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A Church in the Pacific Northwest Finds Common Ground Miles from Home
by Julie Cramer
Posted on Monday, August 27, 2012
Amy Corbin knows she is in Guatemala as soon as she walks out of the airport and takes a long, deep breath. “I know that sounds funny,” she said, “but the air smells differently. It’s not bad … it’s just Guatemala!”

Corbin—who had worked with Orphan Outreach’s president, Mike Douris, years ago—knew The Commons (a church she and her husband, Tim, had helped to plant in Arlington, Washington) needed expertise in how to branch into missions.

“I know Mike’s character, his ability and his commitment to ministering to orphans, so I knew Orphan Outreach would be an amazing organization to work with,” she said. During the mission trip, Corbin said their hosts cared for them well, everything was organized, and the team not only became deeply attached to the children, but also bonded as friends.

Heavy lifting

Manual labor can do that to a team. Bob Beams, an Orphan Outreach board member, led The Commons, Arlington, group to Xela—Guatemala’s second-largest city—to work at Little House of Refuge orphanage.

“It was my joy to do this,” he said. “I have been in construction for 30 years and understand all phases of construction. Our team fortunately had professional construction staff that could do electrical and plumbing work and other construction work with skill and speed. Everyone on the team worked extremely hard in cleaning, hauling rocks, constructing and helping with the children. We installed a water heater, two washing machines, did major electrical renovations, large-scale plumbing renovations, hauled away tons of junk, tore out a wall, plastered another wall, set up the electric for a computer room, added a gas pipe to the bakery so the oven could be used, gave all the kids new shoes, added two new windows, installed many new light fixtures, taught the girls to bake cakes and baked a lot of them, taught Bible stories, sang songs, and hugged a lot.”

“We had all kind of problems making it all work,
but on the last day it was finally all functioned beautifully.”

After the long hours of heavy lifting, Beams said the team cried in joy—and relief—when both washing machines gurgled to life.

“We had spent all week laboring long hours to redo all the plumbing in all the buildings for hot water and buying a hot water heater and all primarily just so we could make the washing machines work,” he said. “We had all kind of problems making it all work, but on the last day it was finally all functioned beautifully. Now the four staff ladies no longer have to get up at 5 A.M. to do all the washing by hand, in cold water, for 60 kids.”

“We feel strongly that the Lord has led us
to Little House of Refuge.”

Even though the work left the team sweaty and ready to slump into their beds each night, The Commons is committed to pitching in again … and again.

“Because we are a church plant we do not have a ton of financial support we can give … we exist on support ourselves,” Corbin said, “but our heart is to give as much as we possibly can to Little House of Refuge. We will continue to plan a yearly trip to Xela with Orphan Outreach, and may look at doing two trips a year at some point in the future. We don’t want to skip around and serve in a different place each year, but feel strongly that the Lord has led us to Little House of Refuge to connect, pray, and serve them as best we can.”

“At the end of the week, we all stood amazed at what God had done in both physical and spiritual ways,” Beams said. “It is all about showing God’s love to those at Little House of Refuge, with our talents, skills, energy. Of course, ‘short-term’ missions are short, but God can do a lot with a little.”

Click here to learn more about Little House of Refuge and how you can be a part of what Orphan Outreach is doing in Xela. For more on The Commons, click here.

Not a Jumbo Screen, but … Still a Surprise

On the team’s last day, they went shopping in Antigua. “We all had fun because there was a special secret that everyone in the group knew but Amanda,” Beams said. The group reserved a spot at a quaint restaurant and gave team member, Jeremy, time alone with Amanda … to pop the question. She said, “Yes.”

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