We want to open by thanking you our financial and prayer supporters for sacrificing your time and hard earned money to bless us and the people of Guatemala for the last almost two years. We will always remember the ways in which you sacrificed to send us to Guatemala and how you blessed us through your giving and through your prayers month after month.
You may have recently received an email from Students International stating that we will no longer be a part of the organization after the end of April. We wish that we would have been the ones to break the news to you, but an automated message went out before we had the chance to let you know that it’s true, we are transitioning back to life in the United States, and as such, April will be the last month for you to give one more time to sustain us as we make this transition.
So what happened?
One of the things we believe in the most is transparency. We have seen lack of transparency hurt many, including us, in ministry and so we’d like to be completely transparent with you, you deserve it, and we hope that in some small way our transparency in ministry will help others.
In December while we were back in the United States, on the 23rd, the Guatemalan government announced effective immediately that all foreigners arriving to Guatemala would have to be fully vaccinated to enter the country. This meant that we would not be able to go back home. Our cats were in Guatemala, all of our things were in Guatemala, and we were stuck in the United States. We didn’t know what would happen. We had decided long before then that the vaccine was not the healthiest choice for our family and that if the US or Guatemala ever made that a regulation to enter, then that we’d have to return to the US. But at that point we were just praying for God to open a window of time for us to get back to Guatemala to finish our affairs there.
God did answer our prayers and the Guatemalan government announced the following day, December 24th, that they would not enforce the rule until they made a decision on January 3rd. So we had to cut our time short with family in California and had to get back to Guatemala as soon as possible before the door shut on us.
The next few months we spent making the transition possible in our work to the next people who will take care of the job we were doing in Guatemala. All the while God confirmed to us that we had made the right choice. (Also during that time we both got Covid, missing about 5 weeks of work (we both were only actually sick for about two days but the rules made us stay home for that time). Our time spent in the ministry during the beginning of this year felt like a chapter in our life that God was closing.
You must understand, that Guatemala was our home. We were not on a “mission trip”. That was our home, and we had to leave Guatemala without being able to bring most of our things because everything had to go with us via airplane. We didn’t have a home in the United States. We didn’t have work. Brianna won’t be working because she’ll be taking care of a baby soon. What were we going to do? We prayed. God answered. Aaron found work in Tennessee and we found a home that we will be renting for way less than we would have been spending in California.
This isn’t the end of the story, but this is where we do need to pause to ask for your help. While you still have time, would you consider one more one-time gift to help us with moving expenses during this transition? Just getting back to where some of our things were with family in California from Guatemala cost us about $7,000. All estimates we can find to move us from California to Tennessee are about $5,000. That’s $12,000 total – money that quite frankly missionaries like us returning from the field don’t have. You can reach out to Students International this month before the 15th to make a one time gift beyond your usual giving that will help us to get to our new home in Tennessee at the end of this month.
Our relationship as ministry partners will change after April. But our ministry isn’t ending and neither is yours. Our first ministry should always be our family. Second, whatever else the Lord has for us. We are excited to enter this time where we will have a little one in the home with whom we will share Jesus. I, Aaron, am excited to be working the secular world, where I believe I will have more of a gospel impact than I’ve had in five years in ministry. I’m sure your pastor has said this to you, but the church is not the building – we are the church. And our prayer is that even though your money won’t be coming to us after April, that you will continue to support ministry with someone, some way, to further the Kingdom of God.
What Your Sacrificed Accomplished
We’ve spent a lot of time asking, “Why, God?” We still don’t have that answer. Why did he raise up all these supporters to send us to Guatemala just to bring us back so soon? Why did he put us through all the suffering that we went through? Why did He allow the Covid-19 pandemic to effect the ministry the way He did? Why did he allow us to find an amazing doctor to take care of Brianna and the baby only to make us leave mid-way through the pregnancy to a different country? We don’t know all the answers, but there are some things we do know.
We learned how to speak Spanish. There are 41 million Spanish-speakers in the United States that we can now speak to, share Jesus with, and eaves drop on in Walmart.
Our marriage has gotten so much better and we have grown so much. There were obviously really hard times, but through those we learned to better live with each other and take care of each other.
We learned to rely on God more. For about 6 out of 18 months that we spent in Guatemala we didn’t have a reliable vehicle. Guatemala isn’t a walkable country. But God provided.
We learned how to live in a different culture. We were able to see the United States culture in a new light. (You don’t need seatbelts as much as you would think and 5 people can easily ride on a scooter while the mother is breastfeeding).
We learned that the Christian walk is not about Sunday. It’s about how you’re serving others and following the Lord Monday-Friday.
Your last donation to us directly will be in April. After your financial support for April is cleared, you recurring monthly donations will end. So as we said before, your support for this month and any above and beyond that will help us in our second move, from California to Tennessee.
If you would like to continue supporting missionaries in Guatemala, we have an amazing opportunity for you to transfer your support starting in May. Please take some time to read their letters below to understand how these two Guatemalan men are serving their communities.
We thank you one last time for all your support and prayers that you’ve given over the last couple of years with us. It has been quite a ride, and we hope that you feel blessed knowing that your giving went to reaching children in Guatemala with the gospel.