Greetings from the Land of Eternal Spring!
We hope and pray that this message finds you enjoying good health.
Paul often referred to those with whom he shared the gospel as his sons in the faith (1 Timothy 1:18; 1 Peter 5:13). There is special joy that one has when he sees those with whom he has shared the gospel prospering in their faith. This is exactly what took place a few days ago when Josh Allen from Pikeville, Kentucky, had the opportunity to visit with Darvin Alvarez here in Guatemala.
Some of you might remember the story of Darvin. While illegally in the U.S., Darvin accepted an invitation from Jim Dempster to attend Bible class at the church of Christ in Morristown, Tennessee. Jim is an elder at that congregation. Once he visited, Darvin was offered the opportunity to study English and to study God’s word with Josh. At that time Josh served as the minister with the Lord’s church in Morristown (he currently serves the church in Pikeville, Kentucky). After some studies, Darvin realized his condition before God Almighty. He made the decision to have his sins washed away by being immersed into Christ there in Morristown. After making this decision, Darvin also realized that as a Christian he could not live day to day disobeying the laws of the land. With the help of the brethren Darvin returned to Guatemala.
Thankfully, Darvin returned a changed man with a mission; there were two things he wanted to do. Darvin made his marital relationship with Lili a correct one in the sight of the Lord. He also began to share his new found faith with her. Since there was not a congregation in Coban, they and their children drove 4 hours to the capital city every weekend to worship God and to study his precious word with the church at Linda Vista. Linda Vista adopted this family helping them with their fuel expenses each week. As a result of their studies, Lili became a Christian.
When looking for a contact for Darvin, Josh and the brethren at Morristown had heard about our work. What a blessing we received when they chose to send Darvin our way. He and his family became faithful members a Linda Vista. Then Darvin decided that it would be good to have the church located in Coban. And as things were getting into motion to plant a congregation there, he decided to really complicate things; he wanted to preach. :-) Seriously, we were amazed at the rapid growth that we were seeing in this brother and his family. But, at the time, we did not have ITL (our local preaching school). So, Darvin and his family decided to go to a school in Panama to receive his studies. Thankfully, the Morristown congregation became his supporters so that he could study God’s word.
To make a long story short, here is the Darvin life story in a nutshell. Darvin was converted after studying with Josh Allen. He made his spiritual situation, his legal situation and his marital situation right with God. Before leaving for preaching school, Darvin gave the keys to his house in Coban to the congregation in Linda Vista to use to plant the church there; today there is a thriving work in Coban. After preaching school Darvin returned to serve as a full-time instructor at ITL. Now, not only does he serve as an instructor with ITL, he also serves as the full-time minister with the work in Coban. Now you can imagine how Josh felt coming to see “his son” and the work that he is doing.
It was our privilege to have Josh Allen, one of his elders, Thaniel Thacker, and Jeff Holbrook, a brother from the congregation, here with us. During their short visit, they were able to preach and teach at Linda Vista. In addition, we traveled to Coban where they were able to see the work that God is blessing under Darvin’s leadership. We also took advantage of the time and went to see San Cristobal, a city about 30 minutes south of Coban where the ITL graduates will be starting a new church. And, we even found a few minutes for them to see a little of Guatemala City.
It is our prayer that these brothers, along with others from Pikeville, will be able to return to Guatemala and share in the work once again with us. We believe that they left with a sense of pride after seeing first hand how Darvin is holding faithful to that which he has been taught from God’s word. We also look forward to the day when the brothers from the church at Morristown can visit us as these brothers did.
We will close for now. We just wanted to share this story with you. Please keep Darvin and his family in your prayers as they continue to be God’s servants with ITL and in the city of Coban.
Sharing the Good News,