Guatemala week 6 March 2016

Hola!
Thank you so much again for those of you that are encouraging us through prayer, support and loving words of affirmation. The time here has gone by so fast yet it seems like forever since i have seen my loved ones face to face back in minnesota. God has been providing brad and me with a tremendous amount of peace and confidence in the work we are doing for Him.

Here are the highlights of the past week (week 6):

*we installed a cooking stove for a family which ended up being a peace offering and a way to share the love and forgiveness of Jesus with the neighbors at the construction site for the 2nd home.

As i was working on the framing of the house it was high enough i could see over the fence. I noticed the condition of the outdoor cooking area being used by the family next door. God laid it on my heart to offer a cooking stove to the family. When we went to offer the stove and request permission to enter the property in order to nail up the siding of the house it became obvious there was a tremendous amount of anger and fighting that was going on between these neighbors. The woman was angry with us because we were helping someone she had a great amount of dislike for. This became an opportunity to minister as the stove created an avenue to show love and kindness even though she was being not so kind. It gave an opportunity to listen to her and try to restore peace while demonstrating withholding judgement and anger even when we may feel entitled to it. I was able to have a good conversation with her about my faith and motives and saw a change on her face and tone in her voice as i spoke with her about it being Holy week and the forgiveness Christ gives us even though we don’t deserve it. I know the problem still exists between the two neighbors but i honestly felt a change in attitude from her. We also had a discussion with the mother we were building for as well regarding hers and her teen boy’s attitude and actions leading to a lot of the problems in her community. We talked about God being a God of new chances for new lives. Please pray that there be peace and restoration in the future for these 2 families.

*Praise report! Someone donated $500 last week so we can now add the 10 families from the waiting list to the monthly food distribution! Praise and thanks be to God!

*we shared some American easter traditions with our friends and host family…with some guatemalan twists. We taught a lesson each time we used eggs explaining that eggs represent new life. We talked about the new lives offered to us through a saving relationship available through Christ’s sacrifice.

We decorated hard boiled eggs then made deviled eggs out of them the next day for breakfast. We made easter egg ornaments. We filled over 300 plastic eggs with candy and rode around the city Easter morning in the back of a truck and handed (sometimes tossed ) them out. We walked central park and handed more eggs out as well as some crocheted hats donated by someone from our church. We entertained some neighbor children with egg decorating and easter bags as well. We made easter baskets and hid them and eggs on Easter morning for our host family. It was a wonderful Easter week celebrating our savior Jesus and experiencing another culture’s traditions. We loved it.

*brad and i enjoyed taking in a few days of holy week celebrations including watching several processions , viewing the alfombras (carpets) and people watching….so interesting! Buses bring people from all over guatemala as well as el Salvador and honduras to see these processions over holy week! The number of people was like the minnesota state fair x 3!

*Clinic and Activity Center*:
The clinic roof is in progress with the materials donated or purchased. $1,600 is needed to help pay the workers to complete it. If you can help with a portion if this need we would praise God for it!

*General update*:
Brad and I completed the construction of the second home in Alotenango Guatemala. It was a tricky build for a family struggling greatly with interpersonal relationships. Brad and i were able to minister to them over the course of the week and love on the children and mother. I can honestly say i witnessed a great work of God on the mothers and oldest son’s hearts with demonstrating compassion, jo and love. We spoke the truth in love and honesty regarding problems we were noticing in parenting and responsibility. It was uncomfortable at times but necessary. Please hold this family in prayer.

Prayer requests:
*for all persons suffering throughout the world that lack physical resources but most importantly that do not know the saving relationship available through Jesus Christ.

*for the families we assist to not only know the comfort of shelter, water & electricity but the comfort of their Savior Jesus

*for support for the ongoing ministry work of Recycled Lives that I am blessed to lead and be involved in.

*for additional homes to be built for the long list of families that need them

*for Brad and me to continue to make decisions together in God’s will for our future ministry in Guatemala as a couple.

*for traveling mercies as we return to Minnesota tomorrow

Thanks for all of your love and support.

:) Shawn Johnson
Founder and Executive Director