Bethel Ministries International
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Guatemala has the Genesis World Record of how many people you can get in a chicken bus - 221 people!

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Let His will be done in Guatemala

Thursday
Nov222018

Giving Tuesday - A Time To Be Thankful

As we get to this time of year where many stop to ponder what they are thankful for, we at Bethel Ministries are inclined to look back and remember as well. We consider it a true gift and blessing to be able to do what we love year after year….and what is it that we love, you might ask? We love meeting new people every day, and helping them in whatever way we are able. It’s our joy to enable them to take a step forward in life, and also many times to have the privilege of bringing them into a relationship with their Savior. Keep reading to find out about some of the amazing people we have met this year.

Javier is 6 years old and has Caudal Regression Syndrome and Scoliosis. He came to one of our wheelchair distributions in October requesting a walker. Javier’s back was bent almost into an “S” shape because of the way he would have to throw his body from side to side just to be able to walk. He was certainly excited when he received his very own walker and kept saying as he ran around “¡Mamí me gusta mucho!” which means “Mommy, I like it a lot!” During this giving season, we would like to offer you the opportunity to help give mobility to more people like Javier. If you would help in this way please click here.  

Yohana is 16 years old, lives in Asuncion Mita, and dreams of becoming a doctor. She is the youngest child of Maritza and Luis, and often helps out her dad with the family fishing business, which only makes approximately $200 a month. We visited Yohana and her parents to give them a food bag and quickly realized how incredibly bright Yohana is.  Her certificate of achievement for being top student in her sixth grade class was posted right above the doorway so that everyone who came by would see Yohana’s accomplishment. We asked Yohana if she was still in school, and she said she had to drop out several years ago because the closest high school was an hour away by car, and the family just could not afford to pay for her to go even though Yohana and her parents desperately wanted her to continue studying. It did not take much to convince us that Yohana needs to go back to school so she could fulfill her dream of becoming a doctor…and she will. To help more students like Yohana fulfill their dreams, click here

Victoria is a single mother who lives in Chiquimulilla with her twenty-six year old daughter and seventeen year old son. We visited Victoria to give her a food bag and discovered that we arrived to her home right in time. Victoria has severe diabetes that has been left untreated, and has been in need of several medical tests for quite some time but has not been able to afford to have them done. Her children told us upon arrival that a few days prior they thought their mother was going to die because she was having a bad episode and her health plummeted. Thank God, Victoria was still alive when we got there, and when word was mentioned of financial need to get the tests done, everyone in the group pulled out their wallets and came up with more than enough money for the tests. The transformation in the son’s attitude at this act of generosity was incredible! While both his mother and sister are believers, this young man was skeptical about God.  His shield that was put up when we walked in the door as Christians, immediately melted away as he saw the love of God in action. To help more people like Victoria, click here.  

Linsy lives in El Jicaro and is raising three young children on her own after she left her abusive and alcoholic husband almost a year ago. She now makes approximately $27 a week by washing clothes for people and selling firewood. Linsy and her children were living in a shack made of rusted sheet metal, plastic, and old pieces of wood until recently, when we were given the opportunity to build a house for her. When Linsy found out that she was getting a new home, she and her family worked from 6 am until late afternoon every day for a month to prepare her land for the new house she was going to receive. There were many tears of joy during the dedication of her new home, and now Linsy and her children have somewhere to call their own that is safe from the elements. To find out how to help more people like Linsy, click here.  

Whether it’s giving someone the gift of mobility, education, a bag of food, a home, or even just a hug, we consider it a privilege to be the hands and feet of God here in Guatemala. Physically being in country is not a requirement to be His hands and feet. You, too, can be a blessing to these people by considering to sponsor a family or a student in their time of need this Giving Tuesday. “‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’” – Matthew 25:40  

Thank you, as well, to all those who have already given to these amazing people. We are so thankful for you!  

Blessings from the Bethel Ministries Team!

Sunday
Jul152018

For The One

This summer has been a wonderful time of reaching out. We've been out in 7 different villages the past 8 weeks, and many more to come in the following 2 months. People's lives transformed by the Father's love, one life at a time.
Friday
Jun152018

Keep on Keeping on

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne. Think of all the hostility he endured from sinful people; then you won’t become weary and lose heart.

- Hebrews 12:1-3

There are always times when each of us needs to stop and re-focus to remember what is right, and to remember that we should keep on keeping on with the things that matter most. This is where I find myself today, and I pray you find yourself there as well. As I think over the past few months, I remember the needs that were seen, those that were met, and most importantly the love that was shared with every life. Last week, I was greatly affected as I spoke to a 12 year old about having a life with God. As I spoke to her, I was able to see the impact that the conversation had on her as she broke down into tears and said yes to Jesus. This is the reason to not lose heart, this is the reason to keep on keeping on. All too often we lose sight of what is the most important because the weight of life and sin slows us down. This is when we must stop and put our focus back on Jesus, and remember that this is not about me or about the way I feel, this is all about Him and His plan for humanity. It’s about His desire that all would come to know him, and our job is just to show His love and goodness. And the most beautiful thing about it all, is that our Sovereign Lord will always be there waiting to help us strip off that weight, re-focus, and keep on keeping on for Him.




 

 

 

Thursday
Mar222018

We at Bethel are off to a wonderful start this year. There has been much need seen, and much that has been met. We have had the pleasure of hosting quite a few mission teams this year already, and many lives have been changed, including those who have come down to be a blessing and those who were blessed. With these teams, we have been able to build 24 homes, give away 180 food bags to families with need, give over 600 wheelchairs to those who’s mobility depends on it, but most importantly have been able to share the love of God and His Word to all of these precious ones. 

One family whose home we built comes to mind. Her name is Filomena and she has seven children. The main reason this family sticks out is because they live in Tecpan, which can get very cold, especially during the first few months of the year. We were in Tecpan for a few days before we built Filomena’s home, doing home visits and stove installations. While we were there, a chilly 20 mph wind came along and made us really stop and think about those we were visiting and Filomena. If we could feel the chill and the biting wind coming through in a hotel that was well built, how much more were they feeling in structures made of scrap wood and plastic. We were all very excited when we got to build her home; and she no longer had to sleep with the wind, the rain, and the cold going through. Filomena’s oldest son ran up to Juanito at the end of the build and very excitedly said thanks for the bunk beds that were put in. He would not have to sleep on wooden planks on the ground again.

Time and time again we run into situations that make us remember how incredibly blessed we are just by having a house that protects us from the environment, a warm bed to sleep in at night, and food on the table every day. We can look at these families and count how many material blessings we have compared to them, but at the same time, many of these families could also give a mile long list of their blessings - which most often includes you. 

Thank you for being a blessing!

 

Warehouse/Clinic wall going up!

Sunday
Feb112018

Brad’s Final Thoughts-2018

The 2018 trip has come to a close.  It was a wonderful team and God did so many amazing things during the week.  A couple of the guys have written their closing thoughts.  This is my chance to wrap it up until next year.

I want to start by saying thank you to everyone who donated money this year.  Seventy-two individuals and families financially supported our projects.  I cannot thank you enough for helping us, for having confidence in our team and making each project a reality.  This is the 9th trip we have been on.  I always wonder if people will get tired of giving?  As trips like this mature, it is easy for people to stop giving.  I was so encouraged this year by the outpouring of support.  Every donation mattered.  From teenage girls giving money they have saved to businessmen sponsoring entire house projects; family members who have continued to believe in us, to women who knit stocking caps or go to stores to buy sheets and bedding.  You share in the success of this trip alongside our team.  Thank you!

One of my goals is to break the implications of generational poverty.  I believe this starts spiritually, educationally and matrimonially.  I want to explain this through three families we worked with.

Spiritual

First, change must start spiritually.   You may remember “Francisco”.  He was the 89-year old coffee picker.  He had the hands worn from a hard life that I will never be able to fully comprehend.  His generation is drawing to an end.  It was a generation scarred by civil war where estimates are that 83% of the 200,000 people who died were Mayan.  They had to work hard, and had little, to no education.  His daughter (Marta’s mom) is struggling to feed and shelter her daughters. Good jobs are impossible to find.  They find work anywhere they can.  She is caught between caring for her older father and trying to raise her young daughters.  Then, there’s little Marta.  At 7-years old, her life is just getting started.  She is on the path of lifelong poverty.  No education.  No father to lead and love her.  No one advocating for her future.  If you remember, the family has never been to church one day in their lives.  Francisco never went.  His daughter never had that modeled, so she didn’t see the need.  Now, Marta is living with their choices.  It could seem hopeless to many.  But, I see hope. 

Where can this hope come from?  It’s not coming from the government.  It’s coming from an Eternal Hope little Marta now knows of.  I watched the movie “Woodlawn” tonight with my girls.  It spoke of the fact that each life matters.  God’s love is for each one of us.  No matter our age, color or nationality, God’s love truly knows no borders.  His Love is unlimited.  His Love provides a hope that can never be extinguished.  We visited their house to install a stove.  We left them with more than something better to cook their food with.  We left them with a love and peace that transcends all understanding.  Francisco’s hands are scarred by years of picking coffee beans.  Jesus Christ’s hands are scarred by nails that were meant for you and me.  He took the blame.  He took the punishment.  With His words in the beginning, He spoke all things into existence.  With His last earthly breath, He said, “It is finished”.  The price has been paid.  There is now no condemnation for those who call on His Name.  By God’s Grace, little Marta’s destiny has changed.  Not just for this life, but the life to come!

Education

Many children in America dread going to school.  If given the chance, many would probably stop going all together.  In Guatemala, education is a dream that seems so elusive.  While going to school is technically “free” in Guatemala, it is anything but that in reality.  The schools say you need a uniform, black shoes and a backpack.  If a family has to choose between food and school, school loses all the time.  If money is there, most of the time they would choose to send the son.  Opportunities for girls to get a good education are slim.  They typically have to go work in the fields to feed their families and send their brothers to school.  So, when we come across girls like Dorcas or Ingrid, we are passionate about helping them get into school.  Dorcas is a sweet young girl who has a mom that wants her to get a good education.  She just doesn’t have the money.  So, her older sister is working in the fields to help send her to school.  We need help with getting Dorcas sponsored in school.  For $50 a month, you will change her life, and that of her family.  I won’t try to relate this to the cost of a good meal or coffee here at home.  The simple truth is that there is someone reading this blog who can sponsor Dorcas or another girl like her (read about Ingrid) for the years ahead.  This will give her hope and possibility.

Marriage

One of the most heart-breaking aspects we come across is the lack of male role models in the families we work with.  Because life is hard, often times men will begin a family, but when difficult times hit (and they always do), the men often begin drinking and ultimately abandon the family.  They lose hope in providing, so they do the only thing they feel they can…run away.  It’s a vicious cycle.  They run to another woman and begin the whole thing again.  This isn’t only a Guatemalan problem, but around the world.  Men have lost the importance God has placed on their role in the home.  But, we have been blessed over time to work with several families where the man is still in the home.  And, while that is so encouraging, there is still a problem.  I’ve described the idea of “Oneness” before.  A man and woman love each other, but they cannot afford to buy the marriage certificate and throw the fiesta that will follow.  So, they simply live together and have children.  While I applaud the fact they are staying together, this is not the way God designed it to work.  It’s supposed to be one man and one woman in a lifelong marriage.  They are not just entering into a covenant with each other, but with God as well.  We all know that until real commitment is made in business or anything else, there is always room to leave.  Would you form a business partnership without signing a contract?  Would you begin paying for the mortgage on your new house if you didn’t have a contract that says it’s yours?  No one would.  So, why would we expect someone to stick with a relationship through good times and bad, sickness and health without true commitment?  We came across Felipe and Anastasia who were in this spot.  They wanted to get married, but couldn’t afford to pay for it.  If done the way they would culturally be expected, it would cost around $300 US dollars.  That’s about 150 days wages for many Guatemalans.  We are helping Felipe and Anastasia get married.  This will not only have positive implications on their own relationship, but I believe the future of their children and the choices they will make.

I love being able to go to Guatemala and see lives changed in many ways.  It is so refreshing to go into someone’s home, have an open discussion about what their challenges are in life and through your financial help and God’s Grace, help fix their problems.  They know they need help.  They are not afraid to talk about it and have you pray for their families.  They know this help is coming from God, and they are truly thankful.  How about your home?

The challenge for all the men on the team is to come home with our hearts broken by the pain and suffering we witness and make a difference here in our own homes and communities.  To dive into the lives of those around us and with God’s help, see lives and circumstances changed.  We were not meant to live life on our own.  We were meant for fellowship.  Fellowship with one another and with God.

If any of this stirs your heart and you would love to discuss any of it with me, please let me know.  If you have pain and hardship in your home or marriage and have no idea where to turn, I would love to introduce you to the “One” who can work miracles.  If you feel God is calling you to help financially by sponsoring someone’s education, please reach out as well.  These kids deserve a chance.  Please help make education a reality for these girls.

I also want to thank Chris, Ben and Emily Mooney.  It was a great week with you and I am already looking forward to next year.  Your ministry is a blessing to my life, and I thank you for your friendship.

To all who are reading this, thank you for your trust and thank you for your love.  Until next year, Dios te Bendiga.