I recently returned from an incredible mission trip to Guatemala. I went with 22 other people from PBC to serve with Dan & Christi Ucherek, missionaries with Orphan Outreach. Dan & Christi grew up at PBC and are well loved by everyone who went on the trip. In addition to getting to do ministry again with my close friends, I had several other experiences on the trip that make this past week easily one of the most amazing (if not the most amazing) week of being a pastor I’ve ever had.
The last day of the trip was perhaps the best day a pastor could ever have. After all the ministry, brokenness, grace and emotions we’d experienced all week, the trip culminated with a worship service and baptisms. I got to preach and then baptize ten beautiful young ladies (pictured above). I still get butterflies remembering it. We stood in a kiddie pool, shivering in the pouring rain, 7,000ft above sea level on the side of a dormant volcano. Gorgeous flowers, trees, mountains and volcanoes formed the backdrop, and close to 100 people were there cheering the girls on. I asked each young lady if Jesus was their Lord, and they answered, “Siempre!” Always! Thinking about their stories, the challenges they’ve overcome, the pain they’ve experienced, and the grace by which they can now worship with smiles on their faces as they proclaim their faith in Christ brings tears to my eyes. As far as pastoring goes, it doesn’t get much better than this!
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Through your great mercy you caused us to be born again into a living hope and a future inheritance through the resurrection of Jesus from the dead. Your love is steadfast and faithful, abounding lavishly upon your children. May you bless Rosario, Fernanda, Yuri, Keiry, Lidia, Angelica, Raquel, Celeste, Doris and Chloe. Thank you.
Here are some other highlights from the trip.
- The mission team did an incredible job. They planned the programming, led the ministry events, preached the gospel, prayed with people, shared their personal stories, and led devotionals. These activities were firsts for many on the team, but they stepped out of their comfort zones and offered it up to God. It was AWESOME!
- I got to worship with Dan & Christi at their church. Pastor Merari Rodriguez preached a incredible message, and I just loved the music.
- Every night we had team devotionals and worship. It was so peaceful, and everyone sang passionately! No one was embarrassed that someone next to them might hear them sing. No one cared whether or not they were a good singer. We offered our hearts and minds to the Lord with an acoustic guitar and a box drum, and the Holy Spirit filled the place.
- While visiting homes to deliver groceries and pray for people, two women accepted Christ as their Savior! Hallelujah!
- The Orphan Outreach staff and translators were fabulous. They did their jobs with marvelous efficiency, and watching them interact with the kids it was obvious this wasn’t just their “job,” it was their ministry.