Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Safely Home & a Reckless Offering

I've been trying to catch up with lots of loose ends the past few days since we returned from Guatemala so I haven't found time to post anything until now. The rest of the trip went very well. We had a great time on Wednesday with the home visits to deliver bags of food to needy families. Some of the homes were very isolated and required us to hike long distances over very narrow dirt paths (think 6" - 8" wide) that bordered corn fields and some rugged terrain. Carrying a bag of food weighing 20 lbs. or more up some of those steep hills at an altitude of 8000+ feet was quite a workout. Those who received the food were extremely grateful and many were moved to the point of tears. A few of the recipients were Christians, but the majority were not and we had a chance to share the gospel in each home, sometimes with multiple family members. Several made decisions to trust Christ while others expressed a desire to think the matter over some more.

The trip back to Guatemala City was uneventful, which is always a good thing when traveling through winding, mountainous roads. The highway to the west is greatly improved, with the entire stretch now being paved and much of it is a 4-lane, divided highway. That sure makes traveling quicker and easier than before. On Friday morning we had a chance to visit the Tabitha Ministry in Guatemala City that I've written about before. They're currently caring for about 80 kids--providing them 2 meals and 2 snacks a day plus some educational and early-learning activities.

We missed out on some excitement at church while we were gone to Guatemala. Our pastor had announced to the staff his intentions to give away a Sunday offering and asked me to contact several potential recipients to determine current needs. Even with a much smaller attendance due to icy roads on the 21st, the church contributed around $22,000 which was evenly distributed among four groups--City Union Mission in Kansas City that ministers to the homeless and provides a year-long recovery program; Forest Avenue Homeless Shelter that operates out of a small Baptist church and provides housing to homeless women and children; the Rachel House crisis pregnancy center; and a project on the Lower Brule Lakota Reservation in South Dakota where our youth went last summer and are returning again this year. After giving the entire Sunday offering of the 21st away, the pastor challenged folks to give a reckless offering this past weekend. (He's in the midst of a series on Reckless Faith). Our folks responded with overwhelming generosity, giving over $60,000 this past Sunday--about double a typical end of the month Sunday offering. God is faithful and we're enjoying His blessings in these days as a congregation.

This Sunday evening our Guatemala team will have charge of the evening service and share reports and testimonies about our experiences. I'm looking forward to the chance to share about what God accomplished this past week with those who prayed for us and gave to make the trip possible.

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