How many times have we said this in our lives? “I need a break from work even if it’s just for one day.” “I have to see so and so even if it’s just for one minute.” Or, “I have to sit down and rest even if it’s just for one second.” I know I’ve personally used these or similar expressions many times. This also has become a favorite expression of mine concerning the work God has given me to do here in Guatemala. I’ve said many times that it’s worth all the struggles, all the heartache of leaving family, friends, and familiar lives, and it’s worth all the sacrifices of moving to Guatemala even if it’s just for one person to know Jesus and have a better relationship with Him.
I had to remind myself of that repeatedly 2 weeks ago when the struggles got REALLY tough. I had received news early Monday morning of some tough times back home and I was hurting for the people I love and struggling with not being able to be there with them. It was a rough week. Then Friday came and it was time for Celebrate Recovery (CR). I was so excited for this lesson because it was the lesson called TURN and the theme was the freedom and power we can have by turning our lives and wills over to the care and control of Jesus. I couldn’t wait to share this lesson and I prayed so much for Jesus to bring in whoever needed to hear the lesson. Whoever needed to know Him and have a closer relationship with Him. Well there must not have been anyone who needed to hear the lesson that day because no one showed up!! Ok, that’s not true one woman showed up an hour and a half late. She works until that time and was just stopping in to see how the meeting was going. I almost started crying for my 3rd time that morning as I told her it wasn’t going because no one came. Myself and one of the girls who assists me with CR had a nice time of conversation with this woman and we all decided that the reason no one came is probably because the kids just started school and all the mothers were now busy in the morning getting their families ready for work and school. So we decided to switch to Saturdays.
That brought us to this past Saturday. I was determined NOT to cry again if no one showed up and kept reminding myself even if it’s just for one it’s worth being here!! There were a few women in the church waiting when I stepped outside for a minute to pray and that’s when I saw her walking down the street. It was Gladys, the woman who we had been visiting and praying with repeatedly and trying to get to come to CR. I only know bits and pieces of her story but it’s a tough one and I could see how much she needed hope every time we visited her and now here she was! She’d finally come!! After the rest of the women came and were settled I gave the lesson and led the women through a prayer of turning their lives over to Jesus at the end of the lesson. Later during our small group share time, Gladys shared that she had rededicated her life to Jesus that afternoon. She shared with us more of her story and some of her reasons for turning away from her faith in Jesus but she also shared how thankful she was for this group and for the opportunity to return her life to Jesus again.
Gladys came to church and worshiped with us this Sunday and I had some more time to talk with her after the service. I’d like to ask you all to continue to pray for her and her family as she is currently out of work, her husband is out of work and has traveled hours away to look for work to provide for his family. They were unable to register their children for school this year because there is no money, and they are 2 months behind on their rent and her landlord told her she will give her another 15 days but after that she needs to leave the house. It breaks my heart to think of this sweet sister and her 3 beautiful little girls, ages 1-8, with no place to live because of not being able to pay Q870 in rent which amounts to about $112. But I know Jesus cares for them even more than I do and He will provide in some way.
When I think back to 2 weeks ago and how discouraged I was when no one showed up for CR I’m so thankful I didn’t hold onto the thoughts that were going through my head. Thoughts like “why am I doing this, no one cares or wants to come to this group” and “why am I here trying to do a ministry that no one comes to God? Shouldn’t I be back in the states with the people I love who are struggling right now?” Thankfully, Jesus reminded me He called me here for a reason and that reason is to share Him with others and that is valuable and important…even if it’s just for one.
I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent. Luke 15:7