Friday, April 26, 2013

A Big Transition

SAM_1837I am writing to request your prayers for one of our families that is facing a big transition. You might recall that last month we faced a medical emergency with Jan from Guastatoya. This frail little seven year old has severe Cerebral Palsy and suffers from malnutrition. He had to be hospitalized for six days and has required a lot of care since his release.  His mother, Claudia, is unable to work due to the extensive care that he requires, so she takes in laundry from neighbors to maintain a small income. We have been praying about ways that we could assist this family and make sure Jan gets the medical care he needs.

You might also remember that a few months ago we hired the mother of another one of the children with whom we work to do some housecleaning for us and to provide help with the group home once it opens. As a result, Katerin’s mom has been working with us one day a week and also cleaning for some of our friends for a second day. Two weeks ago she came to our home to tell us,through tears, that she had accepted a full-time job in Guatemala City and could no longer work for us. We rejoice with her in knowing that she will be better able to provide for her family.

At the same time, our older daughters have been moving away to pursue ministry. Carissa left for Uganda in January. Teisha left for school in the States two days ago. Krishauna will be leaving to work in Casa Bernabe in late May. So, one by one, Wanda’s helpers are leaving as we head into team season and the opening of our group home. She needs help.

SAM_1834As a result, we decided it was time for us to hire a full-time housekeeper and nanny and get her trained and prepared before we receive our group home license. With that in mind, we made the decision to hire Jan’s mom, Claudia, full time. We have secured a small house here in San Antonio Aguas Calientes for her and her four children and enrolled her three daughters in a local school. On Monday we will be driving three hours north to her town with a moving truck and moving them to back to our community.

This work arrangement will enable Claudia to bring Jan with her to work while her other children go to school about 1/4 mile up the street. In addition, our region has a much cooler and drier climate than Guastatoya which should help Jan’s respiratory problems. Finally, he will be close to us and the medical professionals  with which we work when he needs intervention. This should be an excellent arrangement for everyone, including my wife who desperately needs the help.

IMG_0972bPlease pray for Claudia and her family as they make this move. This will be a huge transition for them all as the culture and traditions of this region are very different from Guastatoya. Especially pray for her three daughters as the leave behind their town, friends and school and have to start over again. Finally, continue to pray for Jan’s health as he continues to struggle.

Thanks! Blessings from San Antonio Aguas Calientes!


Monday, April 22, 2013

Confessions of a Father

Over the last few months our family had begun to change. And by change I mean leave. We have always been a very close family, spending a lot of time together. From 2006 to 2010 we did a lot of traveling and camping in an RV as we covered a significant portion of the eastern US speaking in churches. I remember those days fondly, in spite of having 10 of us (and later, 12 of us) packed into one RV. We are a family that not only loves each other, we actually like each other. Our daughters consider one another their best friends, and my fondest memories are the ones we all spent together.

1893_10200913301420775_2139962582_nbBack in January our daughter, Carissa, left for a five month stay in Uganda where she is making preparations for her long-term move there. This was a big transition for our family. To see our 19 year-old daughter move half way around the world stretched me more than I can describe. In addition, I have seen each of her siblings struggle, in their own way, to adjust to this new reality. She will be returning to us in June for a brief period before she will begin the process of fundraising and her eventual return to Uganda.

892890_10151365786908483_1762951012_oIn two days I will be driving our daughter, Teisha, to the airport so that she can return to the States. She will be living and working in Ohio for four months to raise money for school and will then begin a two-year education program with Word of Life in New York. We hope to have her return for Christmas, if budget allows, but even if she does, we are looking at an eight month goodbye, followed by many others.

577119_4731574973131_246003875_nAt the end of May Krishauna will be leaving our home and moving to Casa Bernabe, an orphanage on the other side of Guatemala City. She will be serving as a helper in one of their group homes, assisting in their school, and working on her Spanish skills for six months in preparation for future ministry. We hope to see her once or twice a month during her stay there. Then, once her schooling is complete she will likely be leaving our home to serve God somewhere in Guatemala.

202781_10151236846530984_1107265227_oMeanwhile, Brittney has shifted her college classes into high gear with hopes of graduating at the end of this year. This will enable her to begin her new ministry in San Pablo La Laguna working with children who have special needs. Her eventual goal is to open a school for these children in that very needy community.

As you can see, the size of our household is reducing rapidly and our family dynamics are changing. And, to be honest, this father is struggling.

I am so very proud of each of them. I know that they are leaving our home to serve Jesus and follow Him with abandon. This is God’s call for each of them and I stand in full support. So, my struggle is not related to regret at all.

But in my mind, each of them is still my little girl. It is my role to protect them, comfort them and bandage their scrapes. I am their problem-solver and bully-thumper. And no one can give bear hugs like me. Yet, as they head out, I know that I have to surrender those roles, as I can no longer fill them. That is hard for me.

In fact, this is the highest cost of discipleship I have ever had to pay. We have always taught our kids to follow Jesus, no matter where that leads. We have told them that whatever the cost, it is always worth it. And that has led us all to this point. Every other thing I have ever given up for my Jesus seems minor in comparison to saying goodbye to my children as they leave to serve God. In three years we will have four daughters serving in missions in two different countries. And Taryn and Jeremiah will be following along soon, making similar decisions. Then will come the youngest three after that. It makes me wake up, at times, in the middle of the night with a pain in my heart and nausea in my stomach. How do I let go of those I love so dearly? I am still figuring that out.

But there are three truths to which I cling:

  1. In reality, I am not, nor have I ever been, their protector, comforter, healer or problem solver. My view of myself as those things has simply been an illusion. They are, and always have been, God’s children. From the moment He formed them in the womb, they belonged to Him, and He was the only one that could ever truly fill those rolls. So, as they leave our home, He continues to meet those needs as He has done all along. Nothing is changing. The One who loves them more than anyone else goes with them.
  2. They are leaving our home, not to serve themselves, but to serve Jesus. I have no doubt that God will use them for great things as they follow His call. In this age in which so many live for self gratification I am overwhelmed as I see them pouring themselves out to serve, love and reach a dying world. So, while these transitions bring the pain of goodbyes, they also bring a great sense of joy as I see them becoming who Christ wants them to be. I could not be more proud of any of them.
  3. As I consider this cost of discipleship that seems so great, I am reminded of another cost that was much higher. On Wednesday, I will put my daughter on a plane, but one Friday my God put His Son on a cross. Because of that incredible price He paid for me, no price is too great to pay for Him.

In the early years of our marriage we were preparing to move away from Wanda’s family to North Carolina to serve in ministry. As we were saying goodbye to her parents her dad said something that has remained with us through all these years. He told us, “It is hard to see you go, but I would rather see you half-way around the world serving Jesus than right next door and not.” Wise words that I speak often these days.

So, in the days, weeks, months and years ahead I will be saying goodbye a lot. And as I do, I will wipe a lot of tears. But not all of them will be tears of sadness. They will also be mixed with tears of joy, pride and gratitude. So much gratitude.

Blessings from Guatemala!


Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Big News!

I have a couple of big pieces of news to share with you, plus some updates, so I will get right to it.

7992_10200416676714008_1139999759_nThe first big piece of news is that we have a firm moving date for the Beyer family! Their plane tickets are purchased and they will be arriving in Guatemala on Monday, May 27. This is an answered prayer for us as Dale, Anita and their family will be serving vital roles in our ministry and providing relief to my schedule. Of course, most of their first four months on the ground will be devoted to getting settled, learning the culture and language studies, so I will not be turning over any major responsibilities for a while.

Please pray for their family as they wrap things up in the US and then make their big move. As someone who has lived through this transition, I understand the need to bathe them in prayer. Please join me in that effort.

imageThe second piece of news is that God has provided us with a nurse! Katie Riley, a RN, has felt God’s call to join our work here in Guatemala. As a result, she has begun the process of raising support and planning for her big move.

Katie has been to Guatemala with our ministry twice and we have known her for years. She will be an excellent addition to our team as she helps to address the frequent medical needs we encounter in the children and adults with which we work.

Please pray for Katie. Often fundraising is difficult and time consuming, and we need her here soon. Please ask God to grant her favor and provide what she needs so she can move promptly.

539505_10200494469821672_1584658054_nI also want to update you on Rachel McCray, who is preparing to move here and serve as a trained midwife. We had originally hoped she could make her move this fall, but due to an opportunity that has arisen, that has been delayed. Instead she will be traveling to Tanzania where she will complete a two month midwife internship from September 29 until November 22. During this time she will have the opportunity to assist with between 120 and 240 births in a third-world setting. This is important as conditions both in Tanzania and Guatemala are very different from what she would experience in US training. She felt that this experience would be extremely valuable to her, and we agreed whole-heartedly.

As a result, her move will be delayed until 2014. However, we are excited about the training she will receive and trust God’s timing completely.

As you can tell, our staff in Guatemala is growing rapidly…more rapidly than I had anticipated. However, we see God’s hand in it all. Last week our ministry needed to be three places at once, so our current staff split up and covered all the bases. The freedom that this provides our work is priceless. I am so thankful for the team that is already here (Gerardo, April and Daniel) and those that are on the way (the Beyer family, Rachel and Katie).

So much has been happening that it is hard to know what I should share, but here are a few things:

IMG-20130407-00019Last week we hosted Frank Carvajal from southern California. He has been a follower of my blog for a while, and he and his family are seeking God regarding a possible future in missions. The day after he arrived we attended church and they were in need of a translator to translate the sermon from Spanish to English. Since Frank is fluent in Spanish he stepped up and met the need. He did a great job, in spite of the last minute notice.

IMG-20130408-00024On Monday we headed to Las Palmas and La Gomera for our monthly visit. On the way down we took the scenic route through the back country and had our own little adventure. At one point we moved over to the side of the road to allow a truck to pass. As I started to pull out again the dirt on the right side of the road collapsed and we found our vehicle sitting in a ditch tilting sharply. Due to a large rock directly in front of me I could not drive out forward. And due to the steep bank behind the 4-Runner we could not back out.

Immediately a vehicle stopped with two workers from a local farm. They told us that they would get a tractor and come back to pull us out. About an hour-and-a-half later they returned with the tractor but no chain. We borrowed a large rope from a neighbor which we promptly snapped, so they headed out to find a chain and second tractor.

After another hour of waiting, a large truck came through with a long chain and quickly pulled us out (with Frank and Daniel standing on the left running board and swinging their rears away from the vehicle to provide counter-balance and keep us from tipping over). Damages consisted of a long scrape up the passenger door and a mud flap that was ripped off. But we were on the road again with me being much warier of the edges. My next purchase will be a nice, long chain that will be my constant companion in the 4-Runner.

IMG-20130408-00031After we made our normal stops in Las Palmas we met up with Steve Osborn in Santa Lucia. Steve and his wife, Shyrel, are the directors of Amor del Niño, an orphanage in Mixco. We are working with Steve to set-up physical therapy clinics in both San Antonio Aguas Calientes and La Gomera. We had made arrangements with both towns and Steve wanted us all to meet together with the medical clinic supervisor in La Gomera to make sure everything was set.

We had a wonderful meeting with Edna Vásquez and quickly realized that God was opening the door to more ministry in that town. We will be working closely with Edna in coming months to assist with the needs of the special needs community in her area.

During the first week of June we will have a two day physical clinic in San Antonio on June 3 & 4 and then follow that with a two day clinic in La Gomera on the 6th and 7th. These clinics will be staffed by a team of physical therapists from Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio. We are praising God for these open doors that God is providing for us.

IMG-20130412-00038Last week we also picked up seven wheelchairs from Hope Haven. I have been waiting for them to receive a shipment of standard chairs and it finally came in from the States. I had a long list of people waiting for chairs, so I went in to finally purchase their chairs. Unfortunately as I was paying for the chairs I found out that Hope Haven had increased the price they charge for chairs. As a result, we now have to pay $150 for a standard chair and $250 for a custom chair. Ouch! So, I paid $350 more for the chairs than I had anticipated. (This is not a criticism of Hope Haven. They are a huge blessing to our ministry and are only increasing the cost to cover their own rising expenses. While we were there they also gave us a large box of diapers and three sets of forearm crutches at no charge.)

IMG-20130415-00046This week we are hosting the Anderson and Covert families from Pennsylvania. These couples, along with their five children, are a pleasure to have and a huge blessing to our ministry. So far they have spent time at Hermano Pedro and taken some of the kids and adults out to eat, assisted with our local distribution, and worked with Paso a Paso (Step by Step), a local feeding program. Today they are up in Santa Maria de Jesus working with a feeding program and playing with the children.


We do have a couple of needs with which we need your help. First, we have recently lost a long-time sponsor for one of our children, Marcos Antonio. The couple that was sponsoring him has felt God leading them to support another missionary effort. We understand that and thank them for their faithful support over the last two years. But now we need to find a replacement sponsor for this young man.

SAM_2298aHe is 17 years old and suffered permanent brain damage due to complications during birth. His mother, who suffered from mental illness, was unable to care for him, so his adoptive mother, Maura, took him in at just a few hours old. She is a single mother who does a remarkable job of caring for him while working to support them both. However, the sponsored food and diapers they receive from us each month is urgently needed and makes the difference between malnutrition and health. Due to recent increases in food costs, the sponsorship amount is now $32.00 each month. If one of you would be willing to sponsor this young man, please write to me at

IMG_0881Likewise, we need a sponsor for David. David is also 17 years old and has severe Cerebral Palsy. Our ministry sought sponsorship for him over a year ago, but never found a donor. Because the needs of his family were so great, we decided to pay for the food basket and diapers out of our general budget. However, due to increasing expenses and so many emergency needs, we cannot continue to do this. The monthly cost to sponsor David is $32.00. If you would be willing to help him, please write to the e-mail address above. I cannot effectively communicate to you how crucial it is that we find sponsors for both Marcos Antonio and David.

IMG_0929Finally, we need sponsors for two sets of leg braces. One is for little Angel. This cute little guy received his first set of leg braces about 18 months ago. That, along with physical therapy, has enabled him to make great strides in his standing and walking. However, he recently outgrew his braces and needs new ones. The cost for these braces are $200.00.


IMG_0619bAlso needing new braces is Walter. This little guy is a go-getter and is very active. We provided him with his original set about 18 months ago as well. When he wears them he is able to walk unassisted and loves the freedom they provide. He recently outgrew them and needs a new set. Once again, the cost of these are $200.00. If you are willing to help with either Angel or Walter’s new braces, please e-mail me at the address above.

That is all for now. Blessings from San Antonio Aguas Calientes!

Daryl, Wanda and the Crew

Friday, April 5, 2013

Some Important Updates

Time has been short this week and life has been a little stressful. However, I wanted to take just a moment to update you on a few important aspects of our ministry.

IMG_0879First, we added another member to our team this week! Daniel Lopez began working with us on Monday and is serving as another assistant and translator in our work. The Beyer family will be arriving in May, and Gerardo will begin working with them to assist in their transition. He will also travel with Dale on one of our 4-wheel drive teams to assist him in that work. Daniel, meanwhile, will begin traveling with me as I work to train and disciple him in ministry. His long term goal is to become a psychologist and work with children in an orphanage setting. This work is close to his heart as Daniel spent most of his childhood and teen years in an orphanage. We are excited to have Daniel as the newest member of our team!

IMG_0776Second, some of you have been asking for an update on Jan. I apologize for not doing a better job of keeping you informed regarding his status. He is doing much better and is getting stronger each day. His seizures are under control and he is breathing well. Thanks to the generosity of so many of you, we were able to raise the total of his hospital stay and more. The extra was applied to medicines that he needed once he returned home. Another area of concern was that his mother was unable to work for the week that he was in the hospital. (Unlike in the US, when a child is in the hospital here the family is responsible for the daily care that is not directly related to medical needs, specifically their feeding, cleaning and diaper changes.) As a result of missing work, she did not have the money she needed to pay her rent this month. So we used some of the excess money to assist with that need.

I just want to say a big, “Thank you!” to each of you who assisted with Jan’s medical needs. You were a big part of saving a child’s life!

SAM_2294Third, I need to let you know where we stand on the licensing of our group home. We have been working diligently while awaiting the final inspection and finally, the inspectors arrived yesterday. During this surprise visit they went over our home with a fine-tooth comb. It was somewhat frustrating because they pointed out a long list of things that we need to change that were not mentioned at all in the first inspection. However, at the end of their almost three hour visit, we were told we passed. However, as is always the case in Guatemala, we passed “mas o menos” (more or less). In other words, they are recommending to CNA  that we be licensed, but CNA  may ask for another inspection. I often ask myself why it has to be so hard to help children who need help so badly. Then I remind myself that it is always a bad idea to ask “Why?” in Guatemala. Hopefully, this will be the last step and we will receive our license soon.

IMG_0855Finally, my beautiful bride, Wanda, has started a blog! Many of you often ask me to use more of my blog space to give updates regarding our family. But, to be honest, my time usually does not allow that. Wanda’s blog will focus more on family news and how our home life blends with ministry. She posted her first blog this past weekend and did a great job of showing how God has brought us to the point in our marriage and family. I would encourage you to take time to visit her blog and sign up to follow it. It will be well worth your time. You can find it at

And that is all I have time for right now. Life and ministry is full and keeps getting fuller. Thanks for all your prayers and support! We appreciate each of you!

Daryl, Wanda and the Crew