year and spend one month in each country in one place. We arrived on Tuesday, they left Wednesday afternoon to Honduras (later they will be in Asia) and now we are still here, waiting for our transmission to be fixed by another mechanic.
The kids here are gorgeous. Even as I write I can hear the sound of them singing to Jesus, led by Daniel, who is one of the older kids and can speak some English. There are 5 girls and 5 boys and they are very sweet and so filled with joy! There are 4 Guatemalan nannies who work 2 day shifts and other nationals who help out. There is also an American family in the area who have 10 children. They are helping out in this orphanage until their paperwork goes through to start a similar orphanage in another town not too far away. I met three of the girls who were teaching the orphans simple ballet. Families doing missions together so inspire me!
|This may be disgusting, but yes, we have a lice outbreak... (not me though thank you Jesus!)|
|Candy and a friend look on...|
|Crazy gringo's wearing plastic bags on their heads!|
|Goldie, the perfect dog to be a part of this precious family of children...|
There is a mall here about 15-20 mins walk (about the size of a small shopping centre in Australia) and it has a movie theatre. ! We watched the 3 musketeers the other night for 20 Quetzales each (under $3)! God spoke to me through it as he reminded me about the part of my call to raise up the next generation to be spiritual warriors and also raise them up in all boldness courage, honour and nobility. Knowing whose sons they are (and daughters) and knowing that their lives are for the kingdom… also for the King and the enjoyment of Him J It made my eyes tear up as there is a major part of me that is really looking forward to having a home, to putting down roots again and to start long-term investing into children and young people. They have no Junior Holy Spirit – they have the same God that us adults have and I long to see the schools of this nation (whatever nation I end up in) and the streets of these nations completely turned upside down as heaven invades through their lives. Young people long for a cause to live for, to fight for and the cause of Jesus is the only thing that will satisfy.
Thank you so, so much each of you who are praying and to those of you who have given.
Please continue to pray for financial provision for the rest of my time here. I am flying back to Australia for Christmas with my family, as God provided through my tax return for my ticket home J I will also be going to Melbourne for at least a couple of weeks to get my things together that are spread throughout several peoples houses and garages! I will be taking it back up to Brisbane to store in my parents house as I don’t anticipate coming back to live in Australia for a while yet. Pray also for clear direction on when to rejoin the team, possibly in Peru at the end of January or later.
In Mozambique during the Harvest Missions School, the Lord asked me to lay down every dream I had ever had for my life and also every dream that He had ever given me. Because of I laid that down, I am now here in Guatemala living the life that He chose for me (way better than I could have ever dreamed!). It has been hard sometimes consistently being on the move. Living out of my hiking pack and duffel is also not always the most fun thing – things tend to get lost and be found sometimes weeks later! However I am in the best place that I can be – in the arms of my Jesus. In His presence is fullness of JOY! I choose to embrace the journey – the good times as well as the more challenging ones. I find that I end up laughing and rejoicing at the most intense times! He said to Rejoice ALWAYS, and when I have been living intimately with God it does tend to be that way! I embrace the cup of suffering and the cup of joy and am looking forward even more to everything that is coming!
Thank you Jesus, for loving me.
I pray you encounter Him in even deeper ways today.