Posted by Brad
Well, we all made it home. Gale flew through Houston and Rick, Dan and I went through Dallas.
I have a quick compliment to make. I like to give credit when it is due. Normally, the U.S. Immigration lines are enormous. It’s kind of like getting to the Post Office to mail Christmas packages moments AFTER a tour bus full of people arrived before you. Long lines…always! Well, I have to give credit to the people at the DFW airport. We walked off the airplane and made our way down the long halls. To my surprise, the lines were short. In fact, you don’t even need to fill out a blue customs card anymore. They have a new computer system. With a few presses on a touch screen, you answer all the questions you used to check on a form. Rick and I passed through easily, but the officials obviously realized how shifty Dan is, as they picked him off to have his bags screened. Shifty I tell you! No, actually, they told him they have quotas to keep of people they select. Dan just happened to be the lucky winner. Some people have all the fun. We had one last lunch together at the DFW airport. I wish Gale could have been with us, but he was fortunate enough to fly out a couple of hours earlier than us.
Speaking of home, while we are all very happy to be home with our families, we are at the same time sad to leave our old and new friends in Guatemala. It is amazing how deep a place a group of people can make in your heart in such a short time. The need is so immense in Guatemala. There are so many people in a life and death struggle each and every day. Moms struggling to be the sole provider, helplessly watching as their children are sick and going hungry; generations of men who continually fail to be responsible in their actions and unwilling, or unable to be the physical and spiritual leaders God designed and commanded them to be. There is an easily correctible lack of education for the children, and men and women perishing from a lack of knowledge about the Man, Christ Jesus, who died to set them free from sin and death. As we leave, the question is before us all, what can be done? Is there any hope? Can anyone really make a difference? The answer is a resounding “YES”!!! I am so thankful to have gone many years ago on a mission trip to Guatemala with Robbie and Lori Wheeler. It was my introduction to missions in Guatemala. It was also my introduction to the man I consider to be one of my closest friends…Chris Mooney. Every day, Chris and the wonderful people of Bethel Ministries International, take the Hope of Christ to the people. They take people like you and me, involve them in taking help to people in need. They provide food, clothing and shelter. They find disabled people who need the gift of mobility; people who are hidden away in homes around the country. They find caring people in the USA and around the world who are willing to sacrificially give part of their material blessings to allow a child to go to school in order to break the cycle of poverty. They take volunteers into the homes of single moms to provide food, encouragement and a hug. Even more importantly, they tell them about the Hope that is only found in Christ, a hope that will transform their hearts and lives.
One cool thing that happened on our last night was that the little girl from last year who thought Chris was “Michaelito” showed up to see him. She and her brother sat with our group through the entire service. She was the same adorable little girl. Just looked up at him and smiled. There are so many children in Guatemala that are without a dad. You can read about her here.
As we re-enter life in America, I am reminded of the words my good friend Ronnie once prayed after we returned from the trip with the Wheelers, “Now that we have seen the need, may our hearts never be the same again”. That is my prayer for the men who went on this journey over the past week. It is my prayer for all who read this blog. The other night, I saw Etelvina at church. She is the mom who we built the house for. I asked her what she thought of the house now that she has been in it for a couple of days. Know what she said? “For the first time, we were not cold last night when we slept”. Look at the pictures I have included. One is of their old bed. Another is of the wall in their old house. Notice how the wind would just blow through. No wonder they were cold. When was the last time that was a concern for you and your children?
As we all go to sleep tonight (me included), may we think of all the people around the world who will not be able to say the same thing. We know about the need. We cannot look the other way. We cannot pretend it does not exist. We have the resources to solve the physical needs. We have been commanded to help spread the Gospel to solve the spiritual need. Do we have the will and resolve to do anything about it?
Quite honestly, it takes time to decompress after returning. I challenged each man to reflect on what happened in their hearts over the last week. And if possible, write about what occurred from their viewpoint. I will share those insights as they provide them in the next week or so. After they give input, I will make one final blog entry to summarize the trip. The best way to keep track, is to click on the bottom right of the computer screen and “follow” the blog. You will be automatically notified as we post entries.
Thanks to everyone who helped us reach the people of Tecpan. Your financial and spiritual support has meant so much. Thank you to all who have emailed and commented. It does make a difference.
Dios te Bendiga,