On October 21st we will finish our first year in Guatemala. We can’t believe that it has already been a year. God has showed his hand faithfully in every opportunity, every conversation, and every new endeavor. By the grace of God, Justin has been able to faithfully finish up his responsibilities at Potter’s House. It has been quite the adventure.
As many of you may remember, our first step was to begin with Potter’s House. This was with two primary goals:
1. We wanted to support Guatemalan initiatives
2. We needed a year, at least, to get ourselves settled into Guatemala, begin learning its culture, and its needs, to better understand what our next steps should be.
The opportunities that we have had over the course of this year working in the garbage dump communities have been amazing. We have learned a lot, grown as a couple, and had our character challenged and sharpened. We are grateful to all of you that have walked along our side over the course of this year. It hasn’t been easy adjusting to a new country, but it has been an amazing opportunity to see God’s faithfulness through all of you.
We can’t thank you enough!
Plans for the Future
Our relationship with Potter’s House will continue, but not in the same way. Jenny will continue teaching English classes at Potter’s House, and our mission agency, TEAM, will have other missionaries that are serving there. Justin is going to begin dedicating himself to our church-planting efforts.
The way our initial timeline laid it out is that our year at Potter’s House was our first step. We believe that through this year we have accomplished our two goals listed above. We have had the opportunity to get behind Guatemalan’s and their initiatives. We have not only had the opportunity to get to know Potter’s House, but also many other ministries here in Guatemala. We have also gotten to know Guatemala, its needs, and its culture, and have a clear vision for what our next steps are as missionaries.
After prayerful discussion, we, along with TEAM and Potter’s House concluded that the garbage dump communities are being well served by Potter’s House and other organizations. As a result, we decided, together with TEAM and Potter’s House, that we would focus our energies in different areas of Guatemala. Primarily, we will be focusing on two areas called El Naranjo and Bethania, which don’t have the kind of spiritual influences that the garbage dump has, but many of the same issues.
With that said, the other thing that God has done over the course of this year is that He has already begun to form a team of people around us. God has brought 3 other couples into our life that have the same dream and vision that we do. Along with this team of people, we will be dedicating ourselves to church planting. Our hope is to see churches planted that plant other churches. We hope that through these communities of believers, we will be able to do our part to challenge current models and build healthier models of evangelicalism in Guatemala.
Alongside of that, TEAM, our agency, has asked me (Justin) to take more of an active role in developing new initiatives here in Guatemala. We are actively seeking out more partners like Potter’s House, where missionaries can come and serve. It is an awesome opportunity!
Two things in closing:
Our heart remains broken for the physical needs of Guatemala.
Guatemala City has close to a dozen more areas like the garbage dump, except without the garbage. These places wrestle with poverty that is unheard of in the USA, crime and violence, all sorts of drug abuse, trafficking, and anything else imagineable. We want to see a gospel movement unleash gospel-believing disciples who can have an impact on these areas.
God has broken our hearts for the spiritual needs of Guatemala.
As we mentioned elsewhere, Guatemala’s evangelical culture is not all that evangelical. There are enormous, cultic issues with the largest segments of evangelicalism. Even though the numbers say that Guatemala is 40% evangelical, many surveys determine the number to be closer to 10%. God has placed a heavy burden on us to help establish healthy, gospel-proclaiming, city-impacting communities of believers all throughout Guatemala.
So, all that to say, the plan is still the same. God has called us to plant churches! It is just going to look a little bit different than we initially thought.
With that said, we all can celebrate, God has faithfully brought us through Phase one!
Be on the lookout for a video that will be explaining our new adventure in a little more in detail.
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to write or Skype.