Wonderfully made

The markets in Antigua are a brilliant jumble of vibrant color and incredible creativity.

I stopped to talk with 78 year old, abuela (grandmother) and watched her work. She has been weaving tapestries for 8 years now. It takes her about 6 days of working 7-8 hours per day to produce what we we call a table runner 18 inches wide and maybe 8 feet long. And then she asks 350Q. That’s $45.32 in US dollars. I hesitated for a moment admiring the work of the fabric in my hand and she quickly dropped her price to 300q, which is less than the dollar per hour she originally asked.

Her grandson stood nearby in the booth the family leases.

Less than a dollar an hour for her creativity and her labor…

I thanked her and gave her the 350Q she asked for originally plus another 5Q for welcoming me to photograph her.

I stayed for a few more minutes to watch her weathered hands move quickly and skillfully; creative hands made in the image of our Creator.

I thought of one of my favorite verses in the old manuscripts I read to shape my life and focus my thoughts.

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. Psalm 139:14

Abuela is wonderfully made in the image of God. I am too and so are you.

Wealth, position and status have absolutely no impact on our worth in the eyes of our Creator.

My sister weaving in the market is dearly loved by my God. My shoeless, 9 year old friend, Johan, in Yalu is dearly loved by God. My sweet girls in Oratorio are valuable to God.

How I wish more of us could see each other through the eyes of Jesus and understand that our worth is not tied to our wealth. In fact, once again, I’m leaving convinced that my wealth is often a barrier to my understanding of true worth.

Today I will return to our friends in Oratorio at the school our church family supports to celebrate the teachers and staff, have a pool party at a nearby hotel and have a banquet if thanksgiving. It will feel like a little piece of heaven for me.

Wealth has nothing to do with worth.

~Scott

Access to Resources

This sweet, little girl now has a leg up, as do all of the children at the AMG Florida School in Guatemala City. Claro, the largest cell service and internet service provider in Central and South America, recently partnered with AMG to make this center the first state-of-the-art education center in terms of computer education and access to online learning.

They donated and installed this computer lab, upgraded all electrical systems and even repainted the building.

I simply was overwhelmed seeing it all. I’m sure those of you who have traveled with me are amazed as well!

These children have a brighter and clearer (“claro” in Spanish) future because of access to resources. Even the teachers now have access to further education because Claro also is providing free internet service. Dios es bueno!

Thank you, Claro, for partnering with AMG Guatemala. If you were in Maine, you would be my cell and internet provider!

My prayer is that this is the beginning and that one day all of the children in the 33 AMG schools will have the same access to resources.

Joy!

Joy. The teachers at each of the AMG schools impress me so very much. Their love for the children radiates.

Picture trying to organize 200 children, excited by the thought of receiving their only gift for Christmas. These teachers do it with smiles and amazing energy.

American Santa is not a big deal here. Why not? Think about it for a minute. The excitement of Christmas here is about being with family to celebrate the birth of Jesus with tamales and fireworks on Christmas Eve.

I am having little success uploading pictures to my blog. Check my Facebook page and www.Facebook.com/firstbaptist.westbrook for more.

Today we will head to two more schools.

Blessings,

Scott

Hugs and smiles in Oratorio – some pics

Day one of distributing bundles of love was all that I expected it would be with hugs, smiles and some tears.

In Oratorio, the children received uniform shoes for public school. They cannot attend school without the proper uniform that they must provide for themselves. Of course, after uniforms are purchased, they get passed on to child after child but the uniform shoes must be replaced.

The children were thrilled!

At the end of the day we hiked up a very rocky path to visit Sandra and her 4 children in their home. They try to find work as day laborers and washes laundry for others. One of her children’s sponsors is stepping in to help Sandra in a major way. Their lives are about to improve.

The internet is not behaving but i will continue to try to update.


Meeting the team

Just jump

Juliana and Matthew are 9 year old twins here in Guatemala with their mom and dad to serve on our 2018 Bundles of Love team.

While we were here in the team house settling in, sorting, planning and waiting for all to arrive, a group of us went up onto the roof.

Adults chatted, teenagers laughed and Juliana and Matthew explored. They found another level of the roof and quickly figured out that they could run down a small slope and jump off a four-foot wall onto the lower roof.

So, they ran and jumped. Of course they did. That’s what children do. We adults walked past that same wall and none of us thought, “hey! Let’s jump!”

Even after seeing their smiling faces and hearing their laughs, we did not jump. If they had invited us we would have immediately started listing our limitations and why we shouldn’t jump.

The first time I jumped into foreign missions was in 1980. I was nervous. Since then I’ve jumped numerous times.

Now, like the twins with their jump, I get excited. I run toward the wall, kick my feet up, throw my hands up and jump.

It’s amazing what God does when I trust him enough to jump into his work. I love it.

Tomorrow the real work of the 2018 Bundles of Love team begins. Today we’ll worship together, get some cultural context, organize our stops and build our team.

I cannot wait…

-Scott Linscott

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.