Made it back home.

Saturday Night 11:25 PM   -Just a quick note to let you all know that we arrived back home to the base safely.  It was a great day.  No rain at all and an amazing harvest in the village.  I will let the team give you updates in the morning on their amazing evening.  God is good and the Holy spirit did an amazing work tonight!   Tomorrow the team gets to sleep in if they choose to.

Thanks for your prayers

In His grip,  -Kevin Van Wyhe

Advertisements

Pray for the team tonight

Dear Prayer Warriors,

Tonight the team had to travel 3 1/2 hours on horrible roads to get to a village that has been forgotten by all…except for God. He prompted Dan and the Paradise Bound Ministry team to seek them out.  Our team is the one blessed with the opportunity to truly be God’s Hands and Feet for these precious people.

Usually it is at this point in the week when people start  feeling run-down maybe a cold coming on, and yet they are called to be strong tonight.  Our job here at home is to be on our knees in prayer for them. Praying a hedge of protection to surround the team. Praying for boldness as they play with the kids, hand out meds to those in dire need and to answer the call to even give their testimony. Pray for Dan and Hermano Jesus as they lead the worship and give the message of hope, love and grace.

The team won’t return to the base until very late…we may or may not hear when they get back. Usually we don’t hear anything until Sunday morning. Please check back then and throughout the night keep the team in prayer.

Thank you for being so faithful in your prayers for this amazing group. Many lives are being changed…including those on our team.

In His grip,

Kristy Van Wyhe

ps. Several people have asked where the pictures are on this site. The easiest place to find them is directly above this post, under the picture of the team. Just click on each day, then click on the first picture and it will open up into a slide show. The pictures will then be larger and easier to see.  Thanks again for posting on the team’s individual pages. Your words of encouragement mean the world to them!

Saturday Morning – We are heading to the Coast!!!

Saturday Morning –June 18 – 5:00AM – “We are heading to the Coast!”
The moment that a person accepts Christ’s there is a onetime transformation from death to life. It is a single moment that occurs only once as a life is rescued from the fallen and broken world that is ruled by sin and selfishness. It is a moment that the ownership of one’s life, the deed to one’s heart if you will, is signed over to the one that all creation was looking for before He came into the world. When Jesus came into the World and laid down His Life as a ransom for sinners, the band aid of the Old Testament was stripped away. No longer did God remain behind a curtain. The moment that Christ Gave his life freely on the cross, the Veil was torn from top to bottom. It was as if God was putting his hands into the middle of the barrier that was between us and tore it open. This is one of the most profound things that happened in that Moment that Eternity was changed forever. In that moment, God became relational with us once again. God created us so he could have a relationship with us. Sin destroyed that. But through Christ, we now live in the end times, where God through his Holy Spirit walks and talks intimately with us. God is no longer hidden from us.
In Romans 8:39 Paul shares with us that once the deed to our life is transferred to Christ, there is nothing in all creation that can separate us from the Love that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. That is where we can find the comfort in what the Apostles creed says in the first question and answer, “What is your only comfort in life and in death? That I am not my own, but belong body and soul, in life and in death to my faithful savior Jesus Christ.”
Yesterday we were able to witness life after life, transfer the title of their heart to Jesus. One by one “tipping point of eternity” was crossed. One by one we saw people with hearts laid bare before the Creator of the Universe, give their hearts to Him. To say this is an emotional moment is an understatement. If you have ever experienced this before, then you know there is nothing like this. To have your hand on another person’s shoulders feeling them through their tears and sweat, through deep breaths uttering the words of welcome to the Holy Spirit to come in. To hear a person who was lost and alone become found and embraced by their new Lord.
These are the moments that we have prayed for to take place this week. These are the moments that give us the resolve to go the ends of the earth to make disciples. These moments are the greatest moments that can be experienced by a follower of Christ and these were moments that we saw unfold many times right before our very eyes inside the 4walls of these 10×12 homes that we have lovingly build and prayed over this week.
Last night as a team we spent time as a group reflecting on what God has done already through the Holy Spirit and our willingness to step out of the boat and answer Jesus’ call to step into the wind and waves with our eyes fixed on Him and “Come.” We also ended our time being reminded of the great price that it took for each of us to have this new life in Christ by following Jesus’ call to break bread and drink from the cup. As each person came forward in the circle created by the team to take eat and drink and remember and believe that Christ Body was broken and mutilated, and His blood was shed on the ground and His life laid freely on the cross to take our place so we could have a relationship with our maker, the realization that nothing else in this world matters was once again reminded to us all.
Today, we will be going to do battle once again. Today we will do our best to answer the call of Jesus to “come”. Today we will travel many miles and reach to “The ends of the earth” to proclaim what Christ has done in our lives and through acts of Love and Kindness and gifts of much needed medicines. Today we will share the message that has the power to turn what is dead to life.
We claim victory today over Satan, over the wind and the waves, over the darkness that has covered this world. Today we claim victory in Christ’s Name. Today, I know that we will see many more make the choice to invite Christ into their very hearts. Today, I know that this team will once again be brought to their knees in awe of our savior.
Please pray for us as we have a 3-4 hour drive to the coast and reach into a village so remote, that few outsiders, let alone white gringos, have ever felt the need to travel. Over miles and miles of roads and two tracks we will travel. Over countless rocks and ruts in the road we will find our way by the Power of the Spirit to these precious lambs that are lost. But we know that we are not traveling alone. We have you and we have your prayers going before us and behind us. So we go with confidence that nothing can stop us from whatever it is that God’ has planned for us today. After all, with all the prayer being lifted up for us, even if things seem to be going wrong, it is because it is going right. We just have to wait sometimes to see the Master’s plan.
We are already way over the half way point. Time is flying by and we will soon be back on a plane to Michigan. Soon we will be taking the biggest step of our journey. The one that very few often think of when they go on a mission trip. The step of taking what we have learned and experienced and taking it back to the lost and dying world that is in our own back yard.
Please pray for travel today, pray for the weather as it is raining even now at the base, pray for health as several of the team are experience a variety of head, stomach and chest ailments. Pray for endurance as this is going to be a very long day. Pray for the drivers of the vans carrying the precious cargo of your loved ones. Pray for hearts to be softened. Pray for relationships to be quickly formed through the acts of love that will take place. Pray for each of us to keep our eye fixed on Jesus and the battle that lies ahead. Pray for the Holy Spirit to transform many lost people with the ransom of Christ’s blood.
We could not do this without you. Thank you for being our rock and fortress of prayer this week. We are grateful for your sacrifice for us.
In His Grip,
Kevin Van Wyhe

Dedication Day through the Eyes of Team Members

Dear Family and Friends,

Thank you so much for praying for us today as we dedicated our homes. For the past couple days we had seen a lot of the family we built for, Gonzal, Marta, and their four year old daughter Keli. However, we really didn’t know them very well. With a max of two years of Spanish speaking in our more experienced team members (which is really not a lot when comes to conversing), we had a difficult time talking to the family and really only knew them on a superficial level. We cannot say that after today. On the outside of their home were streamers, balloons, and flowers and Gonzal was setting off fire crackers. Today was definitely a special day. When we first got into their new home, we gave them many gifts including blankets, stuffed animals, and toothbrushes (just to name a few things).  After that, the family was able to say thanks to us via Dan. They expressed many times how grateful they were to us for our time and for their new house and Marta even began to cry a little, which Dan expressed to us to be a very meaningful thing because Guatemalans do not often cry. After they spoke we were able to say how thankful we were to them for their hospitality and kindness over the past two days. Let’s just say, we all cried a little. We then were able to give them an audio Bible. It is a solar-powered, Spanish Bible which is so small, it can fit into your pocket yet can tell you every verse of the Bible. They were slightly enchanted with the little gadget. After explaining and handing them the Bible, Marta clutched for the rest of our visit. It is possible neither of them can read so this Bible may be the only way they will hear the Gospel and share it with those around them. Now it was God’s turn. Daniel (not to be confused with Dan 🙂 ) is one of the mission’s pastors-in-training and he spoke to Gonzal and Marta using normal objects from their daily routine to explain God’s love for them. Beans symbolized the ‘protein’ and substance of  their daily diet, or God. Salt symbolized the flavor God adds to our lives and soap symbolized the cleanse that occurs when we accept God into our hearts. Hermano Jesus, the mission’s pastor, spoke to the family next and asked them if they wished to accept Jesus into their hearts. Their answer was yes. As we kneeled around them praying, you could feel God’s presence in the home. We as a team believe our family was Christians before, but now we think they God truly lives in their hearts. We left them with hugs and blessing of a bright future, however our day was not done. Being the first home to be dedicated, we still had four more homes to pray over. Teams who were not inside the home had the task of praying and singing over the outside of the home trying to keep distractions away. It overall was a beautiful experience of community that affected us all deeply in different ways. Let’s just say today will never be forgotten. However, our fight for eternity for Gonzal, Marta, and Keli is not over. We still must pray that God stays in their hearts and blesses their lives richly. Fittingly, on their wall we painted ‘Dios bendgia este casa’ which means ‘God bless this house’. Hopefully that truly happens.

As a team, we’d like to thank everyone at home who’s bean praying for us. We can definitely feel your prayers for protection as the rain stayed away and only lightly sprinkled on us as we prayed over the last home. It was actually kinda refreshing! Right now, it is down-pouring and our rooms have some puddles forming. Please pray the rain subsides slightly so we can start group devotions; it’s a little loud with the rain pounding against the tin roof.

We love each and every one of you who are reading this and so does God!

Buenes Noches from Guatemala, Al, Lori, Noah, Joe, Laura, and Abby

It’s Dedication Day!!!!

Friday Morning 4:30 AM    “Dedication Day”
“Jesucristo, Entra my vida, Entra mi Corazon, Cambia Mi” “Jesus Christ, enter my life, enter my heart, change me.” These words will be proclaimed over and over the next several days. These words are some of the most powerful word that can be uttered in this world. These words are words that bring about change. Not just a change in appearance or something on the surface. These words reach beyond time and space. The change that these words carry is forever and eternally significant.

Today as we head back for a final time to the families and the village where we have been building homes and creating relationships, we will carry with us the ultimate goal that we came to Guatemala for. The ultimate reason that we have raised so much money and are willing to make whatever sacrifice that is necessary for us. The Goal that should drive all of Christ’s followers to be willing to reach out to another person who ever they are or where ever they may be. The Goal to open another person’s heart to Christ so their future can be changed forever through the blood of Christ.

Today, we are truly entering into spiritual warfare. Today the enemy will try to stop us. Today we will arrive at the village armed with a resolve to tip the scales of eternity and see lost people become found.

2 Corinthians 5:17 says, “Therefore if anyone is in Christ he is a new creation, the old is gone, the new has come.” Having a relationship with Christ and surrendering one’s life to Him changes everything. Change is often something that we in the States, struggle with. Having a desire to change means that a person must first admit that they have a need to change and then desire to make that Change. Christ came to this world to change and fix what was broken in the Garden with Adam and Eve. Christ came to call us to a life of change and a life of bringing change to the world around us. To be agents of transformation in a lost and dying world.

I can feel that moment right now. The moment that another person is confronted with the choice to follow Jesus or to deny Him. The point that everything in their life hinges on. “The Tipping Point of Eternity”. Today we are praying that we will be able to witness this “Tipping Point” take place in home after home and in heart after heart as we dedicate each home that we completed yesterday to God and share the amazing transformational news of a Man who left his place in heaven to come down and die on a cross so they can have life. Life that is eternal.

This is why we are here. This is what our time here is really all about. Today more than ever we need you to be praying for us. Today we will be taking time in each home with the team surrounding it in prayer to open up God’s word and invite each person to build a new home with Christ in their heart.

This team has been amazing. They are passionate and on fire. They are willing to do whatever they are asked. Today pray for strength as the enemy will surely try to stop us from completing our goal. Pray for us as we pray and give ourselves to the Holy Spirit. Pray that as we stand in God’s presence and witness the “Tipping Point of Eternity” first hand that we will not remain unaffected. Pray that the days and hours that still lie ahead of us will change our hearts and strengthen our passion to serve our Maker with all that we are.

I look forward to having you hear the stories of “Change” that are sure to take place today and over the next couple days as we begin our village ministries.
Now as I sit on the deck at the base watching the sun rise, I feel it once again. The birds are beginning to wake. The clouds left over from the nightly rain hang low in the valley. The calm is almost deafening. There it is, “the calm before the Storm”. I thank God for these moments. Moments that I can just feel peace knowing that whatever happens, God is in control and is watching over us. If you want to read one of my favorite Psalms that I love to read to find that Calm, turn to Psalm 121.
Thank you for your prayers once again. Now I and the team go to face the battle or the storm that awaits us.
In His Grip,
Kevin Van Wyhe

Thursday Team Update

We are team brown, our members are: Martha Kleinbrook, Olivia Stegeman, Julian Cervantes, Tony VanderPloeg, Nancy VanDyke, and Katie Van Wyhe. We are building a house for a family of 6 (2 adults and 4 kids). The mom is Maria, the dad is Mario, the oldest son is Alex (14), Gladis is a daughter (13), Rosy another daughter (10), and Ferner the youngest (7). Today was the second day of building: stucco and painting day. We started out the day putting up and sanding drywall. As a whole group we stuccoed the 5 homes and enjoyed working together. The families of all the homes were eager to help with this task and we had a lot of fun with them. Stucco is very messy and is used to protect the outside and keep water out of the home. After stucco we all went back to our individual homes and painted the inside of our home. The paint color of the inside of all the homes is a mint green and looks very nice. After painting we headed to lunch, which was amazing once again! After lunch we picked out bible verse in Spanish to cover the walls of our home so the people of our house are always surrounded by the word of God. Our verses were John 3:16, Revelation 1:8. Psalm 121, Joshua 24:15. We also put crosses around the house so our house members would remember the love that their savior has for them. The people we are building the house for are incredible and extremely helpful. They want to help in every way possible and you can tell they are very excited to live in this house.

After our detailed painting we packed up and headed back to the vans where we played with kids for a little bit. We are so in love with these kids and we love spending time with them!

We have been so blessed with weather and have had little to no rain. On our way back today it began to sprinkle. But throughout our work days we have had no rain. This is such an answer to prayer because rain makes everything a little bit harder to do.

Worship was amazing last night and we have all felt the presence of God around us. Thank you all for praying for us and walking with us throughout this journey. We covet your prayers and we are so thankful for all of you!

Love the brown team!

 

Thursday Morning -“Stucco Day”

Thursday Morning –June 16 5:00 AM “Stucco Day”
Romans 12:1-3 says, ‘Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God- this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – His good, pleasing and perfect will.
In the Old Testament the word sacrifice was very familiar. It was the presenting of and then the killing of a spotless lamb representing the perfect messiah that was one day going to enter the world and ultimately end the need for spiritual death through His own physical death. So as the word sacrifice was used it clearly referred to the idea that something needed to die. In these verses comes Paul’s urge to us offer ourselves not as a sacrifice that needs to die once but an urge for us to be a living sacrifice that is willing to die over and over again. A sacrifice who is willing to take up the cross of Christ daily and present our bodies to whatever God is calling us to.
We think of sacrifice as a giving up of something. Paul is giving the picture of a sacrifice that God is calling us to, to give up everything. In view of what Christ has done for us, nothing is more valuable or precious than the sacrifice that He made for us. And in that mind set of recognizing that we would be completely lost without His great sacrifice for us, we are called to not die for him but to live for Him til we die.
The word worship is often one that makes us think of things like church, or worship services, or singing praise songs, or praising God, or being in a moment that we recognize the greatness of God. Kind of like I am feeling right now as I sit on the deck at the Base. As the team is still sound asleep inside, I am witnessing the sky catch fire in the East as a spectacular sun rise is being painted on the amazing tapestry in the sky once again. Yes these experiences that we have of experience the awesomeness of our God are amazing and important, they really are not our true spiritual act of Worship.
Our true spiritual act of worship comes when we offer ourselves, even at great risk to be used completely and fully by our maker and our Savior. Worship is really by design, not something that is meant for our hearts to be touched but for us to touch the Heart of the one who should be the most precious thing in our life. God’s heart is most moved and His sacrifice for us best remembered when we offer our lives as a offering. This week, that is what this team is doing. They are living out the term sacrifice here is the middle of Guatemala.
Many of the team here are sharing that they desire to discover what God’s will is for their life. I am sure that they are not alone. Is it not something that most of us struggle to find. “ What does God want me to do with my life?” is a question that I know many of us ask. In verse 3 of Romans 12 we find the secret to discovering the answer to this question. “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind” Can you see it. There’s the wind and the waves again. The powerful distractions of this world that take our eyes off of Christ. The “fool’s gold” that we so often chase after only to find out it isn’t real.
If you believe what Paul is saying, the only wat to discover the God ordained purpose for your life. If you want to chase after a purpose that will eternally satisfy, it all starts with turning your back on the world and fixing your eyes, your hearts and your mind HIM! That is the beginning of a life of true worship. Turning our back on the World and the wind and the waves that distract, and letting God take ownership of everything we are. Remember, when one has their eyes fixed on Christ, nothing, not even walking on water is impossible if that is God’s will.
Today as we head back to the families that we have begun building for [both homes and relationships], we will be putting the coat of protection form the wind and the rain over the home. This protection is in the form of a pink concrete stucco. It is a messy day but is very necessary to making these Homes last and be able to weather the storms that will surely come. On Friday we will be covering the Home with something even greater than stucco. We will be covering them with the spiritual protection of Prayer. A protection we trust that will protect these special families from the spiritual storms that will surely come as well.
Pray for the team today as we travel, as we stucco, as we love, as we laugh, as we cry, as we work hard, as we offer ourselves as living sacrifices, Holy and pleasing to God. Pray for us as we truly worship God again today.
In His grip,
Kevin Van Wyhe