Three trips on the planning table. Recruiting, developing curricula, determining itinerary, getting airline schedules, securing motels, vechiles, food serices, and amultitude of other elements are consuming the summer schedule.
I told this story in church this morning, and I promised Kathryn Hoyle that I’d record it in a note so that others could hear it too. This is the story of what happened to the glue we used in our mission trip to Guatemala.
As most of you by now know, I went on a 10-day mission trip to Guatemala with LendaHand Mission Teams over Thanksgiving 2010. There were 2 purposes for the trip: free medical clinics and Bible schools. I was assigned to the Bible school team and put in charge of crafts (organizing, not creating, thank God!). Each day I would look at the estimated number of kids, determine which crafts we would do, oversee the craft time, and then organize the supplies for the next day (which often included cutting more or procuring more materials). Over the 13 Bible schools sessions we conducted, we ministered to more than 1400 children — that’s a lot of picture frames, paper bag baskets, lamb puppets, and lamb ear headbands!
What we didn’t realize at first about these crafts was how “glue-intensive” they would be. We had originally planned to use glue sticks, but we quickly found out that the heat and humidity made the glue sticks….well, not stick. So, we switched to good old Elmer’s School glue. We had brought a lot of glue with us from the States, but very soon we were running low. On two separate occasions we made trips to Paiz (the Guatemalan Walmart) specifically to buy more glue.
On the second trip to Paiz, we bought 4 yellow bottles of glue to augment our dwindling supply, and on Wednesday afternoon, just as we were about to begin our 12th Bible school session, those yellow bottles of glue were the only ones still relatively full. We made the decision to pour the glue from the yellow bottles into the white bottles (which we had more of) so that each group would hopefully have enough glue to finish that day’s crafts. Even so, during the craft time, I could be seen violently shaking my glue bottle in a futile attempt to get every last drop into the tip and squeezed onto the construction paper!
When I packed up the supplies that day, I realized that indeed, every bottle was very nearly empty. There was absolutely no way we would have enough to complete the crafts for our last session the next day. However, the session wasn’t scheduled until the afternoon, so we made plans to return one last time to Paiz for a few more bottles of glue.
Except…the next morning, we were late leaving, and we realized there was no time to go to Paiz. Karen and I discussed the “glue situation” and decided to go with plan B — we’d have to use glue sticks, even though they wouldn’t work very well. Unless, as I fatefully said, “God multiplied the glue the way he had multiplied the toys.”
[An aside for those of you who don’t attend Trinity Worship Center: Every mission team to Guatemala ALWAYS returns with the same story — how God multiplies toys. We distribute small, happy meal type toys to the kids at the end of each Bible school, and on every trip (this one was no exception) there comes a point at which someone on the team has counted, and the kids outnumber the toys that remain. In our case, at our largest session, we had 210 toys and 321 children. However, somehow, EVERY child left that session with a toy. I watched it happen, and it was like Mary Poppins’ magical bag. Truly, an amazing experience. You know though, although I had always heard of this phenomenon, even watching unfold in front of me didn’t make it personal. You see, *I* hadn’t counted the toys. That wasn’t MY job. I’m not saying I didn’t believe the people who counted. I believed them 100%. But it wasn’t MY miracle. I was simply an amazed bystander.]
So since I had at last witnessed the miracle of the multiplying toys, I figured, if toys, why not glue? But….in true Type A fashion, I had glue sticks ready and waiting as my Plan B. All joking aside, why would God care about glue?
Okay, back to the story….
We arrived at our final Bible school church, and since we were late, we unpacked as fast as we could. I was frantically raiding every craft box for any and all glue I could find. After pulling out all the glue sticks, I found the bottles. The first one I pulled out was half full. “Oh, thank God, we missed a bottle yesterday!” I thought. I was relieved, because that would probably be enough for the preschool-age crafts, which REALLY wouldn’t work with glue sticks.
The second bottle I pulled out was 3/4 full.
The third bottle….was FULL.
At this point, I was laughing and crying at the same time, as I pulled out bottle after bottle, all at least half full of glue. And all 4 yellow bottles, which the previous day had been emptied into the white bottles before our 12th Bible school, were FULL. Not partially full. FULL. In all, we had 7 nearly full glue bottles, WAY more than we needed for that final round of crafts. If you know me at all, you know that I’m the typically Type A, first-born child: methodical, structured, organized, and practical. I may well have missed one half-full bottle of glue, but there’s no way I missed SEVEN.
Believe what you will, I and the members of my team know the truth. God provided what we needed, when we needed it. What makes it even better is that the theme of our Bible school all week had been….(you guessed it) God’s provision. Just as He provided a way across the Red Sea for Moses and the Israelites, just as He fed 5000+ people with a few loaves and fishes, He provides for us today. Even something as insignificant and silly as glue for a craft.
This is MY “toy story,” MY personal miracle. If I hadn’t been the one to hold those empty bottles of glue and pack them away, I might have held just a tiny seed of doubt, but I can’t. I did hold those bottles, I did shake them and store them upside down in the hopes that just a few more drops would come out. I KNOW they were empty. And I pulled them out full. I can’t explain it. But then, I really don’t need to.
So what happened to those bottles? Well, at the end of the Bible school, there was still so much glue remaining, that we left a couple of bottles at that church for them to use. I also brought one home for myself, as my personal reminder that no matter how small or stupid a problem may seem to you, it’s never too big or too small for God.
Dear Praying Friend,
“It is raining Cats and Dogs.” quote from Supt. Atilio Chavez, Guatemala.
That is a funny way to start a letter, but let me share the rest of the story.
We wrote you a letter requesting that you pray for our recent trip to Guatemala. A specific request was ‘pray for the weather.’ Before the Youth Team went to Guatemala there were two eruptions of the volcano, and Hurricane Alex plowing through the gulf of Mexico. The Team was scheduled to fly through Houston, Texas the day of the hurricane. BUT, because you and hundreds of others prayed for our safety….fast forward to today and you get the message above from the Conference Superintendent: i.e. it is raining like cats and dogs.
The whole story is that for fifteen days and nights there was constant rain in the country. Bridges and roads were washed out and landslides occurred. But when the LENDAHAND Mission Team arrived, it stopped raining. It did not rain on our team during the entire trip except one night during the church service. Superintendent Chavez says that since we have returned to the USA, the rains furiously returned there. Like hungry cats and dogs.
Is that a credit to LENDAHAND? No. The credit and glory goes to God! Praying people like you got the attention of God who controls the universe. He held the rains so that the Youth could minister with power. Prior to our visit another team had been visiting Guatemala. The Superintendent asked that team to pray for the weather while we were there. They did. They fasted three days for us. God answered your prayers and theirs. Keep sending them up. He delights in hearing and answering.
The Youth Team did minister with anointing. Nearly every day they went from door to door witnessing. About forty people responded to accept the Lord or redicate their lives. They youth preached, sang, and ministered around the altars in church in such a powerful way! These youth are seasoned warriors of the Gospel. With young people like the ones on this trip, we can be confident of the future of missions and the zeal of sharing the Gospel.
Again, thank you for YOUR prayers. You are a vital part of this ministry. God bless you and your family.
On The Go For Him,
Bobby and Kathryn Hoyle
Greetings from LENDAHAND. You will never know the value your prayers are for our work and ministry. It is so broad none can see the vast scope of the effectiveness. The value is so powerful that we could not GO without your support. Thank you many times for your help.
We are taking a Youth Ministry Team of fourteen to Guatemala. Eight different churches, villages, and schools will be blessed as the Youth share their testimonies, sing, minister, dance, do drama, and probably participate in a lot of clean/up repair work. They need your prayer support for His anointing, His guidance, His protection, in church, school, on the highways and everywhere they go. They are going to be servants of the dear people in that country.
The weather has not been favorable in Guatemala recently. Two volcano eruptions and a big flood have created some uncomfortable situations. We will NOT be in any of the danger areas. Every effort possible is being made to keep the Team safe. Because of the floods, we very likely will be helping in some clean up. Our goal is to minister and serve, not sight see nor be served.
Call the team members by name in prayer. They are:
Mikhael A., Mebane, NC
Olivia B., Gibsonville, NC
Meredith C., Burlington, NC
Miranda C., Walnut Cove, NC
Mary C., Burlington, NC
Josh D., Elon, NC
Karleigh M., Stuart, VA
Christy and Rick M., Stuart, Va
Hayley T., Elon, NC
Josh and Jennifer Y., Virginia Beach, Va
Bobby and Kathryn Hoyle, Virginia Beach, VA
The Chavez family, Guatemala
The Almarez family, Guatemala
Blessings and thanks,
LENDAHAND Mission Teams