Sunday, 29 November -0001 18:42

From the Kattenburgs

Written by Nico and Lia Kattenberg
Time is always something that seems to get the best of us. We make plans and want to fulfill these plans but the time passes us by. We had decided last year that we were going to write a newsletter every three or four months. But it has already been five months since we arrived back in Guatemala. So forgive us for the delay.

Extended Furlough in Canada
As some of you might know, we left Guatemala in December of last year to go back to Canada for an extended furlough in which I went back to school to receive further training and Lia and I did some work in the local church.

I attended Regent College and pursued some Masters level courses. Other than the commute to school I really enjoyed my time at Regent. The professors there are known for their excellence and for this reason people from all over the world come to Regent. I had the privilege to study under one of the most well known Christian theologians of today Dr. J.I. Packer. The class I took with him was titled Theological Overview.

The course I enjoyed the most was titled Biblical Interpretation. When I was doing my BA, I had taken numerous good and helpful courses on how to interpret the Biblical text, this course took me to another level and opened my eyes all the more to the science of Biblical Interpretation. We delved deeper into the text than I have done in the past. We were taught to see things that we could not see before. I do not think I will or can ever read the Bible in the same way again.

I also took two other informal "courses," one with Pastor Bilkes and one with Pastor Wullschleger. I also enjoyed this part of my studies and found them very helpful.

Apart from my studies I also taught a Bible Study in the church in Chilliwack every other Wednesday evening. I really enjoyed teaching and interacting with the people who attended. While I was studying, Lia spent some time doing volunteer work at a Bible Thrift store and at the local Crisis Pregnancy Centre.

Our Return to Guatemala
On May 1 we returned to Guatemala to take up our work there. After a week or so of settling in, adjusting and unpacking all our belongings, we quickly got back into the swing of things working with the local churches both in Cubulco and in the aldeas.

Our work in the local church continues. Every Friday evening the Youth come over for a Bible Study. We are using the videos "That The World May Know." It seems to be working well, although very few young people actually show up. For this reason we have also opened up the evening for anyone else who is interested in coming.

Also, most Fridays we visit two sisters who have been attending the church for some time. In this visit I teach a sort of membership class. This class is intended to teach the basics of the Bible. Both of these sisters have husbands who do not believe, although one of them is showing some interest. We have talked with him on various occasions and he seems to be weakening. We hope that the Lord continues to weaken him. The other husband however, is very resistant and defiant. He does not want his wife and children to attend our church and has threatened to come and drag them out if they go. He is an alcoholic and is very abusive. So this situation is more difficult, but we know that even he can be changed.

Once a week I also give a message in the local church. Usually I have to do it on Saturday evening. Since Pastor Everts is preaching from the Old Testament, I decided to work through the Gospel of Mark.

Lia is not teaching Sunday school this year since we have a lady from the Presbyterian Church in Guatemala working for the church. So Lia teaches only occasionally and the rest of the time accompanies me when I visit some of the aldea churches.

For the first two months or so after coming back I took over teaching the Sunday school class for the young people. Eventually, I handed it over to Pastor Everts so that I could continue on with what I had done the previous years, which was to visit various aldea churches on Sundays.

Work in the Aldeas
I started off making two visits a month to Xinacati II. We do not have a church in this area, but we have had members there for quite some time. I tend to teach rather than hold a formal service. We do some singing after which I do a more interactive message. They seem to learn better that way. Every time I review what we have covered previously. Repetition is the key to learning in this culture. The other two Sunday were spent either in Chirramos or Pichal. However, because of some problems I have had to put aside my visit to Chirramos and concentrate on Pichal every other week.

Other than the Sunday visits I continue to make visits to other areas as well during the week. Actually, I have been going out on longer treks more than ever before. For example, I have had to visit Los Pajales five times in the past two months due to the fact that we did not have any one who could cover this area. This was an area that in all of last year I visited five times. I also continue to visit the other aldeas on a regular basis.

Personal Life
We are thankful that this year has been a good year in regard to our health. We have had the odd cold and a touch of the flu, but on the whole our health has been good. Even with the numerous treks which means eating and drinking what the people offer, more and more wear and tear on the body due to the rough terrain, the heat, and less of good nightsÕ sleep, I have had no real problems with my stomach nor with my body.

Finally, saving the best for last, we have something exciting to share with all of you. To put it in cultural terms (in other words as the people around here would say), Lia is "sick" (expecting). For those of you who do not know us this will be our first.

Prayer Requests
The following are some of the things that we would like you to pray with us for.

1. For the obreros (lay pastors) of the aldea churches. For their studies and that they will continue faithfully to do the work that God has called them to. It can be a lonely calling, since one can receive a lot of criticism, and one has to do a lot himself without any help from the other members.

2. For the churches that they will continue to mature, grow and take more initiative.

3. For the husbands of the two sisters that we mentioned. That God will change them; especially for the one sister who's husband is abusive that God will protect her and her children.

4. For Guatemala and all of her problems with violence and corruption.

5. For the mission team: for wisdom and patience.

6. For Lia and the baby.

We appreciate your prayers and support.

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