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      A Letter To Me – Note From Guatemala (2012)

      This week, I received a letter from me.  It’s a note I wrote to myself the day before I left Xenacoj, Guatemala for the first time (in 2012).  It’s interesting to read my thoughts in this letter.  The letter really only scratches the surface on the reflections I’ve had since leaving Xenacoj the first time and returning again last summer.  Here’s the letter:

      Dear Jon,

      When thinking back to all of the incredible things God did during my trip to Xenacoj, Guatemala with Adventures Youth (and RIOT Missions), I stand amazed.

      What an experience it was!  I couldn’t stop laughing when Spencer (Ware) shared his funny stories.  And you’ll never believe me when I tell you about the time when we built a home for a family in just 2 1/2 days.

      This experience wasn’t just new places and faces, God showed up in huge ways.  My favorite part about ministry was sharing and praying with locals and I will never forget the way their openness impacted me so much.  I especially loved the time we were able to bless Zuli’s family by building a home and giving her family paint for their new house.

      This week, the rhythm of my life was interrupted.  I learned to connect with God by avoiding distractions.  The big groups and devotions helped me discover that I have a unique sound and story.  In the wavelength of my life’s experiences, my highs and lows, I can see how God is involved in my life.  During this trip, I saw God in key moments like the time we returned from dedicating Zuli’s house.

      Being empowered to access the kingdom and hear God’s voice, I learned sharing our faith is simply a matter of offering prayer and a hand of help to those in need.

      Something I never knew about myself until this experience is kids (teenagers) actually look up to me (and not just because I’m tall).  The biggest thing I learned about God and His character is He speaks to me.  Because of Xenacoj, I will never live life the same way as before.

      The world is waiting and it’s time I amplified the messages I hear from the Lord, time to proclaim my story.  And it’s not just enough to amplify.  After this week, I realize the need to reverberate; I must keep moving again and again, allowing the voice of God to echo through my own story.

      Jon

      A missions trip of this type is pretty powerful.  It stretches you in ways you could never fully imagine.  This initial trip which was spurred by a question from a friend and a leap of faith has led to significant life change.  My family has been forever changed.  And I’m convinced we can help other individuals and families to experience this same type of life change.  Xenacoj left a huge mark – a STRETCH mark – on me.

      Our family is in the process of planning a return trip to Xenacoj in 2014.  We would love to have you join us.  I can’t promise it will be easy.  I can’t promise it will be comfortable.  I can’t promise you’ll have the exact same experience as I have had so far.  But I can promise this – you will be stretched.  You will be wrecked (in a good way).  And you will be forever changed.

      How does that make you feel?  Scared?  Excited?  Inspired?  Encouraged?  Unaffected?  Really how does the thought of joining me and my family on a missions trip to Xenacoj, Guatemala make you feel?

      What are you waiting for?  What will it take for you to go?

      Seriously, if this is something you are interested in pursuing.  Please leave a comment or reach out to me.  Let’s talk!