School in Tecpán
After the scenic two-hour drive through the mountains from Guatemala City to Tecpán, a mountain town with an elevation of about 7,000 feet, I really didn’t know what to expect as we arrived to see the school’s closing program. I knew it was a small school, and I had met the teacher, Pedro Tucubal, several times.
Victor Ovalle, Harold Kauffman, and I arrived at the school well before the program was scheduled to start. While I was outside waiting, a sweet little girl sat down beside me. While talking with her, I found out she was there to see her brother, a first grader. Upon further inquiry I found out their father was in prison, their mother had abandoned them, and they were being taken care of by their grandparents and an uncle.
My heart ached at the thought of someone so young, so innocent, growing up in a situation like that. How blessed I am to have been raised in a stable home!
When the pupils were ready, we filed inside to one of the classrooms. It was quite crowded after family and friends were all inside, but the close quarters seemed to create a warmer, friendlier atmosphere.
The five students were formally dressed and looked a little nervous as they stood in front of us. Cindy Tucubal and her siblings Linda and Pedro along with Byron Lares and Angel Cortez did a great job of singing, reciting Scripture, and reciting poetry from memory. However, as the program continued, I noticed that Cindy wasn’t helping recite at all and was hardly helping with the songs. I thought it a little odd, but later I found out that she is deaf and mute. I cannot imagine all the challenges that the teacher and students faced throughout the school year working with someone with these disabilities. Although the school only had five students, there were definitely plenty of challenges involved!
After the program we were served tamales and coffee, and as we ate, I had the opportunity to talk to some parents and school board members and learn about the history of the school.
In 2015, Pedro Tucubal and Timoteo Cristal felt the need to open a Christian day school in Tecpán. With the help of Victor Ovalle, Humberto Mux, and Carlos Lemus they began exploring the possibility of opening a school.
In 2016 their dreams were realized, and the school opened with seven students from the church and community. However, they faced many trials, and the school year ended with just four students.
Last year they were looking for another schoolteacher, and though they searched long and hard, their search was in vain. The school was in danger of closing before Pedro Tucubal agreed to teach.
Pedro, who has nine children (three of which are students), also works as a painter. Because of his responsibility in the school, he could only work afternoons and evenings. So providing for his large family was difficult at times.
Although this school year was financially difficult for Pedro, and though the school had to find a new location midway through the year, all five students that began the school year stayed the course, finished, and are planning to attend next year.
So, dear reader, what can you do to make a difference?
Pray. Pray that the school’s needs could be met, that the school could grow, and that the surrounding community could see the love of God flowing through the teacher and students.
The school still does not have sufficient supplies, so a small donation could go a long way.
But the biggest need is for personnel, not only at this school but in surrounding communities as well. Not only to work with children, but with people of every age. Lives are broken by sin, addiction, and hurt. People are looking for something more than what they have. There is definitely a need for workers here. The world is full of broken lives, and I encourage you to live the change and be the difference you want to see in the world wherever the Lord may call you.
~ N. Nolt
Salt and Its Impact on the World
What is salt? We all think of it as the white granulated substance we use in cooking or to flavor our foods. Does salt do more than simply give our food flavor?
Salt has the capability to season, cure, and preserve, with 14,000 different documented uses. Some of the most common uses are in pharmaceuticals, water treatment, deicing, table salt, and the food industry.
In the land of Israel, the Jordan River overflows its banks all the time of harvest (Joshua 3:15). The Dead Sea, at 1,400 feet below sea level, is the stopping point for all this water. With temperatures up to 103° in the summer, much of this water evaporates, leaving a carpet of white grains of salt that is easy to gather up and use.
Salt is a very important ingredient for human, animal, and plant life. Since the human body is not capable of producing its own salt, it is necessary to supply it from external sources. Our need to buy salt provides an economic boost to nations that have this much needed mineral.
In the history of the United States we can see the positive and the negative aspects of this need for salt. In October of 1864 there was a thirty-six hour war fought over a salt processing plant in Saltville, Virginia, where many lives were lost just to have control of this commodity. Some positive things have also come from salt. When settlers began to move west, canals, railroads, and other forms of infrastructure were built to move this commodity around the country.
Now that we have seen the good and bad results of salt in the modern world, let’s look at the way salt was used in the Bible.
Ezekiel 43:24 says, “And thou shalt offer them before the Lord, and the priests shall cast salt upon them, and they shall offer them up for a burnt offering unto the Lord.” Salt has the ability to draw out impurities, so it purified the sacrifice for our holy God and also for the priests who would eat it afterwards.
In Romans 12:1 we read, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.” The Jews offered sacrifices with salt every day, but since Jesus offered the perfect sacrifice, it is no longer necessary to offer dead ones. Instead, we ourselves are called to be living sacrifices. What are some ways that we can be living sacrifices that give sweet savors to the Lord?
Colossians 4:6 says, “Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.” Can people believe us when we say something? When the Word of God is in our hearts and lives, it is as salt, drawing out the impurities, seasoning our speech, and preserving those that hear us.
Mark 9:49, 50 says that all will be salted with fire and every sacrifice salted with salt. We are flesh; as sacrifices were salted to make them useful, so we need the salt of God’s Word to make us pure and useful to His kingdom. When a Christian turns his back on God and returns to the world, he loses his power to be salt or make an impact on the world.
When cooking a meal, it is not necessary to put much salt in the food to give it flavor; one grain of salt has the power to affect an amount of food much larger than itself. So it is with Christians; each of us can impact many lives. Jesus said that the workers would be few. The fields are ready to harvest. How many people could pass through the world without ever being touched by a “grain of salt”?
So what about the people around me, around you? Are they receiving the flavor
~ Larry Martin
El Salvador Chorus
The churches in El Salvador have organized a chorus for a number of years, and this year they decided to come to Guatemala for a short tour to share their program with the churches here. They traveled around Guatemala for a week, giving programs in nine churches, and were a real blessing to each. They also sang in other locations. In one town the local church wanted to have them sing in a park, but they were not able to get permission to do so. But they weren’t prohibited to sing in the street, so they sang in the street right beside the park and quite a few people walking past were able to hear the message in song!
If you belong to a small church with only a few people, it’s encouraging to have visitors— especially young people—come in from other churches and share the joy of the Lord that is in their heart. You are reminded that you’re not the only one in the world who loves the Lord, and you feel encouraged to continue to be faithful.
General Institute was held in November at the farm for the first time in several years. General Institute is a weeklong series of all-day meetings supported and attended by people of any age from the different church communities around Guatemala.
For a few years General Institute was cancelled, replaced by regional meetings meant to overcome the problem of distance and travel that kept some from attending. This year it was decided to hold it again at the central facility in Sumpango that we call “The Farm.”
An encouraging number of people attended; on most days, 80 to 120 people were present, and at one meal, 140 people were served. Spiritual interest was also high. Four national ministers shared topics throughout the week, and Duane Eby shared evangelistic messages each evening. A number of people responded after the last service.
Pedro Tucubal, a painter from Tecpan, offered to paint a verse on the wall of the dining area. He did so one night, starting when most of us were on our way to bed, and when we woke in the morning, there was a beautiful scroll on the wall with the verse that says, “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!” (Ps. 133:1).
- Missionary couples for church planting and outreach
- Single men for logistical support or to support national leaders
On November 15, Dale Lee arrived in Guatemala to begin a two-and-a-half-year term of service with MAM. Dale comes from Macon, Mississippi, where he attended the Magnolia Mennonite Church and worked in the family business of raising catfish.
Dale started his stay with a few weeks of Spanish school and is living at mission headquarters in Guatemala City where he has been doing some mechanic work. He also serves as a much needed driver, taking Harold Kauffman when he travels to preach and driving others who need a ride to various places.
Financial Statement for Mennonite Air Missions
January 1, 2017 to December 31, 2017
Actual Operating Income…..526,316.61
Retirement and Medical…………..9,590.00
Bank and Miscellaneous charges……614.00
Transfer to Field……………….351,261.00
U.S. checks for Guatemalan funds….970.00
Actual Operating Disbursements……498,209.77
Total Loan Repayment…………….0.00
Ending Checkbook Balance…………$28,106.84
Dear fellow-laborers and supporters,
As we say good-bye to another year and 2017 is now written in the pages of history, we reflect back and recognize that God was at work building His kingdom through Mennonite Air Missions and through each of you where He has placed you.
We have been blessed by another year of generous giving by you, the supporters of Mennonite Air Missions. The work of MAM is funded by individuals like you who give directly, give through their church, or give through their business. Thank you for joining the MAM team with your prayers and contribution for this important work in kingdom building in Guatemala. We look forward to your continued support in 2018.
~ Amos Hurst MAM Board Treasurer
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