From the Head, to the Heart, and out through the Hands Anointed by God’s power and authority to do His work The Shalom Foundation’s Guatemala Mission Team RecapFrom July 2-12, 2010, 47 team members churches in the Nashville area partnered together with theShalom Foundation and traveled to Guatemala to bring the good news of Jesus Christ to the Las Conchascommunity just outside of Guatemala City. Coming together with all power and authority given by Christto continue the work of the great commission.From the HeadWe had studied the history and current economic situation in Guatemala. We were aware of poverty.But when we arrived in Las Conchas, we had to relearn ‘poverty’. News clips and books don’t prepareone to see malnourished children, homes made of scrap woodand tin, a thin line between makeshift septic systems andpublic water sources and roads largely impassable for most ofthe local vehicles. We learned that just attaining a 6th gradeeducation gives you a shot to have a decent life, yet few evenattain this level. The constitution requires that all children beprovided a 9th grade education, yet the government does littleto enforce this in the poorest parts of the country. The cyclethen is never broken…poor parents = poor children with nohope of breaking out. We have sight, but do we see? We have ears, but do we hear? Are we ready toaccept the responsibility and have the faith to be His witness, even in Guatemala?To the HeartActs 1:8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” We had to transfer the knowledge in our heads to a powerful love from the heart in order to fulfill the duties required in the Great Commission. Our spiritual leader, Jeff Swayze, challenged us to look below the impoverished, filthy surface and find hope in these people’s lives. With nothing to be cheerful for from what we could tell through our materialistic lenses, our team was brought to tears when we saw the joy in the children’s faces. Our eyes began to see. A simple game of whiffle ball or taking time to paint the girls finger nails brought smiles a mile wide.We were ecstatic to find many Christians in the neighborhood, evidence and encouragement that yearsof sowing seeds in Las Conchas was producing a blossoming harvest of Christ’s love in the neighborhood.Out Through the Hands
Our job was to show Christ’s love and spread the Gospel, using wordsif we had to. Throughout the week, teams worked on 7 homes for theneediest folks. The routine was as follows: 8-12 – work onconstruction; 12-12:30 lunch; 12:30-3:00 – play with the kids orcontinue construction, 3:00-4:30 – evangelize to the neighbors andcultivate relationships from years past. On Thursday, we had aneighborhood picnic with over 700 in attendance (and 850 hotdogs!).On Tuesday, Sheila Swayze heard a cry from a neighboring home, and quickly realized the lady was inlabor. Sheila and Maria Jose drove the expecting mother out of the neighborhood to meet another rideto the hospital. With contractions only 30 seconds apart, Sheila was afraid she’d be delivering a baby inthe rental car!On Wednesday, our team traveled up the mountain in the center of the neighborhood to erect a cross.This was the most reverent time many of us had experienced in our lives. Later that day, 2 teenagersattempted to take the cross down. Jeff and Scott thwarted their efforts, and lead them to Christ. These2 boys are now commissioned to watch over the cross!We took (and gave out) over 150 whiffle balls. The 20 teenagers that came with us on this trip wereamazing. Their unhindered love for the children was awesome to watch. As we left on Thursday, noteenager had a dry eye. They showed God’s love to these people and overflowed with their love inreturn.Now…The Feet Must Walk During the week, we realized that God is working in mighty ways in Las Conchas. We feel that we must assist this neighborhood in their walk with God by starting a discipleship and mentoring program. We were amazed at the number of Christians, and burdened with the desire to help them in their walk with Christ. May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.