Sunday, 29 November -0001 18:42

From the Kattenbergs

Written by Nico Kattenberg
Dear Friends and Supporters:
The last few weeks of October were filled with excitement and anticipation. During those weeks we celebrated two anniversaries of church buildings, held numerous special services in the homes of members, and inaugurated a new church building. Of course, all these special services meant an extra heavy workload for us.
Pajales Anniversary
On the 25th of October a special service was held in Los Pajales to commemorate the 3rd anniversary of the church building there. I spoke from Hebrews 12 and Luke 14:25-35, which also happened to be the text I spoke on when I first visited Los Pajales in the year 2000. We had just arrived in Cubulco to begin our work and the first place that I went to and actually taught in Spanish was Los Pajales. At this time there was no church building, although construction of the church building would commence the following day. I exhorted the brothers and sisters, as I did three years ago, to leave all and follow Christ. I encouraged them as well to count the cost, since the life of a Christian is not an easy one. Jesus never promised that the Christian life would be easy. He promised suffering and hardship. However, Jesus also promised an eternal reward for those who persevere. However, if one follows Christ without considering the cost, without abandoning all, one will be like salt that has lost its flavour: not useful for anything.

Chwiwesa Church Dedication
The second special service was held in Chwiwesa on October 30th to inaugurate the new church building, the ÒIglesia Reformada: Jesus el Buen PastorÓ (The Reformed Church: Jesus the Good Shepherd). Pastor Everts preached from Psalm 65:1-4, especially on the last part of verse 4, which reads, Òwe shall be satisfied with the goodness of thy house, even of thy holy temple.Ó

Chwiwesa is an aldea southwest of Cubulco. When I first came to Cubulco in 2000, along with Froilan and Santiago, I spent a lot of time working there with the brothers and sisters. At first it appeared that this group of believers was more interested in getting a church building through the mission than being part of the ÒIglesia ReformadaÓ (Reformed Church). But after more than three years of working with this group, visiting and teaching them on a regular basis (some times as much as twice weekly) the group turned around and showed a true desire to be part of our denomination. Not only did they indicate this desire, but they also showed a great deal of independence when it came to the building of the church and celebrating of services. They supported the building of the church not only with their time, but also financially. Also when we are not able to be there, they hold services. Even the women get together to read the Bible and pray when the men are gone to the coast. This was very encouraging for us to see, since they have shown a zeal that many of the other churches have not shown. In many of the other churches, the members have become accustomed to having everything done for them. As a result they have little or no initiative to do things themselves. For instance, when there is no obrero, there are no services. But this is not the case with the church in Chwiwesa. This group is dedicated to more or less maintaining their own church. This is the goal that we are working toward and it was encouraging to see this happen with this group of believers. Seeing them take the initiative and supporting the work is encouraging and we are certain that this church will become one of the more firmly grounded and mature churches here in Cubulco.

Cubulco Church Anniversary
The third and final one of the special services that I want to tell you about was held on Saturday, November 1. This service was celebrated to commemorate the 5th anniversary of the church building in Cubulco. Preparations began several months in advance, since many things needed to be done before this special day. The church needed a new coat of paint because it had not been painted for 5 years. Several days were spent painting the walls, the doors, and the windows. It was encouraging to see that many members of the church showed up to help. Other preparations also had to be made. As this day would be special, the church also wanted to invite other churches. Delegates and the choir of the Presbyterian Church in Guatemala City were invited because of the good relationship we have with them. Of course, this meant extra preparations for food and lodging. Also a soccer tournament was held for the men and games for the children. Finally, tamales had to be made for serving after the service so that everyone would have something to eat after the service.

On the whole, the special day went well. There was a little bit of mix-up when it came to lodging the group from the city. Also the soccer tournament did not go as planned since most of the teams did not show up when they were supposed to. But everything else went well. The head of the Presbyterian seminary and also the pastor of the Central Presbyterian church preached from 1 Thessalonians 1, focusing on verse 3, Òremembering without ceasing your work of faith, and labour of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ in the sight of our God and our Father.Ó

Prayer Requests
Towards this end I would also like for all of you to remember the work of faith being done here in Cubulco. It is not always easy. There are many challenges to overcome. Therefore, I ask you to remember us in your prayers. Pray for patience on our part, as sometimes frustrations get the better of us. Pray also for the churches, that God will continue His transforming work in and through them, and that He will cause the brothers and sisters to grow and mature in their faith, so that they will be salt and a light in their communities. There is a lot of Pentecostal influence in this area and it has also crept into some of our churches. In addition, some brothers and sisters have not completely left their pagan customs and traditions. So pray for the brothers and sisters in general that they will abandon all in order to follow Christ and they will not be as salt that has lost its flavour. Pray also for the leaders of the churches, that they will see their work as a calling and not as a job, and that God will fill them with zeal for the work and with genuine concern, love and care for their fellow brothers and sisters. And finally, pray for your missionaries, that God will continue to do His transforming work in and through us. We are tools of GodÕs transforming power and work, but in order for us to be useful, we too, need to be continually transformed to become more and more like our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

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