Guatemala – The Lord is here and His favor is upon us

Guatemala – The Lord is here and his favor is upon us.

 

This is just in: we work for a short-term missions organization. Shocking I know!  Praying Pelican Missions currently operates in about 10 different countries.  One of the questions I often get asked is what’s next? Where’s next?  Or Have you all thought about (insert country x)?

The answer is…if it’s a country in the world then we, as an organization, have thought about it.  The local church is the hope of the world and we exist to encourage, equip and partner with the local church. The local church is the hope of the world in Burkina Faso West Africa as it is in Central America, Asia, Europe and the Americas.

With a vision or scope that big, the next natural question is “How do you decide where to partner next?”

The answer is simple.  Whether we are expanding within one of our existing countries or to a new international location, we as a staff pray, pray, and pray some more.

One such place that has been on our “radar” for some time has been Guatemala, and in early Feb. to travel to Guatemala with Rob, Pastor Ed, and another one of our staff, Ross, to Guatemala on a “scouting trip.”

Before our trip, we began to ask around in Belize if anyone knew any leaders of denominations in Belize.  Through our Belizean pastors, we were put in contact with a national overseer of a particular denomination.  Pastor Ed and this pastoral leader began chatting on the phone over the course of several months and our trip was set.

I didn’t know what to expect.   After going and returning I can only say “Guatemala – The Lord is here and His favor is upon us.”

We arrived in Guatemala late at night and promptly checked into our hotel (save for maybe an old castle in Ireland, it was quite literally the nicest hotel I have ever stayed in).  After a quick night sleep, we were to meet with the national overseer for the day.

When Pastor came bouncing into the lobby (bouncing is the only way to describe his gait as he was so full of the joy of Christ, the first thing I noticed was his beaming smile.  He embraced us all warmly, as we were relatives returning from armed services.  We exchanged greetings and after a brief introduction, he said in Spanish “I know you.  I know you love the Lord, let’s go and have some fun”

And we were off….Off in the Lord’s favor.  It should be noted the day that Pastor met with us and drove us around Guatemala City was his 30th wedding anniversary!!

We travel to a lodging facilitiy where the caretaker bonds with us like only family can.  We joke, we laugh, we cry, we share.  We are family.  Now the caretaker and Pastor have shown us we are brothers in this larger family of God!

The day happens. Our “details” or “logistics” are set up well and quickly. Something that only our staff may truly know how awesome it is to have things fall into place like they did!  Again the Lord’s favor.

We return to the lodging facility for the evening.  When we arrive the students shuffle us to their bedroom, the nicest of the rooms at the facility, and they start packing up.  Perplexed I ask Pastor Ed what’s happening and he mentioned that they were going to give us their room!!  Lord’s favor!

We politely refused and stayed in one of the several other rooms.  We got to work typing notes from the meetings of the day, when the students come back in to inform us that dinner of eggs, beans, corn tortillas is ready.  We thought we had to go out!  They thought that was ridiculous.  “You’re family”, they say.  Truly we are a growing family and fast.

After dinner and dishes (which Rob made sure we did), we settled back down to finalize our plan for the following day.  It was dark and getting later in the evening.  We finished our planning and Rob, Ross, and I were doing “other work.” Pastor Ed heading outside to enjoy the view from atop the hill.  After 30 minutes or so, I hear what I think is laughing, crying, groaning, singing.  I ignore it thinking that these are people joking around.

I stop work, lay down in my bed, but I still hear the noises.  I get up.  I look out of our room and there I see it.  The students that were serving us are worshipping.  Nine of them are around the a small fire, embers crackling.  In the stillness of the Guatemalan night, I hear praising, praying, and groaning which can only be described as calling out to God in the Holy Spirit when emotion and burden are so heavy that words are not possible.

I sit on the step with Pastor Ed and Rob and look at this worship, praying, petitioning of the Lord for Guatemala.  It’s in Spanish so I don’t understand a lot of the words but the emotion is coming through loud and clear.  I walk forward a few steps, intent on going to do what I am not sure.  I turn back.  I am not worthy to worship with them.  I cry, unable to muster up any other emotion or words.

Together Rob, Pastor Ed, and I approach.  Around the fire, I see one student praying blessings over his fellow students.  I see a group of three students praising God through song.  Another student is crying, heartbroken for the brokenness of her city, her country. I see yet another prostrate on the dirt in front of the fire, begging God to do miracles in this country.  I don’t know what to do.  I hit my knees and pray.  I pray in English.  I pray in Spanish.  A student comes to bless me, I receive it.  I return the blessing on him and other students as well.  Eyes full of tears, I thank God for this experience.  I look out at the view of all of Guatemala City and I tell the Lord, right now we are standing in agreement with these students to proclaim this nation for you!

I return back to my bunk for the evening and fall asleep to the sounds of praying, groaning, praising.  Guatemala – The Lord is here and his favor is upon us.

A most amazing night, I still cannot comprehend.  It was just the first NIGHT, setting the stage for the rest of our time!

We stayed one night at a potential recreation location.  As we were bedding down for the night there, I opened the door and windows for breeze and listening.  Groaning, praying, petitioning the Lord for his country.  Demonstrative worship and prayer is what Rob called it and we were surrounded by it.  I can only describe it as being in the center of God’s will, His presence and surrounded by the equivalent of Angels crying out “Holy, Holy Holy.”  Guatemala – The Lord is here and his favor is upon us.

Our trip continued with a visit to Pastor Ed’s in-laws in Southern Guatemala.  After a TREMENDOUS dinner, the indulgence in which that I am ashamed to admit, we headed to our lodging for the evening.  Traffic was backed up, something that we were used to now driving around in Guatemala, but it was late and we were in a rural village.  Our driver got out and asked what’s up?  A pastor came to our car.  Tonight we are having a rally, “The night of miracles” he called it.  He explained that they are in an all-night worship for the Lord to heal Guatemala of her brokenness.  We all looked at each other, shook our heads, and praised God together for His favor.

Demonstrative worship and prayer each night, prayers of blessings each night, warm embraces from our new family, a night of miracles.  Guatemala…truly truly the Lord is here and His favor is upon us.  Thank you Lord.  We can’t wait to see what the future holds!

View atop the hill, morning after worship

View atop the hill, morning after worship

Pastor and some of our new family

Pastor and some of our new family

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