March/April | Zacapa, Guatemala

Progress in Two Ministry Efforts

Our efforts with both the camp transition in Rio Dulce and our values outreach in Pueblo Modelo are likely to be taking huge steps forward after two

meetings in early April. The first dealt with the camp. We need someone who can communicate and motivate the pastors in the Rio Dulce association with a camp ministry vision that will strengthen their commitment to this project. Debbie thought Ruben, a longtime ministry partner of ours, might be an option. He’s run the national AWANA ministry for various years. We met with him for lunch, explained our involvement with the camp and proposed that he might come help us. We got more than a “yes”.  We learned that before AWANA, Ruben worked for a few years in camp ministry. He’s had extensive camp training and is sold on the value of that ministry.

The next day, we met with Jason, the ministry leader from Oklahoma with whom we partner in our values outreach. We shared with him how the student population at the school is growing annually and how we’d like to use the values materials with all of preschool (160 kids) and with the children at the government nursery (70), but that the cost is prohibitive. I spoke specifically of a volume discount or a steep discount after reaching whatever they deemed their break-even mark to be. Good news! They are running the numbers to see if they could sell us the materials at two for one if we maintain our purchase level at a minimum of 300 units paid in full. That would mean 300 paid in full, 300 free! This has not been confirmed, but we’re confident we will get a more favorable price that will allow us to expand the ministry.

Holy Week

Easter week is a major holiday in Latin America.

This year my family headed to Coban, a town located in the mountains of eastern Guatemala. I did some pre-trip planning and found two popular tourist attractions which I had never considered – an orchid reserve and a coffee farm. First, we visited the orchid reserve where we took a guided tour and looked at many different species of orchids – many of which you can only see with a magnifying glass. We learned that many orchids are endangered of becoming extinct and that the mission of this reserve is their rescue and conservation. The rescue part left me a little confused. A rescue involves going to areas of the forest where the timber has been recently cut and carefully removing the orchids from the trees before the trees are transported away. Incredible dedication!

Where’s Danny? Looking at the orchids.

 

The next day we headed to a coffee farm. There we learned the history of the coffee industry in Guatemala and the cultivation process. A great tour in a lovely area of Guatemala. The tall pine trees reminded me a lot of Pisgah National Forest in North Carolina. At the end of the tour we visited the area where the coffee beans are received and initially processed. The good beans sink in water, while the bad beans float. A bad bean doesn’t mean, however, that it has no value. These are the beans used to make instant coffee according to our guide.

Coffee wasn’t the only focus of the visit, however. There was also a six-stage zip-line course that we all took turns doing. We enjoyed every minute.

I feel like a team of coffee commandos!

When Your House Burns Down

We have an acquaintance named Mateo who has done some carpentry work at our house. Over the past decade he has studied to earn his nursing degree. He is married and has a small child. While he was away for a couple days, his house in Pueblo Modelo burned down. All the folks in our neighborhood spoke of the tragedy. My wife heard about it each time she went to market for tortillas. To our surprise, one night Mateo came to our house to ask for help because he heard we had built several simple houses in Pueblo Modelo. Well, Mateo has never asked me for anything. He’s known as a hard worker, so we agreed to build the house as part of the construction agenda of a group that comes in July from Texas. They already told us to go ahead and get it built, if possible, well before July so Mateo has somewhere to shelter his family.

Another Science Project

Well we’re finally at that point in the school year when I help Danny with – yes – another science project. Over the years you may remember that we’ve killed earth worms in one project, grown one small, sad tomato in another and barely gotten a simple electric motor to spin for another.  Danny, who has an interest in physics, asked if I might help him do a project involving electrolysis. The first thing I’m thinking is why do millennial males all want smooth bodies only to find out that he’s talking about the separation of water into hydrogen and oxygen. He then shows me a Youtube video explaining the whole process including using caustic soda as the electrolyte. I thought, “Caustic soda – won’t that burn holes in stuff like my skin?” We then consulted a physics teacher in Minnesota (thanks Paul) who said the experiment looked “good to go” but he advised we use baking soda instead. So hopefully by week’s end we can make a balloon blowup with hydrogen removed from water. That makes me think of the Hindenburg. Pray for our safety!

NCAA Champs

The power went out on the night of the big basketball game, but a friend of mine from Texas was in town with a great service package from his local cell provider. We live- streamed the first half and watched the last ten minutes on TV when the power came back. Super game! Congrats Tarheels!

Prayer Requests

  • That our next meeting regarding the camp transition on June 9 moves us forward
  • That we can successfully coordinate the heavy construction agenda in Pueblo Modelo for the group in July
  • That our team of volunteer teachers continue to be motivated and blessed as they teach much needed life skills and values to kids
  • That I have a great time in May participating in a short-term outreach with a group of guys from my home church in NC

 

In Him,

The Stone Family

ericstonejr@outlook.com

deboradestone@hotmail.com

 

Financial support address:
7132 Portland Ave., Suite 136
Richfield, MN 55423D

Please make checks payable to The Antioch Partners and note it is for the Stone’s support. Donations are taxdeductible.