I would do this entire blog in Spanish but it might be less understandable than we want it to be. 🙂 Today we finished our mission visits with a long and somewhat bumpy trip to the villages of Nearar and Muyerco. The White’s have been diligently planting seeds in these villages and they have borne fruit in the form of a small but vibrant group of believers. We also saw our prayers for rain answered with showers and thunder after we had arrived back at the hotel.
I was reminded of several spanish words that I think capture the spirit of this wonderful day as it evolved.
Paciencia: The road to the two villages runs over some of the longest, steepest and roughest terrain that we saw all week. We were prepared with a couple of new “rides” in the form of four wheel drive vehicles instead of our trusty van. As soon as we arrived at the highway turnoff we found that the road to Nearar was becoming the road to “Far-ar” as the entire way was blocked with a truck that would not be cleared for several hours. We were forced to turn around and take a longer and even steeper road but, praise the Lord, we made it to the village center.
Compromiso: The believers in Nearar were inspirational for us. They were enthusiastic, prayerful, and committed to their faith and their praise of the Lord. Many had walked for an hour or more to attend our devotional and then followed us to the next village in fellowship. They sang praise songs, played guitar and many of them prayed out loud in thanks for the encouragement that we offered as a team. Erik then lead us all in a wonderful Bible study on Romans 8 in which all of the people enthusiastically participated.
Juventud: The meeting place was filled with children. We watched them as they sang songs along with their parents and overflowed with joy and happiness, despite the challenging conditions in which they live. There were a couple of young girls – including a child who we thought was half her age – who had obvious health challenges but they still could smile and laugh as we played with them. Sharon was able to talk to one of the mothers and give her practical advice in ways she could improve her child’s physical condition. They pleasure they showed in our support made clear why it is so important that we continue to personally engage in mission outreach. We must also pray earnestly for the fruit that such support will, with God’s help, yield. Our other delight was the ability to share this trip with our young missionary companions – Karly, Tiffany and Tate. Their spiritual maturity and unbounded energy had a profound positive effect on the team “seniors” and even more on the folks they met. They demonstrated huge love and care for those that we met and were bold in proclaiming the message of salvation even to people that did not seem to be interested. Pray God that those seeds find root in God’s timing.
Poder: Once we completed our fellowship in Nearar we walked back up what seemed like an impossibly steep trail to the cars for the drive to Muyerco. As we huffed and puffed up the cliffs we watched in awe as the local town folks – baggage and children in arms – practically ran up the same path in flip flops and high heels. The stamina and durability of the people of this region is amazing and the strength of their faith has these same characteristics. The decision that these believers have made has caused them great difficulty with those who live around them – but they remain steadfast in their choice to follow Jesus. We had our lunch along the road and took in the magnificent view of the mountains and fields as the clouds caressed the hill tops.
La Vida: The energy and liveliness in Muyerco was infectious. Once again we sang songs with a band that included a guitar, a tambourine and a cheese grater! Erik and David led the worship once again and the emotion and depth of the prayer of the village leader for his own people as well as our team was incredibly moving. Kristen gathered all the children around her and told them story of Jesus, the fisher of men. It was fully interactive with all the kids playing the roles of the fisherman, Peter and Jesus – they were REALLY into it. We then made salvation bracelets with the kids of the village – many of the moms and dads wanted them as well – an activity that we found to be remarkably effective throughout the entire trip.
Comenzando: The day and the trip ended with our own fellowship at the White’s house with a devotional and discussion on the imperative that Christian joy lead our lives and help us demonstrate our faith to the world. The people we have worked alongside all week – the Whites, our translators Pablo and Miguel and our driver Raul – all demonstrated day and night just such a wonderful attitude. The people of Guatemala who have had had the privilege to meet also showed us the strength that comes from contentment, compassion and cooperative living. It all points to the work that the Lord is doing here through our teams and the many other missionaries who toil in this soil.
Tomorrow we return to Guatemala City and ultimately to Charleston but it is our fervent prayer that we our time here, in some small way, has advanced the Lord’s great plan for the salvation of all peoples. We take home vivid memories from all five of our senses that will live with us forever. Thank you Jenna for being our leader and our guide – we all love you and agree that we could never have done this without you!
Love from Chanco and Dios te Bendiga! – Phil