New Mission Update- MARCH 2012!!!!

Well it’s been roughly three months since we have returned from the epic and lifechanging mission trip that we were last on, and already the Lord is opening doors for us to go to Cuba again. Coming home hasn’t been easy, the transition from full time missions to full time work, friends, family and church has been a challenge. Joanna’s stress level has gone from 2 to 9 (from 1-10), and both of us have been running on fumes.

Going to Cuba in March was out of the question this time because of financial responsibilities and the factthat we are both so busy and stressed; but I really felt like Joanna was supposed to go, and I really wanted to go. The church needed translators, but were unable to “help” financially, and we are strapped. Just this last week, we found out that the church would help her out a little, and that was all we needed! After a good tax appointment, and the small discount the church would give, we decided to cough up the money to send her.

On top of that, one of the members of the team heading down there the second week got sick! He has been planning to go for months, and it is (to me) a very sad situation. But to him, he feels that he is in the Lord’s will and that God is doing something with this. So he will be paying for me to go as well!!!

Can you believe that?! We are both returning to the Island that we love to serve a people we love, and God is opening the doors to do that! If anyone is reading this, please pray for us! You can pray in the following ways:

  • Fruit in the ministry
  • God will raise up more translators
  • Financial peace and blessing
  • Saftey as we travel
  • Both of our jobs would be protected and favored
  • Increase of vision in our lives
  • Power to do the work of the gospel
  • Manifestations of the Spirit of God
  • Smooth translation for our translators
  • Grace and favor in our travel

We are so excited, and we both believe that living a life of ‘mission’ is simply part of who Christians ought to be. Going to Cuba is only one side of the exciting story! We are also going deeper in ministry here in San Diego, and look forward to starting a bible club at one of the schools near our church in Mission Valley, as well as planning outreaches in the next year that will center int he allied gardens and city heights areas.

We have plans to return once again to this beautiful Island in August to participate in their annual youth camps (hopefully with John Hoffman and a small team from the Grove), Joanna was invited to go back to preach at their women’s camps in September, and I was invited to go to Kenya to help lead and serve in a huge outreach to the Youth with Foothills Church. This is an exciting year of missions, serving the Lord, and partnering with Jesus to build his church!

This is an exciting season of our lives and I would ask that you would pray for us as we move into it!

Nate

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Well… It’s over

Not really. The truth is, it is only just starting. But as you may have guessed, we are back in San Diego and the past 6 months must now be reduced to only one word. What word could possibly sum up 6 months of experience and service?

Phenomenal:

  • Very remarkable; extraordinary.
  • Perceptible by the senses or through immediate experience.

Often we find that people don’t want much more than a one or two-word answer when they ask how our trip was, but in truth, and all summed up, it was “very remarkable” in our lives. We learned so much about our relationship with the Lord and with each other in our marriage. We learned more about the call that God has placed on our lives. We learned more about the compassion and great grace of our God. We have been humbled and brought low, we have been reminded of the great blessings we enjoy (and often abuse) in this nation. We have experienced living in Cuba, how Christians live their lives daily there. We have learned about how the disabled are treated and ignored in Guatemala, and about a small band of volunteers who are rising up to meet the needs that surround them. We have learned how, through love and sacrifice, even a very small amount of money and time can accomplish incredible results.

We have learned more than this blog entry can possibly contain, but it was an extraordinary trip, one that I will never forget. We look forward to returning to Cuba and Guatemala in 2012, and Lord willing, some of you might join us on one of those short-term mission trips we are planning. Thank you for all your love and support. Thank you for your prayers and encouragements, thank you for joining us. MOST of all we are grateful to God who gave us such a wonderful gift by allowing us to take that journey into Central America. As we start phase two of our trip, we will begin asking the Lord to reveal his plans, would you join us in asking God how you might be a part of it? Maybe you have a church that is looking for a mission to get involved in, but you’re not sure where to start… Maybe you are a part of a Rotary club and it’s your job to find projects to invest in? Maybe you just need something to pray for, and God has brought you here… Well here we meet.

Categories: Joanna Cornett, Nathan Cornett | 1 Comment

Coming Home

Coming home from a long “short-term” mission trip has many ups and downs, emotionally speaking. I mean on one hand we are very sad about leaving the friends we met, and the ministry that was started. On the other hand we are excited about the new chapter God is opening, and of course to see our friends and family that we left just 6 months before. There are a list of things that we take for granted in this abundant country of ours, things that we had grown accustomed to doing without in Guatemala. This is a list of the things we will NOT miss about our time abroad:

  • Toilet seats (or lack thereof)
  • Outdoor bathrooms
  • Outdoor bathrooms full of flies, without proper covering, and holes in the ground
  • Putting my USED toilet paper in the can beside me that is always overflowing with USED paper (and flies)
  • Crowded bus rides and CRAZY bus drivers
  • Errands taking three times as long because of enexplicable changes in schedule, lack of products, or other unavoidable and unplannable delays
  • Buying my water in 5 gallon jugs, or NOT buying my water and coming close to dehydration due to unconsistant hours of the water purification place
  • Running out of minutes on my phone, mid-conversation, because we have to buy time by the minute
  • SPEED BUMPS!!!!!

The list could go on, and I am sure that as we talk with anyone who will listen, we (probably more Nathan) will share them with you. There are things we will miss however, that list goes as follows:

  • The evergenerous hospitality of people who have very little
  • The friends who have become family in just 4 months (in Guatemala) and 1 month (in Cuba)
  • The beautiful mountains above Antigua
  • Visiting “our kids” in their homes
  • Fresh tortillas on demand at any hours
  • Buying fresh fruits and veggies from our local vendors
  • All the time we invested in our relationship
  • Working together for the glory of God in this project

Again, this list could go on. There were many amazing things about this trip, and we just recognize that it is because of God’s grace, for his glory, and for his purposes that we were allowed to go. We made some plans, and the Lord determined our steps.

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Such a time as this:

I have always wanted to come to Guatemala. I never knew why, I just knew I wanted to. And today as I listened to our friends speak, I realized why. God birthed in me the desire to come here for such a time as this. Our friends here Elsa, Victor and Brenda have come to really enjoy and rely on us for encouragement, support and love. We meet with them every Friday to plan and prepare for the items necessary for the Merlo Foundation. They arrive at our house every week a little sad and discouraged and they leave every week excited and ready for another work week. Nathan and I had no idea why we came to Guatemala when we first arrive; but God did. We came just a week before our friends here found out they would be getting laid off from their jobs. When the political parties change here everyone loses their jobs. So we have had 4 months with our friends here to help prepare them for their change in employment. God’s timing of bringing us here could not have been better. Although we could not have planned it better, God knew and planned it perfectly. I remind them every week not to rely on us, for our job is to launch them at the end of our 4 months here. We are developing relationships with them that will last a lifetime.

Other examples that we have been able to witness and be a part of is walking along side of a young couple as they grow together in their faith, and as a couple headed toward marriage. We spent hours with them playing games, visiting houses, laughing, crying, and (all glory to God) at the end of the trip, we were able to encourage them in their faith and encourage them to be faithful in their church; we gained real friendship.

We spent many hours with a woman who has been dealing with alcohol addiction and on the verge of losing her kids to the Guatemala social services. After many hours, and as our trust with her was built, she opened up about her “problem” and we were able to pray with her, counsel her, and most important, get her connected with her pastor again. Now? She is going back to church, starting to get cleaned up and the threat of losing her kids is (while still present) passing. For such a time as this God sent us to be HIS agents, for HIS glory.

Many people in this ministry live in a constant state of fear and worry. Worry about their kids, where their next meal will come from, sickness, the weather, and God sent us here for such a time as this- to encourage, support, exhort, build, strengthen and send. Who would have thought that God would have put the desire in our heart so many years ago to just go, somewhere, anywhere… For such a time as this.

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PICTURES!

Here is a gallery of pictures taken by Taylor Abeel (www.TaylorAbeel.com), you can see some of the life here in Guatemala, as well as some amazing portraits of our new family here!

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Getting Ready

2 Thessalonians 1:11-12, “To this end also we pray for you always, that our God will count you worthy of your calling, and fulfill every desire for goodness and the work of faith with power, so that the name of our Lord Jesus will be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.”

My God, 6 months flies by when you’re not thinking about the clock. We started this trip 6 months ago in Costa Rica, and I couldn’t have told you then what I know now. I couldn’t have planned these past 6 months to come out like this, nor could I have known what we would encounter along the way. For many, that would be the end of the plans, the fear of the unknown has crippled us as a culture. Fear in general has stopped the church from living in her purpose. Security has become god for so many people, and yet Jesus has not called us to a “secure” life.

And here we are, packing up our house to move our lives back to the West Coast of California, but with new vision, purpose and goals. The verse above speaks to my heart this morning, I pray that he does fulfill our EVERY desire for goodness, and that Jesus Christ would be glorified in us. Can you imagine Christians that God would fulfill every single desire for good? What would our city look like? What would your family look like? What would our nation look like? What would the world look like? It is revolutionary, and it has become my prayer.

Leaving this ministry here in Guatemala (and in Cuba) is like ending phase 1 of a multi-phased project. It is the launching point. To what I can’t say. But going home is like starting phase two in this adventure in which security and safety is not promised. I am asking the Lord to fulfill my every desire for goodness, and that he would bring others to stand along side of us too… those people who he is ALSO fulfilling every desire for goodness.

We come home in about a week; and we are ready to be there. I pray that we will continue to live revolutionary lives for Jesus, and I hope to find a few hundred more people who will live revolutionary lives for Jesus too.

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A Guatemalan deaf camp gives new perspective

This weekend we packed up our car with our visiting friends, Taylor and stefanie and off we went to a Christian retreat for deaf young people. We had no idea what to expect or what it would be like. After a 5 hour drive we unloaded our cars and tried to figure out where we were to be and what was going on. This was the first time in a long time where I felt out of my comfort zone and where I was in a culture (the deaf culture) where I didn’t understand or know how to ask how to get around in. We would constantly be in a room with lots of people and everyone would be speaking sign language, however it would be almost silent in the room we’d feel like we would have to wisper. However we quickly got over the akwardness and started to mingle and attempt to learn sign language. After the first night I realized it is with people like this that I want to spend my life with. Nathan has said he feels that God has called us to be a voice for the voiceless. I ask myself, could this be a form of being a voice for the voiceless? What nations don’t have programs for the deaf? what deaf in this world need to hear about Jesus? Prepare me Lord.

We got the privelage of worshiping with the deaf and I encountered the holy spirit in a way that was real and precious. The deaf don’t hear the words, the language is signing and how beautiful it was to worship the lord in sign language a long with them.

We got the privelage of hanging out with Luke Everett with Rancho Sordo Mudo. http://www.ranchosordomudo.org/ We watched a video that has inspired us to pursue the Lord deeper and to be available to be used by him despite what obstacles we encounter. GOD USE US is our prayer. I want to get prepared to be wrecked by God.

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Press Ahead

“Bretheren, I do not regard myself as laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:13-14)

Our time here in Guatemala is coming to an end, in fact, this entire 6-month trip is coming to an end. Yet our work has only just begun, or hope for the future is only just beggening to blosom. This trip has opened doors (and our eyes) to see the needs, to see our friends, and to see the Kingdom of God at work in the nations. We have begun to see how the local church can affect the entire world as our church The Grove has been our most faithful and greatest support in this time. We have learned how individuals can affect the entire world as they follow God and obey his calling. We have been encouraged at critical times because of a simple email someone sent at just the right moment.

The time we have spent here, in Cuba, and in Costa Rica has inspired us, lifted us, and compelled us to be bondservants of Christ in every aspect of our lives. We have a greater appreciation for the amazing wealth we experience everyday in our country, and a healthy respect for what we COULD do with it. $150 per month buys 25 people food. $300 per month will get 72 cases per week therapy from a trained therapist. $800 will build an entire summer camp facility in Cuban youth ministry. These are simple and small investments that go a LONG way on countries of such great need.

We are learning that two people, obedient to God, CAN and do bring the love of God, and he changes hearts and minds; where the kingdom of God goes, so goes his power, transformation, and salvation; and he uses people to accomplish this! He used us, and he will use you. But as that verse states, we haven’t laid hold of it yet, we press on for what lies ahead! We press forward forgetting about the successes and failures of our past to the upward call of Jesus Christ. If there is ONE thing I want you to know, PRESS FORWARD toward the upward call of Jesus in your life, and I believe that he will change the world through you.

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Rio Dulce

“Sweet River” is a place on the Eastern side of Guatemala that Joanna and I had the privledge of visiting. Normally I wouldn’t blog about something like this, but it was a unique place for us because we stayed at a hostal that supporting Casa Guatemala, an orphanage that is raising about 300 kids in Guatemala! We were only there for a few days and the river itself isn’t really that special (except that it is HUGE!), but the hostal is a way that the orphanage is self financed (partly) by this hostal and restraunt AND the kids from the orphanage can work there too! I liked that idea a lot! I think we ought to see more “self financed” organizations. I think this for a number of reasons, first because I like the idea of people in need working for their support rather that just recieveing a “handout”. I also like the idea of using innovation, trade, and technology in the non-profit sector; the old saying, “Nessecity is the mother of all invention” would be put to the test in a place where people earn an average of $3-4 per DAY!

Anyway, enough of my soap-box… We got to see some cool things while we were there, one was a waterfall. The waterfall itself wasn’t spectacular, what was neat was that the water coming from above was about 120 degrees! They were thermal waters coming from a natural spring above and flowing into a cool river below! So we swam int he river and then sat under the hot water flowing down. There was a little spot UNDER the rocks that you could swim to that was a natural sauna, and if you climbed to the top the hot springs were REALLY hot and you could rub the dirt on your skin for a kind of natural SPA experience. It was really neat.

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Amistad

Friendship is a rare thing in this world. Don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of people we are friendly with, but to have a friendship with someone who is genuine and real; this is a rare thing. I feel that I have genuine friends, but last night I got a gift from one of my friends here that I have not felt in a long time.

We hosted a dinner for a young couple here, Melvin and Cynthia. They are celebrating their first year of dating and Melvin approached us about helping him. We suggested dinner and loved it! We provided the place to have the dinner and her favorite food, hamburgers and french fries! Melvin came over early yesterday to hang up decorations, he made little red hearts and these little hanging ornaments (out of paper), and we hung them up in the living room. We used a little table and placed it by the fireplace. He borrowed our car (scary for me) to go pick her up. When evening arrived I started a fire, dimmed the lights and we started cooking.

He arrived at about 7:30, they were all dressed up, he wore a suit, she wore a nice dress. I am sure it was the nicest clothes they owned. The lights were dimmed, the food was simmering. We wore black and white and treated the evening with much respect and formality. We welcomed them with hugs and kisses, “Bienvenidos, senorita, caballero…” Joanna sat them at their table, introduced the evening and explained what was on the menu. She then poured their drinks and we finished preparing dinner; it was like they were at their own little restaurant. By the time they had their food she was crying in delight and joy. They laughed and talked; it was very romantic. I told Joanna, “I think this is the nicest dinner they have ever had!” The other night we asked Cynthia what her mom made her for dinner… eggs. Two eggs were what she had for her dinner. I had no idea how meaningful this night would be.

While they ate we prepared dessert, brownies, Ice Cream, and strawberries. After dinner we brought them coffee (Melvin’s favorite), Mint tea (Cynthia’s favorite) and their brownie with vanilla ice cream for Cynthia and strawberry ice cream for Melvin. Then we went upstairs to disappear for a while. Melvin had prepared a ‘craft activity’ for them to do, they were making cards for each other!

After dinner Melvin called for me, I came downstairs (right in the middle of X-Factor mind you!) and Joanna said goodbye, more hugs… Then I took them home. When we arrived at Cynthia’s house (Melvin lives within walking distance so I drop him off there) Melvin asked me to wait for him. So I did. He bought Cynthia inside and then returned 3 minutes later. I was sitting in my car with my window rolled down and he asked me to step out of the car… I was confused. I thought he was going to try to give me money or something (which I was going to refuse and drive away as quickly as possible). As I got out of the car, he shut my car door, looked me in the eye and then THREW his arms around me and just said, “thank you” over and over again, 4-5 times. He was crying. Not just crying, but large streaming tears covered his face.

I didn’t cry, in fact it was a little weird for me in that moment. I reminded him that this is what brothers are for. This is what friends are for. He just shook his head, with a smile and said good night.

It wasn’t until I was leaving that I realized what a blessing he had given me. A real, genuine, heart-felt hug is something I haven’t received by a friend in a long time. I thanked God for the opportunity to bless them. I prayed that God would protect their young relationship and would provide for them as they start life together. It was then, on the drive home that I started to cry. I was touched by this experience more than these words can express. All that I ask from anyone reading this is, go hug someone and MEAN IT! When you say you love someone, MEAN IT.

Categories: Guatemala, Joanna Cornett, Nathan Cornett | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

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