Pastor Edwin’s bookcase
It’s easiest to write when inspired—by the Holy Spirit, by an event, by illumination from the Scriptures, by something. And what moved me last month was a set of photos from Guatemala (you’ll see the slideshow when you click through to read the full article), especially a very ordinary photo of a simple bookcase.
Rewind to 2008: “They have no study materials.”
Back in 2008 (was it that long ago?), I was invited to be part of a team of teachers going to Guatemala to teach pastors. My topic was hermeneutics (translation: “reading, teaching, and preaching the Scriptures in context”), and I spent a lot of time before the Lord preparing. One day as I was sitting in my small, but book-lined, study, the Holy Spirit whispered to me, “They have no study materials.” I haven’t learned nearly enough over the years, but I have learned not to respond by asking the Omniscient One, “Are You sure?” And He was right, of course. At the two different seminar locations in Guatemala that March, I asked for a show of hands from the pastors and leaders. How many had a Bible commentary? Only a scattering of hands went up. How many concordances? Few hands. Bible dictionary? Fewer hands. I brought that report back to our small fellowship, where we prayed. One member, Al Strickland, couldn’t get it out of his mind. He shared his burden with some men on a church-building missions trip about six months later, and the thousands of dollars needed for the pastors’ study books were pledged before that team returned home. The books were Click here to read on and see the slideshow…
Podcast: Play in new window
Show Notes by Jim Kerwin for Kernels of Wheat Podcast
Episode 021 — Does God Hate Socks?
No, God doesn’t hate socks,
but He has
been blessing our socks off lately!
Because it’s been so long since our last podcast in our continuing study through 1 John, I thought it would be appropriate to give our listeners a rundown (all-too-brief and incomplete) of my missions trip to Guatemala and my ministry trip to Iowa. I’ve been busy — flying 3,800 miles round trip to Guatemala, driving 4,000 miles (Florida and Iowa) — and this week’s trip to Costa Rica (another 4,300 miles) hasn’t even begun (although all the teaching materials are ready and delivered).
The last few months have become a kaleidoscope of memories:
Guatemala Diary, Days 4 & 5 — What a Weekend!
Day 4, Saturday 5/12
Not much to report today. Perhaps it’s the quiet before the storm. I spent several hours out on the covered terraza waiting on the Lord and reading in my Bible. I’m glad to be able to spend some “down time” with the family. And this evening we began working on the conversion of Tirsa’s old Asus Eee PC, one of the early, smaller netbooks. It came with Windows XP and it has become useless, either due to “Windows rot” or viruses. She has asked me to convert it to Ubuntu Linux, and I just may try the latest version. That would be a challenge, because this unit only has a 4 Gb “hard drive” (an overglorified SD card) and 512 Mb of RAM, with a very underpowered processor. Tirsa has been working on a “slideshow” for the anniversary tomorrow (on another computer).
Annie Cerritos (Jorge's wife, left) praying with Olga (right) as Olga dedicates her life to Christ
Day 5, Sunday 5/13
Today is the fourth anniversary of the day that Atilio’s church met in their new building for the first time. Strange to say, I remember seeing the building, a concrete shell of a place, on my first visit here in March 2008. How time flies! On that first visit only the Lord would have known that I would be the speaker for this anniversary. With Gladys translating for me, I ministered about the importance of focusing on listening in prayer, rather than speaking.
Pastor Atilio followed up with a narrative of God’s provision and faithfulness in their new building, although for him there seemed to be a shadow over his heart. A few feet from where he stood on the platform (and from where I had been standing just moments before) a young worship-team musician had been murdered in cold blood by [click to continue…]
Guatemala Diary, Day #3 – A Day of Three Oportunidades
No, these have nothing to do with today's story, but I thought they were pretty, so I thought I'd include them. Gladys tells me they're called "camarones" (shrimp), and I guess I see the similarity. There are all sorts of flowers, fruits, and vegetables growing in the garden here!
Time-Sensitive Prayer Request: Dr. Gladys de Chávez, my hostess and translator for most of my time here, has been sick con gripe (with the flu) ever since I arrived, and she seems to be getting worse, not better, despite repeated times of prayer for her. She is to translate Sunday morning and for two two-hour sessions on Monday and Tuesday. (Her sister-in-law, Lilian [yes, no double “l”] will translate for me Thursday and Friday.) Please pray for complete healing for Gladys. And as a matter of prevention, please pray that I won’t catch este gripe from her. ¡No lo quiero! (I don’t want it!) Now back to our regularly scheduled daily blog post…
Me gustan las oportunidades de Dios. I love it when God gives us opportunities. That should be even more true when those opportunities are beyond our means to seize, and we have to rely on Him. I had three opportunities today, one pequeña (small), one mediana (medium), y una oportunidad grande (large).
My Teaching Materials Are Finished: The day started early, as days do around here at Casa Chávez. Maybe the six singing canaries outside my bedroom [click to continue…]
Guatemala Diary, Day #2
Our planning meeting at Hamburguesa del Rey. Following the "U" from left to right -- Dr. Gladys de Chávez, Pastor Jorge Cerritos, Pastor Jorge Perez, Superintendente y Pastor Atilio Chávez
I got to bed at 22:30 local time (half past midnight home time) last night, and were I still in the habit of praying my childhood prayer of “Now I lay me down to sleep,” etc., I would have gotten as far as “Now I lay m….” At 4 AM it seemed like the whole neighborhood, maybe the whole city, erupted in fireworks. I woke up for an instant, processed the noise as a celebration of “el día de la madre” (Mother’s Day is today, whereas in los estados unidos, it doesn’t occur until Sunday), then I passed out for another two hours or so.
Gladys fixed un desayuno (a breakfast) of homemade granola, huevos con queso (eggs with cheese), refried beans, and sliced plantains boiled with cinnamon sticks. Then we were off to our morning appointment at Hamburguesa Del Rey [click to continue…]
Guatemala Diary, Day #1
Coat of Arms of Guatemala
I’m writing this day after, because I was too wrung out to do it last night. Al Strickland, bless him, picked me up at “o’dark thirty” (04:40 to be precise), and I was being checked in at the Delta Airlines counter by 05:10. Both flights went well – on time, aisle seat, empty seat next to me, onboard WiFi working (until somewhere over the Gulf of Mexico). It was a productive time. I caught up on my New Testament reading in my pocket Bible, did my Old Testament reading on my Kindle (a weight-saving packing alternative) and fired off various e-mails and a few Facebook messages.
Upon arrival, the lines were short for inmigracion, but long for customs. Yet once it was my turn to be processed [click to continue…]