Feb29

Psalm in Guatemala

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In January a missions team from our church left snowy Minnesota to visit Guatemala. Once there we joined up with the Christian Reformed World Relief Committee and their Guatemala counterpart down “Vine and Branches.” We were there to survey their community projects and explore ways our church could learn from and partner with them.

One small community worked on a Finca (a Private Plantation). Each family was given a small house (shed) to live in, as long as they worked for the Finca. Though extremely poor; however they bought us each a cold bottle of water on the very hot day we visited. Our conversations were unanimated until we asked if their children had enough milk to drink. They exploded in laughter. Milk? None of them could ever afford milk. Milk was a luxury, far too expensive for ordinary people. So we learned about their life of poverty: They got paid every two weeks. However they needed to pay for a ride down the mountain in order to go to town to collect their paycheck. Once there, they purchased groceries for the next two weeks. Then purchased a trip back to the plantation to start the cycle over again. Once, they told us, they planted a banana tree outside their huts. It was to be a source of food. But as soon as the “boss” learned about it, he sent men with orders who chopped it down. They are now working to plant a few items on their roof for additional food.

Trapped in poverty, they did not complain. They spoke with matter of factness. This was their way of life. A routine sickness forced them to choose between helping the ill or feeding their children. But even in such a life, so full of burdens, they told us, “God is so Good, God has Mercy on us.” They hoped to build God a better church building, so thieves could not break in. They want a place to worship God.

We left them that day, after praying with them. We prayed with tears in our eyes and bleeding hearts. How could they say, “God is so good”?

I opened the bible that night to Psalm 71. “Rescue me and deliver me in your righteousness: turn your ear to me and save me. Be my rock of refuge, give the command and save me… My mouth is filled with your praise, declaring your splendor all day long…Be not far from me O God: come quickly O my God, to help me…My lip will shout for joy when I sing praise to you- I whom you redeemed.”

I saw, I felt, and I was shown that the Psalms are still the “living” word of God today.

Tom Kiel

One Response to “Psalm in Guatemala”

  1. Helen says:

    Hey! Two thumbs up for the great story here. Helen

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