It’s hard to put into words all that goes through your mind when you go to the foreign mission field to a culture and society that is so different from your own. Our first day in Guatemala really didn’t compare to what we saw today. We went up into the mountains today to a village called Santa Maria de Jesus. It is a community of indigenous people of Mayan descent. We were told there were as many as 35,000 people living in this village, with more than half being children. The poverty in this community is unthinkable for those of us who enjoy even the most modest of lifestyles in the US.
Our mission today was two-fold. First we installed a stove in the home of an elderly woman who had 10 children and 12 grandchildren. These homes, however, are not what most people would call a home back in the US. They are made of metal roofing material that is just nailed together into makeshift rooms. In this part of the world, many people cook on open fires inside their homes. You can imagine the medical issues associated with long-term cooking like this. One of Bob & Georgette’s biggest ministries in this area is to install these inexpensive, yet efficient stoves. It was exciting to hear Bob share with the home owner why we install these stoves. It was also encouraging to hear her testimony of God’s love and grace in her life in spite of her poverty.
Our second task was to visit a local church feeding center and assist them with feeding about 275 children. Many days they feed as many as 350. In this village many of the children suffer from malnourishment because their families are mostly farmers who only earn about $3.75 per day. Whereas many who are in need of food back home are supported primarily by government agencies, in Guatemala the task of meeting physical needs rightfully falls on the church. We were able to play with, sing with, feed, and enjoy children who were hearing about and seeing the love of Christ.
We returned to the mission house this evening and once again enjoyed a delicious meal provided by our host. We also enjoyed a wonderful time of talking about our day’s experiences. Steve Boyd shared a devotional with us from Galatians 6:10. “Do good to all, especially the household of faith.” We were reminded that we are to love others as Christ loved us and encourage our brothers and sisters who have given all to serve Christ around the world. Bob and Georgette reminded us that when they see that others like us share their heart it encourages them to keep on going and serving Christ, even when it’s hard.
This is a lesson for us all as we strive to leverage our lives for the advancement of the Gospel. We are to love one another in Christ and that compels us to continue the work of ministry. When we are able to love our brothers and sisters in Christ we are more equipped to serve those who are far from Christ. Further, as it was said by one in our group, when Christ is our provision, we can have joy in our lives regardless of our poverty or wealth. He is enough!