Sunday, 29 November -0001 18:42

From the Mission Field

Written by Rev. Evert Everts
In this article we want to tell you something about a visit to Patuy. We can see the work of the Lord in this place. There are also struggles and the constant need for the care of God. In conclusion we will make some general remarks about the work on the mission field.
Baptism in Patuy
On the 6th of January we made a visit to Patuy. After a drive of 45 minutes and a hike of about three hours we, Nico and I, arrived. Felipe, the obrero [evangelist], had mentioned that there were several persons who wanted to be baptized. There also were some families of the church who had babies to be baptized. There were some new families that had been attending the church for quite a while. They had received catechism instruction and showed their faith in Christ, not only through words, but also in their life.

Before the service we visited one family. The woman was a real Christian and wanted to be baptized with her children. Until some months ago it seemed that the husband did not have much desire to share in the new life of his wife. He also had problems with alcohol abuse. We were told that he had changed his life, and had not been drunk the last few months. When we came to the home of this family I realized that I had visited them with Felipe more than a year ago. At that time they were devoutly practicing the Roman Catholic faith. Here in Guatemala this means strong superstition, image-worship and devotion to Mary.

We spoke with the man about the grace of God in Jesus Christ and the will of God for us. He gave his testimony that he wanted to share the Christian faith with his wife and the brothers and sisters of our church in Patuy. He spoke openly about his weaknesses and sins in the past and his desire to leave them behind with the help of the Lord. It was a great joy for the whole family that we could accept him to be baptized together with them.

Another family that had attended the church for more than two years also asked to be baptized. The problem was that they had a newborn baby who had been born only two days ago. So the mother was not yet able to come to church. The father was planning to go to the coast soon. Considering this particular situation we decided not to postpone the baptism of this family, but to extend the service in the church with a meeting at their home. Several of the church members were present in their simple house. An interesting detail is that the little baby did not yet have a name, so the parents had to quickly choose a name for their daughter that same day, before being baptized.

It was an impressive moment for the church in Patuy. That day seven adults and nine children could receive the sign and seal of the covenant of God. Patuy is now the biggest church that we have in the aldeas.

The Church Building
In Patuy there is not only joy, but there are also disappointments. For instance, there are serious problems with the church building. They have a building made of wood. The problem is that there are a lot of little animals in the area that are very fond of the wooden planks and posts. The question is how long will the building stand. The church has to make plans for maintenance.

The members have discussed this issue and decided to construct a new church building, a little bigger than the present one. Another question is, how to construct the building. An option is to use wood again, but that probably means that the building will last only another five years. Another option is to build it from adobe (brick made of sun-dried clay). The benefit is that the structure will last longer. But there are doubts whether the soil is suitable to make adobe. Also it is quite a job to make adobe, and the people of that area are not familiar with this process.

It is a real challenge for the members of the church to discuss these things together and find the best solution. Practically, building a church has also a spiritual aspect. The work can only be done in the right way when all are united in the faith and the love of the Lord. Then it is certain that the Name of God will be honoured and the church will be strengthened.

Mission Work
The work in GodÕs kingdom is never easy. That is what a former missionary said to me before we went to the mission field. It is true! Here on earth the church of Christ is a struggling church. There are many enemies and we are weak in so many ways. We experience that also on the mission field in Cubulco. It is one thing to receive Christ. It is something quite different to live and remain steadfast in the abundance of the grace of God. We see that God is doing His great work in the lives of the people and their families. On the other hand, sometimes there is also reason to ask the question: where are the results of the work of God?

This is the case with the church of Christ as a whole. But it seems that the confrontation with this phenomenon is harder in a mission church. The growth to spiritual maturity is a process with many challenges. This implies that we are always in need of the help and guidance of the Lord. More than anything else we need your prayers, even though we know that many prayers are sent up for the mission work. We also want to express our appreciation for your kind letters that we regularly receive.

Greetings from Cubulco.

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