Wednesday, February 29, 2012


rockbottomThe last time I posted I was feeling like I was at the bottom of a well with dirt being shoveled in on top of me. As you read, it seemed that everything was falling apart at once and that, combined with my hectic schedule, left me completely physically and emotionally drained.

At one point, after the third item in a half hour had broken, I turned to Wanda and asked, “Did God just suddenly decide that He hates Daryl Fulp?” Well, almost immediately I realized how wrong I was to even think such a thought, and I asked for both God’s and Wanda’s forgiveness. In reality, God has poured His love out on me abundantly and I never have a right to complain.

That evening, after yet another emergency had required my attention, I wrote my last blog post and then went to bed and had my first eight-hour sleep in weeks. When I woke-up, the first item on my agenda was some extended time alone with God. As always, as soon as I quieted myself before Him I felt His peace and love surround me. And then I heard Him speak, and the conversation went something like this:


God: Daryl, yesterday you thought I hated you.

Me: Yes, Dad, and I am sorry for doubting your love.

God: Do you know why I allowed everything to fall apart on you, including your own emotions?

Me: No.

God: You know I have been inviting you to step aside with me so we can spend some extra time together, don’t you?

Me: (Starting to see where this was going) Yes.

God: But you didn’t accept my invitation did you?

Me: (Ashamed) No.

God: Do you think you would be here now if all of those things had not gone wrong?

Me: (Even more ashamed) No.

God: Well, there you go. I loved you too much to let things keep going right. Now, lets be together and I will give you what you need.

Feel free to send comments regarding my stupidity and thick-headedness to Even a young believer should not have found himself in this predicaments, much less someone who has known Jesus for 30 years like me.

So, together God and I made some agreements. First, He reminded me that He does the work, not me. So, I committed to stop feeling like I have to be a super hero in every situation. I also agreed with God that I could take some time off, knowing that He should be able to handle things without me. And then I rearranged my daily schedule so that extended time with Him comes first and everything else comes later.

flu-manFinally, just to seal the deal, God gave me a nasty case of stomach flu that put me down for Saturday and Sunday…just to make sure that I got the rest that I needed. (Sorry, I didn’t have a picture of me while I was sick, so I used one I had of Dick Rutgers. I think this one was taken when he was in our home recovering from his prostate surgery. He looks a little better now.) So, the weekend passed as a blur while Wanda and the kids stepped up to lead the visiting team from the States.

IMG00508-20120227-1235By Monday I was almost back to normal (at least normal for me) and I resumed leading the group. We spent time at Hermano Pedro and took a group out to eat. Each of the team members connected with a couple of the kids and we all had a great time.

On Tuesday we headed out to El Progresso (in Bob Ecklebarger’s X-Terra, because my 4-Runner is still in the shop). We had a great day as a team as we visited with nine families, using some of our recently donated medical supplies, providing medication and food, and simply visiting and praying with people.

IMG00520-20120228-1306I am happy to say that every one of our the people with which we work now has a sponsor! This week I received notice of a sponsor for Jorge’s medication (from El Progreso) which rounded out the list. This is a wonderful answer to prayer and a testimony to the generous, giving spirit of those of you who read this blog. Thank you! Jorge and his family still need your prayers, though, so please keep reading below. God is faithful.

Here are a few prayer requests for which I would appreciate your intercession:

  1. The 4-Runner – I have had it in to my normal mechanic, Ali, three times for him to repair a gas leak. Each time it has come back still leaking. So, when I realized that my battery was draining, I decided to try a different mechanic. After four days of working on it, he still has not found the source of either problem. As Dick says, “You can pay a little for a lousy mechanic or you can pay a lot for a lousy mechanic.” I plan on taking it to a third mechanic. Please pray that he finds and fixes the problems.
  2. Marta – We have been treating the circulation sore on her leg for about four months now. We have seen some progress, but she has had a couple of bouts with infection that has set her back in the healing process. We visited yesterday and applied Una-Boot that was delivered by the current team. Please pray that infection stays away, that healthy tissue will grow in, and that the healing will be complete.
  3. Jorge’s Family – As mentioned above, he now has a sponsor to assist his family with the $400 a month bill for medicines, and that is a significant praise. The challenge for the family comes in the form of a motorcycle wreck that his father was in two months ago. He severely broke his leg, requiring surgery and a long recuperation. This has kept him away from his work as a mechanic and has further strained the family’s finances. Please pray for God’s provision for them and for a speedy healing of his leg.
  4. My Priorities – As my recent testimony shows, I often lack wisdom in my personal life. I sometimes fail to guard the most important things and, instead, cave to the immediate and urgent. Please pray that I will learn my lesson well and not allow myself to be compromised again.

That’s all for now! Have a great evening!

Daryl, Wanda and the Crew

Here are a few pics of our current team in action:



Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Special prayer needed…please

PrayingI am writing this short blog entry to simply ask you to take some time to pray for us. Without going into too much detail, the perfect storm of spiritual attack has risen that has left me reeling, exhausted and breaking down in frustrated tears.

In summary, several crises involving families with whom we work has arisen in the last 10 days that have required a lot of time on top of my normal load. This has left me extremely tired. In addition, it seems that everything is breaking at once, including another break-down of my 4-Runner. Combine that with some health issues and you find me reaching my snapping point.

Note: You are likely reading this thinking, “Wow! Daryl sure is whiney!” And you would be right. This is not like me at all. As I read through the summary above, I recognize that none of it is a huge deal. However, I just find myself worn down by the steady drip of it all. Plus, I recognize that my over-reaction to the situation is another part of the spiritual attack.

We welcomed a new team here yesterday and I have had to change our plans for tomorrow. We were scheduled to head to El Progresso to work with families, but since the 4-Runner has broken down again we have rearranged plans to make the day a time for sight-seeing with my older daughters. This will enable me to:

1) Rest

2) Hopefully repair some of the broken items, including the 4-Runner

3) Spend some extended time alone with God, allowing a much needed recharge of my spiritual and emotional batteries.

This evening, as I was dealing with yet another crisis with a family, I broke down in front of my good friend, Alba. She hugged me, prayed for me, and gave me the following wisdom: “Daryl, recuerde estamos en una guerra!” (Daryl, remember we are in a war!) And I realized that she was right. I also realized that the only effective response is prayer. So, I am asking you for this favor:

Would you please take some time right now to pray for us? And, over the next few days, will you pray for us when you think of us?

Thanks. And please be patient with this whiney guy.


Friday, February 17, 2012

Great friends and a huge stretch

Please keep reading to the end as I have an important message and prayer request to share.

DSCF5455Over the last week we have had the privilege of hosting the Anderson family from Harrisburg, PA. Rande and his wife, Heidi, along with their three children, Emma, Max and Jonah, stayed with us and ministered alongside us in some powerful ways. It is always nice when you find a family who really “gets it,” and the Andersons definitely do.

When I talk about “getting it” I am referring to those believers who realize that Jesus did not save us to make us comfortable and prosperous, but that He saved us so that we could pour out our lives for the glory of His name. We did that together this week, and I am sure that they are returning home exhausted. (Wanda had to encourage me to slow down with our schedule this week, lest I make them so tired that they would not want to come back again.

P1060659We took them to visit Rehoboth Children’s Home on Saturday (after a harrowing experience in the Antigua market). We played soccer and basketball and visited with the kids after they received a tour of this wonderful ministry.

On Sunday we enjoyed a wonderful worship service at our home church, Vida Nueva y Paz, followed by lunch in Antigua and an afternoon in Hermano Pedro.

P1060761On Monday, they helped with our monthly food distribution by assisting with the measuring, sorting, boxing and delivery. Each month this task gets a little larger, and the additional help was very welcome.


IMG00388-20120214-1215On Tuesday we headed out to Las Palmas and La Gomera where we visited with our families and delivered food and medicine. We also found two other children in need of intervention. Natalie, age 7, has intestinal issues that makes eating difficult. She is losing weight and struggling. We are making arrangements for her to receive the medication she desperately needs.

We also met a 15 year-old girl who is hearing and speech impaired. We are arranging for this beautiful young lady to be assessed by a specialist to see if they can improve her hearing through hearing aids.

On Wednesday morning, Rande and I, along with Jeremiah and Max, headed out to visit with Rosa in Antigua. We had placed her in a wheelchair back in November, but someone had told us that her chair was broken. When we arrived we found out the report was incorrect and her chair was fine. However, it was a good excuse to visit with her and her family for a while.

We left her home and went to Hope Haven where we picked up a chair for little Jorge in Ciudad Vieja. Rande also was treated to a tour of their facilities while I picked-up some additional parts I needed to make repairs on several chairs. We intended to deliver and fit the chair that morning, but when we arrived at Jorge’s house we found out he was at a therapy appointment. So, we will make that delivery next week.

IMG00409-20120215-1556In the afternoon we went to Casa Jackson, the malnutrition center in San Felipe de Jesus. One of the heartbreaking stories in the center was a 12 year old who had arrived the day before. He was severely malnourished, weighing only 23 pounds. The cognitive impact of the malnutrition was obvious, as he showed clear signs of brain damage. I wish I could say these stories were a rarity, but they are all too common.

Yesterday we spent the day at Amor del Niño. This is always a treat, because it is one of the best orphanages in Guatemala. They have excellent nannies, wonderful facilities, and all the children are loved deeply. They currently have 52 children in the home, with 40 of them being two years old and younger. There was cuteness galore in that place.

And, today, with much sadness, we said goodbye to the Andersons as they headed home. They are really more like family than friends, so we miss them already.

Over the last month, God has been challenging me in a couple of areas. I know that He is calling us to, once again, expand our ministry, but I have been resisting. To be honest, I am tired and overworked, and I have no idea how we are going to fund these expansions. (Can you sense that Daryl is, again, trying to do God-sized things by his own strength?)

Specifically, God has been calling me to expand our areas of ministry to address systematic issues that are hurting the people of Guatemala. This prompting is leading us to address two areas of concern:

  1. Pre-natal care – Most babies in Guatemala are born in homes without any pre-natal care by doctors or nurses. That, combined with poor nutrition, leads to high instances of birth defects and disabilities related to complications during birth. I believe God is calling us to begin a program in which we provide maternity vitamins to pregnant women along with two doctor appointments during their pregnancy. How will we do this? I have no idea. But with God’s help, we will.
  2. Generational poverty – Many of the families with which we work are held in place by generational poverty. If you are poor, how do you obtain the necessary tools to break the chains of poverty? How do you secure a decent education? How do you find a meaningful job? Even if you have a solid skill, how do you start a business with no money? I sense God’s leading to begin a micro-financing ministry in which we provide small loans to people with useful and marketable skills, along with biblical business counseling. We would provide loans of $50 to $300, allowing for a modest repayment schedule and a decent interest rate. Any money that we make on interest would be invested in other loans. In so doing, our desire is to break the cycle of poverty, allowing for families to create a business that will better provide for their family, thus allowing for independence. How will we do this? Once again…no idea. But we will, by God’s power.

Will you please pray with us for God’s guidance and provision? Also, if you have experience in either of the areas of ministry, we would welcome your input and advice.

Thanks for all your prayers, support and encouragement! Have a great weekend!

Daryl, Wanda and the Crew

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

The Value of a Buck

pondering-manMost of the time this blog is used to keep you up-to-date regarding our ministry here in Guatemala. I consider it personal accountability to our prayer and financial supporters back home, as they deserve to know if we are using their sacrifices wisely. By now you hopefully realize that we are not on some kind of extended vacation. Our weeks are very full of work, and our ministry is growing more rapidly than we can often accommodate. So I no longer feel compelled to report the details of every day. And, since we will be receiving a series of teams over the next month-and-a-half, I wanted to take a moment in the lull before the storm to write on some of my recent ponderings. (I know how dangerous it can be to take a glimpse inside my mind, so proceed with caution.)

I have been thinking a lot recently about money. No, I am not worrying about finances or becoming money-focused. But I have been thinking about its value, or the lack thereof. What good is it? Is it important or not? Why do we often struggle with an over-emphasis on it?

money-500x309Face it, in the big picture issues money is pretty worthless. One day, when we lie dying, we will not think about the money we have made or the possessions it bought for us. In fact, it will likely be pretty low on our list of priorities at that moment. Likewise, money is of little value when you consider the ways it is often used. How many of us have stretched our budgets to breaking in order to buy the new vehicle that will soon have dents and scrapes and french fries down between the seats (where you can never quite reach them)? How often do we use our money to purchase the new clothing item or electronic gadget thinking it will bring us joy, only to have the emotional high fade quickly but the financial impact lingering for weeks, months or years. How many families have purchase a newer, nicer home thinking it will make life better, only to find that the financial strain only made things worse and their same old problems have followed them to a new setting? Money can be very worthless.

DSCF8296On the flip side, money is a necessity of life. After all, we do need it to feed, clothe and provide a home for ourselves and our families. You can’t do that without money. Money is not evil and can be used for great good. I have seen what money can do. Each month I encounter lives that have been saved by money. (Please don’t send me messages arguing this point. I understand that God saved each of them, but He used the generosity of others to provide the financial means through which He did so.) I work with formerly starving children who are now robust and eating healthily because of money. I have worked with people who were near death, but are now thriving because money provided them with essential health care. I see children who were doomed to a life of poverty due to a lack of education who are breaking the cycle and finding a new life because a financial gift is providing them with schooling.

Vulture-waits-for-child-to-dieAnd as I have thought about these things, I have been deeply convicted about how much money I have wasted in my lifetime. I could never (nor would I want to) count all the money that I have spent foolishly and selfishly during my 44 years of life. Not only that, but my heart breaks for how selfish I was as a pastor of Jesus’ church for so many years. How many times have I convinced myself the my family, my church or I needed something and spent money to buy it, when it was nothing more than a frivolous self-indulgence? How many times have I withheld a gift to a real need until the “needs” were met in our own family or church? I shudder as I think of that waste and poor stewardship of God’s gifts.

Obviously, money is neither inherently good nor evil. Neither is it inherently valuable nor worthless. It is simply a tool, and how we use it determines both its goodness and value. Used for self-indulgence it becomes damaging to both us and the world around us. Used for good, it brings glory to God, enhances our lives and makes this planet a better place.

During our 23 plus years of marriage, Wanda and I have never been wealthy by a US standard. I have been a youth pastor and pastor and I have started a new ministry. In none of those positions did we receive a large salary. However, during those years we did successfully build a large family. Small paycheck…large family…you do the math. As a result, we never lived an extravagant lifestyle by America’s standard of extravagance. And yet, we still had our share of waste. Looking back now, I realize that we could have made little changes to our lifestyle that would have made our money far more valuable. Simple little savings could have resulted in saved lives instead of another item for our home or another soon-to-be-obsolete toy for me or the kids. But, live and learn, and we are still learning.

Telescope-F90060M-F80060M-In December we found ourselves with a chunk of money that was available to spend on ourselves, so we considered purchasing a luxury item that we have wanted for a while. I have always loved the stars and planets and have wanted a decent telescope with which to view them. We now live in the perfect location to own one. Not only do we have a great view of the sky with very little light pollution, but we also have a great view of an active volcano that spews its lava every night. So, after talking and praying about it for several weeks, we decided to stop in and look at telescopes while we were in Guatemala City finishing our Christmas shopping. We found one, and I had pulled out my wallet to make the purchase when God made it clear that we were not to buy it. The entire family left the store a little disappointed, but confident that it was the right decision.

As I drove home that evening I was suddenly hit by a thought that I knew was from the Lord. “If we could afford to consider purchasing a luxury item that we did not need, we could afford to give that same amount of money away!” I immediately turned to Wanda and shared that with her, to which she responded that she had been thinking the same thing. So, after discussing it with the rest of the family, we decided to give that money away to needs that we encounter. We have now given half of it away and are prayerfully seeking God regarding where the rest should go.

I hesitate to share that story, because we have always kept our giving to ourselves. I am not sharing it so that you will somehow think that we are noble or giving people. In fact, I want you to understand that we struggle with this issue along with others, even while living among such great need. But I do want to share it as a testimony, because we have found far more joy in giving it away to the things that matter to God than we would have ever found spending it on a telescope for ourselves.

most_toysI want my life and my money to count for God. Contrary to the bumper sticker, if I die with the most toys I still am dead, and I win nothing for my warehouse full of stuff. So, step-by-step I am trying to learn to use my money and resources the way God intended them to be used. I am still a beginner on this journey and have a long way to go. But with each step…I have more fun!

Enough pondering for now. It’s time to get back to work.

Greetings from Guatemala!

Daryl, Wanda and the Crew

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Things that go boom…including my schedule

On Monday I shared with you about our emergency trip to La Gomera to meet with the family of Alicia. (We are still looking and praying for a sponsor to provide her crucial medications.) Because of the urgency to get that blog and the need posted, I did not share the rest of that day with you.

IMG00309-20120111-1548You might recall that a few weeks ago I wrote about the geyser my 4-Runner produced when it overheated while returning from El Progreso. We limped into Chimaltenango on a prayer and parked in front of my mechanic’s place, only to discover that he was out of town for the next 10 days. He finally returned last Monday, completed the repair work, which included a new water pump and head gasket, and I left his place on Friday afternoon with my wallet $330 lighter.

MechanicDuring our trip to La Gomera on Monday, we found out that the problem was still not fixed. The engine began to overheat about 20 miles before we reached the town, but still stayed out of the red zone. After meeting with Alicia’s family, we checked the engine and realized the water level was low again, so we added more water and headed for home. The normally 1 1/2 hour trip took us over 3 hours as the engine kept overheating and we would have to stop, let it cool and add more water. Four times we went through that process before finally limping back into San Antonio Aguas Calientes.

So, my vehicle is once again in the shop and we are awaiting the bad news. As Dick Rutgers says, “In Guatemala you can either pay a little for a bad mechanic, or a lot for a bad mechanic.” Please pray that our mechanic, Ali, gets if properly repaired and that the expense is not too great.

IMG00320-20120125-1621After arriving back home almost two hours later than my schedule dictated, Gerardo and I had to rush to head out to Ciudad Vieja. On Friday I had met a gentleman by the name of Victor who needed some help. He has diabetes and severe anemia, and I realized he needed a doctor badly. He has already lost his left leg and foot from mid-femur down due to poor circulation, and his right foot is now looking very bad as well. In addition, while he is only 52 years old, I would have guessed him to be around 65. (This mistake was highlighted when I asked him if a 12 year old girl in the house was his granddaughter, and he informed me that she was his daughter. Oops.)

IMG00321-20120125-1621I told them that he needed to see a doctor soon, and arranged for them to see Dr. Augusto at no charge. But they informed me that they only had a motor scooter and he was too weak to hold on. So, we arranged to pick him up this past Monday at 4:00 pm and take him. This pick-up was complicated by the fact that his wheelchair is broken, and I had to carry him to my van, into the doctor’s office, back to my van, and back into his home. Fortunately(?) he only weighs about 80 pounds, so the task didn’t tax me. (We have since obtained a wheelchair for him and will be taking it to him soon.)

The doctor confirmed my fears and told us that he needed to be hospitalized due to both the infection in his foot and his anemia. (He was unable to even hold himself upright on the examination table, and I had to steady him several times.) So, Tuesday morning I picked him up once again and took him to the national hospital in San Felipe de Jesus.

I confess that I felt abusive leaving him in that place. The national hospitals in Guatemala leave quite a bit to be desired, including basic sanitation. This dimly lit and dirty place is filled with overworked staff. And, while there are some good doctors who work there, it is a crap shoot as to whether you will get one of the good ones. However, our ministry cannot afford to pay for a private hospital, so this is Victor’s only option. If he were in the States or in a private hospital here, they would likely be able to save his leg. In the national hospital, he will likely lose it. Please pray for him.

IMG00352-20120131-1147After we left the hospital we drove into Antigua and stopped by Hermano Pedro. My little buddy, Ervin, had returned the previous week from his holiday visit to his home, and he returned 10 pounds lighter and a different boy. Suddenly he does not want to eat and is withdrawn. Normally very affectionate and desiring hugs and kisses, he now pushes me away. So, I wanted to spend a few minutes with him.

While there, we ran into Dick who had come to take Ervin out to lunch at Pollo Camperos. So, Gerardo and I tagged along. Gradually Ervin began to warm up, and by the end of the meal he was blowing kisses, waving and hugging me. In fact, I had to pry his arms off me as I was leaving. His appetite was still down, though. Normally he would have finished his meal and then begged the rest of us for our leftovers, but for the first time ever, he left chicken on his plate.

Yesterday was another office day for me, as I sought to battle the stacks of work on my desk. By the end of the day, my desk was clear…which means I now need to dust it.

IMG00293-20120111-1108This morning Gerardo and I met two of our families at Hermano Pedro. Marian is 10 years old and has cerebral palsy. Jose is four and also has CP. My friend, Marvin, had agreed to cast both of them for AFO’s (Ankle and Foot Orthotics), but his plans changed when he saw Marian. She has low-tone CP, and he determined that her quads and hamstrings were too week to be effective with AFO’s. He told us that he has a friend from the States who is a pediatric orthopedist who is coming to Guatemala later this month. He wanted him to examine her (for free) and help him determine the best bracing system. So, they will be going in to see him on February 19th.

IMG00357-20120202-1106When Marvin met Jose, he also arranged for him to see the doctor on the 19th. Jose has never been properly diagnosed, and this gives the family the opportunity to see an excellent doctor that they could not otherwise afford. Marvin did go ahead and cast him for braces, though, and they will be ready on Valentine’s Day.

I praise God for His perfect timing and care. He has arranged excellent care and treatment for these two beautiful children that I could not have orchestrated, and He did it at no cost to our ministry or the families. At times, I feel as if I am carrying a load and find myself wondering if I can do justice to the people who seek our help. God reminded me again this morning that I am not the caregiver, He is. And He loves and cares for these people far more and far better than I ever could. And when I remembered that, I felt the weight drop right off my shoulders and onto His.

What load are you carrying? Take a lesson from a thick-headed and dull-witted guy, and let it fall from your shoulders onto His.

Blessings from Guatemala!

Daryl, Wanda and the Crew