Leaving Guatemala

Here we go. The end of my journey is here. As I sit in a silly little airport restaurant exhausting the last bit of my Quetzalez, there is a plethora of thoughts running through my mind. So, do not expect any earth-shattering declarations from me today. However, allow me to put thumbs to touch screen and share some of my observations at random.

An orphan boy turned 18 last week. He’s a very talented artist and wants to be an architect. He was recently robbed on the street and no longer has a computer. It’s the 4th time he has been robbed in roughly 4 years. Four!

Attitudes of self-reliance should be altered to be the pursuit self-sustainablility. I’m proud to have been part of an amazing project to build a green house. In the very near future Casa Bernabe will sustain itself through its massive garden and green house. And the food is fresh – oh yeah!

Encouragement enables us, so accept it when it is given to you. Encouragement at its most basic is loving one another; Jesus called believers to do just that.

Americans complain a lot. My guess would be that we complain more than most.

Most important aspect of a wedding is a God centered ceremony celebrating two people (especially the bride)… The second most important aspect is dancing. Dancing is a must. There was no dancing at the wedding yesterday. Didn’t stop me though! Muahahaha! I had a great dance partner in Mariela.

“I wish they all could be California girls” – shout out and up to my new Westmont College friends. The dudes were cool, too. Haha, we hiked an active volcano!

Danielle – new fan of Double Xx vitamins! Thanks for asking me to play cards!
Kaley – you’re crazy for wanting the craziest house on the orphanage grounds but you also rocked it out! Keep taking on challenges! Big solutions only come from attacking big problems.
Taylor – I used to think the most quotable people were CS Lewis and Mark Twain. You’re giving them a run for their money.
Sarah – you are a very impressive young woman! Check out more on Boosterthon opportunities. I’m just a FB message or email away.
Brooke – lead well my friend! Greatest leadership book ever written was the Bible. Barnabas has been on my heart lately. The Encourager!
Aubrey – your attitude toward serving others, initiating laughter, and your awareness of God’s omnipresence is so encouraging. Excited to stay in touch and update one another on our walks. I had lots of fun with you!

Tim Tebow is pretty stinkin’ cool. However, after meeting a few missionary kids here, I know there are more studs and studettes out there. They a servicing the Lord and biding their time. The ones I go to hang with:

Nathan the Selfless
William the Quiet Killer (plays for national Guatemalan Williamsport team)
Emily the Next YouTube pop star
Yates the Fearless
Rachel the Honorary Boosterthon Team Member

The Lord provides our needs. Casa Bernabe has an amazing full time staff that would not be able to minister the best way they can without volunteers (local and international, part time missionaries).

Darby – pillar of servanthood. You set the bar high!
Emerson Family – you offered a little slice of home for me. If its possible to love a family from just a few days of interaction, I love y’all.
Steve – didn’t really get to know you until our ride to the airport but you offered clear perspective on the Christian lifestyle.
Edgar – you’re not always in the spotlight, but you always know where it should be pointed. You’re the man!
Toni Lynn – your the example for in-the-field work ethic and commitment
Etel – you little matchmaker you! Thanks for allowing me to hang out with your boys. And thanks for the jewelry!
Tony – I honestly didn’t always know what to think about you because you made me work so hard! Yet, my trip would not have been the same without you. I’m inspired by your work capacity.

That’s all for now! I’ve got to board this plane for ATL. Booster team here I come! #ctw

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Today I hiked an active volcano

Family and Friends,

Today the team headed to Antigua, Guatemala. A quaint, back-in-time city full of fun and shopping. It was a much welcomed change up to shoveling earth, transporting it by wheel barrel, painting, and playing soccer with kiddos.

We had a little bit of a bus ride from Casa Bernabe to Antigua, but when we arrived we were met with beauty. We ate at a beautiful coffee plantation called Filidelfia. The breakfast was delicious and the coffee was stellar. Then, we headed into the city to shop. I bought something for the fellas – get ready boys! Mom and sis, you’re already covered (wink wink).

The highlight of the day was climbing the active volcano, Pacaya! Many many pictures to come on that. It as gorgeous and left me in awe thinking, “Our God made this!” Must give props where props are due!

I have had many questions flow through my conscious the last few days. Today’s personal inquiry:

What does it mean when someone asks you when you’re leaving?

A few kids at the orphanage and missionaries have asked me when I am leaving. It may just be a casual, simple question. Could it be more?

Is the Lord using these people to speak to me. Do they want me to stay longer? Does the Lord want me to stay longer?

One thing I know for sure. I have given my heart to Casa Bernabe each day I’ve spent here. This place has left an impact on me. I pray that I have done something to impact it as well. I am also sure I must return. The Lord has called me to a special place at home in the US.

I want to make a continued impact by writing to a couple of kids – A and W (names disclosed for safety reasons. For whatever reason, these two have been a focus of mine from the 1st day. A is an orphan who is really been special to me. He and I have connected almost everyday. He’s a great kid. He’s quiet. He’s got leadership in him. I hope I can impact him from a distance. W is a missionary’s kid. Stud baseball player (plays on the Guatemala Williamsport team) and just a great kid. He’s kind of quiet as well, but when he speaks he is bold and even funny. W is going to be receiving a shipment is my old basketball and football cards. Shhh! Don’t tell!

I also had a gray talk with a dude named E. Haha, this discretion is kinda funny. He’s 18 and got a bright future ahead of him. Tonight I shared some things with him that he has never heard before. It was special! I am looking forward to getting updates on him from his sponsor and keeping in touch via Facebook.

This cat is tired. I’m out!

Sunday/Monday: Tu hablas espanol?

Sunday

Low key, but tons of fun. Worship in Espanol was interesting and I spent a little time translating lyrics. Much of my day was spent reflecting on life. How God has moved in my life the last 2 years. How the people placed in my life have been such an impact. My sin. My Savior. The grace bestowed upon me.

Monday
Worked my rear off today! Morning started off with a trip to the jungle to dig up bamboo. After lunch I went to the two of the boys houses. First, Casa Esperanza where I hung out with some of the fellas and helped do homework. I also pushed a lil guy named Manuel on his bike for a good 20 laps around the house.

Then it was time to get dirty moving dirt into a green house which is currently being assembled. 4 boys from the oldest house came to help. They were sizing me up because that night I was scheduled to watch them as their house parents were at a staff meeting. Once I did arrive, I WOOed them with some Epic Adventure wrist bands – don’t ask if you don’t know! They are great guys. I am remembering names and hoping to create relationships during my short time here. Best part of my day was receiving an email from back home. A request to give a devotional in front of my peers and leaders at my job. I am very honored.

It has be me asking myself tonight,”Lord, why have you chosen to bless me so?”

It’s all in His plan. Until next time…

Guatemala: From Schools to Casa Bernabe

Friends, Family, and Follower:

I am truly enjoying my time here in Guatemala!  The first leg of my trip is wrapping up.  Overall, it has been a huge success.  About 20 people from my company and I were able to serve 3 schools in the Tactic area of Guatemala (close to Coban).  The children were so much fun and treated us as if we were celebrities!  A pep rally, a new wall mural, and shelving for the school kitchen were on our to do list at our school.  It all got done and then some!  Playing soccer and football with students was so much fun (even though I have to sacrifice my hiking boots after the sole detached from my left boot).  Having to face them after a 1-1 tie between USA and Guatemala last Tuesday was not much fun! But oh well…

I have spent the last day and a half with a coworkers who has family in Fraijanes, Guatemala.  His family is extremely gracious and hospitable.  JC, my coworker, has an amazing family.  We have had a blast! His grandfather is American.  So, I think he has enjoyed communicating with me in English – and he has quite a story to share! It will be sad to part with them today.  However, I will rendezvous with another group this afternoon.  Travel details have worked out so well.  Farijanes, where I am currently staying is just 5 minutes from my next destination! Casa Bernabe (foce.org)!

Sorry if you have felt in the dark during the last few days.  Please check out my Facebook page or Instagram account to see pictures of my trip thus far.  Uploading pictures and checking emails have been about all I could accomplish with the WiFi I’ve had access to.

Alright everyone!  Thanks again for your support!  I hope to update you again soon. Adios!

 

TJ

 

Send Me! I’ll Go!

Friends & Family,
I am headed with my boss, Jake, to Houston International. Guatemala here we come! First part of the trip is about to commence. Our Home Office is out of Atlanta and most of the team from there are already in the air. Lucky for us, they are touching down in Houston! So, most of us will be on the same flight from the US to Guatemala.

A ton of really amazing things have happened while raising funds to this trip. Now its here, and I am eager to see what happens. Due to the nature of this service-oriented trip, I am expecting life-molding personal growth. I will also have the chance to meet the locals. Intend to experience mutual impact.

Ready for the adventure. Truly, I feel I was called during this season of my life. Send me, I’ll go!