Would it be better to send the money?

By Scott Linscott

Wouldn’t it be better to just send them the money?

Americans think that money is the answer to everything. Human touch and relationship has little value. We are totally out to lunch on that one.

“For God so loved the world he sent everybody a million dollars so they could buy whatever they wanted and needed.” At least, that’s how we Americans think the gospel should read.

But despite our desire to have no one ever infringe upon our three-foot-personal- space bubbles, the Bible is a book of relationships; relationship with God and relationship with each other.

But I do understand where the question comes from. Lots of American churches promote both mission and poverty tourism. I’m not interested in that at all. If there is no lasting partnership involved, I’ll pass.

But, still the question remains … wouldn’t it be better to send $30,000 rather than take a team of 18 people? Simply, no.

Why not? First, it’s never going to happen. If I asked you to send me money to forward to Nicaragua, how many of you would do it? Very few. I’ve tried it numerous times. I think my most successful fundraiser, without me going and serving directly, was around $1200.

Second, writing checks

meets immediate needs but does nothing to build lasting relationship. Relationship encourages, helps, prays for and carries each other’s burdens.

Third, partnerships are lasting. Thirty children in Oratorio, Guatemala now have relationships with monthly sponsors as a result of our April 2016 trip. That’s $11,520 per year in support of children, not including special gifts for birthdays and Christmas. It also does not include any of the extra that some sponsors send monthly or quarterly for family needs. But treasured most by the children is the letters they get from real people. None of that would be happening had we not travelled to Guatemala and formed partnerships.

So, no, it would not be better to “just send the money” even if it were feasible.

Lastly, let’s not forget what that $30,000 in support of developing lasting relationship also yields. A lodging house miles away from tourist destinations will have a week with up to 24 guests when we visit. That’s an influx of $15,000 or so that employs cleaning staff, guards, property maintenance, cooks, and serving staff. Local merchants see income from food purchases and work project supplies. Even the Latin American airline we are using benefits to the tune of almost $12,000 paying pilots, flight crews, mechanics, custodial, gate agents … Do we even need to talk about how important jobs are in depressed economies?

We are purchasing 130 two-year water filters, made there in Guatemala, by Guatemalan workers for another $4500, to deliver to families in third-world poverty. How important is clean drinking water?

Lasting relationships with these people we’ve come to love are the result of our trips. A real, lasting, partnership with a school of 300 children is now in place. Thirty children now have educational support, nutrition and healthcare support. Thirty families are now witnessing strange love and provision for their children and hearing it is all due to amazing love of God.

So, no, it would not be better to “just send the money” even if it were feasible.

Are we making a real and lasting difference or is it just another bunch of Americans engaging in hit-and-run missions/poverty tourism?

Missions tourism excitedly asks, “hey, where are we going next year?” True mission asks, “how can we serve and encourage our partners in the gospel next year?”

It’s not about a trip. It’s about a mission. By their fruit you will know.

#missiontrip #missions #povertytourism #missionstourism #adventure #church #travel @fbcwestbrook

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.
  • _LIN0806

    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!

guat-2018-logo-green.jpg

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.