February 17 – Guatemala Diary

Nothing could be clearer to me than that God has called the people of Langhorne Presbyterian Church to the shores of Lake Atitlan in the Central Highlands of Guatemala.

I know how he issued the call. Typical of God, it is a long story that begins with someone minding his own business, in this case a doctor playing tennis with a friend. There’s a lot more to the story and it is worth telling. Perhaps another time.

I think I know at least some of the why to the call, as well. The people of Atitlan, gentle and joyful, carry a heavy burden of poverty and years of oppression by government corruption and civil war, and now the drug cartels. The Christians in the churches around the lake are faithful, but their material, and, yes, medical, resources are thin. They need help.

The people of Langhorne Presbyterian Church, resourceful and able, carry a heavy burden of busy-ness and years of seduction by rampant materialism. The people of LPC are faithful, but their relational and, yes, spiritual, resources are sometimes left untended. We need help.

Our sovereign God has not only called us to ministry Guatemala, he has called us into a partnership with amazing friends who live and work in the villages on the shores of Lake Atitlan. It is a partnership of mutual help and support.

Every single man, woman, child and youth in the LPC family has been called to ministry in Guatemala. While only 16 of us were able to travel there last week, every single one of you was there. You were there in the lives of the school children at Spring of Hope so many of you sponsor. You were there in the pennies, nickels and dimes you dropped in a five-gallon jug last summer, now converted into tuition payments and school supplies. You were there in the tooth brushes and shoes you donated. You were there in the mission giving your faithful stewardship allows, $4,000 of mission budget transformed into a new house for the family of Augustine and Catarina. You were there in your prayers. You were there every day of last week – and this week and next week, too.

We have created a video diary of last week’s trip and I would encourage you to take 13 minutes to watch the video and see where you were last week. It is also available at the homepage of langhornepres.org.

One evening last week, after a long day in the clinic, laying block or playing with the children, some of us were talking and we began to wonder what we would do if we had $3 million to give away. Would we build a much needed hospital in San Lucas Toliman or help with the new school PLM dreams of building? Would we endow a scholarship fund or build 500 new houses?

I think I’d use my $3 million to take as many as you as possible to the shores of Lago de Atitlan. 16 at a time I’d would take you and not just show you what it’s like, but allow you to work in a clinic, lay some block or play with the children. We’d get dirty, sore and maybe sick, but it would be worth it.

Well, I don’t have $3 million and there are all sorts of real-world reasons why some of us will travel to Guatemala only via tooth brushes, shoes and pennies, nickels and dimes. But some of us who haven’t thought much about it until now may be called to make the trip. You may talk to Bob Ciatto about the trip this July with our friends from Thompson Memorial Presbyterian Church or watch for news from the Mission Committee about next February’s trip.

See you Sunday