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Monday, September 22, 2014
Loving God, Loving People, Changing Our World
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Prince of Peace Home for Girls

Mission Trip August 9-15, 2014

 

 

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 Blog #1 (August 10, 2014)


Prince of Peace Ministries in Guatemala (Principe De Paz)

“When I bring clouds over the Earth and the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will remember my covenant between me and you and all living creatures of every kind. Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life. Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth.” Genesis 9:14-16

Yesterday after our team got settled here in Guatemala, and we had a chance to meet some of the girls and play with them, we were blessed to see this reminder of God’s covenant in the sky over the campus of Prince of Peace.

There are several reasons why a girl may come to live at Prince of Peace. They may have been abused, abandoned, or orphaned. Many have a history that is very hard to hear. Yet, you can look into theses eyes, and see healing and love.

God allows trials to befall us all. Sometimes it is to draw us closer to Him… sometimes it is strengthens our faith… but there is a purpose to the pain that we experience. God never promises that our lives will be easy, but He does promise that He will be with us through it all.

As I look around at these beautiful girls, and I see the rainbow over their homes, I think of the promise God gave not to destroy the Earth again. These girls have all been through a storm. Many of them have felt the waters of their lives rise up and almost consume them. But God has NOT allowed those storms to destroy these girls. He is continually faithful to these young women, and he continues to select and send teams to Prince of Peace to continually bring His Word to them. He has provided them an opportunity to be safe, he has provided them an opportunity for an education, and he has provided them each other as a surrogate family, a family that they would not have otherwise had.

Many people who come to Prince of Peace say that they feel God here. I agree… you certainly feel His presence in this place. But as Christians we need to remember that God is back at our homes too. He has promised to be with us, just like He is with these girls. We need to look up and see the rainbow over our homes too. God ALWAYS keeps his promises…

For all of those praying for our team members, please continue to do so. We are all well, and we had a great night’s sleep. We are excited to head to church this morning with the girls, then to spend time with them this afternoon. We have a full week planned and look forward to how the Lord will use each of us.

** submitted by Shannon Gallagher**

 

Day 2 Prince of Peace Ministries in Guatemala (Principe De Paz)

What an incredible service this morning. We were able to partake of the Lords.supper with 10,000 of our closests friends...and then an awesome message about giving back....what a message to hear while on a mission trip! The team had a blast playing with the girls today....there were so many times I glances over and saw one of my teammates doing some special activity one on.one with one of the girls....it was awesome. To top off the afternoon lunch,we made a quick trip to the grocery store and purchased enough ice cream and toppings to feed an army,compliments of money Chas raised before coming. Then ended the day with our own rendition of World Cup 2014....Guatemala vs USA. We had the weight and height on them, but nothing stops these girls. I think we lost 18 to 3...at least that's what they claimed....and it was not really fair they had their own Tim Howard in the goal named Marta! I think we will all be sore for our first real day of work tomorrow. Please keep us in your prayers that we have the time to finish what projects we start! God is good.....
 

 

** submitted by Chris Gallagher **

 

 

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Guatemala Blog #2 (August 11, 2014)
Prince of Peace Ministries in Guatemala (Principe De Paz)

Our mission team is here to serve in Guatemala. The first two days were spent getting to know the girls, and on Sunday we had the privilege to worship at Fraternidad Cristiana de Guatemala. This church is the largest Christian church in Central America. I learned something interesting about this church on a previous mission trip. In order to become a member of this church, you must also become a servant for the church… Interestingly enough, the sermon on Sunday was on service as well. 

“Whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave— just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Matthew 20:26b-28 

Are you serving? I know that not everyone is called to board a plane and fly to Guatemala to install stoves, serve food to the poor, design and build water collection systems, or simply to hold a little girls’ hand while walking down a mountainside. But, if you are not called to serve on a mission trip to somewhere like Prince of Peace Home for Girls in Guatemala, then where is it that you are being called to?

Jesus is the perfect example of servant hood. Jesus, God’s only son, came to this Earth to be a sacrifice for our sins. OUR SINS, not His… And even though He is the Son of the highest King, He spent His life serving others. Just before the Passover festival, He washed the feet of his disciples and said, “Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him.” John 13:16 

Our Savior was showing us that we MUST serve one another. In James 2, we are told that if we have faith, then it will show in our deeds. Our service to others is just one way that we can outwardly show our faith. Your service can act as a witness to others, and that witness could be what brings another to Christ. "Go and spread the Gospel to all the ends of the Earth, and if necessary use words." Our actions do speak louder than words, don't they? How we live for Jesus says a lot about our commitment to our Lord. It's important to know how to tell others about Jesus using our speech but to live for Jesus gives credibility to our words. Often we don't have to speak at all for others to see Jesus. Our friends, family and acquaintances can see that we're different. They not fully understand what is different about us, but it may cause them to curious enough to ask!

Last night, the older girls at the home served us an amazing Guatemalan dinner. To them, making the team dinner may be a somewhat routine thing for them to do on Sunday evenings… but to our team, who came all the way to Guatemala to serve these girls – it was a reminder of how Jesus served His disciples. So many times on a mission trip you have this vision that you will arrive in country and make this grand impact on the people you have come to serve… It is what you pray for. You ask God to give you the words, to give you the strength to reach those who are hurting or lost. Yet many times, those are the exact people who reach you and touch you in ways you had not imagined. 

So, how can you serve? Our home church, Ramoth Baptist, has many areas where you can start serving. Ramoth has a food pantry, several different children and youth programs, local mission groups that reach out to the community and many more opportunities. Service is also NOT limited to a church community. In our local Stafford/Fredericksburg area, we have full shelters, food banks, clothing closets and an unlimited number of worthy organizations that could use your time and talents. I am sure there are churches and local organizations where you are as well that are waiting for YOU to come help them.

If you are not being called to serve in another country, are you being called to serve in your local community? No matter how you chose to serve others, it is important to remember why you are acting on the call. All service is for naught if you are not giving God the glory for it. It is our faith in God that has driven us to service, and He has uniquely qualified each of us for a particular task. 

Please continue to pray for our group here in Guatemala. One of our members has a sore back and could use prayers of healing. Today is a full work day and our team is excited to get their hands dirty for Christ! Our morning began with a beautiful sunrise over the mountains surrounding Guatemala. It is going to be a great day serving our Lord Jesus Christ.
 



Blog #3 (Tuesday, August 12, 2014)

Prince of Peace Ministries in Guatemala (Principe De Paz)


Monday was a workout for our team both physically and emotionally. Being that we are in Guatemala, we made a trip to the local hardware store to purchase supplies for our various tasks, and there was no single store that had all the supplies that we needed. Since we do not speak Spanish, and they did not speak English, it was fun trying to point and gesture exactly what we needed! 


Once the supplies were secured, our team laid the foundation for the new water collection system, grouted eight bathrooms, completed painting the entrance wall, sorted and distributed some shoes, updated the inventory in the team store here on campus, repaired several bicycles, checked out two of the Home’s vehicles and did a WHOLE LOT of digging trenches to lay the pipes for the new water system. God gave our team the strength and wisdom to complete these many tasks, and for that we give Him praise!


The girls at the Home have testing in school this week, so they were released early from school so they could study for their exams. Many of the girls were seen sitting in pairs in the grass around campus helping each other study. Several team members were pulled in to help with English tutoring!


By far, the highlight of the day was in the evening where the team members were able to have dinner with the younger girls. The team split between two houses and the girls and Tias were excited to serve us dinner. It is so special to sit across from a little Guatemalan girl, catch her eye, and share a smile. There are no words needed, no translator needed, to express love across a small dining room table when you are on the mission field.


After dinner we all gathered together for a time of devotion and singing. It is hard to put into words the emotions that come up inside you as you gather with these girls who have been through so many trials, and listen to them praising Jesus in song. To look at them, they are so small and fragile, but you can honestly feel the strength that radiates from them. 


Three girls stood in front of us and their peers and shared their testimonies. It is certainly hard to hear a young girl tell of abuse she received from her family, but it JOYFUL and POWERFUL to hear about how Jesus has healed not only their physical wounds, but their emotional ones as well. The girls at Prince of Peace have so much love to give, and they are so thankful for each team member who comes from the United States to help them. They recognize that each team member is serving as the hands and feet of Jesus. Each of our team members was individually selected by God to come on this mission trip and has a special gift to share with these girls. The girls certainly can see God working in our team this way. The Bible says, “There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work.” (1 Corinthians 12:4-6) It is exciting to see how each team member has something special to share with the girls. The girls see us physically working hard, and see that we are doing this work for them. The girls hear us share our personal testimonies, and they can see that all of us are in need of a savior and healing in some way. The girls can feel our love, and our hope is that through us, they will feel a small portion of God’s love as well. 


Although this is a Christian Home, not all of the girls have yet to come to know Christ. Our request to those back home is to continue to pray for these girls to experience the all-encompassing love of Christ, the complete healing power of Christ and that they secure the eternal salvation that is only available through our Lord, Jesus Christ.

 

 

Blog #4 (August 13, 2014)
Prince of Peace Ministries in Guatemala (Principe De Paz)

Is the grass is greener on the other side? Many of us suffer from the idea that there is always something better out that that we are missing, and while we chase the fantasy of what could be, we miss out on the security and stability that comes from where we currently are.

On Tuesday, we split our team in two and ventured deep into Guatemala to install stoves in the homes of two girls who were previously residents at Prince of Peace. In one of the cases, it was a very personal visit for Chris and I because we installed a stove in the home of a girl that we have sponsored for the last two years. Through various actions and decisions on the part of the girl, she left PoP just a few months ago. She believed the “grass was greener” elsewhere. 

As a teenager in America, you do not want to have to follow rules. You do not want a curfew, and you don’t want to study all the time, you don’t want to do chores. Parents drill these things into their teens, and yet some teens still make bad decisions. I know as a teenager, I pushed back on my parent’s rules a lot. But you have to remember, that teens do not always understand that there are consequences for their actions. I was lucky that when I made mistakes, my family was there for me. The funny thing about teenagers is that it does not matter if you are from a middle class family in America, a wealthy family in China, or from a small orphanage in Guatemala, ALL teenagers are the same. They will test their boundaries. They will make bad decisions. They will break the rules. They will ALL believe the grass is greener… The difference is in the consequences. 

Seeing this girl we have loved for two years living in a way that is so vastly different from our own was hard to see. We were thankful to install a stove into her home and to give her family that small convenience. I would be lying if I said that it was not hard to hug her neck goodbye not knowing if I would ever see her beautiful face again, or to look into her deep into her black eyes. A piece of our hearts was left on a hillside in Guatemala Tuesday. But I praise God that we were able to have one more chance to whisper in her ear to study hard, be good, and to keep trusting Jesus.

In the evening, the team headed to Taco Man. We traditionally take teams to allow them to experience a traditional Guatemalan street vendor. Basically, it is pork propped on top of a pineapple cooked with a blow torch. You can’t get much more authentic Guatemalan than that! The team had a great time and they are looking forward to visiting Antigua on Wednesday.
 

 

Blog #5 (August 13, 2014)
Prince of Peace Ministries in Guatemala (Principe De Paz)

On Wednesday our team travelled to Antigua Guatemala. While there, we visited the "Cerro de la Cruz" (Hill of the Cross.) The cross overlooks two volcanos and the city of Antigua. It was a wonderful moment to have our entire team together at the base of this cross.

The team also got to experience the language and culture of Guatemala by venturing into the town center and the marketplace. Each team member was able to secure some trinkets to bring home as a memento of their time in this beautiful country.

It has been an absolute joy to be a part of this team. It never ceases to amaze me how God can take virtual strangers and weave them together in such a short time. New friendships have been forged and old ones have been made stronger. Not one of us will leave this place the same as we arrived.

Do you ever wonder how God puts together a mission team like ours? It is not by chance that we have been brought together. Our team is here in Guatemala as a representation of the Body of Christ. Romans 12:4-8 says, “For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.” 

Just as the human body is made up of many parts, the church body, as well as our mission team itself is made up of a wide variety of people. We have team members that are younger, older, different nationalities, different strengths, and different weaknesses. God called each one of us here for a reason – and His plan for each of us is perfect. 

I love 1 Corinthinas 19:15-27. It says, “Now if the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body. The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the parts that lacked it, so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it. Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.”

My prayer is that each team member can feel their importance to our “body” here at Prince of Peace. It has been with great joy that I have watched our Lord bring this group together. There have certainly been struggles felt among our team members (there have been health problems, back issues, financial struggles, recent passing of a family member, anxieties and fears) yet each one of us is here in Guatemala is willingly serving our Lord and they stand open to His direction. We are willing to us the gifts and talents that the Lord has given to each of us, and we have been willing to serve, even during times of struggle and doubt. Because of this, God has truly blessed our team and our time here in Guatemala!
 

Last Day (August 15, 20114)

Prince of Peace Ministries in Guatemala (Principe De Paz)


Have you been to the dump lately? As a young girl, I remember going to the dump with my father in the station wagon. I remember rolling the windows up before we pulled in hoping to block out some of the smell as we arrived. I remember looking at the trash men hoping that I would never have to work a job like that… Many of our younger generation have never even seen a dump because trash men come to our house and take it away to a place we don’t have to see or smell.

But for those who can, come on a journey with me. Close your eyes and imagine the smell of the dump… imagine what the piles of trash look like, the heavy machinery shoveling it into mountains, the buzzards circling overhead. Imagine the broken glass, the headless dolls, and the waste from last night’s dinner. Now, imagine if you will, your 4 year old daughter jumping out of your car and you watch her dig through someone else’s garbage. She has no shoes on, and steps over the broken glass. Imagine she reached into the pile to retrieve a broken cup to drink out of, and cradles her new filthy doll. Would you be horrified? Now imagine you live there. Imagine that you have no other options. That dirty cup she is holding is the only means to receive hot food from the missionaries. Someone’s waste is your next meal. 

Our team had the honor and privilege to come along the side of one of the many Christian churches that serves the dump in Guatemala City. Our team formed a line and served about 350 people food. They came with their broken cups, plate and in a few cases where the family members had not found anything so precious – we served them their meal in a plastic bag. Our team also had the opportunity to fit almost all of the 350 people with new shoes. One of our team members said that he had never been so happy to touch so many pairs of dirty feet. 

The people we served came to us carrying children and babies in hopes to receive food from our line. Many of the smallest children wrapped in cloth around their mothers had eyes that were deep black and lacked the emotion that you can see in well fed children. For the mothers on our team, it was difficult to smile and jabber at a child and receive no emotional response back.

For many men on our team, it was the husbands and fathers that affected them the most. It is hard to imagine not being able to find work, and to no be able to provide for your family. It is difficult to see the shame on the face of a father as he explains that he looks for work, and he just can’t find any… and that their only option is to huddle in their make shift shack that serves as their home as they pray for the resources to live another way.

There have been many things that touched our team this week, and to come back to the oasis that is Prince of Peace after an experience like serving at the dump makes us have a little more understanding as to where many of these girls have come from. It makes us appreciate that much more what wonderful opportunities these girls have been given by the grace of God. It makes us ponder what more we can do to be the hands and feet of Christ in this world. And it makes us thankful for all that we have, as it will allow us to use those resources to better serve His kingdom