Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Hope for Home Newsletter – March/April 2011

No blog update today…just a link to our newest newsletter. Please take time to click here, check it out, and subscribe if you haven’t already.

A new post will be coming soon!


Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Let the teams begin!

Another week has flown by as we have been preparing for the arrival of our first team from the states. We have had a birthday, three trips to the airport, the continuation of language school, and more, so time has passed quickly.

DanielleLast Thursday we were able to host an old friend from our West Milton, OH days overnight. Danielle Hale was visiting Guatemala from the states for her spring break along with one of her friends, Abby, from Messiah College (Wanda and my alma mater). We had a nice visit with them as they stayed with us on Thursday evening, and we drove them to the airport the next day.

IMG00261-20110318-1408Never wanting to waste a visit to the city, we took the time to shop for our first team which arrived yesterday. Another trip to Pricesmart, Hiper Piez, and Maxi Begoda allowed us to stock up on what we needed to feed the team for the next two weeks. It also gave Brittney a chance to pretend she was little again and enjoy a ride in a shopping cart.

DSCF6614The next day we made another trip to the airport to pick-up Kristin, one of the members of our team. God is breaking us in gently with this group as it is composed of one family that is composed of dear friends of ours. The Beyer family currently lives in Missouri, but we got to know them during our days at Pleasant View Church in Greenville, OH. Dale and Anita and their four children, Kristin, Kathlyn, Jacob, and Alyssa will be staying with us for the next two weeks and working with us. They are arriving and departing in shifts, however, due to school schedule and an extended stay of one month by Kathlyn. We are thrilled to have them with us!

DSCF6588Sunday was Kimmie’s (our daughter) eighth birthday. We had a great day together as we drove up to the cross that overlooks Antigua and enjoyed a picnic lunch and watched her open her presents. It was so much fun watching our beautiful daughter enjoy her day in such a gorgeous setting. That evening, after a couple of hours at Hermano Pedro, we returned home and completed the birthday celebration with Pat Duff and Dick Rutgers as we enjoyed supper and birthday cake together.

IMG00263-20110320-1336While at the cross on Sunday afternoon we had an unexpected opportunity to minister. Wanda and I discovered a 12 year old girl named Jessica wandering around crying. Assuming she was lost, I approached her and asked what was wrong. She proceeded to explain (while I struggled to understand with my limited Spanish) that her father was drunk and had beaten her mother. She lived close to the cross and had ran away seeking help. We used my phone and helped her call the police, and then invited her over to eat lunch with our family while we waited for their arrival. When they arrived we were blessed to find that one of the officers was a Christian lady who was very understanding and comforting (a rarity for local police). She embraced and comforted Jessica and acted quickly to arrest her father.

Through the process we were able to help Jessica smile and laugh and to distract her from her worry for her mom and two younger siblings. As she left with the police to return to her mom she gave us all big hugs and a smile. Please pray for Jessica and her family. Pray especially for her father that he will find Jesus and discover deliverance from the alcohol and violence that is destroying his family. And please pray that God will keep his wife and children save in the meantime. The police officer told us that this was the fifth such instance of domestic violence in their home.

IMG00264-20110320-1458On Sunday afternoon at Hermano Pedro we were happy to discover that Louis Andres had returned! Louis is one of our favorite children (one of our 65 favorites). Actually, he holds a very dear place in our hearts and we had been concerned that he had not returned sooner. Unfortunately, during is absence he had lost seven pounds. To you that may not sound like a lot, but when he left he only weighed 30 pounds and is now down to 23. For an 11 year old, that is frighteningly skinny. Please pray that he regains his weight quickly.

Yesterday we returned to the airport to pick-up the rest of the Beyer family. Today their adventure and ministry begins. Since this is our first team we have hosted from this location we would appreciate your prayers as we work out the logistic kinks. We ask that you also pray for powerful and effective ministry as we work together.

Have a great week!

Daryl, Wanda, and the Crew

Some more photos of the week:


Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Religion and Roadblocks

DSCF6520Since my last post we have been very busy with numerous projects and ministries, so I wanted to take a moment to bring you up to speed…

On Friday our family took a trip to Los Gozosos to meet with the founder and director, Maureen Casey and spend some time with the children. I have written about their ministry several times, so I won’t go into detail again. But for those who are new to this blog I will say that DSCF6522they are a group home for children with special needs that uses a similar model on which Hogar de la Esperanza hopes to operate. They have 12 children there, and they are loved in a family setting. You can see more about their ministry at

We ate lunch with the children and staff and had a great afternoon. Carissa will be teaching ballet to two of the girls at Los Gozosos and we will be volunteering on a weekly basis there. This home is filled with love, joy, and Jesus!

On Saturday morning we returned to Hermano Pedro where we spent time with the kids there. I don’t know who benefits more from those visits, the children or our family. We definitely love our time with the kids of HP!

IMG00257-20110315-1627Yesterday Wanda and I went with a nurse to the home of one of the residents of Hermano Pedro. Veronica is one of the teenager girls there, and she has captured our hears. Claudia, on the the workers at HP, told us that Veronica’s family is very poor. Her mother passed away a few years ago and she has five siblings who are all undernourished. We were able to take some food from Kids Against Hunger and spend a little time with them. The kids were all beautiful, but greatly in need of food.

IMG00258-20110316-1123In addition to these times of ministry, we have also been working hard to finish several large projects. I finished the shelves for the kitchen pantry and dug into building a large table for our dining room. This job was a challenge as the wood that was delivered was VERY rough and VERY wet. I have spent hours planing, sanding, and drying wood. This morning I finished the assembly, but we plan to use it for a while before the final sanding and finishing as the wood is still very wet. It is a rustic but large and functional table measuring 9’3”x3’9”. It will make mealtime much nicer.

Wanda, in addition to her normal work of homeschooling and caring for 10 children, (Yes, I counted myself in that number!) has been working hard to organize, clean, and prepare for our first team that is coming in this weekend. God is breaking us in easy with the Beyer family from Missouri. They are old friends of ours who are bringing their entire family to work with us. We can’t wait to see them and spend this time together!

On Sunday evening Wanda and I decided to go on a date for the first time since our move. Life has been full with ministry and language school, so this was our first chance to get away. We decided to drive into Antigua and have supper together. BIG MISTAKE!

IMG00256-20110313-1713Unbeknownst to us, Sunday was the first Sunday of the Easter Season and a large number of streets were closed for a parade. In Guatemala they are known for their sawdust carpets (elaborate pictures made of colored sawdust, often mixed with flowers). They place these in the center of certain streets and the parade passes by on both sides, being careful to not step on the carpet. It is not until the float that carries Jesus comes through that the carpet is stepped on and messed up. Huge crowds come to Antigua from the city to be a part of these parades, so the streets are packed.

What this meant to us was that every street we wished to turn down was either closed or a one-way street going in the wrong direction. And when we finally managed to make it to our destination, parking was non-existent. To sum up, a trip that normally takes us about 25 minutes lasted 75, and I was not in the best of moods by the time we arrived.

My mood was aggravated by both the inconvenience of it all and the religion that saturated the place. (Hang with me here, it sounds like I am bashing the culture and Catholicism, but I will end strong!) The streets were packed with families buying food and cheap trinkets and waiting for the parade to pass. Elaborate costumes were everywhere and a huge float depicting Jesus carrying his cross (in full royal robes, mind you) was paraded through town on peoples’ shoulders. And I hated it all!

Recently I was speaking with a local resident and mentioned the weekend festivities that lead up to Easter. I have been here to experience them before. I wondered out loud how big the celebration would be on Easter Sunday and was told that there is no celebration that day. “The streets are empty on Resurrection Sunday,” he told me. As a catholic society they tend to be very fixated on the crucifixion of Jesus, but give very little time or attention to the resurrection.

EASTER_BUNNY_PICTURE500x764This mindset, combined with the religiousness of the scene and the incredible inconvenience of it all put me in a very self-righteous mood…until God gently reminded me of American traditions. Here I was in a society that, at least, acknowledged that Easter is about Jesus, having grown up in a country that has turned that holy season into a time celebrated with eggs, a giant bunny, and chocolate.

At that point, I adjusted my attitude, gave thanks that Jesus was being thought of, and prayed that God would use me to show everyone with whom I have contact that Jesus not only died, but rose again and lives in me. And I also prayed that God would help me keep my focus on Him this season.

And I encourage you to do the same! Have a great day!

Daryl, Wanda, and the Crew

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Wasted Time?

You would think with the end of our intensive language training our schedule would be more relaxed. However, the opposite seems to be true. We are busier than ever.

IMG00221-20110305-1649Our classes ended Friday and the whole family got up early on Saturday to head to Guatemala City for a day of shopping. (And yes, I really mean a whole day of shopping!) With the 2 1/2 hours of driving plus shopping for a family of 11 in two different stores the total experience took nearly eight hours. However, we returned with quite a load of food and supplies that should last us until our next trip to the city at the end of this month.

IMG00233-20110306-1716On Sunday we had a wonderful day going to church and spending the afternoon with our Spanish teacher, Alba, and her husband, Cesar, and their four children. They invited us to their home for lunch which was a wonderful Guatemalan dish called hilachas. Their home is a tiny place in a quaint town. Their entire family sleeps in one room with another room that serves as kitchen, bathroom, and dining room. They have so little as far as possessions go, but they are filled with the joy of God! The loftiest king in the largest castle should envy this beautiful family!

After lunch we took their family to Hermano Pedro to introduce them to the children there. They had never visited before and were overwhelmed by what they saw and experienced. We spent about 1 1/2 hours there holding the kids, playing, and feeding them supper. After we left, Cesar told me that God had broken his heart that day. Alba explained that the idea of Guatemalans volunteering in a place like HP is rare. In fact, the concept of volunteering in general is foreign to most people here. After all, when you work for 10 to 12 hours a day for an income that barely feeds your family you don’t usually think about donating that precious time elsewhere.

IMG00236-20110310-0942On Monday we began what will likely be a “normal” daily schedule. Wanda resumed the home schooling of the younger kids. (They took a break during our move and language school with the plan of getting our family on the Guatemalan school schedule which runs from mid-January to mid-October.) And I began to DSCF6489tackle some of the large projects that have been waiting, including the purchase and assembly of four sets of triple bunk beds, and the construction of some shelves and a large dining room table. Things have proceeded smoothly (with the exception of an encounter my finger had with an electric planer). My finger is healing now and work is progressing.

Yesterday, Wanda and I walked to a local ferreteria (hardware store) to purchase a few items I needed for the projects. I needed six sanding belts, some washers, some lock washers, and a box of screws. We entered the store and exited 35 minutes later with everything we needed. (Things here in Guatemala run at a very different speed! I laughed and told Wanda that we used to do the grocery shopping for our entire family in that amount of time!)

Bank lineBut God has taught me a powerful lesson in the last six weeks. I have spent much of my life in a rush, speeding from one place to another and nervously tapping my foot when I have to wait. You see, I tend to think that when I am waiting I am wasting time that needs to be spent doing something else that is more important. But since we have moved here, I have had plenty of time to think (while waiting in line) and I have come to a valuable understanding. Each moment of my day that is spent in a line, waiting for service, or sitting in traffic is not a surprise to God. All those seconds, minutes, and hours are not somehow thwarting God’s plan for either the universe or my day. In fact, for some reason, they are a part of His plan and, therefore, not a waste of time at all. God has a reason, although I may not always understand what the reason is. (I am still trying to figure out God’s plan for mosquitoes!)

And this dawning comprehension has led me to another realization…the only wasted moment of my day is the moment that I fail to have His heart and His mind. Even if I spend my entire day waiting in a line, it is not wasted if I do it in Him, with Him and for Him.

Now, let’s go spend our time wisely! Have a great day!

Daryl, Wanda and the Crew

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Fatigue, Language, and Transportation

IMG00209-20110224-1551A few days ago our family celebrated our one month anniversary of living in Guatemala. It is hard to believe that it has already been here a month, and it hard to believe that it has only been a month. It is amazing to see how far we have come in settling in and learning our way around. It is also a little overwhelming to realize how far we have still to go.

One word that has characterized our lives over the last 34 days is “busy.” With the intensity of our language school, the purchase of our van, and the adjustments of life in general we are ending most days exhausted and ready for bed by seven or eight. However, in the midst of the busyness and fatigue, there is an inner joy and peace that continually reaffirms that we are home.

DSCF6451We have also had some wonderful times of rest recently. Last Tuesday evening Dick Rutgers came over for dinner and brought three of his kids. Wanda made some heaping plates of nachos and we had a great night of visiting together. Dick took some time to read a story to Joshua, Kimmie, and Jonathan, and he read slowly so that we would need to invite him back to finish it! The kids are already pestering me to ask them back.

IMG00212-20110227-1534Of course, our favorite times are the hours we spend at Hermano Pedro. These are the brightest moments of our weeks. On Sunday afternoon we spent two hours there and had a blast playing with the children. And speaking of the children, there were two more back, and they are two of my favorites! Roberto is one of the teenagers who captured my heart early on, and both my face and his lit up when I walked into the ward and saw him! Brenda is also back after 15 months away. We had wondered what happened to her and were concerned for her welfare, but she is back safe and sound now. Her smile still lights up the entire ward!

DSCF6486Another huge milestone for us occurred on Wednesday when we finally received our van! The addition of this vehicle is a huge blessing as it enables us to shop in the markets in larger quantities. It will also proved transportation for our teams which begin arriving in two-and-a-half weeks. It drives wonderfully on Guatemalan streets and roads and has a powerful diesel engine that handles the mountains well. (This is an important feature when you have to climb a mountain that makes your ears pop when leaving our town!)

We took the van out for a test drive to Antigua and had a wonderful time as a family. But for some reason the kids didn’t seem to care for my Guatemalan driving. I wonder why…


DSCF6447As I write this Wanda and I have four more days of intensive language school left. At that time, we will take a two week break and then resume classes at a more leisurely pace of four hours a week. We still have a long way to go, but the basic structure of the language is in our minds and our vocabulary is growing rapidly (although we can still only speak in present tense). We can now hold basic conversations with shopkeepers and neighbors as long as they don’t speak to rapidly. “Hablas mas lento por favor” has become a frequently used phase for me! (Speak slower, please!) We praise God for our teach, Alba, who is a Christian with the patience of Job and a great sense of humor. You can tell by her laughter when I speak Spanish!

We appreciate your prayers and support! I pray you have a great week!

Daryl & The Fulps