When my Pastor asked me to put together a vision trip where he could see first hand our ministry in Guatemala, and see how our church could possibly come along side us in the future, I was really excited. From the onset I knew this was going to be a good trip. I began planning this trip about 3 months in advance with our team members in Guatemala. It was an action packed week where we met with the Board of Directors of Radio Redención, where they laid out a new project for us to possibly come along side. More to follow in a later post.
We visited the very poor village of Limones where we walked the dusty road to their homes taking in the scenery of homes made from plastic, sticks, mud,tin, and any other building material available at little or no cost to shelter them from the elements. Barefoot children in raggedy dirty clothing, with the most beautiful smiles on their cute little dirty faces, not realizing the severity of their families situation greeted us along the way. We stopped in several homes praying for the sick and rejoicing and giving praise for victories. We led the weekly service for them while Pastor Bo taught the adults, I hung out with about 80 children leading them in a fun song, and participating in their service. It was a blessed time of watching a vision becoming reality.
One of my biggest concerns for this village is their water supply. A majority of these families get their drinking water out of a dirty contaminated river that runs through the village. Some have wells, while others have wells that are broken. These wells were put in by other organizations. One of my biggest frustrations on the mission field are organizations with noble causes, they make a big splash and do a lot of good, but there is no follow up or training of the people how to maintain or repair the wells . I have made a long term commitment to helping this village. One of the first things is to fix their wells and come up with a long term solution to their water problem. In addition we will be training them how to maintain their wells and repair their hand pumps.
I made this commitment to the new Mayor of Gualan Alfredo Ortego, during a private meeting we had with him. During this time we also had the opportunity to speak with him candidly and ask him how we could pray for him. Then we spent the next few minutes laying hands on him and praying for him, his administration, and the people of Gualan.
One evening I had the privilege of preaching at a new church in Gualan, which was also was broadcast live on the local cable TV station and the web. My message was about listening to that still small voice, the voice of the Holy Spirit and then respond. I began to give testimony and point to how God through the Holy Spirit’s still small voice, directed my path as a missionary into action. I unfolded a few of the miraculous stories of HIS work you can read in other posts on our site. Bottom line, God through the Holy Spirit still speaks to us today, we just have to listen and then respond. But first we have to know HIM on a personal level as our Lord and Savior!
We spent about 2 hours on the radio with Otto Morales interviewing us. We were encouraged as folks called in telling us how our words encouraged them. We then spent some time taking prayer requests and praying on the air for these requests. One lady called in from the market where she worked asking for prayer. After the show as we were walking through the market place, Pastor Bo had the Holy Spirit speak to him about finding the lady that called in and praying for her there in the market. A few minutes later, we found her and spent a few minutes in her little booth praying for her as many people watched. God was lifted up in a mighty way that day for this lady and those around her.
We spent another afternoon at the Social Center created by Radio Redención, helping to feed around 70 children. These children are brought to the center twice a week and fed a nutritious meal, given medical care as needed, taught basic hygiene, manners, and other life lessons. Bible lessons, fun songs, and games are also a big part of their time at the center. The staff from the radio station all participate and show the love of Christ to these children. We were able to bless these children with new socks and tennis shoes as part of our Christmas Shoes Project.
Friday morning we hosted a Pastors Breakfast Conference where we had around 40 Pastors participate. My Pastor Dr. John Bohannon, taught the Pastors how to take a passage of scripture and dig deep into what the main point was, and then build on that. We then worshiped some more together by singing at the top of our lungs giving praise to God. It was a beautiful sound rising to our awesome God as you will hear in the video. Then God sent His Sweet Holy Spirit down and filled our hearts and the room with His incredible love. It was a precious time of worship in HIS presence.
How can you top all of this so far? We visited the ministry where our family first served in Guatemala as missionaries, Hope Of Life. When I first walked in the office I was met with a hug from Pastor Sal Vargas and the words Welcome Home! What a blessing it was to visit this incredible ministry that God is using to help so many in Guatemala. A piece of my heart remains there. The visit was topped off by seeing one of my buddies at the orphanage, Sergio. This child came to the orphanage after he was rescued from being tied to a tree like a dog while his parents worked. Because of his neglect he had severe internal organs that were damaged and he was not expected to live. Today, this precious child of God’s lives because of the love of Carlos Vargas, the founder of Hope of Life and many prayers. It was awesome to see his smiling face again!
We also made a visit to the village of Guaranja where I visited with a mission vision team 11 years prior. I took photos from that day of the children and made a photo collage. My family and I went back and presented the shop keeper with this gift. Ten years later, it still hangs proudly in front of her shop. We sat around and talked about where all those children are today and then prayed for them. It was a sweet time of fellowship.
Friday night was our last event. We showed the War Room movie about prayer along with a short time of worship with a live band including trumpets and trombones! The movie was followed by a short message and invitation by my Pastor. I believe all of Gualan heard the Gospel that night because of the size and volume of the speakers. You could hear it echo in the distance. The Mayor was my special guest that evening and while the crowds were leaving, we slipped behind the giant speakers and I spent a few minutes praying for him before we left.
God showed up in a mighty way this week! We saw and felt HIS presence in every activity. I am so excited as we move forward in faith working with my dear brothers and sisters in Christ in Guatemala. Together we can accomplish more for HIS glory!