Guatemala Mission Team

July 29th, 2015 by

Guatemala 1This year’s Mission Team in pictures with a brief description of daily events provided by Andy and Marcia Butcher.

Wednesday, July 22-23

We made it! Good travel and connections. Met up in Guatemala City with the other two teams for the bus ride to El rosatio. Good rapport with both groups; neat people. Warm welcome from pastor Otto and his church, and supper…. Looking forward to a busy week representing New Covenant…


Guatemala 2Friday, July 24

A very full day! A big privilege to be there when the site for the Esther’s House shelter was dedicated, and to be part of the team to break ground. Very hard ground, with picks and shovels, in 99 degree heat… Lunch with pastor Otto, then s break before children’s ministry time with a great clown group from the South Dakota team… Then supper and evening church service, at which a power outage failed to stop some fervent prayer at the close…  All well, needing stamina for another full day tomorrow…



Guatemala 3Saturday, July 25

We enjoyed a beautiful and full day in the village of Saspan today. Spent the morning sharing the gospel with 50 children and helped with a worship service in the afternoon. The three teams have quickly come together as one… Ministering and building community together has been wonderful!

Another great day. Some cloud cover reduced the temperature to 84, but the ground was still as hard. We’ll finish digging the foundation wall trench before we leave. Afternoon supporting the clown ministry outreach at the church’s kids feeding program. Evening service, Lee Grady speaking powerfully on the baptism in the Holy Spirit, and we got to be part of the joyful prayer ministry afterwards. A few strains and sprains from the work, but full hearts…


Guatemala 4Sunday, July 26

Slightly slower day today (Sunday), which was good because four of the team have been battling bad stomachs the last day or two, to one degree or another. All in good spirits, though. Leah shared in the youth service at church this morning while others got to pray for folks at the end of the main service. Those well enough were part of ministry teams at separate men’s and women’s meetings in the evening…

Monday, July 27

We spent the morning visiting people’s homes in two communities, praying for their needs….healing, provision, restored relationships, work, grief…. This evening, praying at a family conference attended by several hundred at Gualan…



Tuesday, July 28

Our final day breaking ground on the site of Esther’s house; we were delighted to be joined by members of the local community who swelled our workforce to around 60….we got a lot more done in 90s heat again…  Evening marriage conference included Andy and Marcia speaking on praying together and for each other…




Some Sundry Sumptuous Salutations and Thanks

July 24th, 2015 by

financials 2A strange thing happened:
On the way to the close of the vestry meeting last Sunday, right before we anointed and prayed for our Senior Warden, Bill Stone, the treasurer, Rick Moss, reported, among other things, that we were not in the red. It’s the end of June and summer is upon us, a time when I usually write to you all asking for more support. This is wonderful! What am I to do?


Wouldn’t it be nice?

July 10th, 2015 by

Beach Boys AlbumI was tuning into my umpteenth movie on the long ride back from Africa when I heard the Beach Boys singing “Wouldn’t it be nice.” (By the way, you can hear and see the original recording of it on YouTube.) My mind drifted from the movie and before sleep caught me I began to fill in my own lyrics. (By the way — Sara tells us to sort of do that with our praise on Sunday mornings, not so much fill in lyrics, but in the open moments to fill in our own words to the Lord, or listen for his words for us.) Wouldn’t it be nice to sing a new song to the Lord and hear him whisper your name?


Building Community

July 4th, 2015 by

rp_Apolo-2-4-3-150x150.jpegPeople change, grow and develop into new people. And though family and close community can be wonderful, they can also stifle us or tempt us to stay where we are instead of stepping out on the path that Jesus has set.  If you spoke to people from my hometown, they would likely paint a completely different picture of who I was as a Christian in years past than who I am now. I always viewed foreign missions as a distraction from the work we need to do here. Mind you, I did very little work here, but in my mind, it was always local work or foreign work, us or them. My entire view was predicated on human understanding, not God’s economy. In the past several months, God has been showing me just what John Wesley meant when he called for “both/and” not “either/or”.

Why the change? I see needs being met on both sides of the ocean, and people growing in Christ because of the relationships being formed. Suddenly, it is not a choice. We are called to action simply because of life’s demands locally, but our vision can become stilted and distorted without a larger perspective. We are providing material support, educational and financial assistance to a small degree, but they are offering us so much in return. Their natural penchant for community and family can help us regain our priorities in Christ. Our clergy and lay people coordinating the training describe to a person the harmony and spiritual refilling that they experienced in the process. Though tired, they are returning recharged.

Join us Sunday as Bishop Carl, Father Ivan and Sheryl share their adventures. As they describe the fellowship and relationships that they experienced, ask yourself how these lessons will help us better serve those around us. Do not look at the pictures and videos as exotic, far-off events but as family photos and home movies. Think I’m getting carried away? Come Sunday and look for the picture of Bishop Sospeter in his home, surrounded by the visitors to his diocese. He is in the background, in his bare feet, eating a banana. You might miss it because the moment is fleeting, but he has the look of a father, pleased by the interaction of his growing family. The Canon of Kibondo recently shared the prayer concerns for the diocese. They are praying for our specific needs and sharing their concerns. Little by little, we are beginning to connect in meaningful ways. How much more will we be able to connect with those within our reach if we allow those an ocean away to help shape our perspective and priorities?