Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy Holidays...

Greetings from La Antigua Guatemala. Our events this season were very simple and yet very blessed. It is our hope that you will experience the same. With the return of Matt and the announcement of a wedding this next year, we have a new addition to the family. Her name is Alejandra.

May God richly bless you in every way. Thank you from the entire Watkins Family, and Palomita, for visiting our blip on the web.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Caminos Café Products...

One of the many highlights for teams coming to Antigua is the ability to return back home with Antiguan Coffee. A local farm has been very good to us and is allowing us to package their coffee under a private label. This is great for fundraising or just keeping yourself awake at nights. As well we have updated our T-Shirts. Grey with Black print - White with Brown print.

So no longer do you have to wait to come here to get a good cup of coffee and something to wear. We are able to ship the coffee and shirts via DHL. This is included with the price. Yes, the price is less if you come to here to Antigua. But, if you get yourself here, I figure it is only appropriate that we discount the products since you covered the plane ticket.

Download the order form and print/fax or just email it directly to us.

Monday, December 24, 2007


Our celebration here in Antigua, was simple. We had about sixty of our people come together for a Communion and Candlelight Service. At 12pm midnight there is a fireworks celebration beyond anything that we would ever see in States. This year, Nancy, Amber and I went up onto Agua, the volcano, to see an incredible view of the fireworks display. All of the little balls of light are the big boomers ignited by each of the communities in our valley.

The cities included in this photo are Antigua, Jocotenango, San Juan Obispo, San Pedro las Huertas, San Miguel, San Bartolo, and in the farthest point, Chimaltenango.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Antigua Fire...

In a random course of event we (the city of Antigua) were treated to an early fireworks display. It is not uncommon to hear the explosions of "celebratory" events throughout the year. Christmas Eve and New years Eve are big annual events for fireworks. In preparation for this time, there is special area of the Mercado (market center) that is set up for sales of any kind of fireworks that you can imagine. Even those typically only available to licensed professionals in the States.
The exact reason is not known but at some point there was a spark that sent the entire area, about two and a half acres, up in a glorious 30 minute display of smoke and loud noise. Our home is 150 to 200 yards from the explosion. We had shreds of newspaper that landed in our yard. Reports came out that an estimated Q1,000,000 were lost.
There was a gentleman that also documented this event and posted here on youtube.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Staff Leadership Positions...

To follow-up on another Article from October. I want to introduce to you the new staffing positions the make this ministry happen.

Antonio Sandoval is our Pastor in Training. He will be starting effective January 14th. His responsibilities will be as a lay pastor for this church, attending Bible school training and help coordinate Short Term Mission team activities.

Marleni Monzon is our Administrative / Pastoral Assistant. She and her daughter Vasti began with this ministry in December of 2005.

Tonja Johnson is our Children's Ministry Coordinator. She and her husband, Rusty, are here building stoves and doing Children's Ministry in Santa Maria de Jesus.

Sonja Sandoval is our EFL Ministry Coordinator. She and her husband Antonio have been directly involved with this ministry since the beginning.

Boris Monzon is our Café Manager. He has been attending the church for the past year and a half. As well he volunteers in our Men's Ministry Soccer Team, our weekly kid's soccer training in Jocotenango and helps with his wife Jessica in the children's ministry on Sundays.

It's Official...

It is official. Our son Matt is getting married in March. It is a very blessed time for our family. In short, Ale rocks! She is a wonderful lady that truly balances Matt.

"Two worlds, Two lives, Two hearts, Joined together in Faith and Love; With the Blessing of God, it is our moment to celebrate the Love that unites us Matthew and Alejandra together, with our parents, we invite you to share with us this joyous celebration of love on our Wedding Day. Saturday, March 1, 2008, 2pm at Finca El Ahuehuete, Antigua, Guatemala."

Saturday, December 8, 2007

The Wedding...

I had the pleasure to perform my first wedding this month, Boris & Jessica. Boris is a young man that started coming to the church at the time we began here a year and a half ago. He is now the Café Manager. Jessica and her family have been actively involved with this ministry since the first day the sign was hung advertising the English Classes. It was my priviledge to see how God has worked in their relationship and unite them in marriage.

This last July Boris was baptized in our first baptism services. It was this same day my friend John Nichols mentioned that since I had completed my first baptism. Now all I needed was a funeral and a wedding to be a pastor. I ask if he was voluntering for either. It turned out that he, John, was my first funeral. And Boris it turns out was part of two of my first events as a pastor.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Politur Bible Study...

For those of you that have been with blogsite for some time, you know that we (myself and Antonio Sandoval) have been operating weekly Bible Studies for the Tourist Police of Antigua, under the authority of the Ministry of Valor and Service with the National Police. November 1, of this year we celebrated one year of ministry in the Politur Station. As well, Amber, my daughter, has been teaching English two days a week since last Februrary.
During this year we have not seen a great deal of movement in this ministry short of building relationships. The men are always invited and welcomed to join us for a cup of coffee in the cafe and if possible attend a service. Which when their schedule permits they take advantage of the offer. I have had the fortunate opportunity to visit three of them in their homes by invitation.

This past month I had several officers let me know first hand from their perspective what has been happening. They told me that they see the difference in their team since we started the studies. There are several men that have made recomitments to Christ in their churches. This past week we celebrated with the news of an officer professing faith in Christ for the first time. He was with other officers while on duty on The Volcano Agua.

This month an additional 30 men were added to the rotation of the officers. For a couple of days there was considerable concern that these new men would require the new space that we have completed and use for our chapel. But God is good. The new Chief as it turns out is a Christian. He had heard there was a pastor in the station and was very excited to see that his men had the opportunity to hear the gospel.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Que Pasa en Antigua...

As it should be with every church, it is our goal to be very intentional and very present in the community. We ventured into a new arena this month, the magazine "Que Pasa en Antigua" - (page 47). This publication is the hottest - What's Happening - information center in Antigua and is very secular in its focus. It represents all of the activity in Antigua, good, bad and indifferent. Our ad went in this month. Some of those present on Christmas Eve heard about the church through the magazine. It's a start.

Friday, November 23, 2007

The CANI Event...

Our Children's program had the opportunity to take part in a very large community event in Jocotenango.

CANI - loosely would be the equivalent to a Boys Club / United Way here in the valley. This is the same organization that we partner with for our weekly soccer programs in Jocotenango. They invited us to join them and other civic groups in the area to put on this event.

The Children's ministry went crazy and siezed the opportunity to share the gospel through different activities to more than 500 children. At our final prize drawing, Eduardo, one of our volunteers, was able to give a clear presentation of the gospel and the purpose of the church, IDC, from the main stage. This was certainly an oppoortunity to be seen and heard. Yea God!

Friday, November 9, 2007

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

English Classes...

We began our new year for English Classes with a record 115 people signed up. We have begun using the English Curriculum - Side by Side. For more information about the classes we offer, you can go here.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Mark & Dayle's Party...

The family of Iglesia Del Camino is a unique grouping of individuals. Depending when you attend the church you will find Guatemalans and Foreigners. Two of our volunteers, Mark and Dayle Annond, this month had a "Harvest Festival" Celebration. It was a great time for families to gather with children and celebrate life.

As well it was a time for us to attempt to mimic others with goofy costumes. I was with my friend Giovanne. We were "Twins". As he is the reigning "Mr. Antigua" and the "Second Place - Mr. Guatemala", he assumed the role of Arnold Schwarzenegger, making me Danny DeVito. The key word here is "attempt to mimic others with goofy costumes".

Monday, October 15, 2007

The Children's Program...

This fall we have launched a new children's program. With the help of resources provided by Roberts United Methodist, Seveirville, TN., we were able to invest in a bilingual children's education. Our children's ministry is a the Raindows and Rangers Program. It includes lessons from the Bible in an everyday environments and Bible memorization. While we are just beginning with this program, it is showing itself with great promise.

Under the direction of Tonja Johnson, children are being bussed in from the neighboring communities. We are seeing growth. not so much in numbers at this point but more in the structure and involvement of volunteers and the interest of the children in the church.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Staff Changes...

Since the end of July we have been having several change-ups in the staffing for IDC. Some was expected some not so. Change is difficult but we can see the hand of God moving in the IDC. Almost every position has been filled. But now we say goodbye to several of the individuals that have been a part of this during its early development.

John Nichols, a key volunteer teaching in the English Classes died from a heart attack.

Katie McGinniss, Our Worship Leader - completed her two year commitment as a short term missionary.

Heather Warner-Dubin, our Children's Ministry Director, has returned to Florida.

Keren Monzón, Our Café Manager - is pursuing International Business at the Galileo University extension in Ciudad Vieja near Antigua.

Levi Davis, our Mission Team Coordinator - resigned this month. He and his wife Jackie will be continuing their construction ministry in Guatemala.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Calvary Baptist - G3 Visit

Completing the second trip for this calendar year is Calvary Baptist of Winterhaven. This team of 9 once again took part in a variety of events: Working with Hermano Pedro, Water Filtration with Servants 4 Him, Building Homes with Arms of Jesus, helping with a clothes distribution in San Lorenzo el Tejar and a children's ministries and Santa Maria de Jesus.

There were several highlights for the team including an exciting ride to the edge of the road, a devastated piñata, a birthday party, lots of children and the list goes on.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Pathways Largo - Team Visit

As always it is a joy to host another team from our home church in Largo, FL - Pathways Community. This teams focus to to bring an extreme home makeover to our friends Marco Tulio and Ledy Hernandez that run a fantastic ministry for children and their families in San Luis Pueblo Nuevo, Pastores.

We have been working with them in ministry support for the past year. They have three children, a couple of cats and a dog.

This was no easy week. They had to remove and replace the existing roof as well as patch holes reminiscent of gun fire richochet, replace the entire electrical system and of course repaint the place. With the help of an additional three, Amber, Heather Hammond and Chad Carlson, all of this and more was accomplished.

Another incredible week with an incredible team. Yea God!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Family Update...

You may or may not have heard but last week August 23rd, while Amber was in the states for a routine check-up, she had a very serious insulin reaction. While these have been increasing (this was number 4 in the past 6 weeks) she was scheduled to see the doctor that morning. The plan was to address the increasing low point of her sugar level. This round was serious enough for Nancy to make an emergency trip that same day to assist with numerous details of Amber's health matters.

This post is a week after the numerous events "roller coaster rides" of emotions. At this point in time, Amber is doing much better. She was scheduled to receive a new pump and tester. As such these have been implemented. However, in light of her recent emergency, she will be remaining in the states for an additional 10 days or so to assure stability of her medical status.

This also means that Nancy will be in the states as well. Continued prayer during this time of separation is appreciated. Thank you to those in place to assist with housing and vehicles during their stay.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Cultural Adaptation...

This month I was able to visit one of my officers in the tourist police - His name is Carlos Piñeda. He lives in Chiquimulia. A small town of 12,700 or so on the road to El Salvador.

His wife Maria and son David were very welcoming. They gave me the tour of town . Including showing me the calf being raised by their cousins in one of the nicer homes that I saw in the area. While my Spanish is far from perfected I have made progress this last year in Guatemala. But the dialects and word usage from one area to the next can be very different. Carlos was kind enough to translate my Spanish (such as it was) to the local dialect.

We took an extended tour of the area surrounding his city at the base of Volcano Ipala. This one is dormant. We went in the Trooper to an old finca from that has long since become as dormant as the volcano. The roads (or the lack of roads) gave us a run for our money. But the allure of why some one would choose to live on this mountain was very much alive. It was stunning.
The travel had no major snags. I was trying figure out the wierd rain patterns and then realized I was driving through the outer rain bands of Hurricane Dean.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Pathways Seveirville - Visit

As a team they helped to complete four houses, two stoves (new home addition projects), gave assistance to a student in our english classes with lighting in her bedroom via a glass block wall, help with continuing detail construction for a special needs school in Santa Maria de Jesus, worked a children's outreach in Santa Maria de Jesus and of course took a gratuitus moto tour of the valley.

One element of uniqueness was that the woman had an opportunity to spend the majority of a day with families connected with the stove project. They were able to experience the crafting of various clothing and home decorations. As well the ladies came to the house the final night and we had a small mercado event in the breezway/dining room.

The impact of help for IDC was significant. More people in the valley saw first hand the love of God demonstrated.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

It was a hot one...

This is one of the cooler things that happen here. You truly understand the strength of God. I must admit a certain perspective of knowing what the children of Israel felt like at the base of Mt. Sinai.

It is called Volcán Fuego. The still photo was taken with simple camera from the roof top of the IDC, Iglesia Del Camino. According to Google Earth we are 18.5 Kilometers or 11.5 Miles from the top of the volcano.

Friday, August 3, 2007

North Metro Youth - Visit

They are from Marrieta, Georgia. North Metro Church sent a crew of 15 down to be a part of the ministries here. And did they...

They arrived a day sooner than our normal teams and in doing so they gave incredible assistance to the PCC G12 OnGoal Soccer event. They helped us to establish a new ministry link to a small village in the mountains northwest of Antigua called Panimaquin working with a ministry called GMO, a school and church that ministers to the community.

The team from North Metro held two days of Children Ministry and Service Projects. Following their return to Antigua they help to complete two homes and assist with water filtration.


Thursday, August 2, 2007

It's about the kids!

In recent weeks we were presented with the opportunity to aid a school in Pastores. Long story short, they needed chairs. A school of about 75 children only had chairs designed for larger people.

God has been blessing our cashflow @ IDC and we needed to tithe. The Mayor asked if we were in a position to give assistance. Resource and opportunity met. On August 2nd we were invited to attend a presentation to the school and parents. It was a good day.