Good Monday Morning to all,

First, just want to encourage everyone to follow the McCown’s Blog.  I am enjoying reading about their trip in Japan.  I cannot wait to get back and compare notes with Tim, it will be great to talk with him again.

Ok I got a lot to write and not much time to do it.  In about an hour, Pastor Kinman is going to pick me up.  I am going with him and a group of pastors from the States to a small village about 1 hour? from here where MANNA is hoping to start another feeding center.  A Mexican missionary sent out from the Mexican Baptist Fellowship has started a work in small village.  I am excited to see his ministry and to see how MANNA evaluates potential sites to start feeding centers.  I will be gone all day, and Leah will be here with Karen.  Mindy Kinman is going to bring her 3 kids over for couple of hours for lunch and to hang out with Kare, Leah, and Jake.

Now, let’s go back in time.

SATURDAY – Kids Club and Youth Group in Sumpango.  Sumpango is about 30 minutes drive from Karen’s house up the mountain.  It is a very poor village set off the highway, that if you don’t know is there you will drive past it everytime.  There are only ever three cars in the parking lot of the church.  Karen’s, the Kinman’s, and maybe Pastor Jaime’s.  Everyone else walks to church or rides the bus.  And when I say the bus, don’t think the STL Metro.  Think old school bus painted in crazy colorful patterns speeding down the mountain highway, cramming as many people as possible.  Now those big school buses cannot fit down the very small roads of Sumpango, so in the village the bus means a little tiny Mitsubishi/Volkswagen type van with sliding doors remaining open.  Often times filled with people and some hanging on the side.  Kids Club starts in the afternoon, around 3 I think.  It is part of the feeding center, so a small meal is served for the children.  Bread – stuffed with tomato paste, mayonnaise, and ham.  Served with a fruity cool-aid.  Then they played games and sang some songs.  Then the kids were broken up into 3 loose age groups.  Nursery, young kids and big kids.  And those groups are kind of fluid.  Damaris (Pastor Jaime’s wife) was the teacher of the small kids group (in which Leah and I took Jake).  She does a great  job of teaching the children and loving them.  Just like any other Church (GBC), the kids sometimes don’t pay attention, talk in class… some things are universal.  But so is God’s love and His Truth and His Salvation.  And how great it is that these3,4,5,6 yr old children can start their life with an understanding of Jesucristo.  Kid Club ended about 5 pm, and youth group did not start until 6:30.  So we just hung out at church, cleaning the dishes, playing Foosball with some teens, talking with them, and hanging out. The youth group started at 6:30.  It is very similar to our teen services.  Very contemporary music, very loud, power point on a  projector, lots of games, and then Pastor Jerry brought a lesson on Timothy.  Do not let anyone despise your youth, but be an EXAMPLE to the believers. 

The Guatemalans that I have met are quick to smile, and they have beautiful smiles.  There are very few European/pale skinned Guatemalans, especially in Sumpango.  The Indian blood and features run very deep.  Big noses, high cheekbones, dark skin, big brown eyes, and dark hair.  The ladies almost always wear long skirts, and they carry their children in pouches up to about 3 years old.  A lot of kids have coughs and last night Leah saw a kid with Hepatitis.  He is in poor health and will only get worse unless he receives medical treatment.  But his family live in a one room shack, and they have no money to pay for a hospital stay.  That was very hard for Leah to see as a nurse.  In the USA we don’t see that very often because our children are vaccinated. 

SUNDAY – Church on Sunday begins around 4 in the afternoon.  Music practice begins at 3.  They invited me to play my guitar with them for the worship because the main guitarists was at a family reunion this weekend.  I had a great time practicing with their band.  A full drum set, bass, keyboard, and guitar.  They are very good.  They sing a lot of the same songs we sing, and a lot of contemporary songs that we don’t sing (but could) in our church.  They like their music loud.  I really enjoyed playing with them for the worship service.  Sunday School starts at 4.  Karen (my sister) helps with children’s classes.  All of the younger children’s classes are taught by Guatemalan women, Pastor Jerry teaches the youth, and Pastor Jaime teaches the adults.  The church service was structured very similar to ours, five songs, a welcome, and offering, a special and the message.  Jerry asked me to sing the special.  I sang Great is Thy Faithfulness.  I told them how great it was the my church (GBC) sang that exact same song the week before.  And that we  bring glory to God by extolling His Character.  And we can do that in any language.  I loved singing in Spanish.  The bassist and the drummer played with me.  It was awesome,  They were both teen boys.  I told them afterwards what a blessing it was to play and worship with them.  Wilson and Byron.  Praise the Lord.   Pastor Jaime preached on repentance of sin, and that if one does not repent one cannot be saved.  He preached hard, named sins and called the people to turn from their sin.  What a great message.  8 people went forward, with tears running down.  The Word is going forth, and God is doing His work.

The church attendance was about 110.  They have been averaging over 100 this year, which is a blessing.  There are a lot more adult women than men.  A ton of kids.  Alot of teenage boys, and I know that Jerry is really concerned and desiring to help those young men grow up in Christ and remain faithful into manhood.  There is a lot of adultery and fornication is this society and it is a struggle even in the church.  Drugs can also be a problem as well, especially for the teens.  This church really needs our prayers and encouragement.  I am so thankful that GBC has sent Leah and I to be here.  My heart has been broken. 

OK, I gotta go.  We have posted lots of pics on our facebook page.  Shawn Ray sent me an email to teach me how to post pics on here, but I have not had a lot of time to figure it out yet.  That is on the list for tomorrow. 

I love you guys.  I missed our church yesterday, thought and prayed for you. 

Kurtis