We recently spent a few days in Ixchiguan (pronounced “eeshy-wan”) to meet with a pastor and spend time at our Training Center there. We also met with the group of pastors in Sibinal that I’ll begin training at the end of March.
Before going, we heard a lot about the mountains and volcanoes in the area, and about how beautiful it is there. Ixchiguan and Sibinal are about 8 hours west of Guatemala City, and the area is home to the highest point in all of Central America, Volcano Tajamulco. So, as we made our way up the mountain and the only thing we saw was dense fog…we felt very disillusioned.
It was hard to believe there was more than what we could see. At 10,500 feet above sea level, we were supposedly surrounded by mountains and beautiful terrain. We should have been able to see for miles from that altitude, but the fog prevented us from seeing any of it.
And the views weren’t the only thing that seemed to be missing.
Even a few hours into our visit we could see the desperate need for biblical education. Everywhere we looked we saw the gospel being twisted. Most churches believe a healthy offering is required if you expect the pastor to pray for you from the pulpit. I met a pastor who couldn’t explain why he hadn’t baptized two young men, which he personally believed were saved. I met another who, for the very first time during one of our trainings, understood and accepted the salvation of Jesus Christ after leading in his church for almost 10 years.
The Lord looks down from heaven on the children of man, to see if there are any who understand, who seek after God. -Psalm 14:2
It hit me as we struggled to see the road on our way back from Sibinal…these pastors have no clue what’s just beyond the fog.
How different would the culture and spiritual atmosphere of that area be if they weren’t being blinded by confusion? How many more souls would know the one true God and the Savior he sent to them? How many lives would be restored, and how far would the gospel reach?
Beginning on March 31st, I’ll begin training 13 pastoral leaders in hopes of helping them to see what’s just beyond the fog. Once they get a glimpse of the glorious, majestic, and captivating God, who’s always been there despite their ability to see him, I pray that they and their congregations will be transformed. What a privilege it is to teach in an area that has such intense need.