Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Secret to Joy

I'm really happy when creating, whether it's a painting, a piece of unique jewelry, a poem, a fabric whatever, or something else.  And you could say it gives me joy.  But that's not the deepest joy. The deepest joy comes from relationships.

First, there is my relationship with Jesus, who took my punishment so I could be declared righteous by His blood.  Then there are those relationships with others, the lateral relationships.  I mean those relationships with children, spouses, parents, siblings, cousins, aunts, uncles, in-laws (who eventually begin to seem like parents, siblings, and children), friends, and more.  If you feel down in the dumps, go pursue a relationship.

And oh, don't forget those strangers in the checkout line who become friends for a few minutes. That's all it takes to get an idea for a new project, or to just receive a smile to lift your spirits. Yep, relationships are the stuff of joy.  That's why I look forward to someday seeing loved ones again and nevermore experiencing the agony of parting.  It's because God made me that way. Relationships--created by God.


Saturday, June 25, 2016

Mission Trip to Guatemala

Recently, I took a trip to Guatemala--a mission trip, working with a group called Hope 4 Guatemala. Taking off from Houston, I noticed the tops of nice houses in their nice lawns.  Three hours later, we began to drop altitude over the beautiful, mountainous Guatemala. The tops of these houses were rusty tin.  There was cute couple sharing the row with me and he said this was going to be a tight landing because of the terrain.  We came down sharp and I could almost hear the "Urrrrk!" as we came to a quick stop.  It was fun.

Our hosts met us and our numerous bags with an "autobus."  Guatemala City apparently has no public freeways.  Twist. Turn. Turn. Twist. Turn within 3 inches of a corner.  I greatly admire the skill of the bus driver. After about 45 minutes, we came to the compound, a spacious house with dorm-style bedrooms.  The compound is on Lake Amititl├ín, and it is truly beautiful.

We ministered to a small village near Guatemala City. I will admit that it was an eye-opener.  I don't think of myself as materially rich, not at all.  But to many of these people, my modest dwelling would seem to be a palace.  I didn't have time to feel sad--no time for paralysis.  We needed to be about the Lord's work, performing the tasks that we had been anticipating for months.

While the men were building a small house for a family there, the rest of us taught Bible school, reading Bible accounts in Spanish, managing projects, teaching them about Jesus, and just talking to them in general. Here are a few pictures of what we did.


Over beautiful mountainous terrain...


About to make an exciting landing...


A fruit stand in the village.  Those carrots on the left were as big around as an average sized glass.


I don't want to show too much about the private dwellings, but this picture and the ones below will give you an idea.





Folks gotta eat.  There is nothing quite like meshing with another culture.


Again, folks gotta eat. The picture above and the two below show some of the food donations. Thanks to a lot people in our church (and not in our church), we were able to provide NUTRITION for others!







Yay!  Colorful bags with things people need, physically and spiritually. Thanks to the Gideons, we were able to include a Spanish New Testament with every bag.
At the end of Bible school, we passed out toy bags full of things that had been donated by friends in the USA.


Every generous act and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights; with Him there is no variation or shadow cast by turning.
--James 1:17 Holman Christian Standard Bible