January 2022 Exploratory Trip


Wednesday 1/12

We flew to Dallas Texas and then Guatemala City. Our missionary friend Melanie of Tree Ministries picked us up from the airport and drove us to their house in Antigua. Their supporters have made the purchase and remodeling of a ministry house possible. They will use it to host missions teams that come down to serve in Guatemala. It has 10 bedrooms! Some new rooms used to be exterior spaces with no ceilings or floors. It's an incredible place that God will use to do a lot of great work. It’s like a small hotel! It’s overwhelming. The work on their house has also employed local men looking for work during the hard times brought on by Covid-19. It also has an incredible space on the roof with a great view of three volcanos. It no longer looks like the image below and is mostly done being remodeled.

Thursday 1/13

Tonight Alex and Melanie had a local pastor, Juan Carlos, and his wife and in-laws from Canada over for dinner. I grilled steak and chicken. It was a warm time of fellowship. They run Light of the World school for less fortunate local kids and he felt led to also start a church and pastor it. Like Moses, he wrestled with God at first asking him to choose someone else but in the end he was faithful to what God was calling him to. It was so encouraging to hear him speak about the Lord and how God has been teaching him through trials. His faith was infectious! We had great conversations with them and their in-laws. 

Alex Playing at an Open Mic Night at his Coffee Shop La Vid

Friday 1/14

We visited a school our kids could potentially attend if we moved down here. It is run by missionaries and is a ministry for missionaries who don’t have good education options for their kids while on the mission field. Kadi and Melanie bought tons of food to give out through Tree Ministries. We unloaded it. Alex ran an open mic night at his coffee shop. It was a really fun time to hear music, meet locals, and play a few songs. 

Saturday 1/15

For my 39th birthday we went to a fancy restaurant on a coffee plantation with gorgeous views of the volcanos. We had Quesadillas for dinner, and I found out I like homemade guacamole. We played games with a missionary who lives down here and married a Guatemalan man. They run a ministry called Ahava Ministries. It has an after school club providing lunch, tutoring, discipleship, and fun to 120 children. They also have a sponsorship program to pay for kids to go to school, a community garden and chicken coop to help those in hunger, a women’s discipleship program, and they are planning to build a school.

Sunday 1/16

We went to Guatemala City to attend Casa De Libertad, the church Francisco Bendfeldt pastors. He’s also the director of Acts 29 church planting in Latin America. After the service Pastor Francisco took us out to lunch. We got to ask him about his story and his church. He was a successful engineer who felt the call of God on his life to become a pastor. It was cool to hear about the several churches they have helped plant, including one they are planting next month. He said planting churches is hard when you send your best because it leaves a hole that can take years to fill. When we got back we made food bags to give out the next day. 

Monday 1/17

We drove to a nearby town called San Antonio to bring bags of food to women in the area. Kadi shared a message of hope to them of who they are in Christ. After that I got to pass out huge bags full of food we had packed for them and then we got to pray with them individually. While we prayed they quietly prayed things like “Gracias Padre” (Thank You Father) over and over with a lot of emotion and tears in their eyes. It was intense. We really wished we knew more Spanish so we could have prayed for them in their own language. 

Later we drove for an hour and a half to someone who’s son was in a motorcycle accident to help them with medical needs. Many families lived on the same plot of land in different shacks with corrugated metal for walls. There were animals everywhere. Chickens, baby chicks, roosters, ducks, and a mean goose who almost bit our friend Melanie. They tied it up so it wouldn't get us, and it hissed when you went near it! They made us food, which you can see a picture of below. We prayed for them and our friends helped them with some medical supplies. It was a different way of living we saw. Very stark and eye opening. That night we had dinner and a little worship night with some missionary friends. We took turns playing guitar and leading worship. I also played a small djembe drum for a lot of the songs. It was a sweet time of worship.

Where they Cooked Tortillas for Us

Tuesday 1/18

Mitch & Cayetano
Today we drove a long way to meet with Mitch Muñoz who planted a church in rural Los Chilitos. I highly recommend clicking that link and reading their story and watching the video. We also met a local convert who has now become the pastor of the church plant, Cayetano. Before meeting Christ he was a bad husband who drank a lot. When we met him he radiated joy and spoke kind words praising his wife for the ministries she does with other women. I had the privilege to pray for him and another man training to become an elder at their church. Cayetano was training people, with his bible open, to become elders and deacons when we walked into the church. 

While we were their Alex showed one of the ladies some things on playing keyboard for worship. Mitch showed us the church and the soccer field (see pictures below). It all started with evangelism and then a small Bible study. The now eighty plus people who attend there don't have money so they tithe in corn. The church gives the corn to those in need and sells it to help support the church. Mitch told us to ask Cayetano to share his story with us. It was really powerful hearing the change that happened in his life from following Christ and now he is the Pastor at Casa De Libertad Los Chilitos. On the way out of town we got stuck in traffic and ended up taking a different longer way around because there was an accident and we likely would have been waiting for hours to move at all. Before we turned to go the other way Mitch talked with me about being a missionary for quite awhile before we thanked him again and encouraged him to go home on his moto to his wife and child. 

The Soccer Field they Made for the Community just Below the Church

The Church in the village of Los Chilitos. The blue tub is the baptismal.

Dan and Mitch talking about Missionary Work and Church Planting

Wednesday 1/19

Melanie took us to meet an awesome Guatemalan man named Fester who started a ministry called The Club. He wanted to help kids who were struggling. He found they struggled in school because they went without breakfast. He started teaching them and feeding them and more kids kept coming. He also once saw Mormon missionaries in his town which inspired him to preach the real truth of Christ to people in his community. He now has a large piece of land and, over many years of struggling to raise support, has had several classroom buildings and a soccer field built. These are very recent developments which have happened during Covid-19. Almost 300 kids come for Bible lessons on Saturdays, breakfast during the week and help with school later in the day. He’s a humble man who keeps living out his faith by making plans as he feels led by the Lord and keeps plugging away even when the money is not there. He continues to pray and God has always provided.

Thursday 1/20

Today we got to meet a joyful Guatemalan man named Omar who started a ministry called Revive. He and his team fed us breakfast, showed us some of the tools they've built for locals to grow their own food, and even brought us to meet some of the people they are ministering to. They also brought us along as they went to scout out land they have raised money to purchase to expand their ministry and plant crops on for mercy ministries. Their mission is to help people grow physically and spiritually through a personal encounter with Jesus Christ.

We are very grateful to Melanie, Alex, and their 3 adorable kids for hosting us in their house, driving us all over, and translating for us. They are incredibly hospitable and invite people into their homes and lives constantly. It was an amazing trip. It was a lot of very weighty stuff to take in and process. It was humbling to see the work that God is doing through these missionaries. It is our prayer to discern if God is calling us to move down to Antigua Guatemala and plant a church to disciple people and see God raise up locals to spread his Gospel through his church.


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