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Missions Blog


Aug 24

Guatemala – Construction Trip 2005 (Building a House as God Building a Partnership)

2005 | by Clint | Category: Global,Rabinal Achi,Trips

From Karen G.

As we continued to seek a partnership with the Barreras to minister to the Achi, two goals remained with us: to be used by God for the glory and treasure of His Son among the Achi people, and to be awakened as a whole church to see and participate in the spread of that glory in the world.  I e-mailed Carol, asking her to consult with Rodrigo and others, to pray, and give us their opinion of the validity of a building trip, and a recommendation of what might be built.  This idea came from a realization that most lay adults, especially men, would never sign up for a trip doing “ministry,” but would enthusiastically participate in a tangible project.  The Barerra’s wrote back recommending a house for David’s family of 13, who lived and held church in a tiny, dilapidated adobe structure.  He and his children had sought the Lord daily for five years for a place to be able to expand their outreach to the community, while they labored together to take the gospel to the most remote Achi villages.  The building would allow them to offer the youth ministry a place to meet out of the weather, expand the area for his home church meetings, and give many wandering youth a safe place to sleep and receive guidance and counseling.

Meanwhile, our young adult/college ministry, named “The Well,” began to plan a trip to take a small group of Spanish-speaking people to live in the San Miguel community and participate in youth ministry there.   Together with the Achi leaders, they planned two retreats, one for the community’s youth leaders, and another to work alongside the others to serve and minister to the youth.

Congregational support for these trips was impressive: a fundraising dinner put on by the Well group provided all of their plane fares, a garage sale by the deacons allowed help for several who wished to go build.  The children’s ministry sent cards and letters to Achi kids, Compassion sponsors who didn’t go sent gifts and pictures for their sponsored children.  The outpouring of offerings and prayer by the congregation was a great encouragement; for the first time the “goers” felt truly supported by “senders.”

The Well group of seven went first, forging great relationships with their Achi counterparts.  Each learned from the other while studying, worshipping, praying and doing ministry together, living in community in a Guatemalan-style demonstration of Acts 2:42.  The 14-member building group arrived as the Well group was leaving; it was a mixture of men, women and four teenaged boys.  Most had never left the United States before, and although we had required cross-cultural training, several struggled with “culture shock.”  I served as the logistics coordinator, my husband as the building coordinator, and another man coordinated prayer and devotions.

 

Instead of the motel in Salama where we had previously stayed, we settled into seminary barracks on the outskirts of town, walking distance to the building site and the restaurant that handled our meals.  This provided the opportunity to mix with the people and develop relationships in the neighborhood; Pastor David and his children and many friends worked side to side with us, laughing and practicing our Achi, Spanish and English on one another in song and conversation. It was hot, difficult work (no cement mixer), and a magnificent time.  There were opportunities to visit house churches and Compassion sites, English classes at the Barerra’s and Math classes at the neighborhood school, to give testimonies at a remote village outreach and youth gatherings at the basketball courts. A retaining wall was built for a widow who was being flooded by rains; our restaurant proprietor, an unbeliever, allowed us to pray for an abscess in her neck and claimed that God had healed her as she “saw a great light.”  God moved and used a group of men and women who went to serve Him in serving the Achi people.

 

Upon return, we scheduled dinner together with the Well group for debriefing, celebrating, discussion and prayer.  The two teams planned a “Guatemala Night” – an opportunity to offer the congregation a typical Achi meal with a video show and a panel discussion about the Achi project, its history and development.  The 80 people who came were attentive and asked many thoughtful questions; it was a great opportunity to share our heart and vision with people who had not understood it.  Passion was taking root.