We need old military duffel bags

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guatemala duffle bags

School supplies are like gold to many of the children of Guatemala. Public schools are

terribly underfunded and many poor children do not continue beyond 6th grade simply because they cannot afford to pay for supplies, school uniforms and textbooks.

Since we are not flying to Guatemala on a US carrier, each team member is allowed two bags of up to 50 pounds for no extra charge. That gave us an idea!

How cool would it be to stuff up to 18 bags with pencils, pens, glue sticks, scissors, notebooks, tape and construction paper and deliver them to our school in Oratorio? Or, we could fill some of the bags with other needs and supplies.
In fact, we’d love it if you joined us in stuffing a bag at your office, in your school classroom or civic club.

Why duffel bags? 

  1. They are lighter than suitcases so we can fit more inside
  2. They are easy to transport when empty so we can roll them up and bring them back to refill again for our next trip in a few years.
  3. Uniformity. They’ll go through customs more easily.

Do you have an old duffel bag we can have or borrow?

Yes, we can buy used duffel bags for around $20 each but we would much rather spend that money on supplies for the children.

If you have a bag we can have, please email scott@fbcwestbrook.com  or drop it by the church at 733 Main Street at the side door on the right by the insurance agency. If you would like it returned please mark it clearly.

Thanks so much!

Hey crafters & artists! December 9???

Calling All Crafters & Artists!

Registration is now open for our 2017 Holiday Craft Fair and Art Show.
We are on the hunt for the creative, the clever, and the crafty!

Table Fee: $30 for 10’ space with room to sit behind or $50 for a 10×10 spot
*take $10 off your fee with item (valued $10 or more) donated to our silent auction by 12/1

Date: Saturday, December 9th, 2017
Time: 10am-4pm
Location: FBC Westbrook, 733 Main Street, Westbrook

Registration: All registration fees, bake sale and silent auction proceeds go toward our Mission Team trip next April to serve a school we support in Oratorio, Guatemala. Vendors keep 100% of their sales.

Reservations will be first come, first serve.
We are not accepting applications from consultants of direct sales companies. If you aren’t sure if that means you, just ask!

If you are unable to mail your payment by check made payable to “FBC Westbrook,” you may pay cash at FBC Westbrook. Contact Afton Morton to arrange a time.

Click here to print out your registration packet.
Questions? Email craftfair@fbcwestbrook.com

FBC Westbrook-1528 1x1

20,000 drivers per day

How will we advertise? High visibility!

  1. On our full-color 4×8 digital sign during 3-6 pm drive time plus other non-peak times. Traffic is greater than 20,000 cars per day plus pedestrians.
  2. Social media, targeted, paid advertising
  3. Local free publications

 

  • If you are unable to mail your payment, you may pay cash at FBC Westbrook. Contact Afton Morton (craftfair@fbcwestbrook.com) to arrange a time.
  • Reservations are on a first come, first serve basis; there are a limited number of spaces and areas (34). If you send payment and we have reached capacity, we will inform you and return your payment.
  • If you agreed to donate an item to our silent auction for a reduced registration fee, the item is due by December 1st. Please make arrangements with Afton Morton to drop off your item.
  • The fair will take place in a church and the church representative(s) reserve the right to ask that any inappropriate or offensive product be removed.
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    Serving children trapped in poverty.

    It is expected that the vendors will be set up prior to 9:45am on Saturday and will stay until 4:00pm. The church will be open on Friday evening from 6pm8pm and Saturday morning at 7:00am for vendor set-up.

  • It is understood that: FBC Westbrook is not responsible for any loss or damage of personal property or for any problem that arises from the sale/purchase of any good/product.
  • By applying for this event I understand and agree to hold FBC Westbrook, its officers, agents and employees, harmless from any and all liability or claims, which may arise out of or in connection with said use of the church facilities.

Click here to print out your registration packet.

Email Afton Morton with questions craftfair@fbcwestbrook.com

 

Businesses making a difference

How your business can help

Business sponsors?

Business and corporate sponsors make a large difference

We know businesses are approached time after time to sponsor everything from dance teams to travelling basketball squads. All are worthy causes in need of funding so that parents don’t have to bear the full weight of all the expenses.

So why sponsor our Guatemala team? Where does the money go?
We’re glad you asked! By sponsoring our team trip to Guatemala in April of 2018, you are making an investment in changing the lives of children trapped in poverty.

How can we make that claim? In 2016, eighteen of us took our first trip to Oratorio to help paint a school where children received a daily meal, vitamins, educational support and even access to medical care.

Our group grew more and more connected to the center and the children. We saw the impact of child sponsorship firsthand. We saw the joy on the children’s faces as they ran to their classrooms to eat a healthy lunch. It changed us and we came away sponsoring 9 children we met while there.

When we got back to Westbrook, we told others of the needs and how sponsoring a child can literally be a “bridge to life” and change his future. Others sponsored too. In fact, since we took that first trip 25-30 children now now have sponsors. That is more than 10% of that school.

What else? Because we took that first trip, the school no longer has a dusty cement floor kitchen where meals were prepared over wood fires. Now they have a beautiful tiled floor, full walls and new cooking surfaces. The director says it is so much easier to clean and much more hygienic.

What else? The large-group meeting area now has metal shutters to keep out the rain during the rainy season, the dust during the heat and the noise from the town’s dirt soccer field right on the outside of the school wall.

In April we are heading back to what is now our sister school in Oratorio, Guatemala. Our plan is to help them move forward with more improvements, spend time with all the children supported by our Southern Maine families, help in the classrooms and kitchen feeding the children.

We are again bringing a doctor to provide a clinic. On our last trip, upon examining a little boy, he discovered a need for surgery that would be simple here in the United States. We came home and raised the funds for him to get his surgery and today he is a healthy 9 year old running and playing like there was never an issue.

Your sponsorship helps our work in Guatemala continue. Your support is an investment in changing lives rather than buying new uniforms or sending us to march in a Thanksgiving parade.

Two levels of sponsorship:

Major Sponsor – $300
Major sponsors will be publicly thanked on the FBC church full-color, digital sign at 733 Main Street where approximately 20,000 cars pass each day during the entire month of April during the peak drive time of 3-6 PM, Monday through Friday. Also, your business will be listed in a larger font size on the backs of our team t-shirts on 40-50 shirts worn locally. Major business sponsors will also be thanked on our social media outlets and publications within the church.

Team Sponsor – $100
As our thanks, your business will be listed on the backs of our team t-shirts on 40-50 shirts worn locally. Team sponsors will also be thanked on our social media outlets and publications within the church.

If you would like to help as a corporate or business sponsor, you can either give your tax-deductible gift online at this secure online site or by mailing your gift made out to “FBC Westbrook” to:

FBC Westbrook – Guatemala 2018
733 Main St.
Westbrook, ME 04092

You can also give your gift to a team member. Thank you so much for partnering with us and making a difference in the lives of children trapped in poverty.

GUAT 2018 shirt example

Guatemala 2018 Team Shirts

What a success!

So much stuff was donated for our Guatemala 2018 yard sale! We were originally going to move it all down to the parking lot but the weather forecast convinced us that would have been a bad idea so we organized it all inside. Yowza, what a task!

It accomplished three things:

  1. Our Guatemala mission team worked well together to pull it off. It was good team training.
  2. It raised $1200.00 toward the almost $30,000 the team is raising for the 2018 trip and work project.
  3. It met needs in our community and gave us a chance to love our neighbors.

Why Guatemala?

One man at the yard sale asked me why we we go to Guatemala when there are needs right here. I explained that we are AND people who believe in showing the love of Jesus by serving in Westbrook AND regionally AND nationally AND internationally. (Acts 1:8) We had a great talk about our monthly free community meals, our support of the community food pantry, our support of Maine’s Good Shepherd Food bank, our Westbrook Together day free food and fair and a bunch of the other stuff going on. It was awesome. I think he might join us at the Open Door Kitchen.

At 11 AM we made everything free and announced it on the sign. That was so cool!

We met a man who had no furniture. We delivered a couch, a chair and a table. We met an elderly woman with bald tires and just happened (providence) to have 4 very nice tires that fit her car. She insisted on donating a handful of quarters.

We delivered furniture to a woman whose apartment had a bed bug infestation forcing her to get rid of everything.

It was so cool to meet so many needs, make deliveries and see God provide for people.

About $300 in donations came in after everything was free as people insisted on giving $3 here and $5 there.

Sunday morning six of our new connections joined us for worship.

Guatemala Bound

There is still much to be done. Each team member is raising or paying $1200 for the trip directly and then the team is working to raise the remainder together through events like the yard sale.

We are off to a great start thanks to all who donated items and came to shop.

Meet some of the children we sponsor. Their lives are now on a different path.

Let’s go to Guatemala and hug those kids!

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By Scott Linscott

Plane tickets are reserved and plans are being made to return to Oratorio, Guatemala in April of 2018. We’re heading back to see our kids!

Today more than 30 children at the Noah’s Ark Center have sponsors because we went in 2016. That is a significant impact in that community because a little church in Westbrook, Maine decided to step outside the comfort zone and get involved.

In 2016 we found the school in serious need of attention. The kitchen was dusty and dingy and difficult to clean with cement walls and floor, the play area was dreary and rain and dust blew through shutterless windows into the large group meeting area. Peeling paint was everywhere we looked.

Today there is a renovated, tiled kitchen with new cooking surfaces, fresh paint throughout the entire school and steel shutters that are easily closed in the large meeting space.

The changes begun in April 2016 and continuing are bringing a new feeling of life and energy the school.

 

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The hot foods kitchen in 2016.

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The kitchen after a remodel with $2000 we sent.

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Black, steel shutters now keep the wind, rain and dust out of windows that were entirely open.

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Ceilings were also painted and the entire school given a face-lift that we began in 2016

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The play area in 2016 where the children played soccer and other games.

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That same space now! Another team came in to continue the work begun in 2016.

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The entire facility now has a different, more energetic feel.

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The dedicated staff is now painting a new mural to welcome the children.

Wow! It is so amazing to see all that is happening but, even more important than an upgraded facility is the lives that are now being impacted by those who have stepped in to connect as monthly sponsors.

Buildings will need to be repainted eventually but the investment in children’s lives changes things forever. Sponsorship is literally a bridge to life for children trapped in poverty. Our partnership with the AMG staff and the teachers in Oratorio keeps us in contact and gives us confidence that our children and all the other kids at the school are getting love and care. Because we know them and call them friends, we know how much they truly love the children.

“Why go back to the same place?” a friend asked me, “Why not go somewhere you haven’t seen before?”

That’s called “tourism.” This is about serving people, loving them and building a lasting partnership in ministry. This is a partnership in the work of the gospel, not a chance to get a stamp on our passports.

If you sponsor a child in Oratorio we will gladly bring a gift for you. Keep it to no more than 3 pounds and be sure to include a framed photo. Sponsored children consider their sponsors their “godparents.” They treasure the letters they receive.

We need your help!

We will need your help getting our team back to Guatemala. We’ll need prayer and financial help. You can give a tax-deductible donation to support the entire team or an individual team member at www.easytithe.com/fbcwestbrook .

If you would like to sponsor a child at our sister school, click here to meet the children who are waiting. ($32 per month)

Of course, I’ve got some big dreams and continue asking God to provide in big ways. I have been praying for $10,000 for a roof over the play area since I first went to Oratorio in 2016. Let me know if you have any ideas of how God might be planning to provide the resources.

  • Scott

 

 

Well, here I go again!

I’m on a bus headed back to Guatemala. It’s the first leg of bus, plane, plane, car to get to were I’m going. In just 14 hours my friends Brian Dennett and Sam Avila will pick me up in Guatemala City.

I like to travel light. This time “light” does not describe me. I have two suitcases, gifts for 16 of the 19 children we sponsor as a church, my laptop editing setup and a packpack filled with camera gear. I’m hoping for curbside luggage drop for Delta in Boston to ditch these two giant, 48 pound bags as soon as possible.

My primary task this week will be to tell stories through photographs and video. I’m pumped about the photo part and somewhat anxious about video. I’m not a videographer but will give it a shot!

Tomorrow morning I will photograph a church that is part of AMG Guatemala’s Family Preservation program. AMG is developing relationships with local churches in support of local communities. The hope is to build strong connections between churches and their neighborhoods so that AMG can help meet needs through them. It will be dark but I brought my remote lights to place strategically.

I’ll try to keep updates coming throughout the week whenever I have WiFi. Each day will hold new experiences and new challenges.

Hugs to all! Thanks for all your help!

Scott

 

This is Mark. He’s a nice guy. He gave me water.14807693718071849920828

 

Is it over? No! It’s just begun!

Sometimes church mission trips are just quick experiences and then they are over. As the weeks go by, the experience can fade and the work is forgotten. That’s not the case with our trip to Guatemala. How so?

13244230_951932471589455_6307412616180097809_oWe have children who are now depending on us! Our team came home sponsoring 10 children. That means we are investing in their education, their nutrition and their health. We’re making it possible for them to continue to receive help from AMG. But, more important than the $32 a month we send per child, there are now connections with people we met and fell in love with. Sponsored children love getting letters from their sponsors and many have later said the letters were the key to encouraging them in their faith and education.

It get’s better! When we told our church family about the need, another 9 took information to pray about sponsoring additional kids. At least four of those have already followed through online to put their sponsorships in place. (Visit AMG online by clicking here to see the kids who are still waiting.)

Imagine the change if we, as a faith family at FBC Westbrook, could sponsor 20 children from Oratorio! We could have a real and substantial impact on that community and the future for so any people.

I’m excited to see so many people putting their faith into action. I’m excited about the connections we have with “our school” in Oratorio and the fantastic staff there. I’m excited about the prospect of returning in the future to reconnect with our kids and see how they have grown.

I have goals. I’m a goal kind of guy. My big goal is to return with bilingual children’s books that will help the teachers and students learn English so that they might find employment in a call center, airport or tourist center. Another goal is to write to both of my sponsored children each month (we have 8 year old Tanya in Oratorio and 17 year old Vincent in Ghana) to encourage them.

I’m also excited to see us be able to partner with my friends, Brian and Mary Dennett, who, 8 years ago, sold everything and took their family to Guatemala to live out their faith in a tangible way.

Our trip was just the beginning of relationships that will shape the future. That has me pretty pumped!

 

Thankful!

_LIN0993By Bill and Stacey Lamson

We’re so grateful for:

  • Having the privilege of serving God with a special group of people that worked well together and truly loved each other and the folks they were serving.
  • Having the privilege of taking part in a worship service and experiencing the Guatemalans’ overwhelming joy for the Lord.
  • Experiencing the love of the Guatemalan workers and children.
  • Having the privilege of seeing the child that God would lead us to sponsor.
  • Having the opportunity to encourage and spend time with our missionary friends Brian & Mary Dennett whom we haven’t been able to spend time with in years.
  • Feeling safe in God’s care knowing we were being lifted up in prayer by our family and friends back home.

The Providence of God

_LIN0961.jpgBy Jan Perry

We experienced God’s providential love through loving God and loving others…in Guatemala 2016

The mission trip that I thought “I” had decided to take proved to be something God had already orchestrated.  I was thrilled, at my age, to be able to do this, especially with Sara and Kim…three generations.

Shortly after the very first meeting in Scott’s office when 18 of us “signed up,”things began to make a downward spiral.  On three separate occasions from September to January, health issues arose in our family that seemed to be getting in the way of some of us making this trip.  Kim was waiting for a clear “go” from the doctors and we were waiting for Phil’s meds to begin their work.  Scott was dealing with stuff too.  Family members were concerned.  The advice was, “just keep coming to the meetings and work projects and see how it all plays out.”

On our third meeting, we discovered that a fellow (not from our church) was going to join us.   We discovered he was a doctor…relieved hearts all around…just in case we have health issues?  God’s Providence.

On April 16th, driving from the airport to our “hotel”, we saw sights that many of us have never seen before.  Devastating living conditions that we have only seen in pictures where we can turn the page or close the book, were in front of us every day.  We left the smell of clean air back in the States.

Without knowing that some in our group were experiencing culture shock, after breakfast on Sunday morning, Steve Wilson felt it in his heart to share his first mission trip experience and how frightened he had been.  And after a heart to heart with Sara, which led to her opening herself up to our group, she was comforted and encouraged by heartfelt prayers, was relieved and jumped in, ready to go on Monday morning.  God’s Providence.

We arrived at “Arca de Noe” (Noah’s Ark School) on Monday morning to begin our mission work.  Again, devastating conditions that most had never witnessed.  An old, cement school with a locked gate and bars on the open windows, definitely in need of severe repair that we certainly could not even begin to accomplish in our short time there.

Then, the children arrived.  Happy, joyful little faces with beautiful big brown eyes, hanging on the gate, waiting for it to be unlocked.  In they ran with open arms, giving hugs and kisses to complete strangers.  They ran off to their classes…dimly lit rooms with old, worn desks, one little lined notebook and one pencil per child…yet they were excited to be there.  We witnessed them praying before classes began and singing (loudly) about Jesus.

We cleaned classrooms, worked in the “cocina”, painted, helped prepare food for the children (and us) and played with the kids.  We witnessed people in their everyday lives that were the complete opposite of ours, serving with happy, joyful hearts.  People who “don’t have much” in comparison to what “we have,”loving what God has called them to do in circumstances so vastly different from ours.  We saw Jesus EVERYWHERE!

Most of us came home with a new family member (sponsor child) that we fell in love with.  The Wilson’s discovered a “twin” that needed sponsorship…God’s Providence.

We ALL came home with a heart full of love and joy…wanting our thankfulness for what “we have” to be even greater and our “wants” to be even less.  God’s Providence.

No serious illnesses…in Guatemala…or at home.  He knew that…that’s why He allowed us all to go.  God’s Providence.

We saw that even though we live totally different lives than our friends in Guatemala, we shared the love of Jesus.  THEY taught US about what the love of Christ can do…true happiness and joy in knowing Him…without a lot of stuff.
We experienced loving God, and loving others.  Every single day.  God is calling us to do this here in our own very needy community.  We need to reach out and demonstrate to those around us the love of God in the way we live, work, play and serve.  I am praying that we will find ways of seeking out the needy and those who don’t know Jesus and maybe feel hopeless, and bringing them some joy and happiness through knowing Christ.