There’s always a better story!



Faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive, able to leap tall buildings in a single bound, this is the opening dialogue describing Superman. The writers wrote something so amazing it couldn’t be real. The following is part of the story God is writing for me, I could never have made this up for myself its just to amazing.

For years, I’ve studied, practiced, taught, about conflict resolution. I got my start in a small town in the midwest, mediating court cases, and coordinating youth restorative justice programs and it set me on a path to want to do more. About 3 years ago I read a book in the bible called Philemon and have not been able to shake the idea of wanting to help youth see themselves as useful. ¬†Onesimus (which means to be useful) the name of a runaway slave became my favorite name, so much so I even toyed with getting it tattooed somewhere on my body!

For years, I’ve been meeting people trying to volunteer and get hired to do more Restorative Justice work with youth and for years I’ve been rejected until the early part of this year when I was introduced to Lemonade International through a friend. We began discussing what it might look like to do mission trips to a City in Guatemala that the organization supports.

After many months of talking and planning, I was able to travel to Guatemala to visit La Limonada and meet the Tita, founder of Vidas Plenas. I hope you check out their story and how you might be a part of it. Tita, through the strength of God has done amazing things for the people of the “Lemonade.” I am a much better person for meeting Tita and the amazing people who work for the schools loving children who wouldn’t otherwise get positive gospel-centered direction.

Because of God’s perfect plan and timing, (a story I couldn’t have written as perfectly) I will be heading back to La Limonada to teach restorative justice and peacemaking to the teachers and staff. It is really quite a nice match because they are already doing much of what I will teach them, but I will help put words and bring a common language to the workers so they can be even more purposeful in what they already naturally do.

Enjoy the rest of this post in pictures and experience a bit of what I did in my short time there.

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The town is situated in a ravine, with houses built of cement and tin roofs. The red building (near the upper left) is one of 3 academies started by Tita and Vidas Plenas.

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This is a 4th or 5th grade class talking with Pastor David. He works with all the students in groups and one-one helping them to make sense of the Gospel in their challenging lives.

 

 

 

 

 

 

A pre-school class dancing. Their teacher (not shown) is really amazing. She takes students out into the community to pray for those who want it.

A pre-school class dancing. Their teacher (not shown) is really amazing. She takes students out into the community to pray for those who want it.

Here, I am talking with Tita at her home explaining what restorative justice is and listening to her needs and visions for Vidas Plenas.

Here, I am talking with Tita at her home explaining what restorative justice is and listening to her needs and visions for Vidas Plenas.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pictured below is Otto. He is a shoe maker in La Limonada. His story is unique as he chose to turn from gang activity to knowing Jesus as his savior, and building a legitimate business. Through is work he is able to employ others who live in the Lemonade. This man and his wife are seriously generous and have a special call on their life to give hope to others. Pray for them as they try to make sense of how to grow a business.

img-20160912-wa0001Otto is reading a Spanish translation of “Resolving Everyday Conflict”¬†by Ken Sande. His workshop is on the top floor of his home. Some of his shoes can be found at The Root Collective.

This is Carlos, another gifted craftsman. He makes bags. Recently he was evicted from the home where his workshop was and was forced to bring everything into his home. He is making it work with limited space, but could always use your prayers for God to bring him a better opportunity.

This is Carlos, another gifted craftsman. He makes bags. Recently he was evicted from the home where his workshop was and was forced to bring everything into his home. He is making it work with limited space, but could always use your prayers for God to bring him a better opportunity.

 

Another view of the ravine, where people have used the top of their home as a trash can. They don't have much in the way of organized garbage removal, so many use the streets, river, or the top of their home.

Another view of the ravine, where people have used the top of their home as a trash can. They don’t have much in the way of organized garbage removal, so many use the streets, river, or the top of their home.

There are some clean areas where you can tell residents take more pride in where they live. Here is a colorful walk way that led us to a bible study in someone's home.

There are some clean areas where you can tell residents take more pride in where they live. Here is a colorful walk way Tita led us down to a bible study in someone’s home.

 

This is a short video of my guide taking me to one of the Academy’s.

Thank you to all of you who supported me prayerfully and financially. It was well worth the efforts to go and I look forward to getting back there in November. If you want more information about getting more involved with La Limonada please reach out to me, I would love to talk with you more. You never know maybe there is an excellent story waiting for you to experience that you never planned for.

 

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