How God impacted us ~ Our Memory book is here!

Hillcrest Guatemala Impact Trip 2014 Memory Book (Click the highlighted blue to the left and that will open up the file. It is a pdf so you should be able to open, read, save &/or print)

A team of 33 student and adults from Hillcrest CRC in Hudsonville answered the call to be Christ’s hands and feet to the people of Guatemala from June 26- July 3, 2014. In this booklet (that the wonderful Chris Brinks put together) you will see the daily blogs that were posted both from the small groups and from Kevin Van Wyhe. These blogs tell the story of what God did during this amazing adventure into God’s will. But even more powerful than what God did through this team is what God did within the individuals of this team. Each member has put into words how God has impacted them personally by being a part of this team. Thanks for taking an interest in what God did and is still doing because this team took a week to serve in Guatemala.

In His Grip,
Kristy Van Wyhe

ps. you can print this document and keep re-reading the beautiful ways that God impacted the team and you!

Last day of pictures- Antigua and flight home!

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Praise God for this team, for the work they have done and that they made it safely home. I pray that you have been hearing stories from your loved ones and trust that you are being blessed again and again. These are the pictures from the last day shopping in Antigua, the plane ride home and the prayer time at the airport. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for all your prayers and support. This trip wouldn’t have been possible without all of you!

In His Grip,
Kristy Van Wyhe

Thursday -July 3 – on the Plane “The Real Journey Begins”

Thursday, July on the plane home
– Here we are on our last leg home 20,000 feet above the ground heading home. The journey to Guatemala is now a historical fact. This trip began way back in October as God began putting His calling on the hearts of this team to step up and take the challenge to go serve far away from the comforts of home. In less than two hours we will be embracing our loved ones and friends back home as we complete this mission trip.
– As I look out of the window on the plane I notice that the world looks a whole lot different way up here above the clouds. The view of the trees, roads, lakes, rivers, fields, homes and buildings are totally different than if we were down on the ground. I feel like this week in Guatemala we have been right down in the thick of the battle and consumed with the here and now. Packing bags, Building homes, Prepping for going to villages, loading and unloading vans, passing out medicines, playing games with kids, passing out candy and toys, praying over homes, praying over people, singing, laughing, crying, taking pictures, writing in our journals and having devotions. It has been a busy week with each day packed with a week’s worth of memories.
– Just like as you get high above the trees as you fly over the ground I think now this team will begin to have a God given view of the real purpose he had as He called us to Guatemala. A Birds eye view of the ultimate plan that He placed in our hearts some nine months ago.
– As we concluded last night with our last devotion and singing time together, God showed up for the Grand finally of our time in Guatemala. Satan may have tried to block God plans with tired minds and bodies, noise from rain on the mission roof and what every else he could distract us with in our own walls that we have built in our lives, but God broke through the walls and did a work in us.
– The night was first set with a meal meant to remind us of the greatest gift we have ever received. With bread broken and juice poured out we were reminded of the body that was broken 2000 years ago and the blood that was shed on the cross. What a way to begin our last night together. What a gift Jesus gave us to remember his great sacrifice for us.
– As we sang songs and dug into Gods word – the message of the need to Give God the front seat of our lives became unmistakable. The need to let go of the controls that we have become so comfortable having in our hands. Then around a Cross filled with nails from previous groups , this team was confronted with the ultimate call, to lay it all down, to give it all up to a God who wants to be Lord of our lives.
– As the spirit began to work, more and more of the team came and put their own name on the cross. Some for the first time and others coming to once again renew their commitment to the Lord on High. Soon the tears of hearts being broken, lives being filled with the spirit, and futures given a new sense of hope filled the room as we gathered as a team around the cross that was lying on the floor covered with many more nails that had been freshly nailed.
– On paper this night would seem like the conclusion of a great week. The end of a trip filled with memories of spiritual mountain tops. But as you take bird’s eye view of Gods plan for this week, what we saw as the end of a trip, I believe God had set as the beginning of even a bigger journey. A journey back to our home, back to the lives of our families and friends, back to our schools and jobs, back to the people of Hillcrest, back to our neighbors and back to the hurting and hopeless in our own back yards. A journey that will cost everything we have but in return give us everything we could ever hope for. A journey that will have Jesus at the steering wheel. A journey that will carry with it the focus of sharing with the Lost the Hope of Christ.
– I believe that this is the real adventure that our trip to Guatemala will bring. I believe that there will be many tennis ball moments and eternity tipping points that will await us if we listen and look for God to guide us. I believe that there will be family members and friends that are in need of revival and hope. I believe that there are countless loss that God will put in our paths. I believe that there are awesome things ahead of this team.
– Welcome this team home, ask them questions, listen to their stories, let them show you the changes that God has made in their lives. But don’t just end this journey there. Take up your cross as well. Ask yourself where is Christ on your bike. What kind of relationship do you have with Him. Remember that at a great price he the price for eternity for you. Remember that as He hung on cross it was the thought of a relationship with you that He died. He want to be with you, to love on you, to encourage you, to give you hope but he also want to show you how to live and where to go.
– If you have not asked Christ into your heart or have not given Him the front seat of your life yet. There is no better time than now to do that. Please don’t wait to discover the bird’s eye view that God has in store for your life.
– In a week or so we will be posting a team journal on this site. Each team member is writing a few paragraphs and answering the question of “how has God impacted you this week?” I know this is where you will truly see the impact that this week has made on this team of 34 people. Please take time to read their stories and please continue to pray for the team members as they become Christ’s hands and feet to the people back home and around West Michigan.
– Thank you again for joining us on the journey. Thanks you for your love and interest in what God has been and will do.
May God bless you in the journey He has called you to.
In His Grip,
Kevin Van Wyhe

Pray for the team tonight as they go to the cross!

Dear Prayer Warriors,
You have been faithful in prayer this week as the team ministered to others, now tonight the team needs your prayers for them. Tonight is the time that God will be working on our team. Tonight I ask one more time for you to pray for a harvest here in Guatemala. Pray that this harvest will not remain hidden to you far away in the hills of Guatemala. I beg you to pray for a harvest that will be taken home with them tomorrow on the plane. I beg of you to pray that the Holy Spirit will bring about change and renewal in the hearts of this precious team of students and adults who have faithfully answered the call: “Who will go?”

Tonight as they spend time together in Guatemala one last time in singing and looking at God’s Word, they will also be offered the call to come forward and lay their lives at the feet of the one who sent them. Tonight, the harvest will be rich again and lives will be changed forever. Please pray for your precious loved ones there as God is about to do His work once again.

Thank you for your support and prayers as this journey would not have happened without you. May God bless you for your part in this amazing adventure.

In His Grip,
Kristy Van Wyhe

Wednesday Morning- Last day in Guatemala

Wednesday Morning, 5:00 AM
– Good morning from Guatemala. Here we are at the start of the last day here. The work may be officially done and the homes and medical clinics complete but this journey is not over yet.
– Yesterday was an incredible day for the team. I saw God working and moving time after time in the members of our team and in the lives of the people in the village. This village has been so welcoming to us and has given this team a gift of friendship and love. They have shown their gratitude in so many ways. As the homes were given along with all the gifts, the hugs that this team received will never be forgotten for as long as each of us live.

– As each home was prayed over and each person given a chance to share -I witnessed moment after moment of God pouring down blessings on this team. Many of the people asked Christ into their heart or rededicated their lives to Him yesterday. The stories of yesterday will best be shared by the team as they share from their perspective what God did.

– Even though this team is almost done, God is in no way done with this team. One of the biggest reasons we are here this week is yet to be realized. Already there have been many individuals sharing in our group devotions of the breaking that God is doing here. He is breaking down the walls and barriers that each of us have built up that Keep Him from having the front seat of our lives.
~ Walls like the masks that we wear so others can’t see the pain and brokeness in our lives.
~ Walls of fears that keep us from following Christ and giving Him our all.
~ Walls of sin that separate us from God’s Blessing and Joy.
~ Walls of hurts in our past.
~ Walls of wrong priorities.
~ Walls of missed opportunities.
~ Walls of hardened hearts.
~ Walls of selfishness.
When He breaks down these walls there is a great Joy that He replaces them with as we are able to draw nearer to Him.

– The tandem Bike has become the image this week of defining where God sits on the Bike of our lives. Most here have asked Christ to join them in their Bike ride but He sits in the back seat helping them pedal. There are some here that may not have ever truly asked Christ to join them. Most of us here are in that place where we are struggling with giving over the front seat, the controls of our life. This is probably the scariest thing we can do as followers of Christ. Go where he wants us to go and trust that he will not crash the bike.

– Yesterday in the village after the homes were dedicated and we were waiting to leave -I went for a walk in the bean field next to the village we were working. The beans were maybe a foot high or so. The field was beautifully cultivated and well kept. As I walked I noticed some orange colored things laying in the path that looked like small pieces of candy. As I took a closer look I saw that they were seeds that had never started to grow. They were laying on the path looking no different than the day they had been sown.

– These seeds have stuck in my mind since I saw them. In each seed lies the potential for life. Life of a new plant that can when it is mature can create new seeds each with the potential to create another plant that bears more seeds. If you think about it, how sad that the seeds that I saw yesterday will never realize the potential they have. What a waste. They will never fulfill the purpose that they exist unless something happens to them. Unless they die as a seed and disappear into the ground and take on the appearance of a new plant, they will never be able to bear the fruit for which they were created.

– Last night in our group devos I shared a verse from John 12:24. Here Jesus says these words, “I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to ground and dies. It remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. whoever serves me must follow me.”

– There it is. There’s the secret to bearing fruit. Fruit for eternity. Fruit that will bring everlasting Joy. Fruit that will satisfy the search we all have for meaning and contentment in this life.

– In each of us God has given the seed of salvation. Unless we die to ourselves and put Christ in the front seat of our lives, we will only remain where we are. Stuck in a place that we will never realize our full potential. Christ calls us to die in this world so that others may live in eternity.

– That is where most of us find our self today. We have been scattered in this world but we don’t want to let ourselves disappear and take root in Christ. We are afraid to let go of our selves; our desires, the things we want to do, the places we want to go, the people we want to be with, the time we have and the things we own.

– But there it is. There is no arguing that for a seed to produce new life it must give up itself. That is what Christ is calling us to do here in Guatemala today. To give it all up and put Jesus in the front seat. And when that happens, watch out. New life will spring from the ground. Sure it takes time for the new seeds to form but with the water and nutrients of God’s word and the Holy Spirit in time a crop of seeds will come from our lives. Seeds that can bear eternal fruit.

– Tonight this is the call that God is going to make in our lives. A call to die to Him and leave everything at the cross. Tonight God has business to do in us. He has been preparing us this week to let go and trust Him when we get back home.

– This is the last post I will be able to write until I get home. Please pray for us today as we see this journey to its end. Pray that the walls will fall and that seeds will be planted in the ground and that fruit will come from this journey to Guatemala.

– having you here with us has been a blessing. Your prayers have lifted us and carried us this whole week. On behalf of Team Hillcrest -I want to thank you. I also pray that through being here with us that Christ might have been working in your life as well. Wouldn’t it be awesome if we could go home and not only have you notice the work that God did us in Guatemala but that we could also notice the work that Christ has done in you, as you have prayed and walked along with us.

– On July 13 the team will be sharing their stories of how God impacted them in Guatemala at the 9:30AM service at Hillcrest. I invite you to join us as we sing and worship with songs that have broken our hearts here and with stories of God breaking down walls and planting new seeds. We will also be putting together a slide show of the trip and working on a news letter in which each person on this team will be sharing how God impacted them this week. I invite you to join us and continue to see how God moved in this humble team here in Guatemala.
– Thanks from the bottom of our hearts for joining with us. May God bless you .
– In His Grip,
– Kevin

Dedication Day Pictures!

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Kevin was able to email me the pictures and team 5 was able to get their update done thru a temporary hotspot but he said that the internet is down for everything else tonight. The kids won’t be able to read or write anything until tomorrow morning. So write them some encouraging notes…they will all want to go on in the morning to read your precious words to them.

Thank you for praying for the team today! From the pictures you can see the joy and emotion that everyone was feeling. May God bless the team tonight as they worship and have small group together.
Enjoy the pictures!
In His Grip,
Kristy Van Wyhe