Campaña in Los Achiotes
Nearly eight years had passed since the Aposento Alto church in Los Achiotes had held revival meetings (campaña, as we say in Spanish). In those eight years, the church saw many changes. Some were good changes: souls saved, new members added to the small brotherhood, improvements made to the chapel and church property, and many other changes that are only accomplished by God’s work in His people’s hearts. And there have been difficult times: members yielding to the world’s call, the leader having to leave the community, and the small struggling church left as a flock without a shepherd. For the first time since it was built, the chapel doors were closed on Sunday mornings and Wednesday nights, since no one was there to lead or to preach the Word.
But God has faithfully heard His children’s cry and has led them and fed them as they continued to call on His name. He has not allowed the darkness to smother the light of His church in Los Achiotes. The brethren now take turns leading out in worship services, preaching the Word every Sunday and Wednesday. There still is no local pastor, but the Good Pastor leads His flock on.
As the congregation prayed and sought God’s leading, they felt the desire to have revival meetings once again. After much prayer, God clearly led them to ask Brother Ernest Glick from El Salvador to come preach a series of messages. May 10-12 were the dates chosen for the special event. The men from the local congregation invested days of labor preparing and cleaning the church property and chapel to receive visitors, and the women spent hours planning and preparing meals to feed everyone.
The revival meetings weekend was well-spent listening to the preaching of the Gospel. Those who came hungry were well filled as the evangelist preached on the church of Christ, the Christian home, and the call to salvation. Friends and fellow brethren from all of the nearby congregations came to share and celebrate with the church in Los Achiotes. It was a time of great encouragement and happiness for everyone.
And we praise God that another soul found Christ! After the last message on Sunday evening, a family member of some of the church members expressed her desire to give her heart to the Lord. Tears of joy were shed as the new believer found peace in Christ.
God leads the church forward on a path unknown to His children. In a few years the revival meetings of 2019 may be forgotten by most, but there has been seed sown that will bring forth beautiful and bountiful fruit for many, many years!
Where Sin Abounded, Grace Did Much More Abound
Does it ever seem to you that sin is abounding today? Everywhere we look, it seems that we see evidence of the abounding of sin. Governments are corrupt. Here in Guatemala, our last president left office and went straight to jail for money-laundering schemes. If you read the news, reports of murders, rapes, drugs, abortion, violence, and theft are daily stories.
But that’s on the world’s level. You would sort of expect that from the world. But what about the sin that seems to abound in our very own families? How many of us have family members who have no desire to follow Christ or who have left the church? Then there is the low spiritual level of much of modern Christianity. How many evangelical churches or individuals live a life of deliberate sin, without shame, and still profess Christianity? Adultery, fornication, even homosexuality are beginning to become accepted among Christian circles. Does the word tolerance sound familiar to you? Sin is not only justified; it’s promoted.
But that’s in the evangelical circles. Since the time of Luther, Calvin, and Zwingli, our doctrine has differed; we’ve kind of come to expect that from them. But let’s bring this a bit closer home. Why are there problems even in the Mennonite church? Why are there so many divisions; why have so many members left? Why do brothers in Christ who once got along well now not even talk to each other? Why do men who were preachers get caught up in immorality? Has anyone from your very own church come against you with a false accusation?
Here in Guatemala are churches that used to be full, but some that once had more than eighty members now have less than half that in attendance on Sunday morning. The narrow way was too narrow for many; the cross of Christ was too heavy, and they didn’t want it anymore.
In Matthew 16, Jesus tells His disciples about His coming suffering, death, and resurrection. Peter began to rebuke Him, telling Him this would never happen. But Jesus’ response to Peter is very interesting. He said, “Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.” I don’t fully understand this, but it seems that the devil had somehow managed to use one of Jesus’ very own disciples to work as a tool to try to cause Jesus to stumble.
We wonder, “How could a brother say such a thing about me? How could he talk like that about another brother in the church?” Jesus recognized the source right away. He knew where that response had come from and went right to the point; He rebuked the devil, the accuser of the brethren.
The devil likes church problems. The devil likes disagreements, arguing, fighting, accusing, and dividing. The devil likes it when sin abounds.
But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound (Romans 5:20).
The first abound in this verse conveys the idea “to exist in abundance.” But the second abound is stronger still: “to abound beyond measure, abound exceedingly.”
On the natural side, we see sin abounding. It seems that everywhere we look, sin is abounding on all sides. We are tempted to get discouraged, to think that it’s not worth it. But consider with me what this verse tells us. When we see sin abounding, whether in the world, in the church, or in personal relationships, it’s like a sign for us believers, kind of like the rainbow. Like the rainbow is a reminder that God will always keep His promise, so the abounding of sin is a sign that grace is abounding beyond measure. When a superabundance of sin abounds around us, it indicates that an exceedingly greater amount of grace is abounding for us.
We would do well to note here that we should not be the ones abounding in sin. Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? God forbid. But rather, when sin abounds around us, God’s grace abounds for us.
I invite you to consider another passage of Scripture: 2 Peter 1. Peter was writing to those who had obtained “like precious faith.” That includes us today.
Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord, according as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.
While sin abounds around us, grace and peace are multiplied in our hearts. Christ’s divine power enables us to live in victory over sin through the knowledge of Him. He has given us these divine promises and this divine, abounding grace so that we can be partakers of His divine nature.
That is how we can shine as lights in this dark world. Be it in San Bartolomé where I live, where witchcraft and drunkenness abound, or be it where you live in your home community, God’s promises are true to all and His grace is sufficient for all. His grace abounds.
So when you see sin abounding and are tempted to think that it is about to overcome, remember that grace is much more abounding. Maybe not so obviously, maybe not so blatantly or palpably, but as God told Israel, “In returning and rest shall ye be saved; in quietness and in confidence shall be your strength.” God’s strength is an inner, hidden strength. It is found by knowing Him, by spending time in His Word, by praying, fasting, and meditating on the Scripture.
But it is real and it is powerful. It is like hidden treasure that we must search out and find. But when we find it, it is of highest value. And it changes our lives.
~ Galen Miller
Tim and Rhoda Korver
After being away from Guatemala for three and a half years, the request came again to go help there. Rhoda and I responded that yes, we would come for six weeks to help at the San Cristobol congregation.
During those weeks we lived at the MAM headquarters, and it was good to relate with the long-term workers that we had known before and newer ones that we hadn’t met. Rhoda was able to help in the kitchen and with sewing and quilting work. I found it very good to walk the streets of Guatemala City again, giving out tracts and enjoying the sights, sounds, and people! They are so gracious; what a pleasure to interact with them! Preaching was part of my responsibility, which is not very enjoyable with an interpreter, but the many Gracias afterward made it satisfying.
Due to miscalculations on someone’s part, we were here for only four weeks instead of six. But they were good weeks! Thank you, board and staff, for the invite. Thank You, Lord, for all Your blessings that enabled us to serve in this way. We hope we were worthy.
May the Lord bless the work in this part of His vineyard. We don’t earn our salvation; we cooperate with it.
We deeply appreciate those who have recently committed to serve in Guatemala. Every willing worker who comes helps spread the heavy load and increases the scope of what’s possible to accomplish. We currently are looking for:
- Couples or families for business administration and church leadership
- Four single VS men
- Two single VS girls
We appreciate the ongoing support of many churches and individuals. As you pray for MAM, please remember these needs.
- The right workers for the open positions on the field.
- That our missionaries could understand the language and culture in order to build relationships and be effective in their work.
- That our workers would find the fulfillment that leads to long-term commitment to service.
- For the families of the Guatemalan brethren. Many of them have a spouse or children who are not believers.
- For the Guatemalan youth; too many are losing out spiritually.
Larry and Laresa’s Wedding
April 13, 2019, was Larry Martin and Laresa Good’s wedding day. In March, Larry and Laresa traveled to the States where they finished preparations for the wedding. The wedding was held in Estacada, Oregon, Laresa’s home area. Larry’s brother Keith had devotions, Brother Nolan Bechtel preached the wedding sermon, and Brother LaVern Miller married them.
Larry and Laresa returned to Guatemala to continue serving. A reception was held at the Farm on May 18. The various MAM churches were invited, and a nice group of people showed up. After a service that included some singing and a message by Brother Victor Ovalle, a delicious meal was served.
May God bless you, Larry and Laresa, as you serve Him together!
~ Twila Miller
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