El Achiote Church plant progress

El Achiote Church plant progress

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Looking Into the New Year

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Notes from San Cristobal, Guatemala,

Thus far 2014 has started with a flash of lightning and a clap of Thunder! Let me start by giving a great “…shout to God with cries of joy,” (Psalm 47:1) as we embark on this New Year! .As you can see from the pictures below the new Temple unto the Lord has erupted out of the fields of corn and wild ayote! Merely having up the four concrete walls; with the door and windows cut out, has dramatically impacted the moral of the other missionaries as well as fueling a great fire [of the Holy Spirit] within the entire mountainside community.  Just for all these “Baby Christians” to finally see the new house of their Father, and thus their new home as well, has affected us deeply.  I had not expected such fervor of intensity.  Now, whether out of simple human curiosity or a form of “need” many other residents are now pursuing us instead… quite a nice change (James 2:5).  We are continuing to work ever so hard to meet the countless challenges of being able to begin holding services by the end of February.  Please keep this tiny and remote community in prayer along with our team of missionaries as we continue to search for the pastor & family who the Lord has already called to meet this greatest of challenges.

Our family spent the end of November and the first part of December back in the United States, the first time Noah and his grandparents have been able to share love and the tears of joy together since this wonderful child came into our lives.  While there I couldn’t escape the opportunity to do some real soul searching amid all the holidays celebrations, which were always accompanied by seemingly endless tables of food, forced me to really think long and hard about the kind of “life” I was striving to provide for my family…especially our young son.  Time again and again I kept coming back to one single word:  “Why?”

Sure, all of us know, by heart, our Lord’s commandment  to spread the gospel of salvation (Matt 28:18-20) to the very ends of the earth.  But was there more? Every time I looked into those ever so beautiful dark and deep eyes of my son I couldn’t help but to ask if the life we are presenting to him is correct, worth it, or even relevant  any more.

The original question began and ended in one word, “why,” and after countless hours in prayer at the feet of Christ, accompanied by at least two dozen, “brushing my teeth while looking at the man looking back out at me in the mirror moments,”  I finally had my answer to, “why,” and it too came down to a single word, “Love.” Interestingly, this single word is expressed over & over again and again and upon many different aspects of my life as the head of this tiny family, and also among my many brothers and sisters within the Kingdom (I John 4:19). Even greater sill, this single all significant word has been and is poured out upon me from the very creator God Himself. Not because I am special or even unique. But rather because He is! And this blanket of love is free to all who are cold in this harsh world. It is abundantly given to all who seek regardless of any Earthly categories where one may find themselves. While pondering this new insight I realized that our Savior’s love for me, while still in a sinful condition (Romans 5:8) has so changed and overwhelmed my life thus so that I cannot do anything other than to spend every waking second sharing and telling others about this love.

For those who know the details of my journey thus far in life know, quite well, that I wasn’t just knocking on death’s door but I had actually crossed the  threshold!  Now, while holding my wife’s hand as we watch our sleeping angel in such peace, I again return to that one word answer: LOVE.  I take in each new day as a sprinter takes in air! Gasping for and pulling every molecule of air to fill his lungs with each new step.   Every day we have, every moment of that day, we owe to the grace of our Lord God, for everyone dies, eventually.  Death seems to be the Great Equalizer in life.  And I have a choice; we have a choice of how we choose to live in this light.   We can die today by sharing the love of Christ with the societal disenfranchised or in 30 years of Leukemia or 50 years of Alzheimer’s.  To put it frankly, it doesn’t much matter “how” we die for dying is a must for all.  As theologian D.A. Carson says, “If  you live long enough you will get  cancer, longer still, you will lose your mind so what does it matter?”  What matters is “how” we live and if we have come to know God’s love for us (Jeremiah 29:11)and His promise of a better life after this one (in the new heavens and new earth) it matter, as nothing else in the world, that we share his offering to everyone we meet.

The great Christian writer, C.S. Lewis, while addressing a graduating class of university students in England, only months before WW II, spoke of war and death and its relation to the Christian faith.  He remarked that war forces us to look at the “reality” of death which, in turn, dramatically changes the way we live.  Now applying that to our lives right now, in this very moment, we must realize that we will die and that only in Jesus Christ is there hope … a hope we must share.

Back in Guatemala, looking at our son sleeping again in his own bed, I now know, without any doubt, that he is growing-up in the exact place he needs to be, the place where the Lord want him to be.

Please take the time and share this message with others.  Or better yet, share your own love of Jesus with someone, anyone, you see today and search your own life, its values and your goals, and see if helping us spread  the Living Word of Jesus Christ here in the mountains of Guatemala is something you and your family would want to do. God’s Blessings! For more information please contact us at: www.amissionchallenge.org