Wednesday, March 25, 2009


Wow-God is Great and continues to shepherd all of us on this journey. We have stepped out of the boat and continue to look straight ahead for God's provision. Diane and I thank you for your fellowship and love. First, the driving journey. Three long days of driving the 2700 miles to the South Texas border in the completely overloaded Subaru Forrester went well and felt like a Lenten journey to me :-) I picked up Glen at the local airport and then the next morning we were angelically spirited through the Mexican border without even an inspection, all in less than 45 minutes-this is in comparison to the grueling 6 hours that Jose and I had last spring. We had three long days of uneventful driving in Mexico(Will only had to pay off Two Mexican police officers on the way) and we arrived at the Guatemalan border and then the spiritual warfare began. The border agency man we hired turned out to be a crack cocaine addict and he promptly abandoned us once he got his hands on our $100 crossing fee. I had to illegally cross the river back into Mexico to physically recover all of my papers including Passport, car title and import paperwork. I had to find the flophouse room where this addict had left my documentation with a landlady and grab it from her. Glen remained to protect the car and valuables from robbery. I then re-entered Guatemala and found the border closed with a border strike and computer failure..WeI pushed through by obtaining a toursit visa, then paying only $40 for the import tax on all of the contents of the car(bikes, motorcycle, chainsaws, etc) and it was clear that We were the ONLY non guatemalan car to enter the country through the border that day. We still managed to make it to Opal House by nightfall and fell on our faces. We picked up Diane the next morning in the Capital on time. Joel Van Dyke kindly walked us through the process of obtaining our permanent resident visas, a process that actually took him three years to figure out, we did in only two steps with him. We also visited Tita in the La Limonada slum and reunited with Merci, our first temporary orphan and met her new baby Blancita. Tita has openend a new school in the other gang neighborhood and we will be helping her out for sure as one of our key partners. Now Diane, Glen and I undertook many projects at Opal House. Without any blueprints or septic plans, we had to unearth whatever septic systems existed for both houses before greatly expanding the guest usage capacity of water/waste and encountering an odiferous backup problem. Happily, after two days of digging, two high quality French designed two stage systems were discovered in excellent condition. We then had all of the 30 year old concrete failing pipes torn out and replaced with new PVC so were good for the next 50 years! We are now ready for many people and the children's home had a new wood door installed with a bible inscribed on it-it's a work of art!. Glen and I retrieved our professional survey used for titling purposes and began some key farm project planning. Glen has some great ideas for development and animal husbandry. Even though it was the peak of the dry season, our fresh water spring was full to the top and two new springs had appeared since last year and we now know extra water exists for irrigation of the farm and future projects. We also got the water tested and all appears good-God is multiplying the harvest on the land!! After Glen departed, Diane and I had two very fruitful meetings. First the local mission in San Lucas was warmly receptive to our volunteer and partnering medical efforts-(After they heard Diane's passionate story, they all just about cried)-they have a hospital, operating room and little or no surgical equipment and they have been praying for a permanent local partner to offer expanded services to the 25,000 local population, like orthopedics/podiatry. They need diabetic extremity services, casting, surgery, etc and we will slowly integrate our services through this 40 year old mission, built on the loving and courageous back of Father Gregorio. We also may plan to develop visiting surgical mission trips there with Healing the Children. Father is a hero the all of the locals and was the one who has promised to educate our children who come to live at Opal house. He is also the only non Guatemalan to ever receive the country's highest honor(the order of the Quitzale) and is the only priest to ever receive it also. Glen was also moved with Father Greg's obvious passion and zeal for the people, when he met him before he departed. Finally, Diane and I had extensive time and talks with experts on the newly created government system of children's home and adoption services(we also spent one night at a new home for babies)-a true nightmare of guinea pig oversight. The rules are constantly changing, no one knows the future, the costs were staggering just to take care of abandoned children and not one home is fully licensed in the country as of this time-you might imagine that Diane and I took a big step back and breathed deeply for prayer and discernment about locking ourselves into a paperwork prison with the government. Even the nearest courtroom was 90 minutes away for constant judge visits. We clearly have heard from God that we will partner with Joel's and Tita's inner city ministries, local rural ministries with our neighbors and even our sponsored child Leivi. None of these can occur if we lock into the government system because no unlicensed person is allowed exposure to children in a government run new orphanage...So for now, it looks we will start out as a dynamic, flexible adaptive home for mothers and children, homeless persons, vacation bible schools, people in crisis-whatever "Opal" God brings us..... Diane and I also spent much time with Samuel Antonio, the newest baby addition to Opal House and he is healthy and thriving, although keeping the whole family up at night. We had so much fun playing soccer on the new soccer net we set up at the children's home and they are truly family to us. I will teach the oldest boy Leonso to drive when we return in May. Pedro loved the walkie talkie I brought for communciation on the farm-He's a real Jefe(boss) now as Guardian-pistol and walkie talkie!

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