We had a busy day again yesterday, concluding with an emotion-packed "despedida" or farewell send-off by the FBC where we´ve been working since Sunday morning. The day started at another school--this time a good distance up on a mountainside on the outskirts of San Marcos. Once again, we divided up into four teams to share in the classrooms according to grades. The pre-schoolers and kindergartners were down the road a bit in another building and Jacque Flint went there with a translator and a couple of church members from the FBC here. The rest of us split up and each spoke in 3 or 4 different classrooms--about 400 kids in all I think.
While we were sharing in the classrooms, the pastor struck up a conversation with the principal or director of the school. Before they had finished talking, the pastor had led him to faith in Christ. He also visited with Susan Escher and I in the last class of 5th graders where we were sharing and set up a Bible study in the teacher´s home.
From the school, we drove a bit further out of town on a narrow, winding road (which pretty much describes any road you travel here) and then walked up a fairly steep dusty path to a home where the church had visited last week. The dust on the path was like nothing I´ve ever seen. It had the consistency of a fine powder and was a couple of inches deep. With each step, it was like setting off a mini-explosion of dust. The home where we visited had lost a young daughter (who also had a young child) to AIDS just last week. The pastor had gone with another young man who has been helping us this week named Bernabe (Barnabas) and had shared with the family and had prayer for the girl. She passed away the next day. We took food to her family and to one of her neighbors. The abject poverty in which they live was striking. The church had also supplied in their visit last week a simple water filter system as the family had been getting their drinking water out of an open barrel sitting in the patio area where the animals walk by constantly.
After lunch at the church which the pastor´s wife prepared each day for the team, we made some more home visits to deliver food in some cases and in others just to share the gospel. I accompanied the pastor with one of the church leaders with the purpose of visiting a couple of ladies who weren´t Christians. On the way, the pastor first saw a lady working in a little convenience-type store in her garage--a very common sight here. He struck up a conversation with her and she invited us into her house for a visit. She formerly attended but hasn´t done so since the death of her husband last year. We had a wonderful visit with her, sharing encouragement and Scriptures and through tears she said she needed to rededicate her life to the Lord.
The next stop was at the house of a young man who just happened to be standing in his door as we passed by. Once again, a similar scenario to the previous one, we were invited in and also met Carlos´ wife, Sarita, who has been having some serious health problems and is heading today to Guatemala City for tests on her thyroid. They too had once attended but had ceased to come. We shared encouragement from the Scriptures with them as well and had prayer for them. They showed up last night for the final evening service and Allen´s workshop.
Finally, we also saw an older gentleman, 67, who has a carpentry shop down the hill from the church. We visited with him for awhile as well and I was able to share the gospel with him and he prayed to receive Christ. From there we moved on to the houses of the ladies whom we were supposed to visit, but neither was home. It seems that the Lord had other plans for our afternoon with the three previous divine encounters along the way.
VBS went very well again yesterday afternoon at the church and then we dashed back to the hotel for a quick dinner before the wrap-up service and Allen´s workshop. At the conclusion of the time, the church recognized our team and gave us some of the woven book bags that everyone carries here. Their kind words of appreciation and love brought tears to everyone´s eyes I think. All in all, it was a wonderful time together.
This morning we´re off to Tejutla again (where we shared in a service on Sunday afternoon). It´s about an hour away through the mountains and we´ll have VBS at the school this morning followed by delivering food again to needy families there and then sharing in a school this afternoon. I´m off to breakfast now but I´ll try to provide another update tonight or in the morning.