I press on towards the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:14

Monday, January 16, 2012

Our Visit with Zuly & her family

After our visit with Zuly Elizabeth & her family today I tried to think of the words to describe it.
Blessed...that's what came to mind. We have sponsored her for about 4 years now and only seen a few pictures, drawings and letters. The experience today made it so incredibly real and tangible.

When we arrived we introduced ourselves even though she had received letters and pictures from us today. It was hard to believe we were meeting her. Zuly didn't know this but for us it felt like we were meeting someone famous.

We shared with Zuly, her mother and sisters how we pray for them almost daily as a family. Seeing them live and in person was truly amazing!

It was obvious they were nervous or unsure. Mike broke the ice by pulling out a Frisbee we brought for Zuly. They had never seen a Frisbee before so we started showing them how to use it. Zuly got out there and was having fun giving it a try.

It is so obvious that the mother loves her six girls very much. She was a joy as well as the rest of the family. It was a little overwhelming to see the conditions they live in and the structures they call their home and kitchen. I know God is in control and I truly pray they know that as well in their hearts. It was just hard to believe that all of them live in such a small area.

I think of the lyrics from a Brooke Fraser song. It is about her visit to Rwanda and a girl she meets- Albertine. It speaks to me now about Guatemala and our visit with Zuly.

Here's the chorus to the song Albertine:
Now that I have seen, I am responsible
Faith without works is dead
Now that I have held you in my own arms, I cannot let go till you are

I am on a plane across a distant sea
But I carry you in me
and the dust on, the dust on, the dust on my feet

There are so many other things to share but I am still processing it all. We will share more words and pictures soon.

We were blessed beyond words by the whole experience.


Friday, January 13, 2012

Mealtime at the Malnutrition Center

Here are two of my favorite pictures.
This is little Elena.
The top one is during here meal.
The bottom one is after her meal.

She did wake up after much prompting.
After Elena woke up she started finishing off her meal with her eyes closed.

Most all of the children would eat every last morsel on their plate. They wouldn't receive their leche(milk) until they ate everything on their plate. Food is a precious commodity for these children.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Thursday, January 12th

Today was our final day at the Malnutrition Center. It was filled with joy and emotion. The “Ducks and Squirrels” enjoyed puzzle time and taking a walk outside. They covered the pavilion in sidewalk chalk. Several of the children wanted us to outline them on the ground. They were covered in chalk as they walked back inside. It was precious to see little Victoria join the Squirrels over the last couple of days. Her face lit up when she went down the slide for the first time.

Right before lunch most of the children had the opportunity to help unload supplies for the center. We couldn’t believe how excited the children were to carry a container of wipes & diapers. They ran back and forth to the van without any whining or complaining. It was a joyful experience.

In the afternoon, the staff provided a wonderful snack for us as a send off… Authentic Guatemalan food. They had fun taking pictures and we had a chance to see more of their personalities come out despite the language barrier. A smile and laughter are universal.

As we prepared to say good-bye, the kids were given packages of Oreos. We loved seeing them with chocolate outlining their mouths and faces. They enjoyed every morsel and I think they left some clean up for the workers at the center too.

This day was no different than the previous three days in regard to the way we would leave each afternoon. The children and staff would all come out and wave good-bye until we were out of sight. What was different about today was the fact that we wouldn't physically be back tomorrow. Our team may not be at the center tomorrow but a part of our hearts will always be there. What a joy and a blessing the Lord gave us this week!

We (the Fountain family) will be in Guatemala until Tuesday, the 17th. The Baggotts and Parkisions will be leaving us Saturday. On Monday, we will go visit our World Vision child, Zuly Elizabeth. We are very excited to see her and her family. Starting tomorrow we plan on visiting some sights in and around Antigua. It is a beautiful city. We have taken lots of pictures of the center and Antigua that we plan to share soon.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Tuesday, January 10th 2nd post of pictures

Tuesday, January 10th

Another great day at the Malnutrition Center! The “Ducks & Squirrels” had some time coloring and play on the playground. Several of the children can’t get enough of the slide. Lunch time was very entertaining as they ate chicken (on the bone) and beets. Yes, beets. All the “ducks & squirrels” ate every bite because they wanted strawberry jell-o for dessert. So, just imagine about 15 children feeding themselves RED beets & RED jell-o. Each one had pink palms for the rest of the day.

We had the opportunity to spend some time in San Juan after lunch. What an experience. This is where you find the truly authentic Guatemalan foods. Some of the foods we couldn’t identify. We also saw the “real” side of Guatemala. Antigua s more of a tourist are while San Juan is more traditional.

When we came back to the center we were able to do some cleaning while the kids took their nap time. Some team members wiped down chairs, others washed play mats and some repairs were completed. When the kids woke up after the nap time, many of us were on diaper duty/bathroom duty. Just imagine with me how long it takes to changes diapers or take 66 kids to the bathroom. We are all amazed at how the fulltime workers get all this done without volunteer teams. They are our heroes.

God has shown us that it doesn’t matter what country you are in or what you are called to do. It all comes down to God’s glory. We simply show up and let His glory be revealed by each of us being willing to play with children, observe culture and even clean a malnutrition center. It’s all about Him no matter where we are.

A Great First Day at the Center

What a great first day at the Malnutrition Center! It took us an hour through the 5 F's to get there: freeway, forest, farming, furniture building and flowers. There are 66 children there and only about 4 ladies that have to feed, bath, change diapers, play and do everything else with these children 24/7. Our team split up among the different ages and helped these ladies all day. I was challenged as I was trained how to feed 25 children soup, spagetti, tortillas, and leche (milk). Man was I worn out come 2 pm. The water wasn't working at the center yesterday so we didn't get to help with washing dishes and a lot of cleaning we wanted to do. Hopefully the water will be working fine today. We just arrived back home around 7 pm Atlanta time. I really can't put into words how awesome today was. Thank you Lord!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Sunday January 8th

Our day began with a wonderful worship service with our team. We shared songs together, talked about how God many times chooses the impossible to reveal His glory to us. Ethan started us off with a song. Rebecca read a scripture. Mike shared from the book of John on how God provides even when we think there's not enough.

Beautiful, protected & childlike faith were just a few of the words used to describe today during our WOW time tonight. We had the opportunity to see God’s beautiful and stunning creation today as we went as a group zip lining across the mountain canyons. We even got to see one of the volcanoes erupt several times today. Most mission trips have a "free" day. Today was ours.

Even though the ministry to the malnutrition center didn’t begin today, teambuilding did. Our team seemed to connect almost instantly from the children to the adults. We can’t wait to see what happens as God uses all of us to do His work this week. Tomorrow begins a full week of ministry! Enjoy some pictures we posted from today.

More pictures from Sunday January 8th

Some Pictures from Sunday January 8th

Friday, January 6, 2012

We're packed and ready to go!

It's been almost one year from when we first posted about our trip to Guatemala. This past year has been a year of faith building, a year of fundraising, a year of passport challenges, a year of being showered in prayer from our friends, a year of anonymous checks in the mail, a year of watching as our children's faith grew, and a year of watching God just be GOD. To Him be the praise and glory!

So here we sit, bags all packed, counting down the hours until we board the plane for the Guatemala City airport. It's like the night before Christmas morning for us! We're meeting the Parkison family at 6 am to head to the airport. I think the kids are really looking forward to flying on a plane. Me - I'll be gripping the seatback at takeoff and landing as usual.

Once we arrive, we'll meet up with Ron our team leader and his family along with another couple from Florida that we haven't met. From there we'll drive an hour to the beautiful city of Antigua. Hopefully, we'll have another post tomorrow night after we've reached this point.

Finally, the team going from Atlanta is:
Kirk, Amy, John Daniel, Olsen and Sam Baggott
Taylor and Jenna Parkison (brother and sister)
Mike, Mitzi, Ethan, Rebecca, Sarah and Anderson Fountain

Guatemala, here we come!!!!