Hi everyone! We wanted to send this out to ask for you all to join us in prayer about something that has been transpiring over the last 2 weeks. We have recently heard that one of the families we serve is possibly involved with gang members. Our group of 5 missionaries who are currently here in Linda Vista serving together met with them last week to discuss this and to ask them if what we are hearing from neighbors is true and if it is true we wanted to know if they are willingly involved or are being forced into cooperating with the gang members.
They told us that they are not involved with any gang members and that they do not know why people are saying this. We explained to them the importance of them being honest with us about this because this does not just effect them but it effects their whole family, the community, all of us who are serving with the Serving At Risk Families Ministry, and the ministry as a whole. They told us again that they have not had any involvement with gang members. We also explained to them that the landlord of their home had called us and was wondering what was going on because she had heard the same thing we heard and if it was true she wants them to move out.
After leaving we discussed this a little further and many of us commented how we didn’t have a peaceful feeling about this and we felt that the family is probably lying to us. One of our coworkers, Jon, called the landlord and explained the situation to her. She said she still does not feel comfortable and would like them to move out. Jon asked her to give us a week or 2 to get things in order for this family. In the mean time Dylan called the pastor of the local church we serve with, and the church that this family attends occasionally, to ask him how he might be able to help us with this. He went down immediately and talked to some of the neighbors to ask them to contact him if they see any known gang members around the house of this family.
Last night we received a call from the pastor telling us that one of the neighbors had called him because they saw a gang member entering the house. He went down to this family’s house using the excuse of getting back something they had borrowed from him. They did not invite him in which is considered extremely rude in this culture and which has never happened before. He asked for permission to come in and they wouldn’t let him enter. He explained to us that they acted very nervous the whole time and it was a very suspicious experience. The pastor also had gotten a call yesterday from one of the teachers of one of the children in the family who said she thinks that the child is being abused because he often has marks on him that the mother says are from his little sisters but are much too large to be caused by little girls.
So as a team we are praying about what our next steps should be with this situation. It is a very delicate situation because we need to be thinking of the safety of the children. We also need to be thinking of what is the correct way to handle this so that the family does not get upset or hurt by us and seek gang help in retaliation. I ask that you would please pray for the Lord to touch the hearts of the family and the gang members so that their hearts will be changed, they would know Jesus personally, and leave this life behind. We need prayer for wisdom, guidance, and what the Lord’s will is in this situation. We also need prayers for safety for all 5 of us who are involved intimately with this family. We have been in and out of their home many times so it is a very real possibility that the gang members could already be watching us. Please pray for protection from us becoming targets of any gang violence, threats to our lives, or extortion demands. We also ask for prayers for the ministry as a whole because if something bad would happen it could impact the future of the ministry here in Guatemala.
We realize that this may be very hard to read but we are trying to be extremely honest and transparent so that you can be praying for the specific challenges and dangers we are all currently facing.
Thank you all for your continued prayers for us, for the team that we serve with here, for the families we all serve, and for this ministry!