By: Diana González
In the previous post https://transformtheglobe.com/2021/10/22/church-planted-through-the-genesis-initiative-receives-new-members-in-pacaja-guatemala/, I had the privilege of sharing about what God is doing in Pacajá, Guatemala during our last few weeks here. The truth is that the reception of members, the installation of the new pastor, and many other things have confirmed my call and my desire to serve in missions.
I admit that the pandemic frequently made us question everything. In certain moments our confidence seemed far off as we tried to stay in contact day after day with the people in the community even while we were forced to shut ourselves in our rooms. How would we ever fulfill the goals that we had set out to accomplish if we could never disciple the new believers face-to-face? That doubt faded away when we received many of them as our first members.
To be honest, these two years have not gone the way we wanted or could have ever imagined. Still, we acknowledge that they’ve gone the way God has wanted them to go, and he has been in control. Along the way, we came to know, journey with, and then say goodbye to many people we were counting on to be leaders in the congregation we were planting. We met several and as a group said, “He’ll be a part,” or “She’ll definitely be one of our leaders.” But it wasn’t always like that. It pains me to think of all those who almost said yes to Christ, almost repented, or almost became part of the Church. For one reason or another, they never took that step of faith and trusted Jesus. I’ve asked myself: could I have done something more? I suppose there is always more that we could give, do, say, or create, but I had to recognize something important: fulfilling the mission means doing all that I can with what’s in my hands. I must believe that the God who fed 5,000 people with a boy’s small lunch can use what I have to offer for much bigger purposes than I could ever imagine.
Hope is a distinctly Christian trait. We are always expectant as to how God will work in our lives, how he will transform, provide, and fulfill his promises. I always had that hope for Quetzaltenango, but the entire world has gone through a valley of despair in the last months with this pandemic. Our daily routines have been characterized by constant uncertainty. We didn’t know what would happen the next day or week; how was it going to be possible to start a stable, growing church in Pacajá with everything so unstable?
Little by little we saw how God would make it possible. We began to use new technology to socialize and teach. We somehow grew closer to our neighbors even as we had to stay in our homes. We saw how the needs of our community had never been greater, and we were strategically positioned to meet them. We listened to the worries and pain that our community expressed. We responded in hope and shared of a God who loves and cares for us. Some of the relationships we made seemed to come to fruition in the service when we received new members. The same ones who had been desperate and hopeless were now willing and excited to share of a God who sustained and strengthened them in their most difficult of days.
In these two years of missionary service in Quetzaltenango I can see how Jesus has fulfilled his word. In Matthew 16:18, he says, “And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.” Jesus sets himself before us as the builder of the church. He is the one who brings growth every day to the Church. I feel privileged to have been part of what God is doing to build his church in a community that needs the truth so badly. This has been a season of blessing, growing, and learning, and I see God’s purpose being fulfilled as the new believers in Pacajá are ready to lead the church, to continue with existing ministries, but also to propose and create new ones. They are willing to be testimonies of God’s love in their families and their community. Now I am leaving Quetzaltenango and, even though the journey has taken a lot out of me, I still have that same thankful heart, confidence, and hopeful spirit that I had when I started. It’s just that now those things are even stronger because God has allowed us to see the fruit of the ministry He has called us to!