Guatemala 2016


There is nothing like a change of scenery to give you a fresh perspective and to remove the blinders that we tend to put up as we scurry through our everyday lives. Do we see the small but magnificent things that God does every day in our lives?

After spending a week in Guatemala, He showed me that I needed to remove the blinders and see how incredibly faithful He is every day. I take so many things for granted. Do you?

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”  Romans 8:28 (NIV).

To try and describe the week in Guatemala in one email would be difficult and inadequate. So let me share two examples of the many that was experienced last week.

We have all experienced or heard of situations where a small part can cause problems, a lightbulb blown out in a red light, or even a tragedy, the small O-ring that caused the Challenger explosion. While what we experience wasn’t the latter by any means, the loss of a small plug in the bottom of the compressor we were using might as well have been a complete breakdown.

It seemed that we started behind the 8-ball from the first day we stepped on the job site at the school to build the parsonage. Power issues, not enough or the correct wood, the difficulty of trying to hammer nails in the wood, etc. But we kept plugging away doing what we could do with what we had. On Tuesday afternoon, as we were taking our tools and equipment to store for the evening, it began to rain the hardest that it would rain on us all week. To make moving the compressor easier the plug was removed to release the air but in doing so the force of the air blew the plug into the surrounding brush. We desperately looked for it for a while but couldn’t find it in the rain, so we made the decision to look for it the next morning.

Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.” Proverbs 19:21 (NIV).

As the next morning came a couple of the men asked to use the tool box on the old school bus that carried us to and from the hotel to the school each day. We had been experiencing trouble with the wheels staying on the compressor and hoped to solve that problem with the wrenches in the tool box. An impromptu “Compressor Plug Recovery Team” was formed to find the small but critically important part. Unfortunately, despite the best of search efforts it was not recovered.

At this point, especially if we were in the States, we would go to the local hardware store and buy a new plug. Those kind of options don’t exist in the part of Guatemala we were in. As the wheels on the compressor was fixed, the idea to look for a bolt to take the place of the plug was born. It would be a divine decision. There was one bolt, just one, found that could take the place of the plug. We were back in operation.

Jesus looked at them and said, ‘With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.’” Matthew 19:26 (NIV).

Coincidence? No way. Not when it comes to the God we serve. He always meets our needs. I can assure you that one bolt was desperately needed. You can’t convince me of anything other than God had made sure that bolt was in that box for this very specific purpose. We were able to get the parsonage to the point that on Friday a few of us were able to go see the Mayan ruins in Tikal. There was only a gable to finish, add another wall on the interior, hang a door and run the power to the house left to complete our work.

I was able to go take Friday and go to Tikal. I’m glad I went but I missed something special that happened on the job site that day. After the guys had completed the tasks for that day they separated and surrounded the empty house to pray for the Pastor that God would send to occupy it. As they were doing so, four boys from the school came down to the house. I can’t tell you the names of these boys, but they had tirelessly helped move lumber from the school and delivery truck to the house site all week. Carrying that heavy, much heavier than the wood we use here in the States, lumber with smiles on their faces.

Thankfully, someone took this picture:


Those four boys with their hands on this empty house praying, asking God for a Pastor to fill that house. We had worked for the better part of seven days to build a parsonage. In one small moment, the magnitude of what that house means hit me squarely between the eyes. This is no ordinary house, it is a house for a shepherd, the sheep are there, waiting and longing for him to come. He is needed more than I can appreciate. Just like the one bolt, there is a shepherd that God has for these people.

We should have the faith of four boys to pray and for God to fill our house, and recognize all the times that God provides that “one bolt” we need just when we need it most. Jesus is our shepherd, we are his sheep; are we looking for Him and listening for His voice?

The Lord Almighty has sworn, ‘Surely, as I have planned, so it will be, and as I have purposed, so it will stand.’”  Isaiah 14:24 (NIV).

And by the way, we were never off schedule, at least God’s schedule. We may not have hit our timeline of how things should have progressed but our timeline isn’t important. Only God’s timeline matters. Whether it’s in Guatemala, at home in Alabama or anywhere in between, we should look to what God is doing around us. He is constantly providing the “one bolt” needed, right when it’s needed, every time.

Run to the Cross!


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