This summer one of our high school students, Kate Robinson, had the amazing opportunity to partner with a church in Guatemala. Read below about some of her reflections from this time and the ways God has challenged her that she can share with our church.
A Community Challenge
Dear Church Family,
To meet with all of you every Sunday is one of the greatest blessings of my life. To hear our voices gathered in praise, to see our heads bow in prayer: I praise God for the gift of fellowship rooted in Him. We are a family. But how does our family interact every other day of the week? Do we live in community, graciously bearing the burdens of others and faithfully pursuing Christ together?
Experiencing Deep Community Love and Kindness
This summer, I was blessed with an opportunity to serve in Santa Gertrudis, Guatemala, a small village about two hours south of Guatemala City, with Praying Pelican Missions. Alongside eight of my friends from school, we worked with the local church to run a soccer tournament, distribute food, run a VBS for the kids and repair and paint the church. Every night of the week, we had church and then we played soccer. A lot of soccer.
Over the course of the week, I made friends with two girls named Crystal and Deysi, about 5 and 7 years old. Every night after church we would dance down the aisle together as the worship band warmed up. I got to know their Mom and their grandmother, getting to pray with them both.
Two other friends, siblings Marilen and Barfi, about 9 and 10 years old, joined us every day for the VBS and for the last day, they found us at the church early in the morning as we set out to distribute food. They simply showed up and picked up the bags of food and walked with us across town all morning as we met families, prayed with them and gave them food.
Two brothers who were our age, Jordi and Edison, helped integrate all our musicians into the church worship band, as well as helped lead the many soccer games we played. Two people with the greatest joy, but also gentle kindness that radiated through everything they did.
These people were only a fraction of the church, and I could go on and on telling you all about each and everyone at the church. I wish I had more time to meet and get to know everyone there. It was the church that was at the center of the lives of all the friends I named. They met every day and twice on Sundays. They gave up a day of work to help us paint the church, pave the pastor’s driveway and distribute food. They showed up for us and for one another. The church courtyard was a place where all the children fathered, their parents entirely confident that someone would be there to take care of them. Worship each night was joyous and lively, filled with clapping and jumping. Everyone knew everyone and not only in a polite manner, but in genuine, loving friendship. I watched as a woman from the church came with us during the food distribution and embraced every person that we went to, knowing them all by name, knowing their stories, praying for them without hesitation.
The Joy of Christ in our Church Community
In all things, Christ satisfied them. And in all things, they were seeking to pour out the abundant mercy and love that had been given to them by God. They all had a fire for God and unlike anything I’ve ever seen before. On the flight black, I found myself thinking about my own church community and if it looked like the church community in Santa Gertrudis, if I was intentional about creating this community.
We are beyond blessed to have the church as a place to gather and worship together. But when we refer to ourselves as a church family, let us consider what that really looks like. Next time the church service is over and we want to rush home to get things done, let us say hi to someone we don’t know or offer to help with a project going on. These are small things, but I believe it is the small things that make up the backbone of family life.
God has created us for community with our brothers and sisters in Christ! I have never seen this more than in the people I met in Guatemala. I will finish with a verse from one of my favorite books of the Bible, 1 John 1:7. “But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.”
Let us walk in His Light and walk in fellowship with one another.