Monthly Archives: July 2014

Hide & Seek

Hide & Seek

Sometimes several people in a room can all have their eyes open and everyone sees something different.   Often times looking at the exact same thing,   we can see something different.   There may be a need that is HIDING right in front of us.    Though not a game,  we must SEEK it out.  Last week,  we experienced this while SERVING  with Bethel Ministries in Guatemala.

On the way to our first home visit,  Chris made a statement that was very important.  He said,  “Keep your eyes open. Many times there is a need that may be very obvious, or not so obvious that only one of the team may see.  We may visit a family planning to help in one way when that is not the actual need.  Keep your eyes open.”

While visiting our first family with the intent of delivering  a bag of food supplies and some clothes and shoes,   God showed our team members a hidden need.


Chris Mooney from Bethel has a gift of talking with the people of Guatemala.   He often digs deep looking for those needs that could be buried deep.    After visiting with the family,  we learned that the middle daughter was truly struggling with school.   The siblings were doing well,  but younger daughter  was frustrated, and at the rate she was going,  she would probably,  eventually quit school.   Without an education,  there is virtually NO way to break this cycle of poverty.   Enter our team member Christy and her daughters  Briana and Alyssa.    Christy is a vision therapist from Illinois.   Her optometrist employer donated 100 pair of used eyeglasses and a vision acuity chart.


The kids went through the exercises and it was found that the little girl had a great need for vision correction!     The perfect glasses were fitted and now she has the opportunity to succeed at school.     She has the opportunity to succeed at LIFE!    Originally,   we ASSUMED that a probable need was school sponsorship.    While this is still a need,   her impared vision was the basic, HIDDEN need.




At another home visit, our intention was to provide food and clothes again.   School was going well for the kiddos.   Eyetests showed no glasses were needed.   A new, Bethel built home was already a possible need.   Then we saw it.   We ALL saw it.  It was so obvious that this was a HUGE need.    This family’s cocina (kitchen)  was tucked back in a corner  of the small backyard with a makeshift tin awning.    It was basically a typical wood-burning “stove”  that was a piece of metal (probably the top out of a barrel)  that sat on a few rocks or cement blocks.  Plus one more thing…….can you see it?

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Yes,  the stove was on top of the old outhouse BANYO (toilet).    WOW!   THIS was an IMMEDIATE NEED.    WE ALL SAW THIS ONE!    It was decided immediately that Bethel would provide her with an ONIL stove so they could abandon the old, Banyo cocina!        We had friends from Iowa make donations for this mission trip.    When we saw this,  we instantly knew THIS was the perfect place for their donation.    This family will have a new Onil stove installed very soon!


 (an ONIL stove from the first house build)


This trip, we had the awesome opportunity to have a second wheelchair distribution.   Personally,  I was really fired up about this!   Typically at these events,  MOST of the recipients are fitted easily to their new gift of mobility.   But sometimes,  there are things we didn’t plan on.   Annette, Taylor, David and I were working one station.    Our first friend was a gentleman who was carried to the event on a stretcher.


He had 2 volunteer fireman/paramedics attending him.   This was especially exciting for Taylor,  as she is a volunteer fireman/EMT at the fire department in Cedarville.


Andreth,  was excited to get his new chair.    The basic fitting was routine.


But Andreth had some sort of Ostomy bag that he held on his lap in a plastic grocery bag.    This just won’t do.   So,  David with his mechanical engineering degree from Cedarville, and me with my farmer “figure it out with baling wire and duct tape” degree from Crawfordsville figured it out.     We found an extra, aluminum walking cane.   After figuring out the optimal placement, we mounted the new ostomy bag hanger.


All the while ensuring that we did not compromise the integrity of the cane… it could be removed and used as a cane someday, if needed!


The firemen were having fun helping us with the customizing project.    It turned out pretty well.   Andreth was happy with it!


We were all thankful that our eyes were opened to what HE wanted us to see.                            Keep your eyes open!

Psalm 119:18   18 Open my eyes to see wonderful things in your Word.





Abuelo Noe (Grandpa Noah)

Abuelo Noe   (Grandpa Noah)

July 16 – 23 2014  we had the wonderful opportunity to return to Guatemala on a mission trip.    This was a reflection to my first-ever mission trip, in 2011.   This my 4th, but extra special.  My family (wife Annette & daughter Taylor)  travelled to serve with Bethel alongside John Mitchell and his family and Christy Reist and her daughters.

20140719_122641-1John & Jean Mitchell are the founders of On His Path (   which partners with  Mission: Mobility.   It was great to return with good friends to revisit many of the places and projects we experienced in 2011.     For the Mitchells, it was extra special,  their 7 year old daughter joined us.  She was adopted from Guatemala when she was a little over 1 year old.   This was her fist trip back.

One special memory and experience on this trip was during our second home build day.    We arrived at a  hillside and saw the “goat path”  trail that led up a steep hill with our building site at the top.

20140721_162838This trail reminded us of Matthew 7:14.   14 But the pathway to life is very narrow and the road is difficult, and only a few ever find it.

This home was for a widowed mother (Stella) and her 3 children.   Also at this home site were Stella’s parents in a small home.

We proceeded to carry all the building materials up the steep grade to the top.    It took many, many trips.   The elevation and the grade both made for an exhausting start of the day.   Ironically,  I had to chuckle,  because I had emailed Brad (Louisville)  that morning saying it should be a light day with only 1 house build on the schedule.   Boy was I wrong!   Eventually we got it all to the top.    I was preparing to carry my last load of several sheets of tin.   I was taking a minute to catch my breath before climbing.  I had 5 sheets of tin on my back.    Then I heard an old man talking to me in Spanish.  He was grabbing for a few sheets of my tin.   I figured it was a local wanting to help out to make a few Quetzales.    I was looking down when he spoke.  The first thing I saw were his feet.

20140721_163103-1Noe was the father of Stella.    He was so excited to help with the new home for his widowed daughter.   He was probably 65, looking 85 from the hard life he had led.    His feet truly told the story.

The project progressed quickly.    Grandpa,  as we referred to him,  was so excited and happy to help in any way possible.   At one point John gave him a pair of gloves.    He accepted the gift happily.  But it was almost comical.   He had absolutely NO idea how to put the gloves on.   We realized he probably had NEVER owned a pair of gloves.    WOW!   Once he had them on, he looked like he had won the lottery!

I recall throughout the work,   I kept looking at his feet.   They were so weathered, in his makeshift flip flops.  The shoes were several sizes too small for his feet.

20140721_130627We broke for lunch.  Ham sandwiches, chips and my favorite Guatemalan cookies…CHIKYS! (love those things!)     After lunch, I wanted a photo op with Grandpa.    We stood by the woodpile.  A great backdrop.    In typical Guatemalan fashion,   Grandpa WOULD NOT SMILE.

20140721_161113I had my arm around him for additional pics.    So as Annette took another photo,   I tickled his ribs.  He busted out laughing!

20140721_161129I can probably guarantee you  Abuelo had never had an American tickle him!

The project wrapped up, we dedicated the new home and prayed for the family,  and we were preparing to leave.     Prior to the trip, Taylor had bought a new pair of tennis shoes for the trip, with the intent of giving them away to someone.     With this being near the end of the trip, Taylor had resigned herself to the fact that she was probably not going to find a girl who could fit into her size 9’s.     God then laid it on us to get Grandpa some shoes.    But realizing that through the week we had given out all the shoes we had brought.   Guess which team member’s shoes were the perfect fit……Taylor!    The look on Grandpa’s face was priceless when he tried them on and they fit, perfectly!

20140721_161802We then had Chis explain to Abuelo Noe that if he would follow us down the trail to the van,  we would give him the shoes and Taylor would return to the hotel barefoot.   He was happy to oblige.

It was extremely touching to watch as Taylor removed her bright blue FILA shoes off her feet and stood in her socks on the road as she fit Grandpa with his new shoes.  It was a  beautiful gesture that I will never forget!   It reminded me of the humble act of the washing of feet in the Bible!!

20140721_163204John examined the old shoes.


They were homemade.  The soles were from an old pair of tennis shoes and the strap part of the flip-flops were made from car innertubes!     Note in the photo, the heels of the shoes.   Or lack thereof!    There was a hole in both shoes that a golf ball could pass through!   When asked,   Grandpa said he had worn these shoes for 10 years!   What a selfless guy.    When he needed new shoes,  he  opted to just keep his old ones and use the money for food for the family!

Photo time.   Just before leaving  we had Taylor and Abuelo Noe stand together with the new and old shoes and the sock feet.    Again,  in true Guatemalan fashion……stone faced….no smile!

20140721_163449I lowered my camera and said (in ENGLISH)   “Grandpa,  you better smile or I am going to tickle you again”.   I guarantee you he understood what I was saying based on his reaction!


20140721_163124Love that guy!

What a day.     I just love working with the people of Guatemala!

July 2014 container – Iowa

July 8, 2014 Container from Iowa


We gathered again to load the gathered equipment and Kids Against Hunger food on the latest container.

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10511330_790805460950897_6927033269264070473_nMany thanks to all those who helped collect,  transfer, inventory, load and Pray for the contents of this container!

Please join us in praying for a speedy transit to Guatemala where the contents are desperately needed.    If all goes perfectly,  it should be unloaded in 1 month.

Inventory – Another Perspective (guest post)

Although you may have already read about this past week’s evening of inventory, Taylor Fulton (Rick’s daughter) also wanted to share her perspective.

This past Thursday, I had the opportunity to help Mission: Mobility volunteers do inventory on a warehouse full of medical equipment. This coming week (on Tuesday, to be precise!) we will load that equipment onto a container so that it may begin the long journey to Guatemala.

Although labeling and sorting aren’t the most exciting of jobs, I was so excited to finally help out with this side of the ministry. The past four containers were loaded during the school year, when I was 8 hours from home, working on my Biology degree. Although Dad would send me frequent updates of Mission: Mobility progress, I couldn’t provide much help. This time, I got to join 18 volunteers from 9 different churches, sorting and wrapping and labeling and moving and stacking and arranging, preparing for this week’s loading process. With such good help, the entire process took less than two hours! In that time, we labeled and shrink-wrapped 76 wheelchairs, 88 walkers, 33 canes, 30 pairs of crutches, and more than 90 boxes of clothing and medical equipment. The Lord provided equipment, helping hands, and stamina, and His faithfulness continues to make itself evident!

When my family visited Guatemala in the summer of 2011, we got to help Bethel Ministries provide individuals with refurbished wheelchairs. Some of these people were getting replacement chairs, but many others were becoming independent for the very first time. For the recipients, as well as their families, this was a life-changing gift. Can you imagine carrying your child on your back for his entire life? Taking him with you as you work in the fields, carrying him as you run errands, feeling him grow heavier each day? Can you imagine being the child born with a disability, knowing that you will never be able to play like your friends, never be able to get a job or even move independently? Indeed, both the recipient and his family benefit when receiving a wheelchair from Bethel Ministries.


Not only does Bethel provide wheelchairs to the needy — they also provide jobs to some of the people they help. Upon arriving in Guatemala, each of the wheelchairs we marked will make its way to the Bethel Ministries workshop. There, Marcos, Chico, Carlos, and Cheni – all of whom are in wheelchairs themselves – will repair and refurbish the donated wheelchairs, so that someone else can receive the same help that they did. The Lord uses these wheelchairs for so much more than meets the eye! They provide independence, yes, but they also provide jobs for native Guatemalans, and give Bethel the opportunity to share the Gospel with recipients and their families.


At the end of our evening of inventory, we gathered around the wheelchairs and laid hands on them. Bowing our heads, we prayed over the chairs, asking the Lord to work in the life of each wheelchair recipient. Jehovah Jireh

This summer, my family will again travel to Guatemala with Bethel Ministries International. Helping with this inventory made our upcoming trip feel so much more real. Although we will arrive in Guatemala long before the container, seeing the wheelchairs and serving with friends helped me picture what some of our trip will be like. Similar to our trip in July 2011, we will spend one day in Guatemala distributing wheelchairs, and helping fit the recipients to their new possession.

Just as each person is unique, each chair is uniquely fitted to each person – the perfect combination of head rests, foot rests, support pillows, and type of wheelchair are found and secured before the person takes their chair home. It is sometimes a long process, but overall, when you see the look on the recipient’s face, and recognize the change that the Lord has allowed to happen, you realize that every effort was completely worth it. It is not we who should receive glory, but the Lord. He is the one who brought the different parts of that wheelchair together. He knew that the wheels would come from Omaha, and that they would fit perfectly with the chair from Montana. He knew that, though the cushions from Wisconsin were old, Chani in the Bethel workshop could sew them so they looked good as new. He knew that the footrests from Pennsylvania and the headrest from Kentucky would fit in with this great amalgam, so that one little girl could have a chair that fit perfectly. More than anything, the Lord knew and loved that little girl, and provided her with the opportunity to both receive a wheelchair and hear the Gospel through a Bethel Ministries event. Our God is great! It is a wonderful blessing, to be able to serve him through Mission: Mobility.



PS – Shameless plug here. If you’re not busy on Tuesday, come down to the Walker Seed Warehouse in Washington, to help us load the container! We would love to have you!


Inventory Day

Inventory Day

On His Path was originally planning to ship a 20 ft container with Kids Against Hunger food packets to Bethel.  They had sponsored a big packaging event at WACO High School in May.


The shipping costs for a 20 ft container are close to the cost of a 40 ft container, so it was decided to ship what wheelchair inventory we had.


Last Saturday we moved it all to the Walker Seed warehouse for eventual loading.

Last evening we had an inventory event.  It was great!  We really had no idea how many we would have help. I knew of 4 who said they would be there.  This was July 3 and there were some fireworks events that could have conflicted.

The cars started rolling in.  It was very humbling… the end, we had 18 willing volunteers to help catalog the inventory!  Wow!   Some were veterans of past inventory events.  Others were first time Mission: Mobility volunteers.   These volunteers came from 9 different churches.  Truly all working together as the Church (capital C) operates.  It was awesome.




Donated clothes were cataloged.


Walkers were sorted and cataloged.


Shoes sorted.


Wheelchairs cataloged.




We we all came together and prepared this load of BLESSINGS for the people in Guatemala that Bethel Ministries International  SERVES.  Wrapping up the evening, we prayed over the wheelchairs that they will be blessing that will truly TRANSFORM the lives of those who receive them!


Next Tuesday, July 8, we will load the container and send it on its way.

Thank you all for serving!