“And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.” Galatians 6:9
“You know it would be a lot easier to just stay home and write a cheque to other missionaries”, Denis said to me after a particularly hard day. It’s true. Life on the mission field is grueling some days. And the emotional tug of so many people in need takes its toll on you. But what God has placed on our hearts to start here in Guatemala , is not easy to walk away from.
As hard as it can be some days, there are many moments of joy. And while there will always be times that we go home wondering why life is so hard for so many people, we aren’t given all the answers. However we are called to live one day at a time and serve as He leads.
Primarily our focus is to share the gospel by way of film and sharing the Gleaners food with communities that have great need. However, with many of the other donations on the containers we bring in, it allows us to share the love of Jesus in many other ways. One such instance is when a request came for a wheelchair for someone who lives up the side of a mountain. We didn’t have many more details than that before we ventured out for a 1 km climb up a steep path, with a few men taking turns hauling a wheelchair.
When we arrived, we met a 20 year old Pokomchi speaking man, Hugo. He had polio as a baby and as a result has never been able to walk. He sits in a plastic chair either inside or outside the house. Sergio, our Quec’chi interpreter had to speak to him through a Pokomchi interpreter. That was a first for us. During our visit, Sergio talked with him about the Lord. This young man cried and said all he has ever wanted to do was go to and participate in a Church. Sergio is looking at the possibility of a radio for him as there are apparently some Christian stations in the indigenous languages. I have been trying to think of things he could do, as he has the use of his hands. He lives without power and we are not sure if he can read. We will have opportunity to follow up with this young man.
Another hard story is about an 89 year old woman, Dominga, who after a stroke 5 years prior, lay on a hard wooden bed on plastic because she was incontinent. When we first became aware of her situation we decided to go back equipped to help her. I just couldn’t imagine the indignity of having to live like that. In fact when we first arrived, she was curled up with the blanket over her face. You would hardly know there was a person there except that the smell of urine was overpowering.
With the help of the family, we moved her to another wooden platform, aka a bed, while we stripped the soiled blankets and plastic and cardboard off of her existing bed. We were able to provide her a vinyl covered mattress, sheepskin, sheets, a pillow, and a beautiful handmade quilt from the Gleaners as well as several packages of adult diapers When we lay her in her new bed, she grasped my hand and kept thanking God for such a gift. As this lady is a Quec’chi speaker, Sergio, who is also a young Pastor spoke with her at length and felt sure she knew the Lord.
We recently visited a remote village high up in the mountains, Aldea Chirrix Pec Sacranix, is the name. There is no road. You drive to a certain point on a very rough road, 4 wheel drive only, and then get out and hike another 15 or 20 minutes. We were invited by the teacher, to show the Jesus Film for Children to her students. This teacher has been teaching there for 11 years. She travels 2 hours each way, by bus and by walking. We are always so amazed at the commitment of some of the Guatemalans to their own people. We decided to bring along a piñata and have a few games for the kids after, because they likely never have opportunity for things like this.
The teacher shared with us that the community has no water. They collect and drink rainwater, and therefore many of the people and children have abdominal parasites. The teacher told us that the kids are treated by the department of health once a year, with one small pill, for parasites, which in her opinion is not enough. We were able to provide all the children in the school toothbrushes and toothpaste, and we have had the donation of two water filters from a local Guatemalan, that we will deliver soon.
In the neighbouring community we brought Gleaners soup. Sergio took on the task of showing the women how to prepare and cook it. He told me after that he took the opportunity to share his testimony while the soup was cooking, to a captive audience. See photo below.
With the supplies on the containers, we have been able to help around 300 midwives, with packages to help them in their deliveries. These consist of basic necessities, but they are very thankful as they had nothing before.
Invitations to show the films continue to come. I have said it before, but Sergio has been such a blessing for our ministry. As a Quec’chi speaker he can speak to his people about the Lord after we show the films, in a way that we wouldn’t be able to. Although he is hired by us as an interpreter, he does so much more, and we are thankful as he was an answer to prayer for us.
So these are just a few stories of many, to give you a picture of our lives here in Guatemala.
On a few occasions, Chris and Leah have ventured out with Denis as I watch the grandchildren, so they can get a feel of what we do, but they are busy and not able to get out as much as they like. Chris is working from home and Leah home-schools, so not much time for other things. Eventually that, hopefully will change for them, but the reality is that to be doing missionary work, one needs support and right now Chris needs to work to support his family. So we are all praying to see how the Lord is going to work this out.
We already have a team from Alabama booked for 2020. Plans are underway for another great trip.
We head home on May 27 and will be in the Okanagan in June. We have been invited to speak at the Living Word Lutheran Church, in Vernon, on Sunday June 16 if any of you would like to come hear an update. We will also spend a week volunteering at the Gleaners and look forward to catching up with many of you there.
Thank you all for your prayers and your support.
May you have a wonderful Good Friday & Resurrection Sunday!
But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Denis & Eileen
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