Sunday, November 23, 2008

Trusting the Lord.

Today is our last day at the ministry in Llano Verde. We have been saying good-byes for the last couple of days and tonight is the heart-wrenching part- saying good-bye to the kids in the orphanage. We are trusting the Lord to take care of them as we know that His love for them is so much greater than ours. However, leaving the kids that we have spent the last year getting to know and love, the children whose trust we have finally gained, is really difficult.

Please pray for our hearts during this transition, and pray for the kids that are the closest to us. Especially remember Isaias in your prayers. He is the 13-year old that was mentioned in a lot of our newsletters. He did come to trust us over the past year, but has not put his trust in the Lord yet. Pray that the Lord would pursue him in obvious ways, guiding and protecting him.

We are excited for what the Lord has for us in the future and thankful for the people that have been a part of our lives this past year here in Guatemala. Thank you for you prayers for us. They are what sustains us during these difficult moments.

Shaun, Sara, and Abi

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


Friends- I opened my inbox this morning to find an email from my dad about the U.N.'s latest project- a gift actually. Christmas. The season for giving, right? Not exactly. Unfortunately, this present has a $23 million dollar price tag and isn't intended for any of the world's many current human rights victims.

With civil war raging in the D.R.C., what could be more important than impressive art with a sticker price to match. You heard me. Art. I mean we can't have the U.N.'s Human Rights Council bogged down this holiday season with the world's troubles. What would be better to relieve the enormous pressure that they must be facing than an ascetically pleasing work environment?

Spanish artist, Miguel Barcelo, was commissioned to create a 16,000-square-foot mural on the ceiling of the Human Rights Council's chambers at the U.N. European headquarters in Geneva. As if that isn't sickening enough, the AP is reporting that Spain footed a significant chunk of the bill by contributing almost $650,000 of taxpayer money from funds that were earmarked for overseas development aid. Evidently, the Congo didn't qualify but I don't think murals do either.

To be clear, none of this surprises me half as much as it troubles me. Ironically, when I read my dad's email this morning, my thoughts drifted to the body of Christ and how we spend our resources, sometimes frivolously. We might not be dropping $23 million for a mural of the resurrected Christ in the seniors Sunday school class (at least I hope not), but are we spending our money, time, and energy in a way that makes it clear that we are all about the mission of Jesus? I'm not always so sure when I look at the lifestyles of many Christians- myself included.

It seems that every year Christmas comes and goes and for many of us it has been stripped of its significance by our over commercialized culture. As we celebrate the coming of Christ this December, lets be reminded that God sent his Son for you and me- to seek and save the lost. For those of us that now count ourselves as found in the grace of Jesus, let this Christmas be a time to commit and recommit by the power of God's Spirit throughout the year to proclaiming the Gospel every chance that we have- with all of our resources. Let us spend every ounce of our being not on frivolous things that will only hinder our mission, but on the message and will of the risen Jesus who makes all things new.

Looking forward to Christmas,


Monday, November 17, 2008

Christmas Comes Early in the Orphanage

Thanks to a donation from Peerless Road COGOP's children's ministries, we were able to buy Christmas presents for every child in the orphanage. With help from the other missionaries working here in Llano Verde, we were also able to wrap every present.

The little girls each got a new pony, complete with hair accesories and stickers and a small doll. As soon as they could get the packages open, the hair brushes went to work styling the pony's hair. The girls that are a little older received baby dolls with bottles and toys, all packaged in a bookbag. They were proudly carrying them around. The four oldest girls were given new purses, hair accessories, sunglasses, and Bibles.

For the youngest boys, dinosaurs and toy cars were the surprise. They were running around wildly winding up the cars and letting them fly. The next age group of boys got some toy that launches discs- I don't know what to call it, but they loved it. Because of the love of soccer in Guatemala, the five oldest boys each got a Guatemala soccer jersey and a study Bible.

Because our time here is coming to a close, we filled the front of the Bibles for the oldest boys and girls with a letter explaining our desire for each of them to choose to serve Christ and telling them that they would be in our hearts and prayers, and they will be. Handing these out was the most difficult part of the day for me (Sara). Watching the oldest girls' responses to the letters was really difficult. I was at the point of breaking down when Shaun told me to get a grip so that I wasn't crying while handing out presents.

The final group to receive gifts were the babies. For the room of 10 toddlers, we picked out giant floor tiles with the alphabet that can be made into blocks or a giant alphabet mat. Individually, the babies each got a bouncy ball. Along with the presents, all the kids got a snack to go along with the festivities.

The day was a great success. Several hours after handing out the presents, most of the kids had still not been able to put down their gifts. The following day, some of the oldest boys proudly wore their jerseys to play soccer.

The hardest part of leaving Guatemala is leaving these children. Please pray that we would have some good final moments with each of the kids and continue to keep the kids here in your prayers.

Happy Holidays!

Shaun and Sara

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Looking Ahead...

Well folks, we have been living in Guatemala for nearly a year now and as Christmas approaches we are looking forward to heading back to the states in December to spend the holidays with family and friends (and a little snow wouldn't hurt). In many ways this year has been a difficult one for us, but we have learned a lot and encountered so many wonderful people with a passion for Christ and his mission. For those of you who don't know, our family will be entering a new phase in our journey this coming February when we will be moving to Paraguay to direct a Christian facility for abandoned children. It was in Guatemala that we discovered God's love for hurting children and our passion to serve these children continues to grow.

That being said, please keep our family in your prayers through this transition period and remember to take the time this holiday season to consider those around you who are hurting and may not be able to find a reason to celebrate.

peace and joy,

Shaun and Sara