Guatemala: Gangsters are turning to Christ
Guatemala, a Central American country south of Mexico is not just home to 17 million people but are surrounded by volcanoes, rain forests and other ancient sites. 59,3% of the population lives below the poverty line of which 23% of the nation lives in extreme poverty.
We find ourselves in Guatemala City where 5,5 million people stay. Planting new churches and making disciples here would always be a huge undertaking due to the challenges.These challenges include: a high crime rate, gangs, drug trade, alarming poverty, natural disasters (volcanoes), orphans, poor education and malnutrition.
A typical Guatemalan Day
On a typical day in Guatemala you will see an active volcano in the background.
It is on such a day where we meet our gracious hosts and country leaders: pastors Luissi and Eleazar. They have gathered more than 40 fearless church planters. The stories that emerged from their own transformation through the Harvesters training were phenomenal!
A Guatemalan pastor’s testimony
It was the story of pastor Hugo that touched our hearts and gave hope to many struggling pastors. His story is so transformational that many shed tears as he was sharing it!
Pastor Hugo is short of stature but his heart is bigger than a lion’s. He is a structural engineer and grew up in rural Guatemala. He felt God’s calling from an early age and when he got the opportunity he started a church. His whole life he pastored a church of 15 members. They never grew and even in his own church making disciples was unheard of.
After being introduced to the Harvesters model through evangelism and discipleship everything changed!
Pastor Hugo decided to immediately practice what he was taught. He went back to his church and taught them everything he was taught in evangelism and discipleship. He packed his bags and started a journey to the rural mountains of Guatemala. With his 15 members they started to evangelise the unreached people. Within a few weeks they planted more than 10 churches in these mountains.
Pastor Hugo quickly realised that God was using him, his small church and the Harvesters model. It was time for a drastic change. He felt called by God to quit his job as an engineer and become a full time pastor. After he spoke to his wife and prayed about it, they answered to God’s call on his life.
The results were amazing! Pastor Hugo planted 26 churches in only 12 months. His little church of 15 members will never be the same again. Through evangelism and making true disciples they grew their influence from 15 church members to a network of more than 750 disciples who all know Jesus Christ.
Needless to say when we had an interview with him he had more than a sparkle in his eye. He was on fire. “Why did you come so late? We had few disciples – we had no plan – we had little hope! Now the Good News is spreading through the city like a wild fire. Gangs are listening, drug lords are losing their footing and strongholds. God has opened the heavens over Guatemala. Let those who have ears hear the voice of God – the rich and the poor.”
Guatemala is ready for a revival
Pastors in Guatemala were fired up and ready to infiltrate the devil’s stronghold in Guatemala. Everyone received their church planting structure sheets and administration tools to plan and plant new churches effectively. They went out immediately and shared the Gospel with people walking in the streets.
Television station opens up to Harvesters
Pastor Eleazar was so touched through Phase B training he couldn’t wait to show us how he was preparing pastors for ministry. So we all got in his car. He drove us through the hustle and bustle of Guatemala City to a corner street.
The building didn’t look like much, but inside was an active hidden television station!
They call themselves “Guatemala’s Media Missionaries”. They are all between the ages of 18 and 23 and they are using National Satellite television to share the Good News of Jesus all across Guatemala!
Harvesters will have the opportunity to use small segments and 1-minute discipleship slots in Spanish to share the Good News in Guatemala! We give God all the praise for people like pastor Eleazar who shared his vision and heart for the lost in Guatemala.