Douglas J. Moore - February 14th - 24th, 2009

I am now back from a very fun and eventful trip and have lots to tell you! First of all, this trip wouldn't have been possible without your financial support and prayers, so I thank you for that! It was my first time out of the country and also my first time flying. The plane ride went smoothly and we only had one layover of about an hour in Atlanta, Georgia. Total flight time was somewhere around 6 hours. We arrived in the Guatemala City airport in the afternoon on Saturday the 14th and were picked up by a bus and driven to our base just outside of Antigua.

Our base was a small five building campus that used to be used for a mission college. The name of the campus was Fuego and it was surrounded by three volcanoes, one of them being active. Everything was so beautiful, the landscapes, mountains, flowers and plants, and 80 degree weather! We had orientation Sat. afternoon and met the staff of Mission Impact. On Sunday, we went to a church with an English speaking pastor who had a translator translating his message into Spanish for the Spanish speaking congregation. Sunday afternoon was spent touring the city of Antigua (a large tourist city because of the old buildings, ruins, and cobblestone streets).

Monday rolled around and I started working with Luis Carlos in the schools around Antigua teaching bible lessons. Monday was spent observing him teach (in Spanish of course). On Tuesday we worked on a new lesson for the week about the four Greek words for love (Storge - Natural, Erotica - Physical, Phileo - Brotherly/Friendship, and Agape - Unconditional). I was to teach half the lesson with him translating into Spanish for me. I also sang one of my songs, “Lifting Me Up” at the end of the class (the song is about God's agape or unconditional love towards us). We spent the week teaching over 20 classes in about five different schools ranging from public, catholic, and private schools. We also met with some youth Luis Carlos disciples. I also gave my testimony at a rehabilitation center for drugs and alcohol. Ed, a guy on our team also came with us and gave his testimony and a message to the men at the center.

Saturday the 19th came around and our whole team went to Antigua and took a tour through a handicap hospital. We got to spend about an hour playing with the handicapped children there and helped feed them lunch. It was a new experience for me and one that I was dreading. It turned out to be a good experience and took me out of my comfort zone – a good thing. After that, we went shopping in the markets in Antigua. It is quite the experience in the markets where you have tons of little shops and their owners who all want to sell you something! You have to be careful and watch your wallet or bag because of the high crime in Guatemala too. We went to a different church on Sunday where we had a longer service as well as communion. The whole service lasted over three hours – all in Spanish with no translation! We went out to eat after church and then did some more shopping in the markets.

Monday brought a new week and I was feeling much more comfortable around the Guatemalan people, their culture, and getting to know my team better as well. I finished up the love class with Luis Carlos on Monday and was really starting to enjoy working with him. I had the opportunity to help another missionary named Margarito on Tuesday building brick stoves for the indigenous people who live in poor conditions. I wanted to experience another site and to work with my hands so I took the opportunity. We spent all of Tuesday and Wednesday in a village called “Santa Maria De Jesus” building a brick cooking stove for a man and his wife that were building a new home. I had a great time with Margarito as well as Ed and Schylar my team buddies. We finished and dedicated the stove to it's new owners on Wednesday and than took the rest of the afternoon and climbed/walked up a hill that overlooks the village. Beautiful views!

On Thursday our whole team had site tour day. We went around to all the different sites where various team members worked and I got to see what my other team members had been doing the past two weeks. The sites ranged from an all girls school to a remote village in the hills. It was a full day and I got a lot of great pictures! On Friday I got up early, packed my bags and prepared for departure. We took team photos as well, before leaving for the Guatemala City airport. It was 10:30 Friday night when we landed in Portland, ME. After waiting for half an hour we realized our luggage never made it on the plane when we had switched in Atlanta! We all had to check in with the lost/delayed luggage center and fill out paperwork - which took a while. For some of us it will be a few days before we get our luggage. I am just thankful it didn't happen on the way down!

I had an awesome time over in Guatemala, helping out, getting a sun tan (or burn), and meeting new people. I made new friends, got to know old ones better, and got closer to God than I've ever been in my life. I had to step out of my comfort zone so much that I just relied on God to get me through different situations. I am amazed at His love for everyone of His children, young or old, small or large, Guatemalan or American. There were over 6 Guatemalans that accepted Jesus Christ into their heart's on the trip and my hope is that we planted many more seeds. I was able to lead worship for the team almost every morning and evening and enjoyed doing it. It was nice to have a digital piano to be able to play. I can't wait to return to Guatemala to serve God, grow spiritually, and see everyone I met over there again! Thank you so much for your prayers, they helped me get through the hard times. I stayed healthy through the whole trip which I am also very thankful for! God Bless you and I hope you have a wonderful rest of the year!

Team Guatemala 2009!