Change: God is Real [Guatemala, Day 4] [photo sermon]


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For those new to  the blog: each week, I try and write a “photo sermon” based on the themes of WordPress’ Weekly Photo Challenge. This week’s theme is “Change“. I thought I’d take this chance to begin processing my time in Guatemala with Lemonade International.

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I don’t struggle with the plurality of beliefs about God. If there is a God, I am quite confident (as arrogant as it may sound) that Christianity is the proper understanding of Him.

Rather, my struggle is with the sense that God is there at all. Many of the posts on this blog have dealt with my open acknowledgment of my “inner atheist” (as I’ve called him several times), and how I’ve tried to deal with him.

I don’t know that I need to expound on this too much, as I’m confident many of the readers here get this already, but just in case: this doubt is not intellectual; it is existential. I often miss that abstract sense and “feeling” of God’s existence. Continue reading

“Strong like Lemonade….and sweet.” [Guatemala, Day 3]


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Tonight is my last night in Guatemala. By the time this is posted and most of you read this, I will be on a plane (or, more likely, waiting in an airport), on my way back home.

The past couple of posts this week have been a little intense. The way I received and processed those first few days was definitely through the filter of brokenness and pain. And this was definitely appropriate. There were so many stories of poverty, violence, abuse, economic exploitation, injustice, paedophilia, and rape that I simply could not tell.

We have to see the need for hope before we can feel its presence.
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As We Lay Dying [Guatemala, Day 2]


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Since God’s children share in flesh and blood, Jesus himself likewise partook of the same things

Today began with a meeting of the microenterprise crew–the staff and several of the women who have benefited from small loans to help start small businesses in the area.

Lemonade International is insistent that this is merely a solution to help some of those that are gifted in this way. Lemonade International partakes of the flesh and blood of these people, weak as they are, and sees how they can serve them as individuals with individuals needs.

I leave encouraged. Continue reading

Chasing Grace [Guatemala, Day 1]


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Last night. She sat in the corner of the bed-couch in the corner of the room. One leg tucked under the other, face still red from the laughter she has both given and received over dinner. In one turn, though, the tone becomes serious as a question rises above the crowd, asking for her story. The story that has brought us here.

A nurse to burn victims, Tita began making home visits to a severely injured gang member, not knowing that her feet were walking upon the holy ground of poverty, violence, and death.

She eventually realized that she was in the neighborhood of La Limonada, nestled in the valley of the shadow of Guatemala City, considered a trash heap by those outside; both the people and the items are considered its waste.

And yet she continued going. And serving. And loving. Continue reading

Why I’m in Guatemala: Meet Lemonade International


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Yesterday, I touched down to begin my week in Guatemala on a blogger’s trip with Lemonade International, a non-profit development organization doing work in a particular called La Limonada.

This community of La Limonada is the largest slum community in Central America. After the 36-year-long Guatemalan Civil War began (due to an American coup to overthrow their leader), many, many children and women lost their fathers and husbands to fighting, leaving this huge community of hurting people. Many, many of the refugees ended up in La Limonada.

This community is a 1-mile long stretch that is a half-mile wide and straddles a ravine. 60,000 to 100,000 people live there. It is considered a “red zone” by Guatemala, meaning that deliveries, police, and most outsiders in general don’t go in there. In the boundaries of the “zones” of Guatemala City, La Limonada is between two different zones–it doesn’t even have a place in the official boundaries of the city.

It’s literally been abandoned and marginalized by the very nation in which it resides.
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Guatemala Bloggers Trip: Meet Scott Bennett


scott-bennett-lemonade-internationalIn preparation for our Blogger’s Trip to Guatemala in April, Lemonade International is spending each week leading up to the trip profiling each of the bloggers that will be participating. Recently, they profiled our official trip photographer Scott Bennett.

Scott calls himself a “humanitarian photographer”. I know, I know. You’re probably thinking (accompanied by an eye-roll) “Everybody’s a photographer now”. And yes, some of us like to think we have an eye for this stuff (MySpace profile shots and Instagram pictures excluded), but Scott is different on many levels.

First, I can’t tell you how refreshing it was to open up his blog and his online portfolio page and not see any pictures with filters and major edits done to them. Like a true photo artist, he seems to consider the camera and the subject as his primary tools of his craft, not Photoshop. If he uses it, he uses it as any artist uses any aid: he doesn’t so you can’t tell.

Secondly, any real photographer can tell you that there is far more to truly beautiful and meaningful photo art than mere “composition” or simply “capturing an image.” There has to be movement, narrative, and/or dimensionality.
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Guatemala Bloggers Trip: Meet…Me.


paul-wine-flowersIn preparation for our Blogger’s Trip to Guatemala in April, Lemonade International is spending each week leading up to the trip profiling each of the bloggers that will be participating. This past week, they profiled me.

In it you can find out if Bring it On is my favorite movie, what my connection to Billy Ray Cyrus is, how I got connected to this trip, and how I would describe the content and audience of this blog.

Tell me if you think I’m  wrong.

All next week, I’ll begin blogging about my own preparations for the trip. I’ll be writing about readying myself spiritually, emotionally, and practically, as well as sharing with you all the Guatemalan history that sets the context for the work Lemonade International does.

Hopefully, by the time I leave next Sunday, we will all feel like we’ve prepared well for the trip ahead.

Thank you all again for reading this blog and giving me the chance to do a trip like this. Also be sure to bookmark this page on my blog to follow my blogger’s trip to Guatemala!

Click the banner below for more info in the trip. lemonade-guatemala-2 BloggersDate

Guatemala Bloggers Trip: Meet Dana Byers


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In preparation for our Blogger’s Trip to Guatemala in April, Lemonade International is spending each week leading up to the trip profiling each of the bloggers that will be participating. Recently, they profiled Dana Byers.

I don’t know Dana personally, but she’s got quite the resume. As the President of BlueDoor.tv, she helps train and support pastors all over the world begin online-based ministry and community (she even wrote a book about it!). She’s the Community Pastor for the online church branch of LifeChurch.tv. That means that she doesn’t simply theorize about this stuff all day, but she actually lives it out and puts into practice the new methods of ministry she helps others develop.
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Guatemala Bloggers Trip Profile: Tim & Katie Høiland


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In preparation for our Blogger’s Trip to Guatemala in April, Lemonade International is spending each week leading up to the trip profiling each of the bloggers that will be participating. This week, they profiled Tim and Katie Høiland.

I take personal responsibility for hooking Tim and Katie up over Twitter. They were married a couple of years ago in Phoenix in one of the best weddings I’ve ever been to, and it was here that I first heard of Lemonade International. In lieu of wedding gifts, they requested we give to LI.

And that is the heart they have. The Twitter hashtag they led them together was the #socialjustice tag. They have such a heart for all that’s represented by this Guatemala trip, I’m so glad to be spending this time with them. In fact, it was Tim’s recommendation that gave me the opportunity to do this.

And so, today, I offer you the chance to get to know this amazing couple. Check out their LI profile, Tim’s blog, and Katie’s blog. Click the banner below for more info in the trip.

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I’m going on a Bloggers Trip to Guatemala with Lemonade Int’l. (happy 8th blog-versary)


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Eight years ago, today, I began this blog as a cathartic response to my frustration at a girl in my dorm. It was a very strange post full of rambling, weird logic, bad grammar, and typos. Not much has changed since then in those respects, but I do want to let you all know about an amazing opportunity that this 8-year endeavor has offered me.

Recently, some old friends of mine (that I happen to have hooked up) got me connected to this amazing non-profit, Lemonade International. LI does great development work in the La Limonada neighborhood of Guatemala, the largest urban slum community in Central America.

LI shares my own convictions that international development work should utilize local resources (instead of bringing in outside talent for everything), empower communities (instead of simply giving them aid), and build long-term relationships (instead of “short-term” “missions” programs) in order to reverse injustice. Here’s a trailer for a documentary about their community and their work:
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