High-school wrestling team travels to Guatemala with Paradise Bound

By August 5, 2013

Guatemala (MNN) — God works through short-term mission trips, and this one is no exception.

Dan Smith of Paradise Bound Ministries says his team is seeing incredible changes as they share the Gospel in Guatemala.

"The people here in Guatemala are so hungry for the Truth–just the real Truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ," says Smith.

But it's not just the villagers that are changing. A high-school wrestling team from Michigan is changing, too.

At nightly devotionals, "there [were] many, many tears by these young men…who would appear to be these tough guys, but they are ready for change in their lives as well," Smith recounts.

Twenty-five young men have worked hard to reshape this segment of the Guatemalan landscape, building four homes for needy villagers in three days. At the same time, God has been renovating the landscape of their hearts.

The Paradise Bound team prays with villagers as new homes are dedicated to the Lord.

"They're ready now," says Smith, "to go into that spiritual battle and to lay ourselves out at the feet of Jesus Christ, for these people, for these families, that will be receiving the homes."

Their efforts are helping a people group scarred by Guatemala's 36-year civil war.

"This particular village was set up as a refugee project by the government," Smith explains. "But all they did was [to] provide them some land, which they will eventually have to pay back over the next 30 or 40 years.

"God uses the homes, not only to help them here physically for a short time, but also for eternity."

For many, a house built by Paradise Bound is the first resemblance of a real home. Prior to the group's arrival three years ago, the village consisted of mud huts and tin shacks. Smith says it was a land of spiritual darkness.

"You can imagine: people just trying to survive, just trying to fend off, to eke out an existence, really," he says. "For us to come in and give them hope beyond what's here on this earth has just been an amazing thing."

Their ministry in the village has grown, Smith adds, as the Truth of Christ invades every corner.

"We now have several discipleship projects going on in this village, as well as a small church plant," says Smith.

Prior to building homes, Smith says the group from Michigan spent a couple of days holding mobile medical clinics in remote areas. While some team members helped treat patients at the clinic, others built relationships through games, coloring, and painting fingernails.

Each night, the team sat among Guatemalans as the JESUS Film was projected onto a screen. Following the movie, team members prayed with those who accepted Christ as their Savior and handed out Bibles.

Would you take a moment to pray for this team and the work of Paradise Bound?

Pray "that the enemy would be bound and that the Holy Spirit would be loosed upon us as we dedicate the homes…and share the Gospel of Jesus Christ," Smith requests.

"If people can pray for Paradise Bound Ministries and keep Paradise Bound centered in God's holy and perfect will…everything else is going to be ok," says Smith. "The donations will come in that we need, and everything will be right on time.

"Everything will flow as it needs to if we're in the center of God's will."

In addition, Smith says the ministry's time at this village is drawing to a close.

"Over the next few weeks, we're going to be traveling through Guatemala and seeking out the next village," he says. "We have several that we think God may be leading us to, but we have to choose one of those."

Ask the Lord to show Paradise Bound where He wants them next. If you want to join the next Paradise Bound trip to Guatemala, click here.

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