Another incident happened in the city. Some friends there minister to a group of people, sharing the love of Jesus with them on a regular basis. They get to know these people and develop relationships with them. For most, my friends are the only light that Jesus is able to shine into their deception. Earlier this week. One of the women that they have been ministering to for many years was murdered.
Finally, I went out to pick up supper last Friday night to a little restaurant down the street. I ordered and waited at the pick up window for my food. The guy that walked in behind me had a gun and robbed the place. (Not me. I am completely fine). He had 2 accomplices that stayed outside, one was a lookout and the other was a the getaway rider. Right across the street is a crowded park where there was a basketball game going on with probably 50 people watching. All three left on a 125cc motorcycle. After they left, I spent the next several minutes reassuring the women that was the only other customer in there. She was shaken and was sure that she was going to die.
As I walked home, I pondered all that had just happened. I was not nervous of fearful or even angry. I did take some time to pray though and God spoke something right to me. The world needs the light. The darkest places need it the most. Where there is violence, crime, prostitution, murder, those are the place that the Church needs to be running to not fleeing from. We cannot have the luxury of looking for the safe places to go minister. The safe places already have hundreds of sources of light but in the darkness, there is very little. If we do not go to those places, all of the people there will be lost for eternity and we will have to answer for why we did not step in.
Guatemala is a country steeped in religion. There are 13 million people. Many would claim to be Christian but they have held on to Mayan beliefs blended with Catholicism. They do not understand that the Gospel is about transformation. Their understanding is that if they are good enough and perform the right rituals at the right time, they will probably be okay. We need to show the light and the love of Jesus to them. There are many local Churches that are working on that but the job is big. We need to be the encourager that come alongside and support them. It is not our job to take over the evangelism efforts but support our brothers and sisters that are already doing the work of the Gospel where they are. My role is to be here in active support. Yours may be that or something different but the world needs us to find and fulfill our roles.
Out of my incident came a great story. The Church that I attend here had a planned evangelism day set for the next day. After people going door to door for several hours, there was an outreach event in that same park where the guys had been playing basketball the night before. There was worship, a powerful skit portraying the freedom and life that comes only from relationship to Jesus and a short Gospel message. The woman that was in the restaurant with me came. She talked for several minutes with one of the Church woman and then again at the end of the presentation they were talking. She was sharing the story of the previous night as I left to go home. I pray that events of Friday helped draw her to new life in Jesus Saturday.
I have read a quote that says "The true meaning of life is to plant trees, under whose shade you do not expect to sit." It is by Nelson Henderson. When we leave our comfort zone to share the Gospel we are bringing light to darkness but we are also doing something bigger. While we are changing the world, we are planting trees for future generations to rest under. We are leaving an inheritance of a better world for the next generation. If people understand that the true nature of the Gospel is lives transformed by love, the world will become a much friendlier place. Everybody wants to be loved but few have experienced it in the depths God meant for it to be experienced. When we tell somebody, they may not hear us but when we go out of our way to demonstrate the love of Jesus, it will make a lasting impact.
Are you changing your world? Have you thought about running into dark places? Are you ready to see how much of a difference you can make? Now is the day. Take a risk. Grab your sword and run at the devil. Jesus has won the victory so we cannot loose.