Wendy and Jakelin, both 16, were baptized in October

Wendy and Jakelin, both 16, were baptized in October

Wendy Canté y Jakelin Franco

May God bless Wendy Yomara Canté Álvarez and Jakelin Marimar Franco Rodríguez, each of whom decided to give their life to the Lord. The girls are sixteen years old and live in Hierbabuena, Palencia, Guatemala. After receiving instruction classes and the approval of the church, they made the important decision to be baptized. They were baptized on Friday, October 22, 2019, in their home church Jesús Es El Camino (Jesus Is the Way) by their bishop, Isaías Muñoz, and their pastor, Donaldo Álvarez. Members of the local church, friends, family members, and visitors from Ríos de Agua Viva (Rivers of Living Water) Church in Oratorio and from Lirio de los Valles (Lily of the Valleys) Church in Guatemala City were witnesses of their vows to follow Jesus and renounce the world and Satan through baptism.

Please pray for Wendy Canté. She lost her mother about a year ago, and her father is out of the country. Pray for Jakelin Franco; her father is not a Christian and does not approve of her decision. Pray that both girls might grow spiritually, that their testimony might be a light to their neighbors and family members, and that the church might be edified.

Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ” (Ephesians 4:13).

~ Arlín Muñoz

Where Is Your Treasure?

What is a treasure?

The world thinks of temporal things as treasures: fame, education, wealth, and power. But these things can be lost in a moment. Things like love, generosity, sympathy, and humility are treasures of enduring value. These treasures not only measure a person’s greatness; they also reveal who a person really is.

Matthew 6:19-21 warns us about laying up treasure in the wrong place, because where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. If our life’s treasures are not based on eternal realities, we risk losing everything.

Everyone has treasures, even the very poor. Treasures are not always held in our hand; often, we hold them in our heart. A treasure is anything on which we place our affection and attention; something we value above all else. Is the value we place on our treasures misplaced or is it God-honoring?

Consider Achan. God told the Israelites to utterly destroy Jericho and consecrate all its silver and gold to the Lord. But Achan valued the treasures of silver, gold, and garments more than he valued obedience to God. He ended up losing it all plus his own life because of his disobedience.

Consider the rich young ruler of Matthew 19. After hearing his claim of lifelong obedience to the commandments, Jesus touched the core of his need with a simple request: sell that thou hast, and give to the poor… and come and follow me. The fact that he went away sorrowfully speaks loudly; his riches meant more to him than eternal life and heavenly treasure.

Where is our treasure? Jesus warns that earthly treasure will be eaten by moths, corrupted by rust, and stolen by thieves. A moth, though it looks harmless, will destroy even the most expensive clothing by eating holes right through it. The damage can go unnoticed until we take that piece of clothing out of our closet. Rust can do major damage to the most expensive cars and houses, reducing their value and making them worthless. The thief does his best to steal what he has not earned. He will gladly take others’ hardearned treasure when he has the chance.

We lay up treasure in Heaven by living as God asks us to live; by loving our neighbor as ourself, by being a cheerful giver, honoring God in our marriages, and sharing the Gospel with others.

The first commandment says Thou shalt have no other gods before me. When we set our hearts on things of the earth, we are committing idolatry by putting our things before God. If our treasure is on the earth, our heart will be there. But if we focus on God’s things and heavenly treasures, our heart will be there instead.

Many years ago, the story goes that one of the world’s richest men took the wise man of the village on a hike to the top of a high mountain. They packed their supplies, hiked for several days, and finally reached the peak. The rich man, smug and conceited, pointed all around and said to the wise man, “Look around you as far as you can. Everything you can see, I own. I have spent my entire life acquiring more wealth than any other person in the world. Do you see that huge herd of cattle in the valley? They are mine. Do you see the cities? I have more riches than anyone could know.” The rich man then looked at the wise man and asked, “Where are your riches and treasures?”

The quiet old man simply smiled and pointed to the sky and said, “That is where my treasure is stored!”

How has my treasure affected my vision? Matthew 6:22, 23 reads, The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light. But if thine eye be evil; thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!

Gathering earthly riches blurs our vision. It causes us to not see the will of God as correctly or as clearly as we once did.

Whom are we serving? We can only have one Master.

One day a farmer reported to his wife that his best cow had given birth to twin calves, a red one and a white one. He said, “You know, I have been led of the Lord to dedicate one of the calves to Him. We will raise them together. When the time comes to sell them, we will keep the money from the one and give the money from the other to the Lord’s work.” His wife asked which calf he was going to give to the Lord. He answered that there was no need to decide immediately. “We will treat them both the same, and when we sell them, we will decide.” Several months later the farmer, looking very sad and miserable, came into the house. When his wife asked him what was wrong, he said, “I have bad news; the Lord’s calf is dead.”

His wife said, “But we haven’t decided which was to be the Lord’s calf.”

“Oh yes,” he said, “I had determined that it was going to be the white one, and that is the one that died.”

If we don’t clearly establish in our minds whom we serve, someone will always lose out; and most times it is God. We are to serve Christ and Him alone; not Him and our personal pursuits.

Where is my treasure? Only two people know that; I and God. If we serve ourselves, we will be disappointed; the benefit is only temporary. But if we serve God with all of our heart, soul, strength, and mind, an eternal inheritance will be waiting for us when we go to be with the Lord.

Jim Elliot said, “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.”

Where is your treasure? How is your vision? Whom are you serving?

I pray that you are serving the Father and Him alone.

~ George Zimmerman

Hundreds of meals are served out of this busy kitchen during Institute week

Hundreds of meals are served out of this busy kitchen during Institute week

General Institute 2019

The first week of November found many people from across Guatemala packing their bags and heading for Sumpango to “The Farm” where MAM’s special meetings are held.

On Tuesday morning, the cooks busily prepared lunch for the weary travelers who would arrive around noon. By late morning, some people were arriving, some were doing last-minute preparations, some wanted food, and some were finding a bed to call their own for the week. At 2:00 P.M., everyone made their way down to the tent for the first session of the week.

The following days were rich with spiritual food. Brother Levi Martin from Virginia was the main speaker for these meetings. During the days he shared about the home and family, and in the evenings he shared evangelistic messages. Other brothers shared topics on prayer, on standing firm against the deceits of the devil, on feeling the guilt of sin, and on the consequences of turning back.

A few truths especially challenged me. If we men do not fulfill our role in the home, things will not go well; because in the headship order that God designed, we men are to represent Christ to our wives. If we are not doing that, everyone in the family will suffer.

Another challenge was the call to be holy because God is holy. How holy am I? Am I allowing and asking God to sanctify me? Sanctification and holiness are things we need to strive for.

Between 100 and 150 people attended the whole event, but in the evenings, even more people came to take in the preaching. It was such a blessing to learn from and fellowship with other believers on the same journey with Jesus and who face many of the same struggles as I do. There were also many people there who have not surrendered their lives to Jesus. Join us in praying that the seeds that were planted in those hearts and in all of our hearts would grow and bring forth fruit which glorifies God.

~ Wesley Hursh

“Normal” in Porvenir

A magnet motto hangs on the fridge door at the mission headquarters that says, “To me, normal is just a setting on the dryer.” I can relate to that! Here’s a glimpse into our “normally abnormal” lives in Porvenir…

For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

After a week of an intense spiritual battle involving a brother from church, we breathed weary sighs; the week ahead looked a little more relaxed, but we knew it could change in a moment. We were feeling in need of at least a day or two of refreshment for body and soul by spending some time at home doing our own projects.

Ever since we moved from a rented house in Pasaco to our own little property in the tiny village of Porvenir in July, the outdoor kitchen (or perhaps lack of one) has been on Wes’s list. Here a little and there a little, a few things got done, and finally this week the tin went on the roof! The walls (tin halfway up, then chicken wire to the roof) needed to be finished and concrete poured for the floor. We were hoping to finish before company arrived the following week. It would be so nice to finish setting up our house and have space to better accommodate guests.

Guicho is our daily visitor. He’s our Down Syndrome neighbor who lives with his mother, who suffers from dementia. Her children weren’t willing to care for her, so she’s back in the church community being cared for here. It is often difficult to know how to best help without hurting!

In our community, the three largest daily tasks for women are patting tortillas, scrubbing laundry by hand in the pila, and sweeping the dirt (both floors and yards). I feel like I’m still learning how to do these daily chores well although I sweep a concrete floor.

The men work in the fields. This is very hard work and doesn’t provide for much more than food for the table. We are just entering harvest time, and praise the Lord, crops seem better this year than the last two. Wes hopes to spend a few days here and there helping with harvest amid his heavy load of studying to preach and teach instruction class every week.

At times we are also called on to take someone to the hospital. Last Tuesday, with little notice, we left for the hospital in the city, three hours away. We didn’t get back home until Thursday afternoon.

With two services Sunday and one Wednesday evening, youth music class Tuesday evenings, instruction class Friday evenings, and youth activities most Saturday evenings, only two evenings a week are open for visiting, having guests, or sharing a family evening. We find it challenging to know how to reach around and not neglect our own needs. Or will Jesus meet our own physical, emotional, and spiritual needs as we minister to others?

We are always blessed when we take the time to meander through our village, stopping to chat at the homes we pass. Our goal is to sometimes do this separately, as it seems that these impromptu visits by just one of us often end up being precious times, especially for me, who am still learning Spanish. I’ve found it much easier to understand and converse one-on-one than in a group. Anisha, our 1 1/2 year-old daughter, loves these times of visiting and often begs to go out. She is loved by everyone and thrives on being with her friends, young and old!

It seems that our church has been going through a purification process. It’s what we’ve been praying for, but it can be painful. The devil has been working hard to create havoc in our midst, but praise God, while it may look like he’s won in a few lives, God’s kingdom is winning overall. There may be thorns, but there are also some beautiful roses blooming, and precious rosebuds are filled with beautiful potential as they allow their Creator to use them as He would!

Pray for our small congregation, that we would faithfully strive for perfection in Christ, and that the light of our testimony would shine clearly, drawing more souls to the kingdom.

~ Wendy Hursh

January 1, 2019 to December 31, 2019

Beginning Balance …….. $39,607.22
Income ………………. $667,208.56
Actual Operating Income .. $706,815.78
Loan Income ………….. $0.00
Total Income …………. $706,815.78

Literature ………………….. $0.00
Newsletter ………………….. $9,959.92
Travel ……………………… $18,504.81
Retirement and Medical ……….. $4,000.00
Worker allowances ……………. $155,644.22
Bank & miscellaneous charges ….. $214.90
Transfer to field ……………. $471,352.00
Supplies ……………………. $1,746.30
U.S. checks for Guatemala funds .. $0.00
Actual Operating Disbursements … $661,422.15

Loan Repayment ……. $0.00
Total Loan Repayment .. $0.00

Ending Checkbook Balance .. $45,393.63

To our dear fellow-laborers and supporters,

As 2019 closes and the 2020s begin, we want to thank you for allowing God to direct your generosity toward His work in Guatemala this past year. Through your giving, missionaries were free to work and travel, Institute events were made possible, evangelistic services took place, children were taught, the sick were ministered to, and hungry ones were fed. May the God who never forgets reward you for your kindness.

God bless you as you continue to serve our soon coming King.

~ Amos Hurst – board treasurer

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