Today was Josh’s last day at Casa, and he came with a devotional for the boys. We read Romans 5:3-5, “Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out His love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom He has given us.”
Josh said, “This is our identity in Christ. Hope and eternal life with Jesus. We all know that life isn’t easy. Yet we have hope.” We read Romans 10:9, “That if you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” Josh continued, “This is a good verse to remember. If we declare with our mouth, Jesus is Lord, believe in our heart, we will be saved. Confess with your mouth and believe. By that we know we are saved.
“We will face many trials. Life is not easy and bad things happen to good people. These verses tell us that we should have joy in suffering because we have eternal life. Life is short in comparison to eternal life. We must persevere, continue on and not stop. We need to keep doing what God wants us to do. We need to be faithful to God. When we keep going, when times are bad, it builds character. People can count on you. You say you will do something and you do it.
“It builds character so we can be more like Jesus. Jesus came down to die for our sins. Don’t stop! Continue persevering. With this verse, this is our identity in Christ. Keep going, no matter how hard it is.”
Afterward, Josh prayed with the boys and they surrounded him and hugged him good-bye. He ended the way he started. Blessed to bless.
When it rains, it pours. We had a huge downpour today. The boys stayed inside and watched TV. Our little one invited a friend over. They had a tent party and watched “Sing.” They had fun.
Lee and Candy
As the boys and I set out food in the morning for breakfast, I stood back and watched them work. They have learned well and you can see the pride in their work as I viewed the tables. I am reminded of what God’s word says in Colossians 3:23-24, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.”
Josh returned this morning and had a devotional with the boys. We read Romans 8:1, “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.” Josh said, “Today we are going to talk about our identity in Christ. If you are a child of God, then you are not condemned. Condemned means to be accused of something and have to be penalized for it. We are all sinners and God is perfect. God cannot be in the presence of sin. Yet, He has the power to take it away. When we sin, we are separated from God. Yet there is good news. Jesus paid the price for our sin. We are not condemned with eternal separation. If you accept Jesus, you will be a child of God. When you are a child of God, you will not be condemned. It is important to memorize scripture. The bible is filled with God’s wisdom and love. Remember the promises of God. We are wonderfully made. Just the way you are. We need to live for Him. God is good.
After the devotional, I called Candy in and we all prayed over her. Afterward, the boys hugged on Candy and off they went to school. We went to the airport, had lunch and talked until it was time for her flight. It doesn’t get easier. However, I know that the struggles, the difficulties in life that we go through will only make us stronger as our faith and trust in Him grows. Remember, “Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” I look at the “wall of faith” and I know that they had difficulties and struggles during their lives yet I a reminded of God’s plan at the end of chapter 11 in Hebrews, “God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.” God’s plans are always better than ours even though we can’t see them through our struggles. I remember the poem “Footprints in the Sand” and it is written, “But I noticed that during the saddest and most troublesome times of my life, there was only one set of footprints. I don’t understand why, when I needed You the most, You would leave me.” He whispered, “My precious child, I love you and will never leave you. Never, ever, during your trials and testings. When you saw only one set of footprints, it was then that I carried you.” He is always with us. We can be sure of that even though we do not see it.
A visiting team blessed all the boys, from the Comets to University with shukos, chips and drinks. What are shukos? Well, the word actually means “dirty” but food wise, it is a Guatemalan style hot dog. Basically, it is a “dirty dog.” Never really had one, but if they load it up with jalapenos, I’m sure I would like it. The boys brought their “shukos” back to the dorm and watched “Sing” again.
Around 1:30 this morning, we were awakened by the sounds of the plumbing bodega and our dorm moving and crackling. This earthquake registered 6.9 on the Richter scale. The epicenter was west of Guatemala City near San Marcos. We’ve been through several earthquakes since living here, but this one was so strong, and the noises from the rattled buildings made it sound more severe than most all others we’ve experienced. We prayed through it, and God calmed the quake. He is so awesome!
Lee and Candy
Josh returned today to bless the boys with another devotional. We read Romans 8:14-17, “…because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by Him we cry, ‘Abba, Father.’ The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs – heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in His sufferings in order that we may also share in His glory.” Josh said, “God speaks to us through His Spirit. Everyone who believes in Jesus, God’s Spirit is inside of them. When we believe in God, His Spirit is inside of us. When we believe in God, we are part of His family. Those who do not believe in Him are not in His family. When we are part of His family, we are heirs to the kingdom…Just like Jesus. As heirs, we have the same rights as His Son, Jesus.
We are very grateful for the teams coming and helping prepare the blue building for lunch and serving the meals. It is a lot of work and the availability of staff and leaders are few. It’s nice to have the visiting teams help. Thank You, Lord. As I came back from helping put out lunch, there was Josh, replacing the door handle of the boys’ sala door. Wonderful brother in Christ. He reminds me of what God’s word says in 1 Thessalonians 4:11-12, “Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody.”
A visiting team also blessed the staff with a pizza dinner. We are very grateful to the teams that our Lord sends to minister to the children and the staff. Feeding His children with His word, lifting us up with fellowship, prayer, games and food. Everything is for His glory.
Yet, another visiting team hung out with the boys tonight. The boys were watching “Sing” which is a funny movie to watch. One of our leaders wants to be a singer one day, but he is afraid to stand in front of an audience and sing. Go figure. I called him over and told him that there was a character in the movie that is just like him and that he needs to “break out” of his shell and “let it go” just like her. It didn’t help him get over his stage fright…but I tried.
Candy flies to the US tomorrow. Please pray for safe travels, no turbulence, and a quick return. It’s so hard being apart…hard on all of us.
Lee and Candy
This morning our boys were blessed with Josh giving the devotional. He talked about how God created us. We read Genesis 1:27, “So God created mankind in His own image, in the image of God He created them; male and female He created them.” Josh said, “God created man in His own image. God created the stars, heaven and earth and the sun. He created everything.
“Some say we evolved from small animals yet you can believe that God created us. Created us for His glory. We are His sons and daughters. Because we are His sons and daughters, we are to bring Him glory. Everything you say should glorify Him. Everything you do should glorify Him. If you don’t, it makes Him sad. I challenge you to think before you say anything bad to anyone.”
A visiting team from Texas comes each year and prays over the dorms, dorm parents, and staff. We are blessed and immersed in love and prayer from these godly women who desire to go to the Lord on our behalf. Being in His presence is such an honor.
Our daughter, Megan, is here and she brought a team to minister to the children and serve the Lord. They exemplify what our Lord desires. 1 Timothy 4:12, “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.” God has allowed her to come with a team each year for several years. We’re always excited when she comes, and of course, our little one loves having her big sister here. 🙂
It has been raining a lot. We are blessed God gives us rain and waters the plants, trees and crops to sustain life here on earth. If you’re planning to come to Guatemala anytime soon, come prepared for the wet days.
Lee and Candy
This morning Andrew blessed our boys as he came and had a devotional with them. We read 1 Corinthians 13:1-3, “If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.”
“This chapter is all abut love. If there is no love, everything is useless. Strong faith can move mountains. If we do not have that, there is no love. We read Romans 5:8, “But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” God loves us so much that He sent Jesus to die for us. We are full of sin and hate. No one deserves this love, but Jesus loves us so much He died for us. Today I challenge you to show this type of love to others.”
Yesterday the Louisiana team painted the “small side” stairwell, and they did a great job. How long before those handprints appear? Maybe a week or less. How long before toothpaste is found on the ceiling? Maybe less. Today, Kevin and his team came and patched up holes in the stairwell and to prepare for painting on the other stairwell. Having twenty-two boys living in the section of the dorm, going up and down, walls will be damaged. Sometimes I imagine they are like pinballs hitting against the walls as they run down the stairs. I’m surprised the dorm hasn’t “tilted” yet. Talking to Kevin, I can feel his desire to do his best, like it was his own home. They did a great job also.
Sebastian and Lily came by to inspect the dorms and count beds. We talked about reducing the numbers in the dorms, so it was decided to place all the extra beds in the spare dorm. We haven’t had such a low number since our Lord called us here. We know that God is in control and His plans are better. We believe in His promises. What He told His people in the past, is relevant today. Jeremiah 29:11, “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'” God knows what He is doing, He is in control. We just need to continue to teach, preach and reach. He is worthy.
Lee and Candy
Today wasn’t the greatest of days. Sometimes I wish I could just turn back time and start over yet, God doesn’t want us to look back and down but to look forward and up. There are times I dread looking at the school reports of bad behavior, but it is necessary because they are warning signs. In reality, it started on Tuesday but it carried over to today.
The things that come out of the mouths of some of the children are horrific. The truth hits us square in the face when our Lord Jesus said, “These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.” James wrote, “With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be.”
Candy and I were livid. Jesus sent Adam and Vilma to our house at, of course, the right time. They ministered to the one with the potty mouth and then to our dorm as a whole. God does provide…not just material needs but our spiritual needs. As believers, our battle is not a physical one but a spiritual one. Sometimes we can think that we are fighting this battle alone, however, God reveals that this is not so.
During dinner, Gladys come by and we talked about the spiritual needs of the children and for us adults, as well. We need for a true revival. A need for true repentance. A need for true worship.
After dinner, I sat down with the boys and talked to them about our problem. I said, “I know the problem we are having is not just in our dorm, it is throughout the home. Many times I have told you what the Lord desires from all of us, but at times it goes in one ear and out the other. This will happen when you are accustomed to us. It happens in churches and ministries throughout the world. All of us can become complacent to our surroundings. At church, work, school and in our homes.
“The problem we have is that we do not fear the Lord. God’s word says, ‘The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.’ Fear is not that we will be punished for what we have done but how we have sinned against our Lord. When we do something bad and we should have a godly sorrow and not a worldly sorrow. A worldly sorrow is when we feel bad that we got caught. A godly sorrow is that we have sinned against God.
“Many times we do things and that as long as the dorm parent or an authority figure is not around, it’s okay. But, that is not correct. What is darkness?” The boys said, “Sin.” “Yes, darkness symbolizes sin but what is darkness?” One of our leaders said, “The absence of light.” “Who is light?” The boys said, “Jesus.” “When we do bad things that we know is sin, we are walking in the dark. Our Lord is not with us. Our sin separates us from God. That is why darkness is the absence of light. When we understand that, we have wisdom and when we have wisdom, we will fear the Lord.”
I looked at the boys and said, “You know what I would really like? I would like for you to live the words you have written to your sponsors. You write beautiful words that would make any sponsor proud, yet they are just words when you don’t live it. Sometimes you say and write things to get something, but God has given us a book of love…words that reflect how much He loves us and how He wants us to live these words. My question to you is, ‘What about God’s gift? He has the gift of eternal life. A gift that is better than clothes, soccer balls, mp3 players and toys. A gift that lasts forever. You will never outgrow God’s word. It will always be with you.”
Afterward, Candy and I took our little one and had fellowship with the Louisiana team. Fellowship and food…Cajun crawfish etouffee…need I say more? A good way to end the day. God first, others second and we are last.
Lee and Candy