Peanuts, Peanuts, and More Peanuts
Because no one had lived at the mission property in Mixcolajá for a few years, the congregation decided to use the land by doing a church project instead of renting it out. This year we planted peanuts.
In early June we as a congregation got together for a day of peanut planting. We started by sorting and shelling the leftover peanuts from last year’s crop and using only the big ones for seed. The men and several women started planting while the rest kept on sorting. Several women were happy to let others plant while they made lunch.
We managed to get all the peanuts sorted and planted before lunchtime. Drop two seeds, skip a foot, drop two more seeds, skip a foot . . . and such was the process of peanut planting.
When the peanuts started poking their heads through the dirt, the weeds did too. That meant another workday! We were thankful for all who were willing to help with the hot job of swinging an azadón (an extra big hoe). Many hands make the workload lighter. Because we were not able to finish before lunch, we made lunch at church and finished afterwards.
After the weeds were under control, we were able to sit back for a few months and just watch the peanuts grow without having to do much work.
Approximately five months after planting them, the peanuts were ready to harvest. On a Tuesday, the men dug the peanuts while we women started picking the peanuts off the plants. The men were happy to have all the peanuts dug by lunchtime.
We ate lunch at church and afterwards continued picking peanuts off the plants. Peanut by peanut, plant by plant.
A fair amount of peanuts had rotted due to an abundance of rain early in the season, but overall we had a good crop. We collected few peanuts considering the amount still left on the plants by the time we were ready to quit for the day. But every little bit we got done was a blessing.
On Wednesday those willing to keep working with peanuts got together to keep plucking away. But because of church that evening, we only worked a half day. Thursday we worked at it all day again. But we still didn’t quite get finished, so Friday morning a few of us finished up the work.
We were thankful for each set of hands willing to help. So much help made the hot, dirty work much more enjoyable.
We plan to sell most of the peanuts, and the money we receive from them will go for paying for church needs and Bible conference expenses.
~ Juanita Hursh
Arise, Cry Out in the Night
Arise, cry out in the night: in the beginning of the watches pour out thine heart like water before the face of the Lord: lift up thy hands toward him for the life of thy young children, that faint for hunger in the top of every street (Lamentations 2:19).
Jeremiah is known as the weeping prophet. He knew what it was to intercede for others. We find him crying out, Oh that my head were waters, and mine eyes a fountain of tears, that I might weep day and night for the slain of the daughter of my people! The tears in his eyes weren’t sufficient for the burden on his heart.
Does intercessory prayer work? Maybe that’s the wrong question. Was it in vain that the mother prayed all her life for her wayward son, who died without showing evidence of repentance? Was the week spent in fasting and prayer for the ungodly husband of the church sister worthless, though he never expressed shame for his ungodliness?
What does intercessory prayer do?
To answer this question, we would do well to consider a very basic fact regarding how God relates to us as human beings: each has the free will to accept or reject the salvation of Christ. Intercessory prayer will never circumvent the free will God has given mankind. The son will always have to choose; the husband will always have to come to his own conclusions.
But intercessory prayer will change the way God works in the life of another individual. God will not force a person to repent, but He will bring incentives into his life. God will not save a person against his will, but He will make it very difficult to continue the path to destruction.
In the Old Testament we read of an occasion when God sent hornets to drive the people out of the land. The people didn’t want to give up their land to the Israelites; they weren’t going to do it on their own free will . . . until the hornets came along. Suddenly the people became very convinced that the best thing to do was to leave.
Have you prayed for hornets in someone’s life? Intercessory prayer moves God’s hand to speak to an individual. God’s Spirit calls a person to repentance. God works in their mind and conscience, many times through the circumstances of life.
We can’t pray that God would save a person against his will. But we can pray that God would move in such a way that the person would be willing.
It takes diligence to intercede in prayer. It takes waking up at night and losing much-needed sleep. It takes losing a few meals and even some time at work to seek God on behalf of another. It seems that we pray for a long time and there are no results. Is that true?
When God’s children pray, there are always results. When we intercede for someone, they are always affected in some way. God does keep His promises, but that person may still choose to reject God. It’s still his choice. But our intercession gives place for God to do a greater work in his heart. It makes it more likely for him to repent; he feels the burden more intensely.
How much more would God be able to do in my community if I would pray more? How much do we seek first the kingdom of God on our knees?
~ Galen Miller
Baptism in San Bartolomé
Sunday, December 9, was an anticipated and joyful day for the church in San Bartolomé. After completing instruction class, five applicants received baptism and were added to our church family.
We were blessed to have Brother Victor Ovalle here for the occasion. He flew in the previous afternoon, and on Sunday preached a stirring baptismal message and officiated the ceremony. And as he stated in his message, it was also a day of rejoicing in Heaven to see these dear souls publicly confess before God and man “the answer of a good conscience toward God.”
The baptismal group consisted of three youth—Abdiel Ramirez, his sister Sefora Ramirez, and José Mejia Ordonez—and an older couple named Gaspar & Teresa Castro Calel. Gaspar is nearly blind and his wife only speaks the Quiché language and cannot read, meaning that any Bible passages they learn will be what they can glean in church services. I was inspired by the sincerity and joy in their lives in spite of such handicaps.
We welcome them into our number. It is always a blessing and encouragement to see new souls take a stand for Christ and His church. Join us in prayer for them, that they can remain faithful and become pillars in the church. Pray for our church, that we can effectively reach out to other seeking souls.
~ Nick Suarez
Projects at the Farm
Greetings to all from Guatemala. For the last two months we’ve been busy with a project at the farm, a property that MAM owns about two kilometers from the town of Sumpango. It can take up to an hour to travel the distance from the mission if there is heavy traffic.
Various events, such as institutes, are held at the farm, and there was a need for more restroom facilities on the property. Just outside the main building, a new block structure is now under construction. We spent many hours digging footers with shovel and pick in preparation for pouring concrete; then came the task of laying block. We also found it necessary to remove much dirt for the septic hole, which is approximately two meters by three meters. There was no machine to do the work; therefore, it was no small feat to remove that amount of dirt by manpower. But we got it completed and at present are laying block in the hole. The roof still needs to be built, and the floor must be poured. Other installations will be necessary before it is ready for use. Progress has been slow, but considering the inexperienced helpers and total manual labor, it has been coming along fairly well.
God bless each one who was willing to help in this work!
~ Nathan Graybill
Nick Suarez was born in Costa Rica and lived there the first fourteen years of his life. Already speaking Spanish fluently gives him a definite advantage as he begins his term of service with MAM. Nick arrived in Guatemala on November 6 and moved to San Bartolomé with Galen Miller, where they’ll work as a pastor assistant team beside Bishop José Benito. Nick and Galen have been helping him on his farm as well as with the church work.
Nick has spent his last eleven years in Tennessee, where he was part of the Berea Mennonite Fellowship and worked in a cabinet shop.
Nick will be a big blessing to the work here. Although he has the advantage of knowing Spanish, learning the Quiché culture and language will still be a steep learning curve.
To our dear fellow-laborers and supporters, thank you for allowing God to direct your generosity toward His work in Guatemala this past year. Through your giving, missionaries were free to work and travel, Guatemalan schools influenced many children, and infrastructure was added and improved. This year we were able to add a house for the young single men in Santa Rosita and add restrooms to improve the Institute facilities in Sumpango.
A special thank you to those who responded to the matching fund opportunity in August. The full amount was matched, and we are seriously pursuing the procurement of a property for the future training school and clinic in Oratorio. We will keep you informed as this project develops.
Blessings to each as you labor, pray, and share in God’s kingdom as He directs this year.
Financial Statement for Mennonite Air Missions
Beginning balance…………………. $27,089.84
Actual Operating Income……………. $679,110.20
Loan Income………………………. $0.00
Total Income……………………… $679,110.20
Retirement and Medical…………….. $3,000.00
Workers Allowances………………… $142,043.42
Bank and Miscellaneous Charges……… $219.25
Transfer to Field…………………. $465,480.13
US Checks for Guatemalan Funds……… $0.00
Actual Operating Disbursements……… $639,502.98
Loan Repayment……………………. $0.00
Total Loan Repayment………………. $0.00
Ending Checkbook Balance…………… $39,607.22
~ Amos Hurst
MAM Board Treasurer