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Steph Louwerse

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  1. Steph permalink
    January 18, 2010 4:01 pm

    Yay – Maurice team has all arrived safely! Wow what a trip it has been so far. We started off leaving at 1:30 a.m. this morning, and are now finally getting settled in. This has already been an eye opening experience for me…we really have no idea how wonderful our lives are! For those of you who know me well, you wouldn’t be surprised to hear me say I was a bit worried about my luggage not making it, especially my curling iron and hair products…crazy I know. I tell you what, after only being here a few hours I can tell you that will be the least of my worries from here on out. God is just opening my eyes to see the world the way He does, and to think about more than just myself! Well I hope to share more about what God is teaching me as we go – I better run to help put together bags of beans, rice, and oatmeal. Thanks for all your prayers and please continue – Satan will be on attack this week as we share Christ with as many people as we can. Praise God for a message of hope!

  2. Tina Heilman permalink
    January 18, 2010 4:14 pm

    Hooray Steph!! I’m so excited that you’re there, I just know you will love it! It’s almost impossible not to 🙂 Praying for you and your team!!

  3. John Vander Stelt permalink
    January 18, 2010 4:27 pm

    So glad to hear you arrived safely. You know we’ll all be praying for you this week. Can’t wait to hear how God is working through your group. I bet you’ll also find out what great people those Maurice folks are too!

  4. January 18, 2010 9:16 pm

    Hey Steph! Glad to hear that your team made it safely. I am so fired up to see you spread the word about God and reach out to those who will welcome him in their lives. What a awesome God! I will be praying for Team Maurice this week. Take care!

  5. Steph permalink
    January 19, 2010 5:55 am

    Good Morning! It’s 6 a.m. and we’re leaving for our first building day. This could be interesting let me tell you. This is not my skill set if you know what I mean 🙂 I slept great last night, I think we were in bed by 8:30! Please continue to pray for us today as we go into this village – this is the first time they’ve worked there and so this first contact will be very important. Pray for safety, and for great team bonding. Thanks everyone!!

  6. Brenda Anderson permalink
    January 19, 2010 7:41 am

    Hi Steph,

    John VS shared this site with us. So happy to hear you made it there safely. We will pray for safety and may God bless you and your team as you spread the word. I pray your first contact with this new village will be an awesome experience for all. Take care and God bless.

  7. Marilyn Mayberry permalink
    January 19, 2010 8:02 am

    Anxious to hear about your first day. Isn’t it wonderful to know your in HIS hands, no matter where you are?

  8. Adrie Groeneweg permalink
    January 19, 2010 8:25 am

    Hi Steph, glad to hear from you and that things are going so good, God is good. Hurry back Duff needs to be put in his place, Scott needs some cherring up after his cowboys lost (GO VIKES) and no one is here to help me spell words. We miss and love you.

  9. Amy Vande Vegte permalink
    January 19, 2010 11:48 am

    Oh, I have to say that I’m just so jealous that I am not there with all of you. I would love to go sometime and I can just smell the air in Guatemala. Having been there several times, there is just no other air that smells like Guatemalan air:-) – – crazy, I know, but it’s true!! I am imagining your weather and my mind is going right back to the beauty and landscape you are surrounded by. Oh, Step, enjoy the world (so different from ours although only a plane-ride away) God created in Guatemala. It’s beauty, richness and life. I am praying for you and your team and can’t wait to hear the stories when you return. God will bless you in Guatemala; you will never be the same!!!

  10. Nancy Van Surksum permalink
    January 19, 2010 12:03 pm

    Hey Steph!! So glad you made safely! We are praying for you and a bit envious of you serving in Guatemala. Praying that you are kept safe, that your work is blessed in BIG ways by God and we know (without a doubt!) that you will not be not “be the same” when you return. love ya! and keeping you in our thoughts and our prayers. Nancy & Mike and family

  11. Kim Groeneweg permalink
    January 19, 2010 12:12 pm

    Hi Steph! I am thinking about the wonderfully warm weather you must be enjoying!! No fair!! I am sure you are having fun – I know you will be great with whoever you are working with – you are a people person and your energy is contagious! Praying for safety for you and eyes to see what God sees in each person and the beauty of where you are at. Have fun! Kim

  12. Sherri Morgan permalink
    January 19, 2010 12:52 pm

    Hi Steph, I am so happy you made it safely! I wish I was there with you!! Steph you are so full of energy and enthusium for God and you will brighten so many people and they will love to having you in their lives! Please know I am praying for you and miss talking to you when calling the office. Have a great time and God bless you for going to spread God’s Grace. Sherri

  13. Rob Roozeboom permalink
    January 19, 2010 1:02 pm

    Hey Steph,
    So glad to hear that your trip has started off great for you! It sounds like it’s going to be an exciting and memorable time there. Praise God for your safe travels and the opportunity to share the Gospel! Have fun!! Rob

  14. Elessa Marker permalink
    January 19, 2010 1:12 pm

    Hi Steph! I am so excited for you! You are such a blessing and now you are sharing it with more than just the Big OC! =) God is good! I am also excited about where God has and is taking you in your walk with Him! As we begin to build our lives on His truth home is wherever He is and where He has you! Enjoy His presence and shine bright for Him! People are hungry to know God, they just don’t know it’s Jesus that satisfies the hunger they have. Go tell the world! =) Have fun! Lots of love and prayers!

  15. Amy Marie Borchers permalink
    January 19, 2010 1:51 pm

    Steph, You should probably just not do your hair and limit your showers… showers are only necessary when you smell your armpits and almost pass out. haha. I can’t wait til you come back to hear people’s stories. I’m glad you are there too though. Women of faith where are you?! (steph’s in guatemala!) YOU KNOW!

  16. Rod De Boer permalink
    January 19, 2010 1:56 pm

    Glad you arrived safely. Barb and I will be praying for you and the team! Do your best to look past the physical differences and see Jesus in the people you meet. Be Blessed

  17. Jolynn permalink
    January 19, 2010 1:58 pm

    Hey Steph, Im so glad we have this website to keep up with you guys. I just noticed that my cousin and his wife are there with you. Rob and Heather Hofmeyer. So cool for all of you. I cant wait to hear all your God stories when you get back. Steph you have such a love for God it will come pouring out of you as you get to know the people of Guatemala. we eill be paying for you . God Bless Jolynn

  18. Rachel Klocke permalink
    January 19, 2010 7:46 pm

    Hi Steph! Wow can’t believe you are there already. I will look forward to hearing more from you with what’s going on and such. Will lift you up in prayer and pray for God’s will to be done- great and mighty things. May all that God purposes to do and accomplish thru you and for others be done. Thanks for making yourself available to serve and to further his kingdom. Blessings -Rachel

  19. Steph permalink
    January 19, 2010 7:49 pm

    Hello friends! Thank you so much for all the encouragement. It is so nice to hear from all of you. I wish you were all here with me, wow this is an amazing experience. It’s really incredible to see how differently people live, and see what they experience in their everyday life. I have met some amazing people – the team is awesome! We had a great day building today – we even had plently of hands to help out (one of the Guatemalan boys drilled in almost all of our sheetrock. He was having a blast!). I have some great pictures to share. There are some kids here that I would love to take home with me. There is a little boy in the family that my team is building a home for, and he has stolen my heart. What a little sweetie. Well I better get going we’re going to do some devotions. Thanks again for all your prayers and support. God is doing big things here! I can’t wait to share more stories with all of you. Keep praying for the families in the village where we are working. They are just soaking everything up. They are so kind and welcoming. It’s really true that actions speak louder than words! Praise God that we can understand eachother even though we are different. What an amazing Father we have!

  20. Brad & Ronda Noteboom permalink
    January 19, 2010 9:21 pm

    thanks for the update Steph! it is so good to hear of your efforts there – we look forward to being recipient of how u are blessed from this trip! prayin for u often each day! How God has worked to get u there!! awesome 🙂 ronda

  21. Chelsey Steen permalink
    January 19, 2010 10:45 pm

    Hey Steph! Wow it sounds like you are having an amazing experience so far! I know God is using you in big ways and you are such a blessing to others. I’m so excited to hear more about your experience and see pictures! I’m prayin for ya!! -Chelsey

  22. January 19, 2010 11:48 pm

    Hi Steph!
    So glad to hear that you are safe and sound!! What a trip of a lifetime!
    We know what a blessing you are to everyone around you now you will be blessed by being there! We are praying for you and that Jesus will be praised!!
    Can’t a wait to read about your trip. Have a wonderful time! God Bless
    Melinda

  23. Justin Mulder permalink
    January 20, 2010 8:24 am

    Hi Steph,
    Glad to hear you are safe and having a great time. You are missed back home. Its just not the same here (everyone is so serious now). But before you come running back to us please shower :). It sounds like you are doing amazing things there. I cant wait to hear the stories and see the photos. Im praying for you guys – Justin

  24. Orville V. R. permalink
    January 20, 2010 10:27 am

    Good Morning Steph: Glad to hear you made it safely, and trust that the Lord will bless your willingness to serve. Kirsten is so stressed without you she is calling me Jim.(smile) I don’t know where that comes from but please don’t make this a permanent move, you are missed. Hope you get to help in a great and rewarding way. We are on a layer of ice this morning and I’m sure you are not. Have a great time.

  25. Dad, Mom, Jamie & Ashley permalink
    January 20, 2010 12:07 pm

    Hey Steph! Take the little boy home!(: Can’t wait to see your pictures. Don’t miss us too much 😛 We miss and love you! our prayers and love are with you (: (: (:

  26. Dean Kooima permalink
    January 20, 2010 1:05 pm

    Hi Steph. I am glad to hear you are having a good trip so far. The auditors are wondering where you are, so we just told them you were out of the country…. don’t be too concerned if the police are looking for you. Can’t wait to hear about your experiences and we are praying for you every day!!

  27. Amy Vande Vegte permalink
    January 20, 2010 3:05 pm

    Hey Steph…heard there was a 6.0 earth quake in Guatemala. Not sure if it happened just yesterday or a couple days ago. I was talking to a family I met through our adoption and they had told me that information. Wow, sounds like you guys are already busy at it. How cool that you can help out. I’m curious what they have you doing…are you hammering, making lunches…what exactly are you doing in one of the most beautiful places in the world? How is your weather? Is it raining every day for a little while this time of year?

  28. Grandpa & Grandma Louwerse permalink
    January 20, 2010 3:22 pm

    Hey Steph- we are so glad to hear you got there safe and that you are hard at work serving the Lord. Keep up the good work and we are praying for you and the team everyday. We can’t wait for you to get back so we can hear all about it and can see your pictures. Love you, Grandpa & Grandma L.

  29. Brad, Lisa and Abigail Kats permalink
    January 20, 2010 3:40 pm

    Hey Steph-I am so glad you have this website to update us on all that you are doing! I have been praying for you ever since Sunday afternoon! I am so glad I got to talk to you before you left! I am praying that you are all safe! Enjoy your trip and we will talk to you when you get back! Love ya!

  30. Steph permalink
    January 20, 2010 7:19 pm

    Hola amigos! 🙂
    You know I find myself speaking the little bit of Spanish I know even to our team here…it’s funny how our brains work like that. Today was an awesome day. Lots of gorgeous sunshine and great temps. We started off the day sanding and re-mudding and taping. Wow that is definitely not my calling. Dan, the director of Paradise Bound, told me yesterday that I’d have to go through an application process if I ever wanted to come back 🙂 (that’s how bad I was at mudding!) But my self-esteem was not harmed in the process, I don’t mind if that’s not my calling! We spent quite a bit of time this morning putting stucco on the houses – that was really fun. All the kids in the village were more than willing to be our helpers – it was fantastic. They carried boards of stucco to us so we could just keep on working. The rest of the day the guys spent a lot of time today putting up the porch, and so that left me plently of time just to play and hang out with the kids. It was great! I could do that all day, every day. They LOVE candy, it’s amazing how they get so excited over it! I also got to play soccer with 3 little boys today. It was tough though since there is very little flat ground anywhere…but we made it work. We are now getting some much needed rest, and then we’ll do team devotions together again tonight at 8. It’s awesome to have time to worship together and talk about what God did during the day. Dan really emphasizes how important our relationship with Christ is – we are called first to Christ, and then to the people of Guatemala. We can serve all we want, but if we’re not working with Christ, it will all be in vain. Thanks for all your support and prayers, keep praying for us – it’s been a huge blessing!

  31. Lyle Huisman permalink
    January 21, 2010 9:09 am

    Steph,

    Hola! It is so fun to take this journey with you via this blog. Julia and I long to be were you are. We have grown fond of the people in the Caribbean countries. And the beautiful countryside and incredible weather…. it makes me ask the question, Why Iowa??? Steph, you have the perfect gift set to serve on this trip, even if you can’t operate a mud trowel! God uses your smile and you love of others way more than your hands. He has given you an incredible, life-altering opportunity here. Savor every sight, smell, sound, taste and conversation. All are gifts from God to you and the team you serve with. Live Large for Jesus! Lyle and Julia and Jordan.

  32. Adrienne Reitsma permalink
    January 21, 2010 11:12 am

    Hola chica!
    It’s so great to read how you all are letting your light shine and are enjoying every minute of it. We miss you. We’ll be praying for a safe return for the group.
    Take care. Adrienne

  33. Lindsay Clay permalink
    January 21, 2010 1:14 pm

    Hey Steph-
    You are so right– unless the Lord builds it, the laborers labor in vain. I know the Lord is doing a big work in your life right now through your time in Guatemala– I am daily amazed at His heart for the people of this world!! And we get to see how incredibly much bigger He is as we see how big and different this world is! He lives in us– I pray today that His life is crowding out more and more your own :0). I know He has already been doing this for months– I can only imagine how beautiful it is to witness in Guatemala. You are missed at the house!

  34. Scott Schell permalink
    January 21, 2010 1:32 pm

    Steph,

    Dont worry about work, me an Paul have everything under control.

    By the smile on your face it looks as though your doing just fine. Take care and looking forward to hearing all about your experiance when you return home safley.

    Scott

  35. shelley van voorst permalink
    January 21, 2010 4:53 pm

    hey steph,
    Sounds like you are having a wonderful time and the Lord is truely working in you guys. Praying for you everyday and for safe travels. Miss you and love you. take care
    shelley

  36. Steph permalink
    January 21, 2010 8:40 pm

    Yet another amazing day…I keep wondering how it can continue getting better. Today we were up and going early again and actually got the houses finished pretty early this morning. We painted the inside, and were even able to paint some really neat designs. Once everything was finished we had a fantastic lunch and then came back for the best part of the day. We dedicated each house and shared the gospel with each family. IT WAS AMAZING. Let me tell you, God was in that village all over the place. At each house, the team stayed inside with the family while the rest of us surrounded the house and prayed for God to open their hearts. There were 5 homes, so by the end we were exhausted, but it was incredible. Many people decided to give their life to Christ. I wish you all could have been here to experience it. I cannot wait to come home and share more stories and pictures. I will never be the same after this. The family that I spent time with lost their mother a few years ago, and so it was a very emotional time. We definitely shared a tight bond after the 3 days we got to spend together, and they will always hold a special place in my heart. God was so good today…I cannot even put it into words. Thanks again for all your support and encouragement! Tomorrow we start a new venture – we’re headed out into some remote villages to do some medical clinics and share the gospel. Pray for our team that we can stay strong in the Lord and allow the Spirit to work in us!

  37. Donette Yaw permalink
    January 22, 2010 8:48 am

    Congrats Steph,
    I am sure your day was amazing and lots of tears were shed. 🙂 It is always amazing to see God working around us. I am excited to see pictures and hear your stories. (I am sure you have plenty.) We are all praying for you and your team.

  38. Steph permalink
    January 22, 2010 11:07 am

    Hello friends!
    This morning we got to sleep in…7 o’clock! (Most of us were actually up by 6 already, but still, the concept was great :)) Anyway, we got plently of time for personal devotions this morning and then got started counting and bagging medical supplies. On Monday we were able to get all the food bags packed so we were one step ahead of ourselves. We’re getting ready to eat lunch now, and then we’ll head out for the first village. I’m very excited and a little nervous about today – I have no idea what to expect. I know it will be amazing, and it sounds like we will see many people give their life to Christ for the first time. There is a Guatemalan gentleman that works with Paradise Bound who preaches, and he is fantastic! There is so much passion and hope in his message, you can just see the Spirit flowing out of him as he speaks. We also were able to have a great devotional time last night where we got to share stories about the day and how we saw God work. I wish we could have tape recorded it and shared it with you all. This team is really bonding together, and in doing so we’re each growing in our own relationship with Christ. We’re able to encourage eachother and support eachother in such a powerful way, and we’ve only know eachother for a few days. That’s the power of the Spirit – it’s amazing. I actually had a great conversation this morning with a few of the people from Michigan about how God has worked in our lives…I got to share a lot about my life and how God has transformed my life within the past year. It’s amazing how God planned each person who is on this team, as we have had common experiences and can help eachother through that. I am continally reminded of how incredible our God is, and how He has everything planned out and under control even when we don’t have a clue. Please continue to pray for strength for us tonight as it will be a long night, and very emotionally exhausting. Praise God for being our rock!

  39. Adrie Groeneweg permalink
    January 22, 2010 12:38 pm

    hi Steph, thanks for keeping us informed. Reading your last update I can picture you and your team circled around those homes praying with Gods power (those people didnt have a chance) It dosnt get any better when God lets us to be a part of peoples lives at the time when he reveals himself to them and they know he is real. God bless you.

  40. Theresa permalink
    January 22, 2010 4:02 pm

    Steph,

  41. Theresa permalink
    January 22, 2010 4:06 pm

    Steph, It is GREAT hearing from you and all the wonderful opportunities you are experiencing. We pray that each day is more successful than the previous day in bringing Christ’s message to the people. Keep Safe & Enjoy! Can’t wait to see the pictures and hear the stories! Miss you!

  42. Rod permalink
    January 22, 2010 9:23 pm

    Steph,

    We’re praying you continue to see God at work in the lives of others. Also take time to reflect how he may be working in your heart through what you are experiencing. Be Blessed and enjoy the rest of the trip.

  43. Shelley permalink
    January 23, 2010 5:42 pm

    Hello Steph,

    I have never sent an email liket his before, so I must just hope I am doing it right…really how hard ca it be to fill in the blanks? I just got caught up on emails and read about how mudding and taping are not your calling, well, I am jealous because I love to do that. Also jealous of your amazing weather. We have a nice surprize waiting here for you in that regard. May God bless you more and more each day.

    Shelley Everson

  44. Nancy Van Surksum permalink
    January 24, 2010 1:06 pm

    Hey Steph,
    It is so cool to read your updates and hear how God is working so powerfully in and through you! Praying for continued safety and being a witness to the power of God all around, whether here or there, He is an amazing God! That is the really neat part! He’s the same God wherever we are!
    Love and prayers, Nancy & Mike

  45. Steph permalink
    January 24, 2010 2:46 pm

    Hola!
    Well you might not believe this, but I’m sitting in McDonald’s in Antigua as I write this. We are out shopping and enjoying our free day, so we thought we’d stop at McDonald’s and get some ice cream :). The market here is crazy – everyone wants to make a deal with you and bargain with you to buy their stuff. It’s all beautiful…but we don’t need it! If I’ve learned a thing or two from this trip (well, it has definitely been more than a thing or too but anyway), it’s that we have WAY too much stuff in our lives, and there is nothing more valuable than relationships, community, and knowing Christ. I knew this was going to happen when I left…as I sit here I have a hard time wanting to leave! I feel like I’ve really adjusted to life here, and I love it! Even though we have no water pressure in the shower, we get dusty and dirty just standing around, the road to and from the base is insanely bumpy, and we have to be so careful about drinking only purified water…those things don’t even matter to me. What matters is that there are people who have absolutely nothing, and sharing Christ is the one thing we can give them that no one can take away. It’s amazing how content they are, even though they don’t know when their next meal is going to be. Most of the people I’ve met I can’t even have a conversation with, and yet we understand each other and enjoy our time spent together. Let me tell you friends, Christ is alive and working in Guatemala! If you want an experience that will challenge you both physically and spiritually, this is it. Dan and Heidi and their staff are incredible people, filled with the Spirit and a true compassion for every person they meet. I can’t wait to get back and start planning the next trip. Any takers?! I’m not even kidding either :).
    Tonight we have our final devotion time together and will get a chance to process what all happened during the trip. I was able to give my testimony last night at the medical clinic…it’s hard to share when you need a translator, but I know that it’s not up to me, Christ is in control. There is nothing like sharing what Christ has done in your life…it’s a very humbling and powerful experience. It’s been a really awesome way to bond with our team also. We can minister to each other and share life experiences that just might help someone else through something. I have met some amazing people, I know these relationships will continue after this week. Well we leave really early for the airport tomorrow, and should be back in Orange City by 5 or 6 I think. Pray for safe travel, and for clarity as we process the week. Thanks again for all the support, prayers, and messages. Community is such an amazing thing…praise God for family and friends!! See you all soon!!

  46. Amy Vande Vegte permalink
    January 24, 2010 6:57 pm

    Oh Steph, I can put myself right in Antigua with you. We ate at the same McDonalds when we were there (a familiar place in an unfamiliar land). That’s what is so cool about being Christ hands and feet in Guatemala. You can share that same familiar bond in an unfamiliar place and make those connections because we are all one body – – the body of Christ. Steph, you have been such a blessing to me in your daily blogging. I love to read what you’ve been up to during your days in this country and no doubt you will return. It is such a beautiful landscape and the opportunites abound! You have truely made a difference in so many ways and have blessed me as well. Thank you for serving. Thank you for being you! May God receive all the glory and may He continue to richly bless you!!! Praying for your safety coming home!

  47. Steph permalink
    January 25, 2010 8:28 pm

    Hello friends!
    Well we made it to Omaha…but that’s it. We decided it would be much safter to stay overnight – the weather is CRAZY! I plan to do a final blog tomorrow sometime…I can’t wait to share everything that happened this week. It was incredible…God spoke in so many ways. Pray for safe travels home tomorrow. Thanks!

  48. Gwen permalink
    January 25, 2010 10:14 pm

    Steph,
    Glad to hear that you are back home safe and sound – or at least in Omaha! Sounds like you had a fantastic trip and a life changing experience. Can’t wait to hear more. We have missed you! Take care and safe travels to all of you.

    Gwen, Ryan, Briar and Becca

  49. Sherri Morgan permalink
    January 26, 2010 6:54 am

    Steph,

    I am glad you are back safely! I am so glad to be a part of your experiences in Guatemala it has been so interesting and love your enthusiam for God’s Grace. I will really miss reading your blog every day. But I am kind of selfish it will be great to have you back in our lives here I have missed visiting with you. Safe travels home the wind is crazy.
    God Bless you for your amazing work in Guatemala!!

    Sherri

  50. Chrissy permalink
    January 26, 2010 8:52 am

    I MISS YOU! I am glad you made it back safe. we were actually able to get home early. I can not wait to hear what God is planning in your life. I look forward to talking to you often. I am truly blessed to have such a sweet person. Your prayers and testimony are something that I think my life would not be complete without. Have a great week adjusting and I hope to talk to you soon. baremorec@yahoo.com

    Chrissy

  51. Brad, Lisa and Abigail Kats permalink
    January 26, 2010 10:08 am

    I am excited to see pictures!! Hope you make it home safe!! We had some crazy weather yesterday. Glad you missed it!!

    Love ya,
    Lisa

  52. Kathy permalink
    February 1, 2010 11:28 am

    Steph, Phil and I made it home last night. It was an amazing extra week serving our Lord. Our Iowa team will have to get together some night and share if we have “normalized” too much! Take care, and just know that it is such a blessing for Phil and I to have gotten to know you! We know God has you in the palm of His hand and will show you His will for your life. Continue to be that prayer warrior and sharing your joy for Jesus with others!!
    Blessings!
    kathy

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