Thursday, May 1, 2014


In my last post I wrote about the many frustrations and discouragements we have felt working in Cubulco. Since that last post we have been greatly encouraged in different ways. The first has been through the messages of friends, family, and supporters who expressed their appreciation for our openness and honesty and promised to pray for us. Prayer is so important and so uplifting. The second has been our own prayer life. This situation forced us to reflect on our prayer life and we were reminded that we need to spend more time in prayer for Cubulco Churches. The third encouragement was during one of our recent trips to Cubulco. We spent the weekend there and we able to participate in several activities of the church. A highlight was the visit of the ladies group of the church together with the pastor and the obrero to give thanks to God for the success of the small surgery I had to remove a cancerous spot on my neck.  Another highlight was seeing several new faces in church of people who had recently committed their lives to Christ.
During my last trip to Cubulco, I was also somewhat encouraged through a meeting I had with the church leaders to talk about the future of the churches in Cubulco. After meeting for some 6 hours they came to the conclusion that they should continue on with the process of joining the Presbyterian denomination. I had suggested that they take more time and continue to meet with the Presbyterian in order to get more clarifications on the concerns and questions they have. However, the men did not want to wait for another year. Although that part of the meeting was positive I still feel that the leaders are not of one mind. They are not willing to stand up to each other or to voice their opinions and thoughts when they think differently. They often accuse outsiders of trying to manipulate them, but the reality is that they do it amongst themselves and that the people from the outside are not the ones who are trying to manipulate them. They of course want to blame someone when things do not go their way and they do not want to blame themselves or each other. These are the difficulties of dealing with a shame based society where they do everything possible to not "lose face". Because of this, I remain somewhat concerned about the whole process as several steps still need to be taken before the end of May before the churches can be accepted as a separate Presbytery. One of the steps is the ordination of several of the obreros as pastors so that we can meet the minimum requirement of becoming a Presbytery which are three organized churches with a consistory and pastor. However, I feel I have done my part and the rest is up to them. If they do not comply with the other steps they will quickly realize that things will not turn out as they hope. One of the things the leaders need to learn is to be more formal in what they do. It is very common to do things informally and as they deem fit and they often have a hard time following guidelines and order even though they have been taught to do so. It is human nature, however, to do things on your own terms and conditions and not what the Bible says, or what sound tradition states based on years of experience. I therefore ask you (the reader) to continue to pray for the leaders of the churches and for their commitment for doing what is right and Biblical and that they lay aside their personal interests, and that you pray for this process of joining the National Presbyterian Church of Guatemala.