Can’t Wait to Get Home- Don’t Want to Leave!

Today I am stuck, the memories are in my heart. I guess the Lord’s presence was so very real. Love, Forgiveness, Relief, Honesty, Purity, Truth, Friendship, and New Hope, Steadiness and Peace. God is so good. Last night each of the kids cried with each other, many sobbing for almost two hours, and then just quietly sat in the presence of the Lord together for much longer. It was beautiful to see each one making their rounds to pray for others. Not just their closer friends, either. Kids prayed over ministry leaders, brothers and sisters in Christ selflessly and equally lifting up specific needs on behalf of each other. Beautiful hearts! After that, at about midnight we sang, “The Days of Elijah” song and danced like crazy people! In that song some words are- “There’s no God like Jehovah” and “The demons run and flee at the mention of your name, King of Majesty.” All I can say is that what we experienced last night was Heaven right here and now…and Heaven is going to be so….indescribable!

Love,
Teresa

P.S. No worries- we did not let our beautiful Dani kiss the man at the market- even though he offered her a Guatemalan blanket for free!

P.S.S. Jim and Terri- just wait until you see your son and his new threads!

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Happy Fathers Day!

Well, it isn’t actually Fathers Day, but the day after, but due to the computer station being so busy, I had to wait! I was packing my toys and candy in preparation to visit the people of a mountainous village, when I ran across a beanie baby teddy bear that was holding a sign that said, “DAD” on it. I gave it to Chris and wished him a Happy Fathers Day! He said, “Thank You, Teresa, I will keep it forever”- then he hook shot it over my head back into the beanie baby box!

We then had devotions and left for our 3 hour trek up the mountains, I being in Dan Smith’s van. We passed through a very poor area down in the valley, with rotting and decaying buildings, stinky sewer, and trash everywhere. It was dark and depressing. But then, the paved roads turned to dirt, and we began to ascend up and around the mountainside. It was so serene, and the view so majestic that I can not describe it with my words, and even my photos will be inadequate. Every new turn brings a more beautiful view of the valley filled with flowering trees and palm leaves. As far as the eye can see, you can see slope after slope. We took one turn and there was a big, puffy cloud like the ones you see on a pleasant, bright afternoon, as we drove right through it! It seemed like we were in an airplane, rather than a van, except for the bumpy roads! The fences were made of a reed like stalk bound together with vines. Whole families sat by the side of this quiet, dirt path, dressed in bright colors, doing nothing but being TOGETHER! I made the comment to Dan that this place seems so romantic and the simplicity and contentment of life here seems so in contrast to the social pressure and perfection we put on ourselves back home. I know I will soon come home to bills, behavior issues, schedules, etc. You have to know me, and how I can deal with anxiety issues, but here is a different story, somehow. I decided right then and there that I would come home and talk Jeff into moving here- I heard that they are in need of a pastor. Maybe Jeff could go to seminary?!? He’s been willing to do every other crazy thing that I have come up with, hasn’t he?!?

Anyway, as the day went on, I was more and more impressed with this village. The children seemed very well cared for, and were sweet and welcoming to us! I enjoyed getting to know Clementine, Marta, Jorge, Carlos Antonio, and the adults were all so nice as well. One man spoke english, and explained that he had crossed the border and worked in the United States for 4 years before returning to his village. I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know the people with some help of this man.

Next, after the medical clinics were done, we sang and it was time for testimonies, this time there was no hesitation on the part of our kids. Everyone was wanting to share. Nick, Dayton, Dani, Michael, Kim, Micah, Brandon and the intern, Katie all shared. It was so good for the people there to realize that those from the United States have problems just like everyone else. MONEY DOES NOT TAKE AWAY LIFE’S PROBLEMS! After sharing such moving testimonies, Hermano Jesus preached and used the subject of trials and tribulations as the subject of his message. Many, many people were saved- even the men, who looked so stoaic at first. It was such and a heavenly, spirit-filled time. We were the ones to put a physical touch on the Love of God that filled that place. Our white arms around the young and the old. Our affluent, white, privileged, spoiled, educated arms around the simple, poor, forgotten, sick, and uneducated brown people. WoW!

One the long drive home, Dan explained to me that it is not uncommon for the young men to leave their wives and children with good intentions of getting a job in the U.S., in order to make some money to bring back home. The problem is…many do not return to their families.

I guess the lesson that I have learned that the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence. Trials and tribulations are something that draw us closer to our our Lord, and cause us to be able to relate to others, who are in need. But… Our God is Greater, Our God is stronger… He will never leave our side.

Fathers- and everyone else out there back in the U.S.A.- keep on keeping on- God will bless your faithfulness!

Love you All!!!
Teresa

P.S. Andrew Crawley is the best- he cleaned up Riley Stevens’ puke in the middle of the night- now that is brotherly love! Just for that, I might even let him win in Euchre!

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Ready Yourself

2 Timothy 2:10
Therefore, I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they too may obtain salvation that is in Christ Jesus, with eternal glory!

Yesterday we traveled to a coastal village to bring the gospel so that the people there might obtain savation through Jesus Christ with eternal glory!!! For me, the “endure everything” part of this verse meant to hang in there with the car sickness and the extreme heat, bright sun and still, humid, thick air. As we wntered the village down a rugged path, passing an elderly, toothless, man riding a paint horse with a colt following, I let God calm my nerves, asking for the millionth time for his peace. These people probably had never seen white people before, and had they seen the love our Lord? Or hear his powerful name? JESUS! The people took a while to warm up to us. I took a 2 month old baby from a teenage looking mom, who had a crying toddler at her legs. Several kids from our group started up a soccer game- the guatemalan boys were quick to join in. Laughing, cheering and silliness soon broke the ice! Chandler had an excellent head ball right in the air to Nikki, who headed it as well- a double head ball! Then came thunder, lightening, and glorious rain! It cooled things off, and the kids loved playing in the downpour! Bill was goalie- he dove grab the ball and was instantly full of mud! I taught a group of children to play Uno using only smiles, gestures, high fives, and hugs, since I don’t speak Mayan spanish too well. They acted as if they had never seen a deck of cards before. But, when we were done- they would timidly smile and say, “Otra vec.” So we played again and again until they caught on!

After that , we played the Jesus film on a sheet hanging from a roof edge. Then we sang the song, “Sing until the whole world hears.” Some words in that song are, “Ready Yourself, Ready Yourself, let us shine the light of Jesus in the darkest night.” Then it was testimony time. Which of the kids would stand up? I hope someone comes up. Silence… At least someone needs to share…Oh dear…silence… Then Nick stood and shared stories from his past. As Dan translated, the people were very quietly hanging on his every word. Then Russ came up and shyly, but bravely encouraged the people in the way of the Lord. Next, Jaycee shared some of her struggles and how good Jesus is to walk beside us, and how he never lets us go it alone. Then Jamie Curtis shared of an extremely traumatic event from her past. God truly uses our troubles and tribulations for His glory! In all things God works for the good of those who love him and are called according to his purpose.

Hermano Jesus gave a strong message to the people as our group mixed in among the people and prayed. Many kids had tears running down their faces. Mitch, who usually has that handsome, quirky smile of his was in tears over these people he barely knew.

I believe God pointed out to me that he would raise up a new leader from this village, a 20ish year old man in a black shirt. I whispered this to Peg. We both prayed hard over him. In the middle of the message, he got up and left… maybe I was wrong? A minute later, he returned carrying a little child. He went directly to the front of the people, threw himself down on the ground, his face on the wet cement in front of him and then he cried and prayed out loud. As he wept, he accepted Christ into his heart, as many others came up behind him.

Friends and family back home,
READY YOURSELF!!!

Love to you all,
Teresa Stevens

P.S. No worries…Chris killed the big spider that decided to sleep along with Sarah in her bunk bed at about midnight last night…but just to be safe Sarah slept with Brittany in the top bunk!

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The wonderful cross bids me come and die and find that I might truly live…
What an absolutely Spirit filled day! We began by painting a beautiful color of robin egg blue on the insides of our houses. Devon (I’ve grown to love her so)- knew the verse right away that she wanted on the wall of our house- 2 Corinthins 12:10 that’s why I take pleasure in my weakness and the insults , hardships, persecutions and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak than I am strong. What a perfect verse for the recipients of our home. after lunch at the village, we dedicated the homes, gave the families gifts, and then prayed and sang songs of worship outside the homes as Hermano presented the gospel. Sarah and Shelby helped to keep us all in tune (it could have been a musical disaster). Everyone in each house accepted the Lord,with the exception of a young mom, named Nancy. Our hearts broke for her, and we gathered back at the mission base to pray back home as a group for her once again. How often do we plead with God for the souls of our lost friends and family back home, I wonder?

Anyway, we said goodbye to all of our new friends and to the precious, brown eyed children, whom we now love, and headed back to the base. Some of these friends will now be with us in eternity- and maybe, if she changes her mind….so will Nancy.

I love you all back home–
Teresa

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Dedication day

It was a good day today!   As a youth pastor I was so proud of ‘my’ kids .

They walked the perfict line between having fun and being warriors of God!  I just can’t discribe the maturity that they showed and the Kingdome of God was changed because of it!

as we dedicated the homes teens prayed sang around the homes while the Gosple was share to the home owners.

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Singing “The Great I AM” at the top of our lungs tonight with many tears–from the mountaintop tonight was a highlight moment for me!  I am almost sure that all Guatemala could hear us! 

One more thing… Please pray for our families that we will be presenting their new home to tommorow.  We will be also presenting the gospel message to them.  Please pray especially for a woman named Nancy.  She is a young Guatemalan mom and I would love to hear that she accepts Christ, so I can see hope in her eyes!

Love to you all!

P.S.  A special note to the Terhorst family- yes- we did get all the stucko out of Alex’s hair, and -yes- I did make the boys apologize- even though Alex started it!

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Having a wonder…

Having a wonderful time in Guatemala so far! Today we started to build the house for the families in the village! They are all so kind, and the kids are absolutely adorable! I can not wait to see what God had instore for all of us in the upcoming days! 🙂

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