Ends of the Earth
Dayton United Methodist Church aligns its mission work to Acts 1:8.
In Acts 1:8, Jesus says to His disciples: "But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
In seeking to fulfill our Vision to KNOW CHRIST, GROW FAITH & GO WITNESS, we make Jesus known in Jerusalem (where we live), Judea (further away), Samaria (nearby, but cross cultural) and to the ends of the earth (international missions).
A team of us from Dayton UMC returned a week ago from a 10-day mission trip to Impact Ministries in Guatemala. We saw God actively moving through Impact Ministries to feed, educate, evangelize and disciple people in and around Tactic, Guatemala.
We assisted in running Vacation Bible School for a group of students at Impact's Vida elementary school in Tactic. We led crafts, helping the children create the armor of God. We led games, teaching the children to play hand soccer with beach balls, dodge ball with beach balls and squishy balls, and the over-under game with balloons. The children caught on quickly and enjoyed themselves greatly.
We attended worship and a cell group at one of three congregations launched by Impact Ministries in and around Tactic. Guatemalan worship is passionate and prayerful, and we sensed the moving of the Holy Spirit in the worship at church and at the devotional time before school at both Vida Elementary and Vida Secondary schools.
We worked hands-on to move concrete blocks that will be used in building a prayer room at the worship space where the three campuses of the church Impact Ministries has planted around Tactic worship together every six weeks.
We painted 2/3 of a house used for staff and guests who visit the Impact Ministries compound. (We would have finished the painting, but we ran out of paint! Buying more paint would have involved a five-hour drive to Guatemala City, instead of a 15 minute trip into town to a nearby store here in the US.)
We also used picks and shovels and wheel barrows to remove dirt from an area that will be the foundation for a new classroom at Vida de Agua elementary school, Impact Ministries newest school location. Leveling a building site is done by hand in Guatemala, rather than bringing in an earth mover or front end loader.
Guatemala is a beautiful country in Central America. It is mountainous (like the Smokey Mountains here in the US). The people are warm and friendly. The culture is still greatly affected by the beliefs of the Mayan people who are the ancestors of Guatemalans. People pay witch doctors to do rituals and sacrifices in high places and low places. People worship the corn god and many other idols. There is great poverty and the kind of government corruption that marks far too many third-world countries.
And there is hope. Impact Ministries is shining the light of Jesus Christ into the darkness. Children are being educated and discipled, which has the potential to change Guatemala by changing the next generation of leaders. A solid church is planted and thriving. Fifteen hundred children a day are being fed at the Impact Ministries schools.
Our newest Ends-of-the-Earth partner is doing ministry we can be proud of, and partner with joyfully. The Guatemalan staff of Impact Ministries, to a person, we found to be deeply committed to Christ and beautifully servant-hearted. It is my hope that dozens more people from Dayton UMC will visit Guatemala in the next couple of years to roll up our sleeves and partner in the work of Impact Ministries in Guatemala!
And even if we never visit Guatemala, we can participate by praying for and by giving to the work! To God be the glory!