Guatemala (MNN) — With a world so well-traveled and mapped, it’s hard to imagine villages exist that nobody knows about. But they do. This means that there are people who have not heard the Gospel simply because we do not know of their existence.
Paradise Bound Ministries stumbled upon a village in San Ramon, Guatemala over a year ago while ministering with a medical clinic nearby. Dan Smith of Paradise Bound describes the village: “This is a very, very remote village back in a very deep canyon in Guatemala that no one even knew about.
“This is a refugee village, meaning they occupied a plantation or a part of this canyon [about two or three years ago] and due to that, nobody even knew they were there.”
The villagers weren’t exactly thrilled when the group arrived. “It was a very scary thing, actually, because they weren’t sure about us coming in. They were so closed off, and there was a lot of fear for having a team come in and minister to them,” Smith explains.
The team felt the power of prayer as they deliberated on what to do. Smith says of Mission Network News listeners, “You guys prayed us through that, and that first night we had a nice harvest of souls. But then throughout this last year, God has put it in our heart, as well, to build homes there. That’s a difficult venture to go out there and to build homes in a very remote section of Guatemala.”
God doesn’t always call us to do easy things; in fact, it is often quite the opposite. Paradise Bound knew that this was not a reason to step back. “As we have so many people praying for those doors to open in San Ramon,” Smith says, “[God] allowed us last October to confirm with the village that we wanted to build 47 homes” there.
The village is a three hour drive from the mission base–in good weather. In order for the teams to work efficiently, they needed a place to stay.
They felt called to build a church that would double as lodgings until the team was finished. In three months and with four teams, Paradise Bound finished 20 of the houses.
However, once the rain starts in March, the village will be completely cut off until next fall or early winter.
Teams are still needed to build the last 27 houses. If this is something you are interested in, join Paradise Bound’s e-mail list and look for information coming out in May or June.
Not only are these trips a blessing to the village, but the work being done is encouraging to the volunteers, as well.
Smith says, “We do devotions with the team each night around 7:30. And as we’re doing that, outside this church building, many, many children, teenagers, adults from the village are now coming to just hear us.” The Holy Spirit transcends the language barrier through song and Gospel sharing.
This mission trip isn’t cut out for any specific type of person. “We have people from 10 years old all the way up into their 80s,” says Smith, “So almost anyone of any age can be a part of this with us and experience that opportunity in San Ramon to see people come to know Jesus Christ as their personal Savior, as well as leave something tangible there such as the house that we’re giving them as well.”
The work is for long-term aid. This includes eternity. “We believe so strongly at Paradise Bound about the Gospel and about presenting the Gospel in everything we do. That’s where we need prayer because if all we do is give them a house, it is a beautiful thing, but it is a temporal thing.”
Smith continues, explaining how Christ is the ultimate example in these situations: “Quite often in the Gospel, He healed first; but He always spoke to them of Himself and who He was and how they could have salvation in and through Him. And so we do the same thing. That’s where prayer has to come, to be able to make sure that they’re open to the Gospel and Jesus Christ.”
Paradise Bound needs your prayer as they finish up the work later this year. They also ask that if you feel led, you come alongside them financially. The church they built was in God’s will, but it wasn’t in their original budget. They are trusting God to provide the money to cover material and transport costs.
I would like to help!