I had promised to write a follow-up report about the trip to Guatemala, so here’s another brief word about the experience. One of the things I was very encouraged about this time, beyond the 7 new churches that were represented, was the fact that several of the pastors and leaders had obviously been working on some of the things that Jim Hill and I shared with them at our initial meeting back in January. Jim has a great deal of expertise in leading people through strategic planning and had shared some steps with the pastors to help them do that with their congregations. One younger pastor came up to me and shared with me a printout of a 5 or 6 page document that he had been working on to apply the insights he had gained from Jim’s conference in January. Others also made comments that reflected they had been working through the concepts of what we shared last time. That kind of response really encourages me to know that the pastors and leaders are seeking to implement the teachings we’re sharing with them.
Another thing that strongly impresses me after 4 trips to Guatemala in the last 2 years is the gracious nature of Guatemalan Christians. I haven’t had extensive contact with the general population as such, so I’d be a bit premature to comment on whether that is also true of the people as a whole, but the believers with whom I’ve associated during these trips have all be extremely caring and loving people. I guess that shouldn’t surprise me as it has also been my experience in Argentina, Mexico, and other places where I’ve either lived for an extended period or been privileged to serve and minister. The Guatemalan Baptists in particular are doing some great things as a convention and have a real passion for living and sharing the gospel. If you’re looking for a place to become involved in some international missions work that isn’t half a world away, Guatemala is a great choice.