Greetings from the Land of Eternal Spring!
A few weeks ago, we had the blessing of having four special visitors in Guatemala. They were David Malley, Jared Kyle, Jordan Wise, and Anthony Johnson, current students at Bear Valley Bible Institute of Denver (BVBID). They were in Guatemala from Saturday, March 12 until Monday, the 21st.
It is common for BVBID students to travel twice a year to different places on campaigns. This group of students accepted the challenge of coming to Guatemala for their campaign week. We are glad they did because it was a blessing to have them, and we believe that it was a very good experience for them, as well.
These brothers arrived on a Saturday afternoon. Hi was out of town at the time, so Byron and Darvin Alvarez, the minister in Coban, picked them up at the airport. Together, they were to go to Coban to work for a few days with the church there. After a quick stop to see the facility for ITL’s Saturday program, they stopped briefly at the full-time campus to pick up some items. Shortly there after, they were on their way to Coban.
The drive to Coban was pleasant. Byron found it interesting to see Guatemala from a first time visitor’s perspective. The visitor usually notices something that we take for granted after living here a while. Thankfully they arrived to Coban safely.
On Sunday, they assembled with the church in Coban. David Malley delivered the sermon and Byron taught the Bible class. From Monday through Thursday, the four students went door knocking and visiting during the day in the neighborhood with Darvin and Byron. They divided into two teams. One team had David as their translator and the other had Byron. Darvin accompanied us each day as we went from house to house. Several good contacts were made. It was interesting to hear from Jared that there were more positive responses and opportunities to speak with people about Christ in one day than there usually is in one week of campaigning in New Zealand (Jared is from that country). Overall, people in Coban are very friendly and willing to listen to you.
On Monday night through Wednesday night, the students continued the topic that was started on Sunday, the “Armor of God” from Ephesians 6. Each of them spoke on a different aspect of God’s armor. They did a fine job! There were several visitors each night. Byron noticed on Tuesday night that of all the visitors and members present, without counting Darvin, Byron and the BV students, there was only one other male Christian. The rest of the Christians and all the visitors were women. Praise God for women of faith! Thank you ladies for your example!
Probably the most productive visits were with those that Darvin knew. For example, we stopped in a small diner to visit a woman and her daughter, Martha and Betty. They treated us very kindly giving us something cool to drink and crackers with jelly. We had a pleasant conversation with them and saw them at the study that night. Another good visit occurred when we stopped by the store near Darvin’s son’s school. The lady, Minta de Villalobos, lost her son about a year ago and was very appreciative of our visit and prayers for her. While we walked up the hill to pick up Daniel, Darvin’s son, from his school, the BV students talked to a women, Enma Chiquin, and her daughter who were waiting for the woman’s younger daughter to get out of school. After a few minutes of talking and sharing the gospel with her, she asked if we were the group that did not use the instrument in our worship. We said yes, then, a smile came upon her face and she informed us that she was a member of the church of Christ, too. She had been in Coban about four years and had been baptized in the capital city. When she moved to Coban she was unable to find the church, so she had not been able to assemble. She was so happy to meet us. She and her daughters were at the study that night, and she responded to the invitation, asked to be restored and placed her membership with the church in Coban. It was great to see God’s providence work in this situation!
Thursday was a day of recreation for the students. Darvin took them to Semuc Champey, which means “sacred water” in the Mayan Kekchi language. It is a scenic place with natural freshwater pools. Byron did not go with the group so he could catch up on some work. The BV students enjoyed their visit to this beautiful place in Guatemala, one of many in this country. Because Byron did not go, we do not have pictures from our own camera, but we hope that the ones we found online will help you appreciate what the students saw. One funny thing that occurred while they were out and about with Darvin is that they had to get out to push the van out of a ditch. When Darvin found himself unable to move forward in a narrow road because of another vehicle, he tried to back down the hill, but did not notice there was a ditch. He apparently swerved too far to the right. The van got stuck. It took quite a bit of muscle and work to get the van out.
On Friday, Byron and the students returned to the capital city. The students got checked in to the hotel that evening. The next day, Hi took the students to do some shopping at the central market in the capital city, then to visit the city of Antigua. That evening, Byron met them in San Lucas, where they all enjoyed a great dinner in a “hole in the wall” type restaurant that we sometimes visit when we have guests. They serve great “flautas” and “longanizas.”
On Sunday, the students were with the Linda Vista family. They enjoyed their visit with the brethren. That morning, Jordan preached the sermon. Jared taught the teens and Tony taught the adult Bible class. That night, David preached the sermon. All the students did a great job.
We were so glad to have these students for the time that they were here. They worked very hard, were easy-going, maintained a good attitude about being in a foreign country, and were ready to serve at any moment. We pray that God will use these brothers greatly as they prepare themselves for the ministry, and especially once they enter it.
Thank you, brothers, for coming to Guatemala to bless our lives and the lives of those in Coban and Linda Vista. Our hope is that this will only be the first of many such campaigns that Bear Valley students will have in Guatemala.
For the Master,
Byron E. Benitez
Hawatthia “Hi” Jones