Guatemala Mission 2013

January 17, 2013: Our Bags are Packed...
The team leaves tomorrow for Guatemala, travelling a total of 18 hours by plane and by truck to the mountain village of Parramos. Pray for the team members by name and for the work that God has given them to do!

January 18, 2013: Arrived Safe and Sound.  Update by Fr. Darrell Critch
Greetings friends,
We are safe and sound in Guatemala. The flights have been uneventful. The first from St Johns to Toronto was a little late but grace abounds and the new system for connecting flights in Toronto (which means you no longer have to pick up you luggage, simply recognize it on a computer screen) meant we were through customs and security very quickly. Bishop Masters and Judy were waiting for us at the gate where there was much rejoicing. Once 'decently habited' in their team shirts like the rest of the team we headed off for Miami. We had about an hour in Miami which allowed time for all the  necessities. The flight into Guatemala City was uneventful as well, as was Guatemalan customs.
After a most harrowing drive in rush hour traffic we were delivered to the hotel where we are staying in Antigua.
Our day ended with Holy Communion and a time of corporate prayer.
Tomorrow we plan to take our breakfast a little late (we've been on the go for almost 24 hours) after which we will begin the task of unpacking the 29 hockey bags. Tomorrow afternoon we're off to the local market to purchase some things for the Mission School.
All in all this has been a wonderful day of blessings, and though we are tired we very much look forward to getting to work tomorrow.
Continue to pray for us and the great work which is before us,
IHS
Darrell+
Greetings friends,
We are safe and sound in Guatemala. The flights have been uneventful. The first from St Johns to Toronto was a little late but grace abounds and the new system for connecting flights in Toronto (which means you no longer have to pick up you luggage, simply recognize it on a computer screen) meant we were through customs and security very quickly. Bishop Masters and Judy were waiting for us at the gate where there was much rejoicing. Once 'decently habited' in their team shirts like the rest of the team we headed off for Miami. We had about an hour in Miami which allowed time for all the  necessities. 
The flight into Guatemala City was uneventful as well, as was Guatemalan customs.After a most harrowing drive in rush hour traffic we were delivered to the hotel where we are staying in Antigua.Our day ended with Holy Communion and a time of corporate prayer.Tomorrow we plan to take our breakfast a little late (we've been on the go for almost 24 hours) after which we will begin the task of unpacking the 29 hockey bags. Tomorrow afternoon we're off to the local market to purchase some things for the Mission School.All in all this has been a wonderful day of blessings, and though we are tired we very much look forward to getting to work tomorrow.
Continue to pray for us and the great work which is before us,
Darrell+


January 19, 2013: God is With Us
  Update by Fr. Darrell Critch
 
Greetings again friends, 
Our first full day in Guatemala has been filled with blessings. After a wonderful Guatemalan breakfast we moved to the roof top for morning devotions. It was truly remarkable to worship and preach about the glory of Gods creation while standing in a spectacular volcanic valley to think that we, though so insignificant, are 'crowned with glory' is amazing! 
After worship we spent the morning unpacking and organizing the 1620 pounds of items for the mission. By God's grace everything we brought to Guatemala made it intact - nothing was broken!!! Everything is now ready to be delivered to the Mission School on Monday. 
After lunch we spent the afternoon at the local market experiencing local Guatemalan culture. We've just ended with our evening devotions. We spent time in prayer and worship when we shared of occasions when we experienced 'Christ moments'. This was a wonderful end to a wonderful day. God is with us, it is already very obvious. 
Please continue to pray for us, that we will continue to draw close to the Lord, and that He will continue to reveal Himself to us.


January 21, 2013: God Reveals Himself Through Us 
Good morning friends,

I am sorry for not writing yesterday but the day was so very busy that I am just now (at 5AM this morning) sitting to write. Our day began yesterday with morning devotions lead by Bishop Masters. Using Epiphany as a theme, he spoke of how God reveals Himself to the whole world, and that His revelation is in part through us! He challenged us to be the arms of Jesus! 

After breakfast we went to Mass at a Roman Catholic Church where the service, though in Spanish, was remarkably like home, save the music which was lead by a choir and orchestra of children. I truly can't rememebr a time when I have been more moved at worhsip. From the processinal to the closing blessing I found myslef in tears several times. Incense, bells, wonderful music, and a sermon which we could (surprisingly!) understand. (We've not been given the gift of tongues...it was the priests pouring water into the font and taking out wine which helped us understand). 

We shared lunch together with Marina our hostess at an extraordinary monastery that is now a hotel. The afternoon, our only afternoon 'off', was spent at the market by some and at a coffee plantation tour by others.

Last evening we met Pastor Luis and his wife (the lead staff people on the ground in Parramos) and had dinner with them. They are remarkable people in whom God is certainly at work. All in all yesteday was a great day to prepare for the real work of the mission trip which begins today. We're off to the school right after breakfast.
Please continue to pray for us,
Darrell+

January 22, 2013 - A Very Warm Welcome
Wow!! A day unlke any other! After morning devotions, where we focused on the 1 John passage about loving one another, we were off to the mssion school. As we entered the school there was an honour gurard of teachers, social workers and students which lead us into the gathering for morning worship. I have never been welcomed so warmly before! The only comparison I can make is like unto the welcome given the cardinal in the clasic movie 'The Mission' when the cardinal visits the mission school!  

At the morning and afternoon worship assemblies we listend as the children sang in spanish, we sang some worship songs in english and I brought a word about how each child is important to God and that he has a plan for every life. It truly was an amazing experience.

Bishop Charlie, Donna, Mary Lou and I spent the afternoon painting a library in Parramos. Though the library has very little books they have helped over 5000 children with their hoeme work and have becaome a safe haven for children in the community. Others spent the afternnoon painting the fence at the school. Last year the mission secured more land which has now been fenced, so the total size of the mission is now twice as big as before. Paul spent the afternoon in the carpenter shop while Av and Bob prepared the panels for building the houses.
 
Last evening at devotions it was amazing how each person had been touched by the Lord and had experienecd something biggeer than themselves.
Today we go back to the school to continue similar things. Pray for us!

Darrell+

January 23, 2013 - Bigger than Ourselves
Yet another day filled with amazing blessings. After morning devotions and breakfast we headed out again to the Mission School where the day began with the childr
en's market. The school children were so proud to present to us for sale things which they had made themselves. Many of the local items from the market are now being made at the school, and are a direct income supporting the work of the school. (Rumour has it that Robyn Harvey bought more than her airline weight allowance will allow!!) It really was a blessing to be able to support the children, not only financially but with encouragement as we bought their wares.

After the market we had the priviledge of meeting oursponsor children. This was a time with many tears. The parents wept as they thanked us for sponsoriong their children and for the amazing diffrence this has made in their llves. Most team members cried as they finanlly got to meet the child for whom they having been praying for years. Though separated by a language barrier it was surprisingly and miraculously easy tocommnicate with the children and their families.

This afternoon we worked again at our assigned tasks. I, together with Bishop Charlie, Mary Lou and Mom were painting a  mural... Pray for us... but pray more that the children will recognize what we've painted!

Tonight was another blessing as I presented 'letters from home'. Again many more tears as each team member was encouraged by those supporting us from so far away, and a reminder that this is not just about ourselves, but about our mission together as the Church of Christ in the world.
Greetings friends,We are safe and sound in Guatemala. The flights have been uneventful. The first from St Johns to Toronto was a little late but grace abounds and the new system for connecting flights in Toronto (which means you no longer have to pick up you luggage, simply recognize it on a computer screen) meant we were through customs and security very quickly. Bishop Masters and Judy were waiting for us at the gate where there was much rejoicing. Once 'decently habited' in their team shirts like the rest of the team we headed off for Miami. We had about an hour in Miami which allowed time for all the  necessities. The flight into Guatemala City was uneventful as well, as was Guatemalan customs.After a most harrowing drive in rush hour traffic we were delivered to the hotel where we are staying in Antigua.Our day ended with Holy Communion and a time of corporate prayer.Tomorrow we plan to take our breakfast a little late (we've been on the go for almost 24 hours) after which we will begin the task of unpacking the 29 hockey bags. Tomorrow afternoon we're off to the local market to purchase some things for the Mission School.All in all this has been a wonderful day of blessings, and though we are tired we very much look forward to getting to work tomorrow.

Continue to pray for us and the great work which is before us,IHS Darrell+

Greetings friends,We are safe and sound in Guatemala. The flights have been uneventful. The first from St Johns to Toronto was a little late but grace abounds and the new system for connecting flights in Toronto (which means you no longer have to pick up you luggage, simply recognize it on a computer screen) meant we were through customs and security very quickly. Bishop Masters and Judy were waiting for us at the gate where there was much rejoicing. Once 'decently habited' in their team shirts like the rest of the team we headed off for Miami. We had about an hour in Miami which allowed time for all the  necessities. The flight into Guatemala City was uneventful as well, as was Guatemalan customs.After a most harrowing drive in rush hour traffic we were delivered to the hotel where we are staying in Antigua.Our day ended with Holy Communion and a time of corporate prayer.Tomorrow we plan to take our breakfast a little late (we've been on the go for almost 24 hours) after which we will begin the task of unpacking the 29 hockey bags. Tomorrow afternoon we're off to the local market to purchase some things for the Mission School.All in all this has been a wonderful day of blessings, and though we are tired we very much look forward to getting to work tomorrow.Continue to pray for us and the great work which is before us,IHSDarrell+