Missionary Update: Willene Byrd

Bobby and Willene Byrd moved to Guatemala in August of 2010 to establish World Reach Missions and further the Gospel in Central America. Last week Willene became ill and was hospitalized in Guatemala City. After tests, the doctors found kidney stones. Willene flew to Charlotte on Saturday and is receiving IV antibiotics at home as the doctors evaluate her recovery over the next couple of weeks. A decision on removing the stones will be made in the near future.

Please keep Willene and the Byrd family in your prayers as they move through the recovery process. Also continue to pray for those who have been touched by World Reach Missions as God uses this to further His kingdom.

Guatemala Mission team – Wrap Up

Due to a loss of wireless access on the final two days of the trip, we were unable to post updates to the mission progress.   The last two days of the Guatemala trip were a lot of hard work, capped off with a ceremony wrapping up the week. 

On Thursday, much progress was made on the retaining wall for the steps that we were working on.  Perhaps the most satisfying part of the work was seeing both the HGBC team and the members of the local community working hand in hand to raise the wall from the footing to a retaining wall 5 courses high, even with no common language.  The common goal surpassed the language barriers.  This work continued into Friday, where the team got the retaining wall for the steps up to 10 courses high.   Additionally, the team was able to provide additional follow-up on the bridge that was constructed in September, adding walls and posts to the bridge.  We were able to complete those walls Thursday, providing additional safety to the bridge that the community used on an everyday basis. 

On Friday, while the majority of the team continued the work on the steps, a couple of team members traveled with Bobby Byrd out to El Jocotilo, which is the location of another church that serves the local farmers and their families in the pineapple and coffee fields.  We were able to install ceiling fans in the Pastor’s parsonage at the church location, providing some much needed relief from the sweltering summer heat and humidity in this location.

Upon returning Friday afternoon to La Barranquilla, the team got to a stopping point on the retaining wall of the steps, and joined the community in a celebration of the week’s work.  While we traveled to Guatemala City to serve and disciple this community on the love of Christ, the love they showed us on Friday afternoon provided as much blessing to each of the team members as we could have ever provided them.  We each were able to verbally express to the community how we had been called of God to come down and share not just our hard work, but also what Christ has done for us, and can do for them as well.  Needless to say, the goodbyes to our new friends were quite emotional.

One final note – during the travel both to and from Guatemala City, our team Plus One mission shirts were a huge benefit.  We had numerous people ask us what “plus one” meant, and it gave us an opportunity to tell many people about our trip, and the reason that we were doing what we were doing.  We were able to witness with many people in the airport, and had opportunity to pray with many others.  The Plus One campaign truly does reach people all over.

Thank you, church family, for your prayers during our trip to Guatemala.  Please stop any of the team members in the hallway and ask us about the trip, and I am sure you will get a lot of additional details.

Guatemala – Thursday, day 4

Day 4 for the Guatemala team was the most productive construction day yet. Tim Feeney and Kris Koziarz laid block for the stairs wall, with the help of many members of the community, while Mike Pondo and mike Williams mixed concrete for the blocks. Ron King and Brian McCandless faced up the columns for the bridge wall, while Bruce Craig and Rex Backes mixed concrete for the columns.

While the bridge is now finished, there still is much work to be done on the steps. More importantly, each member of the team has been able to take time to share and play games with the children.

Pray for us as we work toward our goal of sharing the gospel with the community.


Guatemala – Wednesday, day 3

Day 3 for the Guatemala mission team was when the construction started in earnest. On the stairs, half of the team was able to get the side of the stairs fully cleared, and the footing poured to prepare for laying block. The other half of the team was able to start laying block for the walls on the bridge. By mid-afternoon, the walls on the bridge had been built, and the team was able to take part in the Wednesday afternoon services with Willene Byrd (Sara).

The Wednesday night service had close to 50 kids from the La Barranquilla community in the room with Willene , singing songs and playing games. It was followed by a presentation of the gospel by Mike Williams, HGBC’s Associate Children’s Minister at main campus. After the presentation, Mike and Bruce Craig helped one of the community leaders hand out bags of shoes and clothes that were donated by the HGBC community to each of the 40+ children in the room. Seeing the looks of pride and excitement on the children’s faces after they ran home to try on their items helped each of us get perspective on how truly blessed we all are. The scorpion we found in our room when we returned to the mission house also accomplished the same thing.
























Guatemala – day 2

A sore team woke up this morning ready to continue the work in LaBarranquila. We quickly got started when we arrived, and began preparing the area where the stairs were for the pouring of the footing. Additionally, we took on the additional project of adding walls to the bridge that was built by the team in September 2011.

Most importantly, we have continued to connect and build relationships with the members of the community, especially the children. The plan is to get the footing for the stairs poured in the morning tomorrow, and finish the wall at the bridge.


Guatemala – Monday, day 1

Today was the first day of work in the community of La Barranquilla. The team got down and started the day by carrying the supplies down the stairs to prepare for the construction work. This included bags of concrete, rocks, sand, rebar, and concrete blocks. The team worked extraordinarily hard, despite having the locals who are half their size carry more than them. 🙂 More importantly, every member of the team had time to spend with the community as we waited for the materials to be delivered, including the opportunity to witness to numerous individuals. We were able to tear down the stairs before we left, and will start the construction tomorrow. Continue to pray for our team throughout the week.

Arrival Day in Guatemala

The Guatemala team departed from church bright at early at 3am Sunday morning, and had a smooth and uncomplicated trip down to Guatemala.  Upon arrival in Guatemala City.  The team grabbed lunch and headed directly to the community of La Barranquilla, where we will be doing most of the work this week.

The community was very excited to see us, and the group immediately hit it off with the kids.  Tim Feeney began teaching the kids how to throw an American football, while Brice Craig and Mike Williams joined the kids playing what the locals here call the “real” football.  Mike Pondo alternated between lifting kids with his arms and teaching them card games.

Monday, we get started early to start the construction work on the set of stairs that we will be replacing/repairing.  Pray for the team that we continue to build the relationships while we accomplish our goals.