The team of young adults from nine70 at Timberline Church may not have understood why they were traveling to Guatemala City for Spring Break instead of to Beach Reach on South Padre Island, but God had a beautiful plan. Not a moment was wasted as every day was filled with opportunities to build relationships and discover more about God’s heart for the people of Guatemala.
Their initial task was to paint the feeding center, but they quickly discovered equally important opportunities for conversations and building relationships. While painting the outside of the building, they were assisted by others who attended the church and the feeding center, including many with unspeakable abandonment and addiction issues. In fact, several of the local drunks met Pastor Araceli’s requirement to stay sober so they could help with the painting. Several girls on the team were able to form a relationship with a 13-year-old girl who had been victimized and was living on the streets. They began to pray for God to provide an opportunity for her to go into a shelter.
On their second day in Guatemala, the team attended Pastor Araceli’s church. All of the church’s regular attendees, individuals from the elderly home, the orphans from the children’s home, and even some new friends made while painting all came to the service. “During church, one of our team members got up and told his testimony, a story full of God’s redemption after years of turning away from Him and towards addiction. After he finished telling his story, Pastor Araceli gave the opportunity for people that wanted to give up their addictions and give their lives to Christ to come up and our team member could pray with them. At that moment (the girl we met the first day) and a man who deals with addiction, came and prayed that very prayer. It was a beautiful moment, and one that could only be written by the Author of beautiful stories like those.”
The next few days were spent painting the entire outside of the building as well as the inside of the feeding center, the church, office space, a computer room, and a bathroom area. One highlight for the team was giving a small gift to the men who had helped paint and watching the joy on their faces as they realized they could be productive and had been able to give back to the church and feeding center that helped them. God also provided opportunities for the team to serve food at the feeding center and pray over the people that had come there, including those wanting to overcome alcoholism and depression. Their prayer is that the many alcoholics they met would find hope and a better life in Jesus. The relationships built over several days will have a lasting impact.
One specific prayer was answered when the 13-year-old girl they met the first day was offered an opportunity to live at a home and then was picked up by an organization that places children into orphanages. The team’s prayer is that she will be protected and that God will continue to cultivate the seed that has been planted in her heart by putting more believers in her path to continue showing her Christ’s love.
Once the team finished their painting at the feeding center, they were free to visit the elderly home to deliver collected craft materials. They also did a skit with Taz the cat (the former mascot from Kids Church at Timberline) at both the feeding center and the children’s home.
Their final day of ministry was spent at the children’s home building a stove and playing with the children. Previously, the women who did the cooking would spend four hours a day over an open flame stove, putting them at increased risk for lung diseases. After the guys on the team finished, these women had a closed flame, chimney and a new roof that would help them for years to come. The rest of the day was filled with loving on the orphans that live there and learning more about God’s Father heart.
As the team prepared to head back to Colorado, they were thankful for the time spent with Timberline Ambassadors Hannah Mullaney and the Cherry family. After a week in Guatemala, they had discovered anew that God answers prayer. In fact, God revealed Himself to the team in many different ways, teaching them how the body of Christ works intricately together and that each individual was gifted in their own unique ways.
For those still wondering what it would have been like to serve in South Padre Island, God provided that opportunity, too. While on the underground train at Denver International Airport headed toward baggage claim, team members encountered several young women returning from a week at South Padre Island and were able to spend time talking to them.
God never wastes a moment.