The career missionary must be skilled in many things, from being an expert driver and navigator to having excellent communication skills (including being a dynamic speaker), a talented writer, highly trained and skilled in their area of ministry as well as the Bible. They must have the keen ability to pick up on social cues they have zero frame of reference for, all while simultaneously losing the cues they once knew without even thinking; just to name a few. The least favorite of all of these is the humbling ability to ask for financial support over and over again.
It takes a lot to juggle and manage. We have failed in a few of these areas over the years. Life during the pandemic has been hard on everyone. It has been supremely stressful for missionaries trying to navigate simple life information, medical care and ministry in the midst of conflicting information and illogical restrictions in countries where we live. Honestly we will never have the same inherent response to tragic circumstances as those around us.. On top of all this, waning financial support due to many factors, the least of which is an unstable economic climate in all parts of the world. Gas prices have soared to the equivalent of $5 a gallon here in Xela as well as basic groceries rising significantly. All of this plays on the hearts and minds of missionaries serving.
Despite these trying times we were able to deliver gifts, food and a short Christmas message at the shelter in December. We were only allowed to drop off the gifts and food. Sarah was the only one permitted into the dining hall to speak with the girls. It was a bitter sweet time. It was wonderful to see so many eager faces but sad that it was so short and limited. We were extremely happy to be able to share this time with Maddy who was in Guatemala for a mere 10 days over her break.
We are also coordinating with the Community Service group at school to provide some basic needs at the shelter before the end of May. They are once again in need of basic toiletries, under clothes and socks. If you, your small group, your youth group, or your church are interested in helping us meet this need please let us know!
Gerald will continue at IAS to finish out the school year. Please pray for Spiritual Emphasis week coming up May 16-20 as there is a special speaker traveling from the States; as well as an attempt at a Lock In style retreat Friday-Saturday. This is a big undertaking with so many restrictions still in place and the school liable for any complications. Please pray that the hearts of our high school student body will be softened during this week and for revival among our teachers and students.
We have lost a significant amount of financial support over the past two years. We have been hesitant to petition for more support during this time of instability in the world as well as a major hurricane devastating the area of our main support base. However, our finances have reached a critical level. Sarah will be arriving in the States May 5 to begin work as a substitute teacher for the local public school system. She has also applied to teach Summer School. She is in need of a vehicle to borrow as well as any other work in the gap weeks between school and summer school. Please contact us if you are able to meet this need or know of someone who can. Also please pray with us that Sarah’s time will be fruitful in all areas.
Coleman will remain in Xela with several weeks worth of school work left to accomplish. Please pray for him as he needs parental support to accomplish school tasks. Sarah will attempt to provide this support online as much as possible.
Opportunities for you to get involved:
1 - A vehicle for the summer so Sarah can drive to work.
2 - Work for the month of July for Gerald
3 - Work for Coleman for the month of July as well so he can begin saving money since he is not able to work in Guatemala.
4 - Monthly financial support to increase
5 - For wisdom and discernment as we seek to know God’s will for our future in Guatemala.
6 - A renewed spirit and heart for the people and ministry here in Xela.
Please be in prayer with us for these needs. If you are able to help provide or have leads for any of these please contact us via email or WhatsApp (a free messaging app).
Sarah 011 502 4044 9860 email@example.com
Gerald 011 502 3034 8290 firstname.lastname@example.org
Gerald and Sarah Lastrapes
Along with their two children are missionaries in Guatemala. They will be sharing stories of discipleship through prison and shelter ministries.