Welcome to ASLC Missions

Welcome to Abiding Savior Lutheran Church (ASLC) Missions blog. Here, you will find information about past, current, and future ASLC mission trips.

"Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths." -Proverbs 3:5-6 KJV

Abiding Savior Lutheran Church
9700 W. Newberry Road
Gainesville, Florida 32606

Upcoming Guatemala Mission Trip June 19 -27, 2010

We are now in the final stages of preparing for our mission trip to Zacapa, Guatemala: collecting supplies, verifying activities, and asking for everyone to pray for us while we are on our Mission trip. Prayer Guides can be found at the Welcoming table at ASLC.

During our mission, we will build a home for a single mother, and her two young boys, teach Vacation Bible School for about 100 children, and provide manicures to the women of the area.

We will have a translator with us the whole time that we are there, her name is Karla Pena. You will find her in the yellow shirt in the picture located below.

Come this Sunday (June 13, 2010), and be on the lookout for us at both services, as we will be wearing our blue mission t-shirts. See you there!

Guatemale Mission Team Departing the USA

In a short few minutes, the ASLC Mission team will be boarding their flight to Guatemala. We all have been up since 2 a.m. and are looking forward to a quiet flight.

We will see you in Guatemala!

Guatemala Mission Trip 2 a.m. Departure

The ASLC Missions team heading out at 2:00 AM from Abiding Savior Lutheran Church to Orlando Airport for a 7:00 AM flight to Guatemala City.

Guatemala Mission Trip Day 1 Highlights

Day 1, Saturday, June 19: a long day of travel, but well worth it. On the way there, we were amazed at how green everything was below us, we got to see the Pacific coastline, and had a great view of Guatemala City as we came in for the landing.

We were greeted by Karla (our Translator), Borris (our driver - the gentleman on top of the van), and Ramiro (our Work Cooridnator) at the Guatemala City Airport. Amazingly all of our luggage fit either on top of the van or in the back.

As we made our way to Zacapa, we delighted in the scenery of what was around us. The city was buzzing with cars and motorcycles and the mountains were beaming with the greenest of the green.

Finally we arrived at the Hotel Torre Fuerte - a welcoming retreat after a long day. We were amazed that our luggage actually stayed on top of the van all the way and arrived with us also! ;-)

At the end of our first day we were introduced to Nora, Carlos, and their son Jose, who are providing our evening meals. If our first meal is any indication of what is to come, we all may come home a little bit bigger than when we came!

Nora and Carlos prepare meals every Saturday for fundraising for the Lutheran School in Zacapa, which provides for 20% of the students tuition (40% is paid by the parents and 40% is paid by an American Company).

As the evening came to a close for us, it was just the beginning for some new arrivals to the hotel. We met a young lady, Amber, from Arkansas, who was one of the leaders of a Student, Church-Based group, that is also visiting Zacapa, Guatemala. Needless to say, the students were having a blast out by the pool (toward which our rooms face), while we were inside our rooms, sleepy-eyed.

Buenos Noches!

Guatemala Mission Trip Day 2 Highlights

Day 2, Sunday, June 20, of our Mission trip, we were welcomed into the Lutheran Church, Iglesia Luterana El Divino Salvador, in Zacapa, Guatemala. Stephanie was the Pianist for Sunday Service. Needless to say, it was an outstanding performance. As service ended, there were a couple children who were mesmerized by Stephanie and her playing. The children of the church had Sunday School through most of the Service, and came in and recited a bible passage to the congregation. The members of the church were wonderful, providing hugs and kisses on the cheeks. Here, we also met the mission team from Gloria Dei Lutheran Church in Houston, Texas. Gloria Dei is the church that donated the funds to the Abiding Savior Lutheran Church mission team to build the home that we are working on. In turn, Gloria Dei is also the church where the contributions of Abiding Savior Lutheran Church's donations went to build one temporary home.

After Church Service, we went to the Lutheran School, Colegio Luterano El Divino Salvador, where we met some of the students who attend school every Sunday, and had another fabulous meal prepared by Carlos, Nora, and many others. We met a young man no more than 15 years old, Daniel, and his sister Lucy. Daniel was a wealth of knowledge (fluent english), speaking of architectural elements. We had made the comment that he should become an engineer, then we asked him what he wanted to do beyond school, and if you guessed it, he wants to be an architectural engineer in the Middle East. Lucy wants to become a psychologist, and practice in Germany.

Our last stops were to visit the church where we will be holding Vacation Bible School this week, and to tour the site where the house will be completed, which is located around the corner. We will finish constructing the home for Blanca and her two sons Eric (8 years old) and Alan (3 years old), this week.

Guatemala Mission Trip Day 3 Highlights

Day Three, Monday, June 21:
This was the first day of work on the house and VBS.

Another team had put the walls up, the bathroom had a cement floor in place, and plastic conduit for the electrical wires had been placed in strategic places around the rooms. Our jobs today, under the supervision of our Guatemalen friends were: chisel out the openings for the electrical boxes, insert the boxes, morter them in place, carry fill dirt into the house to raise the floor in preparation for the cement, and put on the corrugated metal roof.

While Linda, Beth, and Mike started with the chiseling and putting the electrical boxes in place, the rest of us started with the dirty work. This entailed Pastor Alan using a pick ax to break up a patch of clay/dirt and us carrying shovelfuls into the house. Then, 3 five-gallon buckets appeared (counting the one with the split side). That was a little better. Finally a wheelbarrow appeared. Now we were in business. Several members helped fill the wheelbarrow. One of us then wheeled it approximately 100 feet to the front door of the house and dumped it. Stephanie and one of the Guatemalen workers took turns filling the buckets half full and set them on the door stoop so we weaklings could carry them and dump them into the rooms. Alan (3) and Alex (8), the children whose house we were working on, also helped. Innumerable buckets of dirt later, the floor was ready to be tamped down in anticipation of the cement the next day.

After a baƱos run back to the hotel, we had a delicious lunch of barbeque sandwiches at the church. Fortified, the men went back to the house to work and we readied ourselves for our first day of VBS. The children started showing up almost an hour ahead of time. Linda gave them some sidewalk chalk and that kept them busy. We had about 10 children that first day. A piece of cake! They enjoyed the Bible story about Noah’s Ark, colored a picture of an ark and put animal stickers on it. Miss Stephanie taught them several songs about Jesus being the captain of their boat and urging them all to climb aboard. Snacks, photos, and happy children! Back to the hotel for a delicious supper prepared by our soon to be best friends, Carlos and Nora, then back to the La Fragua Church for an evening service/bible study. The congregation consists of about 10 women of various ages and several children. Then back to the hotel for debriefing and devotions and time to rest our souls and bodies for tomorrow.

Guatemala Mission Trip Day 4 Highlights

Day Four, Tuesday, June 22:
Pastor Alan and Mike are doing hard labor today. At the house, it was cement day. The men learned how to mix cement the Guatemalen way: proportional amounts of dirt, gravel, and cement dumped on a spot on the ground, mix this thoroughly with shovels, then make a “well” in the center and add several buckets of water from the convenient sewer stream a few feet away and mix again to the proper consistency. Then fill those same 5 gallon buckets from the other day and carry the cement into the house, one bucket at a time. The men definitely earned their lunch and supper that day. Extra cement was used to patch the gaps where the metal roofing met the cement walls and fill in the gap where the shower pipe came down the wall.

Meanwhile, back at the La Fragua Church Nail Spa, 25 customers stopped in to be treated to manicures. We practiced our Spanish while spreading the good news about Jesus. The women were very appreciative and one of the little girls loved it so much, she came back three times to change her nail color!

After lunch the children started showing up again. Bubbles kept them entertained until the official start of VBS. This time we had a keyboard for Stephanie to play and it was like the Pied Piper—the children kept coming, 70 of them! We read another story and played a fishing game (after Mike used a machete to make fishing poles from branches), catching fish with the letters J E S U S. We got out the sequins and glue and everyone decorated fish and glued them and other religious foam shapes to construction paper. What are the words of the day? Uno mas, no mas.

Back to the hotel (again passing cows being herded through the streets of Zacapa) to swim and await our delicious supper. Debrief, devotion, and sleep!

Hola from Hotel Torre Fuerte in Zacapa. This day was Tuesday. We had a huge group of children show up for Vacation Bible School. There were over 70, with mothers and little babies, too. It was overwhelming, and I must say that we were a bit shell-shocked when it was all over. But, their little faces were a blessing!
One of the things Pastor Alan asks us everyday is "What kind of surprises did God throw your way today?" Well, I must say I was expecting black beans and rice every day; however, we have had black beans only once, and it was the most delicious concoction of seasoned refried delicacy that you can imagine. I was smearing them on my warm, freshly baked tortilla. So, on this day, we had for dinner, prepared with loving hands by our friends Nora & Carlos: fresh guacamole, very lightly seasoned with sliced boiled egg on top; coffee & tea, agua fria and soft drinks, some sort of custard with a prune reduction sauce, slow-cooked pork ribs in barbecue sauce.

Note: To see Days 5 - 7 click on "Older Posts" below.