Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Pueblo Nuevo Update

We were blessed this weekend by two friends in Guatemala that were willing to travel to Pueblo Nuevo to assess some of the damage and get a better idea of the immediate needs of families that we are working with there. A missionary that is serving at Rehoboth Children's Home for the next two years and the director of Rehoboth both went to Pueblo Nuevo and their reports have been more than helpful in making decisions on what needs to be done. (Thanks again to you both!)

What a blessing it was to hear that there is not as much damage as we originally feared. There is damage, some severe, but the situation could have been much worse and we are praising God for His hand of protection that covered the areas of Pueblo Nuevo and nearby Parramos. We are also thankful that those that had access to running water before the storm have had it restored since. While the initial reports were more alarming than our latest update, there are still needs that need to be addressed as soon as possible and we are working quickly to begin addressing those needs.

Homes of families that we have already spent time with have been damaged. Some have severe damage and it is just a matter of time before their entire homes are lost. We will do whatever we can to help them repair or rebuild their homes. Most of these homes are of families that are a part of the Tulio's church or children that often participate in the children's ministry.

There is another group of people in Pueblo Nuevo that are outcasts and are resistant to visits from the Church, wanting nothing to do with Christians. We have known about this group of families which are the poorest of the poor in Pueblo Nuevo for the last year and for that long we have prayed for a way to be able to reach them. These are the families that received the most damage and have the most immediate needs. Some of their homes are literally falling off of the side of the mountain due to storm damage. We have been told that some of these families do not have running water, do not have bathrooms and have no electricity. They do not allow their children to go to school and have no desire to hear anything about the Word of God. From what I understand, they have been ostracized by Christians in the community and rarely have contact with anyone outside of their personal secluded circle.

What is a ministry to do in this situation? There is only one answer.

This morning as I spent time in Romans 10, I read familiar words that reassured me that this is the path we are to be walking.

"How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, "How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!" Romans 10: 14-15 (NIV)

This brought me back to last night as I read the introduction to a "personal reflection series" by Beth Moore that I have wanted to do for some time, but until now have never made the time to do it. Her words struck me in such a way that I found myself crying and thinking how if I had to describe my feelings about the subject, I would not be able to say anything different than she did.

"That Son of His is the dearest thing in my whole life. I don't have pens or paper enough to express my gratitude for the privilege of knowing Him and loving Him. The little I know is so transforming and revolutionary to me that I yearn to know more. My chief request of God is that He will supernaturally flood my life with an unending, ever-increasing desire for His Son. Jesus is not only my delight; He is my safety. Loving Him with absolute abandon is no doubt in my own best interest. As one who has been delivered from a life of defeat and hidden self-destruction, my deepest desire for every man, woman, youth, and child is to find that love...Jesus is the most wonderful, most graceful, most exciting, most redemptive thing that has ever happened to me. He is my life. I cannot express on paper my love for Him. It is a love that has grown in incongruous bits and pieces, baby steps, leaps, bounds, tumbles, and falls...decade after decade."
Beth Moore, Jesus: 90 Days with the One and Only

I could not have said it better. I am so in love with Jesus that there is no way that I can remain silent when I know that there are people in Pueblo Nuevo (and around the world) that have never had the opportunity to hear about Him. Simply put, we could be like so many others and ignore the needs of these families in Pueblo Nuevo or we can take this time to minister to them through acts of love. From the beginning of AAB and for the rest of my life I will continue to say that we cannot do just one or the other. We cannot share the Gospel and ignore the physical needs of those we work with and we cannot meet physical needs without making Christ known and giving all of the glory to God. Jesus did both. So will we. My heart is broken by the fact that these families are struggling in a way that is not comprehensible, but even more broken by the way they have been treated in the past. It is time to show them through our actions that being a Christian has nothing to do with hate. There could not be a more perfect time to reach out to them than this.

As with most disasters, plans often change quickly and we are delaying the travel of a team until after I visit Guatemala for a quick 2 day trip in the next few weeks to make sure that once our team is there, we will be allowed to work in this part of the village in addition to the part of Pueblo Nuevo that we are already familiar with. Please pray with us that hearts will be softened and opened so that we will be allowed to work with these families that until now have been resistant to visits from Christians and for all families that continue to struggle with the aftermath of Agatha. Damage throughout Guatemala remains a huge concern and we are praying for every person that has been touched by this disaster.

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