Posted by Tommy Widmer
After returning from our week in Guatemala, sorting through the experience leaves me with an assortment of thoughts and emotions. As a group we quickly bonded and worked together to accomplish the scheduled tasks set out for us. We were able to bring blessing and hope to the individuals and families we encountered. It was not just about physical needs, but the motive for our good works was to share the need for a personal relationship with Christ. I have observed other mission trips that seem to just be about meeting physical needs of an underprivileged people with a little “Jesus loves you” inserted in the tasks performed. This trip had it right. Needs were met, but the motive for everything we did was the gospel.
So, why don’t we just send Bethel Ministry a donation for what it cost us to go? Let Chris and his staff have extra funds to hire more local believers to do what we did, it would certainly be cheaper. I have heard this logic before, but it is not valid. Chances of your heart being captured for a people most likely will not happen unless you go. Encouragement to a missionary and local people doing the work will not happen with just a check. Seeing, touching, hearing, smelling and tasting the culture is what brings reality and passion. I now know the need first hand and have met people who God is using to make Jesus’ name famous in Guatemala!
My personal response? I keep going back to II Corinthians 9:11. “You will be enriched in every way to be generous in every way, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God.” I live in the richest nation in the history of the world. My middle-class American income puts me in the top 5% of the world population. My retirement gives me discretionary time. I have been enriched by God and with that comes a responsibility as a follower of Christ. After Guatemala, how am I being lead to live differently now that I am back home? Right now God is not calling me to re-locate and be a missionary, but he is calling me to keep the passion of “seeing” people as He sees them wherever I am. “Feed my sheep” is not limited by national borders.
It was a privilege to serve on this team. We worked, laughed, prayed and fellowshipped with Jesus together. Together we were able to bless, but we received far more blessing in return. Bethel Ministry and Mission Mobility are partnering organizations that truly bring glory to God. These organizations and the people of Guatemala will remain in my prayers. Who knows what God has planned for this “first-timer” to Guatemala in the future?
Because of Jesus,