The War is Real!

 

warfare

We are told in 1 Peter 5:8-9 “be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith.” This verse has definitely been in play during our first three weeks here in Guatemala. We were prepared for and knew attacks from our enemy would come as attacks come anytime you step out in faith to do what God asks of you. 

The attacks started before we left. Early on in our journey, we had a deal in place with a homeowner that he would rent us his house if it had not sold by May 27th. As the time got closer and the house had been on the market for months with very little interest, we thought for sure this was our house. We even called it our home, and planned on moving into it in July. We considered this house perfect as it was fully furnished (saving time and money) and the rent was below our original budget plans. Then on May 26th, one week before we were scheduled to depart to Guatemala we received an email that the owner had accepted an offer on the house and we would not be able to rent it from him. We were disappointed and surprised, but we stayed positive and trusted that God had a different plan for us. We agreed that if we were stepping out in faith to follow God’s calling then surely he wouldn’t leave us homeless.

So, we flew here having a place for school but unsure of our home for the year plus after. His perfect timing met our moment of uncertainty during our first few days while in Guatemala. While staying at Jose’s house the 4 days before language school started, we received news that the owner of the house directly next to his would be available to us – within our budget! This was incredible news and came at the perfect time. We love the home, the neighborhood, and we couldn’t ask for better neighbors! The only downside is this house needs to be fully furnished including appliances like a stove, refrigerator, washer and dryer. This was not a part of the original plan, so we’re praying (and asking) for our support team and new financial partners to help us furnish the house. This prayer has started to be answered as we had a friend purchase an entire suitcase full of kitchen utensils for us today! God is answering prayers as we speak them.

We started language school the Monday after we arrived in Guatemala and we just ended our third week today.  It is truly one of the most difficult things I have done.  As an introvert I am not a big fan of using a lot of words to begin with, and now I find myself speaking not only for hours a day, but in a new language no less. There are days that my jaw muscles hurt from using them to pronounce words in ways that we do not do in the English language. Beyond the difficulty of learning a new language, during these past three weeks in school, the enemy has been attacking us through our car.

The first Friday we were in school I returned home from my morning class and when Becca left the car died twice before she even left the neighborhood. We had not yet secured phone service, and we didn’t want to risk the car dying on the way into Antigua (literally driving down a mountain) so we decided for her to just stay home.  The car worked fine all weekend and we even drove back into the city (about an hour drive) to get our new Guatemalan phone lines. That following Monday I drove to school and everything was fine, but when I left school to head home the car died in the middle of an intersection in Antigua. My initial response was to panic, but even in the midst of that, I had this overwhelming sense of peace and belief that everything would be fine. I called Jose and he mentioned the fuel pump is new and to check the fuel pump fuse. Knowing about as much about car engines as I do about performing surgeries from watching Grey’s Anatomy, I find the fuel pump fuse with the help of the users manual. Sure enough the fuse is fried and I replace it with the horn fuse and get the car started, feeling pretty accomplished!

However, as soon as it started to run, the fuse burned out again. During this time nobody honked or stopped to yell at me for blocking traffic, like they would in the States. After what seemed like forever, three Guatemalan gentleman came over to help and from my one week of school I was able to manage a broken conversation with these guys, who were eager to help! One of the guys pulled a cord from his car and, striped out a thin piece of copper from it and proceeded to fix my fuse by wrapping the copper wire around both fuse ends and plugging in back in. It works!!!!! I decided to trust the Guatemalan engineering that was performed on the car so I dropped Becca off at school and then went to purchase the fuses I needed at a service station in Antigua. I felt pretty confident the issue was over until the next Friday… 

Bryce and I were on our way to school and as I was driving down the mountain, the car died, mid curve. I was able to coast to a safe spot and pulled over. Jose was out of town with the interns but he was there for me in this time of need and was more then willing to do everything he could to help. He called some back up and it arrived in the form of a truck with a dolly driven by my friend Hector and some of the teenagers from City of Hope – Dennis, Alex, and Axel. We were able to get the car on the dolly to have it towed to the mechanic and we were on our way. We reached the bottom of the mountain, and we began to make a U-turn to head back towards the city. As we were turning, the car shifted off the dolly and went up on the wheel leaving us stuck blocking both lanes coming out of Antigua.  After help from four police officers and numerous objects to help jack up the car we were able to get the car of the middle of the road to await a tow truck.

While we were waiting Bryce had the amazing idea to pull out a Mike Wazowski (Monster’s Inc) hacky-sack that we had purchased at the market. We played hacky-sack soccer for hours on the side of the mountain road in Antigua, with the only injury belonging to poor hacky-sack Mike who suffered an arm amputation and severe bruises. We laughed and played and truly enjoyed each other’s company. After 6 hours roadside, the car was finally picked up, and we were blessed to find out the next day that the problem was a small, easy fix. After this adventure I am excited to say that this week we have been problem free with the car and everything appears to be running as usual.

Through all of these events we could have easily defaulted to anger, fear, and frustration. However, we chose to trust God’s plan and remembered that “The lord is faithful, and he will strengthen me and protect me from the evil one” (Thess. 3:3). We know what the enemy meant for evil, God can use for good and we have seen several cases of this in only a few short weeks. In circumstances where anyone’s natural instinct may have been to be angry and defeated, we trusted the Lord and He allowed us to see kindness, generosity and patient servitude from the people of Guatemala. When the enemy wanted me to feel angry, broken, and alone, God used Bryce to pull out a simple hacky-sack to bring me joy in community. We have definitely been under attack the past couple of weeks but we are prepared for this and we have our armor on. We can feel the support of our friends and family who are praying for us daily. Please continue to pray for us! God does not promise that weapons will not be formed, but He promises that they will not prosper!

mike
The amputee. 

Go Cavs!

Brad 

 

 

Soy Parte Del Cambio!

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I am part of the change!

What an incredible mission statement for our family as we completed our first week of this amazing journey we have been called to be apart of. There has been so much to take in this week for our entire family as we adjust to living in a new culture, eating new food, driving on new roads, and learning a new language!

Arriving last Thursday, we started our new life here in great company – spending the weekend with the Armas family and the participants of the Intern Abroad Program. When we arrived at City of Hope, we were welcomed with hand made posters, cheers, and hugs. It was truly remarkable and humbling to know that the children were preparing for us in a way that made our entire family feel special.

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Our welcome gift!

We spent that Thursday and Friday introducing our own children to a place that had captured so much of our hearts. It brought us great joy to see our kids fall in love with the children of the ministry and play all day with kids that speak a different language than them. Bryce found an instant connection with Jose’s son Daniel as they bonded over their love of books, video games, and sports. He even joined in on Daniel’s basketball practice and had a blast!

On Saturday we experienced Guatemala first hand when we got lost. Yes, LOST in Guatemala City. They say that’s the best way to learn how to get around, so maybe we just did it on purpose… Here’s the story: That morning, Erin Armas took Becca to the Walmart (yes, they have Walmart here) and Becca learned how to get home from there. The only problem was when we ventured out, we decided to drive past the Walmart and go to the mall instead. It was a lot of fun – a carousel ride, a great dinner, window shopping and people watching. However, when we turned out of the parking lot of the mall (after spending 30 minutes trying to figure out how to pay for parking) we couldn’t find the Walmart! We pulled into parking lot after parking lot asking “Donde esta El Walmart??” We got a lot of directions and even more funny looks. What an adventure!

On Sunday we moved into the house in San Lucas that we will be staying in for our time in language school. We spent some time learning the area and how to drive around Antigua.

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You are HERE!

We parked and roamed the city with the Interns and a group from a partner church of Hope for Guatemala. We made a couple of important connections with the people of Antigua. More about those in a future blog post…

On Monday we started school. Our school is amazing and the teachers are wonderful, but man, it is hard work!! Each day we sit one-one-one with our individual maestras (teachers) for 4 hours then have about an hour of homework each night. Brad and Bryce go to school together in the morning, and Becca in the afternoon. On Monday, Becca and Baylee explored the beautiful city of Antigua the whole morning discovering fountain after fountain (Baylee’s favorite!) and meeting new friends.

On Tuesday, Brad and Bryce got to witness the massive Volcan de Fuego pouring out smoke, Wednesday there was a 5.1 magnitude earthquake, and Thursday Brad ventured out with the kids while Becca was at school. They explored the market of San Lucas, picking up some of our favorite local fresh fruits and veggies – guisquil, lychees, and more! On Friday, we had a much needed family night with delicious Chinese food (yes, they have THAT here too!) and a movie.

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Yesterday, we had breakfast at one of our favorites – San Martin. Picture this – IHOP, but better. And breakfast INCLUDES coffee, orange juice, and PAN (bread)! Oh and they have a whole play area with an indoor playground similar to Catch Air. Baylee and Bryce shared in the international language of play with several other kids on the playground. Bryce even had a moment of courage and used some Spanish when talking with a kid on the slide!

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After breakfast, we once again went in search of the local Walmart, about 20 minutes from San Lucas. Unlike our Walmart adventure last weekend, this time we found it and our way home with ease! Side note – at Walmarts in Guatemala, they have promoters selling certain products and giving out free samples on every aisle. Sometimes 2-3 samples – cheese, hot dogs, cereal, oranges. There was even someone who let us smell fabric softener and deodorant! We enjoyed this experience and Bryce took full advantage. He had a full stomach by the time we left!

We’re learning to navigate our new area, appreciate our new culture, and falling even more in love with the people of Guatemala! Thank you again to our support team that is making this journey possible. We are enjoying being stretched out of our comfort zone and making connections with the hospitable people of Guatemala! We are excited to see what all God has in store over the next season!

Love,

Brad and Becca