Sunday, July 15, 2012

Sad, Frustrated, Disappointed... All of Those Emotions

2 weeks ago Jimmy had to ask the national pastor we had been working with at the Kekchi church plant in San Pancho to step down. We had been trying to work with him on fixing some really big issues, but he wasn't having it. He had been leading the church in a direction neither we, nor the Kekchi Baptist Pastors Association agree with doctrinally. That was the main issue. Besides that he had made it clear that he was no longer committed to the mission. We regularly would show up on Sunday mornings and he had taken a job somewhere else that day in order to make money instead of preaching at the church. This was a result of the very large debt he had gotten his family into because of an investment decision he had made before we ever met him. He was actively looking for any jobs that would make him more money because of this debt and said he could be leaving at any time. A threat had been made on his life because of the amount of money he owed and who he owed it to.

This was all unexpected to us. At the beginning this pastor was passionately committed to this mission. People, and by that I mean any of us, can get caught up in the cares of this world at any time and are only a couple decisions away from missing out on God's best for our lives. He had a great family, with a great job, a great ministry, a nice house, and plenty of food to eat. Now most of that has been destroyed because of risking everything in this investment scam. He isn't the same person we first got to know. 

Jimmy thought that last Sunday morning he would be able to explain everything to the church, or at least enough to where they would understand why the decision had to be made. What we weren't counting on was the pastor trying to completely ruin the mission during the week in between. He led the lady we were renting the building from to believe we were no longer wanting it and that she should look for new renters, he had the microbus that goes by and picks up our people in SR canceled even though he knew we were going to continue having services, and then he went to SR and told all of them that Jimmy had fired him out of the blue and that he didn't know why. He even drove all the way to Sayaxché to tell the other Kekchi pastors lies about the situation. It appears that he really wanted the mission to fail without him. 

Last Sunday a group of men from SR showed up to the Bible study to speak on behalf of everyone else and let us know that they would no longer be attending the Bible study. Jimmy was able to share with them the truth, but in this culture, it is usually whichever story you hear first that sticks. Jimmy went to SR last Sunday afternoon and spoke for several hours to everyone explaining the situation. They eventually agreed with him that he had made the right decision, but they said that Jimmy should have spoke to them about it first. Jimmy apologized and said that they need to tell him anytime he goes against their culture so that he can learn to be more Kekchi. He WANTS to be more Kekchi. Most seemed to be planning on coming this Sunday, but Jimmy knew there were still a few who were apprehensive. 

This week the microbus went by like before, but no one came. Not a single person. Instead of having church this morning we took those who had come from San Pancho with us to SR to try and explain everything again. In this culture it takes several times to go over things. Lots of patience is required because they are thinkers. They like to think for a LONG time. Thankfully Domingo was here this morning along with Carlos, another national missionary who works in another part of Petén, and a young Kekchi man who will be attending the Institute this next summer to become a pastor. The 3 men who are mature Christians, have been in predicaments like this before, and are fluent in Kekchi and pretty good in Spanish were all part of God's plan. They were definitely sent by Him this morning. They went too and explained in Kekchi over and over again the story. 

We will be going again sometime this week with Domingo and Carlos for an official meeting in SR. Please pray! If this is God's will, for there to be a Kekchi church in San Pancho, pray than He would heal this mess. It was painful today to sit and listen to them talk about their allegiance to the other pastor. Is that what this was? Why does this have to be about a man? All this time we have been trying to draw them to God, never make them become attached to us. I don't get it anyway. Jimmy was preaching more than he was. I teach their children every week. I know them, love them. We are involved in so many parts of their lives beyond Sundays. We knew them first. We worked with their families for 2.5 years before this man ever came into their lives. But what trumped all of that was that we aren't Kekchi. We are foreigners. When does love start to trump ethnicity? This pastor was ready to leave them at any time for a better offer, but his word gets believed over ours because of his heart language. 

Please pray as our hearts are broken for these people. We feel that we are losing them for a second time, all because of lies. We are trying to be encouraged in that if God wasn't working then Satan wouldn't be fighting. Several were saved and being discipled as a result of this mission, so it wasn't in vain.  


  1. I'm sorry things with E. didn't work out. I remember your excitement back in... January I think.

    I think you got it all when you realized you need to raise local leadership. No matter what you will be foreigners. You won't be part of their culture. You will always be outsiders. Keep on loving your people, and I hope your institute will be able to provide the leadership they need.

    1. I don't know who you are, but impressed you remembered his name even after I removed it from my archive to protect him. I clicked on your name and it appears that you have been around and in several different cultures, so I think you have a very unique perspective on things like this Thanks for the input.

    2. I got here from Genesis' blog after Jimmy gave her pumpkins. (I think pumpkins.) I've been reading for a long time, and even read back to the beginning of your blog. I'm not Christian, but I adore your work and your passion for the people you work with. I think you have really good insights on what the people you love and work with need.

      I didn't want to use his full name when I saw you purposefully didn't use it. I hope things will improve for him and for the mission. It's just so hard to not become a victim of one's own pride in situations he found himself in.

      BTW, I lived in Wichita for a short while when I was a kid, and I've been to Messiah Baptist a few times with a family friend. I don't remember their name, but I remember the pastor.

      Praying for you from Israel.

    3. I read this on my phone and then forgot to reply. That is so crazy that you have been to Messiah! Small world! Thanks for the encouraging words=)

  2. 1 Corinthians 1:10-17 sure comes to mind.

    Between people still not born-again, and immature Christians, it is SO easy for "church" to become a cult of personality. Team that up with a man who can't bear something being successful without him, and you have a recipe for disaster.

    Praying for you guys, for the people who are so deeply affected by this (including the faulty Christian witness they have seen), and for the man who has acted so badly...


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