Category Archives: Guatemala14

Gettysburg Team – Day 5

Our final day at Gettysburg started wet and cold, but our kids were troopers anyway. We walked Pickett’s Charge in the rain and mud, imagining the bravery of the men who did it in heat and gunfire. We then got to tour the cavalry operations of the third day of battle, followed by touring the national cemetery at Gettysburg. Talk about powerful!

We followed up our box lunches with a tour of the Hall of Presidents, seeing replicas of the presidents and their First Ladies and hearing a brief description of each.

From there, we loaded the bus and are on our way back to BWI and, from there, gorgeous Atlanta!
Thanks be to God for the terrific kids we’ve had on this trip. No complaints and great attitudes and punctuality and responsibility! Thanks be to God for safe travels and no illnesses or injuries. He is abundantly good to his children; His love endures forever!

Zack Shaffer

Guatemala Team – Day 6

What a party we had today in Guatemala! No work and all play. Today, we celebrated all of the projects that we were able to accomplish this week by having a pool party with the Guatemalan kids at City of Hope. Our day began earlier than normal so that we could serve breakfast to one group and eat breakfast before the second group arrived. After that, the rest of the day was in the water on the soccer field. The morning group was full of energy and ready to splash, dunk, and water canon all of the “gringos.” Sadly, the preschool Guatemalans were winning!

After lunch, we witnessed a prom invitation. Zach had a group of Guatemalan kids ask Zoe to prom in Spanish for him as he came around the corner with a rose and asked in English. It was a good thing, because Zoe said she didn’t understand any of the Spanish:) However, the fun really began with the afternoon crew. Jose brought out the water balloons and separated the Guatemalans from the Americans. John had to face off with a tough Guatemalan to see who had first shot, and then the battle raged for an hour. When they ran out of water balloons, they resorted to picking each other up and throwing them in the pool. The highlight of the afternoon was when our team picked up Juan Carlos, our fantastic chef here at City of Hope, and dropped him head first into the pool. Everyone cheered, including the Guatemalan kids!

Before dinner, we cleaned up the soccer field and headed to a dinner of Guatemalan hot dogs. Everyone was hungry after a day in the sun and water! Our last evening concluded as Naomi Katz did a devotion from Hebrew 13:8 and reminded us that Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Even though we may have experienced a language and culture barrier here in Guatemala, Jesus is still the beautiful constant in all of our lives. Naomi said, “God is permanent in a world that is ever changing.” Both Guatemalans and Americans can trust that He will never leave us or forsake us.

Our last morning in Guatemala will begin serving the first shift of breakfast and a sad goodbye to both the kids and staff at City of Hope. Most of us are already dreading the last hugs from these kids! However, this trip has reminded us that there is hope for Guatemala and that God is a loving, merciful God that provides for His children. As we fly over the country and back into the US tomorrow afternoon, we will remember the smiles, hugs, joy, and love from these kids and know that God is providing what they need through the ministry of Esperanza para Guatemala.

Amber Timms

Guatemala Team – Day 5

Today, the Guatemala Team accomplished our best work day yet! We all worked on the same project to clean a dried out pond and plant onions, tomatoes, and other vegetables. Before we planted the garden, we had to first clear out TONS of pond vegetation. It was nothing that we had ever seen before, and we pulled thousands of sponge-like plants from the bottom of the pond floor. We did encounter a few undesirable critters, but we all stayed safe and pressed on for six hours. We were on the lookout in particular for a snake we named Herman after finding his rather large snakeskin, but thankfully we were unsuccessful! We were all super proud of ourselves afterward, and we took a picture of a cleaned out pond now full of rows of garden vegetables. It was amazing to see the students working so hard to finish our goal before our scheduled home visits this afternoon.

By 2:00 pm, we all trekked up the steep hill back to the main house covered in mud, dirt, dust, and other unrecognizable things so we could visit some of the homes of the kids at City of Hope. We loaded the bus and headed into the heart of Zone 18, one of the most dangerous and poverty-stricken areas of Guatemala City. Three families opened up their homes for all 25 of us to come in and see their humble homes. For we Americans, the conditions were terrible without electricity and indoor plumbing. Most of the homes were just two small rooms. One family slept in a tiny 2 bedroom home with 12 children! It was unfathomable for us. We prayed for each of the families as Jose translated our prayers. Our prayers were difficult as we prayed for fathers and mothers to find jobs, rent to be paid by the end of the week, and God to provide just the bare necessities. However, what we took away wasn’t the terrible conditions or the lack of food- we witnessed pure joy from these families in the midst of total adversity. They truly embodied the joy of Christ stripped of all the material blessings that we so often take for granted.

At sunset, we came back to City of Hope for a traditional Guatemalan meal, Peppian. I don’t believe there was a single drop left in any bowl on the table! It was also the kitchen staff’s idea to serve traditional cafe con leche to us at 7 pm. Well, you could say that our kids got their second wind just when they should have been winding down. The teachers made the most of it…we played pranks on the kids! Alice got the worst of it when she sat in a chair with no bottom. She can thank Coach Ryle and Señor McDonald for that one! Since they were so wide awake, we built a bonfire on the property and opened our letters from Mrs. Land’s 4th grade class. It was a blessing to us to know that our NCCS prayer partners were praying for us and our work here in Guatemala.

Finally, Zach Brown closed out the evening around the bonfire with a devotion about the parable of the widow in Mark 12:44. While the rich gave a small portion of their possession, the widow gave even less but still all she had. He encouraged us to be sure to give all we have for the remainder of the trip whether it be all of our hugs, all of our time, or all of our energy to the kids of City of Hope. Afterward, each of us shared what has impacted us the most about this trip, and each had something remarkable to share. Shelby Hughes was amazed at the pure joy of these kids when they load the bus for school. She said it best when she remarked, “We have to go to school, but these kids GET to go to school.” We ended the evening with a circle of prayer around the fire, and each of us prayed and thanked God for his provision, mercy, and love to not only these kids at Hope for Guatemala, but also for us as well. It has definitely been the best evening so far. Pray for our day tomorrow- we will be having a fiesta with the kids to kick off their summer. Water balloons, swimming pools, games, volleyball, and soccer will fill our afternoon, but most of all pray that our last day with these kids will leave an impact on the Guatemalan kids AND our NCCS kids.

Amber Timms
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Guatemala Team – Day 4

Today was quite a productive day in Guatemala! Team 3 headed to the market at 4:45am to gather 4,000 pounds of donated fruits and vegetables to feed the children at City of Hope and surrounding families who are in desperate need. John Towne was a hit at the market since he was taller than everyone there. Many of the vendors asked to see how high he could jump or how much he could lift before they would donate their food! John was great and performed all requests with ease.

Team 2 was in the kitchen preparing breakfast by 5:15am and served breakfast and lunch until 2pm. At one point, the dishes seemed never ending, but Team 2 kicked it in high gear to be ready when the market truck team returned with all of the donations. In the meantime, Team 1 had quite a job today. They mixed pounds and pounds of cement by hand and actually laid the concrete for the upstairs addition. The hardest part wasn’t the mixing- it was hauling the 50 pound buckets up the ladder to lay the concrete. We were all very proud of their efforts today!

Meanwhile, between serving, the market, and laying cement, we worked on our soccer field painting project and cleaned out a small area to spread sand for a volleyball court. It was a beautiful day to be in the sun, and we not only worked on projects, but also our tans. Sunscreen is in high demand here!

Our last work project of the day was preparing the fruits and vegetables when they arrived from the market. We peeled and pressed over 200 oranges to make fresh orange juice, and we peeled all kinds of fruits and vegetables we had never even seen. Our reward was frozen banana con leche…delicious! It was all worth it after that treat.

Finally the sun began to set, and we gathered for hamburgers and pound cake after a long, hard day. Sydney Beasley closed our evening with Hebrews 12:2 reminding us that while we may be a little uncomfortable this week, Christ relinquished every comfort so we can all be with him in eternity. It was a perfect reminder as we are beginning to grow physically weary in doing good. Please pray for our endurance in the last full work day before we have our fun day on Thursday. We will continue to serve the kids breakfast and lunch, but tomorrow we will finish our painting project and clean out a dried up pond. Afterward, we will be planting fruits and vegetables at the bottom of the pond so that City of Hope can be a self-sustaining ministry. What we begin tomorrow will be a long-lasting blessing for City of Hope.

Amber Timms

Guatemala Team – Day 3

Today began our first project day here at City of Hope in Guatemala, and we worked until we dropped! Instead of accomplishing just one large project, our team worked on MANY projects all over the 40 acre property. Team 1 had kitchen duty at 5:15 am and jumped right in before our first bus load of kids arrived. They prepared meals, served the kids, and cleaned dishes for 260 kids at breakfast and then again at lunch. Their moms would be proud! Team 2 and Team 3 worked around the property until lunch time on several different projects. Our strong boys dug a ditch for new plumbing and dug holes to install beams for the upstairs extension. The rest of the team tore down a wall and carried away the rocks to fill a hole in the ravine. Even when our teams were resting, we had them working as they peeled fruit on the patio to catch their breath for a few minutes.

After lunch, everyone headed to the soccer field to work on our painting project that we began on Saturday. By the afternoon, the students were beginning to really feel the exhaustion but pushed through until dinner time to complete more than half of the project. In the meantime, we couldn’t resist taking breaks and playing with the kids. Even those of us who don’t speak a word of Spanish found ways to communicate with them. Interacting with the same kids that we are working for gave us motivation to keep pressing on through our exhaustion.

Just before dinner, the students took a quick Eno break and just swayed in the Guatemalan breeze. That was enough to rejuvenate them since they couldn’t resist a quick soccer game with some of the kids just before our lasagna dinner. By 7 pm, Riley Malonson was finishing his devotion reminding us to stay strong and keep God as our focus this week. We closed the evening with small group prayer, and I just may be the only one up right now…I can imagine that by 8:30 their rooms are sound asleep.

The market team has a 4:45 am wake-up call in the morning! Pray for our endurance and our mission here in Guatemala to bring Jesus to City of Hope and the children of Guatemala.

Amber Timms
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Guatemala Team – Day 2

It was another early morning in Guatemala this morning as we started our day headedtoworship the Lord and then tour the beautiful city of Antigua. Heredad Iglesia welcomed us this morning as we walked into a church that was filled with God’s presence. The music was amazing, and the preaching inspired us for the week to come. The pastor delivered his message with a translator that seemed to be God speaking right to our team: “Es Tiempo (It’s Time).”  We were encouraged to change our mentality, our attitudes, and our actions in order to lead us to good behaviors that are pleasing to God. It was just the message we needed in order to remind us that we are here to do God’s work for his people.

After church, we traveled through Guatemala City and saw both devastation and beauty along the way. To see hundreds of people living in conditions without plumbing or even electricity in some areas was eye-opening, but the backdrop of this devastation was the beautiful Guatemalan mountains and volcanoes created by God. It reminded us that in the midst of such conditions, God is still present and remembers His people. Our hearts are full and ready to minister to the community of Guatemala.

At lunchtime, we arrived in Antigua and headed straight to the nicest McDonald’s that we Americans have ever seen! We dined on a beautiful veranda with a volcano as our scenery. Some of our students even began planning future weddings in the McDonald’s garden. They didn’t even care about the Ronald McDonald statue sitting on the bench in the garden. The more guests the merrier! Afterward, we toured Catedral de San Jose constructed in 1545 and devastated by earthquakes over the centuries. Our team most enjoyed the catacombs under the cathedral, and the boys enjoyed hiding in dark corners and scaring our unsuspecting girls. Our next stop was Las Capuchinas Convent built by the Capuchin nuns of Madrid. Our team experienced many methods of penitence that the Capuchinas suffered to be closer to God. The most amazing experience was the circular room that was used for continual prayer. The nuns would pace for hours in a circular, cold room and verbalize their prayers to offer penitence to God. What an experience as all 25 members of our team (and even a random stranger) paced the circle as we praised God and sang Amazing Grace! I’m sure most of the convent heard our song, and maybe we ministered to someone who needed it.

Next, we spent the afternoon bartering in the Guatemalan market and spending Quetzales faster than we could get them out of our wallets. We left with bags of jerseys, handbags, backpacks, T-shirts, coffee cups, scarfs, authentic clothes, and most importantly, COFFEE! The students got a chance to practice their Spanish and left feeling confident and accomplished in order to use their skills with the Guatemalan kids this week. After all of our shopping, we were famished and ready for authentic Guatemalan cuisine at Tradiciones Antiguenas. The chicken and beef fajitas and carne asada were delicious, and we finished our meal with fresh fruit and coffee. And we were worried about the food?? We never expected to fall in love with the Guatemalan cuisine!

Tomorrow, 5:15 am comes early for the team in order to spend the morning preparing breakfast for 260 children and then renovating and painting the soccer field. We actually can’t wait to start serving City of Hope. We are expecting God to touch both our hearts and the kids we will serve. Pray for us as we prepare to be the feet of Jesus tomorrow.

Amber Timms

Guatemala Team – Day 1

The Guatemala Team landed safely around 11am and stepped out of the airport to warm weather and Guatemalan culture! After a bus ride through downtown Guatemala City, we pulled into the gates of City of Hope in Zone 18 and were welcomed with open arms. As we toured the massive property, we couldn’t help but recall the stories and accomplished projects of last year’s Spring Term team. We are sleeping in rooms that last year’s team painted, and we are touring playgrounds and a soccer field that they cleaned and prepared for the Guatemalan community. We couldn’t wait to get started on our own project!

After getting settled in, we put on our work clothes and headed to the soccer field to scrape the surrounding wall to prepare it for a new coat of paint. Our kids jumped right in using whatever metal objects were available to scrape the wall. It was definitely an adventure! We were covered in dust, old paint flakes, and even a little wet paint, too.

At sundown, we dined on the patio and awaited our first home-cooked meal. What a pleasant surprise when the plates came out with fresh green salad and homemade cilantro dressing, french fries, and fried and skewered chicken! Very few plates left the table with leftovers. Mark Crafton closed our evening with a devotion in 1 Thessalonians 5:16-24 reminding us of God’s faithfulness. He will give us what we need to accomplish our task this week at City of Hope if we hold fast to His promise.

The students and the chaperones are exhausted after Day One, and 7:00am breakfast comes early in the morning before we head to church and shopping in Antigua. It’s a safe bet that everyone will sleep like bricks tonight!

Amber Timms
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