Monthly Archives: July 2011

God’s Word has no borders

Thursday night I had the privilege to teach Bible study at the church here in Caracol. I truly enjoy exploring God’s Word together as one body in Christ even when we have different languages and cultures. This is such a blessing to me. The study focused on Daniel. 9, the prophesy on 70 weeks of years. At the end of our study time, many had questions, but we only had time for a few since the study started late. You could sense the hunger in some to explore this prophesy in more detail. Thank you, Holy Spirit, for putting the right study on my mind to prepare for. The church here wants me to come back soon so we can spend more time studying this and similar topics. I left my study materials with the associate pastor, hoping he will be able to use it to edify the body of Christ. Thank you God for using me in this simple way for your purpose.

7/14/2011 Conversation with a Haitian

Today as I realized that VBS was over and that there wasn’t much for me to
do I became rather homesick. Even though I knew that I had made it almost
all the way through the week I was still wanting to be back home.
However after laying in bed for some time I got up and joined Mark and Aly
(Haitian interpreter and friend) as they helped a CHE member with their
business plans. As soon as Mark left it was just down to Aly and I. Knowing
that I wasn’t much of a talker I hoped that Aly would say something.
Thankfully he did, but once he started it I couldn’t be quiet. We talked
about everything from our families to things about our countries.
The one thing that really hit me was when we talked about all the ways that
Americans put down the country of Haiti. The Haitian people are very humble
and although they are poor there is hope all around. It is very different
from the homicides that are daily in our news are rarely seen here. Plus
the Haitians honor foreign travelers. Aly told me that I was more safe here
than he was. So to say Haiti isn’t as bad as everyone says that it is, but
seeing is believing.

Chet Stanley

Mexico – Day 5 – Back to the USA

We broke camp this morning. Everything got packed into suitcases, donated, or placed into storage. We hung out, milled around, and wondered if it was possible to stay another week. Or two. Or forever.

A couple of us prayed over TJ, the point person for Amor that we’ve worked with all week. We prayed for him and the entire Amor staff for love and comfort. If you could, please pray for them too. They are far from home, and they give up a lot to do this. Another of our guys – Doug – is from Australia. Talk about being far from home.

We are currently sitting in line at the border to get back into the US. It’s a long line, but we’re staying entertained. Pretty soon, everyone will be powering up their phones and will start calling/texting/emailing. We’ll plug back in to our lives. I pray that we don’t forget what we just experienced.

Jose Lopez

Mexico – Day 4 – Children of God

Today was a good day. We left camp to go to three new locations. Teams 1 & 2 went to Tecate while Team 3 went back the the neighborhood we built in. Amor found three unfinished homes for us to complete, so we went off to do so. We were told that two homes needed the second coat of stucco while one home needed both. We did not expect to find the homes in the conditions they were in.

When we arrived at the first site, we discovered a home that was in tatters, and needed more than just the stucco. Both windows needed to be installed as well as the door. The tar paper was badly damaged, and that made our job a lot harder. Still, we formed a plan and executed it. We patched things up as well as we could and applied the first layer. While that dried, we jumped in the vans and headed to the second site. That location had some challenges (and the homeowners were unavailable to meet is there) but we quickly got to work and determined the best course of action. We got the second layer applied, packed up and headed back to the first site. We quickly set up and applied the second layer on the house in a little over an hour. We quickly packed up, and I went to the homeowners to present them the keys. Despite the fact that they didn’t know us, hadn’t built any rapport with us, and saw us run in and out like a guerilla squad, they thanked us for finishing their home. It appeared that they had given up hope, and God used us to restore it in them. What an awesome experience.

We raced back to camp since it was so late, took quick showers and grabbed dinner. In catching up with Team 3, we heard that their home needed some work as well before the second layer could be applied. Still, they did what was needed and completed the home.

Shawn Dilbeck led us with some amazing worship songs. We went acapella tonight, and praised God for who He is. Shawn Paul shared an amazing testimony about what it means to be a child of God. We then were treated to the testimony of Pastor Labotes’ wife on how God blessed them through an Amor house 14 years ago. A house they still lice in, and will for a long time.

Thank you God for blessing us with another amazing trip.

Jose Lopez

Mexico – Day 3 – Royal Priesthood

We are finished with our houses. All three teams were able to apply both layers of stucco today, and three families received new homes. It wasn’t Extreme Home Makeover, but it was enough. I spent some more time with our team’s homeowner and got to know more about her life. She makes about $68 a week after taxes, and with that money, she is raising 3 children. Chela’s mother (Maria) lives with her, and her 2 brothers live next door.

And the home we built for them gives them new hope. There were a lot of tears today as we presented Chela with the keys to the home. She was overwhelmed with emotion and she broke down. She thanked God for the gift He had given her, and that was the first time she had ever acknowledged Him all week. She doesn’t go to church, and she never shared what she believed in. Hopefully this week has opened her eyes to His works, and her heart opens up to His call. One thing that will stick with me is Chela’s determination to get a picture of the team. Her intent is to frame the picture, hang it in her living room, and tell people about the group that built her home.

Tonight was another great worship session. Shawn Dilbeck, Shawn Paul & Vince Brooks have done an amazing job in leading us in worship this week. Jim McGhee led a great devotional on another facet of our identity in Christ – we are a royal priesthood. Great insight on what it means to serve God by ministering to those around us and pointing them to Christ. It’s daunting to carry that responsibility, but it’s one we willingly carry out.

Jose Lopez

Mexico – Day 2 – Aliens

All three houses are structurally done. The walls and roof are up, the walls have baling wire strung, the tar paper is in place, and the chicken wire is tightened. It’s amazing that we are in this position. We will start stuccoing tomorrow, and we should be turning the keys over to the homeowners. Amazing.

We ran a VBS session today, and we had several neighborhood kids attend. One of the local pastors even partnered with us to run the program. Christ’s love was shared, and He was glorified.

Today’s theme was that we are aliens in this world. I spoke tonight, and I hope that God’s message was clearly understood.

It’s amazing how we are coming together as a group, but I’m not surprised. Every year we become the Acts 2:42 church, and this year is no exception.

Thank you God for allowing us to get quick glimpse into what we can expect in heaven.

Jose Lopez

Mexico – Day 1 – New Creations

What a great first day! All three teams worked hard, and a lot of the framing was done today. We even got the roofs assembled and set in place! Even though it was hot and the sun beat down on us, we got further than we expected. All three locations are close to each other, and that makes it easier. We are within a few doors of each other.

The locations are cramped, and there isn’t a lot of room to work, but we’ll manage. We have a great mixture of trip veterans and rookies, and we’ve managed to deal with our obstacles.

Tonight, Howard spoke during our evening devotional time on how we are a new creation in Christ and what that should mean to us. His message was challenging, and I hope that we understand the freedom and responsibility that affords us.

Overall, it was a great first day.

Jose Lopez