Minister Ordination in El Pital
On the afternoon of July 27, 2021, a small audience of forty to fifty people was seated on church benches under a blue tarp in the small village of El Pital. Most of the visitors in attendance were from Oratorio or Guatemala City, except for one brother from San Bartolomé. All were present to witness the ordination of Brother Larry Martin as minister. Larry has been serving as the commissioned pastor at El Pital for four and a half years.
A holy hush filled the outdoor chapel as refreshing breezes played in the mango leaves overhead. Baby chicks peeped and searched for food, and songbirds sang their praises to their Creator while God’s people worshiped. Galen Miller shared a devotional and Duane Eby preached the message. Isaías Muñoz, assisted by Duane Eby, gave the charge.
Please pray for Larry and Laresa as they serve in El Pital. Also pray for the two native members, their families, and the community there.
~ Nathan & Delores Graybill
Thinking of Trees
Imagine a world without trees. Think about what it would be like if the tallest thing that grew was bamboo. Tables and chairs might be much less common. Our houses would be different and probably harder to build without wood. Paper comes from trees; therefore, we might not have many Bibles today, because books would be too expensive to make, or too large and bulky, without paper. Rubber comes from trees; therefore, we wouldn’t have tires for cars, motorcycles, or even bicycles. We would do a lot more walking, and our shoes would be a lot less comfortable without rubber. Many kinds of fruit come from trees. Imagine a world without apples, lemons, oranges, or avocados. This world would be a very different place. It would be harder to find shade from the sun. We wouldn’t be able to enjoy the beauty of a tree by our house or the coolness of a forest. Thank God that He so graciously created trees for our benefit!
It fascinates me that there aren’t just a few different kinds of trees, but many kinds. God could have made only fruit trees or only evergreen trees, but He chose to make many varieties of trees, all with the amazing genetic capability to adapt to their environment (within the constraints of their “kind”). There are some 60,065 documented tree species in the world today. Some trees are gigantic, like California’s famous redwoods. Other trees are very old. The oldest tree in the world is claimed to be 4,852 years old (a bristlecone pine named “Methuselah”), but it probably can’t be older than about 4,325 years old (Noah’s Flood isn’t figured into secular timelines).
Many trees are very useful. They clean the air, produce oxygen, and prevent soil erosion. They also provide food and shelter for birds and animals and people. Others . . . well, I’ll just say that I don’t appreciate the abundant thorn trees around here!
Many trees grow in rainforests, and some grow in deserts. Around our house in Mixcolajá I can count at least ten different kinds of trees. We have pines, mangoes, several kinds of palms, a male papaya tree, a jocote tree, several lemon trees, an oak, and others I don’t have names for. Many of them change appearance each year as they grow new leaves, produce flowers, develop mature fruit, lose their leaves, and so on. They are always changing and are usually very beautiful. The poet Joyce Kilmer once wrote: “I think that I shall never see a poem lovely as a tree.” He ended his famous poem with the line, “Poems are made by fools like me, but only God can make a tree.”
God certainly displayed His creative power when He made trees. The Bible frequently mentions trees. Let us begin with those two famous trees in the Garden of Eden, the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and the tree of life. Because Adam and Eve disobeyed God and ate of the tree of knowledge, their access to the tree of life was cut off. Cherubims with flaming swords guarded the tree of life, and Adam and Eve were driven out of the Garden of Eden. After the end of Genesis 3, the tree of life is not mentioned again until the Book of Revelation. However, we do see some comparisons or allusions to the tree of life throughout Proverbs. (Bible quiz idea: see how many trees mentioned in the Bible you can name!)
Happy is the man that findeth wisdom, and the man that getteth understanding. She is a tree of life to them that lay hold upon her: and happy is every one that retaineth her (Proverbs 3:13, 18).
Wisdom is said to be a “tree of life” to those who seek and find it. It seems that a “tree of life” is not only alive and growing, but giving life as well. A tree of life sustains life outside of itself. It gives fruit to the hungry. It gives shelter to the vulnerable. It makes other life possible. So it is with wisdom. Wisdom teaches us that it is better to give than to receive. Wisdom shelters us from danger, both physical and spiritual.
But I want us to think about another tree mentioned in the Bible.
Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men. The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye slew and hanged on a tree. Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins. And we are his witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey him (Acts 5:29-32).
The “tree” that was used to crucify Jesus was just the opposite of a tree of life, right? It was, you could say, a “tree of death.” Yet, because Jesus took our place on that tree, we can gain eternal life!
Jesus is mentioned in relation to other trees as well. He saw Nathanael under a fig tree (John 1:48). Jesus called Zacchaeus down from a sycamore tree. Jesus spoke of trees in several of His parables. One of Jesus’ favorite places to pray was among the olive trees at Gethsemane.
Jesus even has a name that refers to a part of a tree. And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof (Revelation 5:5).
Think about the symbolism of this name. Jesus was like the stump of a tree that was cut, but promptly sent forth new growth. He was slain, cut down, and laid in tomb—unseen, like the roots of a tree. But then He came back to life. The name “Root of David” highlights His humanity; He came and lived in the dirt and ugliness of this earth. It also speaks of His divine nature. He was not only the offspring of David, but He was the root, the source, of David’s line. He is the Beginning and the End. Let us read more about the end.
I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last. Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city. I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star (Revelations 22:13, 14, 16).
The root and offspring of David. The One who was slain and lives again. Jesus Christ, the maker of trees, calls us to come and eat of the Tree of Life. The next time you see a tree, think about the Creator. Think about how God has so kindly provided us with trees to use for our physical needs. And think about how Jesus hung on a tree, so that you and I could have access to the Tree of Life.
~ Justin Zimmerman
Wedding in Los Achiotes
Joshua Glick and Wendy Santos were united in holy matrimony on August 20. Joshua was born and raised in El Salvador but has been serving as a volunteer with MAM. Wendy is from the church in Los Achiotes where the wedding was held.
Plans were made to hold the wedding at a location that could accommodate a larger number of people. But due to recently increased COVID-19 restrictions, they were not allowed to have as many people at the wedding as they had invited, and some had to stay home. The wedding was held in the church building in Los Achiotes, and the reception was outdoors at Wendy’s parents’ place.
I believe God answered quite a few prayers that day. This is rainy season here in Guatemala, and it has been raining nearly every afternoon. However, on the afternoon of the wedding it clouded over and sprinkled a little, but it did not rain on the outdoor reception. The clouds even provided a very pleasant atmosphere instead of the normally sweltering heat of the coastal region.
Joshua and Wendy plan to live at Novillero and work with the church in Nahualá, helping the national deacon Diego Tziquin with the church work there.
~ Galen Miller
Please pray for the new workers as they make many adjustments!
We have been blessed with some additions to the team here in Guatemala. The Darrell Dyck family arrived in July and have been studying Spanish the last few weeks. Darrell is an ordained minister from the Heartland Mennonite Brotherhood in Creston, British Columbia. Darrell, Lisa, and their 3 youngest children—Andrea (19), Reuben (16), and Tyler (15)—will live in Oratorio and help with the new school project, among other things.
Audrey Layman arrived in early August and has been studying Spanish. She is from the Rawley Springs Mennonite Church in Harrisonburg, Virginia. She will be a domestic and personal worker, initially at Headquarters and then in El Guayabo.
Praise and Prayer Items
- Praise the Lord for new missionaries joining the work in Guatemala.
- Praise the Lord for healing Diego Tziquin after he nearly died in the hospital a few months ago.
- Pray for the complete restoration of sight in Lester Burkholder’s right eye.
- Pray for the Guatemalan brothers and sisters who are discouraged because of ungodly family members.