The memories of eight years ago are still clear to me today. While visiting my husband’s parents, their church hosted a joint Sunday morning service with a Hispanic congregation. My 8-year-old Elisabeth fell in love with a little Spanish girl and together they shared their native languages with each other, pointing to objects and repeating words for the other to learn. That experience made quite an impact in Elisabeth’s life. Several years later, we talked about what God might have for her future before He sends her future husband. (From that conversation, the book Becoming a Daughter of Destiny, was born.) After a time of prayer she said that she wanted to work with Hispanic children and maybe even start her own orphanage. Over the years, Elisabeth’s love for the Hispanic people grew. She studied Spanish, listened to Spanish Christian radio via the internet, and dreamed of the day she could travel to South or Central America. Last year she heard about a team who was going to Guatemala to teach orphans about worship. She was interested, but it was too late to join since the team was leaving in only two weeks. She prayed that another team would go the following year and put her name on the waiting list. Throughout the year, Harold and I prayed and sensed that this trip was God’s plan for Elisabeth. In early April Elisabeth and I were accepted to be part of a return trip scheduled for July, 2010.
Before we left for Guatemala, God put in my heart to print a Spanish translation of Lady Day that could be used in orphanages. God provided a friend to translate the book and the finances to print a colorful cover designed especially for the girls of Guatemala. We brought 100 copies and prayed for God to open doors.
Our ten days were packed with ministry to orphaned, abused or under-privileged children and to orphanage directors, house parents, and Guatemalan believers. We held a Worship Festival at three different orphanages. The first day the team played with the kids (ages 4-18) for a few hours to build relationships. We brought balls, bubbles, jump ropes, kites, and balloon animals, and a giant parachute. We had a time of singing songs in Spanish and English like, “I’ve got the joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart.” And “I am Free to Run.” We also shared a meal with them. The next day or several days later, we returned to teach them about worship. We began with a time of singing. Then we broke up into small groups and rotated
through several “stations” about how to worship God through music, dance/movement, crafts and soaking. In music, we taught the kids a little about reading music and matching pitches. Elisabeth and her friend Kara were in charge of the dance/movement. They taught the kids how you can worship with dance and planned movements (a lot of jumping!) to the Spanish version of “You Have Turned My Mourning into Dancing.”
I was in charge of crafts. Through a translator, I talked about how God gives us artistic abilities and how we can use our gifts to worship Him. Then the kids made a musical “tooter” with wide craft sticks and a prayer journal with blank pages to keep a record of what God says to them. Sometimes they used their journals in “soaking,” a time of being quiet and still before God and soaking in His presence. Before we left, we gathered the children back together and presented a mime about how God the Father loves us and gives us gifts, but Satan tries to steal them and keep us from the Father. We concluded with a call to salvation and a time of individual ministry, including a time of praying for physical healing.
During our stay in Guatemala, we visited four orphanages where I was able to present Siendo Una Senorita, our Spanish translation of Lady Day. One worker remarked how beautiful the books were and that it was a great translation. She was thrilled. A director at another orphanage commented that just that morning she had had a discussion with the girls of the orphanage and realized she needed a tool to teach them about such things. She cried at the thought that God had cared enough to provide for the girls. Another director said that just yesterday the leaders of the orphanage had discussed how important it was to have discussions about growing up and how they were going to approach the subject. In each case, God had prepared the way. I feel privileged to be part of God’s plan for the girls of Guatemala. Praise God for His faithfulness to His beloved daughters!
While we were there, God opened up other opportunities that weren’t on our original schedule. One day we drove nearly two hours to a small village near the volcano that had erupted in May. About 100 underprivileged children from the area came to a small community center where we sang songs and played games. After about half and hour, our team leader asked Elisabeth to tell the children a story that would make them ask Jesus into their hearts. Through an interpreter, she told the story of the Prodigal Son. Nearly all of the children raised their hand to accept Christ and Elisabeth led them in the sinner’s prayer. I was so proud of her. It was a sweet moment for a mother’s heart.
Another day, we spent about an hour at an orphanage with HIV positive children. In that short amount of time, we sang with the children, told them how much the Father loved them using the story of the Prodigal Son. Many prayed to accept Jesus. As we gave the girls balloon crowns and the boys balloon swords, we spoke words of blessing over the children (Ex. You are a warrior of peace. You are a princess of faith.). We were encouraged to hear testimonies of how God had healed three of the HIV-positive children and we prayed for more children to be healed. Still another day we went to the Red Zone, a dangerous area of the city for natives and foreigners. With a guide, we were given entry to a gang-infested neighborhood where we gathered in a small courtyard surrounded by corrugated metal walls. Again we sang songs, presented a mime drama about the Father’s love, and crowned them as princes as princesses—this time with paper crowns donated by the Burger King where we had eaten breakfast.
While the majority of our time was spent with children, God also gave us opportunities to pray with people from all walks of life: a family of Guatemalan believers who are involved in government, another family of Guatemalan believers whom God has prospered through business, and several American couples who serve as directors at the Christian orphanages we visited. On the Sunday we were there, we attended a Guatemalan church where our team led worship and our team leader preached. Many responded and came forward to receive prayer. Several were healed.
Seeing Elisabeth’s reaction to how God answered her prayers for a balcony at our hotel
Worshipping as a team at our hotel--the presence of God was so sweet
Listening to Elisabeth use her Spanish with the children
Watching Elisabeth ask the children if they want to accept Jesus and watching all the little hands go up
Praying for a young woman, knowing that God was calling her and changing her destiny in that moment
Presenting the Siendo Una Senorita books to the orphanage worker/directors
It was a privilege to travel with my daughter to Guatemala to love the people and serve my Father. Neither of us will be the same--and I don’t believe that Guatemala will be the same, either! Elisabeth is continuing her Spanish studies with renewed vigor and is praying about her next steps. Spanish is definitely part of the equation. In Guatemala, there are many children who now know of a Heavenly Father who loves them and who has given them gifts. They have a new perspective of who God is and of their value as sons and daughters of the Most High God. These children will become spouses, parents, businessmen, lawyers, inventors, government leaders, pastors, or worshipers who will shape the heart and soul of Guatemala…for the praise of His glorious grace. All praise to our God and Savior, Jesus Christ.