Name: Connor Schwartz
2 years ago I wasn’t able to go on this trip due to a late sign up. Ever since then, it has been my dream to get a 2nd opportunity to serve in Guatemala. Now, after many prayers, I get to embark on this long awaited journey. I have heard time and time again that on trips like this, one goes down to serve and help others, but in the end, they are the ones who are changed the most. Over the next week and a half, I hope to serve God through compassion and love as I get to see and build relationships with people in these villages. But also, my hope is that my relationship with God will strengthen and that I can experience God in a never before seen way. I can’t wait for this Guatemala missions trip.
May God bless you Connor…way beyond what you could ever imagine! Praying for you and the team. Go change a life!!!
Connor, I am so excited that you are on this trip! Praying for you as you start this incredible journey. Praying that you have many God sightings and that you let God use you to expand his reach and to impact many lives. Have fun building tomorrow!
In His grip,
Connor, seeing your big smile as you work building your home, brings so much joy to me…and I know to God! Thank you for being willing to serve and help others. You are blessing so many people. Praying for a dry day again tomorrow so the stucco goes on well!!
In His grip,
Hey our precious Connor, miss u SO already. Just enjoyed looking at the pics. Looks like u enjoyed your building day blessing others and being blessed! Praying for Gods plans to be accomplished in U and thro U…
You will be a blessing Connor. Way to go. You’ve had so many accomplishments through your short life. Give God the glory and serve for him because we serve an awesome and might God!!
Enjoyed your pics from yesterday’s stucco and paint day. Love the verse you put on the wall of thier earthly home, showing the way to thier eternal home! Praying for u that you may see Gods plan for yourself while sharing His love with the family’s and children of Guetemala! Praying God works in you and through you as you son as you follow Gods calling in your life! Miss you so but excited for you. Praying for your whole team too and that God binds you together as the family of God! Keep sharing His love with that big smile and heart!
Hi Connor! So good to hear of all the blessings you, the team, and Guatemalans have received already!! Praying you have a great day when you dedicate the houses and the gospel is presented. God is using you in amazing ways while you’re there.
Matt 28:19 “Go make disciples of all nations. Baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.” My prayer is that Almighty God will richly bless you son and your whole team today, as u pray The Holy Spirit to enter their hearts and homes for eternity…!
May God open your eyes even more clearly throughout this week as to the calling/purpose He has planned for your future. Each day with Him will be an adventure for sure!
Connor, what a wonderful opportunity to go and help in this way. My Aunt who is a Catholic nun, lived in Guatemala for many years, bringing Jesus to the people in the village where she lived, and also to the neighboring villages. She has told us many stories of her adventures while there. She walked from village to village with a donkey in tow, he carried her books and supplies. One day her donkey stepped backwards right off the side of the mountain, of course he died. My family raised enough money for her to buy another donkey. We also supplied money to put stoves in the homes of the villagers, and for schooling, which is not offered there like it is here. She loved working with the people especially the children. Hope you have a wonderful experience, while bringing Jesus to these poor but humble people.
Hi Connor, Tony, and Noah, greetings from the Billins and Kam! He’s over right now since his friends are out of the country :). Great to see you impacting lives for eternity in the pictures. God bless you as you finish your service in Guatemala!
Hey Connor, been thinking of and praying for U and your whole team today, and now for safety as you travel back late. Gods got you and you got Him! SO happy just thinking about it all. Love to hear a tidbit about your experience so far! Hey, you won’t beleive how clean the family room looks hehe! Sure MISS you love!
Hello all, Sorry I haven’t posted much yet! This week has been so amazing. On our first day at the work site, I got to meet the family that my small group would be working with. The fathers name was Luis, and the mothers Maria. They also had a son who was named after his father. Right from the very start when I walked up to the empty concrete slab where their new home would be, I felt a connection with Luis. we smiled at each other and I knew God has placed me in a very specific place. We went on working through the rest of the day and got the frame of the house built. Then we went on to screwing the walls in. After the walls were up, Dan asked if anybody had any experience mudding walls. Mrs. Schuitema and I raised our hands. I guess the mudding you taught me last summer had a greater purpose Dad. (: We mudded and sanded for the rest of that day until we had to head back home. Throughout that whole day, Luis helped out with everything he could. He is a very hard worker and was willing to do anything that was needed. We went on that night to have devotions with the group as a whole in which Dan challenged us to look specifically at the sentences in the bible. To look at the stories more closely and into the details. We looked into the story of Jesus healing a blind man. By making us look more closely into the details of the story, Dan helped me see Jesus miracles in a different way. They are real. and truly amazing. Not just some story that probably happened thousands of years ago that I have been hearing about for 18 years. Dan made the stories real. Anyways, I’ll update you on the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th day soon. But we are heading to small group devotions right now.
And Dad, Happy Fathers day. All the time working with you over the past few summers is paying off on this trip. I know how to do lots of this stuff and when I do them, it reminds of the hours of working with you. Moments I truly cherish. I love you Dad. And Happy Fathers day(:
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Hey Connor so great you had experience with mudding and could use that to keep the house looking good and on schedule! The family you helped will be forever changed because of your willingness to serve him. I hope you often think of this as you go to college and beyond that the simple act of serving Him can change lives forever!
Connor, I assure you that the experiences through the clinics and building days will help form your faith walk for many years to come if you let them. Dios te bendiga,
Hey Connor, thanks for your kind words. It has been my honor to be able to have you work side by side with me in summers. I am so proud of your desire to serve others and share Gods love in Guatemala and Florida, Colorado and right here in school. I admire your courage. On Fathers Day my best gift is to know how much you love Jesus and chose to serve Him. Excited to hear about it when u get home! We are praying hard for you and your whole team…
Jarod and Caleb missed you at church this morning((: and Brandon and Adrian went boating in Lk Mi. this afternoon with us. Love You so
So back to my story, on the 2nd day, we had to put stucco on the houses. It was SO SO messy because it stuck to everything. Once we gave up on the fact that our clothes here ruined anyways, it started to get super fun. We had a couple of mud fights and the Guatemalans thought that was really fun too. Its so amazing to see their willingness to jump in and help. Even though its hard to communicate in words sometimes, the gratitude and love they have for us is so obvious. They are so happy and content and yet they have so little. Its amazing. It was also fun to do stuccoing because it was our first chance to go around and see everybody elses houses that they had built. They all were so great and the people in the village were so overjoyed to have them.
The next day was dedication day. We woke up that morning and got ready to go to the work site. I’m not gonna lie I was pretty nervous for it. I had no idea what to expect. All I knew is that I wanted to see the moment when somebody accepted God into their heart. When we got to the village and we went to house number 1, we found that the owners of the house had laid out pine needles and had put balloons all around their new homes along with streamers everywhere. The pine needles are a sign of extreme importance. They are very hard to get a hold of so they only use them for big occasions. It was so cool. Then how it would work would be that the small group that had built each specific house would go in along with one of the pastors and the family who received the house and that would be their time of dedication. Each person would stand up and speak to the owners and talk of their love for/experience with them. Then the pastor would begin his dedication sermon. While the family and small groups were doing this inside the house, the rest of the team was on the outside, all with a hand on the house. We would pray out loud, read verses and chapters of the bible out loud, sing out loud, anything to praise God and welcome Him there. Each house took about 45 minutes to complete. So if you add up the 30 people praying for 45 minutes at 5 houses, that’s a lot of praise to God. It was so amazing. My house was the 5th and final one of the day. Up to that point every single person had accepted Christ into their heart that had been in the homes. When our time came to go in and speak with our owners, I’m not gonna lie I was nervous. But as soon as I stood up to talk, I knew it wasn’t me talking anymore. I was just the vessel that God was using to communicate to them. My nerves were gone and I felt a sense of unbelievable joy and peace. I talked about the connection I felt to Luis immediately when I arrived on the work site and how I knew that God had placed me in the right place. I spoke of how this journey had helped me grow in my faith and how I hoped with all my heart that they would accept God into their hearts so I could see them again in paradise. When I finished my talk to them, along with the rest of my small group, Tim Brummel had his turn to speak to our family. Throughout the week, we had watched Luis take care of his son. You could see the love he had for him. It was some of the strongest love I had ever seen. When Tim went to talk to him, he sat down right next to him and began to speak of how the love that Luis had for his son, was nothing compared to the love that Jesus Christ had for him and his family. It was the most touching thing. Luis then went on to break out in tears. He spoke of how his father and brothers all had abandon him when he was young. He spoke that the reason he cared for his son so much was because he never had a dad and he knew how unbelievably hard it was. He never wanted his son to experience that. But he also spoke of how in that moment, when Tim sat next to him and put his arm around him, he felt that he had a dad again. He had a man that cared for him enough to show it. It brought everybody in the room to tears. God was so present in that home. Hermano Jesus then went on to deliver his speech and when he asked Luis and his family to accept Christ into their hearts, They all accepted him in. And with tears of joy in all of our eyes, we prayed, Guatemalan style, over him and his family in their new home. Then came the time to say goodbye, but only goodbye for this earth. When I was standing there, waiting to say my goodbye, I got the feeling that I needed to give Luis something to remember us by. and I remembered that just before I had entered our dedication time, Joe Luimes came up to me and said “Connor I think you need this bracelet.” and I had answered “Thanks but I already have one of those exact bracelets.” But he persisted. he told me that I needed to take it. So I just did. But now I saw why God had pushed Joe to give it to me. So that although Luis and I would be far apart, we’d always still have one of those twin bracelets. I gave the bracelet to him and he looked me in the eye and thanked me and then ran into his old home. A few moments later he came out with a photo of him with a trophy he had one for playing soccer. Early that week I had commented on his trophies as I saw them in his house. He gave me the photo to keep. Photos are so hard for them to get because they live in a such a remote place. It was probably one of his most cherished pictures, and he gave it away to me without even a second thought. It that isn’t the love of God I don’t know what is. We then said our goodbyes and headed back to base as we did devotions and shared our God-sightings with the group. Then Dan shared his testimony on Paul and Silus in the depths of the prison in Macedonia. He challenged us to look even deeper yet into even the specific words that were chosen to be written in the bible. Again, it was such an amazing testimony.
Anyways, its about bed time, I’ll try to tell you about our first day in the Coastal Village tomorrow. It was amazing. Goodnight! and Happy Fathers day Dad. One last time!(: Love you!
Mr. and Ms. Schwartz, I thought I would write on Connor’s blog so that you would read this. I am Tim Brummel- one of Connor’s goup members and parents on the trip. I am so honored and proud to be with your son on this trip. I have gotten to know him as a great young man and partner in ministry. He has shown me a sense of fun and adventure and such an easy going attitude to take every day one step at a time. He has been a great help and assistance to every member of our team when they needed it. He has broken down walls of some of the things that have kept him from really expressing his faith including praying aloud in front of others and really being an example of what a young Christian man looks like in front of not only his peers, but also many of the young Guatemalen men that we encounter. Blessings to you and your family.
Oh Connor, I have tears running down my face as I read your story of the dedication. Thank you for taking the time to write all of that down. It was powerful! You were called to be on this team for Luis. You are such a blessing. Thank you for your willingness to serve with a big smile on your face. Praying that tonight’s final worship time is a capstone to the week. Looking forward to hearing more stories,
In His Grip,
Connor, today I can only give thanks for you! I don’t really have words. Just joy in my heart for Gods sovereign preperation and purpose for your life. As it unfolds before us, I sit in your room and give thanks to God for so many answered prayers…🙏😊God gave u to us as a precious gift to raise up and we’ve always known you were really His and we’d have to share you back with/to Him. Love u son so 💛
Praying love, lifetime bonds, strength and safety to your whole team as you prepare to return home…
Connor we are so excited to see you. Hear of your week in person. I am sure howver that returning home may feel a bit sad for you after such a week as this. We are praying for you through this transition and that God will hold you close and that u will do the same…((:
Collin and Codi can’t wait to hear and share stories with you-another blessing in your life, such good friends!
It always looks like a dorky reporter standing on a calm street in Alaskan whaling gear, but sometimes it is raining a bit. So why should you listen to someone who doesn’t have enough sense to come in out of the rain?
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