New Blog!

Posted: February 21, 2014 in Uncategorized

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http://gazingatglory.com/

Community Development #1

Posted: May 30, 2013 in Uncategorized

The last few weeks have brought quite a bit of change. I want to bring to your attention a few prayer needs that we have.

First off, we are investing a great deal of time in research, prayer and action. We are both seeking God’s heart for the inner city and time tested forms of community development and also learning through doing; victory and defeat.

We found ourselves bombarded by trials over the last few weeks and felt as though we lacked the power (God’s that is) for the work at hand. It was then that we realized that we had kinda flipped the switch to auto-piolet and were not walking in daily dependency on God.

This was a scary revelation to us, because  Guatemala (nor anywhere else for that matter) isn’t a place to be SELF-sufficient. We all need to be GOD- Sufficient at all times! So please keep us in your prayers. All praise be to HIM that we have returned fully to that sweet spot of utter weakness and dependency upon HIM.

Secondly, we have moved into a position with Mi Arca/ Street Kids Direct of oversight of Community Development. We will also continue working closely with the street team, street church and running a proto type of the new mentoring program for at-risk youth.

We are praying for GOD ideas and vision, not just GOOD ideas and vision. Please pray that God would show us where He is already at work in the communities and how we can join HIM. We desire to hear His heart and know the true needs of the community. The last thing this country needs is another failing gringo project where the foreigner flies in with the super man cape only to leave a wake of destruction behind him when he leaves.

I would like to share a couple photos and stories about our work and challenges on the ground.

  1. The 1st  photo is Caezar and Maria José. They have grown up on the streets. They both suffer from disabilities Maria (mentally) and Caezar (Physically). They are currently in and out of a room in a hotel. This is contingent upon whether Caezar makes enough money from selling candies as to whether they are in or out of the room. Currently I believe they are back on the streets.What concerns us the most is that Maria is going to give birth to their first child in the next week or two. They cannot be on the streets when this happens, it is the rainy season and boy is it raining this year. Pray that God gives us the wisdom to know how to build up, strengthen and support this family in their time of need.
    Caezar and Maria José in their hotel room.

    Caezar and Maria José in their hotel room.

     

  2. Here are a few at-risk girls. I’m not going to share their names or too much information. I’m just asking that you pray for them to know Christ and be rescued from the life that has been handed down to them. These girls are dear to our hearts and we don’t want to see them continue down the wrong path. They are part of a family that has an opportunity to have a real hand up in life, but I fear that they’re having trouble letting go of the easy route for something better.

    One of the sisters

    One of the sistersThe other.. She desires to study hard and be a nurse.The other.. She desires to study hard and be a nurse.

  3. Here is the inside of a house that is leaking in the terminal. We are going there Friday afternoon to continue building relationship with an elderly lady who is the grandmother of many of the children in the terminal. She has lived there most of her life and knows everyone. We see her as instrumental in changing the face of the bus terminal.
    The inside of the house... Everything is probably really wet right now with all the rain we've been getting.

    The inside of the house… Everything is probably really wet right now with all the rain we’ve been getting.

     

  4. Maria del Carmen and family. You may remember some of our earlier reports about this family. Keep them in your prayers as we continue to reach out to mentor the young ones and encourage Carmen to make good choices (especially as it comes to making the ultimate choice to follow the Lord). All of her kids run the risk of being the future street people of zone 4 if we don’t see breakthrough.

    Maria del Carmen and Mel

    Maria del Carmen and Mel

  5. Keep our team in prayer. God has been uniting our hearts. Pray for these guys, our dear brothers; Duncan, Herbert & Jose. We have some other members of the team that I’m sure we’ll be introducing soon, but for now these are the main members.
    Dunc

    Dunc

    Herbert

    Herbert

    José

    José

     

Thanks for your love, prayers and support. Feel free to drop me a line if you have any advice or know of resources/ ideas regarding Community Development.

 

Hola Friends!

 

I know that it’s been sometime since our last blog update, but we’re still here!

ImageSo much has changed over the last year and a half that I don’t know where to begin. Some other missionaries told us in times past not to be discouraged. That things don’t move fast and that you’ll have those days where you just want to go home.

They were right, but you eventually find your niche. I guess this goes for everyone. Sometimes we feel as though we’re just meandering through life until *boom*, it comes; purpose…direction…clarity!

We have recently found this *boom* by joining a ministry team who have similar focus and are intentional about everything they do.

We are learning that it is only when we stop, look and listen to see what God is doing, that we can truly be of use to Him… Joining Him in His work is the Key!

So many ministries just sit, spin their wheels, take nice pictures and use the brides precious resources to further “their” vision, not “God’s” vision.

We have, by His grace, joined a team that is focused on deep impact with Jesus & for His Kingdom.

Thank you friends for your prayers and support during the crossing of this initial bridge. We are finally arriving to a place of greater usefulness.

We still have along way to go, but we feel that through this God-led partnership with Mi Arca/ Street Kids Direct, we have truly crossed a bridge!

 

Chris’ Experience in Guatemala

Posted: September 26, 2012 in Uncategorized

Greetings Friends,

I’d like to share with you the testimony of a dear friend of ours….Rather a second mother….. So here goes:

 

“As you know, we headed off for the mountains on Sunday. After a brief stop in a city on the way we headed up to an established church to bring encouragement. The Spirit of the Lord is in this little mountainside church and the people genuinely exuded Jesus. They needed the encouragement, though, as I saw tears being wiped away while Brian preached the main message of encouragement – you are not alone when rejected…Jesus was rejected and he knows what you are going through. What a blessing! (I simply sang a song in Spanish I learned while we were still singing Spanish songs in our church services.)

Then to a house built by Americans for those missionaries (including themselves) while they are ministering in that area of the mountains. It was a little disjointed and Mel and Brian called it the ‘Swiss Family Robinson’ home.  🙂

The next morning we headed back to the home of a precious Christian couple in the city where we stopped going up the mountain. This family opened their home to 5 of us (our missionary guide lived there in-between travelling the mountain roads). After a few hours of rest (Which is needed with their roads) It was back to travelling the roads again to another small church.

After we arrived it started raining. This church (as was the other) was built with wood sides, tin roof, and mud floor. Again, the people were precious. Many little Guatemalan girls came up and they were thrilled to receive a Puffs tissue.

Melanie sang a duet of the Spanish song ‘Ven’ and the English song ‘I Love you Lord’. (Mel translated the Words so they would know the words.)

After the service we were given a good Guatemalan meal of chicken, rice, and tortillas. After which a battery powered amplifier was used with a microphone to preach to the people in the village below. The amplifier allowed them to go about their daily activities and still hear the message of the gospel.

The ride home was a little tricky as the roads had eroded from the rain and were slick. But, God was with us and we made it safely back to our base home in the city.

Tues. our plans were to reach 6 villages. Due to some setbacks we were only able to preach to 4. I cannot tell you how it feels to know your voice preaching repentance from witchcraft and dead works is reaching the ears of those in these little villages.

On Wed. it was time to go back to Guatemala City. We said good-bye to the wonderful family in  Chicaman where we stayed and to Wesley, the precious young man who allowed us to go with him on his missionary trip.

This trip was in a VW bug with 5 people, our back packs, and the balance of food. Guatemala has the interesting practice of putting speed bumps in their highways…that’s right highways. Needless to say we scraped the bottom of the car more times than we would like to think of.

After returning from the mountains on Wed, we hit the streets Wed. evening. Mel and Brian have connected with a brother named David who runs a ministry to the streets. We joined him along with 2 other men and Daniel and Micah.

These kids are as young as 12 and hang out together huffing glue. To gain their trust and establish a relationship with them, Mel does the women’s nails. She and I prayed with a young 16 yr. old girl who is being beaten and burned at home. This was the first time she opened up to Mel. However, at her age the government would have to be involved to remove her from the family. The girl probably would not say anything for fear of worse abuse. So she hangs out and huffs glue with those she knows will not physically abuse her.

To minister to the young men, Brian took a pair of clippers and Daniel and Micah gave ‘buzzed’ haircuts to help with lice problems.

A 12 yr old boy was standing by me. Every time he put the cloth up to his nose to inhale the substance I would gently pull his hand away. After a while I just put my arms around him and held him like a mother. He returned the hug and then gave me a long kiss on the cheek. Here is a child so desperate for the love of a mother. But instead, he fills the void huffing glue.

Friday we visited the dump. By the time we arrived, Micah and his crew had set up the chairs for the kids’ service. The children were lead in song, then a bible story, and then the memorization of a scripture. When it was finished the children and adults went just outside the dump where a vehicle with ‘atol’ – a drink made with oatmeal, water, milk, and sugar that has been cooked on the stove – was ready and waiting. This drink was given in glasses to everyone who wanted. Some women came with larger containers to take back to their family. (This was how the ministry first gained entrance into the dump.)

I was able to go into a couple of the “houses” made of corrugated metal. Oh, my, to see how these people must live tore at my heart. We were not able to go into the dump very far because of security issues (someone was recently murdered).

My neighbor found out where I was going on ‘vacation’ this year and I shared about the ministry in the dump. He asked if he could donate to the cause. Of course I said yes. Neither of us knew that just the day before Brian had been speaking to a mother whose oldest child is both physically and mentally challenged. She asked Brian to give her money for the special formula her child needed (similar to ensure). Brian told her that he had no money at that time for her specific need and prayed with her that God would supply. My neighbor’s donation bought the formula that was needed.

The last week has been life-changing for me. I am thankful to my ‘children’ Brian and Melanie for welcoming me into their home and ministry. I am also thankful to God that He has connected them with Wesley, David, and Micah. Each with their own ministry to advance the Kingdom in Guatemala – and yet they can work together without jealousy so that souls may be saved.”

 

-Chris

Greetings Friends,

I would like to share in more detail about one of our recent events. Yesterday, Mel and I were on our way to a meeting in the wee hours of the morning when we were stopped by the police in zone 10. Normally I wouldn’t be too bothered by a routine traffic stop except the fact that our passports were at the immigration office and all that we had were some flimsy papers from them saying that they had our ID.

So the police stopped us and asked for ID, title and another document. So I explained the issue with the ID and the officer said, “that’s not sufficient explanation” and began to get weird….The only phrase that comes to mind when I think about his behavior is “Napoleon Complex”… You know the guy; short guy with a power trip… Anyway, It was going to get worse before getting better.

In addition to my “insufficient” ID, I couldn’t find my original title or other document. All I had was photo copies of both… This made him even more angry…. So after he told me what I need to get (an official stamp and signature from a lawyer), he took me out and searched me… Then he got in the car with Mel in there (Which made me extremely uncomfortable) and searched our car… Forget about the constitution! Forget about any kind of rights or procedure… This was just unchecked authority! While he was doing this I was thinking: “What’s to keep him from attacking my wife?”…”What’s to keep him from planting drugs in my car?”… So I begin to pray… Right there like they didn’t exist… I reminded God why we were in Guatemala… I asked Him for justice.. I knew we had no one in this world that could save us from the authorities.

That is when the tide changed… I wasn’t aware of it at the time, but now I see that God, in His sovereignty, was using this situation the whole time. He had us at a “Table in the Presence of our Enemies” and He wanted to show us His Power over all authority!

So the officer began his “beat around the bush” fear tactics. He said, “None of your paper work is good. I need to take your car” several times. From his end He wanted me to throw Him some lunch money. From my end I was accustomed to justice and police who do their job, so I wasn’t taking the “hint”. I really didn’t know… I just thought that he was taking the car…. So after 3 or 4 threats to take the car… I told him, “do what you have to do”.

This is when he asked where we were going, so I told him to our friends house to a prayer meeting. He said, “Does he speak better Spanish than you?… (Really meaning does he understand what a bribe is?)… I said, “Yes he is a resident… He speaks well…”.

So they followed us 5 blocks away to my friends house and I invited him outside to talk to them. Little did the officers know, but my friend has had an ongoing discipleship ministry for the local police department for the last several months… Like 25 of the 50 cops are coming to his training…. So they tell him what’s going on and he says, “OK let’s go to the station, but first do you guys work for Captain so and so?”  That’s when the table turned! They got nervous and said, “Uhhh. yeah, but He’s on vacation…. and you know what, never mind about the paperwork… You guys have a good day…Then they left.

So let me just be frank about what’s going on… We began praying for revival in this nation and breakthrough in all parts of Guatemalan society for a couple weeks now… We get together everyday early in the morning and invite pastors and other leaders to join us… God is sending a huge wave to crash down upon the land.. A glorious wave of His presence that will wash this place and usher in an awakening before he comes again. This is the 11th hour! His coming is at hand!

Our experience shows us at-least 3 things:

  1. God is in control
  2. The corruption that we pray against daily is more prevalent than what we thought
  3. We must be doing something right if the enemy wants to discourage us so

 

As always I want to thank you dear friends for your prayers and support… We would not be here with out you… God knows that we are weak and would fail without Him and you… Your strong platform of prayer and relationship holds us up… We love you and bless each one of you!

 

Greetings Friends,

This last month has been a tremendous one….. filled with vision, passion and clear direction. We are so looking forward to all that God is doing and will do.

I don’t even know where to begin as far as describing the recent moves of God. I guess I could start with the effect of spending time with Bart and Pam Biddle.  During our time with them we were so released and realigned that we came back to the city new people. That’s the best way I can describe it.

I find myself doing weird things, like preaching to crowds of people while waiting in line and I view every opportunity as a chance to reveal the Father.

We have found our “niche” in such a powerful way., but rather than sharing it point by point, I’d like to direct you to a new website  (click here) that I designed. We have a projects page that will clarify much of our current work and the objectives that will be met soon.

Really, I have too little time now to describe in fullness the pieces and the doors that are opening for us here.

Let me say in short though, that you will see the King of Glory raise up young, Spirit led church planters to go into the darkest parts of the world and you will also see a slum community that has had “investment” from outside organizations for 40 years but ceased to see significant change,transformed as a result of our God and His power to use weak things to confound the wise. God will do this!!!

O Great God!,  I bless your Holy Name! Send your peace, grace and richest blessing upon all our friends, family and supporters back home. God I pray that you would bless them indeed! That you would increase their influence and grant them favor, and help them to cause no one harm, but in every way and in every opportunity to make you known.

In the Mighty Name of Jesus! Amen

Our God is Healer!

Posted: August 4, 2012 in Uncategorized

Greetings Friends,

I would like to share with you a few highlights from our recent ministry outing with Bart and Pam Biddle in Chicaman, GUA. We had the most powerful and refreshing time with this lovely couple. We spent three days open air preaching, leading church services in un-churched areas and providing personal ministry to the believing families.

The 1st day we went to a village called, “Such” (SOOCH). We spent 3-4 hours preaching and testifying to the risen Lord. We also provided children’s ministry and built relationships. This was powerful! God has been whispering that he would provide an “unction” for our ministry for sometime, but it wasn’t until we stepped out into public preaching that God showed us what it looks like. He is powerful! It’s simply letting the desire of your heart be to bring glory to Jesus, asking Him for the words. Seldom have we encountered the strength and anointing as that which He provided on this outreach.

On the 2nd day we preached on the side of a mountain  to a village without an evangelical work. As far as we know there was only one believing family. After several hours of evangelistic preaching, prophetic preaching and testimonies we entered the village for a more personal ministry. We began in front of the only believer’s house that we knew of. Shortly after arriving the husband called us into the house to pray for his wife. She was laying in the bed crying with her leg bent like she had torn her hamstring. She said she couldn’t walk. We prayed for her for 10- 15 minutes and then I asked her to straighten her leg, which she did. She stood up and said, ” It’s better”. This was the first healing that our God did in our midst AS WE PROCLAIMED HIS WORD, HE HEALED.

That evening on our way home we were asked to stop at a house and pray for an injured baby. We walked through a corn field and into an adobe house, where we found a 2 year old girl laying in her fathers arms like she was dead. A large wooden bookshelf had fallen on her. It hit her head and crushed her body.

As we began praying, Bart suggested that we look at her pupils. He said that if her pupils were dilated it means she could have a concussion. So we took a flashlight and shined it in her eyes and sure enough there was no color in her eyes. Her pupils were as large as two pennies even with a flashlight shinning in them.

This is when we began to call upon the King to HEAL and deliver just as he had earlier. As we prayed the child began to grow more alert until about 5- 10 min. later she was up, walking and completely sound…. Her pupils went back to normal… Praise God! We took her to the hospital later that night to confirm that she was better and the Dr. said she didn’t have a scratch on her… (although in addition to the dilated pupils her ribs were swollen earlier, I will post a pic of the girl and father)

The 3rd day was probably the most powerful day as far as messages and unction were concerned. The team that I went with had regular confirmation in our messages. God would either have us confirming each others messages or being a direct continuation of the previous message. All of this was happening without us discussing what we were planning on sharing. It was so amazing to feel God’s Word and heart flowing through our mortal bodies crying out, “Be reconciled to God!”.

 

 

This brings me to my final thoughts:

Words cannot describe how grateful I am to God for the ways that he saw fit to use this team to glorify His Son.

Thank you friends and family who knew about this trip.Thank you for your prayers!  We can do nothing with out Him!

I would also like to give thanks to our friends Bart and Pam Biddle and acknowledge them publicly in giving Christ supremacy and leadership over their lives and ministries… Thanks guys for the invitation.

 

OUR GOD IS HEALER, AWESOME IN POWER IS OUR GOD, SIGNS AND WONDERS FOLLOW THOSE WHO BELIEVE…. THOSE WHO BELIEVE ARE THOSE WHO LIVE IN HIM AND HE IN THEM AND SHINE FORTH THIS REALITY… THIS IS WHERE WE WILL SEE HIS POWER; HIM IN US MAKING HIMSELF KNOWN THROUGH US…. THE ONLY WAY TO KNOW THIS POWER IS TO STEP OUT OF OUR COMFORT ZONES IN OBEDIENCE!

 

 

 

GIrl and Father

Image  —  Posted: August 4, 2012 in Uncategorized

Dear Friends,

I know that my last post was pretty intense and a follow up is long overdue  :  )   Over the last several weeks God has been doing such an amazing and refining work in our hearts….He comforted us with His love through many ways.

First, He simply woke me up with a song 2 days after “the incident”. It was like He was reminding me of who He is and what He’s done… It was so healing, so incredible! He is so faithful… Here are the lyrics that were echoing through my mind… The words that set me free from anger, suspicion and unforgiveness:

“He has paid the highest price, He has proven his great love for us, and we will praise him with our lives…… and proclaim our love for Him”

I addition to His song of love over me, He sent a lovely couple from the states. There ministry to us was more than they will ever know or understand. I cannot begin to state just how much they mean to us and their ministry means to the King.

During our brief time together they realigned and refocused our attention in several areas. They brought God’s healing through prayer, counsel and literature. One of the books they brought was, “Great Day Every Day” By Max Lucado. This book was was especially meaningful after the recent robbery. I would l like to share a small passage of the book with you. This quote spun my head around and opened my eyes to the reality of “focus”. What we focus on will consume us:

“Gratitude is always an option. Matthew Henry made it his. When the famous scholar was accosted by thieves and robbed of his purse, he wrote this in his diary, ‘Let me be thankful first, because I was never robbed before; second,because, though they took my purse, they did not take my life; third, although they took my all, it was not much; and, fourthly, because it was I who was robbed, and not I who robbed'”

 

Holy Father, Thank you for changing my heart, thank you for sparing my life, thank you for giving me more time to grow into your likeness before I meet you face to face. Lord, I love you. I thank you for the lessons that you teach. Thank you for making me grateful!

Bitter or Better?

Posted: March 27, 2012 in Uncategorized

I am writing this post with great anguish of heart.I have been granted a wonderful opportunity to practice what I preach. Dear friends, I have to confess it is harder that I’d like to admit.

As many of you know I had posted on Facebook that I was going to climb a volcano for my 30th birthday yesterday. Well, we made all the arrangements and a group of 6 of us began our ascent at around 8:30am. Around 45 minutes later we stopped for a rest.

While there, a couple guys who worked for the telephone company pulled up behind us. I had an uneasy feeling and asked one of the girls in our group for her mace.

They just seemed to wait around, so I let my guard down. As we left and continued our trek, they followed us and even joined our group. We were walking and talking with our new found friends and then “IT” happened!

Before we knew it, we were being ambushed! I saw two guys in homemade ski masks in front of us, I heard some yelling in Spanish and then a gun shot. All I could think is, “Dear God, I hope no one’s hit!” as I dropped to the ground.

We had 2 guys behind us and 2 in front and they were barking orders that I couldn’t understand. The whole experience could only be described as surreal.

They asked the two Guatemalan guys who they were. They said telephone workers and the robbers told them to leave…. now! They proceeded to one by one search us a gunpoint and ravage all of our belongings. They took all our cash, cell phones,cameras and anything else they thought was of value.

At one point they found my car keys and asked about my vehicle. I thought to my self, “They’re gonna make me go with them!”. Praise God that they didn’t want to take me. Although, I did hear them continue to mumble about the keys and car.

I think one of the things that worried us the most was the fact that they seemed more scared then us and that with that fear was guns. They seemed to linger forever. In reality the whole thing took place over 10-12 minutes, but it felt like a lifetime.

When they were finished with us they commanded, “Go down the volcano and don’t tell anyone!”.

As we walked down and processed what had just happened our adrenalin was still pumping. All I could think was, “Don’t walk back to the car”. I told the others and they agreed that we should keep an eye out for suspicious people as we were going to the car.

Sure enough two guys were following us as we got into the town and I got a weird gut feeling, so I told the others, “Let’s sit on the curb and let them pass”. So they passed by.

As we approached the car another young man walked right in front of us and kept his eye locked on us. Peering at us through the corner of his eye. So once again we walked by the car instead of to it.

Finally, after 10 minutes we decided that we’d hurry and jump in the car and go. This feeling, for me has not gone away.

Though it only happened yesterday, I have some strange type of grief. Sometimes I feel like I’m weak. Why is this affecting me so much? Others endure so much more and shake it off.

I am suspicious of people. They know what I look like, but I have no idea what they look like. Anyone could be them. I guess I’m still processing.

All I know is pray for me. Pray that my heart does not grow cold toward those God has called us to serve. I heard stories from other missionaries (from previous trips) about how they were scared to help people, because of “Good Samaritan” scams. Robbers would flatten their tires and rob those who stopped to help them.

Dear Lord, don’t let my heart be suspicious of people. Don’t let me grow bitter and despise those whom you’ve sent me to to bear witness of your love and faithfulness. Father, somehow through this make us better suited to do your will.

 

 

I am reminded of the verse that says:

“Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.” Matt. 10:16 (ESV)