Wednesday, August 31, 2011
Sunday, August 21, 2011
Day 8, Thursday, July 14, was the day before we left Puerto Barrios and we partly used it visiting the Racancojs. They shared a meal with us. We also visited a sweet lady that is in her late 90s that Paul has known for many years. Marito did the pleasure of taking us to a Guatemalan supermarket where an unspeakable amount of local coffee grounds were bought. We also got to go to their local mall which was very similar to ours minus the security guards packing AK-47s! It made me feel safe for sure knowing they were justice’s side.
That night at worship Mario spoke on the word of God being planted in our hearts and how that should convict us. Six men responded to his talk seeking restoration and rededication. Afterward we all circled around and sang a song for our departure.
On Friday, we caught the 10 AM double-decker bus out of Puerto Barrios and arrived in Guatemala City about 3:45 PM. We checked into our hotel and were able to explore a little before supper time. Saturday, Marito’s plane to Spain left early so a few of us woke-up to have breakfast with him and say goodbye. Our plane back to the States left at 11:30 AM and we got to Houston on-time and our flight was cancelled 5 minutes before we were scheduled to board. We could not get another flight until the next day which flew into Memphis. Paul’s friend Roy was kind enough to pick us up and drive us back to Searcy in his large van. We arrived in Searcy about 3:00 PM in time for a little rest before worship that night.The trip was a fulfilling and enlightening experience for all of us. Paul and Linda Miller did a terrific job organizing the trip arrangements and coordinating with Mario about our time in Puerto Barrios. We look forward to a long and fruitful relationship with our brothers and sisters in Guatemala.
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Wednesday, August 17, 2011
Sunday, August 14, 2011
On Day 4, Sunday, we started the morning with the baptism of Angela España at a beautiful location in the mountains in a spring fed river. Worship was not until that evening at 4:00. Bryan was asked to lead a song in English because they were very interested in hearing us sing. I spoke on “How to Solve Spiritual Problems.” Three people responded in need of prayers.
Monday, was somewhat of a “free day” and we went to a town called Livingston. The boat ride there was on a mini cargo ship and took about an hour. This town is on Mario’s radar for a church plant in the near future. We met and visited several hours with a potential contact that would make a strong Christian. The trip back was on a motor speed boat that ended up breaking down. The Guatemalan Coastguard, which Mario didn’t even know existed, towed us to shore and we made it safe.
We were able to eat at a very memorable restaurant on the Bay of Honduras that was outdoors and on a huge dock sitting over the water. In the middle of dinner we got another call for a baptism. We were able to witness a lady be baptized that night by Caesar España. This took place in a hotel pool since that was the most convenient body of water.
Day 6, we traveled to a town called El Estor and Bryan spoke on “Be Thou Faithful until Death and Receive a Crown of Life.” After worship we visited the preacher’s house there in El Estor and his family graciously fed all 10 of us who traveled there. We returned late that night since it was a six hour drive round-trip. On Wednesday, we visited the church in Morales. Amilcar España preaches at the church here. Before heading over to Morales, the España family invited us for lunch. After lunch we went to see the building progress in San Manuel about 10-15 minutes from the España’s. We headed to Morales and visited the piece of property they purchased for a building. The building they worship in now is leased and they have plans for their own building soon. Mario asked me to speak that night on “How to Solve Economic Problems.” The message was well received and they all lined-up afterward to hug each of our necks.
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Tuesday, August 9, 2011
Day three of our trip was Saturday, July 9. The church in Puerto Barrios conducted a seminar from 8:00 AM—4 PM. The speakers included Paul Miller, Bryan McDonald, Enrique Colon, and Marito Racancoj. This seminar was open to the community, but the focus was on the area wide preachers to attend, which many did. Total attendance was between 20-30 people.
Paul spoke on Spiritual Growth in the church and within the individual. His key texts were Mark 4:26, Acts 8:4, 2 Peter 1:5-8. He emphasized the spiritual growth of an individual from the time of the planted seed to the birth and growth of the person. Planting and watering is up to the Christians, but we must rely on God for the increase. Spiritual growth must be an ongoing process without a retirement age, but has great retirement benefits. Marito translated for Paul and was a great tool as both a presenter and translator for all the English speakers.
Enrique (Henry) spoke on the world and the church. He emphasized the characteristics of a Christian servant and when someone should decide to become a servant of Christ. Marito Racancoj also spoke on struggles in the world and dealing lovingly with those who have fallen away.
Bryan McDonald spoke on leadership. He paralleled and contrasted secular leadership with leadership in the church. He pointed out the various kinds of leadership styles there are and discussed the pros and cons of each. Good emphasis was placed on the necessity of leadership in the church in order for things to operate more smoothly and be in accord with God’s intention.
Saturday night we had worship at Puerto Barrios and I spoke on the subject “How to Solve Family Problems.” Angela Espana responded for baptism. This is Amilcar’s wife who had been struggling with faith for 16 years. Paul, Mario, Amilcar, and countless others have been working with her over the years. This was certainly an emotional time for many who have been involved with this work. There were also four others that responded in need of prayers for spiritual healing. They had a potluck for us that night of hot dogs which is a rare dish for them! More details to come…
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Monday, August 1, 2011
Over the next few weeks there will be articles about the recent trip to Guatemala. There were nine travelers total including Paul & Linda Miller, Kayla Waller, Terry Carr-Jones, Bryan & Casey McDonald, Henry (Enrique Sr) Colon, Ricky (Enrique Jr) Colon, and Mario Racancoj all the way from Madrid Spain.
On Thursday, July 7, we left Four Mile Hill parking lot at 3:30 AM. We arrived in Guatemala City about noon and caught a bus at 2 PM to Puerto Barrios. We checked-in to our hotel that night about 9:00 PM.
Day two of our trip started out by helping with some building maintenance and home visits to wayward members. At the building we moved dirt to help flatten out the church’s property and make the drive-way level. The building had some water damage so we helped chip away the ruined plaster in order to prevent fungus. After lunch we came back to the building and went to visit Amilcar Espana. He preaches in Morales and recently came down with cirrhosis. We also got to visit with his wife who was not a Christian at the time (more on that later). He is doing well and is back preaching only 3 weeks after liver surgery. After visiting we witnessed the baptism of a new sister, Sarah, whose husband was baptized three days earlier, Pablo.
That night we had a worship assembly and a presentation on an effort put-on by the area congregations for training in personal evangelism. The course will begin September 6th and will cover a broad spectrum of topics. Biblical/historical studies will be covered including specific books of the Bible and time periods from Ancient Israel through the Restoration Movement of the church. Denominational studies will also be studied to prepare people for encounters during studies with people. Personal evangelism tactics will be learned specific to the culture in Guatemala. We got back to the hotel that night about 10:45 PM after a long and fulfilling first full day in Puerto Barrios. A general consensus among the team was to go down and help, but more than anything we went down and were the ones helped. More to come in the following weeks…
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