06 Oct Guatemala Mission Story: April
Q: What made you want to go to Guatemala?
April: I had never been on a missions trip before. I knew I wanted to go on one, but “in the future”. I thought it would be later in life when my husband and children were along side me. Doing a missions trip with Impact Ministries did not become an option until Les Peters, founder and field director, attended our church in the fall of 2014. He shared with us his heart for the ministry and the Guatemalan people. The stories he shared of God’s work in this region were so exciting to hear. Before the service was done, Graham (my husband) went out to the church foyer and found us a child we could sponsor. Both Graham and I were impressed with the work being done by Impact Ministries and even shared the stories we heard with our family and friends. Experiencing the work God was doing through Impact Ministries and meeting our sponsored child were two of the reasons I wanted to go to Guatemala, plus I knew God was calling me to go. It was my time; and a time I needed to go alone. I knew God had something in store for me.
Q: What’s an experience from your trip that really stands out to you?
There were countless times I said during our trip, “This is a highlight!” One experience was visiting the sinkhole and Chi-xim church. I appreciated our Guatemalan hosts and translators, Hugo and Edgar, as well as Les Peters for giving us an overview of the historical, social, and spiritual challenges of the Guatemalan people. It was important to have this background to understand why things are the way they are for these people. Their religion is a mixture of Mayan tradition, witchcraft and Roman Catholicism. It is dark and keeps the people oppressed and in fear. It broke my heart hearing these details, and even witnessing it. There is so much freedom in Christ, and yet these people do not know or have experienced it. I was thankful for the freedom in Guatemala for our team to pray, sing, and declare God’s name in these places. What a special moment it was to see John 1:5 in action: “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it”.
Q: What surprised you or was something unexpected from your time in Guatemala?
A: One of the things that surprised me was how exuberant the Guatemalans are in worship – I especially took note of the men. It was so beautiful to see their love, praise and thankfulness to our God. They sing loud, they dance, and they raise their hands or bow in surrender – there were no sign of being timid or wondering what others thought. When I commented to Les Peters about this, he reminded us that many of the people are first generation Christians (or Evangelicals as they prefer to call themselves). They experience the dramatic changes in their lives and in those around them and are so grateful to God for all He has done for them. They cannot keep it inside!
Q: What’s one way you found that God met you or showed Himself to you on your trip?
A: After a long day, Impact Ministries told us that they were taking us to the local church’s prayer meeting. I was physically and emotionally exhausted, and embarrassed to say, not overly excited about going out again that evening for an hour-long prayer meeting. Well, that evening ended up being a very special evening for me. The pastor gave a short piece of encouragement, but otherwise it was around a 45-minute silent prayer gathering, with instrumental music playing in the background. Everyone was there to pray and seek God. God met me there and it was so good to talk together and to also pray for situations and people that are not always in the forefront of my mind.
Q: How has your time in Guatemala changed you? Has it caused you to do anything differently? How could we be praying for you?
A: I have come home with desire to pray more and spend more time in His Word. I have cut down or cut off completely some of the things that I know can be a time waster for me. By doing this, I am ensuring that I make the time to spend with God and to hear the things He wants for me and from me. I anticipate the ways He will be molding me and changing me; no matter how hard it is, I am ready for it! I ask that you pray for me as I am working on these steps that I will remain faithful and diligent to what He has called me to do.
I do want to thank our church family and others who prayed for and financially supported our team. Because of your prayers and support, we were safe, we had positive life changing experiences, and you supported Impact Ministries itself and the work they are doing in Guatemala. It was a wonderful, heart changing experience and I encourage anyone thinking about going on a missions trip to do so.