We are all safely back home, and I hope that I was the only team casualty. My only complaint is a head-cold that has me erupting like the volcano near us named Fuego. It will pass, but has me resting like I should be. Our sweet sister Ana (Pastor Jaunito’s wife) is in the operating room today getting pins in her wrist from a fall down the hill at our last build site. It has us all sick at heart. She is the last person any of us would want to see in pain. Any of us would have taken that fall 100 times for her if we could have. Please pray for her quick recovery.
I did not write during the week as I usually do. I felt like God wanted me to simply listen and observe. When I did attempt to write, the words came out very flat, so I did not publish them. Brad’s words were full of life and said all the things the rest of us were feeling, so it was good to simply allow him to speak for us. Brad is an amazing leader. God has given him a seemingly infinite capacity to reach out and connect with people’s hearts. The people of Guatemala love him and he reflects the Holy Spirit to everyone he meets. It is a thrill to see him at work. God has stretched his heart to such amazing dimensions, that it can hold an entire country inside it.
Thank you all so much for supporting us with your prayers and resources throughout this tenth year. Looking back, it is easy to see how God has worked in layer after layer to lift us to this place of infinite blessing. The Bible verses we kept going back to throughout the week all had to do with God’s perfect provision provided through the hands of his faithful followers that culminated in God’s glory. Whoa…what did he just say? Here is what I meant. God provided finances to you. You provided us with resources. We sweated with BMI to deliver them. The leaders of each family lovingly share them with their children and family members. We tend to forget that each act of participating with God in his perfect plan of provision IS its own reward. Look at each step I mentioned. God is glorified in all of them. Each individual step is its own full story of God’s glorification! It is so simple, but it is also so rich that unless you step back and observe it, there is a chance you might miss it because of its simplicity.
On a final note, I will leave you with a few, simple, personal observations. They are in no particular order. The first is that BMI is in a transition of leadership from Chris to his children. Do not be worried by this. God has simply taken Chris and Donna’s hearts and multiplied them over and over into his kids, so that the whole organization is so many times stronger. Working side-by-side with Ben and Emily this week has not only given me complete confidence in the future of BMI, but has allowed me to see how a pastor’s heart can be powerfully handed down from generation to generation.
Another sweet thing was to see again how God supernaturally changes the hearts of his people right before your eyes. Brad showed me a picture of the first family we built a home for on the day we met them 10 years ago. They were as down trodden, hopeless and broken as a family could be. They looked a lot like little Marta when we first met her last week. It took very little time at all for them to realize that God was coming to visit. An actual flood of hope and joy comes crashing in, and they are swept up in it. No human provision on this earth could account for the what these people experience. It is all because God is visiting and His spirit is being irresistibly reflected onto them. The experience is not limited to them. Ask the team. They will all tell you that joining God on this trip quickly scours away their preconceptions, reminds them of the actual depth of depravity that sin can take us to, then quickly lifts them up to a place that only God can supernaturally take them.
To me, that is what Heaven is. Maybe I should say, the trip is like Heaven to me. It is rich with experience that overflows with God’s presence and purpose. Each moment changes those who participate in some glorifying way. God’s love is the great equalizer. It makes the dirt floors of a foreign hillside feel like home, worship music in an unknown language speak clearly to our hearts, and the touch of complete strangers sooth us like those of our own family. Nothing that has ever been given to us provides us with more hope and joy than the fact that God’s simple offer of salvation and reconciliation is the same for everyone. It not only brings us all closer to Him, but it gives us the tools we need to draw close to each other.
Thanks to everyone who helped make this trip a reality. Your sacrifices were multiplied 1000-fold. God changed hearts and lives for an eternity as a result. Please continue to pray for the folks that you have read about in this blog over the past week. They are still living on this earth and it will be difficult for them. Pray that they (and we…including you) will use each moment we have here on this earth to participate in the gift of the great work God has provided for us. It is a precious gift.