Sunday, May 16, 2010


On Saturday, I (Kemmel) traveled to the area of Joyobaj with a group of church leaders / elders to visit a smaller, struggling congregation while Lisa stayed at Clinica Caris with Gaspar and Juan having classes on peptic disease and blood donation. By the end of the class Gaspar and Juan thought we needed to get a list together of people who can donate blood! The history here is many people do not know where blood comes from and thus are afraid to donate as the fear is it does not regenerate, so it would be like donating a kidney. As a result, many people who need blood for a surgery must contract someone to give blood for them, costing around $100 per donor. So the dream - provide education to allow people to make decisions such as above with Gaspar and Juan and encourage them to act on the idea. We present the classes to others this coming Tuesday.

The elders I traveled with are a group of church leaders from the area of Chichicastenango and Santa Cruz del Quiche who have formed an organization whose purpose is to assist the other churches by developing leaders, providing evangelism support, providing spiritual encouragement and assisting the financially when possible. As part of their efforts they support a local missionary who travels to the area of Zacualpa and Joyobaj to promote spiritual development to the area. To do so, they enlist men and churches willing to provide their time and funds to progress the development of the church.

The community we went to visit is called Xepepen and is about a 1 hour drive from Joyobaj and about 3 hours from Chichicastenango. This community is located way up in the mountains over pretty rough roads that would not be accessible in the deep rainy season except by foot. The good news is some roads are being worked on to make it more accessible. The church here consists of 4 or so families with 2 men as the church leaders, a father and a son. Most of the other people in the church are women and children but possibly around 10 active adults. The church has struggled for some time now and thus the visit.

These men have been training leaders in another church in a community called Chuisiquel and now a young man from the Chuisiquel church is visiting the Xepepen church to also help develop its leaders. Very exciting. In the last 2 weeks they have had 2 additional baptisms and look forward to future growth. As this community is in a remote area, by distance, because in population is appears to have a quite a bit of people, they have much need. So the idea of this group of men is to assist the in the construction of the church building by supplying roofing material and other support.

It was very inspring to see the compassion and dedication this group of men has to the spiritual development of the church and to see them encourage others. During the visit we had a devotional with each one of the men sharing encouraging words and praying for the church and its families. We ended with a 15 minute prayer on our knees for the health of 2 of the elderly people in the church.

Also, it had its other fun as well as the roads were pretty bad and in some cases looked as nonexistent, but we pressed on (all were amazed on the power of a deisel 4x4). One of the men who lives in Paxot, a community around Chichicastenango, could not believe how many people lived on this mountain. It was amusing to see his excitement as most of us who come from the US or even from an urban Guatemalan city would be amazed about how many people live in the mountains around Paxot and here he is amazed about how many people live in the mountains around Xepepen. It was a great perspective to experience.

During the trip we also discussed some plans of TSI and how TSI is interested in growing in this area and partnering with churches in the ministry and everyone seems very interested.

I also got to spend some time with another leader from the church in Zacualpa who has also benefited from the encouragement and discipling of this group of elders. We got to spend some time discussing a new church growth in the border of Quiche and Baja Verapaz, about 2 hours from Joyobaj. Last year we attended a baptism in this area and recently, through a evangelism campaign with BICA (Bible Institute of Cental America), the church has grown to 31 adults! Pretty exciting. We are planning a second visit with much interest from this church in providing a medical clinic in their community. A longer trip that may be 2 days but we are looking forward to it.

What a great honor and priviledge to spend the day with this group of men and being inspired by their spiritual leadership. I need to learn more kiche!

Sorry no pictures from this trip, forgot the camera. In case you are wondering, gracias a Dios, we made it back before the rain started.

1 comment:

Sheri said...

Kemmel, how exciting!!