Dear Family and Friends,
“But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him (Hebrews 11:6)”
Guatemala – April 21st – 28, 2012
Yes, it was all about faith, beginning with my passport arriving some 13 hours before departure and coming down with yet another sinus infection which produced a fever of 102 degrees and a recommendation from my doctor to be hospitalized a day and a half before departure. After surviving those two events, my faith in Christ was further tested when I arrived in Guatemala City. There had been some miscommunication regarding my ride to the Theological Seminary. After looking for my ride for an hour, I got into a taxi with a driver who spoke no English, and since I spoke even less Spanish, we managed to turn a 10 minute ride into a 75 minute odyssey. Welcome to your first missions trip! On our sixth stop searching for my destination which produced the same results as the first five, I prayed out loud, “Father, I know You are here with me. You said You’d never leave me nor forsake me. I need help now!” At that moment a young man came walking down the path, a Bible in hand, and in perfect English asked me id he could help. With faith like a mustard seed, I arrived at the Baptist Theological Seminary. Amen!
On Sunday, I met my interpreter Ishmael and his wife Sara. After breakfast, we headed to the church Iglesia de Bautista de La Verdad (Baptist Church of the Truth), where I was to preach in the morning service. It turned out to be one of the six places we had stopped on my taxi ride from the airport. The piano player from the worship team came off the stage and asked, “Didn’t I see you in a taxi yesterday?” But God…. A young 16-year-old boy named Jeremy received Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior and that piano player, Daniel, agreed to disciple him. Several other members of the church spoke to me about their bondage to alcohol and drugs. God was very much at work.
The rest of the week consisted of my teaching four classes about the Exchanged Life and providing materials from Grace Fellowship International, the ministry we represent, to the pastors and lay leaders to use in educating their church members. I was also able to share my testimony of the power of Jesus Christ and how my life was transformed from all about me to all about Him, as well as telling about my being set free from 40 years of bondage to alcohol and drugs and a life which was centered around self. The message of Galatians 2:20 was enthusiastically shared with those attending the four day conference. We left later in the day on Wednesday for Coban, a 2+ hour drive which took us 7 1/2 hours. The pastors of that area were blessed by the same message and were a blessing to our entire team.
– The director of the seminary asked me to come back and teach for a week at the school.
– I received numerous invitations from pastors of Guatemalan churches to teach and train their people about the Exchanged Life message.
– The president of the Baptist Society of El Salvador would like me to go to his church and train and teach as well.
– I have been invited to several churches in Georgia, Virginia, and Florida pastored by members of the ministry team to preach, teach, and share my testimony.
We thank you for your financial and prayer support for this amazing, life changing missions trip. Due to the events prior to the trip, such as the passport issue, we were not able to get the support letter out early enough and therefore received about half of what was needed. If you feel led by God to contribute, Grace Fellowship International is handling the finances and can be reached at P.O. Box 368, Pigeon Forge, TN, 37868, or call Cathy at 865-429-0450 for credit cards or electronic transfer. Please note on the check memo line E3 Volunteers – Joe Freeman . Again, thank you so much for your support and friendship.
In Christ Alone,