Into marvelous light I’m running,
Out of darkness, out of shame.
By the cross you are the truth,
You are the life, you are the way
My dead heart now is beating,
My deepest stains now clean.
Your breath fills up my lungs.
Now I’m free. Now I’m free!
Sin has lost it’s power,
death has lost it’s sting.
From the grave You’ve risen
Many of you will recognize these lyrics, and they’ve surely been echoing through my mind all week. We listened to it on our second day in Chiquimula after talking about how God “has made this light shine in our hearts so we could know the glory of God that is seen in the face of Jesus Christ” (2 Corinthians 4:6), and we witnessed the truths of this song and verse as we visited in the village of Nearar today.
Just six or seven years ago, Nearar was so dark and sinister that our college team, local workers, and even the missionaries dreaded making visits there. There were very few believers in the community, and those who professed faith were targeted and alienated. Praise God, though, the marvelous light is shining in Nearar!
While the change has been slow to develop and there have certainly been set-backs along the way, we were able to worship with our brothers and sisters in Nearar this afternoon. I sat in a church with 20 or so other believers on a lot that was just dirt the last time I visited. We sang songs straight out of the “Baptist hymnal” (with some adjustments…like being sung in Spanish!), and heard messages from Pastor Rafael, Miquel, and David M., who shared his testimony. It was a powerful afternoon! It’s one thing to hear how God has been working in Nearar, and another thing to experience it first hand.
But the day was rich and full even before the church service. By breaking into two groups we were able to make eight house visits in the morning and early afternoon. Some of the people we met with were new in the faith, some had experienced terrible persecution, and others have witnessed things we could never imagine. We can trust, though, that the Lord will use our sincere prayers and words of encouragement to draw these people closer and closer to Him.
The mountaintops were covered with clouds all afternoon, but as we left the village just before sundown, a little light broke through on the horizon. I’m going to hold on to that image as God’s promise to continue to bring “the glorious light of the Good News” to the people of Nearar until all have heard. (2 Corinthians 4:4)
As wonderful as the day was, it also felt a little bittersweet. It was the last day in the villages, and we know it will likely be months or even years before we’ll be able to return. We are very excited to drive to Antigua tomorrow, though, where we’ll spend a few days with the White family. I just can’t wait to see Regina and those boys! Pray for safe travels and sweet fellowship as we continue on this amazing journey!