Happy Father’s Day! We are thankful for our earthly father’s and for our heavenly Father.
OK – starting with the nitty gritty. Today we drove 3 hours to a village that Paradise Bound has not visited before. We were thankful to experience for the first time an actual paved, two lane highway making the three hour trip slightly less bouncy. We made up for it though. The last hour of the drive was up a dry rocky river bed through sugar cane fields. Hang on! God has blessed Paradise Bound with four wheel drive passenger vans that take a real pounding every time they head out. Praying for safety as we travel is very necessary.
The village in the area of Escuentla is closer to the coast and the weather conditions were different than the village where we built houses. It was very hot and extremely humid, it could be described as a sauna. The humidity could have tempted the team to not want to run and play, but we persevered, and sweated it out together.
The med clinic went very well. We served 50 families. It is such a joy to know that simple things like ibuprofen and hydro cortisone cream can provide comfort for those who cannot obtain even these simple medicines. We are happy for the villagers who should feel less itchy, less pain, less digestive issues and feel better than they have for awhile. We got to meet a woman who was 88 years old walking up and down the mountainside with her cane. Reaching 88 years living in these difficult conditions is amazing. God protected her life so that she could hear the call the Christ tonight. We were impressed with the great care that the missionaries showed to the villagers by setting up the medicine in such a way that it is easy to understand. The missionaries also explained each pill with great patience to each villager. Nicole Appebach was first in line handling the prescription drugs. Nicole felt nudged by the Holy Spirit to serve in the clinic and she did a great job being very accurate in filling each specific need.
Ashlyn Mayerlin made a great friend in Tim VanDyke. They played together the entire time. After building a relationship with her, Tim was able to lay hands on Ashyln and her grandma while the call to Christ was being given. They both smiled at Tim and together the three of them walked up when the pastor asked who wanted to accept Jesus Christ. Tim was happy to leave his personal hat with them as a gift. It was great to see that joy all around.
We moved on to showing the Jesus film to the villagers. We anticipated that they would be mesmerized by video, something they don’t experience often. We were very surprised by how the villagers seemed to not being paying attention to the movie. They continued to talk, the boys played soccer, the smaller kids were playing with their balls. The team members spread out and watched the movie with them while praying. We were thankful that when Hermono Jesus (the Guatemalan pastor) began to preach, they listened very carefully. The villagers were focused on the preaching and the Holy Spirit was powering up Hermono Jesus. After a rousing explanation and sermon Hermono called those who wanted Christo to come forward. Several women and children went forward, then more and then we were happy to see one of the men come forward, he was followed by several teenage boys who went to the front and they all prayed the prayer of acceptance together.
Natalie Schuitema – Natalie had fun playing with several of the village kids during the medical clinic. She had not had the chance to build a relationship earlier with an older lady, but during the preaching Natalie felt called to go and lay hands on her. Natalie prayed for the Senorita as the call to Christ was being given. Natalie provided the concrete touch of Jesus’ love. After just a few moments the woman bravely went forward, dropped to her knees and wept as the hole in her soul was filled.
The men of the village were a bit stand offish. They kept on playing soccer and were hesitant to participate, but slowly as it got dark and others stayed to listen two men came to join the group. Rod Huisingh encouraged them with prayer and touch and felt one of the men trembling as Hermono Jesus was emphatically telling him that Jesus wanted him to belong to Jesus, that God wanted even this macho man to be a child of God.
Mason Witte wanted to connect with a particular villager, he prayed for that specific connection. As Mason arrived in the village he didn’t feel particularly called to any one. Mason kept his eyes open for whom God wanted him to serve. Suddenly, Gustavo ran by and Mason was able to ask a nearby villager if that was her son. Dina was proud to say that yes, that was her child. Mason was impressed with the loving and care that Dina showed to her son. Mason felt called to pray over her, show her love and give her gifts. Mason gave her the gift of touch while we were standing in the circle. She was distracted by her child, but Mason continued to lift her in prayer and she answered the call of salvation. Now Dina can share the love of Christ with Gustavo and a Christian home can be established.
Afterward it was amazing how the ice was completely broken and hugs and smiles were given all around. That isn’t a part of the villagers culture normally and you could say it isn’t part of our CRC culture normally either, but both groups came together because we shared this intense spiritual experience of being ransomed by Christ.
Prayer was offered before, during, afterward, individually and in groups, silently and out loud. Hermono Jesus specifically asked several of our young men to pray over him before he preached. It is a blessing to be bathed in prayer. We felt the power of God and the power of prayer.