Thursday, February 28, 2013

Beginnings

JamesandEllie
Since our announcement last week we have been so overwhelmed with support from friends, family, and co-workers.  Thank y'all so much!!  Hopefully today I can clear up a few of the most common questions we've received this week.

First of all, to address the most common question we've been asked over the past week and a half:

"How long will you be gone for?"

Well, to answer in short, we've agreed to live in Guatemala for a minimum of seven years.  Why seven?  Since we will be house parents to boys who are coming from all sorts of troubled backgrounds, we want to be able to provide them with a stable home.  Many of the boys have experienced abandonment by one or both parents before coming to the refuge.  For this reason, Engadi Ministries requires houseparents to agree to serve for a minimum of five to six years.  We also must add another one to two years to adjust to the language and culture, and to form relationships with the boys who will be entering the program.  So we expect to be down there for a minimum of seven years.

Now I will try to explain in a nutshell our background with Engadi Ministries and why we have chosen to make such a huge leap to join them....

Okay, to start off, I have to say that I (Ellie) have always been captivated by Latin American culture.  The languages, the traditions, art, their perspective of family values, and possibly of most importance, the food!  It all just fascinates me.

I took my first mission trip in high school to Costa Rica and loved it.  During my freshman year of UGA, in 2008, I spent spring break with Nathan Hardeman and Global Soccer Ministries in Guatemala.  At the time, we were constructing a soccer stadium in a neighborhood ironically named Paradise in one of the poorest zones of the capital of Guatemala.  I came back from this trip changed; not in a way that made me want to pick up and move to Guatemala, but God had placed a spark of love in my heart for these people that would later ignite into a blaze.


Constructing the stadium in 2008

So the next year, in 2009, James and I had started dating, and we both decided to go to Guatemala over Spring Break.  During that trip, James started saying how cool it would be if we were able to move to Guatemala to minister to the kids he had come into contact with in the city.  I told him he was crazy.  Although I loved working and going on trips to Guatemala, there was no way I was giving up everything I had to move down there.  I thought that since this was not only James' first mission trip, but also his first trip out of the country, his passion for moving there would eventually wear off with time.

James working on the stadium in 2009


Well, needless to say, it didn't.

So by 2012, when we returned to work with Nathan in Guatemala, the concept of a boys home had been developed into a reality.  We were able to work on the property where the boys were going to live one day.  We also spent time ministering to the children in Zone 18 who would eventually be able to move to the refuge.  One thing was missing though.  While construction was well underway for the refuge, the ministry had no parents for the boys.  It was during this trip that both of our eyes were finally open to the plans God was calling us to.  It was at this time that God allowed that spark from back in 2008 to breathe and ignite.

God opened the door for us to be able to fulfill the calling he gave to James in 2009.  Although the timing was not right for us to leave in 2009, it has been really cool for us to be able to see God working on us individually and preparing us to do His work.  I would have to say that experiencing God's timing, and seeing how He opens and closes doors has really been the coolest part of this whole thing so far.


So that's how and why God has drawn us to Guatemala in a nutshell.  We are looking forward to seeing what else He has in store for us during this journey.

'Til next time!
The Carrs

JamesandEllie / Author & Editor

James and Ellie Carr have been missionaries in Gautemala since 2014 and write to share their feelings and how they have experienced God's goodness and mercy on the mission field.

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