From: Andrew & Rebecca Loveall
Missionaries to Guatemala
A Discipleship Mission
Dear Friends and Family,
Greetings and blessings from Guatemala. Everyone here with the Escuela Integrada Schools project sends their warmest regards and blessings to our family, friends, supporters, and prayer warriors in the United States and Europe. This is not a full newsletter (Andrew will try to get one out later this week) but a short note to let everyone know what's happening here.
We received a threat last Thursday; a threat of violence or assault against the Antigua school and against Andrew specifically. This came about as a result of our normal activity and decisions -- which are geared towards the protection of the children and families of Escuela Integrada. We took this threat seriously and started extra security measures here. In fact, Andrew just received two quotes (Friday afternoon) from local security firms for the placement of armed guards in the Antigua Escuela Integrada school.
At about 2:00am Sunday morning, men broke into the Antigua school. They sawed through the protective bars of the front window and gained access. They broke into and ransacked Andrew's office and carried out much valuable equipment, including digital cameras and two older notebook computers (our new computers were, as always at night, with us at our house.) They grabbed some money that was kept in Andrew's office as well as valuable documents. This all happened while we were hosting the short-term missions team from the Green Hills Baptist Church.
We have good reason to believe that these men were armed.
However, we had in the building two of our young men -- Juan and Victor (many of you have met them both during visits here) who were sleeping in the kitchen -- behind it's metal security door. They called Andrew, who called the police. Unfortunately, the police went to the wrong address -- about 2 blocks down the street. However, the police lights and sirens (so it seems) scared the burglars -- who dropped all the valuables they had into a corner -- and fled. We have thus recovered most of what they were in the process of stealing.
These men tried to breach the security doors on the main office -- without success. While one door gave way, the main security door held firm and they were unable to access the main office. Because of the police presence, instead of losing much valuable equipment, we lost about Q150 in cash (about 20 dollars). We are pleased and grateful that the Lord protected our young men and that He protected the school in this way.
Of note: on examination of what they were trying to steal, we know that this was a serious attack.
Those who trust in the LORD are like Mount Zion, which cannot be shaken but endures forever.
As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the LORD surrounds his people both now and forevermore.
Psalm 125:1-2 NIV
Why did this happen? What evil is behind this? We don't know exactly, but we suspect that the enemy of our souls is displeased with this summer's activities here. We have come to the end of the 2008 visiting team season. Our annual main ministry outreaches, which our work builds towards all year, have been completed. Our main adult ministry outreach was completed with the visit of the Circle of Love team of doctors, nurses, and support personnel. Our main children's ministry outreach was completed on Friday with the completion of the Green Hills Baptist Church (La Habra, CA) team program.
Over the summer, with the work of these teams of others, there have been over 300 decisions for Christ in our work here. We have rebuilt and / or repaired the houses of over ten poor families. The new classrooms in El Tesoro (the war refugee town) are almost completed. Literally tons of clothes have been distributed. The Circle of Love team as well as the leadership of Escuela Integrada were honored with a private meeting with Dr. Rafael Espada, the Vice President of the Republic of Guatemala. We are seeing a spiritual harvest in the work here like never before.
This has also come as the U.S. and European economies have tanked. Finances are tough. We did not make the July financial needs (double salaries mandated by the government, etc.) and -- indeed -- are still behind in paying the July mandated "bonos" to all our employees, although the teachers have all been paid. The July "bullet" was not dodged this year and has been put off till the end of August, when these legal requirements must be paid. We are very badly behind financially. This seems to be the story in a great many families, churches, and ministries as people in the States and Europe lose available income. So this attack on the school seems, surely, to be intended to dishearten us. The enemy seems to believe that we will be discouraged by this attack. He wants our people -- and the children and families here to be afraid. This is normal --we are on the 'front lines' so to speak.
We are not afraid. We trust in the Lord.
Please pray for our safety and the safety of the Escuela Integrada schools. Please pray for our finances -- specifically that we can raise an extra $10,000 above normal August needs over the next two weeks. We must get caught up. The work of the Lord depends on it.
We call on our supporting churches and organizations to make special, intercession for us -- we ask you to all pray. We are considering the placement of professional, armed guards in the school for a period of 90 days. If we do this, it will cost about $1,400.00 extra per month. We have not yet decided whether or not to do this and are diligently praying about this decision.
Rebecca travels to the States (Chicago area) to begin the first leg of her graduate studies at Wheaton College. We need your prayers for our family at this time. There are many, many needs among the children and families here. We are still confronting the abuse and mistreatment of these precious children -- and we need your prayers -- and we need the Lord's strength and wisdom as we navigate the mentoring and counseling challenges here.
May the Lord bless you in all things!
Your brother and sister and humble servants,
Andrew & Rebecca Loveall
Missionaries to Guatemala
"God is not unjust; He will not forget your work and the love you have shown Him as
you have helped His people and continue to help them". - Hebrews 6:10 NIV