Monthly News - Spring 2013
Attempt something so big that it is doomed to fail if God isn't in it.
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1 Peter 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.

As we head into spring and the Easter season, we look forward to the changes that are ahead and the new opportunities God will place in our lives. Since we live in the land of eternal spring/summer, we don't have to wait for the daffodils to bloom, the snow to melt, or unpredictable weather to abate! The Easter season here involves processions and "carpets"of sand/sawdust/glass in the streets. Every village has its own procession so lots of people can participate - men, women, and children - and they can be seen all throughout the month of March. Click on this link to see video footage from last year's processions.

Pueblito de Santa Ana - Alfombras en las Calles

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Each family sponsors a "carpet" and is responsible for the design and execution. You can use any materials to create the design so you will see flowers, vegetables, and handmade art. It is a fun experience and we were glad that we were able to participate and work on a "carpet".

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It is interesting how the everydayness of life often keeps us from thinking about what we are doing with the number of our days. As we worked on our carpet (above, right), I thought about how great it was to be a part of this unique event, and the different people we came into contact with and were able to influence because we made the time in our schedule to be there. (We had to get up at 5:00 AM on a Sunday morning and drive an hour so it had to be intentional!)
We want to be able to stand before God at the end of our lives and say we used everything He gave us, hopefully to the benefit of others as well as ourselves.
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The procession comes out of the village church and the"floats" are carried by groups of men and women, representatives of the various families in the town. The guys with the tall sticks are there to raise the power lines so the floats can go under them. The procession marches directly over the carpets after people spend all night creating them which may seem frustrating, but you have to think about it as giving your "first fruits" and best efforts for God, and that the whole purpose is to create a beautiful masterpiece for God.

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The Roman soldiers lead the march across the carpets. Above you see our carpet, before and after. You would be amazed at how fast they come in and clean up the streets with front loaders, dump trucks, and lots of guys with shovels!

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Throughout the countryside, you can see lots of plant fields. Under the gray tarps are ferns growing.

Thought for the Month
Andy Stanley gave this example in a sermon this week and I thought it was good food for thought.
"You can't be responsible for filling everyone else's cup, but you can be responsible for emptying yours.
You are a unique combination of successes, failures, and experiences so what are you going to do with it? The value of your life ends when you do, and that value is determined by how much of it you gave away to other generations. Leverage your life for those coming behind you with what you have learned so far."

In a nutshell, you have a purpose here on this planet but it is up to you to decide to reach out and share who you are and what you have with others, or, just exist in your own world. I have been working with a group of my students on a presentation about a global issue, poverty. As we have been studying poverty here in Guatemala, we really have seen how you have to take the initiative on your own and not wait for others to do it. Check out our site, "From Poverty - to Potential - to Prosperity" to see what we've been up to.

If you need a little inspiration, check on the series at Northpoint "You'll Be Glad You Did" that has a message for every group - parents,singles, married, and over 40 - that can give you a new perspective on your life. I really feel like I have something I can actually take away and apply when I listen to these series.

We are here in Guatemala until June and then head back to Colombia in July. It is a good opportunity to think intentionally about the role we want to fulfill in a new place and use what we've learned here to be better disciples. I always tell my students that mistakes and poor choices are okay and even valuable as long as you use them to make better choices next time and that applies to everyone, not just squirrely 7th graders!

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Be sure to take the time this spring to enjoy the beauty God has created all around us, and think about what you can to bring that joy to someone else: Share a Peep, share a prayer, share a poem, but start somewhere!

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Want to see more of our travels in Guatemala? Click here!

My latest art project - I tried a new medium using textiles and wood to create a kindof cool 3D art of Lake Atitlan, a famous lake here in Guatemala, for a friend's apartment. I was very pleased with the results and enjoyed trying something new. And you thought all I could do was take pictures! (jaja)
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