Repetition can be frustrating.
For sixteen years, the same routine has happened each summer in Guatemala. Yall, that is sixteen times that the universe rotated. During each rotation, the same gospel has been shared in the same village. Though the people change each and every year, the same God is at work.
Repetition with no result is frustrating.
Every year the same routine happens, with the same camp structure. But what I, the fool, tend to forget is that through the repetition the Lord is at work. Each year I think I became more weary as I continued pouring my heart into my friends. I was becoming weary in my sharing and allowed the enemy to creep into my head- feeding me lie upon lie. I I I… me me me… stop Courtney. It frustrated me each year to leave my friends in Guatemala because we would finally reach a place where we could be vulnerable with each other. Then we would leave and return the following year to just begin all over again.
Repetition has purpose.
Of course there is a reason we return year after year after year. There is, of course, a reason why we see so many of the same faces year after year. But truthfully, there is a reason why it has taken sixteen rotations in the Earth’s orbit for a revelation to develop. Big changes have occurred in the village of La Arena. Every year, the broken vessels try and equip the other broken vessels in sharing the gospel around the community. But the Lord overwhelmed us all in a way we did not see coming. My friends in the community of La Arena have realized that there is something special about God. There is something special about following Him. That they share in the sufferings of Jesus, through persecution and death. There is a striking sense of confidence instilled in these friends. They are eager- aren’t we all? But something is different. They are desperately hungry and desperately thirsty- ready to be fulfilled.
My friends, we are all the same. Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians that in the body of Christ we are all made in one body. Though there are many parts, not one element is more sufficient than the other. “You are the body of Christ. Each one of you is a part of it.” I believe that has resonated more so this year than it has ever before. But what I wish this body of mine could do that the other bodies are doing in Guatemala is open handedly searching for more of Him, constantly searching and not stopping short. Sometimes I wish we all had the desperate yearning for the Lord like my friends do. Recently, I have reflected back on my life. What I have come to realize is that I used God. I used Him at my expense, when it was convenient for me. But what if everything was stripped away- comfort, leisure, and control. What now? What my friends are doing differently than I, is the daily surrender and allowing. They are simply surrendering their hurt and allowing God to pick them up.
Repetition produces a result.
All of these years, we (Gringos) come to share the gospel. But what I do not think we realize, maybe just me, is that the Lord is teaching US. He is speaking to us through our friends. Yes, we come fully equipped with games, lessons, crafts and love, but what we return home with is the knowledge that the rest of the 51 weeks of the year, the Lord is continuing to equip them. That the next 51 weeks after we leave and before we return again, our pals in Guatemala are being equipped and in reality they already are. Where we sometimes mistake that THEY need US- the light is illuminating the reality of US needing THEM. Because we are one body, through Christ, we are being filled. That Christ is using us just has much as He is using them.
Repetition is a work in progress.
This year, I walked onto the airplane encouraged, knowing that these sweet friends of mine will be okay. These friends of mine are fully equipped and ready to fight. Because y'all, it is a daily battle there. But the Lord is there. The Lord has faithfully equipped my friends, if they know it or not.
I am ready. I am ready to see the work that God has started and has continued. There is progress in the frustration of repetition. These young adults are ready- more ready than ever before. This excites and encourages me this year. These friends are probing me to be bold back home in America. While we beg them to share in their community of what the Lord is doing, they are begging us to do the same. So I shall. So I will. So I return to America encouraged. My friend Jose is one of the many few who are well equipped and ready to run steadily after sweet Jesus. I ask that you join me in prayer- I plead that you just pray that these young men and women receive confidence that is deeply rooted in Christ. That this confidence is something that is enough and that cannot be taken from them. This story is a sweet story that is not finished, but it is thankfully just the beginning. Sixteen orbits later, THIS is a ‘story to be heard.’