Guatemala (MNN) — There is a ministry in Guatemala that has been extremely successful in meeting people’s physical needs and sharing the story of Jesus with them. Over the last 18 years, their work has flourished. They’ve had help from many missions teams: people like you and me. However, they’re asking you not to partner with them–that is, unless you’ve prayed about it first.
Dan Smith of Paradise Bound Ministries believes strongly in God’s guidance through prayer, not only for their partners, but for their direction as a ministry.
He says, “It is exciting to be able to have spent 18 years of our lives–18 years of calling that God has given us–here in Guatemala. As we look back, it just seems like yesterday, and yet we can also see that it’s been 18 years of development and 18 years of God just opening the doors here in Guatemala.”
Every year, Paradise Bound mission teams–usually around 450 individuals over the course of the year–go to Guatemala. They host medical clinics and build homes for war refugees living in cornstalk or tin shacks.
There has been a focus, too, on developing solid national leadership. Smith says, “As the ministry continues to expand, the discipleship programs just continue to draw many, many souls to Jesus Christ. Out of that now has sprung lay pastor training, as well.
“We’ve coupled ourselves with Timothy Leadership Training, and they have been doing an amazing job here with us.”
The first class graduated last spring, and over 100 people are on the waiting list to take part in this training.
The amount of people stepping up to be leaders for Christ continues to grow, leading to the establishment of national missionary plants in remote villages of Guatemala.
Paradise Bound has been ministering to people on the other end of the spectrum as well: children. They have an orphanage at their base in Guatemala and continue to take in more children.
Shining the light of Christ amid the history of violence has resulted in an intense desire to know Jesus. Smith explains, “Because we started right on the heels of the 36-year-long civil war here in Guatemala, the hunger has been just amazing.”
Smith says they’ve followed Christ’s example: to address the physical needs, then talk about the spiritual needs.
“As we come in, we share the truth of Jesus Christ. [It’s] not mixed up with a lot of religion or a lot of other things, but Jesus Christ and Him crucified and raised from the dead and sitting at the right hand of God the Father Almighty.
“There is a hunger for that here in this country. It is exploding before us in ways that we could have never imagined 18 years ago when we started,” Smith says.
He says they appreciate support, but only after potential partners have prayed about how they should get involved. Ask God for direction on how you should get involved.
Here are some considerations: