Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Down to the River

Last week we were invited to a baptism of three people in the Mactzul IV church.  This congregation is new and was established by some members of the church from Mactzul V.  They continue to impress us with their zeal to grow. They would have started with less than 20 people and probably have close to 40 now after 2 years. Some members of this church brought a patient in last February with some serious health issues.  They were concerned for him both physically and spiritually.  Over the following months we were able to get him referred for treatment and the church continued ministering to him and last week he deciding to commit his life to following Christ.  They also had two young folks come forward to identify themselves as followers of Jesus.  It was a great day to see these news brothers and sister start their lives anew!

What a beautiful place to be baptized!  About 1 hour and 15 minutes from Chichi back in the hills, but a small warm water spring.

 3 people for a baptism - Tomas, Josefina and Tomas.  Bigger Tomas looks 
like a whole different person than when he came to clinic.
 Members of the church from Mactzul IV
 Praying before the baptism which was officialed by members from the Mactzul VII church

 Raised into new life!

Bonus - This is a previous ABC student, who had to leave the program to help support the family.  He is now 18 years old, baptized and leading singing in the church.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

All Saints' Day--Everyone's Invited!

Traditional giant kites from Sacatepequez, Guatemala to celebrate All Saints' Day (Photo Credit: Prensa Libre)

It's  a major holiday around here--Day of the Dead or All Saints' Day--and we are enjoying being at home catching up after month-long trip to the States.  We were more than blessed to be able to visit friends from our supporting congregations at Eastside Church of Christ in Colorado Springs and Meadowbrook Church of Christ in Jackson, MS.  Every time we go back to visit we are a little afraid that we will no longer fit in or not know anyone, but we are always made to feel like celebrities and family by these two churches.  We were loved on, fed like royalty and spent hours just talking and catching up. In our travels around the States we also got to rest and see family in Oklahoma, Arkansas and Texas and even friends from my (Lisa's) high school days. We have come back renewed and more driven to do the work here in Guatemala.

Being separated from friends and family like we are makes traveling to see everyone so exciting for us.  It reminds me a lot of this holiday that is celebrated here in Guatemala and in other Latin American countries where people have traditions of reuniting with family that have preceded them in death.  The celebrations involve preparing favorite foods to enjoy together, kite making to guide the spirit of the deceased back to the family home for a short visit and a belief held by many that the spirits and the living get to come back together, if just for a day. Although there are many pagan and questionable spiritual overtones to this holiday, it is easy to see that we all have a desire to be with loved ones both living and dead and it reminds us that God also wants us to be reunited with him and enjoy endless time of fellowship.  I wonder what kind of foods God will serve at the Feast of the Lamb?

Traditional foods enjoyed in the harvest season and during the All Saints' Day celebrations. (Photo credit: Prensa Libre)