My Personal Testimony
I began attending the Mennonite church when Candelario and Heidy were there. That’s when I began to enjoy church, and I started to come every Sunday. However, I always had problems with my parents since they are from another church and didn’t give me permission to attend the Mennonite church.
Since my brother was a teacher at the small Mennonite school, he enrolled me in it. That was how, little by little, my father gave me more freedom to go to church, and my liking for the Mennonite church grew. I finished my grade school years with Professor Kleiser Segura Natareno, and by then I was reaching a more independent stage where I could choose which church to go to.
At one point I no longer attended school because my brother had gotten married. My parents took me out of the Mennonite church and took me to a Catholic church, but I did not feel at all content there.
When I turned eighteen, I began to make my own decisions and was free to go to the Mennonite church, where I felt more comfortable. I felt that God was going to touch my heart, and I began to arrive every Sunday. As I listened to all the messages from Brother Belisario, my understanding grew.
When I started to go to the Mennonite church, some people began to make fun of me. Since my family is not Christian, they mocked me, saying that I wanted to become a pastor! Nonetheless, I thank God for having given me the strength to press forward, not caring about what people say.
Now I thank God that I can be an active Christian in the church. Even if my father did not want me to be part of the Mennonite church, now it gives him joy that I am a Christian; I am happy as well. I give thanks to Brother Nicholas, who has been a friend and gives me many encouragements to keep pressing forward. I’m also thankful for all the good friendships among young Christians and the privilege to have friends from Mennonite churches in different places.
~ Santos Domingo de León Lancerio
My Life in Oratorio
Greetings from Oratorio! Would you like a peek at my life here? It involves a variety of things…
The main thing that has occupied me has been school. I taught kindergarten this year, which filled some of my mornings. It was a new experience for me to teach kindergarten. It had its challenges, of course, but it was rewarding to see what a student has learned by the end of the year. I was able to finish the workbook with my little student around the middle of September, and since then, I haven’t been having school in the mornings anymore. That leaves me with a good bit of time to fill with other things.
So what are some of the other things that fill my days? Well, let me tell you a bit about one of my recent weeks…
Sunday. I went along to La Pastoría for church like I normally do on Sunday mornings. A few children came, and I taught a children’s Sunday school class. By the time we were done, a few more had come. Back in Oratorio, I found my neighbor girl sitting in front of my house when I got home. After taking my things inside, I sat on my doorstep and visited with her for a while. Then I came in and got lunch for myself. In the afternoon I finally got an e-mail update sent out and took a nap. We had an evening service at 5:00 here in Oratorio.
Monday. It was late morning when I went up to the clinic, only to find it closed. Since I couldn’t see the nurse, I stopped and visited Lisa, who lives beside the clinic. Back at home, I prepared to teach an English class. Later in the afternoon, I bused to Las Cabezas to visit the Muñoz family and spent the night there.
Tuesday. I was at Isaias’s house in the morning. When one of the girls went to grind corn for tortillas, I went along. Then she took me to see another church sister. She was making tortillas when we arrived, and I was happy to help her while we enjoyed a nice visit. Then I went back to Isaias’s house, where I got to help make their tortillas too. I had lunch there and helped with firewood before they gave me a ride back to Oratorio, as they were coming anyway. I stopped at the clinic before hurrying home to check homework and get ready for an English class at 5:30. I presently teach an English class on Tuesday evenings to four girls from church. Since the girls live a distance away, we have class over the phone. Some of the girls were busy this Tuesday, so we changed the class time to 8:00, which gave me more time to prepare.
Wednesday. After going downtown for a few things, I stirred up a batch of cookies. I then invited some neighbor children in for a Bible story, something I try to do about once a week. Normally this includes singing, prayer, a Bible story, and then some time to color a picture. Wednesday evening, I went along to La Pastoría for prayer meeting—a service we normally hold there every other week. Besides the three of us from Oratorio, only the three church members from La Pastoría attended—a young father who was baptized a little over a year ago, an older man who has been a Christian for years, and a sweet, elderly grandma. A little girl joined us for part of the service.
Thursday. I worked at various things around home in the morning, including visiting with some of the neighbor children for a while. My plans for meeting a young friend in the afternoon fell through when she had too much homework to do. So I visited someone else before coming home and getting ready for church—the Thursday evening prayer meeting here in Oratorio. After church I caught a ride to Las Cabezas with the Muñoz’s and spent some more time with them. I stayed with them until Saturday.
On Saturday afternoon, when Isaias had a trip to make to Oratorio, I came home. I did things around home, called a church sister, and was happy to hear that she is better after being sick for a while. I headed to the store for some things and stopped in to say “hi” to someone on my way.
Of course, not all weeks are the same. One day some children came over to make pizza for lunch. Another day a girl and I worked together on a sewing project. I was able to visit several different people throughout the week. One of these days I’d like to go to Los Achiotes for Bible study with the girls again.
I hope to be a blessing to the people around me and a good influence in the lives of those I meet so that they would desire to choose God’s ways. From school students, to neighbors, to church people, to friends, to fellow missionaries, there are many people to pray for. May I invite you to join us in prayer for God’s work here in Guatemala?
~ Twila Miller
God’s Love and Man’s Indifference
But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8).
Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind (Matthew 22:37).
I do not understand why humans, including myself, do not love God more.
I once heard the story of a strong, good-looking slave being sold at an auction. Among the bidders was a kindly man who offered the highest bid and bought the slave. As the slave watched his new master’s face and listened to him talk on their way home, his hopes rose. This master seemed kind. Upon arriving home, the master told the slave that he was setting him free. He could go where he pleased, or he could stay and live with him. The master even had a little house that the slave could live in if he wanted to stay. What do you think the slave did? Did he go his merry way and live as he pleased? No, he was so happy and thankful that he knelt before his liberator and thanked him. He said, “Sir, I will serve you all my life!”
What a noble response! If only all people would respond to God’s love like this slave responded to the love of his liberator!
Consider this little parable. Once a man called Barabbas was arrested and thrown into prison because of his evil deeds. He was doomed to a slow and painful death by fire. Then a man named John offered to take his punishment. He told Barabbas, “I will bear your punishment if you forsake your evil deeds and agree to care for my family.” Did Barabbas say, “Just let me die my death and suffer my own punishment”? No. Did he bargain with John to gain his desired freedom without doing much for him or his family? No. Barabbas accepted the offer, and with deep thankfulness to John, he willingly served and cared for John’s family.
We humans were also doomed to a fiery punishment, but God gave His precious, only begotten Son Jesus to pay the price of our sins because He loved us so much. Jesus endured much pain as His tormentors beat Him mercilessly. He bore that horrible crown of thorns, and He suffered on the cross as He hung from the nails that pierced Him. It was through that painful punishment and death that He paid the price for our sins and gave us condemned humans a hope of everlasting life in Heaven.
Many people know that Jesus offers salvation, but by their actions they seem to tell Him, “Just let us enjoy sin and then suffer our own punishment.”
Others are like bargain hunters, trying to pay the least amount possible for what they buy. They try to gain the forgiveness and freedom that Jesus offers without doing much or sacrificing much for Him. They have little willingness to obey His commands or to work to advance His kingdom.
Still others commit to serve Jesus, but it is a false commitment; either they pretend to serve Jesus, or they serve Him for a short time and then forsake Him.
Many of us wrongly take advantage of Jesus’ gift of forgiveness when we sin knowingly or carelessly. We may feel that it’s so easy to go back to Jesus and receive His forgiveness that we tend to be unafraid to sin.
Because of what Jesus has done for us, we should be glad and willing to give ourselves, our time, and our all to Him who suffered so much for our sake. We should hate sin with a passion because our sins were the reason for the pain that Jesus bore. Jesus desires to see our deep love and thankfulness expressed in obedience and service to Him.
But too often, Jesus sees in humanity a lack of love and thankfulness. He perceives a desire to receive His blessings without commitment and obedience to Him. He sees when we go faster than the speed limit and when we break the law. He hears the disrespectful talk about the government and authorities. He hears us when we say things that are untrue, misleading, or deceiving. He sees a love of money and business and a lack of interest and commitment to the work of His kingdom. He sees an interest in sports and a lack of interest in sharing the Gospel. Most of humanity does not honor God as He deserves to be honored, but God’s people should honor Him with obedience in every aspect of life.
In conclusion, I want to encourage you to give to God the love, praise, thanks and willing obedience and service He deserves. We will never begin to to pay him back for His love, His wonderful gift of salvation, and His blessings, but we should try to do something to return at least a bit of His kindness toward us.
~ Joshua Glick
We have been blessed with new workers recently, three of whom are children of former MAM staff.
Wendy Martin, daughter of Levi and Judi, is planning to join the team in Mixcolajá to help with domestic work. She is returning to the land of her birth after living in Peru and more recently in Virginia. She comes from the Strasburg Mennonite Church in Strasburg, Virginia.
Joshua and Melody Martin will live in Pasaco, where Joshua will fill the much-needed role of pastor for the Porvenir congregation. Joshua was born in Guatemala and lived in Peru for 7 years. Joshua and Melody come from the Strasburg Mennonite Church in Virginia.
Keith Martin, son of David Mark and SueAnne, is coming for a few months to help with vehicle maintenance and various projects at headquarters. He comes from the Victory Chapel Mennonite Church in Elizabethville, Pennsylvania. Welcome to Guatemala!
Praise and Prayer Items
- Praise the Lord for new believers!
- Praise the Lord for restored health for those who were sick with COVID-19.
- Please pray for the continued recovery of strength for Lester and Martha Burkholder as they convalesce from a serious bout with COVID.
- Please pray that the recent surge in illness in Guatemala would cause many more to turn to God in true repentance.
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