Fantastic 4 Meets Guatemala

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 Hey everybody,

So, the Fantastic Four finally made it to Puerto Barrios, Guatemala. Our bus ride from Belize City to Punta Gorda was quite an adventure. The first hour we were sitting on a tire and luggage, squeezed against the back door of a bus.It was pretty funny. We stayed the night at the Machacca Center, friends of ours (YWAM DP). It was great because we got to see their nice property, eat their great food and spend some time with them. Then we left for Puerto Barrios by boat, and we were picked up by Paul, a missionary from the USA who moved here, and is the leader in the ministry that we are working with. We have been staying at Casa Verde with another group of 20 people, between 18-22. We have worked in a children’s hospital, an orphanage, spoken in churches and have been building relationships with people here.
Being only four on our team has its advantages. After a church service this week we went out for a smoothie with our translator Fernando, Kevin (who works with Casa Verde, and will be coming to Honduras with us) and Hilda (Pauls wife). It was so much fun to get to know them and just learn about their culture. I am looking forward to the rest of this trip an what god has in store for the FANTASTIC FOUR!Becky

Hello Everyone
A week here in Puerto Barrios,Guatemala has already passed. We are still getting accustomed to everything. the change from living in San Pedro on the small island with golf carts for transportation and small stores to the busyness of a bigger city with lots of traffic and a mall is just kind of crazy! We are staying at a missions organizations house which is called “Casa Verde”. Another team of 22 people have been staying here for the past 3 months, which has made the transition from our DTS with  students to the outreach with 2 students much easier.
In most of our ministry this week we have been piggy-backing with the other team. We have visited an orphanage and a children’s hospital, played with the kids, praying for them and holding the babies. With our team we have visited two churches. Becca gave her testimony at the on and at the second church – Prince of Peace-  Becca and I shared a translated message to the congregation on Forgiveness. We would appreciate your prayers for health of the team as well as a Joyful and willing spirit while we are serving the Lord in Guatemala!
Well, it has been a great start to our outreach here. It has been amazing to see already why God had made our team so small. With a larger team we would not have been able to do what we have done. Our smaller team has allowed us to not be just a group of people, but to be friends, and to be welcomed into homes and lives as friends. For both Marshall and I, we would say that one of the biggest struggles here has been the language barrier. For the reason that we want to share so many things that are on our hearts that we find difficult to communicate with our limited spanish.Another thing that has been really cool to see is how our team has been a blessing to the USA team that is here. They are nearing the end of their outreach (3 months long) and are at a point of being extremely tired, and loosing hope. With us coming in, we have brought joy, hope, and fresh perspectives and faces, something it seems that this other team really needed.

We are very excited to see what God has in store for us over the next 2 months and look forward to sharing with you our experiences! Thank you for supporting all of us on our team financially and through your prayers.

Mallory and Marshall

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Joy and Sorrow

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Sawubona from South Africa! Outreach has been rolling for about two weeks now. After traveling over three continents, through four countries, in three days, our team finally landed in Durban, South Africa, in a suburb called Pinetown. We connected to our home church, Highway church, and moved into the flat that they rented for YWAM students. We spent the first few days catching up on sleep and recuperating from our travels.

We went to a local workshop in Durban last Saturday and spent our time wandering through different booths, checking out traditional and local wares. We attended church at Highway on Sunday, and were privileged to experience church in a way that some of us had never seen before. Testimonies and spoken words were interjected throughout the worship time, and the congregation was very active in the service. Monday we joined with the YWAM Durban staff at Highway in a time of worship, and spent our afternoon working at a soup kitchen with local men who have lost their jobs. Our live-in YWAM staff member, Xoli, has been helping arrange and set up our outreach locations and contacts. She is incredibly helpful to us, as well as a hilarious and fun housemate. Tuesday our team had the pleasure of  visiting a local rehabilitation center, Careline. We partnered with the staff at Highway and had an incredible experience mingling with the residents of Careline. At one point during the evening, our team experienced an amazing surge of pure joy straight from God. Many of us ended up on the ground laughing, filled with the Holy Spirit and His joy. We had no idea that the joy we were experiencing was meant to carry us through so much more than that single night.

Today was our free day, and most of us took it easy, wandering the mall, updating family and friends on current events, and chilling at home. This week has been an incredibly challenging first week of ministry, but it has been such a blessing in many ways as well.

We have listed a few prayer points below, and we ask that you please continue to cover us with prayer as we head out this next week into more ministry.

  • Sickness : our team has been dealing with colds and coughs this last week passing it to each other off and on. No fun!
  • Josh Martin & Family : That God would bring peace and healing to the Martin’s as they go through this tragedy. That they would lean on Him and not question His love.
  • Team unity : Our team has bonded through our trials this past week, but pray that we would continue to have grace with one another, that we would keep short accounts and our communication would be open.
  • Durban : There is a heavy spirit of abortion here, not only with unborn children, but also with people abandoning their jobs, dreams, endeavors, etc. There is also a spirit of miscommunication. Please pray that people would be open to communicate and work things out with each other.
  • Noah and Tracy : Please pray that our leaders would continue to have strength in leading us, that their wisdom in every situation would increase, and that they would have insight and intuition on what to do in the future.

Thank you for your support, and we look forward to updating you again soon!

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Three Cheers for the UK and Fish and Chips!

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Thank you all for following our adventures in the UK via this blog. What a range of experiences we had! Some were harder than others of course, with a particularly evident spiritual climate in Edinburgh to contend with but that was balanced out by meeting some incredible people and making good friendships all over the country, as you have already heard.

On the 9th September we began to wrap up our time in Sheffield where we had spent an unexpected but rewarding 3 weeks; having all sorts of opportunities to share and serve including door- knocking for a new church, flyering for a Christian Schools initiative, painting a re-constructed classroom in a Christian School  following flood damage and clearing land for the rearing of pigs as part of the ‘Promised Land’ project (growing food for those in need).

We had the good fortune of making friends with a girl who owned a cottage on the south coast of England and were invited to stay there to try and rest a little before the team split up, enjoying a true English seaside experiences including gloom, rain and cold. We did eat fish and chips, though (fried fish and french fries)!!! (and in our defense a post-hurricane was bombarding the west of the country at the time!)

This team had the good fortune to stay together through both Lecture Phase and Outreach (not all teams do) so saying goodbye after half a year of living closely together wasn’t too easy.
Some of the team decided to make the most of being in this part of the world and spent a few days in Europe but everyone had something exciting to look forward to- more travel, internships and Secondary Schools  and for myself the prospect of returning home to embark on new adventures in education.

I know that we were all able to close our time together in the UK knowing God had shown us each a lot about Himself, ourselves and each other; we all came away wiser and stronger. It has been a wonderful experience, I have thoroughly enjoyed getting to serve in my own country and was so grateful for how God used this time to help me transition home and soften some of the culture shock that can occur. He is good, isn’t He?!

Thanks for faithfully reading, praying and supporting us along the way.

Louise Essam

(UK team leader)

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Called to Love

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The last two weeks have been spent in Sheffield- it is a town right in the center of the United Kingdom.  It is a town made up of seven rolling hills.  The landscape is the type you would picture in a magazine.  They are so green with stone walls and sheep! (I had never seen a sheep before I came to England).

Being in Sheffield had not been a part of our initial plan, but God knew what He was doing.  He has given us many opportunities to reach out to the community around us. The first week we were here we spent most of our time in a school.  The school was flooded last winter, so they have to redo things very fast before the kids come back this Tuesday.  We have been painting walls and cleaning the school. We also did street work which involved hanging out with kids at the local skate park.  In addition, we have spent time working with a program that helps low-income individuals get back on their feet.  We have helped them in their allotments by clearing them out and harvesting some vegetables.

One of my favorite days we had was the opportunity to redo an elder lady’s garden.  We spent the entire afternoon pulling up weeds, trimming, and digging, and this lady was so grateful.  It was an incredible experience and the yard looked totally different from start to finish.

With less than two weeks left on our outreach, we need prayers on staying focused on where the Lord has us now, and that we can finish this whole heartedly the way we started. God is so good and it has been an incredible adventure!  T- wanted to share what the Lord has taught her here in Sheffield.

For some odd reason, I am still surprised when God does something that I was not expecting.  One of my favorite verses is, “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”  Isaiah 55:9-10.  One of the main things that God has taught me while in Sheffield is that no matter where I am, I am called to love.  God will always open up opportunities to love no matter what place we are in.  A lot of the work we have been doing here is behind-the-scenes grunt work, but it brings God glory regardless.  This is a time for me to step back and say, “Ok God, here I am.  I’m out of my comfort zone because this is not what I was expecting, but please use me for Your glory.   Use me to love these people.”  Has He done that?  I can say without a doubt, yes.  If you were to look through my eyes, you probably wouldn’t be too astounded by what you saw.  But, if you were to look through God’s eyes, then you would be completely amazed.  So, instead of “coasting” to the end of my outreach, I am asking God to make each day a greater challenge and to give me more opportunities to love.  Of course, I am also asking for His grace and strength to carry me through.  God calls us to trust Him, even if we don’t see the bigger picture- because He does see it.  He painted it. -Teresa

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Derby to Edinburgh…

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We can’t believe we are already in Edinburgh, Scotland! The Lord has blessed our week in Derby.  From hanging out at local parks, to doing church events with Trinity Baptist Church, to ministry in Muslim communities, this week has been incredible. Bree wanted to share a little bit of her experience this week.

The first week of outreach has been action packed and a non-stopadventure. We have had so many cool experiences getting to share Christ with the people of Derby, England. One of the locations we have been able to spend time at is the cities skate park. The skate park is a local hot-spot, making it the perfect place to connect with thecommunity. I really enjoyed getting to know the people there, they were all so welcoming and friendly. It was disheartening to hear about the rough home lives and hard life circumstances that some of these young people were caught up in, but at the same time I am glad we had the opportunity to encourage them and share from our own life stories about the hope and joy found in Christ. These kids will definitely be in my thoughts and prayers as we continue on our outreach. -Bree

This week we have come together with other YWAMers in Edinburgh to help out with a ministry called Shine.  There is a huge festival every year in Edinburgh called the Fringe Festival, and Shine basically brings light to the people on the streets.  Please be praying for us this week as we perform, evangelize, cook, or whatever the Lord calls us to do!

Working as a part of the Shine team for the Fringe Festival in Edinburgh has been incredible.  We spend the afternoons on the Royal Mile, which is where is Fringe is located.  We hand out flyers, go on prayer walks, hang out with people in the streets, and do performances.   We also spend time in a Christian Heritage Center doing similar things.  We are blessed to serve the other members on the Shine team by cooking dinner for them, so we end the day cooking and cleaning.  Being here has really opened our eyes to the need of Jesus in the UK.  Tina wanted to share her experience here thus far:

This week has been filled with extraordinary opportunities that pushed each of us individually, to grow in our own creativity and push us outside of our comfort zone. We’ve been able to work as part of the Shine team, and with our teammates artistic skills and encouragement we’ve learned and performed group dances and assisted the media team with conducting street interviews.

One of my favorite memories that I’ll take away from our time inEdinburgh has been playing the piano at the Christian Heritage Center on the Royal Mile. My teammate Teresa and I had the chance to perform one afternoon when the church opened its doors to the community for a time of prayer and meditation. It was an incredible experience to worship in such a beautiful and historical setting. Teresa also had a chance later in the week to use her talents on the guitar to lead our Shine team in worship. I’ve really enjoyed listening to her perform, and use her talents to glorify God.

As our time in Scotland comes to an end, this week we’ll be continuing to assist the Shine team in street performances, group prayer walks, cooking for the base and supporting the team as they head out into some local venues to worship and spread God’s love into the community. Can’t wait to see what He has in store for us next. -Tina

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