Talking Trash in Guatemala Opens Doors to Share the Gospel

It has been a few weeks since Ray Gurney, Mark Welch, Tim Tucker, and I got back from a Guatemala trip. We went down to scout out the possibilities of using trash as a way to share the gospel. And along the way, we encouraged various Play.Story.Eat. groups.  

The Problem

Guatemala, like virtually every country in Latin America, has trash haphazardly tossed and dumped in many places.    

 In most smaller villages in Guatemala, there is no garbage dump or designated place to throw trash. This has polluted many of their streams, rivers, and water-ways.  

In most smaller villages in Guatemala, there is no garbage dump or designated place to throw trash. This has polluted many of their streams, rivers, and water-ways.  

Through the years we have worked with mayors and public health officials on various projects. In February of this year, Ray Gurney brought up the idea of having friends from the U.S. come help do something about this growing problem.

 Ray Gurney talks about his trash idea while walking through a beach community in Las Lisas, Guatemala. 

Ray Gurney talks about his trash idea while walking through a beach community in Las Lisas, Guatemala. 

"Your country is such a beautiful country," Ray said. "It is a shame that trash is spoiling its natural beauty."

"You are right!" Manuel, a rancher and community leader from a village near San Pedro Alvarado, agreed. "We must do something about it before it gets worse. Can you help us?"

"Obviously, we can't do it all for you," Cesar Gonzalez, our ministry leader in Guatemala, chimed in. "But we could help you develop a trash plan and work with you on it."

 Cesar (seated in the hammock) speaks with Manuel on a boat trip to explore a protected river canal that is being negatively affected by trash.  

Cesar (seated in the hammock) speaks with Manuel on a boat trip to explore a protected river canal that is being negatively affected by trash.  

"I would be glad to help raise awareness for this and do what I can." Ray offered.  

"To be clear," Cesar added, "if we get involved, we would use the opportunity to talk about God." 

"Of course!" Manuel answered, smiling. "We know you! You always bring messages to us of how we need God. And that is what motivates us to do more to love our neighbor."

From that conversation in February, Cesar met several times with Manuel and multiple other leaders, mayors, and public health officials. Those talks prepared the way for our scout team to see what might happen if we brought a team down to work on this kind of a project and share the gospel at the same time. 

 In a village near San Pedro Alvarado, Guatemala, Manuel and a group of community leaders gather a group to talk about their trash problem. Before setting up for this meeting, a new Christian Rancher group was established that will make this project their way to demonstrate their love and concern for the people of their community. 

In a village near San Pedro Alvarado, Guatemala, Manuel and a group of community leaders gather a group to talk about their trash problem. Before setting up for this meeting, a new Christian Rancher group was established that will make this project their way to demonstrate their love and concern for the people of their community. 

During this trip, each team member shared stories of faith using trash as the main topic. For example, Ray shared how God made us stewards of this earth. Tim talked about the benefits of living in a clean community. And Mark talked about how his father taught him how to handle trash on his farm west of Fort Worth, Texas. 

 Tim Tucker, music and youth director for First Baptist of Benbrook, Texas, waits while I translate his words to the group. 

Tim Tucker, music and youth director for First Baptist of Benbrook, Texas, waits while I translate his words to the group. 

 Mark Welch speaks to the group about his Dad's simple methodology in handling trash on his farm back in Texas.  

Mark Welch speaks to the group about his Dad's simple methodology in handling trash on his farm back in Texas.  

One added twist came almost every time that people heard about Mark's windmill assembly business back in Texas. In a future update we hope to share more of the interest many Guatemalan ranchers have in seeing Mark bring a working windmill to Guatemala to pump water for their cows! Stay tuned!   

 The new Christian Rancher group met for the first time. Seated to the left of Cesar are Ray Gurney, Tim Tucker, and Mark Welch. This group committed to meeting every other week and will work to tackle the trash issue as a team.  

The new Christian Rancher group met for the first time. Seated to the left of Cesar are Ray Gurney, Tim Tucker, and Mark Welch. This group committed to meeting every other week and will work to tackle the trash issue as a team.  

What Needs in Your Community Could You Address?

When we think of all the projects we do in our ministry, we want to be clear about where these projects come from. We don't necessarily walk around looking for service projects we think would be good. We wait for a new group to decide what needs they would like to address, and then we seek to help them be the heroes in their community.

While we don't claim to have expertise in most of the projects we tackle, they always come from our desire to love people in whatever community a group is getting established. Through the years, that has led us to do water projects, medical clinics, veterinary talks, and now trash.

But what about you? What might God be prompting you and your group to do where you live?

    10:02 PRAYER (LUKE 10:2)

    Pray for the new group that got started in Guatemala from our trash project. Pray for wisdom for their leaders working in the new Christian Rancher groups that are working on this project. Pray that people will come to know Christ and follow Him in bold acts of obedience.   

    INVEST

    As we head into the summer months, your giving means more than ever. Thanks for your partnership in helping us respond to the increasing opportunities to share His message both at home and in Central America. Muchas gracias! 

    THE EASY BUTTON FOR INVESTING IN PSE

    ENGAGE

    By the way, I have another batch of fresh coffee from our coffee grower friends in Guatemala! All the bags are $15 a bag and are whole bean. Just send me a note and I'll get it to you!  Make checks payable to Restoration Coffee.  

     Our friend Dario roasts another batch of coffee for us. Let us know you would like some, and we'll send it to you! 

    Our friend Dario roasts another batch of coffee for us. Let us know you would like some, and we'll send it to you! 

    Talk to you soon! 

    Love y'all.   

    Steve

    PS...HERE IS OUR ITINERARY 

    • June 7-17...Reed Family in Banff, Canada
    • July 7-14...Burrows Family in Vancouver, Canada