I was trying to wait and post this until I wasn't as sad and we had some type of plan, but I still am and we don't.
The town meeting on Saturday was supposed to be a chance for Jimmy to share and then let everyone vote again. Since there was going to be a new vote we didn't even address the fact that the last meeting was done in secret, based on complete lies and that several of the signatures appear to have been forged.
The lady from the town council in charge of the meeting was one of the 8 that spoke out against us. One of the other 8 was the one choosing who got to speak. After the first several people allowed to speak were found out to be against us, the lady in charge was still saying we were going to vote again.
Then those for us started speaking up. Several people from the community improvement committee spoke up about how we had helped out the village in several ways. They said that they were embarrassed about how we were being treated now. Some spoke out about land rights and how if they were now truly the owners of their property then Fabio has the right to build a Bible study on his. Others spoke up about those who wanted us kicked out and the lies that they were telling. Others pointed out that they don't kick out criminals yet want us to leave and how unjust that was.
Fabio was the only one who mentioned God though. He spoke up boldly. There are many new believers, some who couldn't be there that day, some who spoke up trying to share arguments that would appeal to those against us, some who were too afraid to speak up at all, but more than for anyone else in SR we want to fight this out for Fabio's sake. This 70+ year old man has learned about God and has given all. We saw him being mocked during the meeting and it broke our hearts. We cannot leave him there alone.
When the lady from the town council saw that there were not enough people against us to get a majority (when someone's watching the legitimacy of the signatures) she changed her story and said that the original "act" stands. She refused to hold another vote.
José's wife, the matriarch of the Kekchi, who was against us in the past had a change of heart. We have tried to reach out to her family several times because we really love them. She must have seen that. She let our opposition have it! That was surprising.
Those who actually spoke out against us specifically said all kinds of elaborate lies. Lorena, who we knew was only nice to our face from the beginning, with intentions of hurting our cause ended up describing it beautifully. She said, "Fabio, you speak so much of God now. They (meaning us) don't know how you used to talk before they got here." He has changed. He is a new creature in Christ. That fact right there makes ALL of this worth it.
So tonight was our first Monday night not being in SR. The act only said "Jimmy", so Jimmy tried to get me to go by myself tonight. I'm not 100% sure he was kidding.
What they did is against the laws of Guatemala, but that doesn't mean it would be the best decision right now to continue on like nothing happened. Please pray that God gives us wisdom. When Jesús gets back he could even keep the services going possibly. (He is in Guate working right now.) Jimmy is still talking with our lawyer. The people in SR are very upset about this for many reasons. It is a violation of property rights, so those who don't even care about God are effected by this decision. They might take care of the fight for us.
So we don't know anything other than that we are still in the middle of the story. It feels like Satan has been victorious. We feel like years of work have gone up in smoke. We feel lower right now than at any other time in our ministry, but the Truth is more powerful than our feelings. Our faith is strong and our God is real.
No matter what, people who wouldn't have heard did, many are now new creatures in Christ. We are gone, but the Holy Spirit is still at work in their hearts.
Please keep praying for Santa Rita.