Like Nehemiah's prayer in chapter 1 verse 11, this year we prayed for favor from God. We wished to again work with Los Cremas, a soccer team of the first division of Guatemala. In our country, soccer is a very big thing. One of the most traditional and highlighted clubs is the communications football club, or better known as "Los Cremas because of their white uniform. Los Cremas are a club that invests heavily in the acquisition of new players, coaches from abroad, and are very demanding in the services they require.
The Team for the last two seasons have done their pre-season training at our El Faro facility. They stay for a period of approximately 10 to 13 days while conducting their training. Each time they came they came with a different coaching staff. The coaching staff this year seemed to be even more demanding and strict. The coach had a history of triumphs in the football world Cup with the Costa Rica National team. The administrative staff of the club gave us the understanding that
the possibilities of the pre-season to be held at El Faro was almost null. Our doubts were confirmed by the newspapers when they printed that the team had decided to go to another location with 5-star hotels and services. The news of course affected us, but we do what the Bible commands us, we pray with thanksgiving. Unlike last year, June was a completely full month for us, so I felt a great relief. Just a few weeks after the newspapers announcement, everything suddenly began to change much to our surprise. Los Cremas, the team who had held the lead throughout the season and emerged as champion the year before, lost in the semifinals against a team from a province with fewer resources. All negotiations with the other place for their pre-season training fell through. At the last minute, and with the insistence of the President of the club, we received a phone call asking us if their was any chance they could come to El Faro.
Nehemiah 1:11- O Lord, please hear my prayer! Listen to the prayers of those of us who delight in honoring you.
Two of the stars of Los Cremas posing with some of the kids from youth group.
David Vasquez, Director of El Faro
As much as we were excited, we faced a problem. We already had a full schedule and our priority was to attend to the ministries and churches that had already been booked. After talking with the other groups who were going to be at El Faro and through various movements of rooms, beds, schedules, etc., we were ready to receive the soccer team. We were nervous about what the reaction of the coaching staff was going to be, as they are so accustomed to being treated like stars. They went from a private five-star facility to El Faro, their clear second choice and they would not only have to share the facilities with a Christian ministry that was at El Faro, but also the soccer field. What they didnt expect to find was the quality of staff and service available at El Faro, super excellent food, beautiful location, and above all, the beautiful presence of God amongst us.
The only way this preseason was a success was to ask God for favor with the coaching staff and everything went well. So many times when we asked, God answered, and not in the way we expected! At first there was much rain, which caused a muddy soccer field and the cancellation of workouts, a septic tank overflowed, and there were problems with air conditioners. In addition, because we were at full capacity at El Faro, we had to put 4 to 6 players in
each apartment. With every difficulty we faced, we saw that our prayers were being answered. God was giving us grace and favor with the coaching staff and players.
The last night as in the previous pre-seasons at El Faro, we requested a time to talk about the vision and mission of El Faro to the team, while giving a mini lecture and call for salvation. This time, I personally had the privilege of doing this. At the end I asked for a raise of hands of those who accepted Christ. Im not exactly how many were, but I am sure of something: all of the coaching staff had hands raised.
After 10 days of hosting Los Cremas, we reached this conclusion: God answers our prayers much more abundantly than we ask.This coaching staff started out as the most difficult and ended up being the most friendly and grateful. To this day, I still receive emails from players thanking me for our attention to them.
At the end of their stay, the coaching staff had a time where they thanked the entire staff of El Faro for the excellent service they received and that has undoubtedly been one of the best memories.
Are you now in need for grace and favor of God upon your life? All you have to do is bend your knees and God is more than willing to give it to you.
Check out the El Faro Blog at: http://misionelfaro.wordpress.com/
A team of 6 from California teamed up with team of 10 from Portage, Indiana for a fruitful week serving at El Faro. Here is a testimony of one of the team members.
It wasnt so much of a question will it work work?, but more of a question how well will this work? At least that was my dilema when in a months time a team of six people decided to take take several art projects with a Christian focus to Guatemala and just see what would happen.
Our theme for the week was Romans 4:17, As it is written: I have made you a father of many nations. He is our father in the sight of God, in whom he believed-the God who gives life to the dead and calls things that are not as though they were. The Apostle Paul, the author of Romans, is talking about Abraham, but its the last part of this verse that carried us through the week; calling things that are not as though they were.
We didnt know what to expect when we left the states, we just knew that God had sent us on a mission to call forth what was presently lying dormant just under the surface of the circumstances we would walk into.Seeing the faces of the children light up when they saw us coming, it was like hundreds of undiscovered secrets who were anxious to be found! And so find them we did. We made treasure boxes and talked about hiding Gods word in our hearts. We painted rainbows and shared of Gods promise to Abraham after He flooded the earth; that a rainbow forever stands as a sign of His covenant. We painted canvases and faces. We made paper chains. We tie-dyed t-shirts and covered walls with our hand prints. They taught us Spanish and we taught them English. We taught them how to mix colors and they taught us how to enjoy life despite the reality.
God breaks our hearts in a good way. During my week in Guatemala I learned to grieve the way that He does, and its not the kind that leads to a depression or hopelessness, but the kind that moves us to action. Its a grief that causes you to see that you can do what you love AND change lives; they arent mutually exclusive.
I took pictures all week. I spent most of my time behind the camera capturing a remarkable story as it was unfolding. And it was in those moments, those easily missed seconds, that I saw God moving and heard Him speak. He told me that this trip was only the beginning, that my desire to be a missionary and my love of photography was not forgotten by Him nor would my dreaming stop there. I didnt go to Guatemala thinking it would be a trial run for things that I would do in the future. Truth be told, I needed a vacation and a missions trip seemed like a good idea. Little did I know I would come home with a baby in hand, something God impregnated me with years ago, that I delivered in Guatemala; that I am finally ready to nurture and grow.
I have never been more excited to call things that are not as though they were!
The Greatest Calling By Brandi Ibrao
Teams: Medical, Construction, etc:Keith Brutoutkwbrutout@gmail.com
Camps and Retreats:Samuel Gomezcampamentos@misionelfaro.org
This summer El Faro was blessed with some amazing volunteers. Katie Faughnan, a student at Florida University, came to Guatemala to volunteer her time and gifts. She spent time at The Potters House, a foundation in Guatemala City and then traveled to be with us at El Faro for two weeks. She assisted with the missions trip team from the United States and also mentored ten girls from the communities near El Faro at a soccer camp. Her kindness and determination was inspiring and she was a blessing to everyone she came in contact with.
Debbie, Naomi, and Leonard Baumann are also volunteers that we would like to recognize and thank. They came to El Faro for a whole month from Illinois to El Faro and assimilated into the El Faro family. All three actively participated in the English classes, soccer academy, and also helped us with big groups during one of our busiest months of the year. Their love for one another and for the people of Guatemala was evident and we are grateful for the time that we got to spend with them.
Time and time again we have been told that those who come thinking they are going to bless Guatemala find that they themselves have been blessed abundantly. If you wish to volunteer at El Faro it is a great opportunity to be used by God to help those who are in such great need. The need is there, all that is required is a willing heart.We welcome you.
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