This is not really an update but should be, as we are back in Guatemala. Things are going great. I am almost feel guilty I like being here so much. I thought missionary life was supposed to be hard and sacrificial. Maybe I am doing something wrong, I don't know. But the main reason I am posting this blog is because I ran across this letter that I wrote in 2011, which really brought me back and helped me refocus and strengthen my convictions. Dear Packing Hope,
I am sending a couple pictures and a little update. Besides the books you sent us, we have brought food and drink and visited and prayed with many and have helped build a small house for a woman whose husband died with 6 kids and they were basically living under a tarp. On the same note - we brought them all Bibles. I think the kids were more excited about the Bibles we brought them than the cookies. Yay! Tonight we are going to show the movie Pilgrim's Progress at a church. It is kind of neat how we have been getting around. They have these little 3 wheel, half motorcycle, half car things and going through the mountains with them is quite the thing. We got 2 flat tires in one trip the other day. I had the privilege of being asked to preach at a church last night. The Pastor, whose name is Rodolfo, is struggling and thinking of giving up and recently kind of has because they haven't been meeting for a while now. We sang some songs together with the small congregation. My wife sang Revelation Song as a special and I preached out of Isaiah 6 and John 17 about who God is and the great privilege of knowing him and having a relationship with him through Jesus Christ far outweighs anything this world has to offer. Ahhh,,, it was good - as the Pastor closed the service, tears flowed freely from his eyes as he talked about how God's word had touched his heart and announced "we will be having service again on Tuesday" ... I must confess tears were coming from my eyes as well. They are in much need of resources and training in this area and I would even say some reformation to their way of thinking. My wife and I are seriously considering coming to live here. One area I believe they need much help in is good sound bible teaching, resources, to be taught to study on their own and develop a lifestyle of learning, discipleship training. It seems many short term missionaries come to Guatemala and even to the area I am in but it always seems the focus is on the kids. Which is good in a way and it breaks a person’s heart to see the conditions they are in and you just want to love on them.
We must be careful though. The last thing we need is more churches that are 3000 miles wide and two inches deep. I know in a lot of ways from the United States that the church has for many years had a youth driven culture that is all about entertainment. And statistics and experience have shown that by the time they reach eighteen they walk away because all they have ever known is cute little stories and games. The kids are the future, they need to be loved on, played with and paid attention too but maybe with more then cute little stories and games.
There is actually quite a bit of North American involvement in Comitancillo. From Canada there are a few agencies working on economic and medical programs. And like I said, many short term teams bringing clothes, food and putting on VBS's. It is good and it is encouraging and stuff but what is going to sustain them. We must be careful that we do not interfere with that and create a culture of dependence on North Americans and their money. Instead of creating all kinds of jobs or all kinds of food or whatever, I would rather see all kinds of followers of Jesus. Not the prosperity, fix all my troubles Jesus but the real Jesus. The people here are rugged and know how to survive. And that is not going to change. Oh, but to see hearts changed by the gospel. The grass is not greener on the other side of the fence. More stuff is not the answer. Jesus is. And I am so thankful I can see that many, many people here are hungry to know more about Him, A founder (Juan Jose) of a Bible Institute that has been going for 20 yrs. near Guatemala City and now is also the chairman of the board of directors at another just started in Comitancillo - told me that Guatemala is said to have more Christians than any other central American country - yet he also said it has the highest crime rate. We than started talking about Books - I asked him how he got them for his students. He said some of the teachers have some books and they mostly copy them and share back and forth. I said I had some books I could give him and I told him how it has really been something on my mind lately about how there is so many Christians around the world but they do not have access to good teaching. He told me I was the first person (missionary) he had ever talked to that had brought him books... He was so happy and so thankful - it brought tears to his eyes - he could hardly contain himself. I told him it brings great joy to me to see him so happy. He said - "you are too much" and asked me to put my name in the books - so he and his students could pray for me. It probably was one of the best feelings I have ever had in my life, and definitely not because he asked for me to put my name in the book but because he was excited to have good sound materials in which to learn from.
Again - thanks for everything. Packing Hope is a tremendous ministry and in my opinion - it is supporting the greatest need of the church today.
Blessings… Tyler P.S - just a suggestion --- Wayne Grudem's Systematic Theology would be a wonderful weapon to have and is definitely my suggestion to do for a Spanish translation.