God is ALWAYS at Work!

It has been 1 year and 4 months since God put it on Michael and my heart to GO NOW onto a mission field outside of the country. I just want to take a few minutes to praise the Lord for all that he has done for us along this journey. First off, all of our family and close friends were immediately supportive. Having the support of family and friends is not a necessity but it is certainly a huge blessing.  

Roose family vacation!


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The medical team we served along side in TZ 2018

Soon after announcing that God was calling us out of the country we began to establish opportunities to travel to the places we believed God was calling us to serve. Each summer we are aloud 2 weeks of vacation time. After setting up a 1 week trip to Texas for Michael’s brother’s wedding and a 1 week trip to Guatemala an opportunity arose for has to travel to Tanzania, Africa on a 2 week mission trip. Without asking any questions work gave me another two weeks of vacation time, this was a direct answer to prayer, a prayer I thought was almost too much to ask. Needless to say God can work miracles and the past year my faith has grown leaps and bounds along with the size of my prayers. 

God clearly answered our prayer not to fall in love with both Guatemala and Tanzania leaving our heart’s torn between the two. God clearly opened the doors for us to serve him at Hope of Life in Guatemala and closed the doors in Tanzania, leaving Michael and I with no question of where God wanted us to go… what a blessing and relief! 

Guatemalan Village in the mountains

God clearly answered our prayer not to fall in love with both Guatemala and Tanzania leaving our heart’s torn between the two. God clearly opened the doors for us to serve him at Hope of Life in Guatemala and closed the doors in Tanzania, leaving Michael and I with no question of where God wanted us to go… what a blessing and relief! 

Another huge praise is that during both of our missions trips I was completely pain free. This is a huge miracle because I still suffer from debilitating neck pain and headaches 2-7 days out of every week. I am thankful for everyone in our home fellowship group who partnered in fervently praying that I would be free of pain and able to serve the Lord unhindered. God heard our request and he answered.

Before two weeks had passed since we returned home from our mission trips God granted me another two weeks of paid vacation time so that we could return to Hope of Life in Guatemala. The purpose of this return trip was to complete the application process, in person interviews, and service required for the ministry to properly evaluate and accept us as long term missionaries. 

In February we had our first support raising trip located in Williamsburg. It was not easy or comfortable learning to call people and set up support raising meetings over the phone. However God blessed us with 2-3 meetings every day of our trip. Along with the opportunity to share at a friend’s church.


In January and February I continued to suffer from significant pain, work became more and more stressful and overwhelming. As we lifted this concern up to the Lord he blessed me with the opening of a part time job in the ER starting March first. Making work much more manageable.


In April Michael and I traveled to Ohio for a 3 day training on how to competently care for kids who have been through trauma. When we went to pay for our AirB&B the owners expressed that they would like to support us in our ministry endeavors by allowing us to stay for free. The timing of this blessing was astounding. I had just resigned from my job and was feeling completely overwhelmed by our financial state. I believe this was God saying,

“My daughter, trust me. I see your needs, I hear your prayers, I am in control and I will provide for all you need in my timing.”

I was reminded of What Isaiah says:
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” 

Isaiah 55:8-10

God is so much bigger than my view of reality and it is exciting learning to look outside of my little box and realize just how big of a God we serve.
I’m sure there are many more incredible things God did for Michael and I this year but these are the few come to mind right now.

With Love & Joy,
Rachel Pouchot

One Small Step

“That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” – Neil Armstrong.

Maybe it is strange to use the quote of an astronaut jumping out of a spacecraft onto the surface of the moon to start this update. But I find it rather fitting and maybe I can convince you of the same.

Rachel and I’s silence on our blog is due to my (Michael’s) inability to see just how far our small steps have been taking us. We have been blinded by the routine. Our day to day over the past few months has not seemed to change much. Go to work, invest in our local ministry, plan for Guatemala, maybe have a support raising meeting, sleep and eat. These few things sum up our days over the past few months. And while God has been at work I must admit I have not felt an overwhelming surge of dramatic changes as we get near to our new mission field.

It has just been small steps.

And oh boy how nearsighted I have been

Our last few months have been nothing short of a giant leap!

In fact I started writing this update in Cincinnati Ohio from an Airbnb that was given to us free of charge because of the work we are doing for the Kingdom of Jesus. Every day has been but a small step and yet here we are 159 days of small steps since our last post in December.

Those 159 small steps have taken us much further than I have noticed and I am eager to share with you where we are now (especially if you haven’t heard much from us over the last 159 days).

I will make this simple with a list. Here is what’s new:

  • We have completed 100% of the paperwork needed for Hope of Life
  • We have been 100% approved to join the HOL team as full-time missionaries
  • We have our account setup with HOL and are capable of receiving financial support
  • We have everything we need to move to Guatemala and be setup for success
  • We fully packed up our house and brought everything to HOL headquarters at the end of April.
  • We have been raising ministry partners in Williamsburg, Newport News, Yorktown, Lynchburg, Tampa, Cocoa Beach and Ohio. We have spoken at 2 churches and are scheduled to speak at 1 more.
  • We have built up a team of individuals who have agreed to partner with us and provide advice for our marriage, life, ministry and individual walks with Jesus.
  • We have individuals stepping up to take leadership of our home fellowship in Lynchburg, VA.
  • We enjoyed a week long vacation that we budgeted for months ago. (It was supposed to be our last hoorah but we still have more support raising to do).
  • FInally, while we are still in the thick of support raising, everything seems to be on target for officially leaving for Guatemala some time in August.

All of these things came to fruition by taking one small step at a time. And may there be no confusion. I notice I have used the word “we” as I’ve described what’s new. God has been faithful. All that we could possibly boast in is only made possible by the faithfulness of the great and mighty God we serve. Why He has chosen to use any of us is beyond me, but I am humbled and I will continue to follow Him one small step at a time so long as He leads.

So thank you all for continuing to pray. Please don’t stop praying. Continue to pray for us as we move forward. Our next few months are still littered with small steps to be taken. One day at a time. And what awesome practice this is.

I was recently counseled by an elder to be observant of my current circumstances. To be aware of what it is the Lord may be teaching me. And 1 lesson that has been made clear is that Rachel and I are in a time of preparation. Not only are we preparing financially and physically for leaving. But also Spiritually and mentally. When we arrive on the mission field in Guatemala we will need to tackle each day one step at a time. Day to day it may not seem like much. But before we know it we will turn around, look back at where we came from, and realize just how far the Lord has taken us on this journey with him.

Thank you for continuing with us in faithful prayer and support.
To help keep all those who support us informed I would like to include some details about where we are and where we expect to be over the next few week as well as include some prayer request.

Recently:
(April) we were in Cincinnati Ohio attending a conference put on by Back 2 Back Ministries where we gained knowledge on how to work with kids from traumatic backgrounds, specifically kids who are orphaned or in foster care. All our belongings were brought to Rhode Island in April. As of the beginning of this month (May) I have received an update that the shipping container has left for Guatemala. At this moment we are in Florida speaking at churches and raising support. The last 2 weeks of May will consist of cleaning and moving out of our current house. Following moving out of our current home will throw us head on into support raising. It is our last and final task to complete before heading to the mission field. Most of our time will be spent in Lynchburg, Williamsburg and NC.

So how can you be praying for us? Pray for:

  • Safe travels (we have thousands of miles of driving to do over the next few months). I have already driven 4,000 miles since April 1st.
  • The hearts of the Guatemalan youth. That God would begin to work in their hearts now and that they would be receptive to the powerful message of Jesus.
  • Our hearts. We must be diligent to remain humble and seek the grace of God every day. We are not above reproach. May we seek the face of Jesus every day as we encourage others to do the same.
  • The hearts of those we are meeting with over the next few months. Our desire is that those who choose to support us financially do so out of obedience to God and for no other motive or reason.

Thank you for staying connected with us! If you ever have questions or comments you can always reach either of us by email: ponchomissisons@gmail.com
(if you would like our phone number just let us know!)

With love,
The Pouchot Family
Michael and Rachel

Lastly, everyone loves pictures! so here are a few pictures of what we have been up to!

Christmas vacation with Roose Family

We got to go on a cruise!!
Rachel’s favorite part of the whole cruise…. The monkey
Okay, fine…. The monkey was my favorite too!!
My family here in Florida!

Back So Soon?

When Rachel and I came back from Tanzania we knew Guatemala was where the Lord wanted us to go. 2 days after getting back from Tanzania we began planning a second trip back to HOL. Returning to HOL for a 2 week trip was the next big step in moving forward with the ministry.

Written by Rachel Pouchot:

My heart is filled with joy as I think about all God has done and taught us during our most recent two weeks in Guatemala at Hope of Life. As an organized ‘get it done’ type of person, it drives me crazy to leave the country on a visionary mission trip with no schedule of events, no meetings nailed down and no activities established. Faith is something God has been asking of me recently. He called me to step out in faith, to let go of my need to organize and control this trip and trust that he had a good plan already established.

In Psalm 18:25 God’s word says, “To the faithful you show yourself faithful.”

God’s word is true. As I look back on both of our trips to Guatemala, God has been faithful to establish and organize every meeting and activity that was important for Michael and I to experience. It is my joy to share some of those experiences with you.

I love adventure! The exciting experience of standing in the back of a cattle truck, being jostled back and forth, while flying up winding dirt paths on the side of the mountain to reach a hidden village, where I have no idea how people get food and water or anything else up to these villages. I enjoy the opportunity to bless a mother who has sick children with medications to care for them.  I love the smile on a child’s face when I paint a colorful butterfly or a mighty scorpion on their arm. I can’t hold back a smile as I swing a jump rope and see 5-year-old children burst into laughter at the joy of successfully jumping 3 consecutive times. I treasure the opportunity to watch my husband teach about discipleship at a youth gathering. Most of all I love the opportunity God has given Michael and I to disciple youth who are desperately in need of salvation and the knowledge that God not only loves them but desires to have a relationship with them and to use their lives for his glory.

Even though there were so many things I loved about this trip to Guatemala I was surprised to find that I did not experience any significant emotional tug on my heart. Honestly, I was a little sad and confused to begin with, but the more I contemplate all that I have experienced I praise the Lord for the lack of emotions. I have been able to think clearly and to analyze my desires and my hearts alignment with God’s will rationally. As I observe the needs in the orphanage, hospital, and church at Hope of Life my thought process has not been swayed by overwhelming emotions and I have solid confirmation that this is where God is calling Michael and I.

What did Michael and I do during our trip in Guatemala?

Michael and I were blessed with the opportunity to meet with the founder and directors, of Hope of Life who were able to answer many questions and provide a clear picture of what preparing and moving to Guatemala would look like. (more information about these details will be provided in our next post.) Michael and I were apart of three World Help medical clinics in rural mountain villages of Guatemala. during the clinics Michael and I helped run the pharmacy we mixed and packaged medication and gave instructions for medication usage to the people. I also assisted with activities for children during the medical clinics where I happily painted faces for endless hours. I also took on the challenge of teaching the girls how to make friendship bracelets without being able to speak Spanish, I am proud to say it was successful!

God blessed Michael and I with a free day during out trip where we filled out our application for Hope of Life, this was no small feat the application a turned out to be 25 pages in length…whew glad that’s over with. Michael and I also completed a mandatory psychology exam.

Besides that, we spent time sitting down and meeting with the majority of the long-term missionaries serving at Hope of Life and getting a glimpse of real life in Guatemala and how to best prepare. Probably my favorite activity was just playing with the children in the Village of Transformation which is the orphanage. All in all, God blessed us with an incredible vision trip, answered our questions, provided new experiences and spurred on our growing passion for the calling he has given us.

Choosing Hope of Life

Friends and Family,
Rachel and I are overjoyed to share with you the next HUGE step in our lives. As we hope we have communicated well, you are aware that we are seeking full-time missionary status. Well, today we announce what only few know. We are pursuing Hope of Life International located in Zacapa, Guatemala.

In a short amount of time we have traveled to both Guatemala and Tanzania searching for where we would fit best. We have been evaluating ourselves, our skills, passions, gifts, desires and calling. And we have been evaluating the places we have visited, what are there needs, where would we fit, do they have a place for us. After considering these things, it seems rather clear that Guatemala is the place for us to go.

So we have begun filling out applications, sending lots of emails and figuring out the details of when and how! Continue to partner with us in prayer! We will be back in Guatemala for 2 weeks from November 3rd thru the 17th. This is a vision trip of showing the ministry leaders our vision and desires. We will be turning in our applications. As well we will immerse ourselves as much as we can into the community and ministry that is already there. We will continue to form relationships with the staff and other full-time missionaries as we seek guidance and counsel for the next steps of our lives.

Some might be curious as to what we are seeking to do with Hope of Life. Well, let me tell you! Hope of Life has expressed that they are in need of Discipleship (for all ages) and youth ministry.  There are other needs but these are the two areas where Rachel and I fit most. And there is no telling what else we will get our hands into. There are tons of kids on the ministry grounds and in the rescue village and there is little offered for them to grow spiritually. Our goal is to fill that void and furthermore train up disciples of all ages. Our current dream and vision is to make ourselves no longer needed for those two areas at HOL. Our desire is to raise up Guatemalans that can handle ministering to the youth and to make disciples who will also go on to make disciples! Some other opportunities that we are aware of are ministering to the many American families who serve with HOL as well as partaking in family style orphan care and raising parentless children in our home.

Thank you for all of your love and prayers! Pray all the more as we continue to find even more direction!

Love,
Michael and Rachel Pouchot

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Experiences in Tanzania

What happened in Tanzania?

Let us tell you what we experienced in Tanzania. We will follow up later about what we learned from our experience and how God is shaping us and our ministry-focus.

*For those who hate long post, scroll to the bottom for a TL;DR (Too long; Didn’t Read) explanation*


First off traveling overseas is way more taxing than in country travel. Not only did we have well over 18 hours of flying (not including the time of getting to the airport and going through airport formalities) but when we landed we had roughly 2 days of driving ahead of us. So what did all that mean for us? It means we couldn’t actually lay down to sleep for about 3 days. But it was all worth it.

We still had several incredible experiences over the extent of our travels but our true day 1 began when we arrived at UPM (Unreached Peoples Mission) in Itiig,Tanzania. Every moment, beginning with our very arrival, was action packed! Upon our arrival, we were unaware that everyone was going to be there waiting for us, hundreds of pastors, their families and school children, everywhere filled with joy and excitement for the days ahead we would have with them. My wife describes it better than i do:


“In awe I starred, probably with my mouth hanging wide open, at hundreds of people who stood in the street waving scarves and tree branches as they shouting “Hallelujah! Karibo (welcome)! Praise the Lord!”  I sat desperately trying to suppress the tears welling up in my eyes. I felt so unworthy. The bus slowed to a crawling pace as the crowd of rejoicing people surround it. All the way down the street to the UPM compound entrance the escort of people, excited to hear the word of God and receive medical treatment, continued to dance and sing with jubilee. I was speechless in the face of such an unexpected greeting. God has been teaching me a lot recently about being unworthy and how he still chooses to use me. Today God showed me how much he loves and treasures me through this people’s excitement to see me, even before they knew if I could fix their medical problems or strengthen their spiritual knowledge. I wonder if this great sense of unworthiness is how Peter felt when Jesus knelt down to wash his feet? I can hardly imagine.”

We had arrived on a Thursday and had other events planned as the clinic wasn’t going to be open until Saturday. However we weren’t expecting all of the pastors and their families to have already arrived. Thankfully our team was able to adapt! We began the clinic the very next day and boy did we not realize what we were getting ourselves into. As well, our fearless team-leader, Martin Fassero, began his teaching much earlier than he thought he would. What we also didn’t know is that God had a reason for all of this happening (more on that later!!).

DAY 2:

We head over to the clinic and begin setting up shop. Organizing our pharmacy, establishing flow of patients and where the nurses will assess patients. Once setup was done the patients started making their way in, well over 100 of them and all at once! I guess my only words for it are “organized chaos”. Everyone was desperate to get their needs met. After all getting decent healthcare around those parts of Tanzania could be rather difficult. Many of those stuck in poverty can’t afford healthcare. Meanwhile those who can afford healthcare are to scared to get it at times. Sadly there is a lot of shame in having something wrong with your body in their culture. Sadder still is that doctors know this shame and will often extort their patients by threatening to share their medical information. Ps there is no HIPPA in Tanzania.

DAY 3&4:

There was no clinic on these days, Saturday and Sunday, however there was a lot of teaching and spending time building relationships with the team and other native pastors. We also spent time discussing ways to improve the flow at the clinic. Furthermore, a member of the team realized that while we were meeting physical needs we were missing out on some of the spiritual needs. So what did we change? We decided we were going to do our best to pray for every single patient regardless of how it would affect time. Sunday was an incredible day of worshiping in the Tanzanian church and cultivating relationships. I personally spent a decent amount of time with one specific pastor who truly helped me understand many of the problems the Tanzanian and “African church” were facing.

DAY 5 (Monday):

Back to the clinic! And we were soooo wrong when we thought day 1 was rough. Day one was nothing compared to what we were walking into. There were maybe 300 people waiting for us when we arrived at 9am. It was a crazy day of work. It was rather difficult but we managed to establish a good workflow and while some people were missed we prayed for numerous people! Biblical teaching continued at the conference. It is difficult at times. Person after person, it never ended. For most we were only providing short term treatment, some we couldn’t treat at all. But we knew that it mattered. We knew because the people let us know that it mattered to them. They were thankful for medication, they were thankful for a bar of soap, toothpaste and toothbrush and they were thankful for prayer above all else. As with all the other days once the clinic was closed we spent most of our time either playing with kids, sharing the gospel with kids or spending our time at the conference. Here is one of Rachel’s most treasured moment while running the clinic:

One of my most treasured moments from my missions trip to Tanzania…
Halfway through a long, hot day of working the medical clinic in Tanzania a young girl was brought to my nursing station. With her head hung low, glassy eyes, and a mumbling voice just above a whisper she began to answer my questions. When I finished assessing her I asked, “Would you like me to pray for you before to go to wait in line for the doctor?” She nodded yes. Placing my hand on her shoulder I closed my eyes and began to pray for this precious girl’s pain and suffering to be removed and also for her to know without a doubt just how precious and loved she was in God’s eyes. I opened my eyes to see a bright big smile on her beautiful little face. Standing to go she said, “Thank you for your kind words. I hope to be a doctor just like you someday.”
Well, I’m not a doctor, and I didn’t fix this girl’s problems, but through a simple heartfelt prayer the Lord turned this child’s mourning into joy. I pray that I will never underestimate the power of prayer.

DAY 6:

Tuesday looked a lot like Monday. Another crazy day at the clinic and solid biblical teaching for the pastors. However come the end of the day there was a twist we weren’t expecting. Health officials came in and said that the clinic was not safe and that they would not allow us to continue to care for people. Their criteria was that we didn’t have a bathroom with running water. Funny considering most places out in the bush didn’t have any kind of running water. As to their true intentions of shutting us down, who knows! As well education officials came in and said that the church/conference was to close to a school where kids were testing out of form 7 and therefore would only have two more days of teaching. We were caught off guard but thankfully we were able to be flexible. As well on this day I, Michael, was able to teach at the conference. It was a blessing to be able to teach and truly a humbling experience. I thanked God for the opportunity. Furthermore, while I was teaching all of the men, Savannah Fassero was teaching all of the women over at the clinic. The women were packed wall to wall, front to back to listen to a women’s health class Savannah had prepared. I wasn’t there but I heard about how awesome the class was. The women were very blessed to learn so much about their bodies. Again just another thing God used to bless the people we were with!

DAY 7:

  With the clinic shut down, the conference was priority number 1! Along with the various other times of worship and teaching Stephanie Fassero was able to teach. This was a unique experience because usually a woman would not be able to teach. In fact that was part of the topic she undertook. She spoke about the role of women in the church. I won’t go to much deeper into her message, if it’s sparked your curiosity you should talk to her about it, I can assure you she would love to share it with you!

DAY 8 (Thursday):

Well we woke up to a surprise. All the pastors and their families were gone. All of them. Some time after we had left just the previous night government officials showed up with guns and told them all to leave. That might sound incredibly scary and I am sure it was for the pastors but in Tanzania it is not an uncommon experience. There wasn’t as much ill intention or desire to hurt anyone as much as it was really just the corrupt government flexing their muscles and getting their way. It’s not uncommon for guns to be present when it is concerning the education of the kids. The government takes the form 7 test very seriously. This test determines whether kids will continue on in their education or not. For the sake of it I will simply leave it at that. Thankfully our team was flexible. We changed our plans up and went and ran a VBS at a separate school about an hour away. We donated all of our remaining supplies that we had, most of which was brought with intention of giving away. The school was incredibly blessed because in the 11 years this school had been around no one had ever donated to them. So while the conference and clinic had ended early, God made a way for us to impact even more lives.

Day 9 and so forth:

Our time had come to an end. It was time for more traveling, time to make our way back home. We spent our time encouraging each other on the team since we had made such incredible friendships. And through our travels we still did all that we could to share the gospel with anyone who crossed our paths.

We fell in love with Tanzania and are thankful for the experience. Most of all we are thankful that God spoke clearly to Rachel and I, giving us direction for our future ministry.

Thank you for reading, thank you for partnering with us and hearing the testimonies of our great and mighty King! Continue to pray for the Tanzanians and continue to pray for us as we continue follow Jesus in our daily lives.

Love,
Michael and Rachel Pouchot

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I was able to teach. Thankful for my incredible interpreter Mark

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Women’s Health class taught by Savannah Fassero

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Rachel with the girl she prayed for at the clinic.

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The beds the kids at the school sleep on.

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ZEBRA!!

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Beautiful dedication of the clinic.

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Clinic Crew!

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Welcome to Chem lab!

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Always an incredible view

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Triumphal Entry. Truly humbling.

 

TL:DR

Clinic was crazy but awesome. Conference was great, I got to teach. Both ended early because government said so. God did amazing work!

Our Time in Guatemala

About our time in Guatemala

Wednesday, we plugged in with a short-term team who ran a medical clinic in one of the villages. This was a two-fold blessing. Rachel and I desperately wanted to experience what it was like to run a medical clinic and the group only had 2 nurses. Therefore, Rachel and I got to experience the medical clinic and the short-term team was able to open 2 additional treatment stations for the villagers. It was a unique experience. There were no doctors. In these moments we had to operate far beyond our typical range of skills. Mainly in the area of prescribing antibiotics and doing our best to diagnose illness without blood work, 12-leads and x-rays. Sometimes it can be easy to look back and think that our work was in vain, we were only able to give out so much medication and most of these people won’t get medical treatment for another 6 months. However, it was throughmeeting their needs that the villagers allowed the evangelist into their homes to share the gospel. We may not have been able to meet every medical need but for some spiritual needs were met to the fullest extent and God’s kingdom was expanded.

Thursday, we spent 4 hours in prayer and in reading scripture. We did this because we had the opportunity to meet with Carlos Vargas (the man who started Hope of Life) and he asked us what our biggest desires were for ministry. Rachel and I had so many dreams that we couldn’t answer that question clearly. But 4 hours in prayer has a way of focusing the mind and organizing one’s thoughts. This was a great time of evaluating whether or not Hope of Life is where God is calling Rachel and I toserve long-term

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Friday was spent with the many orphans at the top of the mountain. Simply playing with them, painting their faces and being there for them when few others are. They are wild, eccentric and full of life. They are also in great need of someone to pour into the directly. These orphans are much better off at HOL then their previous environments. The have 3 meals a day, somewhere to sleep and usually someone to play with. But, despite the other missionary families and ministry workers, there is no designated youth ministry. No single individual or couple is focused on meeting the spiritual needs of these children. This is one of the top needs Rachel and I have been praying over and evaluating whether or not God is calling us to be the solution to this problem. Friday, we also had the opportunity to see the last part of a baby rescue. So, while we did not get to go out to whatever remote area from where this baby was rescued from it was critical for us because we would be a part of baby rescues if this is the place God calls us to.

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Saturday, we were able to go to the market in town and see what it looks like to do weekly shopping for family meals. Its’ been a huge blessing to have friends, The O’Conner family, who are already full-time missionaries here at HOL. This was also the day we meet with one of the missionaries, Jessica Holt. She spoke with Rachel and I about the various needs at HOL. She also told us her story, how she was called to serve and about some of the trials she has encountered through raising kids in the family style orphan care. Se greatly encouraged our hearts and helped Rachel and I further understand that needs at HOL. As well we spoke with Phil and Patty Monk who currently have 15 kids living in their home! Similarly, they helped provide insight for us and also encouraged us through prayer. And finally we ended this day with a time of cooking burgers and hanging out with the Thomas family. They are one of the newest American families to move to HOL to take in orphans. They went from no kids to 8 kids in just 2 months! We hope to learn more from them as time goes on!

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Sunday can certainly be characterized as a day of rest! Most of the short-term missions’ groups have left by Sunday and in general there aren’t many events going on. Daily life continues of course but slowly. It was nice to slow down from all of the hustle and bustle. We did get to experience Guatemalan church. It was strangely American. The building was more so just 4 columns with a roof, so it was very open, so the environment was very different. But the service seemed very American. All the seats faced forward toward the pastor, we opened with songs, then prayer, then teaching and a song to close. It was still a great service! One thing particularly that our friends pointed out was that the teaching on this Sunday was all these kids would get all week. For the adults they can find and start other bible studies to help with spiritual growth. But currently for most of the youth, this Sunday morning was all the teaching they would get.

Monday was a crazy filled day. Perhaps even our busiest. We aren’t even sure how we filled so much in! The day started with meeting with Carlos Vargas for a second time. As Rachel and I had spent more time in prayer and in the Word, we had come to realize that Hope of Life very well could be where God is calling us to. And we wanted Carlos to know that, and we wanted to further clarify to him our seriousness and the work we would like to do. After meeting with him we meet with 3 others whose names I will probably spell wrong. We meet with Lourdes (The woman who oversees the 400 staff at HOL), Sabrina (The CEO of HOL) and Eslin (the director of the orphanage). This meeting was pretty intense, which was a good thing! They wanted to know why we wanted to serve, wanted to know that we were serious and asked some really tough questions. It would be a lot to type all out, but I’d sum it up to say that they all truly wanted to know how serious we were in considering full0time missions and wanted to know that God had truly called us and that we aren’t just doing it because it sounds fun and exciting because there will be trials. Following this meeting we went to what is called “the dump”. It’s exactly what your mind is picturing. It’s where all the trash is taken to be sorted and burned. Except it isn’t sorted by machines, it is sorted by people. Our purpose in doing to the dump is to feed everyone who is there. Just 2 years ago they would feed around 300-400 people! Now they feed around 50 or so. This is a good thing, because it means the people are getting healthier, getting jobs and are able to move. The reason people live there or go there often is to sort through the trash in hopes to find something to sell. If they are lucky they will make around 1 dollar a day doing this. Seeing this makes you realize you have a whole in life to be thankful for! When we got back from the dump we were connected with another missionary Chris McNutt. His job is to oversee what is known as the rescue village, Las Casitas. There are 53 families with a total 170 kids living in Las Casitas and each family has its own story. Each house we walked by Chris would tell us the story of how they were rescued. For one family her husband was murdered, and rumors were the killer wanted to kill the children as well, so HOL took them in and gave them a safe place to live. For another family the father was raping the daughter, HOL heard of this and went and rescued the family and gave them a safe place to live. There were stories of either murder, rape or pure poverty for just about every family. Each one now has hope thanks to being rescued. Chris showed us every aspect of what was going on in Las Casitas, his finger was on the very pulse of the place and he knew every single person by name. We spent several hours there. This day ended with spending time with our friends the O’Conner’s, whom without we may have very well never known about HOL. We went and ate at the only restaurant around. It was on the back porch of someone’s home and it was some of the best food I have ever had. We enjoyed our last bit of time with them and prayed together with the family. It was a great way to end our trip.

Tuesday was nothing but traveling.

Perhaps one of the biggest things for Rachel and I is meeting with the many different missionaries and administration. For those who might have missed it Rachel and I have recently been responding to the conviction on our hearts for long term missions. We always hoped that long-term missions would be how we spent our life, but we didn’t think that was going to happen just yet. But it is happening, and it is happening soon!! There are very few things holding us back. One of those things being we aren’t entirely too sure where we want to go! But being here in Guatemala and meeting with the many missionaries at Hope of Life is helping us focus on what exactly we are looking for. We have been able to learn about multiple ministries and opportunities here at HOL. As well we have been able to hear about what needs still have not been met and evaluate whether or not Rachel and I have a calling to fill those needs. Join with us in prayer in making this decision!

There is still much work to be done. Here in Guatemala, in the US, Tanzania and every other place of the world. I pray we are all obedient to the voice of God and his leading. Thanks for reading this far and please pray for Rachel and me as often as we come to your minds. If you ever want to know how to better pray for us, just come check out this blog. We will try and update it as much as possible to keep others informed of the work God is doing both in us and where he is leading us.

With love,
Michael and Rachel Pouchot

The Journey Begins

Dear family and close friends,

Hi, it’s the most recent college grad Michael Pouchot and his incredible wife Rachel here with an exciting life update that we would like to share with you!

To keep a long story short, we want to share that medical school is no longer our current pursuit, despite the fact that it has been for the past 4 years. So, what are we doing now? Rachel and I are now pursuing full-time missionary opportunities.Continue reading “The Journey Begins”