Finding God – In Bethlehem

Posted in Mission Team Updates

Of course we can find our newborn King in Bethlehem, isn’t that what we do each Christmas?  What about in June?  In Guatemala?  Through our devotion, Pastor encouraged us to “look for God.”  It wasn’t hard, yup he was right there in Bethlehem, (Coban, Guatemala).


The day began with a question and answer session with Rosita.  Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 10, “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God… I am not seeking my own good but the good of many, so that they may be saved.”  God has placed this woman in this community with a heart like Jesus to serve a multitude.  Not only is she providing for their physical needs (giving out warm lunches to all present and bags of food to the 135 women who came today), but she is also providing for their spiritual needs (over 200 children attended the afternoon VBS), emotional needs (providing for the 8 orphans and her own son, Pablo, as a caring and nurturing mother), and intellectual needs (school with 2 classrooms, 2 teachers, and 20 children enrolled on her property).


After meeting with Rosita we spent time with the school children.  I was able to spend one-on-one time with a 4 year old (Fernando) who is not yet speaking more than 3 words.  Fernando and I played simple imitation games but God was there – there in Fernando’s smile, in his pulling my hand to play soccer, and in that moment every teacher’s heart swells when the light goes on for a student.  Today, it was when Fernando carefully worked to hold up his fingers to count (using the other hand as necessary to put those extra fingers down) and then attempted to count along “uno, dos, tres” before jumping off a step.


God was present as Ceasar and Abby directed us to make bags of food which were later distributed. Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me,” and come they did!  God’s presence was evident as the more than 200 children joined in song for us, gathered in our laps during the Bible story, and gave multitudes of hugs.


We cannot leave out God’s presence in our interpreters (who have been patient, accommodating, and eager to be with us on this journey) and drivers (who drove through treacherous conditions to get us to Coban) without whom we would never have had the opportunity to share God’s love with this incredible group of people. 


Looking all around me, I see our mission team, as Christ’s ambassadors.  God has not been hard to find, maybe at first glance the poverty and different way of life is the most striking.  But look a little closer…  he is here and he is at work among those in Coban, through the ministry at Bethlehem. Tomorrow we travel from Bethlehem to Rosa de Amor, where we will have more opportunities to “look for God.”


Elaine Etzel