Saturday February 18 - Day 6
Team left Hotel California at 8:45 and are headed to the airport for. 2:30 pm departure.
What a great week everyone had. One person said it was their best trip ever.
Thanks for your prayerful support.
Friday February 17 - Day 5
On our last day in Panajachel we were able to relax a bit and enjoy the area. Four team members experienced an adventurous zip line right through the forest and five members went on a cultural tour. And of course there was enough time to do some shopping at the many local shops for souvenirs to take home as tangible reminders of the time we spent in country.
Our time in Guatemala has been full of hard work, great food, new friendships, and many opportunities to see the endless love of God at work with skin on and in a variety of colors.
We leave early tomorrow morning to return home around midnight. Although our bags might be lighter on the return our hearts are fuller with the kind of love that transformed each of us from the inside out.
Thank you for your prayerful support as we put both yours and our prayers into action with our hands, hugs and words of affirmation and love.
Thursday February 16 - Day 4 part 2 from the team
Today was our last day on the work-site. What was accomplished in four days has been amazing. Make sure you look at the day one picture and then today's shown below.
We ended our time on the site saying our good byes to Elsa and her lovely family. The kids served right alongside us every day. The boys would come home from school, eat one of the sandwiches we made for them and then pickup a shovel and literally dig right in and help.
Of course all work and no play makes us all dull. So we played some soccer on a graded field, soon to be a community soccer field, right behind the house. The boys have endless energy. We also did some jump roping as well.
Oh, almost forgot, Hezikiah, one the boys, turned 11 this week and so a couple of team members bought a beautiful birthday cake to celebrate; with firecrackers and all.
It has been a incredible sight to see the generosity of each team member this week. Without doubt everyone is returning home with more than anyone gave. We have experienced Jesus' teaching, if you give you receive, first hand.
Tomorrow some are going zip lining, a couple others are going on a culture tour, but either way tomorrow is a day to enjoy the beautiful country of Guatemala and then look around the really cool town of Panajachel.
Don't forget to check in again tomorrow to hear some stories of the day's adventures.
Thank you for supporting us with your prayers.
Thursday February 16 - Day 4 part 1 from the team
On our way to the work site this morning we stopped to help move lumber to the wood shop where beds, cabinets and doors are made for the houses. Simple but works well. Onto another good day with the family at the work-site. More this afternoon.
Praying with our hands and hearts in compassionate acts of mindful service.
Wednesday February 15 - Day 3 part 2 from the team
Today the team saw another ministry of Solomon's Porch. In the afternoon we visited an adult day care facility. The newly elected government cut off funding to such facilities. So this facility is run by a staff of seven who use their own money to keep the program going. They serve 57 senior adults. The adults who come to the facility for breakfast, lunch and two snacks are not that old and yet because of a lifetime of malnutrition and a very hard life they age prematurely.
The team was blessed beyond words by the smiles the hugs. Our leader said if we didn't like hugs then we shouldn't go in. Everyone got a hug from every person at the facility.
Guatemala Joe, a staffer at Solomon's dressed as a clown, juggled, did a few magic tricks and made everyone laugh. His bunnies were a really big hit.
We helped with a craft, threw beach balls, passed out candy, sang some songs, blew bubbles and laughed right along with everyone else.
These senior adults are part of the lost in Guatemala. Without such loving people to pay attention to them they would not have the opportunities they had today to be in community, exercise their bodies and minds and be loved for who they are.
Solomon's Porch is all about the least, the lost, and the last. Today we saw God's love with skin on in so many ways that we arrived back at the hotel with enough memories and stories to last a lifetime.
One picture from today is of Thomas who is 65 and his mother who is 82. Thomas has been deaf from birth and his mother has cared for him all her life. How can you not see joy in his smile.
Tonight we will have dinner at Pana Rock where the founder of Solomon's Porch will perform with his band called, Pink Lloyd. That's not a typo. Wish you were here to enjoy. Maybe next trip. More to come tomorrow.
Wednesday February 15 - Day 3 Part 1 from the team
Everyone has arrived safely at the site. Progress is ahead of schedule. At the same time new friendships are being built while building a house. Yesterday 350 cement blocks arrived and each block was handed down the brigade to a neat pile and now being moved to the house to keep the walls going up. This afternoon the team will visit an adult day care facility. Stay tuned for more this evening.
Tuesday February 14 - Day 2 Part 2 from the team
We began the day with another great breakfast. The morning reflections were led by Tim, a team member from California. He did a great job of getting us to think of what our greatest hopes are for the family we are working with. People said they were hopeful for their future, for prosperity, meaning a decent place to live with running water and electricity and a sustainable way forward, and hope for Elsa's kids to have an opportunity to turn a depressive pattern around through good education and a better home that has running water, a bathroom and electricity.
That is what these kinds of trips are about. They are about hope. But not just for the family. There is also a hope that all the team members will return home after being transformed in mind, heart and spirit. Transformed with new eyes to see all the world differently. That has already happened. Everyone is having the time of their lives serving along side our Guatemalan family. Everyone's heart, mind, spirit and eyes have been opened to the way God's compassion is spread with skin on.
Please continue to pray for us all. We are living a prayer of hope with our hands, hugs and hard work. Stay tuned for more tomorrow.
Tuesday February 14 - Day 2 Part 1 from the team
Just to show you all this hard work can be fun. A couple of members dancing in the bucket brigade hauling gravel. More to come.
Monday February 13 - Day 1 Part 2 from the team
Today, Monday, the team began with a great breakfast, an inspiring devotion by Kathy MacKrell and then on to the work-site. There we worked hard hauling sand, sifting sand, tying rebar, mixing cement, hauling cement and laying cement blocks.
But more importantly were the relationships we began to build with the family, a single mom with five kids, and with the other team members from California and the staff of Solomon's Porch.
The team returned to the hotel tired and sore but energized in spirit. One person said this was the most meaningful thing he had done in a long, long time.
After resting a couple of hours the team will be going to a Mexican restaurant for dinner. There's no question we will all be quite hungry.
Stay tuned for tomorrow's update. Continue to hold us in your heart with prayer.
Monday February 13 Day 1 part 1 from the team
We arrived on site this morning. We met Elsie and some of the family. Moving sand and blocks to start buildings on the walls. Everyone is excited to see wall going up.
Sunday February 12 Blog from the team:
Sunday, the Crossroads team of nine people learned more about the wonderful work of Solomon's Porch in Guatemala. In the Bible Solomon's Porch was the place where Jesus did much of his teaching and most of his healing at the Temple. The Temple then had many ways to separate the holy from the unholy and men from women. The holy men got the best places to worship. Women and "sinners" were left to the margins with no access to God through the Temple. That is why Jesus ministered to people on Solomon's porch. There he had access to everyone and people had access to God through him. Even though the least, the lost and last were not allowed in the Temple, that didn't stop Jesus from meeting them where they were on the outside.
That's the same approach Solomon' Porch uses in Guatemala to do its ministry. From its cafe coffee shop on the main drag through Panajachel, to providing medical help, to building houses with running water and electricity, to caring for kids in great need, Solomon's Porch is following in the ways of Jesus with skin on.
So what we learned on our first day is that there is a beautiful match between Crossroads and Solomon's Porch in spreading the Good News of God's compassion for all.
Sunday was a Sabbath day but on Monday we begin the hard yet great work of building a house for a single Mom with five children. The team is super excited. Stay tuned for daily updates.
On February 11, 2017 a nine member team departs from Dulles Airport to fly to Guatemala. It is Crossroads second mission team to Guatemala. We are working with Porch de Salomon. Porch de Salomon is a unique and progressive, non-profit ministry which, since 2005, has loved, served, and encouraged “the lost, the least, and the last” (and others!) of Guatemala’s Lake Atitlan basin.
The Crossroads team will be helping to construct a cement block home for a mother and her 4 children in Panajachel. This winter the Crossroads Kids have been collecting money to pay for a unique stove that will be installed in the kitchen of the home as it nears completion. this unique stove draws the smoke out of the home and requires less firewood.
The team will be periodically sending updates and photos during their trip. Please check back to see and hear about their trip.
The team departed from Dulles International Airport Saturday morning at 7, which meant an earlier start. They arrived at their destination about 6:30. Sunday they will worship and get settled before starting in on a busy week of construction on the house on Monday.
Photos: Team in front of Solomon's Porch, view of Lake Atitlan, Construction of home (completed by previous teams)