Tuesday, August 5, 2014

A letter from Beth

Our visit to Guatemala was such a blessing to me and our entire team. Our youngest traveler was nine years old, and because we were on the family team, we had teens and adults of all ages. Each of us was impacted in a special way, and our eyes were opened to the hardship others experience around the world.


We stayed in Guatemala City and traveled every day to serve at a church located near a place called Hurricane Village. This area was destroyed by a hurricane many years ago. Instead of rebuilding this area, the government just gave the area to the people to use as they wanted. It became a neighborhood for underprivileged families. The housing in this area is not built using contractors with grand housing plans and many rooms. They are mostly the remains of an abandoned community where scraps of building materials have been pieced together to construct a one room home for each family.  No heating, no air conditioning, no insulation. No running water. The area just looks run down and dirty. 

The church we visited in Hurricane Village is called Iglesia Adonai. Carlos and his wife, Delmi, reached out to this community many years ago.  Carlos pastors the church they have built in the community. They have done so much to reach out to these people who have nothing of material treasures but who are rich in relationships.Carlos and Delmi have been a constant presence in a community left to fend for itself.


We attended church at Iglesia Adonai while we were there. It was amazing to see these people come together and worship the Lord as a body of Christ. They welcomed our team with open arms and gracious hospitality. After the message that Sunday, Carlos encouraged his congregation to participate in their church's outreach ministry in a place called Gerona, which took anywhere from 40 minutes to two hours to drive to from Hurricane Village depending on traffic. 

While in Gerona, our team merely participated in church. The team from Iglesia Adonai led worship and told stories from the Bible. They fed the children and played games with those who attended. Most were children, but some adults were there. Attendance ranges from 30-200 people each week.


Gerona doesn't have a church in its area, so when the people of Iglesia Adonai heard this, they wanted to give back to a community in need. Hurricane Village is a very poor area, but the people are clean and their clothes are clean. The people in Gerona struggle just as much as those in Hurricane Village, but they were not as clean and their clothes were very dirty. You could tell they had much less than those who attended Iglesia Adonai. This struck me on our ride back on the bus after our church service in Gerona. I was so impressed with the body of believers from Iglesia Adonai. They don't have much, but they captured the message God gives each of us so clearly, which is to serve others. Every week they give in loving sacrifice to a community who would not hear the gospel otherwise and give to those even less fortunate then themselves. Even though they don't have money, they can give of their time and build relationships through sharing the gospel with kids and families in another community to help build a firm foundation for those people. It was a beautiful message to take away. Our time is something we can give freely. Iglesia Adonai, to me, was the bottom of the social class...they do not have much more than the people of Gerona, but for three years, they have reached out to a community in the dark and they have shown the light of Jesus.

God has a job for each of us. 

It was beautiful, and I will never forget it. 

The children of Guatemala have public schools and many of the children of Hurricane Village attend them. Unfortunately, gangs are everywhere, and they particularly target kids in public schools. Knowing this, Iglesia Adonai built an addition to their building and started a private school. They have run out of space, so the school is about to be torn down and reconstructed to make room for a safe building with many levels, expanding their school that currently goes up to 6th grade. It will be exciting to go back and see what God has done. If the children can go to private school, then they are learning about Jesus while going to school and they are somewhat protected from gangs. 

Please pray for Carlos and Delmi. The needs of this church and community are many. Carlos and Delmi are in their 70s and need younger people to be trained to step in if anything were to happen to them. 

At the end of our trip, we were encouraged to write out what we thought God was showing us in Guatemala. I would like to close with what was on my heart at that time......

This week I have felt God pull at my heart and get my attention about who He is and how much He desires to spend time with me. I need to open my home and be more hospitable and really reach out in my own community. I also need to trust God has all of the world in His hands. I can't solve all the problems of this world, but I can help with eager anticipation to serve and go where God leads me. 


God bless,
Beth