Sunday, March 18, 2012

Intermissions 2012

Lake Atitlan
Lareau Lundquist- main speaker
A few weeks ago we attended a conference for missionaries who are serving in Guatemala. This type of conference is quite rare because in most countries you would not see a whole group of missionaries getting together to enjoy a time away from their labours and get ministered to.  The first missionary conference held in Guatemala was around 1935 and they have continued to hold a conference most years since then. Several hundred missionaries and their families attended this conference which lasted from Friday afternoon till Sunday afternoon.  The conference was held in Panajachel a small town on the shores of beautiful Lake Atitlan. The theme this year was "thriving through tough times".  The series of messages was delivered by Lareau Lindquist and was simple but profound.  It was good to be reminded that tough times are part of the life of a believer.  Jesus never promised that life would be easy after becoming a child of His.  He did promise that the Christian life would be filled with suffering and hardship, but that this would serve to mold us into the children that He wants us to be. This Bible truth is not heard all that often anymore in the church today anymore (other than the persecuted church).  The church of today prefers to talk about health, wealth, and prosperity.  Sadly this is also very evident in Guatemala. It is important that as church and as believers we understand that suffering is part of the Christian life and is not a sign of spiritual weakness or lack of faith.  One could argue that the opposite is really true that a life of ease is a sign of spiritual weakness and lack of faith. I some times wonder when going through tough times whether what is happening to me is like what happened to Job where Satan the Accuser makes claims that I serve God because of what I can get from Him and not because I am committed to Him.  God therefore, gives Satan a certain freedom to allow me to suffer to prove that "though he slay me, yet will I trust in Him".  
The weekend was a great and many people contributed to making it so. Our children where taken care of during most of the conference time by volunteers from a church in the US who gave of their time and money to come down so that we could concentrate on being at the plenary sessions and the workshops. There were also counselors available, computer techs for those with computer problems, hair stylists, massage therapists, optometrist, free book and medicine, a book store, and much more. We learned a lot and enjoyed the company of other missionaries.  This conference is always a highlight of our year and it is always somewhat disappointing when it ends.  We can not wait for the next Intermissions Conference in 2013!