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

Wednesday
Mar022016

Give and it Shall be Given!!

Laurelia is thirty years old, and is an abandoned mother of one, but she also takes care of 4 other children. Her sister suffered from tuberculosis and recently passed away. Having no other family to help,  Laurelia has taken in her 2 nephews, 1 niece and also a young orphan girl Veronica,  that her sister had given refuge to. Despite their severe poverty, first her sister, then Laurelia opened their door to an orphan girl, sharing the little they have. How rewarding it was to be a part in blessing her in return! We loved seeing her heart to care for these young ones, even though she was near destitute herself.  She does her best to support them and give them what they need. Her son, Juan, is 11, and helps take care of the younger children while she works.  Laurelia collects firewood to sell, and also washes and irons clothes for people. Her income is very low and their diet mainly consists of tortillas with watered down beans or eggs, with the occasional vegetable soup. Their house was built of pieces of wood and scrap metal. The property where we built in San Juan Chamelco, was an inheritance from her father.

 Ten other homes have been built already this year, for other needy families similar to Laurelia and her children, giving a place of security out of the rain and mud. I love watching the faces of the Mommas as they walk in to their new home for the first time, onto the cement floor - the realization that they can actually have a clean floor! The children are all magnetically drawn to the beds, and up they climb. Momma is quick to suggest shoes off, and you see already the beginning of lives changed dramatically! 

As we take moments with the families, drawing them in for prayer and thankfulness to God for their new homes, it is much more easy for them to now understand that God their Father has another home prepared for them as well, an eternal home, incomparably better! As tears run down their cheeks, you know that they now have a glimpse of His love for them. 

Sliding into March, it’s wonderful to see so many children in school, with tutors in place to help with many who have illiterate parents that struggled helping with homework, or for children who were struggling for some other reason. We are excited to have 2 new area tutors this year - for the children that means success!  

 

An update on the wheelchair ministry building purchase, we are overwhelmed with God’s goodness and His people’s giving hearts! With the pledges that have been promised, we will meet the goal!! We are so thankful for each and every one of you who has given or encouraged us and lifted us up in prayer as we undertook the purchase of our headquarters location! What a blessing to be able to continue serving from a permanent place!  As God unfolds a vision for what is ahead, we are excited to soon be sharing what our dream is for continued ministry -  stand by for exciting plans!

Saturday
Feb062016

Where giving meets need! 

Mission Trip Day 4  -  by Brad Clark

Have you ever heard the old saying, “Where the rubber meets the road”? I have always understood that to mean the moment of truth in a particular matter. You may say, or intend to do something, but this is where practice turns to action. Today was the day where all of the “giving” of wheelchairs, walkers, canes and crutches by so many hospitals, medical equipment companies and individuals connected with the people who were in desperate “need”…Giving meets need!

Bethel Ministries International is the group we are spending the week with. They work with the disabled and impoverished in Guatemala, providing mobility to those who cannot get it otherwise. Bethel depends on volunteers in America to collect used wheelchairs and other mobility equipment and shipping it to Guatemala. Their Guatemalan staff then takes all of the wheelchairs to refurbish and distribute. Mission Mobility was created to organize the collection efforts in the U.S., finding volunteers to collect the equipment in many states across the country. You can read more at the website .

Many of us on our team this week have been volunteering with Mission Mobility since the beginning. We have spent many hours calling hospitals and nursing homes, driving great distances to collect and then organizing the effort to put them into shipping containers bound for Guatemala. We tell everyone we know about this effort. We describe the people in need, and how they can help.   But, quite honestly, at times it is hard for people to fully grasp how a used wheelchair from Indianapolis, Indiana can actually make its way all the way to a disabled person in the middle of Guatemala. Today, I got to personally fit a little girl named Jennifer into a chair I collected from National Seating and Mobility in Indianapolis last year.

 We drove two hours this morning to a town called Santa Cruz. The drive was so beautiful. Scott took several beautiful images. This is only the second distribution Bethel has done in this area. Our plan was to give 50 wheelchairs today. For many people today, this is their very first wheelchair in their life. One 15 year old boy has been in need all of his life, and his mom got to push her son home for the first time ever! Can you imagine..15 years of carrying your son everywhere you go?

As we unwrapped the wheelchairs, Rick found one of the chairs had a Mission Mobility sticker on it from Louisville. I helped Jorge fit little Jennifer into her new chair. With some minor adjustments, Jennifer was set! I say all of this to encourage all of the volunteers who are collecting. I also say it to encourage those who have so generously donated equipment. Your generosity has given the blessing of mobility to someone in desperate need.   You literally helped change someone’s life forever!

One of the women that was helped today was 105 years old. Wow…what a long life. Imagine what she has seen and experienced in her years. So much of it is not good. She has endured physical and emotional pain unimaginable by most of us. She has lived through a Civil War within her country that took the lives of so many. Yet, she was full of joy. As Rick and Rich were helping her, she took Rick’s hand and placed it on her shoulder. Rick, being the nice guy he is, began gently rubbing her shoulder. After a moment, she then took that same hand and placed it on the other shoulder. He rubbed the other shoulder as well (free massage). Through all of her pain, she praised God for her wheelchair and the comfort she received through the time Rick and Tommy helped her.

A man named “Paula” came to the distribution with his body curled up tightly into a position where he was unable to stretch out. After fitting him in the perfect wheelchair, Scott asked how he felt. He said very good. Scott placed his hand over the man’s heart and asked, “Yes, but how does the wheelchair feel?” Brad Clay was filming this entire process. Brad said that a picture of the man’s face is worth a thousand words. Here is his face as seen through Brad’s camera. He was finally experiencing great physical comfort and relief. Guess what he did? He praised God for His faithfulness. If you read last night’s blog, you should be noticing a pattern. These people have absolutely nothing. Even worse, they have incredibly difficult and pain-filled lives. Yet, without fail, they praise the God who created them, and thank Him for comforting and providing for them.

Tom Ballinger was fitting a young girl that had physical and mental special needs. Her feet were so curled up that they had to layer a lot of foam padding to allow her feet to rest on the footrests. Tom said that the moment her feet touched the foam padding, she got the sweetest grin on her face. She had never experienced this kind of softness on her feet.

A photographer, Brad Clay has been an amazing blessing to us. He has already captured so many special moments. Brad said that he often times listens to music on his headphones as he is filming. As he walked around today filming, his eyes were filling up with tears. To see what God was doing in that room, coupled with great worship music was overwhelming. Brad said that as the other guys were putting away all the supplies as were preparing to go home, he saw Richard come walking in carrying a woman who had two canes. He said that many people walking by on the street outside heard what was going on with our group. When this elderly woman heard, she knew she needed to come see us. Richard scooped her up and brought her in with just a few minutes to spare. She was so incredibly thankful.

After each person receives a chair, they have the opportunity to speak with a pastor who is willing to pray with them, and offer them help and hope. It is a time of great praise as these people get to hear more about the God who loves them. The local government leader prepared a lunch for the team after we put everything away. One of the pastors stood up praising God as 21 people gave their lives to Jesus Christ. For them, this is where “God’s giving” met “their need”. Now, they have a new wheelchair, with a new heart, and a new eternal future!!!

 I cannot thank everyone at home enough who has so generously given to meet our needs on this trip.  I know how many different worthy causes pull at your heart.  Thank you for believing in what we are doing, and supporting all of our projects.  Every man on this team is thankful beyond imagination.

Tomorrow is another busy day filled with stove installations and blanket distributions. Please pray for our continued good health and the people we will interact with tomorrow. It has been amazing so far. I know God has much more planned.   Posted in 2016 Guatemala.

I'll post some more of Brad's awesome pictures here for you to enjoy!
Making do!
Tuesday
Dec222015

2015 year's end! God is Good!

Dear Friends, 
We pray this finds you well!
It’s that time of year when we like to look back and reflect. Once again, we are filled with gratefulness as we remember the many times we witnessed God’s love poured out in us and to those we have had the privilege to love and serve. 
One memory comes to mind: when we visited Olga’s humble home in a distant village of Coban, She cried as we visited together.  Why?  Because no one had ever taken the time to personally visit her. 
We sat with her and her two children inside the smokey hut around the fire, taking care that the simple meal she was preparing wouldn’t burn. We soon began to have teary eyes as well, but from the thick smoke from her cook fire that filled the closed area. - It’s hard to understand how they and so many others like olga cook in such conditions! That’s why at Bethel Ministries we love installing stoves with chimneys to help the families we aid have healthier cooking environments; and there is a need for installing hundreds more all over the country! -  Olga shared her burdens with us and we listened; we cried together and we also laughed together.  She got to know God’s love, expressed in a very practical way by a team from the States. Friends who came from so very far - just for a visit; a visit that helped Olga understand that she is loved. But this love was expressed in tangible ways, with a gift of food, needed clothing, a hug in a moment of loneliness,  and an encouraging word from God’s Word. 
"One life at a time,” is what our vision statement says and it encompasses our heart - “To advance a powerful Christian transformation in the whole of society, one life at a time.”   And how do we complete this? .... By meeting the spiritual, physical, intellectual, and emotional needs of individuals,  we desire that every person use their talents and gifts as we network them together to meet the wide variety of needs that this world has.”  So thank you, friends, for your loving hands that have reached out to others this year, meeting so many in need, and expressing God’s love in Central and South America. 
The year’s end brought 3 weeks of camp for people with special needs, as well as many school graduation invitations and report cards sent with pride to their sponsors from the 250 children in our educational program.  In Nicaragua, Chris ministered in the closing graduation service to the students of our our extension Bible school, and Judah reports from Paraguay that 1800 women now have their own micro-enterprises and are able to provide for their children - that’s exciting!  Caleb and Alyssa are currently in El Salvador, hosting a international youth retreat with over 300 youth and youth pastors from 7 countries. These  youth are passionate for God, and committed to be a part of expanding the Kingdom of God throughout  Central and South America!
Lots of hard work this year! Including last week’s  8 cement floors that were poured in preparation for homes to be built in the first weeks of January. All this is testimony to the goodness of God! Which makes us look forward with excitement and faith for what He has in planned for us in 2016! 
There are so many people like Olga that we remember,  but it would be an email too long to read! So here's a quick clip to let you see their precious faces. With much appreciation, we wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas!! Thank you for your support that enables us to make a lasting difference to that next “one person” to be reached. 
Chris, Donna and the Bethel team 
Sunday
Nov222015

Education - Dreams come true!

BMI’s educational sponsorship is dedicated to create real, lasting transformation for people and their communities. We support people with disabilities in receiving the education and skills training they need to be successful and contributing members of society, by helping them recognize and express their individual abilities, interests and talents. Our Goal is to show God’s love to all people as we partner with communities in meeting the critical needs caused by poverty and disability  http://www.bethelministriesinternational.com/education-guatemala/ 

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Irma is a 12 year old that we had the opportunity to meet while doing home-visits in her village. Her life is another sad story of an abandoned child, left to her elderly grandmother to raise her. Before long, the tables turned and it was Irma who had to care for her Grandmother. She did the cleaning, gathered firewood, prepared their food, even did odd jobs for neighbors, trying hard to have money to buy food. She now takes physical care of the elderly Grandmother when she is weak and in pain. During our visit, Irma told us of her dream; wishes for school - to learn to read and write. She was always told as registration time came and went that there was no money, and the grandmother would say that she didn’t need an education anyway, since she is a girl. It crushed her little heart. Since that day she had been in our thoughts and desires to help. With permission of Grandma, we sent a tutor to begin teaching Irma at home, helping her find her dream come true. Seeing her needs on a daily basis moved the tutor to ask for more help for them. We were able to send her shopping for some much needed clothing and personal care items. She had never been shopping at a new clothing store, she said, and she broke into tears of happiness and unbelief at the beautiful things God has provided now for her. Also fulfilling the dream, our social worker started knocking on doors of schools! She found one willing to accept Irma at her age - a rarity!  Also receiving the approval of Grandma who has now seen what joy and growth Irma has had in the last few months. She now reads and writes well. We know she will succeed in school; very soon even to be promoted onward. It's a dream come true for her! So, to Education Sponsors: Life of this one has drastically changed!

Jose Cruz

Jose is 19 years old. He lives with his Mom, Glendy. When Jose was a 2 year old, Glendy, fearing for their lives, made the hard decision to flee from her husband after much abuse. She tries to make a living selling lotions and makeup, but it has been very difficult. The life of Jose changed drastically in 2011. On returning home one day from a trip to the market, the vehicle he rode in was attacked by armed robbers. Twice he was shot at, hit in his chest and the spinal column. Thankfully, he escaped death. After about a month of hospital care, he is now in a wheelchair. Discouraged, and not able to dream of ever returning to school, he met one of Bethel’s volunteers. He received a wheelchair and an invitation to camp. Now having attended his 4th year of  camp,  Jose says, “Thanks to God and to my times at camp, my life has been changed once again. After the accident I was so sad all the time, and could not accept that I was in a wheelchair. My mother suffered much during this time as well. My friends from Bethel encouraged me and found me a sponsor so that I could go on with schooling. This has been so encouraging for me and my mother, who does not earn enough for me to study even though she works so hard to provide us a place to live and to buy our food. This year I am so happy because my dreams have come true. I have just graduated with  a bachelor’s degree in Computation. I did an internship in government offices where I learned many new things as well. Thank you, Bethel, for encouraging me to dream, and enabling my dreams to come true!

I have a goal of going on to study in the university, and I know that with God  ALL things are possible! There aren’t words to express my great appreciation for the help given, and for believing in me!” (Jose)

Maria Consuelo

Cony is 21 years old. She didn’t walk at the normal age as a child, so her mother took her to a doctor where she was diagnosed with meningocele. At 8 years, she began her education. Being one few people with a disability rising to the challenge of studies in school, Cony has achieved great things, graduating with a degree in accounting. She is a shining example to the younger generation here in Guatemala! in January she continues on to have a degree in auditing, which will allow her a good job with the government. One set-back, she was forced to stop studying for a year as slowly she's recovering from pressure sores. Again, we give thanks to a sponsor, as health and happiness here are becoming reality! 

Sonia

Sonia, is 23 years old and cannot walk due to polio that she contracted at one year old. She only received a few months of physical therapy as a child because of her family’s low income; then also her mother left her with her grandparents when she was only 7 years old. Sonia was not able to attend school until 2008, when a missionary helped her to get through 3rd grade.  At that time Sonia was invited to camp and we got to know her. Her missionary friend, upon leaving the country, asked us if we could take over Sonia’s scholarship to help her continue her studies, which we gladly did. So strong is Sonia’s determination to study, that 3 years ago she moved from her village where there is no high school, to live with a girlfriend in the city where she can further her education.  Her friend helps her get to school each day. Her goal is to graduate with a 3 year degree in computer electronics. She says: "Thank you for helping change my life! My life before this had no direction or goal. Now I know God has a good plan for me and my life!” 

We see many young ones like these, who dream of having an education. Currently Bethel helps 253 students with full scholarships, and many children with school supplies. Others are lined up for 2016. If God moves on your heart, this month is registration time for them for the new school year. Almost daily, mothers come to our Bethel door to tell us stories like those above. We have put a few of them on our website page, and there are more besides. Please enjoy a look;  http://www.bethelministriesinternational.com/education-guatemala/   If God puts on your heart to share with these children, we would greatly appreciate it, both one time gifts to help with the students who just need a boost to be able to attend, and/or for those that need monthly sponsorship.

God is good - All the time!

We want to share of several of the blessings God has poured out these last months. As you may know, we are fund raising for the purchase of the land where the wheelchair restoration shop and offices are here in Guatemala.  Praise Jesus, it is going well with $35,043 of the $80,000 raised since we announced this need. Thank you for joining with us in this challenging project!

God is so good to meet every need!

Camp time!   

We have hosted camp for people with disabilities the last two weeks, with one more week ahead! It has been an amazing time of ministry. Camp is such an important time for these to connect and be encouraged through the difficult times that they pass through, having a disability in a 3rd world country. As you read above, three of those graduating were children when they came to camp for the first time, and their lives were drastically changed, praise to Jesus!

There is much to be thankful for! 

We praise God for our friends and for how God and His people have enabled Bethel to bless and help many poor and disabled this year. We love seeing how they are drawn close to Him by the love poured into their lives. Thank you, mission teams, who have come and walked beside us, distributing 1800 wheelchairs this year, building homes and encouraging people. Thank you to all those who have already sent! God bless you and yours this Thanksgiving Season!

Sincerely, Chris, Donna and the Bethel team 

P.S. If you have any online shopping to do, please remember when you shop at AmazonSmile, Amazon donates 0.5% of the purchase price to Bethel Ministries International. Bookmark the link http://smile.amazon.com/ch/26-0619803 and support us every time you shop.

Stateside address: Bethel Ministries International P.O. box 573 Reserve, NM 87830

headquarters@bethelministriesinternational.com

http://www.bethelministriesinternational.com 

575 519-1098 (Skype # that forwards to Guatemala)

 

Friday
Oct022015

Bethel update

Hi from Guatemala!
We have been staying really busy as I'm sure many of you see on Facebook, with tags here and there from the different groups that have come down over the year. But I'm not - Chris speaking here - a big Facebooker, so we want to get a newsletter out to those of you like me! 
This week we are working in Tecpan.  It is high elevation and it is cold. I know what you’re thinking- Chris does not know cold - well it's cold to me! 
Like every week, we are expecting to see God work in amazing ways. It never ceases to blow my mind how He leads us to those who need to hear of His great love, and to see them respond to His touch on their lives. 
I got to tell you, I really look forward to each and every day that I can be out and about with these lovely people of Guatemala.
Thank you so much everyone for your prayers. We know it makes a big difference in everything that happens here at Bethel.
If you have been following the news about what is happening here in Guatemala, you have seen some unrest in the country mainly because of the corruption that was discovered in the president’s office, but things are much better now. We have had our first round of elections and the runoff election will be in October to see who will be our next president. So please be in prayer!
And speaking of prayer, I just want everyone to know of the many salvations that we see; this week alone there were 21 people that made a decision to follow Christ. Seeing people come to the Lord truly motivates us to keep going. 

   

*Mission Mobility*  An update on the collection of wheelchairs.  Since we have put the challenge of collecting wheelchairs to you our friends, and all the groups that have been coming down,  4 containers have come and two more are on the way!  Thank you everyone for participating in this outreach, and if you have not started gathering wheelchairs, we would encourage you to start! I know that you have seen the need; and I pray that God would give you grace, and that doors of opportunity would open up around you.  Please take this to heart, we need all the wheelchairs that you can get your hands on. 
Rick Fulton is heading this up, and you can find him at: http://missionmobility.org/   Connect and collect - you will be glad you did, and many will be blessed by our joined efforts!
Well, I guess everyone is wondering about how the fundraiser is doing that will allow us to buy the wheelchair shop. It is going great!  We have had many respond, and so far $32,518.00 has been gven in responce to our last post. We are so excited and thankful!!  $80,000 is our goal, and this needs to be raised by October of 2016. We surly want to thank those who have given early, this has given us great peace, iand allows us to stay focused on the needs of those that we serve daily. 
With much appreciation, 
Chris, Donna, and the Bethel team