Saturday, December 28, 2013

A new calling and another move...

Dear Friends & Family,

We hope that your Christmas season is going wonderful, and that the Lord has blessed you like He has blessed us! We wanted to write you to tell you of a very hard decision that we have had to make. Bethany and I have been praying hard for the past couple of months about what the Lord has for us long term. We both feel a strong call to missions on our lives, and we have such great love for the people of Guatemala. However, after being home these few months, I (JD) have seen how much my parents need me to be with them right now. This last year has been very difficult for them. We all had to go through a very difficult situation that I have not previously told to many people. The last couple of years, my brother got into partying, drinking, and drugs. One night, he, along with two or three other people he hung out with, killed a man. Daniel was the primary suspect. He was charged with capital murder and later was able to plead out to life in prison. Thankfully though, his first night in jail he truly met the Lord for the first time! He got saved that night and is now living for the Lord! He is daily in the word and is growing in Christ.
While we are overjoyed that he is now serving the Lord, it was extremely difficult for my parents and I this last year. Bethany and I have been praying for a while now and seeking God’s will in this. We prayed that God would make it obvious whether or not he wanted us to move back. In all of our decisions about Guatemala, God has shown us His will in a big way. One evening, we prayed specifically that God would give us direction and clearly show us where we needed to be. The next morning, we got a call that our landlord wanted their house back. This confirmation, along with counsel from multiple people, has led us to make the decision to move home this next year. We have decided to come home at beginning of March. This was such a hard decision for us- so much harder that even deciding to move to Guatemala. We love the country and the people of Guatemala. It pains us to have to leave. But we know that God is calling us home for now to minister to our families.
We ask that you continue to pray for us as we make this transition back to the states, as this will be our third move in a little over year. We are uncertain on what the future holds, as far as jobs and housing, but God has been so faithful to us and we are certain He won’t stop now. We also ask that you would prayerfully consider continuing to support us through March, as we will have bills to take care of in Guatemala until the end of that month.
We cannot say thank you enough for your partnership with us while we were in Guatemala. We know that God called us and used us in mighty ways during our year in Guatemala, and each and every one of you helped to minister to these precious people through your support. Thank you for being a vessel of Christ and giving so generously to our ministry. We praise Him for our time in Guatemala and all that we experienced and learned while there. We covet your prayers as we make this transition, and continue to pray that the gospel message continues to spread through the country of Guatemala through Clubhouse Guatemala.

Soli Deo Gloria (to God alone be the Glory),

JD, Bethany, & Karis Jones

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Producing faithfulness or the loss of our house.

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. (James 1:2-4, ESV)

Most of you know the setbacks that Bethany and I have had since we arrived in Guatemala. From our car getting stuck in port, cutting short our time at language school to having a lot of our belongings stolen on the container. Through all of this God has continued to show Himself faithful and taken care of us. We were dealt another blow a couple days ago. I received a phone call from our executive director, who informed us that our landlord wants their house back February 1st. We were devastated with this news. Bethany has worked very hard since we have been in Guatemala to make this house our home and we had just started to feel at home before we left to come back to the states for the holidays. Unfortunately we have no choice but to move now and  will have less than a month when we return to Guatemala. 

We have endured a lot since moving Guat and we will make it through this as well. Continue to pray with us that God would give us direction and wisdom as we follow him..

JD, Bethany, and Karis

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

A little R&R...

Hey everyone! As I have previously stated I am not a good blogger. But I just wanted to give everyone a quick update.

Most of you know that we are back in the states right now. We are in until the 27th of December. I have had a few people ask if we are back permanently and the answer is no. We are just home for the holidays and to raise support before we start into next year.

This past year was great and we are looking forward to next year! God is doing great things with Clubhouse and we are privileged to be apart of it!


Friday, September 20, 2013

Here, There, and Everywhere

If you follow our blog you know that I (JD) am really bad about this whole blogging thing! Mainly because by time I sit down at my computer at night my brain has given up and gone to bed haha. But here is an update of this summer and some upcoming new about the fall!

This past summer was probably the hardest I have ever worked in my entire life! As Field Director for Clubhouse, I run day to day operations in coordination with our National Director. This includes being the team liaison (taking care of teams), doing logistics for team ministry, handling administrative responsibilities, and making decision on daily schedule changes, on top of trying to take pictures and video for our ministry.

This summer, we saw 20 churches come on mission trips with us and we still have 3-4 more teams that will be coming this fall (over 300 volunteers)! God is expanding our ministry faster than we can keep up with! The teams were able to see many salvations and lives changed. Two of our teams alone saw over 100 salvations the weeks they were here. Along with helping people to meet their ultimate need of salvation through the blood of Jesus Christ, teams were also able to meet physical needs of many Guatemalans. We built houses, stoves, vertical gardens, chicken coops, and delivered food to families in need. Along with our volunteer teams this summer, we have many other projects going on. We are in the middle of construction on our school and camp. We are already in the planning stages for a fall youth camp for the older kids in our programs and next summers volunteer teams. It has been a busy but incredible summer, and we are so thankful that the Lord has allowed us to be apart of it!

As some of you know, we traveled back to the States in August to renew our Visas and for a little R&R. It was great week to be back and see our families and a few of our friends! We wished we would have been able to see everyone! But only being home for a short time we wanted to be with family as much as possible. We are coming back soon! We will be back in October and will be staying through Christmas. We are so excited to be able to back for an extended period of time to not only see everyone but to also share about what the Lord is doing here in Guatemala! We will be at the Clubhouse booth at the Conclave Conference in Dallas in October. We have a couple of speaking engagements in Texas so far this fall. If you would like us to come share about Clubhouse and Guatemala send us an email at or at We will also be having a few small fundraisers while we are back. More info soon on those!

Our little family is doing well! Karis is continuing to grow. She is very close to walking, but still waking up 3-4 times a night which makes for very tired parents. Hard to believe our little girl is almost one! Bethany is doing well (minus the lack of sleep). Mike has asked her to work with our new sewing ministry Clubhouse has started. She will be working closely with Pastor Fernando's wife Swanda to find patterns for the women to sew as well as collecting supplies. I am doing good as well. I started back to seminary this fall after taking last semester off because of our move. I only have 8 classes left for my Masters of Theological Studies and then, Lord willing, I will be done with post high-school studies after 8 years!

Thank you all for your continued prayers! Hope to see you soon!

JD, Bethany, and Karis

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Praying in Faith

I started using a devotional last year called "For the Love of God" by D.A. Carson. It is a great devotional that combines a read-through-the-Bible-in-year-plan with a short devotional/ theological observation on one of the passages for the day. Last week one of the selected passages was Acts 12. This passage is the account of Peter's arrest and subsequent release from prison by an angel of the Lord. When Peter is released he goes to a house where believers are praying (no doubt for him and his release).

"When he realized this, he went to the house of Mary, the mother of John whose other name was Mark, where many were gathered together and were praying. And when he knocked at the door of the gateway, a servant girl named Rhoda came to answer. Recognizing Peter's voice, in her joy she did not open the gate but ran in and reported that Peter was standing at the gate. They said to her, “You are out of your mind.” But she kept insisting that it was so, and they kept saying, “It is his angel!”But Peter continued knocking, and when they opened, they saw him and were amazed. (Acts 12:12-16, ESV)"

This really stuck out to me. Here, these believers are praying. Calling on the name of the Lord, and when the Lord answers, they don't believe it. It occurred to me how often do I pray while not believing. Little did I know that this passage would come into play in my life less than a week later. 

Yesterday, we lost power at our mission house. When the power goes out here nothing works. Lights, stove, water, all of it is dead. We have a team of 30 staying there right now. I spent most of the day worrying about it and trying to figure out a solution. About 5pm, we had figured out a solution to power the fridge but we still had no solution for the water problem. We had contacted the power company. They were going to come get us power back, however they couldn't give us a specific time. As we were giving our daughter a bath, I prayed "Lord, please get the power back on", but I found myself immediately going to worrying about how we were going to manage without power. Then this passage came back to me. Here I was praying without faith. I bowed my head and said "Lord, I know that you have the ability to turn the power back on and I am asking that you would do it". We finished Karis' bath. I read her a couple of bed time stories. As I walked out of her bedroom, I glanced through one of our windows and saw light in the mission house! The power was back on.

 And all it took was praying in faith

Thursday, August 1, 2013

In the middle and in the way:

In January of this year, my father and I hooked up a U-Haul trailer of stuff and drove to Knoxville, TN. The trailer was full of the bulk of what was left of our earthly belongings. The boxes were to be loaded on a container later on that month and shipped to Guatemala. Because of the many different circumstances out of our and Clubhouses' control, the container didn't ship until June. When it arrived in port, it sat for nearly 3 weeks because of the bureaucracy of the Guatemalan government. However, the day finally arrived when the container was delivered to our staging area for unload! We were so excited! As we started unloading our boxes I started to move the boxes that where marked with our name aside. When we finished unloading I noticed a lot of our boxes were missing. I began to think, "Well, maybe I just missed them and we will find them when we go through the bulk of the load." However, after much searching none of the boxes that were missing turned up. To our best knowledge, the boxes were stolen by the "Christian" society that we used to import the container. 

The stuff that was stolen was mostly kitchen things, some board games, and home items. It was things that could be replaced. However, a few of the big boxes were Karis' stuff. Clothes, toys, and other baby items that she never got to use. This was what hurt the most. A lot of the stuff was gifts from other people to Karis. Also, many of the items we received as wedding gifts were also stolen. 

I am thankful to say that the Lord has sustained us through this trial. We know that the things stolen are just "stuff." He has provided above and beyond what we could have asked for. For us, it was another conformation that we are right in the middle of God's will and when you are there you are also right in the way of Satan. I am thankful for this trial. It was brought me personally closer to my Father and given me a greater appreciation for the things that the Lord had blessed us with! 

The first verse that the Lord brought to my memory was from Job 1:21b "...The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord." It is an easy verse to say but a hard one to live. Loss hurts. It makes you angry! However, as Christians we should always expect opposition from Satan when we are following the Lord. We should always be prepared to stand firm on the promises of the Gospel. 


Tuesday, July 23, 2013

New batteries in my toothbrush:

When I was growing up my Dad used to find sermon illustrations in everything. I used to think it was kind of strange until I started doing it a few years ago. I told myself a few months ago I would start writing them down. 

New Batteries in my Toothbrush:

When Bethany and I got married she got me to start using a Crest Spinbrush. They are great. They are a lot cheaper than sonicare but better than an ordinary toothbrush. They have replaceable heads and use two AA batteries. 

I have been using the same head  and batteries on mine for about the last 3 months. Apparently I am really brush my teeth really hard because I looked at the head of my brush and it looked pretty rough. The batteries were also going out on it and if I bit down on it with even the slightest form of pressure it would stop "spinbrushing"(?). So I decided it would be best to change both the batteries and the head. 

Wow!! It was like a whole new toothbrushing experience! The brush actually spun and the bristles were firm and actually did what they were designed to do! Then it hit me. That's what this toothbrush was supposed to be like the whole time. It was my fault for letting it get to the point of being mundane. The toothbrush didn't do anything different, I just let it get worn down. 

How often do we go to a special service at church, or a conference, summer youth camp, or retreat of some sort and have this awesome "experience" with God. We come back and we are on a high and our relationship with God is awesome and then it just gets mundane and ordinary... again. Who changed? It certainly wasn't God. "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever." Hebrews 13:8 (ESV)

How often does it happen in our churches? How many people will leave an existing church to go to a new church because its exciting? Then in 5 years it is the exact same as the church they left? 

We have to be ever so vigilant as Christians and church leaders that we do not get into a rut in our spiritual lives and in our churches. It is not good enough to do something because  "that's the way we have always done it".  I'm not saying that we do away with church traditions; as long as they have a foundation in the Scriptures. 

"For the word of God is living and active..." Hebrews 4:12 (ESV) 

If we find our time with the Lord to be stale, then change it up. Pray more. Change up your routine. Our God is not stale. He is not mundane. He is the King of the Universe, the Sovereign God over all of creation! How dare we make Him boring. 

Saturday, June 29, 2013

A little behind...

Wow. As usual I am a little behind with out updates. May and June have flown by! Like I stated in our last post, we were able to get out vehicle finally! Once we got the Yukon, we had our freedom and independence back! We had plans to take at least a month of language school when we got here. Unfortunately with everything that has been going on we were only able to get in a week of classes. We have both picked up a lot by simply being surrounded by Spanish. We are planning to go back to school once team season is over, for at least a few more weeks.

With teams coming in full force now, our lives have gotten extremely busy. Part of my responsibility is to take care of teams that stay in our mission house. This usually entails picking up at the airport/ welcoming them, going over weekly schedule and house rules, checking in on them daily to make sure that there isn't anything they need. I am also the designated hospital runner. This all translated to being up at between 3:30 & 4am, three out of four days a few weeks ago. It definitely made for some long days, but I love it. I told someone the other day that the longest, hardest day here, doing what I am called to do, is better than the easiest day at a 9-5 job that is not my calling.

We have seen incredible things happen this summer so far! Peoples lives being changed, both Guatemalans and Americans!

In my last post I talk about the school that Clubhouse has purchased and is working on to refurbish. We have had three teams that have worked out there so far this summer. We had a medical team, a team that came in a built 8 stoves, a house, and a chicken coop, and a team that came in and solely worked on the school. (photos by Mike Parker)

We are starting to see the walls being broken down as we are putting up walls around the school. Mike had the opportunity to present the gospel last week and we saw 11 boys accept Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior!

This is a "long-haul" project for us. As I stated in my last blog, I was working on a video for this project and I finally completed it. 

I am super excited to see what God is going to do the rest of the summer here in Guatemala! It is so exciting to see God's hand at work down here! 

Even though things have been really busy we have been blessed with a week off next week! It is going to be great to be able to just spend some time together as a family and also be able to spend time "outside of the office" with our awesome Clubhouse staff!

Even though everything is going great right now, we do have some prayer request:

  • As some of you know our ministry shipped a container with supplies about a month ago. Mike was gracious enough to allow us to put some stuff on it as well. We have had nothing but problems with it. We delivered items to be shipped the first week of January, it didn't ship until a few weeks ago and it has been sitting in port for almost 2 weeks thanks to the Guatemalan tax office. Pray that God will give us favor with them and we can get our container in. I honestly have forgotten what all we sent, however, there are things on the container that are going to allow us to bless people here in Guatemala.  
  • We just got our visas extended for another 90 days. This is however, the only time this year that we can extend them. They go up in the middle of September which a month before we have planned on returning to the states (as much as we cannot wait to see everyone back in the good ol' US this is a little longer that we want to be away from our home and longer than I can be away from the day to day operations). We have started the paperwork to apply for our residency here. According to the information that we have received as soon as we submit out paperwork the clock stops on when we have to leave the country. We are currently waiting on some paperwork to come back from the Guatemalan Embassy in D.C. before we can submit everything. Pray that we would get these back quickly and that our applications would be accepted! If we are not able to submit our paperwork in time we will have to leave the country for 3 days. While this is an expense that we have budgeted for it is still an expense that we would rather not have to have. 
  • The busyness of this summer is beginning to look like it could possibly migrate into the fall. We are looking possibly having speaking engagements in Texas, Tennessee, and Louisiana. I might be making a couple of trips back to Guatemala for vision trips with Pastor and Student pastors. If you would like to have us come and share about Clubhouse and our call to missions we would love to come! Send me an email at

Friday, May 3, 2013

Settling in...

It has been a while since we have posted anything as things have been busy around here. Things have been great here! A little crazy at points but great! We are slowly getting our house put together as we look for good deals and get more confident going out shopping.

We finally have our vehicle. It took nearly a month to get to us but it was well worth the wait! Ewald, Pat, our friend Erick, and I all drove out to the coast and back to pick it up, a total of about 14 hours! It is a beautiful drive and great scenery but it isn't something I want to do again anytime soon.

Bethany and I have begun language school. After being here almost a month I was beginning to feel pretty good about my comprehension of the language (relatively speaking). After a day in language school I was thoroughly reminded how much work was ahead of me to learn Spanish well. Bethany is picking it up faster than I am and will probably be translating for me well before I can understand myself!

Our Executive Director, Mike Parker, was in last week with a preliminary construction crew to look over our new school.

Another missionary here in Guatemala started building a school a couple of years ago and ran out of funds before he could complete it. He listed it on what is essentially Guatemala Missionary craigslist earlier below cost and we purchased it from him and are picking up where he left off. The school is located between two extremely poor areas. Most of the kids in this area do not get a good education and a lot of them end up joining gangs. We are hoping that with the school we can keep this from happening. Also the school has a high capacity water well (non-functioning at this time) that will allow us to supply clean water to the villages and teach the kids at the school business principles.

I was able to go with Mike to take pictures and video. Here are some of the photos (you can find the rest here):

To get the school and well back in working condition it is going to take about $50,000. If you would be interested in helping us with this project send me or Mike an email. This project weights heavy on my heart, the kids in these villages that surround the school are the poorest I have ever been around, but have some of the biggest and sweetest smiles!

Thank you all for your continued prayers! We are about to get into our busy season with multiple teams coming in for close to 10 straight weeks! I have also been given some of the administrative responsibilities here on the field and am trying to get organized to take care of all of those. We are all doing well and continuing to adjust to daily life here. We are going to our partner church here, which is a Spanish speaking church. Some Sundays there is a translator some Sundays there is not haha. But we love the people there and you can truly feel the spirit of God!

We miss all of you and are excited to return for a few months this fall to share, in person what God is doing in Guatemala!


JD, Bethany, and Karis

Saturday, March 30, 2013

one week in

Wow! We have been here over a week! Time is already flying by! Thank you all for your wonderful notes and prayers, we can feel them! Things are going wonderfully here! We have spent the last week settling in and getting our house setup. Karis is doing great, starting to sleep a little more at night (praise the Lord!).

One of our fellow missionaries is letting us use his suburban until our Yukon arrives next week! So we have been out driving a bit this last week. Sunday we drove to church with the help of Katie Parker, then drove all the way to Antigua afterwards! Living in shreveport for the last two years has taught me to be a defensive/aggressive driver which comes in handy down here haha.

Church Sunday was incredible! We have teams in the week so there was a translater for part of the service but even when it was just Spanish it was wonderful! Their worship is so genuine and their love for God and for others shows through their worship! I found myself just in awe of the presence of God in the building!

Prayer requests:

  • Language:
    • It has been tough not being able to speak the language. We start language school here in a few weeks and we have a strong desire to learn. Pray that God gives us understanding and increases our learning capacity. 
  • Our vehicle:
    • Our vehicle shipped Friday! Pray that everything will go well at the port and customs. We are trying to find a lawyer that can handle all the paper work to get it titled and get Guatemalan tags. 
  • Residency:
    • We are going to start the very lengthy and frustrating journey of trying to get residency. Our current visas only allow us to be in the country for 180 days before we have to leave for 3 days. This can get rather expensive having to come and go once/twice a year. With residency we are able to dictate when we come and go.
Thank you all for your continued prayers!

JD, Bethany, and Karis

Happy Easter!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

We made it!

After getting up at 2:30am, catching two flights, and standing in line at immigration and customs we finally made to Guatemala! 

Thank you all so very much for your prayers for our travels. They couldn't have gone any better! All of our luggage made our connecting flight and made it through customs. The one thing that did have us concerned was how Karis was going to do on the flights. She slept through almost the entirety of both flights and was perfect when she was awake. Everyone we came into contact with were very accommodating. God is so good!

We are currently unpacking and setting up our house. It is going to be an on going process for a while but we are incredibly thankful that the Lord blessed us with a house that we were able to move straight into. 

Our vehicle should be here in a couple of weeks and we are asking for prayer that it all goes smoothly! 

Thank you all so very much for your continued prayers. We will continue to update on the blog, email newsletter, and Facebook. 

JD, Bethany, and Karis

Monday, February 11, 2013

Update and Prayer requests.

We have a little over 5 weeks left in the states. Thats 36 days to be exact or 864 hours. (just in case you wanted to know)

IT IS CLOSE! We are growing more and more excited with each day! We cannot express our gratitude to all of you who have/are supporting us both financially and more importantly through prayer! We do ask for your continued prayer support as we begin to get every little last thing finalized and prepared.

Here are a few specific prayer request that we have:

  1. The shipping of our vehicle:
    • I have never done this before so it is a little nerve racking trying to get everything setup state side, making sure it arrives in the correct amount of time, and gets through customs in both the US and Guatemala. 
  2. Packing:
    • As I'm sure most of you know packing for a week or two long vacation can be tough. Packing to move to another country is significantly harder. Thankfully the bulk of the items we are taking is already headed that way. However, we still have clothes and some essentials that have to go with us when we head that way. Also with my role as our visual journalist and media producer I have to carry all of my equipment with me safely. 
  3.  The plane flight:
    • Bethany and I are seasoned travelers but this time we have Karis with us, who will be almost 5 months old when we leave. Pray that she has a divinely induced sleep/calm and we will have the wisdom to make her comfortable to the main flight from Houston.  
  4. Visa/Residency:
    • We are planning on applying for residency once we arrive in country to avoid the visa restrictions that make you leave the country every 90 days (which gets expensive). Pray that we find the right individual to get out paperwork in order and that we find favor with the government of Guatemala. 
  5. Clubhouse
    • We are for prayer for our ministry as well. This is going to be a huge year for us as we have many projects going on! If your church is looking for a place to get involved in missions contact me @ 
Also we will be starting an email newsletter in March. Sign up here:

Monday, January 21, 2013

Happy New Year!

We hope everyones new year is going great!

The Lord is continuing to bless us as we prepare for our move in just eight short weeks!

As some of you know my family went through an soul shaking event right before Christmas. However, God has been incredibly faithful to us in so many ways over these last few weeks. Not only did this happen right during Christmas but also when we were gearing up to do a big fundraising push. I told my wife at one point that I just didn't know how I was going to handle it all! She reminded me that God had brought us this far and wasn't going to let us come so close and then fall short. Within two days of her saying that we had two large commitments come through that have put us to the point that we can move down and have the money to take care of all or our needs! Praise the Lord! We would like to personally thank each and everyone of you who has committed to us both financially and to pray for us! You all will have a part in our ministry and in the lives that God is able to use us to touch!

It's hard to believe that we are so close to moving! It seems like yesterday that we made the decision to go! We ask for your prayers in these next few weeks and we prepare to leave that we would be able to take care of everything we have left do. We also ask for prayers for Clubhouse! We are anticipating a big year with many volunteers and projects!

Thank you again for all the prayers!

JD, Bethany, and Karis