“Jesus sat near the Temple Money box and watched the people put in their Money. Many rich people gave large sums of money. Then a poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which were only worth a few cents.
Calling his followers to him, Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, this poor widow gave more than all those rich people. They gave only what they did not need. This woman is very poor, but she gave all she had; she gave all she had to live on.” – Mark 11: 41-44
Last month, we were blessed to welcome and host three different short term mission teams to work alongside of us in Kairos Ministries. Each team was distinct in their personality, size, and church denomination, but they all had the same purpose: to be the hands and feet of Christ for one week and to “preach” the love of God, sometimes without saying a word. They all sacrificed their time and financial resources to come and be servants to the people of Guatemala in the name of Jesus.
The first team we welcomed was from The First Presbyterian Church of Lewisburg, PA.
This group of 15 was made up of 2 doctors, 2 pharmacists, 2 nurses and 1 engineer, and 8 able-bodied individuals willing to serve in whatever capacity they were needed. During their four days of clinic in Tierra Blanca, Chiguatón, and Marimba, the group attended to 560 people! The group not only treated the families for medical issues, but also offered a mini vision clinic and gave away several pairs of vision glasses, offering the precious gift of sight with clarity. If you have never had to deal farsighted or nearsighted issues, you cannot comprehend the great value of owning a pair of glasses that give you a new found freedom with something as simple as being able to see clearly the details of your loved ones faces. This group continued in its commitment to the clean water project in Tierra Blanca that they started over four years ago and brought new filters to those who had not yet received one or had a broken filter and offered cleaning services to rid old filters of unwanted residue and sediment. Gustavo accompanied a few members of the group, along with Don Alejandro, to visit the water source for the community and took some samples of this water, plus that which was available at some homes and in the school – all of the water was contaminated. This group maintains its commitment to this community and to Kairos Ministries and states that they are going to continue to work towards a solution that will provide clean water for the entire community and hopefully we will be able to be replicate this in the other communities surrounding Tierra Blanca.
The second group we hosted was from LCBC Church out of Manheim, PA.
This group of 24 included 2 doctors, 1 Nurse Practitioner, 3 pharmacists, 5 nurses, 5 youth and 8 energetic, servant minded individuals. This team visited the villages of Chío and Tisipe, also in the municipality of Camotán. During their 4 days of clinic, they attended to 685 individuals, filled 1,829 prescriptions and painstakingly fitted 134 “unmarked” glasses. Despite a few members of the group taking ill for a day or two, the momentum of the group as a whole never stopped. It was great to see the youth take on their own projects during the week by setting up face painting and coloring stations or reading stories to the local children as they waited patiently to be seen by the doctors. One school, in Tisipe, had 196 students alone and only 4 teachers – that’s a lot of kids!
Our last week-long group for the summer was from Ruhl’s United Methodist Church, also out of Manheim, PA. This group of 12 was different in that 9 of the team members (one male, 8 female) were between the ages of 18 – 24 and the leader herself was a recent high school graduate. This church has been coming to Guatemala with Kairos for the past 6 years, but this was their first trip to Chiquimula. They concentrated on painting the school in Tierra Blanca for 3 days and the 4thday, 5 of them returned to Tierra Blanca to finish one of the classrooms while the remaining group members stayed in Chiquimula City to paint the inside and outside of the kitchen (built by an LCBC team in July of 2008) at El Calvario church, where all of our meals are prepared during our stays in Chiquimula. It was rewarding to hear the young adults’ share their perspectives from the week and to learn of the impact their visit to Guatemala made on their lives and hopefully, in turn, will impact the lives of their friends and families back home in the USA.
Each of these three groups demonstrated some level of sacrificial giving and serving, both during their time in Guatemala and during the time preparing and leading up to their trips. However, perhaps the greatest example of pure, sacrificial giving can be seen from the people we were there to serve in the villages. While painting the school building, the group took a few minutes to present the teachers with two suitcases filled with different school supplies. The teachers were overcome with appreciation for the items and assured the group that they would be put to good use. The head teacher then shared that the students would be especially excited to receive these items and they would be considered a gift from God. She went on to explain that each student is issued 2 notebooks to use for the entire school year, but when Agatha hit Guatemala in June and devastated some communities in the southern part of Guatemala, the students, without hesitation, each donated 1 of their notebooks to send to some of the students who lived in this area. Imagine, a young child, who himself lives in what is designated “the poorest of the poor” of all the communities in Guatemala, and cannot afford to buy notebooks or other school supplies for himself, but gives ½ of what he has – and what he needs – to someone he doesn’t even know, recognizing a need for help and gives unselfishly – and without expecting any type of compensation! This is definitely a greater gift then most of us could expect to give in our lifetime and what a beautiful depiction of the 2nd most important command God gave us, to “love your neighbor as you love yourself” (Mark 11:31)
We, in Kairos, are so very thankful for all the sacrificial givers who choose to serve alongside of us, be it through action, financial support or giving of their time and talents. No words of ours can truly express our deep appreciation. However, our greatest appreciation and thanks is to God for His faithfulness in providing for all the needs in the ministry, not only in the Kairos House, but out in the communities we are reaching throughout Guatemala, by touching the hearts of so many of you. The song of David, found in Psalm 96: 1-4, gives a good overview of our sentiments:
Sing to the Lord a new song; sing to the Lord, all the earth. Sing to the Lord and praise his name; every day tell how he saves us. Tell the nations of his glory; tell all peoples the miracles he does. Because the Lord is great; he should be praised at all times
All the good work that is done in Kairos Ministries is because God is good. We want to give all honor and praise to Him for each project we complete, be it small or big, we strive to do it all for Him.
To view more photos from these different weeks of service, you may visit our albums on Facebook and by clicking on the following links:
Week 1: First Presbyterian Church of Lewisburg, PA http://picasaweb.google.com/114035984519526…549920/Guatemala2010#slideshow/5497965880293091810
Week 3: Ruhl’s United Methodist Church