“Missionaries are very human folks just doing what they are asked. Simply a bunch of nobodies trying to exalt somebody.” Jim Elliott
We have had a restful time since we returned home on June 17. And though we have been able to focus on catching up with family, Guatemala and the pressing needs are never far from our minds.
Last newsletter we mentioned our connection with the Secretariat of Food and Nutritional Security (SESAN), the area of government that deals with food security and malnutrition. The connection with them enabled our container, which was released in June, to come in tax free. They have also helped connect us with the area of Government that will grant us permission (Lord willing) to bring in pallets of vegetable seeds which the North Okanagan Gleaners receives and has offered to us. We have tried to bring seeds before and the doors were closed, but now it is seeming a very real possibility to be able to bring them. We are excited for the possibilities to offer the people the opportunity to grow their own food.
We met a young man, Calixco, several months ago, a friend of Sergio. A year and a half ago he lost his leg in a motorcycle accident. Prior to that he worked for the Government in Coban as an agriculturalist. His job was to go into villages and teach the people about agriculture, growing gardens, clean water and personal hygiene in their native language of Q’eqchi. He told us that he loved his job, but after the accident, he was let go from his job. He had to move home with his family, and to make matters worse, his wife left him because he was unable to provide for her.
Sergio has been spending time with him and encouraging him spiritually. He attended the bible study at our home with the group from Santa Marta. We hope to utilize Calixco’s expertise as an agriculturalist, teaching villages how to become more self sustainable, when we have access to the vegetable seeds, by possibly hiring him on a part time basis, to start. This is one of the hopes and vision we have for our ministry post pandemic.
We also hope to help him with a prosthetic. As we reported in a previous newsletter, we have helped one other person (Cesar) with two prosthetic legs. We did this through a Guatemalan prosthetic specialist (Eric) referred to us by another missionary. He does much of his work for only the cost of the parts, especially when it is through a ministry, even though he has a family to support. He is also an amputee so he is a great encouragement to those he works with. The cost of a prosthetic leg, complete with knee for Calixco is $1,400 USD. He has saved some money towards a prosthetic and we would love to be able to help him out with the rest. If you can give any amount towards a prosthetic for Calixco it would be very much appreciated.
The other thing on the horizon for our ministry that we are praying about and that the Lord seems to have been opening doors for is Bible training for Pastors in remote villages. This need first presented itself when we were showing the film the Hope in a remote village last January. After the film, and after Sergio spoke and further shared the gospel with the people who were there, the Pastor, a man in his 50’s approached Sergio and asked him if he would teach him the Bible.
The reality is that many many Pastors have very little education, and little to no bible training. They feel called to Pastor, but no opportunity to become equipped. As a result there is a lot of unintentional false teaching out there, most likely the result of lack of proper biblical training. We thought it was amazing that this older Pastor saw something in Sergio, in the way he presented, that he knew he was lacking in Biblical knowledge.
So after having a discussion at length with Sergio, Sergio told us that there is a great need in the Alta Verapaz for Pastor training and so we are in discussions with a woman he knows from Honduras, Gloria, who was a part of Sergio’s own Bible College training. Basically, the plan is that Pastors would travel to attend a bible training for 3 days once a month for 10 months. The curriculum would be developed by Gloria, and would be kept very basic. It would be provided in Spanish and Sergio, each month, would be the Q’eqchi’ interpreter, to the instructors. Volunteer Pastors/Missionaries/Bible teachers would be found to teach for the 3 days each month.
Sergio recently put the word out and called a meeting for those Pastors that might be interested. He had around 35 people show up with interest!
We feel that this is a huge opportunity to equip those village/mountain Pastors with the word of God and what better way to reach the people with the gospel of Jesus Christ.
There is a facility near Coban, in fact some of our teams stay there. It is a retreat centre and they have offered that we could use their conference room for free if lunch was purchased. Most of these Pastors have said that they would want to travel to and from their village each day for the 3 days as they have other commitments, however the cost to stay, if need be is very reasonable.
We have looked at every possible angle to keep the costs down, if we could raise $50 per month per Pastor, that should cover their costs for transportation, food, accommodations, books and a small honorarium for the person teaching each month for the 3 days per month X 10 months = $500. Our ministry has always felt that bringing the gospel (and not the prosperity gospel which has become prevalent in so many parts of the world, including Guatemala) is the most important part of our ministry. This could change the course of many lives in Guatemala.
We also would like to send another container late fall. The seeds are a huge opportunity to bring food to the people in a more sustainable way and we are excited to see where this leads and with the severe restrictions caused by the pandemic there will continue to be a great need for more food!!
We look forward to returning back to Guatemala at the end of October.
We will be sharing about our ministry at the Arrow Lakes Alliance Church, in Nakusp, B.C. on Aug. 22 at 10:30 a.m. and Living Word Lutheran in Vernon on Sept. 20 at 10 am. All are welcome if you would like an update on what’s going on with us and our ministry. We also look forward to being at the North Okanagan Gleaners on Sept. 16 - 18, and we hope to see many of you there.
Denis & Eileen Nogue
Seeds to Harvest Ministries
P.S. Many missionary friends have told us that giving is down for their ministry. Our ministry included. But the work goes on and we trust God for His provision. We realize that these are difficult times, but it is also a time when we, the Church, can really be the Church.
I leave you with a quote from Charles Spurgeon who was reflecting on a time as a 20 year old Pastor in London during a cholera outbreak.
“If there ever be a time when the mind is sensitive, it is when death is abroad. I recollect, when first I came to London, how anxiously people listened to the gospel, for the cholera was raging terribly. There was little scoffing then.”
These are the times that we as Christians can rise up and show Christ to the world. Please pray with us for these opportunities we have presented.