June 24th-July 5th, I went to Guatamala with a TEAM missionary couple who had been doing Aquaponics in Zimbabwe, and are looking to see where the Lord might lead them next. We visited some of our missionaries and ministries in Guatemala City and surrounding areas. My task was to be on the lookout for new ministry opportunities we might be able to develop with creation care efforts.
One of the people we met was Dr. Israel Ortiz, the director of the “Centro Esdras”. The focus of this ministry is to offer leadership training for Christians of all levels of education in Guatemala. One of the core values they teach from Scripture is that environmental stewardship is an inherent part of our Christian responsibility.
Based on my interaction with Dr. Israel, I will be looking to see how we can partner with his organization and some pastors in eastern Guatemala where drought consistently impacts the poor in their communities.
We also visited the community of San Lucas de Toliman on the shores of Lake Atitlan. We spent a day with an organization called Promised Land Ministries (PLM). They are doing excellent work in that community by building simple homes for the poor, providing affordable healthcare in the surrounding community, and offering a gospel centered education for many of the Mayan children.
This photo is of a 90+ year old Mayan couple that were saved from their burning home, and given a new home by Promised Land Ministries. Many Guatemalans are short in stature, but this Mayan couple definitely takes the record in my book—I felt like a giant next to them!
We were also able to visit the historic town of Antigua, Guatemala’s ancient capital and learn some about the history of this beautiful country. We then headed off to the mountains in northern Guatemala to a growing medical ministry, and to help troubleshoot some problems with the aquaponics unit they are trying to establish.
We had to take a four-seater airplane ride over the mountains to get there. What an experience! It was a 1958 Cessna 172 single engine plane. In case you think I was worried, it is the most successful airplane in history based on it's longevity and popularity. Though an older plane, it got us to our destination and back just fine.Our time was very unique in that the family we stayed with are Africans from Zimbabwe, whom God called to serve among the Mayan people. They are likely the first black people the remote community has ever seen, but in the short three months this family has been in the mountains of Guatemala, the local people have welcomed them into their lives. The love of Jesus is evident in their smiles and in their lives. It was so incredible to see!