Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Construction Underway

Greetings team:

As I write you this email from my desk in Guatemala, the first thing I want to mention is just that we need to be so very thankful to our LORD and Savior Jesus Christ. The more I read about the recent events in Haiti and all over the world the more I can't help but feel amazingly grateful for the position in which I was born into. I encourage you to look at this situation with a sense of appreciation to the LORD for everything He has blessed us with because we are sinners. I'm sure you have been overwhelmed with the media constantly reporting about the whole situation, but I pray that we use it as a way of looking to God and thanking Him for His Grace.

Since my last email…
We have begun construction and have seen our first team come and go. The team consisted of eleven students and one professor from Dordt College in Sioux City, Iowa, and let me tell you they were an amazing blessing. It was wonderful to get to interact with English-speaking people and to see the way their hearts desired to serve the LORD. The first part of the week they worked on painting one of the campus dormitories and getting it ready for a large group of students expected to have a retreat here in late July. After they were done there, we all began the first bit of site work...aka...digging footings for the building and bending rebar for the columns. Again, I will remark on what a great job they did. Digging five-by-five-by-five foot holes with nothing but shovels and pick axes is not fun, but the group managed to get quite a few of the holes started. Now three Guatemaltecos (Guatemalan Nationalists) and I are finishing up the holes, and preparing to pour concrete atop the footings. One other interesting note is that the team left some clothing and shoes behind for the people here and since most Guatemaltecos are short and have small feet it is quite funny to see them all working in women’s shoes and t-shirts. Even though the clothes aren’t for men, they fit and ultimately the workers are extremely grateful to have anything new. To be a part of this whole process has been extremely interesting, and I thank God that everything has been running very smoothly so far.

There was one particular incident, though, that should also be mentioned, and that was being robbed at gunpoint while we were on a hike. God protected us and opened our eyes to some issues, but it was a very surreal experience. That day the group, myself, and a fellow Guatemalteco went hiking up a mountain located behind the school. We went up, took some great pictures, and then after about 30 minutes headed back down the same trail. As we were going down the switchbacks the Guatemalteco who was our guide rounded a corner to see two men standing in the path with guns. They held the gun to our guides' head, and made us all sit down and get out our money and belongings. Since it was a switchback and I was at the rear two other girls and I were able to toss some of our things into the woods so that they wouldn't be taken. The guys walked up and down the line pointing the gun at each one of us, and frisking us to make sure we weren't hiding anything. After about fifteen minutes they made us hike back up the mountain so that they could make their get away. The story sounds surprisingly simple when I type it out. Anyway, we then returned to the school and, as you can expect, we were all in a sort of shock as to what had happened; so the whole group went into a house here and sat around and prayed. I tell you that moment was amazing. I can't remember everything that was said, and I wouldn't feel right about sharing the prayers, but just know it was one of those special moments in life. You know it is times like this that make you realize what is important and what is temporary. It is the same with the situation in Haiti. Every day, every morning, every thing is a gift from God. In the end, the thieves made away with a phone, a few cameras, and about forty bucks, but as we all know those are simply earthly possessions.

The last day before the team departed one of the girls shared a devotion on Psalm 37, and I although I would urge to read the whole thing. I will leave you with this one verse that I think is a great way to start out every morning.
Psalm 37:5
"Commit your ways to the LORD; Trust in Him, and He will act."

May God's Grace be with you.

1 comment:

Chris and Anne Marie said...

Hey matt! first.. let me just tell you that you and Peggy are precious. I fell in love with her sister, Vaughn (ok... not really fell in love. But you know what I mean) this summer when we were both in a wedding together.
Secondly, to answer your question. I definitely wasn't a reader until this past summer. Now I LOVE reading (and we don't have cable in East Asia, so I have PLENTY of time for it!) I just started the Karen Kingsbury series and finished the first book in ONE day!
Anyways... Redeeming Love definitely uses a lot of scripture in it and I just feel like it does a great job of capturing the essence of the Gospel. To Be Told didn't refer to much scripture, but a lot of it was definitely based on biblical truth. Like if you read in Deuteronomy how God tells the people of Israel to remember what He has done in the past so that they can trust him/see where he is leading them (into a good land). That's the basis of this book... to remember our past so that we can know where God wants to take us in the future.

Okay, I'm sure you didn't care to hear all that. Glad you are doing well!! and Glad I found your blog.