Sunday, June 13, 2010

The fastest two weeks of my life...

Buenos Noches de Gautemala!! (Good evening from Guatemala!!)

I first of all, would like to say thank you to all who have been following and praying for us on this journey that God has assembled and ordained for. Your efforts have really made the difference!

Today was a very hard day. It seems just yesterday we were meeting the youth at our base church (Authentica Palabra de Vida/Authentic Word of Life); and here we are at the end of our last day in Chuquimula. It was a very reflective, but sad day. It started with a traditional Guatemalan breakfast of black beans, scrambled eggs, tortillas, and a chorizo-like sausage; it was delicious! Then we shortly departed for church, and the group, again, split in two; half going to San Juan Hermita, half staying in Chiquimula. In San Juan, my group was able to hear the local pastor give a short sermon right after Jason gave his testimony as I translated it into Spanish. There were not many there; only about eight young boys, plus four men who came late. However, you could see the spirit was moving in those who heard, because all were either attentive or somewhat uncomfortable with what was said. Praise the Lord! We also got to sing two songs in Spanish, and one song in English for the small congregation. The group that stayed in Chiquimula worked with the kids, and listened to Dr. Best finish his two part mini-series on healing; today's main point being that God heals each person depending upon their needs.

We then went to the Cordero's for lunch and had yet another traditional, but delicious, Guatemalan meal. These burrito-like things contained black beans (of course), beef, grilled green onions, and sour cream, all folded into a flour tortilla. After that we relaxed and spent time with the family until about five, when we again met with the youth one last time. We shared with each other, both American and Guatemalan, what our favorite parts about working together, and the trip overall. The results were surprisingly the same: We all enjoyed the strength and joy and love the other group shared with each other and the world around them. What a blessing to hear a confirmation that we have been accurately portraying the love of Christ! We had worship, in both languages, and ended by all singing together "La Nina de Tus Ojos" or "The Child of Your Eyes". There were many tears, but we made it through the first round of goodbyes. Then we returned to the Cordero's for dinner and some fun with the Guatemalan version of Black Cat fireworks (which, by the way you can buy over 1,300 of them for around $3.50 US). We had tostadas, a flat taco shell with various toppings including, guacamole, beef, black beans, and a tomato sauce. The hardest part was definitely saying goodbye to the three kids; Kevin-11, Nathan-6, and Amy-5. Please keep them in your prayers.

As I look back over the two fastest weeks of my life I can't help but be filled with the joy of the Lord, as David was in 2 Samuel 6. He has done so many great things for and through us, and I would like to just recap a few:

-He provided us with safe passage regardless of what the weather was like.
-He brought us to work with a truly amazing family who has sold out for Christ in their country.
-One member of our group has discovered what it really means to follow the Lord! What joy there is just in that!
-He has transformed a group who was petrified at sharing their stories with their own group into a group of powerful Warriors whose testimonies have touched hundreds, if not thousands, of Guatemalan lives.
-He kept us safe against the attacks of the enemy, and has brought many, including us, into a deeper walk with him.

These are all great things, but the thing I will always remember, was the miracle that occurred on Thursday. We arrived at the church and began to load food bags into the truck. we were instructed to load 50 bags. Four members of our team counted the bags we put in the pickup, and all agreed that there were 50. We all watched as Pastor Oseas tied down the sacks securely. Well long story short, when we got to the mountain that was over four hours away, we gave away (again, we counted) 55 bags!! And when we returned to the church, there were still 50 bags left. That doesn't seem all that important, but Oseas had bought exactly enough food for 100 bags. Many people counted the hundred we prepared that night, including myself. God quite literally did a miracle! He multiplied our bags and gave us five extra! Praise the Lord!!

This is just one of the many other stories we will tell you when we all get home in just two days!! Tomorrow we head to Antigua, to spend a day there in the markets. Pray for safety please! That is all for tonight, Thanks again.

In His Grip,
Wes Cates

Ps- I just want to take a minute to say I love you! to all my family, Friends, and Megan. Thanks for your unwavering support!

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