Holidays Guatemala and Mexico Mission Trips with Jason Maxwell

Dear Friends and Family,

My wife Sarah and our daughters, Hollyn and Emelyn bring me so much joy and happiness, as most of you are well aware. As parents and grandparents, aunts and uncles I know you too can relate to the special place kids hold in our hearts. We are all God’s children and we all hold that same special place in His heart. It is that understanding that continues to drive Sarah and my desire to reach God’s lost and hurting children of the world.
Take a journey with me to a place where automatic weapons and drug cartels are part of everyday life. A place where fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters are killed daily if they cannot pay off the cartels for the “RIGHT” to survive. A place where widows and children are left homeless. Left to become scavengers for survival. Imagine your days spent eating, sleeping, and drinking from the trash heaps in the city dump. You have little to no hope of getting a job, because the rest of the city views you as nothing more than the trash you scavenge. You anxiously await the arrival of the next dump truck, like our kids anxiously await Christmas and the opening of presents. Your world view is so limited that your greatest ambition in life is to be the dump truck driver, so that you can get the best scraps. Your only source of income is the limited money you can make by taking broken things repairing them or repurposing them and then hitting the streets trying to sell your wares. Maybe you’re lucky enough to have a mother and enough brothers and sisters to scavenge the dump, so that you can still attend school while they are digging to find food, clothes, and anything else that the family can use to survive, but even then you spend your nights doing homework and sleeping on the outskirts of the giant trash heap you call home. Maybe you’re all alone and school is not a luxury you can afford, because that time away from the heap means you won’t have enough to eat to survive another day. After all there are 11,000 other people just like you living off the same dump outside Guatemala City. 6,500 of you are children.
Until earlier this year, I had no idea such a place existed. Yes I knew there were hurting and hungry people, but I had never seen such a place with my own eyes. My heart breaks every time I think and pray for the scavengers aka “The Treasures.” We are all so blessed, and God blesses us to be a blessing to others. On November 17th, I will be leaving the comforts of home, with a team from New Life Christian Center to return to the saddest place I’ve ever been. We will spend a week hosting an afternoon Vacation Bible School at The Potter’s House for the children living in the dump. We will spend our mornings helping build basic housing for some of the families lucky enough to be recipients of the Potter’s House project. We will also be revisiting some of the churches that we preached at on our last trip, providing them with strength and encouragement to continue their work spreading the word of God throughout Guatemala.
I will return home on November 25th to spend Thanksgiving with my family and prepare for the next mission trip to visit some of the dumps in Mexico that also have people surviving off the trash. On December 11th I will once again leave for another week. I will be doing this trip with my friend, Brother in Christ, and fellow missionary Justo Chavana, founder of Jordan Ministries in Rockport Texas. Along with other missionaries from around the US, Justo will lead us into the dumps of Mexico to deliver CHRISTmas to these men, woman, and children. Justo has already started several soup kitchens outside various dumps in Mexico to help meet the needs of these hurting people. This will be my first visit to the dumps of Mexico and I have great expectations of the things God will do while we are there. Sarah and I have already purchased approximately 200 pairs of shoes to take, along with 750 glow in the dark bracelets just to bring joy to the faces of these kids. We also have gathered hundreds of items of gently used clothing over the last several months to take as well.
I’m excited about the opportunity and experiences that lie ahead. I hope you see the value in what we will accomplish. As you can imagine, trips like this requires financial support from a number of people. I need to raise about $5,000 to complete these two trips. If you can support me in a financial way, I would be very grateful. And, most importantly, I need your prayer support. Prayer is the fuel that will allow us to be successful as we follow God’s leading in ministry in these countries. Without prayer, nothing will happen. When you sow financially or sow prayers into a mission, you are part of that mission. This is a great way to add to your treasures in heaven. As you decide if, and what to give please remember;
2 Corinthians 9:7 Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.

If you would like to be part of these missions through your financial support, please send a check to:
New Life Christian Center
900 Centerton Blvd Centerton, AR 72719

***PLEASE write “Jason Maxwell Missions” in the memo line of your check***
Contributions are Tax Deductable

Advancing God’s Kingdom One Act of Love at a Time,

Jason Maxwell

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Guatemala Mission – Monday April 29th, 2013

Monday, April 29th, 2013

Today started off early as I said goodbye to Sarah my wife, our daughter Hollyn, and our now 38 day old baby Emelyn Faith. Excitement was in the air as I joined the other Missionaries from our church and we traveled from Northwest Arkansas to Guatemala City. As this is my first mission trip, I really have no idea what to expect, other than to see God do some amazing things as He transforms lives. I know that this is not like the mission trips I had heard my Grandma talk about. You know, the youth group on a mission to help out by painting houses etc….No, this is very different as our mission is to save hundreds, if not thousands of souls by bringing them to know the love of God. To know what He did for them and the price He paid through His son Jesus Christ.  To give them hope, love, and faith. To preach the Gospel of Truth and minister to the people of Guatemala.

Guatemala Flight

When  arriving in Guatemala, Pastor David and his wife picked us up from the airport and drove us to our hotel in Zona ViVa.  Pastor David is a local Pastor who has worked very hard to set up the events our team will be holding this week. We took a couple of hours to get settled in and rest before go to the evening services. Pastor David drove us to his church, where we split up into three groups, and went to three different churches around the city.Kenny, Kit, Brother Justo and I all went to a church in one of the worst neighborhoods surrounding Guatemala City. A neighborhood known for its cartel activity, where businesses are expected to pay the cartel $200-$500 a week. Keep in mind that in this neighborhood, most people are paying $100-200 a month for the houses they live in.  Failure to pay will result in the business owner’s family members being killed. There are times when entire families are killed. Our driver a local Pastor in that neighborhood told us of mass shootings, and how not long before we arrived the cartel had killed 15 people at once in a local drug/convenience store.

It is hard to imagine that in the small area of maybe 2 miles there are over 200 churches. Within 6 city blocks there were nearly 60 churches according to the pastor that was driving us. The average church has about 100-200 people with a few having 500 member congregations. When I saw the small area that all these churches were contained in, I instantly questioned where do all the people live? I mean take 6 city blocks in a US neighborhood. Most neighborhood contain between 30-40 houses per square city block, multiply that by 6 and you get between 180-240 houses. If the average house has 3-4 people, that leaves you with 960 people, on the high side, in neighborhood of 6 square blocks in the US.  60 churches with each containing 100-200 people equals 6,000-12,000 people attending church in this 6 block area. Now add in the room required for the 60 churches which are much bigger than a house, and logic shows us that the people must be traveling from a long ways to get these churches full.

So of course, I questioned the Pastor about this and asked him where all the people came from? His reply was the same 6 block area. Holy Cow!!! How on earth do you fit 6,000-12,000 people in a 6 block area with 60 churches(granted most of them are just one really large room to our US standards), and stores to supply the needs of those people. The answer seems relatively simple, build skyscrapers right? Wrong! The tallest building I saw in this area was two stories. Hard to imagine how packed and crowded the people’s living quarters really are. I can tell you on one corner I saw a small house, what we in American real estate would consider the size of a small 8×10 storage shed, or a child’s bedroom many would consider too small to house a child’s twin bed and their toys. In the open doorway of that house stood a man, woman and their 3 small children.

Upon arriving at the church, we were warmly welcomed by a couple of members of the congregation and taken to our seats on the front row. The worship part of the service had already began, so we quickly took our places and began worshiping and preparing for what God had called us here to do. Their worship was amazing, the people seemed so hungry for God’s presence, and God wasn’t disappointing those that were desperately seeking Him!

After worship the local Pastor introduced Brother Justo to the church. Brother Justo was going to deliver the message that evening. Each of us said a few words, before he began, thanking the church for allowing us to come. I wish I could tell you more about the service itself, but Brother Justo delivered the message in Spanish, so there was no interpreter for just the three of us. I always knew I needed Rosetta Stone! What I can say is it was a great time with God on a personal basis, and I could tell the congregation was really getting a lot out of the messages being delivered.

The Pastor asked brother Justo to have me come up and say the closing prayer. This is something that would normally terrify me. Not the thought of talking in front of large groups of people, I’ve done that for years, but praying for people and in front of people is something that a year ago would have shut me down. The thought of it still scares me just because it’s one of the ways the devil try’s to hold me back. But the honor God blessed me with by having the Pastor share his podium with me and closing out the service overcame any fear.

After the service the Pastor said they had prepared us a traditional Guatemalan meal, and that we could not leave without eating and sharing a meal with them.  Keep in mind the water in Guatemala is not safe for us to drink, so food outside of a large franchise type restaurant is very risky. Something most the people on our trip seem very worried about. I figure God sent us to this land to serve His people, and in return they have honored us to eat among them. That is a direct reward from God, and He will nourish it to our bodies.  1 Timothy 4:4 For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving

IMG_1908So we walked out into the street and greeted people. We watched in amazement as the kids crowded around Brother Justo and his impossible to catch American dollar bill. The joy and laughter it brought to not just the kids playing, but to the parents and other adults was amazing.

Soon we were asked to come back into the church room, where to my surprise all the chairs had been stacked and removed, in the center of this Guatemalan church sat  just one table with 6 chairs. Enough for the Pastor of the church, brother Justo, the Pastor that had driven us, Kit, Kenny and myself. I can’t explain the overwhelming feeling of realizing what Honor these people had given to us. God’s love was pouring into me and I was treasuring ever moment. One second I would be thinking how honored I was to be sitting around this table with the Pastor of the church. The next moment I was thinking why would these people give us such honor, we are just three everyday Americans from Arkansas that love God. The next moment my heart would be breaking thinking about how much food was there available for us to eat, more than we could eat if we stayed all week. Why wasn’t the rest of the church eating with us. Why were these people who had so little, giving us so much?  Soon the Pastors wife and son pulled up chairs to the table to fellowship with us…keep in mind, the whole time brother Justo is talking to them in Spanish, I had no clue what was being said. But regardless of the language barrier the universal language of God’s Love was shared and evident among all of us at that table.

As we drove back to the hotel, I couldn’t help but think how blessed we all are. What a blessing it is to allow God to use us to show His love to others.  How blessed I am that God was using these people to bless me with love in return. What an awesome Living God I get the honor to serve!