New Ideas and Faithful Teams

In the past few months we have been overwhelmed with new ideas about our ministry and have been brainstorming about how best we can help the boys and their community. With the help of the book Toxic Charity and a visit to Eagle Ranch, we have come up with new ideas for how best to effectively change the community where the boys live in a way that brings them dignity and empowers both the boys and their families. In April, Nathan visited a boys home in Georgia called Eagle Ranch where he got many new ideas about our ministry and the structure of both our Refuge and Ranch. The book Toxic Charity has also sparked a lot of good conversation and thoughts about how to reach the boys and their families in a way that is healthy and glorifying to God. This book has changed the way we think about our ministry. It has encouraged us as it confirmed the things we are already doing and challenged us to change a few things to make our ministry more effective.
Please pray for guidance and wisdom for Nathan and the rest of the team as we work with the new ideas and continue to work on getting the ministry up and running to the best of it’s potential.

At the end of 2011 we had the chance to work with two wonderful teams whose work and ministry have greatly benefited our own. In October we had a team called EMI come to Guatemala to help us with the architecture and layout of Engadi Ranch. EMI is a ministry that does architecture for ministries free of charge. With their help our vision for the Ranch came to life. We are thankful for their ministry and help in our ministry. In December we had a team called Blume Photography come to make a promotional video and take pictures to use for our ministry. Their promo video has now turned into a full fledged documentary on the ministry and what we plan to do. Their help in telling our story will be a great blessing as we continue to promote the ministry and raise funds.

The Refuge is starting to take shape and we can’t wait to get more teams on the ground to get even more work done. The guard house is up, and this summer we are hoping to start work on the retreat center. We are so excited to take this next step to being able to have boys living on the Refuge. We have four more teams coming down this summer, and couldn’t be more excited to see what they get done and how God works through them. We are thankful for their dedication and passion for our ministry and are excited to see what God does through them.
Please pray for all those traveling to and from the States. Pray for safety, productivity, and that God’s presence will be overwhelming. Pray that the teams will become invested in the vision and that they would be blessed as they come to serve.

God’s Promised Land!

It has been amazing to see how God has been faithful in providing for Engadi Ministries over the past two years. Since May 2009 the boys’ home ministry has been running full steam ahead. Here is a quick run down:
May 2009 We begin to pray for 2 acres of land at $150,000 to build the boys home
May 2009 We are offered 2.25 acres of land for $150,000.
June 2009 The seller agrees to sell it to us with no money down.
Sept. 2009 I fly to the USA to raise money and interest for the land, but only return with $10,500.
Oct. 21, 2009 We sign a contract for $10,000 down and 12 months to pay the rest interest free. (The $500 paid the lawyer.)
Jan. 2010 The first team arrives to do work on the land, paving a road to access it, working by faith that we would buy it.
Feb. 2010 We resign our position at Shalom Church and move away from family and friends to be closer to the project.
May 2010 By faith, a team of architects come and design the whole property for us although we still don’t own it.
July 2010 Several teams come to help clear the land, dig foundations, and get it ready to build.
Aug. 2010 We only had about $30,000 in the bank, but trust God will provide the rest.  God raises $75,000 at just one church!
Sept. 2010 The karate Association raise about $30,000.
Oct. 8, 2010 Two weeks before the deadline we have all the money!  The land is ours!
Nov. 2010 God provides $20,000 for the taxes and legal fees to transfer the land to the ministry’s name.
Dec. 2010 We cut a road into the property and prepare to build.
There has been incredible momentum from the start. That movement hasn’t slowed down yet.
We know that God brought us to this property for a reason, He raised the funds, and He brought people into our lives to help with the ministry.  Although at times we feel that we are facing some of the greatest giants ever. God is in control. It is His land and His money. He will work out the details. We must be faithful to move forward towards each giant and not turn and run.
Pray for wisdom, resolve and the strength to move forward. Pray for God’s help as we overcome each obstacle that comes our way.

Building Obstacles and Solutions?Antigua is a highly prized tourist attraction which is protected by international law as a World Heritage site, similar to the Egyptian Pyramids or the Great Wall of China. Due to this status the building permits are very strict and hard to come by. In this process we have come across a bit of a challenge. Due to the inclination of our property we are restricted from building on it. However, there are no restrictions on moving dirt or leveling a steep hill. So we have begun the process of cutting the property so we can have flat surfaces before requesting our building permits.
Pray that we will be able to get this leveling process completed quickly.
In order to dig faster and more efficiently it would be great to have our own Backhoe. The amount of dirt to move is astronomical. What we would spend on renting one could just about pay for us to buy our own.  Pray that God provide us with the equipment we need.

The ultimate goal is to get the building license for the Antigua property.  Pray that God will provide us with the permits we need in His timing, remembering that He holds all who are in power in His hands.

Engadi II: The Refuge and The Ranch
Both in the business world as in the church world, most people wait to establish their first site before they go out to look for a second property to expand their business or to start a satellite church. In the process of figuring out what to do with our Building License challenge a friend heard of our problems. God touched his heart and he donated 3.1 acres of land in Zaragoza valued at $50,000 to the ministry! We haven’t built the first set of homes and God has already blessed us with a second property to develop. This was an incredible encouragement in a time when we asked ourselves, “what have we gotten ourselves into?” Praise God for this generous donation.
Pray for Bernal & Karin Ehlert and their two kids. Pray that God repay their generosity.
Now we need to figure out what to do with the new property. We have decided to call the Antigua land, “Engadi Refuge”, and the Zaragoza land, “Engadi Ranch”. At this point we feel the Ranch will be best suited for younger boys in Elementary or Middle School, and the Refuge is best for High School and College age boys. We are hoping to get a team of architects come to help us layout the property this Fall.
Pray for wisdom as to how each property should be used. Pray for the architects to advise us best. Pray for funds to build both properties simultaneously.

Foundation for the Guardhouse/Workshop
The first building to go up at the Refuge is the Guardhouse/Workshop.  The basement is going to be a place to store building materials, tools and such. The first floor will be a residence for our custodian/grounds keeper.  The total construction will be around $48,000. We have received $15,000 so far. We have gotten two of the walls in the basement completed and are working on the other two now.
Pray the rest of the funds will come in to complete the construction.
Pray the construction will go smoothly without any hang ups.
Pray for safety and wisdom for the employees and volunteers as we work to complete this project as quickly as possible.
May this just be a small start to all that needs to be done.
I’m reminded of Levi’s favorite VeggieTales, “Josh and the Big Wall”.  Every time I was headed to the Engadi Refuge to work on it, Levi always asked me if I was going to The Promised Land. I asked him why he called it that, and his response was, “That is our promised land.” There is a lot of work to do to take possession of this Promised Land. God has great plans and I can’t wait to see what He plans to do. Will you go with us to conquer this land?
Thanks again for your prayers and interest in Engadi Ministries.
God bless, ?Nathan & Claudia

Reaching the End of the Trail

One of my favorite things to do in the whole world is to hike volcanoes.  My favorite hike is the Santa Maria Volcano in my home town of Quetzaltenango.  You start out at about 8,000Ft and over 4 hours you climb up to nearly 13,00Ft.  At the top the view is incredible!  On a clear day you can see the 14,000ft peaks on the Mexican boarder 80 miles to the west, the smoking peak of Fuego volcano 100 miles to the east, the high mountain ridges to the north and the endless blueness of the Pacific Ocean to the south. I’ve hiked to see that view more times than I can remember.  The one problem is that after you enjoy God’s beauty, you still have to hike back down.  Although, we are nearly to the car, it seems like the last 100 yrds are always the hardest.

In a similar fashion we are at the last 100 yards in obtaining the land.  August 2009 we stood at the foot of an impossible challenge and decide to go after it.  October 8, 2010, we reached the top when we received the final donation to cover the $150,000, two weeks before the deadline, to purchase the land.  (It still amazes me, not that God could do it, but that he choose me to do it through.)  Currently, we are in the process of legalizing the purchase of the land and putting it in the ministry’s name.  Once we get the land title in the ministry’s name we can obtain the construction licensing we need for the phase.

As you may have seen in the update we recently sent, we have $16,500 so far.  We need to come up with an additional $10,000 to complete the process.  Legal fees, sales tax and registration expenses come out to be about 17.5% of the total purchase.  (The legal side of purchasing land in Guatemala is outrageous!)  Work can’t progress until we get this money.  I know you have already sacrificed, given, volunteered, worked hard and prayed for this project, but need to make a final push.

You may not have the funds personally, but you may know people that do.  Year end is quickly approaching, maybe someone you know needs an extra Tax-credit.  Maybe your church needs a place to send a special Christmas offering.  I just ask you to pray and allow God to show you what to do.  For some it may be to just pray, for others He may lay on your heart a creative way to help come up with funds, He may bring to mind someone you need to talk to, and for others He may lay a specific amount on your heart to give.  No amount of effort is too small.  Every little penny is needed. Just be available for how God leads you.

All donation are tax-deductible. You can donate to the Land Fund online or you can mail a check made out to “American Bushido-kai Karate Association”, to 1228 E 21st Place, Tulsa, OK 74114. Write “Guatemala Land Fund” on the Memo line.

We are tired, our legs are cramping, we are out of water, and just want to sit down. The end of the trail is in sight! just 100 yards away!  Let’s push through to the end. Let’s finish the trail.

Thanks for hiking with us on this incredible journey,
Nathan & Claudia

We Have the Land!

For those of you who have been praying the purchase of land, I wanted to let you know that we have reached the purchase price for the land as of October 8th! We were able to pay the land owner in full the $150,000 two weeks before it was due. God is our great provider!
Praise God for His Provision.

Our next major challenge is to come up with the sales tax, registration and legal fees needed to actually put the land in the ministry’s name.  The total cost for this is around $27,000! We already have $16,500!  We are just over $10,000 away.
Pray for the funds needed.

Recently we were offered a piece of land adjacent to ours which will help us resolve some of the issues the architects were having with the distribution of the buildings. If God provides we hope to purchase that piece as well. It would be another $50,000 to purchase this land.
Pray for wisdom and direction in this.

For now we are in the process of going through the legal loops and hops to get the title transferred. It may be a few weeks, or several months to get it all lined up. Having the legal title is important in obtaining the construction permits and other licenses in order to start building on the site.
Pray that we may find favor in the eyes of the government officials and that we may get the paperwork quickly.

Let’s Finish the Beginning

We are close to the finish line in getting the land for the Boys’ Home here in Guatemala. As of last count we are just $5,000 short of the $150,000.00 purchase price. On top of that we need around $25,000 for sales tax, registration fees, and other legal expenses. We have to have these funds by OCTOBER 21st!

Pray for the funds we need. Pray for how God may want to use you to help us reach them.

Pray, also, for the team we need to form as our Board of Directors and how we need to go about doing that. Pray for who should be on it.  We already have several candidates, and are considering a couple more.  May God send those He wants our way.

Pray for Claudia and I as we try to run a family in the middle of all of this craziness. May we find time to be together away from the stress.

Thanks again for your prayers, and let’s fight forward taking the land God has given us as a refuge for these boys. Once the land is purchased, we have a long road ahead in construction and in bringing in the boys. This is only the Beginning.