Climbing to the roof of an ancient monastery presents a marvelous birds eye view of Ichmul in the province of Yucatán, Mexico. From here, one can behold miles of the low jungle lands. But it is on the ground where one sees God’s handiwork up close and in person. He never ceases to amaze.
Mary and I along with the rest of the team returned from our adventures last night. Thank you for your prayers. Indeed, God answered in ways we could never begin to think or imagine. The week raced by while simultaneously presenting view after view of God’s handiwork and accomplishments. I am still pondering all that I witnessed.
For today I thought I would share three photos.
First, I beheld God’s glory in my “sister” mates as they encouraged our Mayan friends to seek God’s kingdom. In Martha, I beheld God’s heart of mercy. In Denise, I beheld God’s heart of joy. And in Mary, I beheld God’s heart of courage and humility. I learned from each one.
Beyond this, God knit our hearts together to serve as one. In this way, I beheld His love and unity.
(Also, I learned from the wonderful and encouraging men on our trip. These guys are incredible teachers and leaders. I mention the girls because we lived together 24/7.)
Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity! Psalm 133:1
Second, I beheld God’s glory in changed lives. Every one has a story. Everyone. It is no different in the Yucatán. God is at work.
After a third teaching session, old Mateo asked if he could be a Christian and still get drunk. Mary had just taught on Matthew 6: 19-24. And we referred back to verse 24: “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other.” Mateo seemed to long for a different way of life, and so we extended an invitation to choose eternal pleasures over earthly pleasures.
Although Mateo was not ready, another hand quietly raised in the back left hand corner of the room. Umberto desired a new way. Having been angry at God over his wife’s two miscarriages, he kept his distance from God and from church. His wife and family faithfully prayed for him. On Wednesday, Umberto’s heart softened. He desired to seek Christ.
After prayer, he and his wife quietly went back to their little corner weeping and embracing in joy. I was mesmerized and my eyes wanted to simply sit and behold God in them. And yet, it seemed much too private.
Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Matthew 6:21
Umberto is an example of a changed life in Christ. Through the work of the Mission House lives are being transformed in hope.
Finally, I beheld God’s glory through the folks who serve at Mission House. Talk about inspiring! Within the villages surrounding Ichmul, they are planting churches, training local pastors and providing for both physical and spiritual needs of people.
My pastor and team leader, Mike Castelli, refers to Marciel as the Apostle Paul of the Yucatan. He tirelessly travels from village to village in order to build relationships and share the Good News of Jesus Christ. On more than one occasion he has been hard-pressed and suffered for the sake of the gospel. Once he arrived to a village where people were waiting with gasoline to torch his car. Last year, a village threatened to behead him. In both places, hearts have since been changed and churches are being planted. He loves God and loves people. Without a doubt, he inspires me.
Mission House is full of these faithful servants including Marciel, Mauricio, Eli, Antonio, their support team, spouses and families. Through them and with them, I and my team mates beheld God’s hand in the Yucatán.
Tonight it seems appropriate to pray for them and for us according to the Apostle Paul’s prayer from Ephesians 3: 14-21.
Lord God Almighty,
I bow my knees before You, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of Your glory You may grant my friends in the Yucatan and my dear ones near and far strength and power through Your Spirit. May Christ dwell in our hearts through faith. Lord, may we be rooted and grounded in Your love. May we have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth of Your love. Yes, Lord! May we know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge that we may be filled with all the fullness of God.
Now to You, Lord, who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to You be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.