I don't know what the weather has been like where you are, but just a few weeks ago we were hot and dry here in Kansas City. At the peak of our heat wave, Ray Gurney called me from Guatemala. As you might recall from our last update, Ray had gone down to meet the president of Guatemala and be at the mayor of Chahal's big ribbon cutting for a road and the completion of several water projects in the region that we had helped with.
"So how did it go?" I asked Ray, expecting a good story of how he met the president.
"It's gone really good!" Ray said as I could hear the rain bouncing off a tin roof in the background. "But it's been raining a lot here, and the president couldn't make it, and the whole celebration got delayed, so we left." My heart sank as Ray told me this. The whole premise for Ray going to Guatemala was to be there for this big honor, and now it sounded like it was a washout. I felt bad for Ray. But before I could verbalize an apology, he continued.
"But the pastors gathering this morning went really well," he said. "I didn't understand much, but Cesar told me that the president of the Baptist Kekchi Association was there. I'll pass Cesar the phone and let him explain it."
"Hola Esteban!" Cesar yelled trying to overcome the continued downpour in the background. "Remember the president of the Kekchi Association we met a couple of years ago at the radio station?"
"Si," I responded, remembering a visit we made to a group of Kekchi Baptists in another part of Guatemala where we had tried to talk them into partnering with us to support our Kekchi friends with their training and Kekchi materials. But nothing had come of it, and we figured they weren't interested.
A Kekchi Association is Born...
"Well, he showed up at our meeting. I didn't even know he was coming. Today, he offered to make them a part of their convention of Kekchi churches, but our pastors were leery to agree without talking with us. When I suggested that our pastors organize their group as a regional association that voluntarily works with this Kekchi convention, they opened up. I think they were worried about this guy being an outsider trying to take over their churches. Anyway, I gave them my blessing to decide as they wished. In the end, they agreed to organize an association and begin relating to this new group. I think it was a God-thing we were there. When it's not raining so hard I'll call you back to tell you more."
Since that conversation, the Kekchi Association has been formed. One of the Kekchi pastors from another region has come to be a catalytic missionary pastor of two of our churches needing leadership. In a couple of weeks Cesar will go back to the jungle to follow up on this new development.
After debriefing with Ray later, he said, "What an honor to be there at the beginning of a brand new association of churches!" When it rains, God's blessings really do pour!
A Shout-out to FBC Muldrow, Oklahoma!
Both Bill and I agree that the recent Play. Story. Eat. training camp event that we did the weekend of August 18th at First Baptist of Muldrow, Oklahoma, was our best one yet. Rick Deason, the pastor of FBC Muldrow, shared with us that as a result of the training, approximately 25 of the 75 regular attenders of the church agreed to doing a three-week Play. Story. Eat. experimental group with a friend. "I believe this stuff works for churches like ours," Rick said. "We are excited." And so are we! Thanks, Muldrow, for having us!
10:02 PRAYER (LUKE 10:2)
Pray that God would continue to send forth laborers into His harvest fields. Whether it is Chahal, Guatemala, or Muldrow, Oklahoma, we believe that at the core we are all the same, and we all need friends who love Jesus. May more of us step up to His calling of being that friend who is willing to go anywhere anytime.
Several of you have given generously since our last mention of our needs. Thanks! And keep those cards and letters coming! You are making a big difference. Each gift, no matter the amount, is like a personal word of your encouragement to me. I am grateful to you and to God. If you haven't had a chance to give, below is our easy button for investing in our mission.
In September we will be gearing up for the fall schedule of PSE training and a Guatemala trip. October 5-6 we will be in Hays, Kansas, and October 18 we will be with a group of cowboy church pastors near Waco, Texas, where Greg Moore, pastor of Top Hand Cowboy Church has invited us to come down and be with them. We will announce more specifics as we go, but the plan is for us to make several stops between Kansas and Texas during that October time frame. If we come near you, we would love for you to have us over for dinner! :-)
Talk to you soon!