Saturday, October 12, 2013

Day 12: Guatemala

I'm spending some time loving on the nieces today, so you get the chance to read some words by my sweet man! You should feel lucky, friends. This doesn't happen often!

Nate here, filling in for Anne as she has a packed schedule this weekend. A great excuse and opportunity for me to share with you all my heart for the people of Guatemala!

As my senior year of college came to a close, I had the privilege to travel to Guatemala and serve the people of El Cajón, which can mean "the box," but in this case, the local translation was "the coffin." Poverty is a glaring reality for most folks in El Cajón, but you'd never be able to tell from the smiles that overwhelmed their faces. My host family is fortunate enough to have electricity most of the time. Thus, they are viewed as one of the most privileged families in town, second only to the family that has electricity and a car.

The most striking of these smiles and grateful hearts is that of Pastor Abrám, the leader of the local church. Hurricane Rita caused devastating flooding in this area of the country, and swept his home, all his belongings, and the building where his church met into the river. That week, we were able to contribute to the construction of a new church building and attached home for Abrám, his family, and his church. I have never met a more grateful man.

Please pray against the continued devastation of poverty and inequity of income and living standards in the nation. Many of the Catholic population are actually syncretized Christo-pagans, meaning they simply shift their previous Mayan gods to being Catholic "saints." Violence is a nationwide plague, and must be dealt with often.

On the positive side, many of the 38 Amerindian native peoples have a New Testament translation in their native tongue, and Guatemalan believers are currently taking charge of the dozen or so language translations remaining.

Guatemalan Quick Facts
Population: 14.3 million
Primary Industry: Agriculture
Annual Income per Person: $2,850
Political System: Democracy (with deep history of dictatorships, military governments, and civil war)
Primary Religion: Christianity
All facts found in Operation World

Heavenly Father, we thank you for being a God of justice and mercy. We pray against the negative effects of poverty, inequities, and violence that persist in Guatemala. We pray that your light would shine in the darkest corners and expose distortions in people's understanding of the Gospel. We thank you that many have access to the New Testament in a language they understand, and we pray for the continued translation and distribution efforts of the remaining languages, that this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations for Your glory! Amen.

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