“Now that’s what being the church is all about” said my friend Kathy to me on one of our regular skype meetings. I had just finished telling her about the amazing way our church came around and supported one of the families from our congregation when they lost almost everything in a house fire.
The family was not at home one Tuesday afternoon when an electrical fire started in their house. For any of you who have ever been to Guatemala and seen some of the ways that the electrical wiring is done this is probably not a surprise to you. This fire happened a few days before the fire at our house and it was devastating for the family and for those of us who love them.
However, it was SUCH a blessing to see how our church came together IMMEDIATELY to help them. Within minutes of a message going out about the fire more than 15 people showed up at the house to help in whatever way they could. Once the firemen put out the fire people from church stayed with the family for hours sorting through things to see what was salvageable, helping clean up and dispose of the burned items, and helping move the family to the church where they would be staying until they got back on their feet.
The next day when we went to visit the family we were surprised to see how much had been donated to them. Before the end of the day on the day of the fire they received beds, clothing, things to shower with, and food. Also, by the next day their family from Nebaj had made the 8 hour trip to come be with them during this difficult time.
As a church we were all able to come together to raise money to take them to get clothing, shoes, school supplies, food, and household items to cook, eat and clean with. I had the privilege of taking the family to buy these things and to see how surprised and blessed they were by how much they were able to get from what was donated filled my heart.
On top of all of this the leaders of the church started talking and decided that they would get together on Sunday and instead of having a church service we would meet early in the morning for fasting and prayer and then spend the rest of the time building a new house for the family. The reason we chose to do it on a Sunday is because most people work Monday – Saturday and Sundays are the only day we were able to do it. Materials were donated by a group that was here working with the church at the time and for the next 2 Sundays we got out of our seats and went and put our faith into action. It was AWESOME!!! As our home church in the states says often “one of the best ways to grow together is to serve together’ and it truly was a time of growth and bonding for our congregation. It didn’t matter what your age or skill level was there was something for everyone to do. The house is now complete and the family is just waiting for the electric to be hooked up and doors to be put on so that they can move in to it. Here are some pictures of the congregation working together to build the house:
The most amazing thing in all of this is how God used this situation to draw the family back to Him. The dad is very devoted to the Lord and wants to be a pastor one day but has often struggled with thoughts of “how can I ever be a pastor when my own family isn’t close with the Lord.” His wife and children had grown distant in their relationship with the Lord and hardly ever came to church. However, the day after the fire the son came to his dad and asked him if they could pray together because he knew he had grown distant in his relationship with the Lord and he wanted to rededicate his life to Jesus. Also, the mom and daughters have started coming to church again and the mom has shared with us that she has been so blessed by how she has seen God care for them in all of this.
We are so thankful that God gave us the opportunity to be a part of His care for this family and watch all of the unique ways that He touched people’s hearts to join together in serving. We also thank all of you who are partnering with us in what God has called us to here in Guatemala because YOU also have been a part of God’s care for this family.
14 What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? 15 Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. 16 If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? 17 In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.
James 2:14 – 17