Happy Thanksgiving from Guatemala

I had the privilege of working with a team in Guatemala the week of Thanksgiving.  I even made it home in time to have turkey with my family! It was a great trip and team. We had a Vacation Bible School in two villages with some Mayan kids and took water filters to families in the area.  We poured concrete and built a block wall at the orphanage and took the kids to the zoo for an outing.  They loved it! We also organized a large carnival at a church in San Lucas to invite the community. That evening for church there were over 300 people present and at least 6 people accepted Christ as their Savior in the service!  We finished off the week by having a special Thanksgiving meal with the children at the orphanage.  They said they wanted to have a meal where we all sit together at a table and pass the food like they see American families doing on television.  The things we take for granted!!  Here are some pictures from the week.  Thank you for your prayers.

Back from Thailand!

I’m back from my most recent trip to Thailand.  We had a great team and did a lot. The team hit the ground running in Thailand.  We helped with a soccer practice, worked with an English class and took part in Thai, Deaf, and Urdu (Pakistani) church services to start off the trip.  We hosted an outing with the Thai youth and held a field day for the Pakistani refugee children.  We also worked in a remote village where we taught English, put on a soccer camp, did crafts with the kids, fed the kids, gave them new socks, and provided water filters for the school.  Then, we had a church service in the village, handed out water filters to the families, and had a large meal with the church.  To finish off the trip we went and visited the International Detention Center where we were able to minister to refugees from Pakistan and Iran.  It was a very humbling experience to say the least.  Several members of the team had family and friends living in Thailand and they were able to visit them as well.  Looking back, it is hard to believe everything that happened.  The Lord really blessed the trip.  Then, 15 hours after arriving home I was in a missions conference.  LOL!  Nothing quite like jet lag.  Here are some pictures from the trip.

Japan!

We rounded out our summer leading a group in Japan.  Not a lot of teams go to Japan, so it was a huge blessing to the Japanese Christians for a group from America to come see them.  I was told stories of how there are fewer than 1% of the people professing to be Christian and it can be lonely and discouraging at times. But, to have a team come shows them there are more people like them in the world and it gives them hope and encouragement.  We got to spend time with a missionary that has been in Japan for 68 years!  He is a World War II veteran that moved to Japan as a missionary in 1950!  It is not often you get to spend time with someone like that and hear their stories and all that the Lord has done for decades.  What a blessing for us!

While in Japan, we were able to take part in a fellowship of several Japanese churches at a camp that MANNA helps support.  We also helped clean up the camp and cut down some trees to clear the land for a new dorm that will be built.  The group that came helped raise the money for the dorm and they got to cut down the first tree where it will be built.  That was pretty awesome to be a part of.  We also visited several churches and were with a church in Chofu that is celebrating its 50th Anniversary this year.  We met one of the members of the church.  Her great grandfather was the last Samurai in Japan. Talk about a heritage!

Vietnam!

We just finished up our team to Vietnam and it was a great experience for everyone.  We started off the trip with a great time of fellowship and worship at church with both Vietnamese and other believers from other countries.  2 people were saved that morning!  What a way to start a trip. Later in the trip we got to work with a new school MANNA has begun helping this year and a feeding program in Saigon.  The school is called Saigon Redemption School and they are working to help tutor kids that have fallen out of the school system and help them learn to read and write.

We then helped the missionary organize a new building he is moving into with another school.  We helped move boxes of supplies, clean, and move around furniture to help them setup.  To end the trip, we spent time as part of a youth camp for Vietnamese kids.  It started off a bit crazy as the police showed up and wanted to know what was going on and why we were gathering.  A group of us got away and prayed for those who were working for the police.  Fortunately, the Lord gave us favor and we were able to host the camp unhindered.  By the end of the camp 15 youth accepted Christ as their Savior and 10 of them surrrendered to go into the ministry full-time to help their nation!  It was amazing sight to witness and a tremendous blessing.  Here are some pictures of the trip:

Thailand Round 2

We just finished up another great team in Thailand.  This time we were working at a children’s home and school on the western border of Thailand, by Myanmar.  It is hard to communicate all that happened, but here is an overview.  We spent 4 days helping teach the kids in the mornings. We taught them about magnetism, chemical reactions, made some parachutes, and a lot of other fun things.  One night we had a ladies night where Kim gave the devotion to the mothers and girls while the men went and played soccer with the guys.  Another night we had a youth night and got to minister to them.  The last day was a large field day with games and events.  Kayli and Reaghan helped with the music each day.  One of the days we were able to go into Myanmar (Burma) and visit a new church plant and after school program that the national pastor here has started.  I had the opportunity to preach at church on Sunday and we spent time fellowshipping with the church members.  Now, off to Vietnam for the next team.  Here are a few pictures of the team in action!

 

Thailand 1

Our first group in Thailand left yesterday and our next group arrives tomorrow.  It has been an amazing time in Thailand already.  We worked with some great missionaries here.  The group was able to spend a day working with refugee kids and putting on a fun day of crafts, lessons, songs and food.  We went to the International Detention Center as was able to encourage some of the refugees there.  In Bangkok we visited a public school as was able to help teach English to the kids.  Another day was spent with part of the team working on painting a church while the rest of the team went to a prison and worked with the inmates.

We also went to Chiang Khong in northern Thailand where we were able to engage a village.  We spent one day putting on teaching, crafts, games and a soccer clinic.  The next day we had church services, roasted a pig to feed the church and eat with them, then we handed out water filters to families in the village.  Here are some pictures of this portion of the trip.

Guatemala Medical

I recently had a medical team in Guatemala.  It was amazing to see how the Lord used the team.  They saw 800 patients in 5 different villages and 5 souls were saved!  We took water filters and food baskets to a dozen families too.  I love to see how the Lord uses specific people on the trip. We had several pediatricians, one who specialized in neonatal care.  They weren’t sure how the Lord was going to use their specialty.  As it turns out, a mom with month old twins shows up at a clinic and another woman who was pregnant came too.  They had an ultrasound machine and she got to see an ultrasound of her baby for the first time!  This lady had miscarried her previous pregnancy and was worried it might happen again.  The doctor’s care and the ultrasound was excactly what she needed at that time.

You may not know exactly why you are going, just go.  It will become clear soon enough!  Thank you for your support. Here are some pictures from the trip:

Guatemala X2 – Crazy Connection

I had the priviledge of leading two teams, back-to-back, to Guatemala in March. The first team was a Christian school from Kentucky, the other was a homebuilder from West Texas.  Both teams were amazing.  We spent the weeks feeding kids in multiple villages, painting a church and playground, delivering water filters and food baskets to families, and attending church services.  It was amazing watching the Lord work through the groups and in the groups.

One crazy thing happened on the trip.  I grew up in a small town in the Texas Panhandle on a farm 20 miles from town.  There was a farmer near us (maybe 5 miles away) and he had a son named Michael.  Michael and I were the same age and went to school together.  We were best friends. However, after 1st grade, Michael moved away and we didn’t to see each other again. This past summer, Michael married a woman that works for a homebuilding company and was sending some of their employees on a mission trip with me.  As it turns out, a mission trip to Guatemala reunited me and my best friend as a child 33 years later!  How crazy is that?

You never know what will happen on a mission trip.  Here are some pictures from these trips.  This Saturday, I head back to Guatemala with a medical mission team.  In March, I think I spent 8 nights in my own bed.  I’m hoping to increase that number in April!

Thailand!

Kim and I have returned from Thailand after spending 2 weeks with a team of 38 people.  It was an amazing time and a great group of people.  The first part of the trip was spent in Bangkok helping our missionary partners there.  We handed out several thousand tracts and invited people to their English class outreaches. There was even a Buddhist monk that asked for a tract! We visited a public school and were able to help teach English and share our faith with over 300 Thai kids.  Then, we helped fix up a futsol court, handed out water filters to 20 refugee families, attended several church services and got to see what the Lord is doing in Bangkok.

The second half of our trip was in southern Thailand where the tsunami hit.  We were able to do a variety of things.  One group held a Vacation Bible School for 2nd and 3rd graders, another group taught a baking class to some teenagers, others taught sewing skills to a different group of kids, while a group of us poured 60 cubic yards of concrete for parking and a foundation for a new youth room.  We also washed the kids’ feet and gave them all new shoes. (Around 200 kids) We attended a church service and several of us played the music for the morning worship.

It was hard to leave, but it is good to be home to see our daughters too.  Here are some pictures.

Houston – Round 2

Last week I was able to be a part of a team in Houston to help rebuild some of the homes that were destroyed in the Hurricane Harvey flooding.  It can be overwhelming looking at all of the destruction and the number of homes to be rebuilt.  But, you have to focus on the ones you can help. Our team worked on about a half-dozen homes.  We helped sheetrock the home of an elderly couple and one for a widow that had no other resources to do so.  In another part of Houston, we helped clean out, install sheetrock, and performed electrical work on the homes of people that worked for the school district.  If we can help repair their homes, they can focus on educating the kids in Houston.

We had a couple with a semi that picked up a load of mattresses that had been donated and delivered them to a warehouse in Houston.  Also, we were able to distribute about 4,000 lbs of bottled water to a homeless shelter and others. It is awesome seeing so many people with different gifts and abilities coming together to play a part.  Hearing the stories is heartbreaking, but seeing the hope and the outreach from the church is encouraging.  Here are some pictures from the week: