Why “Love be Genuine?”

Since I’ve been in college, I have decided to turn over a new leaf. I’ve always had friends who have called on me when they needed advice for things like relationship issues, how to approach certain situations, etc. So after some thinking and praying, I thought it would be beneficial to start blogging my advice. As I post, I would like to remind anyone who may read this that the words I say, and the advice I give is not me, but Christ in me. I will pray intently before I write on any topic, in order that I may communicate well what the Lord has to say. He deserves the glory, and I am just one of the messengers he has sent to this earth to turn eyes, ears, and hearts towards him.

For my first post on here, I would like to share something that the Lord has recently opened my heart to: Romans 12:9-21 9

Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. 10 Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. 11 Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. 12 Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. 13 Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.

14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. 17 Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. 18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. 19 Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” 20 To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

Let’s start with “let love be genuine.” Obviously, this is where the name of this blog comes from. I absolutely love the word “genuine.” It’s so real and legitimate. It represents the love that Jesus has for us, and this passage encourages us to share that love with everyone we encounter. Genuine in Greek means pure. Jesus’ love for all is holy and PURE. That right there is where it all started. Someone had a pure love for us. A love so pure and sweet, they were willing to die so that we might live. If that doesn’t give you chills, I don’t know what will. I also hope that it convicts you to strive to be more like Jesus, and to make sacrifices to share his GENUINE love.

This passage goes on to describe the marks of a true Christian. Paul, the author of Romans, calls us to abhor and detest what is evil and cling with everything in us to what is good. We are also called to love one another with brotherly affection, and outdo one another in showing honor. This “outdoing one another” thing is not meant to be a competition, but a challenge be the best you can be. This is upheld by v. 11 saying not to be slothful in zeal, but fervent in spirit, and to serve the Lord.

We are also encouraged to rejoice in hope, be patient in trials and suffering, and constant in prayer. God wants to hear from us always. In the good times and the bad. No matter what, he is there, waiting to hear from us. While he may already know what is going on in our lives, he still wants us to rest in his open arms, so that we may grow in him. Paul was in prison and nearly beaten to death more times than I can count, and he still praised Jesus, even from the deepest, darkest jail cell.

In v. 14, Paul writes that we should bless those who persecute us. Now, I know we are told to do this, but honestly…do we really bless those who persecute us? Or would we rather get back at whoever did us wrong? In v. 15-20, Paul takes it even further by saying we should share each other’s joy and grief, and that we should live in harmony with one another. He also says we should be humble, honorable, and live peaceably with all. We are not to avenge ourselves, but instead love our enemies. By doing this we will show them the GENUINE love of Christ. We may think they don’t deserve our love, but do we deserve Jesus’ love? I know I sure don’t. Jesus loves everyone; we should too. WWJD?

The last verse, 21, says “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” That piece of scripture pretty much sums up our mission here on earth. We are here to point people to good [Jesus], who can overcome evil [Satan]. We are encouraged to not be consumed with the worldly temptations thrown our way, but that’s impossible for us as humans. That is where Jesus comes in. He died a horrible death on the cross so that our sinful hands will be washed clean. His GENUINE, perfect, selfless love for us is something that we should all take from and share with everyone we come into contact with during our time on this earth.

So, all that being said, my reason for starting this blog is to share the love of Jesus I have within me via the internet. I want the advice I give to everyone to be GENUINE advice not from me, but from God through me. I want to, like Paul in Romans, encourage all who read my posts to be joyful in hope, patient in tribulation, and constant in prayer, because I know that the only thing getting me through life is the GENUINE love and satisfaction I get from my relationship with Jesus Christ.

This last semester was so full of excitement and activities that kept me busy enough to not really write at all, but the writers block was definitely not there. So much has happened and I am beyond excited to share how good God is. I have made lifelong friends in the past semester. They have helped me increase my faith, watched me make mistakes, encouraged me, and made promises to be by my side no matter what is to come.

So you have probably figured this out by now, but at the end of the semester, my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. This was kind of a hard thing for our family to grasp. No one saw it coming. We have no family history of cancer, or really any sickness at all. Mom and I are currently at MD Anderson for her initial testing, and as we were sitting in the waiting room she said, “I can’t believe I have cancer.” This is one of those crazy life problems that you never actually think is going to happen to you, but then one day you’re sitting in a doctors office and hearing the test results that you have an illness that will kill you if you don’t do something about it.

All of the struggles that I have seen and experienced throughout the past semester have taken me back to one particular verse from the bible, “For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.” 2 Corinthians 4:17

As I’m walking through this time of troubles and realizing that the current and most prevalent trouble may not be by our definition, “light and momentary,” it is definitely achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. Those times when we are strolling through the halls of MD Anderson or really going anywhere, we have opportunities to spread the love of Christ. We have opportunities to be thankful and gracious in a circumstance where so many choose to be bitter. I am thankful for those opportunities.

While it is difficult to walk alongside someone so dear to me who is struggling so much, I love to see the glimmer of joy and hope that our family clings to. The hard times have yet to come, but I know for a fact that is is by the overflowing grace of God that we are here today, and it is by the overflowing grace of God that we will continue on into tomorrow.

Grace That Flows

What’s your “Isaac”?

Have you ever had an “Abraham” moment, as I like to call it? It’s that moment when you’ve been trying so hard for something. You have been working at it with all your might and then suddenly… It’s over. It’s done. It is finished. But not in the way you want. Not at all.

Have you ever had a moment like that? Things all seem to be going your way. Just like in the story of Abraham, Sarah, and Isaac. Sarah couldn’t get pregnant. She was barren, and not to forget she was 100 years old. Abraham had given up on God for a short moment and moved on to have a baby with his servant, Hagar, who gave birth to Ishmael. This was not God’s plan but he still blessed Abraham’s family, and later, Sarah became pregnant with a precious son, Isaac.
When Isaac had grown a few years, God told Abraham to sacrifice his son. His ONLY son. Abraham, a faithful servant of God, took this precious thing that he had worked so hard for and been so faithful in its coming, and was willing to give it back to God as a sacrifice.
What’s your Isaac? What’s that thing that you have worked your tail off to get?
Got it?
Okay now think about this…
Everything good that we have is a gift from God. Every single blessing ever given to us is straight from Him. Do you know why he has blessed you?
He has blessed you so that you can share what He has given to you with others. Our purpose in life is to know Him and make Him known. Why else would you be here on this earth? Your purpose is to do everything you’ve got for Jesus. “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” 1 Corinthians 10:31
Recently, I have been considering getting a job as a tutor. When school kicked off, I decided to focus on my studies and put the idea in the back of my mind for later. Last week in class, one of my professors passed out fliers for a tutoring position in Waco ISD. I was the first person in the class to email the person in charge and fill out an application. Earlier this week she emailed me back and asked me what times I could tutor. I got so excited! Then she emailed me back later and informed me that all of the spots had been filled. I was disappointed. But I knew God had a plan, so I finished up studying for the night and went to bed.
The next morning she emailed me again to confirm the hours I had said I was available. I was so confused. So I called her to clarify, and turns out, I got the job! The email about spots being filled was a mistake. I couldn’t believe it! I was so excited.
Now you’re probably to a point where you’re like, “Where are you going with this, Caitlyn?”
Well I promise there’s a point. Getting that job was my Isaac. When I got the first email about my available hours, I was so excited. Just like Abraham was when Sarah got pregnant with Isaac. Then I got rejected, or so I thought. Similar to how God told Abraham to sacrifice his only son, Isaac. But then… Wow. God used it to show me how much I trust Him. When I got rejected I said, “okay God, you have a plan, and I’m trusting in it.” And then just like when Abraham was sacrificing Isaac, and the Lord provided a ram entangled in the brush to be slaughtered instead, he provided for me something that I had given to Him and trusted Him with.
So, again, what’s your “Isaac”?
You know what the purpose of “Isaac’s” are? They’re to bring glory back to God. To show God that you trust in Him and in his plan for your life. When you are blessed with something so special that you have worked so hard for and God says, “alright now give it back to Me.” Will you trust Him with it?

Kneeling Power

This summer, I’ve learned so much more than I can really process at the moment, but I think this short paragraph that I wrote last Monday at camp really sums it up. God is good all the time, and He deserves to be praised in the midst of every situation. During the bad, we must be grateful that we as Christians are even enduring hardships, because it means that Satan sees us as a threat to his plan. During the good, we must be grateful that God has allowed us to see even the smallest glimpse of his glory and grace.

“I love getting down on my knees to worship Jesus! Wanna know why? Because something about the extreme pain of bending my bad knee, stretching my shin splints, sitting on my heels, and having carpet dig into my knees distracts me from everything happening in the world and centers my focus on Jesus. It reminds me that Jesus endured more pain for my chance to spend eternity with Him than I could ever experience. It reminds me of the ‘We Bend’ poem by Ann Voskamp that Sydney Burk has hanging up by her bed. ‘I am face to face with Jesus in the dirt…bent down low is where I find the fullness of joy!’ I would rather bend down under a blanket of God’s love than jump up and down trying to reach Him, because no matter how high I jump or how hard I try, the only thing I can do to get closer to Jesus is bend to my knees, trust in Him, and enjoy the relaxation that comes from loving his presence.”

All I have left to say is that I am in awe of the mighty works of Jesus Christ. I have seen spiritual warfare, and I have seen the victory that comes only from faith in the One who sent his only Son to suffer and die for our sins so that we may have the opportunity to spend eternity with Him. That is something to be shared. That is something to be rejoiced over. That is the gospel. And the world will never be the same because of it.

James 1:2-4 says, “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”

If I had a time machine…

Have you ever had those days where you think, “If only I could redo ________, life would be a lot easier now,” or, “if I hadn’t said ________, there wouldn’t be a problem here,” or, my personal favorite, “if I could go back to high school, and do it all over again with the knowledge I have now, things would be way less stressful.” 

I have those days pretty often. Especially when I’m alone and I start thinking about my life and where I am now. I think about relationships, breakups, stupid things I said, mistakes I’ve made, experiences that have shaped me, and pretty much every memory I have of life. Sometimes I sit around and wish for a time machine. When I realize how goofy that is, that is when God steps in and says, “look at the bigger picture.”

Too often I hear the phrase, “Live with no regrets,” but I don’t think that’s a realistic thing to say. We are all human and we all make mistakes way more often than we’d like. We all have moments we aren’t proud of, and immediately after them, we wish we could hit the rewind button. But if we had a time machine, we wouldn’t need God. We wouldn’t need the new mercy and grace he offers us daily. We wouldn’t have a purpose in life either.

Remember how Paul went to Philippi and cast the demon out of the servant girl? Then do you also recall that her masters were not very happy, so they had the whole town turn on Paul and Silas, and then they threw them into jail? I bet that when that happened, I’m sure Paul was feeling pretty upset, emotionally and physically. He and Silas were beaten, stripped of their possessions, and imprisoned. But instead of wishing for a time machine (if he even knew what that was) or trying to find a way out on his own, he knew that God had a purpose for him. He knew that he was supposed to fulfill that purpose and that he would not die in Philippi. He kept the bigger picture in mind.

Because Paul kept that greater purpose in mind, he was later able to plant a church in Philippi. But, he did not do this on his own. After being put in jail, a huge earthquake came. The prison fell apart, and Paul and Silas could have broken free. But instead they chose to stay, and this led to Paul and Silas being able to witness to the jailer. The conversion of the jailor and his family led to the planting of a church in Philippi.

Paul later wrote in the book of Philippians, “I thank my God every time I remember you.” He said this in the most genuine way. He really meant it. After going through so much in Philippi, Paul knew he was stripped, beaten, and thrown into jail for a reason. That reason was the glory of God. Paul didn’t ask for a redo. He didn’t ask for a second try so he could avoid Philippi and the terrible experience he had. Instead, he used his trials to create a story. A story of redemption for mankind.

A Christian’s purpose here on earth is to make Jesus’ name known, and to share his love with the world. How can we do that if we’re able to rewind and immediately fix any mistake on our own? Then we wouldn’t need to experience his perfect and holy redemption. We wouldn’t need to be saved by his grace. There wouldn’t be a purpose to life. He has saved and redeemed us with his love so that we have something to go tell and share with everyone. He places people in our paths that are struggling with things we have experienced so that we can share that love and redemption with them.

Next time you think, “If only I had a time machine, then life would be better…” remember that if you did have a time machine you wouldn’t need God, and there would not be any more purpose to your life. You are not perfect on your own. Not even close. But when you realize you need Christ’s love, and you let it fill your heart, you will be made whole. You will look back on the memories you once wished you could change, and know that God is using them to shape you into a vessel, meant to proclaim his love to the nations.

Why I Won’t Pursue a Man

this is amazing. so powerful. my thoughts exactly.

Ashlin Boyles


Relationships and opinions about them are sticky.

People get passionate and everyone has an opinion. I think it’s something that we all work out, a choice that is ours to make. I can’t and don’t judge anyone’s personal journey, or the way they feel like God calls them to pursue romance.

As for me, I can state this (after much wrestling and questioning):

I can not and will not pursue a man.

Feminism is becoming a common doctrine of our world, and because of it, there is a question of whether or not women can approach a man in the way that they’ve been forbidden to in the past.

I’m not going to answer that for humanity. But as for me, I have one desire:

I want the (and yes, I said “the”) man that God has for me. God cares for the birds, so I believe that He intimately cares…

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Barriers Are Meant To Be Broken

On this trip, I learned that barriers are meant to be broken. I learned that if you love genuinely with the love of Christ, nothing can stop you from connecting with anyone. There are barriers keeping us from connecting to others in this world. Barriers such as language, hurt, disabilities, illnesses, personalities, opinions, religions, nationalities/race, lifestyles, spiritual gifts, gender, socio-economic status and many other things keep humans from interacting and building relationships.

If you want to genuinely love someone, you have to penetrate the barriers that have been put up with the love of Jesus. There is no other way. People do not understand. unless they have seen and experienced the love of Jesus. Being in Guatemala and having a language barrier up everywhere we went made me realize that the only way I could communicate was love. Christ’s love.

Christ’s love is the only way anyone can actually communicate on a deeper level. Those people had no idea what any of us English-speaking crazies were saying, but they did know that we had something different inside of us. Something that is worth more than anything we could ever provide them with. The people living in poverty are on a completely different level of life than we are here in America. Even after visiting their homes and seeing their living environment, I can honestly say I have no grasp on their living conditions. I can sympathize all day, but I’ll never be able to empathize no matter how hard I try.

In the same way that it was difficult for me to communicate with the people in Guatemala, it is also difficult for us to communicate with everyone else in the world. We all live different lives. We have all experienced different things that make us who we are. Barriers put up from experiences keep us from communicating with each other. We can’t change the fact that life happens. We also can’t fully empathize with anyone, no matter how hard we try, until we can break their barriers. We have to penetrate the barriers with genuine love and become open and trusting with that person. We can share the love of Jesus with people and make them whole again. It doesn’t matter what has caused someone to be broken and separated from others, if they see and accept the perfect, selfless, compassionate, and unconditional love of Christ, they will be brought from broken to whole. They will be made new. Their dead, lifeless heart will be brought back to life.

Next time you meet someone, pursue a friendship with them. Show them Jesus. Connect with them on a level so deep, that the root of the relationship is Christ. Be genuine. Empathize. Open up. Because barriers are meant to be broken.

Day 5 told in photos

Today we went to Antigua and visited the family hope center there. We taught kids how to make rice krispie balls and then played sports with them. I also made a famous friend as you’ll see below 🙂yes, that is smoke you see coming out of the volcano on the leftthis is Dulce Selena. She was gifted with the 3 millionth pair of shoes donated to Shoes for Orphan Soles in 2014.these kiddos loved playing with us. We would throw the ball up to them and they’d giggle like crazy!

Awareness – Guatemala Day 4

Today was absolutely incredible. I now know why I am here.

Here are some pictures of this morning. Even though we didn’t get to go to the orphanage, I am still thankful. My heart is full. If we had gone, I wouldn’t have learned what the Lord had in store for me today.

This is the 1 1/2 year old son of Veronica, the mother of house #2 that we visited yesterday. He really liked rearranging the chairs, but it was super loud because he’d drag them everywhere. Since it was loud and distracting from what we were doing with the women, I would play with him and sit in the chairs and pick with him. He giggled so much and we had a blast playing together.This little boy belongs to Veronica, also. He was so full of energy ALL day! It was so precious when his little 1 1/2 year old brother freaked out about the stickers and started picking them off his face! None of the kids were sure what to think about stickers.We helped with a women’s cooking class today, and they loved watching us to all the work!These were some of the girls in the English classes we worked with at the FHC in Panula. They were such great students. They always tried their best at everything they did. They worked so hard to learn English, and they did a wonderful job of practicing it with us. They definitely taught me a lesson of patience and persistence. That lesson is one that I’ll use for the rest of my life.This is just a little extra momento from the day. This morning, we got to see clearly the volcano outside of out hotel and couldn’t resist throwing up my Theta kite.

Just when I thought my day couldn’t get any better, it did. And it changed my life.

This afternoon, we went to two more homes. The first home belonged to a family with a daughter named Leslie and she is 5 years old. I think she’s the most beautiful girl I’ve seen so far.  Leslie has a disability. It includes something that causes her to not have a pelvis. Her legs are webbed and squished up to her hip area. She moves via wheel chair or uses her hands to move. Leslie also has spina bifida. Her family has spent a lot of money on medical bills and they live in poverty. There wasn’t much to their house, but they obviously are not a family focused on materialistic things. Leslie attends school but because of her disabilities, she gets bullied every day. Her self esteem has been brought down so much because of the pain and hurt she goes through. When the time came to pray over the family I quickly volunteered. That was the diving opportunity I’ve been praying for all week. I knew God wanted to use me to boost this precious girl’s self esteem. I’ve experience disabilities first hand in my family. I know the hurt that can be created by bullying. Sweet little Leslie needed to know that Jesus Christ doesn’t care one bit about disabilities; but rather, he cares about her heart. During my prayer I made sure to call Leslie beautiful and perfect. Not because I wanted to boost her self esteem, although that was a perk, but because it’s completely true. She, like the rest of us, is a human. That means she was made in God’s image. God is perfect. He doesn’t make anything imperfect. God made Leslie just like he made you and me. She is perfect. We are perfect. Because he loves us, we are perfect. Only his opinion matters.

At the second house we visited, the family had just gone through the loss of a husband and father. My heart aches for this family because the mother is working her tail off to provide for these kids. She lives in a house next to her sister so she has some extra support, but it’s still difficult. This family is receiving help from Buckner through psychological therapies. The mother is taking sewing classes, and Buckner actually provides some food for them. They aren’t extremely well off at the moment, but they’re working their way out of poverty. Before we left, I asked if there was anything we could pray for. The mother said 1) strength for her and her family as they continue to cope with the passing of her husband; 2) for God to continue to provide and 3) she wants us to praise God for already helping her so much.

Please remember how blessed you are when you think about the families we shared Christ’s love with today. Remember Leslie’s story when you have doubts. Remember that God will provide for you like he is for the second family when times are tough. And always always always remember to thank him for your current situation, because it could be worse.

In a world of poverty – Guatemala day 3

This morning we went back to the Family Hope Center in San Jose Panula and taught English. There were four groups of us; each group taught vocabulary from a different category. The groups taught animals, clothes, body parts and fruits. I helped with the animal group, and they picked up on it SOOO fast. 

There was the possibility of going to an orphanage today, but that may not happen until tomorrow (hopefully). We had lunch at a mall food court because that is the easiest place and there are a lot of options. After lunch we went back to the FHC in Panula and got some food as gifts for two families that we went to visit.

First family- The only people home were the mom and daughter (age 11). There are also 2 sons (ages 13&15), and a father who works the fields and comes home occasionally. One of the sons was taking English and computer classes at the FHC, but he had to quit because he needed to work instead. The mother takes parenting classes at the FHC, but she hardly ever makes it there because of how far away it is from her home. The father makes Q100   (the currency here is Qutezels) a week (that is only around $10-$15 american dollars.) that isn’t much at all for a family of 5 to live on. They house is basically metal walls standing up on each other and a thin metal roof. There are holes all over the walls from the rust. The room was maybe 10×8 feet..if that. There was a small storage shed attached to the house that held a few things in it. The house had 2 beds in it, side by side. One was a full sized mattress on the ground, and there was a raised cot right next to it. The cot was smaller than you would expect. Definitely only 1 person could fit on it. They are living where they are now and keeping watch over the land for someone. They are going to live there either until they have enough money to finish paying off the land they want to live on or until their land lord comes back and kicks them out. Before we left, we blessed this family with prayers and some food. Please pray that their living situation works out, and that they will always have a shelter.

Second family- This house was somewhat bigger. There were 3 rooms: a kitchen, and 2 bedrooms. They only had 3 small beds. They did have electricity, a refrigerator and a TV. I want to reiterate that even though this family has a few blessings, they are still living in complete poverty. The father works in construction, but doesn’t get paid much. The house is made of sheet metal, like the first home we visited. It is a little nicer and part of the house actually has a wooden frame. They don’t have a roof on most of the house though. Instead, they covered the house with black tarp. The kitchen was about 8×10 ft, the smaller bedroom was 10×10, and the master bedroom was about 10×14. In this family there are 5 sons (ages 1 1/2, 5, 10, 12, & 14). The mother heard about Buckner through a school that one of her son’s was attending. All but the youngest child are taking classes at the Buckner FHC. The mother attends the cooking class at Buckner; however, she cannot participate because she can’t afford her own supplies. We prayed for this family as well, and asked if there was anything we could continue to pray for as we went home. This family is in need of water and salt. Because of their connections with Buckner, they are transitioning out of the low-class poverty they are currently in. Pray that they Lord continues to bless this family. They have already been so blessed by Buckner.

Another thing about these families: I was speaking to one of the translators about them and he said that most of the people that live in the area we were in today and have the same style of houses as I’ve described have a lot of breathing illnesses such as asthma, allergies, and common colds. As we know, things like that break down the immune system and cause people to get sick more often. Some of the monetary issues that these families face are a result of them having to go to the doctor so much because of how often they get sick. It is a real struggle for these families to stay healthy, be educated, pay bills, eat, be clothed, and really just keep up with the bare necessities of life. They can’t even afford blankets for their beds to keep warm at night. That is part of the reason why they get so sick. They have to sleep in jackets and coats to stay warm.

Today, we got to hear about impoverished lifestyles and ask questions. It’s amazing hearing how they make it like this. It’s sad and actually more like pathetic to think that we can’t even make it for a week without running water, AC, phones, etc.. These people may be struggling a little but they’re still alive, and thanks to Buckner they’re clothes and provided with enough food to keep them going. As I’ve already said, please pray for these families. That’s all you can do unless you feel inclined to give.

As this day comes to an end, I want to leave you with a challenge… Reflect on how selfish we are in America. Think about how spoiled we are. I know its literally impossible, even being here and seeing poverty right in my face, to imagine what these people are going through. But just try it. Imagine what life would be like if you had almost nothing. What if you didn’t know when you’d be asked to leave your home. What if you were in need of clean water or salt. What if?

Now that you’ve processed the “What if…?” think about how incredibly blessed you are. You may be unhappy about something right know, but imagine being sick and not having a blanket to cover up with tonight. Be thankful that your needs are met, and pray for those who still have hurts. Thats the least you can do.

I hope these images of today’s experiences show you a little of what life in Guatemala is like.

Vaya con dios – Guatemala day 2

This morning we went to a family hope center in San Jose Pinula. It’s about a 30 minute drive from Guatemala City. We did a VBS, and the key story was about Jesus walking on water. The children had 4 stations in VBS. Lesson, crafts, music and recreation. At each section we talked about the meaning of what they were doing.

At the lesson station, the kids learned about Jesus walking on water, and the disciples and their faith. They were taught to have faith in Jesus. At the craft station they reviewed the lesson and either painted a cross or colored a coloring sheet with a picture of Jesus walking on water. The majority of them chose to paint a cross, and when I was speaking with a Buckner employee, he said that they love to paint because they never get to. Paint is extremely expensive here, and about 50% of the people in San Jose Pinula are living in poverty. The craft sections required some flexibility, though. We were told once we got to Guatemala that we would be doing two VBSs and not just one, so during our lunch break, we had to make a Walmart run (yes, I did say Walmart) and get supplies for a whole new craft. For the second go-round, the children painted a mural of Jesus walking on water all by themselves. They got very creative with the supplies we got for them, and the murals actually turned out really well! They then went on to recreation where they learned to share the love of Jesus with their friends and play some American games. After that, they went to music and learned “I’ve Got the Joy,” and  “Jesus Loves Me” in Spanish! It was so great at the end of the day to here these kiddos singing and dancing and sharing what they had learned with the group.

The children have an understanding of Jesus. We are more showing them love and watering the seeds that have been planted by Buckner.

Tomorrow the current plan is to work with the same children we spent time with this morning on English, and then there is the possibility that we may go to an orphanage. I never thought I’d be so eager to do something, but going to an orphanage has always been a dream of mine. It will be a unique experience because the orphanage is government owned, so we won’t be allowed to do too much.

The orphanage is planned for midday, and then we are going to visit some Buckner homes where families live. We are going to have the opportunity to get to know some of the families and pray for them. I am sort of nervous about this because language is still a huge barrier. It is almost discouraging because its to difficult to communicate with everybody here, but I’m starting to pick up on some of the things that are being said.

To end on a happy note, we spent the evening in downtown Guatemala City. It is such a different set up from what you would imagine. There are sky scrapers and tons of shopping and restaurants. We ate dinner at a traditional Guatemalan restaurant, and I must say…that was some of the best food I’ve ever had. We learned how to make tortillas also. That was one pretty fun expereince, even though I dropped mine on the floor!! But hey, it was still so fun! A couple of men played music and memories were made.

Please continue to pray for the trip to run smoothly, and for our health and safety.

Vaya con dios. (Go with God) y Adios amigos!