Three People Baptized, One Restored
A special service was planned for March 3, 2019, in Mixcolajá. After a number of months of instruction class, the time for baptism had finally arrived. It is exciting when new members are added to the family. It is wonderful when new brothers and sisters are added to the congregation. When a new member is added to a family, room needs to be made in the schedule, in the home, at the table, and in the lives of the existing members. The same is true in the local congregation. The existing members need to make room in the schedule and congregational life for new members. The congregation at Mixcolajá was looking forward to welcoming the new members.
Lamar & Beulah Hursh and two children had been living in Mixcolajá for over a year. They had planned to go to Peru months ago, but God made it possible for them to stay in Guatemala for over a year. Lamar & Beulah spent a lot of time preparing for this special day by patiently instructing and teaching these dear folks.
Rosalío spent some time working in the States. When he returned to Guatemala, he shacked up with a girl from the community. He opened a store where he sold beer and lottery tickets. He had gaming machines and a television there, which attracted people who came to watch and spend money. His store was open on Sunday. On April 12, 2018, Rosalío surrendered his life to Jesus Christ and repented of his sin. On his own, without anyone talking to him about his store, he closed it on Sundays, quit selling beer and lottery tickets, and got rid of the gaming machines and television. He married his girlfriend, a schoolteacher, on July 6, 2018. They now have a baby. He currently operates two stores. Pray for Rosalío and his wife, especially that she would be willing to repent and surrender to Jesus Christ. Pray that Rosalío would stay strong in
his walk of faith.
Lorenzo is Marili’s husband and Chano’s brother. He was a member of the church, but became discouraged and fell into sin. He began drinking a lot, staying drunk for many days. He seemed to be oppressed by demons and heard voices at night. He could not sleep and wanted to commit suicide. The brethren in the church prayed much for him. His wife suffered for a number of months because of his drunkenness. He repented of his sin, gained victory over the oppression, and his life and that of his family changed. Lorenzo was received back into fellowship in the same service in which his wife was baptized. Pray that this family would live in victory and that their children would desire to serve Christ as well.
After a delicious lunch served by the ladies of the church, the congregation gathered again to celebrate Communion and feetwashing services. Brother Isaías preached the Communion message and Saul Pacheco preached the feetwashing message. Saul was there to preach at the annual conference that was then held on Monday and Tuesday, March 4, 5, 2019.
Please pray for the congregation at Mixcolajá, that there would be faithful men and women who serve God with a pure heart fervently. Pray that the spouses of several church members would repent and surrender to Jesus Christ. The Lamar Hursh family left Guatemala on March 12 to travel to the USA, then on to Peru where they are heading up a churchplanting effort. Pray for Brother Chalo and Brother Nick Suarez who are leading the church at this time.
Also pray for Norma. She was in instruction class, but was not ready for baptism. She has many intense spiritual battles. There was hope that Gerson and Domingo could be received back into fellowship as well, but it was decided to give them more time.
Truly the fields are white, ready for harvest. Pray that the Lord of harvest would send forth laborers into His harvest.
~ Wesley King
When Thou Passest Through the Waters…
The great multitude of people is camped at the edge of the sea, trapped by a huge army of the best warriors on earth. There is no escape. Everyone is looking for a way out of the situation. Most want to go back the way they came, knowing they will face a life of slavery. They reason that it is better to live in slavery than lie dead on the sand.
Imagine Juan coming home from his work in the fields. Being the middle of dry season, he will have no work tomorrow and likely not for a month or two. Juan’s house really should be repaired before the rains, but there is little money for beans, let alone for new boards and tin. As a young father, Juan feels the enormous weight of responsibility to care for his family. All his friends are talking about forming a group and traveling illegally to the States. Juan’s father-in-law would loan him the money for the coyote…
Imagine a young man kneeling in prayer. As he prays, he asks what more can be done; the powers of sin and Satan are strong and their end is death. There seems to be no answer to his prayer; moreover the temptations only get stronger as he seeks God. He is too ashamed to tell anyone about his struggle, reasoning that no one but God can help. Most of his peers have given up the fight one by one…
Peter is sure that his church has problems. The deacon in particular really bothers him. As the one who audits the church records, Peter has seen many inconsistencies in the books. He feels wronged that a portion of his offering is going to fill the pockets of this “Judas.” “It wouldn’t be so bad,” thinks he, “if only the deacon would be nice to me.” Worse yet, no one else takes any interest in these bookkeeping errors, and many are willing to come to the deacon’s defense. Peter wants to see justice, but finds himself becoming enslaved more and more to bitterness…
An angry drunk shows up at the mission. He wants food, but given his drunken state, no one feels it’s a good idea to open the door. Realizing that he will not get his desire, the drunk throws rocks through many of the front windows and goes on his way. Soon after, the police come by looking for him. The next morning the same drunk shows up again, slightly more sober and hungrier than ever…
These fictional stories are a few examples of the corners that Christians sometimes feel backed into. Every corner we feel trapped in offers its own solution to the problem, but the obvious and easy way out will lead to denying Christ, bondage to sin, and spiritual death. What is the will of God for these situations?
One man among the multitude on the seashore stood out from the rest. As a man of faith, he did not join the worrying and complaining of the rest, but waited quietly for what he could not yet see. Moses knew that God Himself led the group there and that God’s will was for His people to leave Egypt and slavery behind and to move on to the land He had promised.
The next morning God opened the sea. The water stood up in a wall, and the Israelites walked right through. There wasn’t even any mud. When their enemies tried to follow, the chariots got stuck in mud and came apart. The sea closed up again and the whole army drowned. What a mighty God!
This mighty God has not changed, nor has His manner of dealing with His people. Every Christian at times finds himself apparently trapped in a corner— many times through God’s own leading in his life. These are the times that a person’s faith in God becomes apparent. Hebrews 11:1, 2 says, Now faith is the substance of things hoped for the evidence of things not seen. For by it the elders obtained a good report. This “good report” is a good testimony.
I think about those, like Moses, whom God used because of their testimony of faith. I am amazed by the working of God through their lives, but wonder why these miracles seldom happen today. Is it my lack of faith? I can imagine the Israelites on the shore looking at the straight narrow path through the sea. Did they have faith? Did a few stay behind? Were some afraid that the water would fall on their heads as they crossed? Did they prefer a life of slavery to the risk?
The path to Heaven is straight and narrow, and few find it. Although it often leads through difficult places, this path will never return to sin and bondage. This straight path can only be followed by a person of faith. Many times the path is not apparent or even possible until the last minute, and it always calls for complete surrender to the will of God. Can I wait, like Moses, on the leading of God? Will I be willing to cross when He opens the sea?
Latin American Leaders’ Meeting
Mennonite Air Missions had the privilege of hosting the 2019 Latin American Leaders’ Meeting on February 26-28. These meetings are held each year with the goal of encouraging the many pastors, ministers, bishops, deacons, and missionaries who serve in Latin America.
The first meetings of this sort were held in the 1980s and consisted of about twenty pastors from Costa Rica, El Salvador, and Guatemala. Those were difficult days for the Anabaptist church in Central America. Wars and lack of good communication and good roads made it very difficult to have much intermingling with other Anabaptist churches. These meetings helped the churches to grow closer together, and more importantly, closer to the Lord.
The meetings have grown tremendously since then. This year’s meeting hosted nearly 250 people, eighty of which were pastors, from thirteen different countries. Each year the meetings are hosted by the churches from a different country. The meetings are held in Spanish, but to accommodate the English-speaking Belizeans and new missionaries, each service is translated into English.
Most of those who attended arrived on Monday, the day before the meetings began; a few arrived Tuesday morning. The meetings were held at the Farm in Sumpango, and thanks to the hard work of many people, we were able to host most of those who attended at the Farm facilities. We were somewhat limited in bedroom space for couples, so some families opted to stay in hotels in nearby Sumpango. The cooks worked very hard to provide food for everyone, working from 5:00 in the morning until 9:00 or 10:00 at night.
We were very blessed with the messages that were shared. Many of these pastors are the only leader in their church, which means that they preach every Sunday. Opportunities to hear from others is rare. Messages on the origin of love, the ministry of reconciliation, fasting, spiritual gifts, technology, and confession were shared during the day, with an evangelistic service in the evening. There was also a time of sharing and praying each afternoon. On Thursday, two different ministries shared a presentation about new works that are starting.
After a short night, there was a mad rush on Friday morning to get everyone to the airport or bus station on time. And another Latin American Leaders’ Meeting was history.
Lamar Hursh Family
Lamar Hursh’s two youngest children, Juanita and Joel, returned to the States on February 4—Juanita, to attend Bible School in Washington, and Joel to spend time with family in Oregon. That left Lamar and Beulah with an empty nest for the remainder of their time in Guatemala. A month later, on March 4, Lamar and Beulah said their difficult goodbyes as well and flew back to the States. They plan to spend some time with friends and family before moving on to Peru. Thank you for your service with MAM.
Justin Flamenco arrived in Guatemala City on March 26. He is part of the Heartland Mennonite Brotherhood in Creston, British Columbia. He plans to attend a week of Spanish school before moving to San Bartolomé to help with the work there.
Delores Schmidt, from New Hamburg, Ontario, arrived at Headquarters on April 3. She is from the Cedar Grove Amish Mennonite Church. Delores will be helping with domestic work at the mission.