Tonight I traveled to Guatemala by driving just a few miles from my home to a church building where a small group of Spanish-speaking Christians meet. When I first visited back in March, the members immediately felt like family with their warmth and care. In September one couple, who are from Mexico and fervent prayer warriors for the church, came and brought me flowers when I hurt my ankle, prayed with me and shared a word from the Lord. Tonight, I was encouraged by the prayer of all. There was a guest there named Carlos Dias who is a part of Dr. Lindwall’s ministry “Iglesia en Marcha” in Guatemala. In his prayer, he prayed fervently for all to know that they have a purpose designed by God.
After the prayer meeting Carlos told me more about the ministry in Guatemala. He explained that fifteen years ago, Dr. Lindwall and others began training churches with a Bible curriculum to teach in the public schools once a week. They now reach 35,000 children! Praise God! Carlos said he grew up in the church where Dr. Lindwall preached in Guatemala many years ago. Now, he is actively involved in bringing the good news of Jesus into the schools. This is another wonderful example of a seed planted in childhood that grew to a lifelong calling.
Margarita told Carlos that I was writing bilingual children’s books- a developing passion in my life from many seeds planted from so many people over the years and a stirring of the Holy Spirit in my heart in February 2018. Carlos asked me more about my book. I told him that I had written about the song of a bird encouraging us to worship the Lord. I shared that I researched birds from different countries to include in the book. So far, I had included birds from Honduras, Peru and the United States. I asked which bird he recommended that I use from Guatemala. I should have known this answer! The national bird of Guatemala- the famous quetzal!
The quetzal is a colorful bird with a long tail that is interwoven in the history of Guatemala and is the name of the nation’s currency. Carlos pulled out a quetzal bill and showed it to me. It was colorful with the quetzal bird at the top, the Guatemalan flag, a famous general and Mayan symbols on the front. On the back there was a school teacher in her classroom and a note explaining that elementary school is free and mandatory in Guatemala.
Carlos suggested that if I include the quetzal in my book, I should talk about freedom. He elaborated saying that the quetzal bird cannot survive in captivity. It will die. The quetzal is an example of how God designs His creation to help us better understand the spiritual world. Just as the quetzal dies in captivity, we also die when we are captive to our sins.
“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” -Romans 6:23 NIV
The good news is we are set free by the blood of Christ and can live with this freedom. I have been pondering this year about how being filled with the peace of the Holy Spirit, free from the cares of this world, is much like the feeling I imagine it would be like to fly free like a bird. Just like the quetzal lives when it is free to fly, we live with freedom when the Spirit is alive and working in us.
"Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom." 2 Corinthians 3:17
Carlos and Dr. Lindwall believe wholeheartedly in the message of the gospel of Christ that they preach and model in their lives. They dedicate their lives to coming alongside brothers and sisters in Christ to encourage them to be in the Word and living it out. There is a God-centered, Spirit-led focus that flows from them that motivates me to love and to share the good news of Jesus Christ.
I pray that the children in Guatemala who hear the hope of Christ will come to know Christ and be a light for the world. I pray that children-and adults- not only in Guatemala but all over the world will be able to hear the message of Jesus Christ and discover the victory we have in Christ. As Carlos prayed may all people know we are designed by You for a unique purpose. As Christians, may we lean into the Holy Spirit and Your Word daily to help us live a life that honors and glorifies You.
In Jesus Name, Amen
Question to ponder: What seeds are you helping to plant into the hearts of the children in your life?