In February of 2012, I traveled to Guatemala to conduct a series of evangelistic meetings in connection with a shipment of over 1.3 million pieces of literature. When I arrived, the container that had arrived about six weeks before was already half empty. Approximately eight weeks later, the rest of the literature had been dispersed over the entire country. The leadership in Guatemala was so positive that they requested another container. This was filled with over 2 million pieces of literature and shipped in October of 2013. It included 29 boxes of children’s materials prepared by Lew and Freida Tanner, a local retired couple in their 80s who have dedicated thousands of hours to this important ministry for children. Here is the latest report we received from a partner ministry, Water for Life International, concerning this latest shipment:
Partners in Guatemala
Water for Life International (WFL), drills wells in remote villages of Northeast Guatemala that don’t have safe water. This is a winter project each year as volunteer drillers are available from North America. While drilling the well and setting a hand pump, WFL has the wonderful privilege of building a relationship with the villagers that is never lost. This relationship gives WFL the opportunity to share the wonderful news of the gospel of grace with the destitute Mayan villagers who are benefitted by the safe water. Each year since the drilling began nine years ago, WFL does outreach near the well and has built or assisted with the establishment of 13 churches. We’ve seen nearly 3,000 baptisms and are told that the North Guatemalan SDA Conference is the fastest growing conference in Guatemala. The latest effort was in the summer of 2013 with Amazing Facts around the San Benito area. In 2011, San Benito had one of Guatemala’s worst massacres, now there are more than 200 precious souls in San Benito rejoicing in their new found hope.
Two years ago, Light Bearers partnered with WFL by sending 2/3 of a container filled with gospel literature. We can’t thank Light Bearers enough, as there just aren’t printed resources available to these people. They are so delighted to have something this valuable in their hands and often tears come to their eyes as they line up to receive their gifts. Our favorite time to give the gospel literature is when the pump first begins to pump the clear, safe water from the well. The villagers are sometimes not sure what to do at that point until we drink several handfuls of the delightful, life-giving beverage. Soon there is giggling, laughing, drinking and throwing the water at one another. This is when the Light Bearers literature is given to those who are able to read Spanish.
WFL has established more than one church where there was no SDA presence using the sequence of well, Bible worker, Light Bearers’ literature. God is indeed blessing through this important printed message of hope!
Two stories: Bible workers have been sharing Light Bearers’ literature at a very large government prison in Guatemala City. Now, the government has asked for a well and to please build an Adventist church in the prison compound. Water has to be hauled to the prison daily.
Nine years ago there were just two SDA churches in the Poptún area where WFL is based. The churches were quite stagnant and a lot of criticizing was going on among members. Now the vision of outreach has swept the area and there are eight established churches. Church members are looking for ways to share the gospel and handing out Light Bearers’ literature in their businesses and to their neighbors.
A full container of Light Bearers’ literature just arrived at the WFL shop. Bible workers, pastors, lay members, Pathfinder clubs and conference offices have been calling Berny (the local WFL representative), asking when they can get their shipment. Berny has been waiting for Spanish Bibles to arrive that will go with the shipments. All the materials are here now and Berny says that with the requests he has presently, the container will be empty within 1 to 1½ months.
Two weeks ago we went to the Barillal church, new last year, where the first elder from a church one hour away by bicycle officiates. Several baptized members are there now and WFL recently put a lean-to on the back of the church to accommodate the many children. We were so pleased to be able to deliver a box of children’s materials provided by Light Bearers. Every piece of literature, crayon, and crayon sharpener will be used to acquaint children with their loving Lord and Savior. Gracias! Gracias! Gracias! Gloria a Dios!
By Gary Bartholomew, WFL coordinator of volunteers, on-site in Guatemala
James has spent more than 30 years preaching the gospel around the world in revival seminars and evangelistic meetings. He and his wife Risë have two adult children, Jeiel and Kierra.