Monday, January 31, 2011

Santa Maria de Jesus Initiative...

This year we are blessed to be part of a new area of outreach.  With the help of South Tulsa Baptist Church we are now in a direct relationship with Pastor Gabriel and his church fellowshipo in the community of Santa Maria de Jesus.  This is a small community at the base of the Volcan Agua.

Making this even more exciting is the addition of Mario Miño to our team.  He comes to us with years of experience in children's ministry and feeding centers.  He also has a passion for the indigenous communities.  We are looking with anticipation for what God will do through this.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Road to Panajachel...

Thursday thru Friday of this week Nancy and I made a road trip at the invitation of dear friends studying Spanish in Panajachel.  This community and the surrounding area is arguably one of the most breath taking scenic views in Guatemala.  

The ride was almost as relaxing as Lake Atitlán, Panajachel itself.  If you use Google Earth (which is a free download)  I saved a path of our journey available here.  The mountain path was quite exhilarating. 

Of course, while this trip had elements of official business, it was really about Rich and Cheryl treating us to a wonderful couples of days to chill, be encouraged, see the evidence of the hand of God.  THANK YOU RICH AND CHERYL...

All in all, a great couple of days.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

A Staff Retreat...

If a picture is worth a thousand words, here is some information in three thousand words or so.  This last Wednesday we shut down the office and took a day retreat for some staff training.  Yes, these photos tell the story - boring speeches and audiovisual...  Okay maybe not that boring, no one was sleeping.  There were a lot of people - 22 in total - getting some things ready for this upcoming year.

Audio Visual Support?

Time will tell for the results to manifest themselves.  But it was a good day.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Gifts for Pastores pt 2...

Adding to the bonus of this past week, I received a phone call from the Mayor of Pastores verifying the final distribution of a gift to the city of Pastores.

With the help of Florida Baptist Children's Home, Dunwoody Baptist in Georgia and the IDC the community of Pastores had Christmas Gifts and backpacks, shoes, and other school supplies for the new school year.

In December we received the shipment of supplies and almost as quickly the gifts were distributed to the children as part of their community Christmas events.  However, last Friday was the distribution of the school supplies and such.  

This was tagged into the dedication of a new building expansion that had been sponsored by United Way and USAid.  These organizations replaced a wing of the main school campus in San Lorenzo El Tejar and finished a second floor the secondary school not far away. 

In total there are nominally 1,300 students in just these schools alone.  This was a very cool event.

Thank you Florida Baptist Children's Home and Dunwoody Baptist...

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Events with the PNC...

This last week we saw an incredible landmark for the future of the National Police of Guatemala (PNC).

Police Breakfast in the IDC - 1/20/11
The Back Story -
Since October of 2006, Antonio and I have been blessed to have had an active part in the lives of officers here in the Antigua area - working for the Ministry of Valor and Service of the PNC. One of the more subtle details for our ministry is this: my first appointment as Chaplain of a local substation; that has since become a Chaplaincy position for all of Station 74 in the Department Sacatepéquez - including two staff positions and volunteer Pastors; was very much a surprise at that time.

With me that day was Bill Losasso - my boss, Gio Llerena - with Chapel Baseball, and Dan Nolta - at that time he was the President of the International Conference of Police Chaplains (ICPC) and was in Guatemala helping to establish a chaplaincy program with Valor and Service. It was actually on his recommendation to my now supervisor, Norma Hernandez, that we go to the substation and meet the station commander. Dan and I had only met and spoken maybe 10 minutes. After my appointment as Chaplain his only words to me were - "Your life is about to change." - was he ever correct.

6 months after that day, Norma was summarily dismissed along with most of the National Police leadership because of a scandal with other leadership. Dan's hopes for a chaplaincy program in GUA were leveled. By the grace of God Antonio and I were able to continue our work in Antigua for almost 2 years - just doing what God led us to do.

Other fun facts in the time-line:
1 - In January of 2009, Norma returned to her position as the Secretary of Valor and Service.

2 - This past summer, with Dan's help, we sent Antonio to Sacramento for the ICPC's annual conference - with the goal to bring that training to GUA.

Dan came this week to help formulate the plan for the first ever Chaplaincy Training for National Police of Guatemala. We had some obstacles to overcome but God has been laying the ground work for this for some time. Case in point, there are approximately 100 active police men and/women wanting to serve as Chaplains. We would need to have them cleared of duty responsibilities for 3 days with pay for the training. We would need them to be trained for something that is unknown to the Police as a whole. There are two pivotal meetings that we would need to have a "yes" from.

Meeting 1 - The Personnel Director for PNC of GUA. In the spring of 2009 we were blessed with 25,000 Bibles for the PNC. The number two man for Sacatepéquez was ¨Guerra Cornejo¨ at the time. He personally assisted in the distribution of the New Testaments to all of the men under his command. And told me whatever we need we have only to ask. Guess who is now the Personnel Director for the PNC of GUA?

Norma de Hernández - Guerra Cornejo - Antonio Sandoval - Dan Nolta
Meeting 2 - The Director General of the PNC. This man has total "go or no go" veto power for this event. In the last couple of years Valor and Service was there to assist him personally prior to his appointment as Director General. He likes Valor and Service.

Hand of God? Absolutely!  Last Thursday we had an introduction to Chaplaincy training and this coming March 21-23 at the National Police Training Academy in San Juan, Sacatepéquez, we are scheduled for about 100 officers and 20 civilians to come and be trained in tools of Chaplaincy.  Then commissioned as Chaplains for the National Police of Guatemala.  Yea God!

Funding is need for this event.  If you would like an opportunity to help bring change to the National Police of Guatemala, please email me stating as such.  When I have the final details I will communicate just exactly how to be a part of this venture.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Would you believe?

It strikes me that more times than not - we ask God to bless and expand us.  Then, when he shows himself, we look stupefied at what just happened.  Well, not so in this case.  I've been telling people that God is doing something, it's big and it's coming.  He has shown himself in a big way.

Only three years ago we were looking at the reality of having to shut down the English as a Foreign Language (EFL) ministry.  This was a sad time as this ministry was a foundational aspect to the earlier versions of the IDC.  

This past year there has been a great deal of building the infrastructure to accommodate what God has in store for us.   Last night we had our annual inscription for the EFL Ministry and God tipped his hand.  Now, we have 168 students for our 2011 class year - nearly 60% more students to learn English and experience the love of God in the IDC.

Yea God!