Sunday, 29 November -0001 19:00

From The Everts

Written by Rev. Evert
These are excerpts edited from a recent newsletter.
Church Development
About 10 years ago the Iglesia Reformada (Reformed Church) of Cubulco was instituted through the work of Rev. Ken Herfst and other Free Reformed mission workers. Our primary task is to strengthen this work and we are in the process of forming a denomination. There is a church in the town of Cubulco and there are church buildings in six aldeas surrounding Cubulco. There are also some groups that meet in other places to worship the Lord; some have the desire to build their own church. Our efforts are concentrated on instilling the conviction that for a church to function well it needs a consistory that functions well. This means instructing the church members of each congregation so that men will be chosen who know their responsibilities and who can carry these out in a biblical manner.

This process takes much time and patience. In practice it means that Evert and Nico, together with the brothers in Cubulco, visit the churches regularly. Attention is paid to the particular needs of each young congregation. There often are threats from the outside, as well as from inside. What is weak must be strengthened.

The distances involved in the visits vary greatly. Some may be reached by vehicle plus a half-hour walk. Most are much further away, involving a drive of about an hour and a four-hour walk up and down the mountains in the hot sun with a packsack on your back. These trips take more than a day and include some family visits and a church service. At night, the church becomes the bedroom. When you have found the right position on the hard pews and the lice leave you alone, sleeping is no problem. The next morning the trek may continue to another church and after about two or three days we return home.

Instructing Church Leaders and Members
In each church there are obreros, who do evangelistic work. They lead a church service every Sunday and another one during the week. They also give instruction for baptism and pre-marital catechism.

To prepare them for their task the Bible Institute has been established some time ago. In cooperation with the Theological Seminary of the Presbyterian Church, the obreros have been taking courses in various theological subjects for years. A problem is that they have only elementary education and therefore cannot continue with more advanced theological education. Courses in high school education are now given and Evert helps by teaching bookkeepingÑan important subject for church life!

Evert is always busy attending all kinds of meetings, prayer sessions, visits, and conducting catechism classes for young people from the aldeas who come to study in Cubulco. On Sunday mornings there are Sunday school classes for all ages. Rina teaches the beginners and Evert teaches the young people. We are glad for the interest of many children and young people from our congregation as well as from those outside the church. Every Sunday evening Evert preaches in Cubulco, teaching from the epistle to the Romans.

Sunday School Work
Rina relates something about her class. Every Sunday morning I teach the beginner class, which is a very large group. I have observed that the children can do things such as counting, colouring and they do understand. But they are awkward with crafts because the school does not teach them due to lack of funds. Therefore, I think of a craft that relates to the Bible story. We have just dealt with creation and for every creation day they have done an activity that can be put together so they will have their own little book! This too, is special, because there are few childrenÕs books available. I have heard of parents who read these ÒbooksÓ with their children.

I regularly help teach a womenÕs class. We are dealing with the gifts the Lord has given us and that we must use them. I discuss with the women, how do we live as Christians and how do we know we belong to Him, etc. This past year the ladies also did a lesson themselves, in their own Achi language. This is not easy for them, simply because they cannot read. We hope that in this way they may receive liberty to speak to others about the Bible and especially about the God of the Bible.

A Wedding in Patuy
Regularly, Rina and some of the children accompany Evert on his treks. Sometimes they go as a family. This happened recently when there was a wedding. The brother of two of the obreros was getting married. Rina gives some interesting details.

We did not take the usual way because the bridge at Chitomax was in disrepair. Many boards had blown off so that at times you had to walk at least five metres on cables only; and the bridge is leaning towards one side. Not smart to take children across. There is another bridge that crosses the river, but we had to leave the automobile beside the road because a huge tree barred the way, and so we had to walk an extra hour. We had to hurry because a thunderstorm threatened. We reached the church just before the rain came down in torrents. We had to walk some more to attend a dinner and after a delicious meal and coffee served Guatemala style (weak, sweet, no milk) we returned to the church.

We arrived at the church with mud on our shoes; there was mud everywhere because everyone had come in after the rainstorm. Just after I took off my walking shoes and put on slippers, a brother came to ask if I would help arrange the veil of the bride--another walk further up the mountain. There I went in my slippers, slipping and gliding every which way, collecting mud. Finally I took my slippers off and climbed up the rest of the way on hands and feet. Happily, there was water for washing. Going down was easier because I just slid down, hanging on to trees.

It was a nice service and the church was completely filled. There was a lot of singing and a sermon on Deuteronomy 33: 27a. Everything was very casual and after the service we ate tamales. Again, the church changed into our bedroom. We slept well and left after breakfast while Evert and Nico had a meeting with the consistory. At Chirramos hermano (brother) Antonio joined us because he wanted a ride in our automobile to town. After walking for six hours we reached our vehicle. Erwin and Jarnold had blisters on their feet, but we walked all the way, even though Antonio offered to carry Jarnold. Big boys walk, Jarnold said.

Confession of Faith
On Sunday, October 17, we had a wonderful service. Six adults made confession of faith and eleven were baptized. Among them were a father, mother and eight children. Another daughter had been baptized about a year ago and now the rest of the family followed. The two oldest children also confessed their faith. There also was a young couple that made confession of faith and had their young daughter baptized.

We also had Vacation Bible School. Five young, eager Sunday school leaders from the Presbyterian Church of Guatemala City came to teach more than 200 children and youth about the Lord. Many members of our church helped and we saw how several of the younger people enthusiastically took part in promoting the kingdom of God.

The work continues in spite of the temptations and difficulties in the congregation and its families. God never forsakes the work His hand has begun and in that confidence we go on from day to day! We want to wish everyone GodÕs blessings for the year 2005.

Evert & Rina Everts - Evert, Gesine, Gerieke, Erwin en Jarnold

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