Mission Outreach Blog

Kenya Day 6 - The Full Spectrum

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We started today off with a visit to the Hyrax Primary school. The size of this state run school took us by surprise as they have over 1,400 students in (what Americans would call) elementary school. Many of these kids from poor circumstances and desperately need the education that Hyrax offers. After we arrived, they surprised us by sitting together as a student body waiting to greet us. As we came out to make introductions, the team held their collective breath when Rev. Jeff was given the floor to speak. After introducing the team members, Jeff relied on his Young Life training and led the student body through pat-snap-clap-it-sounds-like-rain exercise (look on Facebook for the video).

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Before we departed, several Hyrax people mentioned to us that the R.O.C.K. Bridge water truck regularly delivers water to the school. In order to emphasize our “parterneship over paternalism” philosophy, the R.O.C.K. Bridge water truck asks that the school pay what they can afford, no matter how small the amount. This arrangement allows for both the giver and the recipient to retain dignity and responsibility in the relationship. 

 Bags on bags on bags!

Bags on bags on bags!

From the school we headed to the Bagamoyo shop. This shop employs HIV-positive workers to make high-quality bags to support their ministry. The women were so friendly and the bags were so high-quality that our group had no problem justifying the purchase of many “gifts.” If you don’t receive yours, it probably means one of our team members is stylishly walking around work with it!

At lunch we ran into the owner of Bagamoyo Shop. And as it often happens in Kenya, she told us that she had already heard of our visit to the store and that the employees were very happy with our purchases. We told her that we were very happy with our bags!

 Betty telling her own story.  

Betty telling her own story.  

After lunch we made our way to one of the highlights of our trip: visiting with Zablon’s Mom. As is Kenyan custom, even though we had just come from lunch, she insisted that we share coffee, tea, and buttered bread with her. It was such a special time of sharing conversation with an 80-year-plus woman who so faithfully loves God and the people that God has entrusted to her care. She beamed with pride over Zablon when she told the story of marrying her husband, his father. After that, she quickly asked for a story from us and Betty told a sweet story of meeting her own husband in the seventh grade. Although we could have talked for hours, we had guests arriving soon at our hotel... 

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Tonight we gathered with representatives of P.C.E.A. Nakuru West, the nursing college, and the staff of R.O.C.K. Bridge ministries for a delicious Kenyan buffet dinner. This was a time of celebration to remember how God led Zablon Kuria and Lane Alderman to build a partnership of ministry between the people of Kenya and Roswell Presbyterian Church. Cecelia and Phylis, the exceptional nursing students for whom RPC has provided scholarships, shared their  appreciation and love for people they have never met. (The author did background research and discovered that these two women are two of the best students in the school!) We exchanged gifts, prayed for each other, and celebrated what God was doing in the partnership between RPC and the Kenyan people.

On the last day of visiting our partners, it was appropriate that we visited with those across the age spectrum of whom we are trying to serve and whom we are serving with. We thank God for our past and look forward to a bright future together!

 The RPC team with Zablon and his mom, Eunice. 

The RPC team with Zablon and his mom, Eunice. 

Kenya Day 5 - With the Children

 Diane is trapped! 

Diane is trapped! 

This morning we headed to PCEA (Presbyterian Church of East Africa) Nakuru West. On the central campus resides a beautiful church, an affordable private school for 850 students, and a nursing college. Today was the first day back for the children so they showed overwhelming exuberance in welcoming us to the school grounds. In fact, they tried to block Diane in and prevent her from leaving! We were able to tour the nursing college, meet the students, have the nurses check the author’s weight on a metric scale (confidential), and stop for discussion and tea. The most moving part of our visit was the opportunity to see a dedication plaque for Dr. Lane Alderman in the courtyard. His vision and ministry live on in the nurses who will go on to physically minister to people who are often in desperate need.

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Dr. Lane Alderman’s plaque at the Nursing college. 

 Patty with the Cornerstone kids.  

Patty with the Cornerstone kids.  

From Nakuru West we made an unscheduled detour to Cornerstone Church. The pastor of this church has two children who attended Beulah Heights University in Atlanta who worshipped at the author’s previous church. Through the magic of social networking, Pastor Thou invited the RPC team to come and see his church’s ministry. This included getting a tour of the school. In a serendipitous moment that could only be credited to the work of the Holy Spirit, Ellen brought her materials to work with non-verbal children (which she does professionally). After our introduction to the students, the school manager approached Ellen asking for her to help them work with one of their students. She was able to quickly hand over the therapy materials and communications board and give them a quick training on how to use it. This was the first day that she had brought the materials along with her. As we left, we reflected on how a quick connection over the internet could make such a big difference in a young person’s life!

 Colette listening to one of the Neema elders.  

Colette listening to one of the Neema elders.  

After a very quick lunch, the team took the vans over to PCEA (Presbyterian Church of East Africa) Neema who feeds 150-200 kids every Sunday through their porridge program. RPC sponsors this program through its partnership with R.O.C.K. Bridge ministries. The elders we met from PCEA Neema made a point to emphasize the fact that the congregation is economically diverse and is led by a female pastor. They also have ELEVEN screens in the sanctuary!

 How many screens can you find?

How many screens can you find?

 Diane shows off her selfie skills.  

Diane shows off her selfie skills.  

To close the afternoon, we made a quick stop at an historic partner Arap Moi, which is a state-run foster facility. We dropped off a couple of suitcases full of clothes and a few coloring books and games. One of the social workers talked about their work. Honestly, it was pretty despairing to hear of children left on the side of the road and brought to the facility as a final option. Rarely do families reconnect with their kids (maybe ten reunions a year). After answering a few of our questions the social worker gently ushered us out. Surely, there was much work for him to do.

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At the end of the day, the team reflected on the whiplash of emotions from seeing kids jumping enthusiastically at one school to the grim prospects that face other children just down the street. This reality inspires us to do what we can to move more children from the latter category to the former. We want to do this not just because they are children, but because they are God’s children.

Kenya Day 4 - God at Work

This morning we rushed over to Victory Trading Company for the 7:30am Workplace Bible Study. This is one of 32 workplace Bible studies (30 in Nakuru and 2 in Nairobi) that aim to offer Biblical wisdom and spiritual encouragement for daily living to employees. Both staff and management celebrated the tangible benefits - like increased self-esteem, family and financial management skills, and self-discipline - they receive from attending these 30-minute, once a week gatherings. Through R.O.C.K. Bridge’s Workplace Ministry God is at work.

 Workplace Study at Victory Trading Company

Workplace Study at Victory Trading Company

As an added bonus, all of the 1000 employees involved in R.O.C.K. Bridge’s Workplace Ministry are invited to participate in their Savings and Cooperative Society program. This program invites each participant to save for six months. Then, the employee is invited to take out a loan three times the amount he or she has saved over the past six months. The employee can pay the loan back at a low-interest rate. This allows an employee to buy a motorcycle, a piece of land, a sewing machine, or anything else to help improve her or his earning power and economic standing in life. The intent of the program is to empower the employees to grow and learn good business habits. Think of this as the “Give a man a fish, feed him for a day, teach a man to fish, feed him for a lifetime” philosophy. This program is made possible by a generous gift from a couple at RPC. God is at work.

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After a fascinating tour of the Victory furniture showroom, we stopped for a quick visit at the Kiamunyi Presbyterian Church where RPC sponsors a porridge program to feed 100 children every Sunday. As one of the teachers said, “A child must have a full belly before they can hear the gospel.”

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Then the team visited the R.O.C.K. Bridge ministry offices in downtown Nakuru. These offices have been donated to the ministry and have been a great blessing to Zablon and his team. In Zablon’s office, against the wall across from his desk hangs a large quilt. This quilt was given to him by RPC when he left Roswell and came back to Kenya. On the back of the quilt are over 200 signatures of people who promised to pray and support him. Zablon told us that when he confronts challenges and doubts, the quilt stands as a reminder of God’s faithfulness and the prayers of so many of his friends. Indeed, even after ten years, God is still at work.

 Zablon with Annie in front of the RPC quilt. 

Zablon with Annie in front of the RPC quilt. 

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After lunch (where the author claimed that he had eaten the best veggie burger in all of Africa) the team headed back to inventory the gifts and donations that we had brought for our ministry partners. The team divided clothes, shoes, and mattress pads into piles and then transported them over to the 3:16 orphanage and the Tumaini School for distribution by the staff. The team graciously thanks all of those who generously gave to provide much needed resources for these children!

 Ellen and the 3:16 Dancers

Ellen and the 3:16 Dancers

A number of our team used the remaining daylight  and headed over to the 3:16 Ministry grounds to play with the children. Our resident child whisperer/dance troupe director, Ellen, gathered the kids to dance. As the music blasted from Ellen’s phone she led them in a pogo dance, a shimmy groove, and the “I Would Walk 500 Miles” chorus. The kids laughed and played like they didn’t have a care in the world. It was a reminder that even when we are playing, God is at work.

Kenya Day 3 - Into the Community

We began day three visiting the early morning workplace Bible study at the Rift Valley Sports Club, a private club where “Ladies and Gentlemen Serve Ladies and Gentlemen.” Every Monday morning - at this location and many others around the city - members of Zablon’s team lead a voluntary Bible study for the employees of the club. They sing, pray, and then hear a teaching on a passage of scripture. These meetings help contribute to an enhanced workplace environment while also bringing impressive benefits to the employees’ personal lives.

 Closing prayer at the workplace Bible study. 

Closing prayer at the workplace Bible study. 

From there, we traveled across town to the plot of land that has recently been purchased by R.O.C.K. Bridge ministries (the name of Zablon’s Ministry).  Once the next tranche of funding has been raised, they plan to dig a borehole on the plot of land. The borehole will be used to collect water to be sold from the R.O.C.K. Bridge water truck. This will provide a self-sustaining ministry in the primarily Muslim community. The vision for this ministry is to both quench the physical thirsts of the people living in the neighborhood also also offer the spiritual “living water” of Jesus Christ.

 The team points to the future borehole site.

The team points to the future borehole site.

 The front of Upendo Academy 

The front of Upendo Academy 

We then made our way over to the Upendo Academy, the same place we worshipped in church yesterday. Upendo Academy  currently  provides schooling for 227 students. Of those, 111 are sponsored through scholarships. RPC sponsors four students: Purity, Ashley, Ronny, and Enoch. The Upendo school provides critical education to these students to help them make it into state sponsored education. The state schools only become available after a student has been in school for three years. Needless to say, Upendo Academy provides an affordable opportunity for people who would otherwise have very little opportunity. The school has had steady, visionary leadership since its founding ten years ago and looks to have a very bright future. 

 A classroom at Upendo Academy 

A classroom at Upendo Academy 

After a delicious lunch that featured Kenyan roasted chicken, the team headed to the Tumaini Primary School campus. Again, we witnessed the impact RPC’s mission dollars have had over the past ten years. From a water reservoir to solar power panels, from a student scholarship to supporting orphan students, RPC and its members have joined the mission of God in making a big difference in the lives of these young people and their community.

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We even had the opportunity to meet the Tumaini school nurse, Joyce, who is a graduate of the Presbyterian Nursing School. RPC gave the lead gift that helped found  the nursing school where Joyce received a scholarship that was also given by RPC. Now Joyce is blessing others out of the blessing she has been granted. It’s appropriate that her name begins with “joy”!

Kenya Day 2 - Being Church

On our second day in Kenya, the team looked forward to venturing out and finally interacting with the people of Nakuru.

 Here are the cottages where we are staying at in Nakuru. (Photo cred: Annie)

Here are the cottages where we are staying at in Nakuru. (Photo cred: Annie)

In the morning, we worshipped at Nakuru Upendo Parish. “Upendo” means love. It’s name clearly states the church’s goal to share the love of Christ. The church was established ten years ago after violent skirmishes between tribes in the parish, which is one of the poorer areas in Nakuru. Now, the church is a reminder of how different people can be united in Christ and live together in peace.

And oh how they are united in Christ! For over three hours we worshipped through dancing and singing, praying and raising hands, preaching and more praying. One of the most powerful moments came as we celebrated holy communion with the community and then brought our offerings forward to support Upendo’s ministry.

 Rev. Jeff preaching with his translator, the evangelist Anthony. 

Rev. Jeff preaching with his translator, the evangelist Anthony. 

The Upendo family showed us great hospitality by inviting Bill to offer a prayer of blessing over the children, Annie helped lead the singing, and Rev. Jeff preached the sermon. The entire team enjoyed getting to offer hugs to the kids and their parents and extend the love of Christ (we will be returning tomorrow to see the school that RPC helps support).

 Bill praying (in English).

Bill praying (in English).

After a jam-packed morning at church, we headed to lunch with some brief shopping before touring a piece of land that has been given to R.O.C.K. Bridge ministries that they hope to develop into a self-sustaining ministry in the coming years.

 Zablon showing R.O.C.K. Bridge’s new property that overlooks Lake Nakuru.  

Zablon showing R.O.C.K. Bridge’s new property that overlooks Lake Nakuru.  

Kenya Day 1 - Getting There

After almost 24 hours of travel time, which included a connection in Doha, Qatar, the RPC mission team finally arrived in Nairobi, Kenya.

 The team (from left to right: Bill, Ellen, Betty, Diane, Annie, Patty, and Colette. Not pictured because he’s taking it: Jeff) in the Doha airport. 

The team (from left to right: Bill, Ellen, Betty, Diane, Annie, Patty, and Colette. Not pictured because he’s taking it: Jeff) in the Doha airport. 

In our team trainings, we have tried to prepare ourselves to be open to God’s presence in ways that we may never have done before. Now the rubber meets the road. We know we are about to step into a very different country and culture than most of us are used to. Since none of us can in read Arabic, the words on the flight map (pictured below) were am early reminder that God has created a world that we are not fully familiar with.

That means God’s surprises wait for us around every corner if we will have the eyes to see them. Our team hopes to scratch the surface of God’s wonderful, surprising creation this week. We thank you for your prayers and support!

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Today has been a day of travel and transition, meeting new people and preparing to meet many more. We look in great anticipation to what God has in store for us this week. 

 Ellen and Annie standing in front of their transportation. 

Ellen and Annie standing in front of their transportation. 

Guatemala day 7

by Robby Cella, Director of Youth Programs

With the week of work behind us, the group explored the city of Antigua. The city is full of history. Spanish conquistadors, Catholic cathedrals, Mayan ruins, three volcanoes, and the San Andreas fault - all coverage in this town. It's a marvelous place to examine the history and influences in Guatemala. The group enjoyed great meals, a comfy hotel built from an ancient Spanish Villa, and more colorful markets. In a action packed week full of emotional highs and lows, it was a much needed reprieve, one which added significant depth to our time here.

Tonight, our final night together, ended with a special time of reflection and affirmation of one another. It was the perfect bow to tie the bonds of this group together one last time.

We're thankful to our church, to our families, and to all those who made this trip possible. Most importantly, we're thankful for the one who formed us, called together and sent us out for the good of Guatemala and for his Glory.

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Guatemala day 6

 The Christian School in Quiche. Recently cerebrated 54 years. 

The Christian School in Quiche. Recently cerebrated 54 years. 

 RPC students helping Quiche students with their English. These girls are studying to become bilingual administrators - an educational path with hopes of better job opportunities.

RPC students helping Quiche students with their English. These girls are studying to become bilingual administrators - an educational path with hopes of better job opportunities.

  Rev. Mary Cox  celebrating and thanking the hotel staff for their exceptional hospitality.

Rev. Mary Cox celebrating and thanking the hotel staff for their exceptional hospitality.

 Rev. Mary Cox presenting Pam Nunez with a prayer quilt from RPC's  Prayers & Squares  ministry.

Rev. Mary Cox presenting Pam Nunez with a prayer quilt from RPC's Prayers & Squares ministry.

Guatemala day 5

by Robby Cella, Director of Youth Programs

Familiarity and group cohesion hit their sweet spot as the team crossed the midway point for their time in Guatemala. Deeper friendships and deeper connections are being made as students and adults all work together, whether it be hammering nails and laying concrete, or running lessons, playing games, and corralling Guatemalan kiddos.

With it comes increased fatigue as the rigors of the work days compound on one another.  Exhaustion that affects stomachs and joints alike sidelines the occasional team member; afternoon naps, after a long days work, become more commonplace. This is all completely normal, of course. Most mission trips have similar rhythms.

Work continued today in Chichi with more work sites and more VBS. This time VBS took place in Chichi rather than at Chulamal, which is a couple miles outside the city. The school is larger and more resourced, but with it comes larger groups of kids who can be more difficult to manage at times.

Construction consisted of the framing of a new house for a family. Students and adults measured the lines, dug the holes, cut the beams, hammered the nails, and put up the walls, all in the course of a day to provide this family a place to lay their heads in the evening.

This trip is teaching all of us so much and we're grateful for all that the Lord has put before us, to teach us and lead us and show us his heart for these people. We pray we can be a support to them and join them in the mission of God already underway here in Guatemala.

 A work crew poses with the family after praying over the newly layed concrete floor.

A work crew poses with the family after praying over the newly layed concrete floor.

 Corn hangs to dry at the Chulumal school.

Corn hangs to dry at the Chulumal school.

Day four - Getting into the rhythm

 This blurry photo is of Robby with his new hat!

This blurry photo is of Robby with his new hat!

Tuesday, day four in Guatemala, was another success. Everyone is settling into the rhythm and adjusting well. The group continues to show strength and determination, despite sore muscles and lack of sleep caused by barking dogs. Today the group was split up again, with some going to the Chulumal school and others going to a construction site. VBS went smoothly and the kids had a great time! The construction site was also a big success as the group learned to spread concrete, put up walls, and install roofs. All in all, the day was one full of hard but fulfilling work, and it ended as all days should, with a tasty meal and great company. 

Sergio and his family, including his father Serapio, who is the pastor of the church in Chulumal, were our guests. Sergio is one of our most important contacts in Chichi and the surrounding areas, and he makes our missions possible with his hard work and tireless dedication to his community. He told us a lot about the importance of education in the community and the progressive changes he has seen in the area. He discussed the change in the general community as older, more traditional ideas about gender, education, and work fade away and people begin to embrace a more open and positive opinion of women and education for all. At the end, he generously gave out gifts to everyone in the group, including wonderful pouches, hats, and shawls. 

As the group prepares for another day full of work and fun, we should all take a minute to realize how blessed we are to live the lives we do, and also take some time to think about what we can learn from the dedication and faith of the Guatemalan people. Goodnight! 

 This picture is from Sunday when the group took a tour of the local cemetery.  

This picture is from Sunday when the group took a tour of the local cemetery.  

Guatemala day three.

by Robby Cella, Director of Youth Programs

Today the team hit the work sites in earnest. A team headed outside of Chichi to help build the walls, floors, and roof on a family’s home - a huge project that the team tackled wonderfully. Another team put on VBS for the kids in and around the Chulumal school. With 85 kids, three stations, and 18 from the team, it was a great success. After VBS, that same team went to work laying a floor in the school itself, an important step in an ongoing project to improve its facilities.

The work done is a huge help to the families and a wonderful time of learning and fun for the kids. Yet, the challenges which these wonderful families and children face are so massive and far reaching that it's hard to even feel like you're scratching the surface of the problems. We welcomed the head of Chichi’s hospital - the only hospital for miles - for dinner, and he informed the group that most families in the region survive on less than $10 a week - that supports families of 5, or 8, or more.

In the face of seemingly overwhelming poverty, which of course brings a host of other problems, it can feel like only a drop in a bucket towards real relief. Yet, we're called forward by the God who knows these families and loves them more than we could; the same God that has been working, that is working, and will continue to work in the hearts and lives of these people with a relentless love. The same love that he pursues each of us with every day.

Day two. Easter in Chichi.

by Robby Cella, Director of Youth Programs

It's not often that you find yourself in the mountains of Guatemala for Easter. It can take a minute getting used to but once you do you might find yourself experiencing some things that are rare and special indeed. For instance, you might experience worshipping in a remote place with a church family you didn't realize you belonged to, yet miraculously, you do by the grace of God. Or you might find yourself wandering the crowded streets of this remote mountain town, with its markets and vendors, taking in the sights of the Easter parades. Or you might find the region’s unique piety on full display in the centuries old Catholic Church at the heart of the town - a piety probably only rarely found when Mayan and Catholic religiosities mix and simmer for a few hundred years together. We experienced all of this and more here in Guatemala on Easter.

The team woke early to the sounds of the mountain town rising expectantly to commemorate the great day of resurrection. Sounds of fireworks pierced the air before sunrise and parades with their accompanying music commenced at first light. The team gathered and rode to our host church where we celebrated Easter with a sunrise service filled with songs and hymns sung triumphantly in local Spanish dialect. Both congregations, Roswell and Chulumal, shook hands, hugged and rejoiced that we could be together and for a special moment be one congregation in Christ.

The rest of the day was spent experiencing the sights, sounds, and goods of the Chichi market. We observed the Easter festivities in two old mission churches. In each, unique Mayan customs collide with old Catholic traditions in chaotic and somewhat confusing ways.

After everyone had explored the market and acquired their share of its treasures, a group walked to look at the town's vibrantly colored cemetery - another place where local customs collide with Christian ones.

The day concluded with the team celebrating the Lord's Supper, an act which unites all Christians everywhere, from every country and nation, from every time and place, through all of history. It was an especially appropriate corporate act in light of the Easter we all had just experienced. Thanks be to God.

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2018 Guatemala Mission Experience - Saturday, March 31

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by Robby Cella, Director of Youth Programs

The Guatemala team has made it safely to their destination in Chichi after a long day of travel!

The team is in great spirits after a smooth flight and an equally smooth drive up the mountains. The weather and traffic each cooperated and everyone is settling into their home away from home here in the beautiful Casa del Rey hotel.

The team is an all-star group, full of first timers and long time veterans of the experience. We're especially thankful to our team leaders, Mary, Lisa, and Bruce, who've made this such smooth sailing throughout.

There is a great deal in store for us yet ahead, and we are giddy with anticipation fo what God has for us this week.  Stay tuned to this blog for updates!

 At the Atlanta airport

At the Atlanta airport

 At the McDonald's in ChiChi

At the McDonald's in ChiChi

 Casa del Rey hotel in Chichicastenango, Guatemala

Casa del Rey hotel in Chichicastenango, Guatemala

Day 4 - Kantemo, Yucatán, Mexico

by Kemo Jones, Director of Youth Outreach

One of the most important things I've learned about mission outreach is that while having food, shelter, and providing medicine is essential for healthy communities, as God once told the great David Pynne, "It's about relationships..." 

When I first came to Mexico, I had no idea what to expect. I knew we would be helping women and children, but I didn't know if what I had to offer could really benefit people here long term. After all, I don't have many hard skills or trades to offer. However, I have found this trip to be less about "what can USA do for you" but how can we help each other. This is relational ministry (and I love to talk!). You don't have to be very intentional when you're giving handouts and that might not last. Buildings crumble, food gets eaten, and medicine gets used, but internationally spending time with people with hopes of making a friend changes lives forever.

79-year-old Pastor Severo has been living by this principle for 54 years (two life times for me). He says even though his own children want him to retire, when he sees the first generation of children he ministered to now as church leaders, it only gives him more passion to continue God's work.

I pray that we are able to see that relationships are what's most important. May we continue to do good works in Jesus name for the glory of God. 

Shots from today...

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​Day 3 - VBS in Kancab, Yucatán, Mexico

by Kemo Jones, Director of Youth Outreach

I can't end today without thanking all of you who donated shirts for our Vacation Bible School and tied a knot for the prayer squares. Because of your help we were able to see God move in big ways.

We used the shirts to make cool bags, but there was something particularly special about the prayer quilt squares. Dr. Clara Herrera beautifully explained the significance of the prayer squares and told this community that their brothers and sisters in Roswell, GA are praying for them. As David and I prayed for the children in English and they prayed for us in Spanish, we all were moved to tears by the Holy Spirit. Praise God for the amazing things he's doing.

Later that day, over 25 children came to the church to do crafts and sing about God's goodness. Angelica, one of the pastors, led the kids in a Bible study, and when we finished VBS, many of the kids went home but a few stayed with us to play soccer.

It was a lot of fun to see God use us for his glory.

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Day 2- San Simon, Yucatán, Mexico

by Kemo Jones, Director of Youth Outreach

Today was so amazing. The breakfast, Sunday morning service, the lunch, the siesta, then the church dedication, and finally la Pizza Mexicana. Today was filled with wonder!

The best part of the day though was going to the church dedication service where only through the Holy Spirit could I understand what was going on. Before we went into the church, there was a dedication and a ribbon cutting ceremony.

Then during the service, the pastor taught about the Tower of Babylon and how we work better together (at least that's what I think he said, lol). And there was an amazing Communion service led by our very own Rev. Mary Cox and Pastor Severo Ek in English, Spanish, and Mayan. (Can you believe Mary led the service in English and Spanish!!)

We saw God work in so many ways. I'm just so excited that God has allowed us to be a part of the goods works he's doing in these small towns. Please continue to pray for our brothers and sisters in Christ all over the world.

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 La Copa de la Salvación

La Copa de la Salvación

Day 1 - Yucatán, Mexico

by Kemo Jones, RPC's Director of Youth Outreach

So it's 10:01 a.m. and we're sitting in the Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson Airport. I can't help but be a tad bit nervous as we're about to go to another country with different customs, languages, and traditions. This is such a great opportunity for us to be able to serve God by loving on our Mexican brothers and sisters IN MEXICO! Please pray that God's protection will be around our planes, hotels, food, and family as we leave home. Also, that we see God work in mighty ways this week! Hasta luego!!

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  RPC's  Mission Outreach  Team prepares to go to Yucatán, Q.R, Mexico  - Laura Nieto, Dr. Clara Herrera, Kemo Jones, Rev. Mary Cox, Dave and Marge Summers

RPC's Mission Outreach Team prepares to go to Yucatán, Q.R, Mexico - Laura Nieto, Dr. Clara Herrera, Kemo Jones, Rev. Mary Cox, Dave and Marge Summers

Day 8 - God's Wonderland

Today was a full day of Safari. We headed out at 7 AM and did not get back until around 5 PM. It is difficult to process all the amazing things in creation that we saw. None of us expected to see as many animals as we did. The highlight however was that we got to witness part of the great migration from Tanzania to Kenya of the wildebeest and zebra .

We are all so grateful for this opportunity and experience. 

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Day 7 - Bumpy Yet Exhilarating

We woke up early in the morning to take the drive from Nakuru to the Mara which is the wild game reserve in Southern Kenya. It borders Tanzania. The drive took seven hours, three hours of which were on unpaved, bumpy roads. Our drivers told us we were getting their version of an African massage as we bumped and prodded along. We were able to stop at two curio shops though with authentic Masai art and goods. The Masai are the tribe in the area where the national park game reserve is located. They are known for their tall slender build and bright colored clothing. They live as shepherds of sheep and cattle. Driving through this country is breathtaking with the level planes and the mountains surrounding. As we drove along the highway we frequently saw monkeys, zebras, and wildebeest.

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We arrived at our lodge and grabbed a quick bite and then went out on our first safari. Immediately upon entering the park we saw impala, gazelle, zebra, and wildebeest. Later we saw giraffe. It began to rain, hard, so hard we had to put down the top of our bus. We saw a huge crowd of cars gathered and wondered what was there. As we pulled up we saw two lions and a lioness. Absolutely fascinating.

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It continued to rain so we made our way back. On our way back we ran into a herd of elephants including two babies. Truly another day in paradise.