Guest Post: Building to Change Lives

Thanks to Emily Pilkington for the following post, which she originally contributed to Leaving a Legacy, the blog of Crossing Kids.

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Last Sunday as I pulled into the parking lot, I took notice of the construction site around the building in a new way.  This is because a large chunk of my last week was spent in a remote village in the mountains of Guatemala working with a team of people from The Crossing and Guatemala to build a new church.  When you sit down to have a conversation with their pastor, Miguel Anjel, it would be easy to focus on the ways his job is different from ours.

He works in an extremely impoverished area where the basic needs of those he pastors quite often are not met despite the grueling way the people work.  He works in an area where most of the people are Mayan and speak a dialect of Quiche, a language the Bible has yet to be translated in and a language that the people quite often only know how to speak, not read.  He lives on the side of a mountain, a mountain people quite often have to hike up an hour or more just to attend church.

 

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When I listened to Miguel talk about his church and his people, though, I was more struck by what we have in common.  When Miguel talks about what’s happening in Chuabaj, he talks about how God is changing lives.  He tells stories of people whose hearts and lives and marriages and addictions and pain are being transformed by the Gospel.  When Miguel talks about how the rough structure they currently meet in can no longer contain the flood of people who walk up and down the side of a mountain, he talks of making room for someone else the way others made room for him.  Even organizing a lesson for the children of the church reminded me of Sunday mornings at The Crossing.  Originally we were told to expect 40 children.  When we opened the doors, a stream of 88 made their way into the room!  Our culture, our language, our geography all might be drastically different, but our similarities are all the more impressive.  They too are building to change lives.  They too are making sacrifices, albeit far more drastic, so that others can hear the Gospel.
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You are likely aware that The Crossing financially supports the ministry of ASELSI in Guatemala along with supporting Ron and Sally Widbin.  The Crossing also sponsors two trips each year where The Crossing pays for the supplies the group will need to accomplish what the group will do for the week.  This year a large chunk of the $5,000 went to build a church in Chuabaj.  When Ron and Sally went to purchase the building supplies, they were met with complete disbelief.  Disbelief that a group of Americans would care about what God was doing in their village.  Disbelief that 28 gringos would carry the supplies up and down the hill alongside their Guatemalan brothers and sisters.  Disbelief for how the Lord provided for them through people they had never met.  Disbelief that what was once a lofty dream for the region is slowly becoming a reality.  They were overwhelmed by the generosity of The Crossing, the first church in Guatemala or the U.S., to partner with them in this way.  They prayed for us, they cried tears of joy and amazement, and they even killed their own chickens that they worked so hard to purchase and raise to make all 28 of us an extremely generous lunch.  They gave their very best.  The truth is, the members of this church continually give their very best.  The labor on the church is done 100% through church volunteers who give up a day’s wages to create a place for more people to worship.  Aside from The Crossing’s donation, those same cinder blocks are purchased as people who have very little give what they do have.
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Whether you realize it or not, God is using you to grow His kingdom, not just in Mid-Missouri but all over the world.  He is using you, your talents, your finances to change lives both in Columbia and in places like this remote mountain village in Guatemala.  Over and over again the people told us to share their thanks with those who sent us.  Thank you.

 

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