Sunday, 29 November -0001 18:42

Mission Work is a Work of the Word

Written by Rev. Evert Everts
After living four months in Guatemala it is time to give an impression of our experiences. We would like very much to stay in touch with you. It is difficult to give a summary because so much is happening here. In this update we want to tell you several things that impressed us. Included are some notes about our family-life.

The Power of the Word of God
We have seen that the Word of God preached by Òhermano CarlosÓ (Rev. Ken Herfst) had great power. This son of man was allowed to bring the Word among the Maya-Ach’s of Cubulco and God did great things with it. In ten years a Reformed Church was built from nothing into a congregation with more than 400 members and six church buildings. It humbles us to be allowed to continue in this work after the departure of the Herfst-family.

There often are many questions. How will it go in the future? We do not know. There is much in the mission work that is beyond our power. We have to start at the beginning by getting to know the churches, meeting the people and making contacts.

We are very happy to be able to say that we have had a good time here. The work-teams did a great job preparing our home. The people are very open to receive us, and the church members are often ready to express their confidence in us. We are grateful for that.

When we arrived in Cubulco the children felt at home very quickly. They like living on the mission compound and they don't have any problems making friends. One time, the whole family went on a trek to Pichal, a church in the mountains. It was a very nice experience for us all--being guests at the table of an Ach’ family, sleeping in the church and walking on the mountains. In the beginning it was a little difficult to get accustomed to the home schooling system. The children have to do their schoolwork in a very different way than they are used to, but we trust that they will learn well.

In many different ways we saw that the Lord is faithful to his Word and that He makes all things well when we are sorrowful. Do we not always have to acknowledge this? We don't need to trust in the power of man. Mission work is the work of the Lord and therefore we always have to seek our strength and wisdom with Him.

The Weakness of the Words of Man
We need GodÕs strength and wisdom because we have to deal with the weakness of the words of man. A pastor always encounters the limitations of expressing in words the things that cannot be expressed in words of man. We have that even more this time, because we have to communicate in a language that was unknown to us until about a year ago. It took many hours of study before we could have a conversation in a comfortable way. And we still have to learn a lot. It was a surprise to see how the people use the language here. For most of them Spanish is also their second language. Their mother tongue is Ach’. So there are many people here who can hardly understand Spanish. So after learning Spanish, we need to learn a vocabulary that most of them understand. There are also people that only understand Ach’. When we want to communicate with them we have to learn Ach’ too. But that's a totally different job.

The children are doing well learning Spanish. They don't need to study; they are learning by doing. Jarnold, three years old, started to talk when we were in Costa Rica. Miss Carmen, child-care worker and Sonia, our maid, were his talking partners, so his first words were a mixture of Dutch and Spanish. The other children are following his example. They also go to the local school two times a week for an hour and a half. There they learn a bit of Spanish and also make friends with the children of Cubulco. They do not always like it, but we think it is a good experience for them.

The words of man here are like all places in the world. People use a lot of words, for good and for bad purposes. Misunderstandings are ready to happen, not only because of the language-problem, for words can build up, but also destroy. Sometimes we have no idea, what the words of our mouth are saying. Therefore, it is clear that we need the help and the correction of the Lord every day. His Word Òis profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good workÓ (2 Timothy 3:16-17).

The Service of the Word of God
How much we need the Word of God every day of our life! So do the Ach’-people in the town and the mountains of Cubulco. There are very many people here who believe in God. You can expect to receive words of blessing from God from everyone. It is common to speak about Him. Many evenings, Christian songs can be heard in the streets of Cubulco. There are many people that attend evangelical or Pentecostal churches.

One asks, however, ÒWhat is their knowledge of the Word of God?Ó In general, it is very little. For most of them reading is very difficult or impossible and the message they hear in these churches is often very superficial. Their religion is based more on sentiment than on knowledge.

The Lord has called us to bring His Word in Cubulco, Guatemala. For this reason we preach the Word in the church in town. For this reason we also go out to visit the aldeas in the mountains. If you know a little about the terrain here, you will understand that it is sometimes a hard job, especially for a pastor used to the flat country of Holland. But that is not so important. It is worth while to go and tell the story of the Bible and explain the great love of God through Jesus Christ for sinners. Our prayer is that they will learn to know God and know themselves, and they will receive true, life-changing faith in Jesus Christ.

The Lord has begun with this work of salvation in Cubulco through the service of our brother Ken Herfst. There are men and women who are real Christians and who are serving the Lord. Now we are here with the Kattenbergs, fulfilling a part of your calling as North American churches. We hope and pray that the Lord will continue His work. Please pray for us that He will use our work to bless the people of Cubulco for now and eternity.

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