Monday, July 21, 2008

Guatemala's Last Post

So we arrived in Tecpan and it is FREEZING! We take turns laying in
front of the one little hearter we have, but it's going well. We had a
few issues trying to figure out the shower, but we are all able to take
warm showers. We have been line drying our closes, which is kinda cool.
I'm sorry, but I won't be posting anymore pictures on snapfish until I
get back to the states. The internet connection here in Tecpan
unfortunately doesn't stay connected continually enough to post
We painted a VERY long wall and we were all very relieved when we
reached the end.
We've been having open-air meetings in La Giralda which is up the hill
from where we're staying. We'd walk up there everyday, sunshine or
rain. The kids were a little hesitant at first, but when they saw Cara
running through the field they opened up a little. The Tecpan corps has
been going up there for six months yet the kids have never come down to
the corps. We had an average of 60-70 kids on Monday, Tuesday, and
Wednesday. On Thursday we had a little over 90! The best outcome the
Wilson's said they ever had.
We also had a carnival Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. I am VERY
happy to report that we had an average of 176. About 8 of those being
from La Giralda! We dressed up and told Bible stories. I think the
highlight of our night was the puppet show those. Put on20by Annie,
Maggie, and myself. The reason it was so funny though is because we
were able to put a puppet to a team member and then we would make them
do things that team member does. It was great and we had a blast.
On Thursday we ventured off to the market... I don't even know what to
say about that! It was really crowded and a little uncomfortable, but
it was very interesting to see the way it all worked.
I have some pictures of the market and in there you'll see a picture of
some chicks on a truck and I started snapping them and the guy who
owned the chickens showed me pretty clearly that he didn't want me
taking pictures of his baby chickens. It was kinda funny, but we
figured it was because I was white... oh well.
At the market we found roasted iguana, live crabs on a stick and
unproperly refrigerated chicken. As you can probably assume, it was an
interesting experience.
Friday we visited some Mayan ruins! So cool! We saw a few rituals that
were going on as well. We climbed the VERY steep steps to reach the top
of the pyramids. I'm hoping to start a youtube when I get home because
I have some funny videos... on including Cara rolling down the side of
a pyramid. CRAZY girl! We enjoyed ourselves very much.
Friday night we had a cook-out. The members from the corps in Tecpan
came and we enjoyed a great dinner with them.
Wow, after this blog you
guys aren't going to believe we've actually
been doing any work.
Pacaya was quite an adventure. There are 37 named volcanos in
Guatemala. Four of those being active. Pacaya is the only active
volcano that you can get close to the lava. We were able to get so
close that we stuck our walking sticks into the lava which then BURST
into flames! It was a beautiful climb up. We were able to stick around
the lava for 30 minutes and then had to head out because it started to
rain. It rained the ENTIRE way down!!! We were all shaking and soaked
as we climbed back into the van.
Sunday morning came early, but we were excited to get to the meeting. I
gave the sermon in the morning and David gave it in the evening. We did
our timbrel routine for the 5 billionth time, but they loved it. It's
always difficult saying bye, but we knew it was coming.
We're now in Chimaltenango building on top of the security wall. We're
all VERY sore and it's only day two. We had to putt bushes with tons of
thorns off the fence and drag those around a few different places until
they decided where they wanted them. Then we cut rebar (not sure on the
spelling of that)... with a saw. Installed the stuff and reinforced it
all. It's the end of day two and we are all exhausted and my hands 0D
We have 3 more days left of tough labor and then one more Sunday. We're
trying to soak it all in, but there's so much more to do.
We're excited to see you all though!

Team Guatemala

Monday, July 14, 2008

You're Invited!

Dear Friends,

On July 23 at 6:00 p.m. the Salvationist Service Corps will be hosting a Cultural Night to which you are invited to come. Please join us as we hear their stories and learn of their travels to the Dominican Republic and Guatemala.

Cultural Night will be held at Atlanta Temple.
The address is:
2090 N. Druid Hills Rd
Atlanta, GA 30329

Please RSVP to Joy Mikles at 404-728-1300 x470 or You can also leave a comment here if you'd like.


Monday, July 07, 2008

Guatemala Team Update

Hey guys! Sorry it´s been so long since the last blog.

So we finished in Limon and Maya. It was hard to say bye to the kids in
Maya because they were really the first group of kids we were able to
interact with.

We had a few issues with food. Chris, David, and Tammi got sick. The
boys took a little time to get better and are back to work. Tammi just
wasn´t getting any better so Major took her to the hospital. She stayed
one night and came home the next day. There were a few times where she
started to feel better, but then it would just return.

Last Saturday we made a trip to the airport and picked up the
Iglehearts! We were so excited to see them and they were such an
encouragment to us. Unfortunately their trip was too short. The left on
the 2nd and they took Tammi with them.

So now there´s only six of us.
This week we were in Central and Tierra Nueva.
In Central we scraped old paint off and painted the outside, a room,
and the railing up three flights of stairs to the chapel. I think we
all woke up at least one day this week really not wanting to paint, but
we knew that God had something in store for us that much bigger than
our own desires.
A song that´s been on our minds lately has been. A lyric from it says;
I surrender dreams to the plans you have for me.

I think that our hearts have been challenged by this line. We´re
seeking what that really means and what that means to us.

Our team becomes stronger everyday and we realize more and more how
hard it´s going to be to part from each other...

Today we went to Antigua. We did TONS of shopping and I think we would
all agree that today was a very good bonding day.
This week we will be going to Tecpan and we´re very excited because we
will be staying at the camp there. This is up in the mountains and we
will be staying in a house. How awesome is that?!?
We will be with the Wilson´s there.. who speak English! YEY! They have
a busy schedule for us. I don´t know how many pictures we will have
from there because the people there belive that when a picture is taken
of you part of your soul is being captured. Craziness, but if that´s
the way they say it is then that´s the way it is...

We´re all excited that you guys have been keeping up with our blog.
We do have more pictures up.
username :
password: 307857

We will see you all in about two and a half weeks!
Keep praying for us!
Team Guatemala

Dominican Republic Update 5

We are going into our 5th week here and are all very excited to be almost done but also sad because we do not want to leave. We leave Cotui tomorrow and head for Moca. we will be there for 2 weeks and then head home. its hard to leave Cotui because we have been here for so long and have made friends with everyone. Our Sunday service today was amazing! Johanna preached about hands and servant hood. A lot of youth were there, which was great because we had an amazing youth meeting last night. I have never worshiped like we did last night. The Lord is wonderful!
We finished VBS for cotui yesterday. We ended up with over 200 children. which was hard to handle but God worked it out. So many of those children came to church today! Tonight we had a surprise birthday party for Johanna. We are early, but she would expect us to have it closer to her birthday and we wanted to surprise her! We totally did!
We are excited about tomorrow because we should be working really hard in Moca. It was nice to have some time off and relax a bit in Cotui but I think we are all ready to get back to working really hard for these last two weeks. Please continue to pray for us. We love and miss you all! oh! AND WE PUT PICTURES UP ON THE SNAPFISH WEBSITE! :-)

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Guatemala Update 4

So we are still in Limon, but I was able to upload some more of our pictures so make sure you check those out.
They´re at:
password: 307857

I hope that our blogs have been able to keep everyone informed at much as they´d like. If you´d like to ask us questions that you have you can write and I will try to answer them in the following blog.

Also, we´d love to hear from you guys. It´s not always easy to respond, but it´s a real encouragment to hear that you´re thinking of us still!
We´re having so much fun together and although things get a little stressful sometimes, we still all seem to stay on a good page, pray that continues as we continue to work.
We had our first day of VBS yesterday and it went very well. We were expecting about 30 or so kids and ended up with about 60 so that number will only grow over the next few days.
Cara picked out a few kids to act out the Bible story of David. We hadn´t run over it before we actually did it so it was funny when we got to the part where he cut Goliath´s head off. Tammy looking at Cara wide eyed and slightly shaking her head started to translate in Spanish the violent act. It was funny, but she did a GREAT job!
Annie and I were in charge of crafts. Between 60+ kids, beads, string, knots, and a lanuage barrier... it got a little crazy. We did end up with braclets and no fingers cut off though so all in all it was a success.
Chris and David were in charge of games. What better sport to choose than soccer?!? They closed off the street in front of the building for games and we divided up the boys and girls. Because the lack of goals, the guys stepped up to be moving goals. BRAVE SOULS. The kids had a great time and there were only 2 or 3 minor injuries (bumps, bruises, etc.)!
We´re looking foward to VBS tonight and can´t wait to see how many kids show up.
Thanks for keeping up with us as we continue on our adventure.
We love you all and we miss you all!
Team Guatemala

Dominican Republic Update 3

We had our first sunday here in cotui yesterday. The corps here is very active and there are a lot of members. It was nice to see so many people. I got to preach again but this time there was a thunderstorm that started right when I started. The rain came in and, well, lets just say it was interesting. God is good, however, and a few people came forward. We have been painting and doing open airs this week. It was interesting to do an open air when REALLY LOUD motorcycles came by every 5 minutes. The cars here do not have the thing that makes them quiet so it is VERY loud. That is one thing I do not think I will miss.
The corps officers here are very nice. They have accepted us as family. Personally, I think Mrs. Captain wants to adopt me. It's nice to have a family here. Andrew is all better now. He is giving blood tomorrow just to make sure. Everyone is a little sun burnt again but we are dealing with it. We are learning what it means to be servants and we really love it. We feel blessed to be working for Him. Oh! We also got to visit the hospital here. That was a different experience. There are about 4 to 7 people to a room and they have no privacy. We got to talk to a lot of people and asked them to come to church. It was nice to see the people and to tell them that God loves them and everyone needs to hear that. Keep praying... we all love and miss you all.


Monday, June 23, 2008

Guatemala Update 2

Don´t freak out. So there was an earthquake on Thursday night, I (Afton) was in my room digging into the word when I was pushed off my headboard... I lived in San Francisco so I knew immediately what it was... It was small, but you could feel it. It lasted for about 5 second. I jumped out of bed and ran into the "living room" to see if David, Tammi, Cara, Chris, or Maggie felt it... and of course they had no clue... I walked into Annie´s room and she said that she did feel it, but thought it was David running down the hallway. HAHA. I walked back out to tell them about it and I noticed that all the pieces on the light were moving and showed them as proof... Well, we finally finished the roof in Satelite (not Salite). Although we ran into ran a few times during the week, it didn´t hold us back too long. It was great to watch God work though. We prayed for no rain and we literally watch the rain move around the building. It was amazing. On Saturday we attended a youth rally at the school in Limon. We performed our timbrel routine for the first time. It went well for most of us (cough Cara cough)... Cara was also picked up as an extra in one of the skits... she was a robber and she did great. I´m hoping that I will have the chance to upload more pictures this week. To end the rally the school had their drumline perform! It was great. We all really enjoyed it. After the rally we were able to go to the mall and the movies. It was so interesting because we totally forgot that we were in Guatemala. The Cup of Worlds (soccer) was on here in Guatemala last night, they played St. Lucia. Guate won 6-0! There were lots of fireworks last night. This morning we were able to participate in the service by doing a puppet show... with sock puppets..... that we made. So you can imagine how it turned out. It was funny, but it seems that our team always finds everything we do a bit more funny than everyone else does. Haha! We all want to wish our Father´s a Happy Father´s Day. SHOUTOUTS Maggie-The city is beautiful by day and night- the view continues to amaze everyone with every new part of the city we see, surrounded by green mountains and volcanoes. Cara- Wow! I´ll be in Guatemala for 5 more weeks. I love it. I can´t get over how breath taking the views are. The people here are such a blessing. We get home cooked meals everyday. I can´t wait for the many more experiences the summer will have. Oh, by the way parents- don´t have me, but I have a mohawk. I love you all. David- I love you Mom, Dad, and Katie. Annie- It is still overwhelming to me that we are actually here! I am loving my time here in Guatemala- I feel so content here. Everything is so amazing- the views, the people, and the food too! Love and miss everyone! XOXO Tammi- Mommy, I love you so much! I love you! ¡Me estoy divertiendo mucho! God is blessing us so much and we are doing very well! Tell Amber and Flo that I love them! Be Bold Chris- One week down, 5 to go! Guatemala is amazing! The people are extremely nice and I haven´t eaten this well in a long time. By the way, I definitely "mohawked" my hair. It was a smart move on my part. We have made where we´re staying feel like home mostly because we have become a family. Continue praying for us as well as the other team. Afton- Wow, I miss all of you so much, but my time here has already become somthing that will never be able to be replaced. Coming on this trip is one of the best decisions I have ever made and I wish all of you could experience it! The more I see the hard it is for me to believe that with all of this beauty there are still people that don´t believe there is a God. It is our mission to change that though. Our team is marching toward making people aware of the hope that there is one Savior and one Redeemer that loved us so much he was willing to lay down the life of his own son so that we may live with him forever. I miss you all and I love you and I hope that you continue to keep in touch with us and pray for us. Dad, I love you so much and I wish I could be there to show you how much I appreciate everything you have done for me. Happy Father´s Day and know that you´re my hero. I am so thankful for the example you have set for me. I love you sooooo sooooo soooo much! Well, that´s all for now and please continue to pray for us as we head to Mesquital.

Dominican Republic Update 2

well, we are done here in santo Domingo. we have been to three corps so far...Tres Brazos, Los Alcarrizos, and Los Olivos. We have had an amazing time so far. And only a little trouble. We got to go to the beach yesterday, and pretty much everyone got burned, some more then others...apparently the sun is hotter down here :-). Andrew didn't get burned, but he did catch a little dengue fever....just a little though, so he should be alright. we were really worried about him for a while there. God is good.
we leave for Cotui today and should be there for almost 2 weeks. it is supposed to be more remote and dengue is worse there, so please keep us in your prayers. we are looking for more bug spray with deet, but that is hard to find around here.
we have loved spending time with mr. and mrs. major Gochez and their family. we feel like they have adopted us, which is a wonderful feeling when we are so far away from home. it will be hard to say goodbye to them. in Cotui we will be sleeping on cots underneath mosquito nets :-D. wow!
please continue to keep us in your prayers, we love and miss you all!

Dominican Republic Update 1

What a wonderful first week it has been. God has blessed us so much and we have seen so many amazing things. We were welcomed with open arms and the love of these people is awe inspiring. Our hosts are so wonderful and caring. And the food is great! We have been able to do community visitations and pray for healing in peoples homes. We have had a HUGE turn out for our VBS programs. The first expected around 100 children and ended up with almost 200. We have experience what it is like to have electricity one minute for our worship meetings and the next not, but to keep on worshiping God. We have gone through trial and error, and have learned how to come together as a group and decide how to fix problems. And the children! Oh! How wonderful. One our first day we developed a fan club and the have not left our sides since. Many of us are learning how to communicate without speaking the same language. We feel so blessed to be here living and learning among the people of the Dominican Republic. And we cannot wait to see what else God has in store. Thank you so much for you prayers, and keep them coming! We love you all!
~Dominican Republic Summer Service Team 2008

Guatemala Update 3

We started in Mezquital this week and we got off as much of the old paint as we could and started painting again. We were a little nervous because it´s not a safe area at all, but no need to worry we are already done there. There were tons of kids there and they loved playing with us and us with them. The view from the roof of the building was amazing and I am hoping that I will be able to upload the pictures on Monday.
We finished early so we started working in Limon. We had to sort clothes that had been donated and bag them. Along with moving a HUGE pile of dirt to the other side of the school. The Captain at the school is very nice though and when he found out that once we were at home (Ta Ta Chino) we had to stay there he offered to take us out sometime.
On Friday the Captains from Mezquital took us to the beach. The waves were awesome and the sand was black, which was different for all of us. We were all doing okay until the tide came up and nearly washed all of our stuff away. I think everyone was pretty much done after that. A few sunburns, but we´re doing well. We had lunch right next to the beach and it was great. It was funny because most ordered fish, but when an entire fish fried came out, we were a little shocked. It was great to be able to relax though and I know we all appreciated it.
We learned last night that we are no longer (not that we were ever allowed) to flush toilet paper down the toilet. So, that´s been an adventure for us to overcome.
Today we went to a market and thank goodness we had Major with us because he save us probably a couple hundred quetzals. He worked it. Haha!
This upcoming week is going to be a challenge for us. It´s going to be long days and tough work. We´re building a computer room in Limon. So keep us in your prayers. Pray for strength, encouragment, and unity... I know all of these will be tested for us.
Also it isn´t the safest of place, but remember Psalm 27: 1-6 says:
The Lord is my light and my salvation
whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life
of whom shall I be afraid?
When the wicked advance against me to devour me, it is my enemies and my foes who will stumble and fall.
Though an army besiege me, my heart will not fear; though war break out against me, even then I will be confident.
One thingI ask from the Lord, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple.
For in the days of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling;
he will hide me in the shelter of his tabernacle and set me high upon a rock.
Then my head will be exalted above the enemies that who surround me; at his tabernacle I will sacrifice with shouts of joy; I will sing and make music to the Lord.
Thank you all again for your prayers. I hope to have more pictures put up on our snapfish on Monday. Make sure you look for them.
password: 307857
Team Guatemala

Friday, June 13, 2008

The first update from the Guatemala Team

So we made it to Guatemala City with no problems. It was hard to say bye to the other team but we knew that what we were going to accomplish would be well worth it.
We had a fun flight. Cara was asleep before the door shut and Maggie found out that she has the unique ability to sleep sitting straight up. The flight was calm and the views flying over the city were amazing.
We were all very excited to finally be here. Major Munoz, the divisional commander, picked us up and took us to the hotel we would be staying at for the next 4 weeks. We were all amazed at the beauty of Ta Ta Chino (our new home) but we were made aware quickly that we were not to leave the hotel because of the area.
We had our first meal together at the Major´s house and enjoyed each other´s company. They asked if we wanted a tour of the city, but we ALL wanted to rest. We all slept until we woke up to go to dinner.
The next day we started work...
We are currently in Satelite. We´re working on restoring the roof.
We had to take down a baptismal, then notch the roof. Which I think everyone would agree was long and tiring. We had to lower the concrete that we broke off down into a truck which carried it away. We then worked on sealing the roof and are now in the process of pouring more concrete. Our final step in this will be to seal it one more time.
You should be able to look up our pictures on Snapfish.
If you´d like, you´ll be able to order prints from them as well.
Go to
password is: 307857
Thank you all so much for all your thoughts and prayers we can feel them and we are so blessed to have the chance to do God´s work.
Thank you again! We miss you all, we love you all!

Team Guatemala

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Safe and Sound

The teams have all arrived safely. Please keep checking back for updates from them. Also, check the link on the side to see one of the Guatemala team member's myspace account.

Enjoy everyone!