Rick Laven

June 30 (evening): Antigua was a nice, short trip today; we were there for about 4 hours to shop and eat at McD’s.  The food was good and the shopping was in a very tight marketplace with lots of food and souvenirs.  We bought a few things but are looking forward to the other cities in the days ahead.  We came back, ate, packed and had our last devotions; it was a great devotion time; it is great to know that all 5 of us have 14 new lifelong friends b/c of this trip and they all live in West Michigan; we can’t wait to have a reunion sometime this summer with the entire team.  We are leaving at 6:30AM tomorrow morning for our next small adventure.  Thanks for all of your prayers.


June 30 (morning): We head to Antigua in about 45 minutes (9AM) for sightseeing and shopping; We are going to return to the mission base around 4PM.  We will have final group devotions tonight and then the Michigan team will head to the airport for a midnight flight back home; we will be taken to a near town tomorrow morning to start our “vacation” part of the trip.  We need to be somewhere by 7AM.


June 29 (evening):  We dedicated all 3 houses today;  all went phenomenal; all 3 families accepted Christ.  We would go to each house; the team that built the house would go in with the family to give them gifts for the house and then the Guatemalan pastor would present the plan of salvation while the rest of us surrounded the house and prayed; we did this for all 3 houses;

Tomorrow we go to Antigua to do some tourism stuff.  The team flies out tomorrow at midnight; we will stay at the mission base one more night and then get driven into town to start doing some more tourism stuff.

Paradise Bound follows up with all of these village every so often with pastors, discipleship, med clinics and more house building for those who need it.  This is one mission that I will for sure donate money to each year.  They are doing ground-zero work and it was amazing to be part of it.  I never thought we would be on the front lines like this.


June 29 (morning):  Right now it’s 6:37AM.  We will be going back to the village to dedicate the houses with the families, give them practical gifts for their house (hooks, baskets, etc.), and give them the plan of salvation.  I will write when we get back later this evening.  Thanks for all your prayers.  Today, please pray for Heidi as she is the next person not feeling well.  Today is out last day in the villages.  Tomorrow, we do some tourism stuff as a team.


June 28: I was down and out all day today (vomiting and the other for about 6 hours) and then laid in bed until this morning (June 29).  I feel much better now; it’s weird b/c the thing that is going around is like the flu but without the temperature.  Miya came back about halfway through the day feeling bad….but thank the Lord it wasn’t what I had; Jenn thinks she was exhausted; she just slept a lot and didn’t have any flu-like issues.  That was a huge answer to prayer b/c the flu and diabetes don’t work well together.  Trey is still doing great.

The team finished the houses today; they did stucco on the outside, finished mudding and sanding the inside, painted and wrote verses (in Spanish) on the walls along with different drawing (suns, birds, etc.).  I saw pictures and they looked very nice.


June 27 (early evening): Cole, Patti, and Christine stayed back today;  Cole is starting to feel better but not much of an appetite yet; he only threw up once all day.  The other 2 are doing ok.  We have about 75% of the build done today; we built a house for a widow of 90 something years old and her family is living with her.  They are very hard workers; they all helped us with the build except for the widow.  For lunch, the village made us homemade tortillas, rice and black beans; it was very good.  They also had a 3 year old boy living with them and a 6 year old girl.  They played outside while we built; we had prefect weather – 70’s and partly cloudy and no humidity. They were very friendly and all wanted to help the entire time; our team consisted of Anya, Miya, and 3 others.  Jenn is feeling much better but not 100% yet.  Tomorrow we go back to do another layer of drywall mud, stucco the outside, and put the inside roof on; we already have the outside “patio” roof on.  We still need to paint and do some decorations but not sure when that is yet.  Our 3rd day there, we do a dedication day so I’m guessing we do the decorating then.  We were able to leave a lot of our supplies there due to the relationship that Paradise Bound has with the village.  This was probably my favorite day so far b/c of building a house with the family that needs it; everyone was so kind and grateful.  Pray that Cole and the other 2 can get their strength back and join us tomorrow.

Anya precuts all of the metal studs for all of the houses way in advance.  We drywall the inside and use cement board on the outside.  The roofs are tin and both slanted.  The “patio” area provide complete shade which is very nice b/c on sunny days, the shade is very comfortable.

Today’s drive was about one hour.  We brought one of the village families back with us b/c they have a daughter that needs to get to a hospital; they will be sleeping at the mission base in a family room and then someone will drive them to the hospital tomorrow.  We will be eating soon, then doing group devotions/singing, and then going to bed.  We have to get up again at 5:30AM tomorrow morning; the main reason we start as early as possible is b/c there are usually afternoon rains many days in June.  Today it rained a little but not until we were ready to leave.


June 27 (morning): We had to get up at 5:30AM to leave by 6:30AM for the building day.  Cole is still sick and so are 2 other team members.  Dan thinks it’s the flu and not a parasite b/c the parasite pills work within 30 minutes or less of taking them.  Jenn probably had a parasite b/c she felt better within hours of the pill.  Pray that the sickness will not keep spreading.  Jenn, Trey, myself, and Miya are doing good.


June 26: Thanks for praying for Jennifer; she was better in about 3 hours and was able to go on the med clinic trip today; we went to a village that they have been ministering to for years.  Our leader (Dan) said that tonight was the first time he had that many men from the village come forward during the invitation; Dan also said that the next step in this village is to plant a church.  Today, Cole, Trey and I worked in the clinic; Trey did the eye checks and Cole and I helped fill the medicine orders from the nurses.  Jenn and Miya played with the kids and did a lot of braiding of hair.

Jenn is pretty much back to normal and didn’t have any issues all day.  On the way home from today’s village, Cole got sick and it wasn’t car sickness; he must have picked up a parasite too; it is 10PM Guatemalan time and he is miserable; he just took the parasite medicine and hopefully by morning, he will be feeling better; please pray for Cole and pray that Miya will not be affected at all this week.  I think this is a direct relation to being in distant villages and playing with kids and not holding back. So far, Miya’s numbers have been very good and we have had no diabetic complications.  Tomorrow will be our first home building day.  I will keep you posted.  Thanks again for your prayers.


June 25: We got to sleep in for those of us who could.  Today we ran a med clinic in a remote village 3 hours away.  Paradise Bounds looks on Google Earth for unreached villages; then they send someone from their team to try to find it via motorcycle.  Once it is found, the man (or men) on the motorcycle(s) talk to the village leaders to see if they are OK with Paradise Bound coming in the near future to hand out medicine.  Once the village has OK’d it, Paradise Bound will send a team.  That team was us today; 7 of us helped run a medical clinic while the rest of us played with the kids and adults (hair, nails, coloring, reading, soccer, frisbee, etc.).  Once the medical clinic was completed, we all watch the Jesus video (in Spanish), sing songs, and the Paradise Bound Guatemalan pastor preaches the salvation message with an invitation.  Numerous people came forward.  Once the service is over, everyone is handed a Spanish Bible and is give rice and beans to take home. Paradise Bound keeps in contact with all the villages they have touched and will continue to do medical clinics, house building and follow up with those who have accepted Christ.

Sidenote 1: Two out of the three hours of driving was on roads are are pretty much rock beds.  The last hour of the trip was driving on a dried up river bed full of large stones and also driving through a sugar cane field that had a dirt road that was much nice than the rocky riverbed next to it.  They have also discovered villages further up this road but won’t be able to drive to them until July b/c they are still too wet in June.

Sidenote 2: Cole did all of the eye checks and handed out glasses b/c they needed someone who could speak Spanish for the eye checking procedure.  Miya painted nails and played with the young girls; Trey helped me a lot with playing with the kids and also the coloring pages and helping all of us speak to the people in the village.  All 3 of them helped me and anyone else on the team with communication throughout the day.


June 24: It was a very good travel day; it was very uneventful which is nice.  Customs was not an issue and both flights were very smooth and went by fast.  We had a two hour van ride from the Guatemala airport to the mission base.  That was the most unique experience of the day.  The streets are very narrow, incredibly bumpy, and dogs and people are all over the streets.  Also, there are no speed limits outside of the city….I also did not see any traffic lights.

One big surprise was our van driver for the mission was one of my former students from 6 years ago. She has serving with Paradise Bound full time for 3 years.  It was very cool to see her and how well she is doing.  Her name is Anya.  Her and Dan pretty much run the mission teams while they are here.  Dan led our devotions tonight and is going to be a great leader for all of us no matter what the age.  He will be challenging us in ways that we have not been challenged.

The scenery is amazing.   We are high up in the mountains with amazing views.  It is going to be a great experience serving God and being surrounded by some amazing natural beauty.



13 thoughts on “Rick Laven

    • That’s so awesome to have a former student there with you,looking forward to hear how God uses your family there will be praying daily for you guys

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks; Jenn woke up at 5AM this morning (Sunday, 7AM Michigan time) very sick; she must have gotten a parasite that you can get from pretty much anything. She has meds in her right now but pray that she can keep the meds in her body. They say that the medicine will start making you feel better in 20-30 minutes. We are going to a different village today for another med clinic, but she won’t be going if she doesn’t feel better. We are leaving in about 2-3 hours from now so she does have time to get better if possible.


  1. Wow, Rick… I had read somewhere on the site that this group was going to go to a village never gone to before…what an amazing trip and experience. I personally appreciate your journaling like this. It helps us see a tiny bit of what you all are experiencing. Love and prayers, ~momK~


    • Thanks; Jenn woke up at 5AM this morning (7AM Michigan time) very sick; she must have gotten a parasite that you can get from pretty much anything. She has meds in her right now but pray that she can keep the meds in her body. They say that the medicine will start making you feel better in 20-30 minutes. We are going to a different village today for another med clinic, but she won’t be going if she doesn’t feel better. We are leaving in about 2-3 hours from now so she does have time to get better if possible.


  2. We are praying for Jennifer to recover quickly – our God is powerful. we will also be praying that no one else gets it.
    Love, Mom


  3. I am so thankful that God answered prayer for Jennifer. I’m sure there were many people praying. We are now praying for Cole and the rest of you as well as the whole team. Love you guys and know that God has led you there for His purposes. I am reminded that the disciples experienced a storm even with Jesus in the boat with them. Mom L


    • Thanks for your prayers; I’m 90% positive the people that stayed back today will be with us tomorrow. We had an early morning but we were done by 3PM and back by 4:15PM with a lot of downtime to get cleaned up; some are playing games and now we are going to eat (6PM).


  4. Hi Rick….. your messages have been so very helpful to me and I appreciate them more than I can express! Sorry to hear that Cole’s sickness did not go away as quickly as Jenn’s did. We are all praying hard for him to get better and for Miya, Trey and you not to get this sickness too.

    I am curious if when you do these homes if they are for the villages that you visited? Because that first village was a long ways on some bad roads…and was hoping you did not have to do that daily for the next three days….but I know that if that is the case you will do just fine!

    You have a ton of prayer support going up for your family.

    Love and hugs and tons of prayers….


    • The houses that we are building are for a different village. I think Paradise Bound starts their ministry in a new village with a medical clinic first and then houses later only if the village needs it; some villages already have strong houses made of hand-made bricks. They only build houses for people in the village that don’t have a sturdy weather-proof house. The village we went to today, they have built numerous houses in; I believe the 3 that we built today were the last ones needed in this village. Thanks for the prayers. I do believe the ones that didn’t make it today will be healthy enough for tomorrow.


  5. It does sound like a strange form of the flu with no temp. I’m glad you are over it and all of you were able to experience such an awesome final day in the village. God doesn’t ask us to understand what He is doing but just to trust Him to bring good out of it for His glory. I have been so concerned for all of you this week. Last night I went to Bible study and a lady asked prayer for her children who were on a mission trip to Kazakstan (not spelled right I’m sure) and they were supposed to stop in Istanbul, Turkey. They had to be rerouted because of the terrorism attack. If I had a choice it would be the flu. Anyway the prayers will continue for a great day tomorrow with the team and then for your family vacation. Much love, Mom L


    • Actually, a boy (13 yrs old) did have a small temp last night and was vomiting; he is doing better this morning; keep praying that Miya and Trey won’t get it. I think it’s more of an intestinal thing of just different germs getting in our bodies since only 1 or 2 of us are going down at a time. We are leaving in about 45 minutes to visit Antigua to do some shopping and sightseeing; Jenn wanted to go see the cross that overlooks the city for a photo, but Dan (our Paradise Bound leader) won’t let her b/c it is not safe. You can only go up there safely at 10AM or 3PM with police escort b/c of a lot of crimes happening up there; I guess it’s one of the most photographed places in the world. We are going to return to the mission base around 4PM. It’s been a great week; the kids would love to be flying home with the team tonight but hopefully they will appreciate their experience in the future.


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