Saturday, May 28, 2011

The Kekchi Radio Ministry in Petén

A couple days before we left Guatemala for this furlough we had a radio team come down from Lifeword. It is a ministry that spreads the Gospel all over the world through indigenous radio. They help in the areas of technical support, programing material, special equipment for rural areas with no power, follow-up strategies, and support for the nationals following up on the people who call in. They will also be helping us with some solar powered repeaters since the radio station only currently reaches about 1/3 of Petén.

The Kekchi churches in the SW corner of Petén started this radio, but Lifeword has done a lot and will do a lot to help it grow and be even more effective. We have shared this in churches, but maybe not on this blog. The Kekchi are animists. When they hear about this new God on the radio they call in to find out more about Him. Is He powerful? More powerful than the gods they already have? Should they worry about Him? They want to learn more and ask someone to come to their village. You cannot just show up to a Kekchi village unannounced. Even another Kekchi man from a different village is a stranger. These calls are what open the doors to these villages that are in complete darkness.

After you have a way in, you can start forming relationships. Then you can share the Gospel. It takes some time, but eventually several come to have a personal relationship with Christ. They turn away from all their little gods, to serve the one true God. A mission is started. Then after more families accept Christ a self supporting church is formed. It's a beautiful thing!

{Luis & Domingo}
The team first started by training Domingo and José on some new equipment. One thing they wanted to distribute are small, mp3 playing crosses (like the one around Domingo's neck), preloaded with the Kekchi New Testament and a radio receiver. They last a long time on one charge, but Louis Powell also brought some solar panels to charge them. Jimmy told the guys that they looked like Catholics with their crosses, but Domingo laughed and said it's a good cross because it had God's word inside it.
{Louis & José}
Louis also brought some Proclaimer boxes. These boxes are self charging with a built in solar panel or even a hand crank. These also had the Kekchi New Testament on them, but they are much louder and can be used in a small group setting.
After the team trained José & Domingo, they trained Jimmy, to make sure nothing was lost in translation!
To get this team out into some remote villages Jimmy needed a 4 wheel vehicle that could carry 7 people, but there weren't any available at the time, so Maricio (the owner of the beautiful place we eat at across the lake) rented us his Land Cruiser (that he hadn't driven in a while). While the team trained at the hotel, Jimmy had to take the Land Cruiser to the tire repair place. One tire went completely flat overnight.
This little boy was the tire mechanic available at the time.
We got it all patched up, but while climbing a hill on the way to our first village, a different tire blew out.
The beautiful thing about Land Cruiser is the jack fits into the bumper. It made changing the tire pretty easy. They plan on bad things happening on the road.
The first village we went to was San Miguel Alto Uno.
When we first visited this village with Andy Schalchlin 3 years ago for a medical clinic, there were no Christians in the village. We have been back several times to show movies and last summer visited the first Christian family with the youth team from Daytona and did an evangelistic presentation.
In early March a second family accepted Christ. Manuel (below in the checkered shirt in the middle) is an influential man in the community that recently accepted Christ. We give a Kekchi Bible to each family that accepts Christ. While Jimmy was there Manuel asked him for 22 more Bibles (he and Juan already had two) and 12 hymnals. He told Jimmy that by the time we got back he expected there to be 24 Christian families (out of 100 families in the village) and he wanted to make sure they had Bibles.
The weekend after this team left, another family accepted Christ and the weekend before we left fro the States we heard that 8 more people had accepted Christ. While we've been gone they have started building a church building. Manuel told Jimmy that day that if he would teach him how, he would like to be the pastor of this new church.
We left some crosses and a proclaimer with these new believers so they can begin to listen to God's word.
On the way to the next village we came upon a truck that asked us for a jump. Having just experienced truck problems, I didn't want to pass up giving a favor when we might need one just around the corner. Their truck wouldn't jump off the battery in the Land Cruiser, but a little push was all they needed to get on the road. It was funny that the side of the truck said "Jezebel."
We also visited the village of Esquipulas. This was another village we visited with the teens to follow up with last summer, however at that time there were no Christians. The next month we went back for a "salvation service" when 3 families and a single man accepted Christ.
This lady says she is Catholic, although there aren't services in her village. She is very kind to José and Domingo when they visit and was excited to receive a Bible for the first time. She cannot read and has her daughter read to her, so the cross mp3 player was perfect for her so she can listen to the Bible whenever she wants.
This is Juan, one of the men who accepted Christ last July. He has taken it upon himself to encourage the other new Christians in his village and witness to his neighbors. He is working to try and build a church building.
We also took the team to visit the radio station. It is 3.5 hours from our house. Our whole family went with José, Domingo and the team, so we took our Microbus. It was the first time that the team had air conditioning in their vehicle and I think they appreciated it. On the final stretch of road we lost our spare from underneath the bus, but we quickly got it back.
The latch on the bottom broke, but José had seen this before and with some borrowed string, tied it back in place.
I will post more from our radio visit and dinners with Domingo and José's families soon. Please keep the radio ministry in your prayers along with all of the nationals who work so faithfully to keep it running.

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