Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Ministry Minded

Hello Again!

I (Ellie) just wanted to share a quick update and some encouragement from our journey in Guatemala.  Last week, I was able to finish Spanish School here in Antigua, Guatemala.  It has been such a burden lifted, as I can now devote more time to the ministry, Riley, and we have also deducted one item from our monthly budget.  Yahoo!!  James should be finishing school at the end of next week also, so we are pumped to be able to spend our days focusing on the growth and development of Engadi Ministries, and how we can better reach out to kids living in Paradise (our target neighborhood in the slums of Guatemala City).  Until James finishes up, I will be working on catching up on publications for Engadi, our family newsletter, and working with some of the paperwork and documents related to the boys we are working with in Paradise.

The students who graduated or advanced a level last week.

I have to confess that during my last week of school I was a bit disheartened.  I didn't think I was going to complete the program satisfactorily that week, tacking on yet another week of what seemed like a never-ending process.  I was also stressed with the amount of homework and studying I had to do, among other things.  I was unmotivated to memorize Latin and Greek suffixes and prefixes, many of which I don't even know or use in the English language (my vocab included the Spanish counterparts of words such as exonerate, euphemism, idiosyncrasy, etc.).  That being said, God, like so many times before, had bigger and better plans for my week.  God-sized plans.

Thursday morning, I arrived to school and my teacher and I were chatting about the events of the day before as an introduction to our day of conversation.  I told her that Wednesday night I had led a women's Bible Study group in Spanish.  She seemed interested in the group and asked what we had talked about.  I proceeded to explain to her that we were reading through the book When Godly People Do Ungodly Things by Beth Moore, which discusses how Christians should respond when they see and experience other Christians around them who are falling into the seduction and entrapment of sin, as well as how each of us as Christians can resist becoming lured in to sin ourselves.

My teacher said that she could relate to many of the topics we discussed.  She tearfully went on to tell me about many parts of her life which she wasn't proud of, and how she could relate to succumbing to the draws of sin, as we all can.  Right?  Although she claimed to be a Christian, she tearfully admitted that she didn't understand how a just God could overlook her past and that she was terrified to give an answer for the things she had done in this life.

At this point in the conversation, I felt a bit unprepared and nervous myself.  Who am I to give counsel to someone twice my age, even if she is asking me for it?  Why me?   What if I say something wrong?  More than anything, what if I can't find the words I need in Spanish?  I prayed silently that God could use me and guide my words.  I still have a cut on my lip from biting down out of nervousness.  I hope I didn't look half as nervous as I felt!

The good news is that God promises to give us the "right words at the right time" if we are seeking Him, and He did.  Luke 12:11-12 says,
"And when they bring you before the synagogues and the rulers and the authorities, do not be anxious about how you should defend yourself or what you should say, for the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say."

God is a God of justice who cannot allow sin to go unpunished.  He would not be a just God if He did so.  Thankfully for us, He is also a God of mercy.  He sent His very own Son to take each of our sins.  He has already paid the price of death for us!  He has beautifully intertwined His justice and mercy to show us how great His love is for us.  Therefore, as Christians, we have no need to fear death.  Our sins are paid for- once and for all.

Sharing this news has been the highlight of my week.  It has been a reminder of why I am here, and also the very own joy and hope that I have.  I have no reason to be unmotivated, disheartened, or stressed when I keep my eyes on God and His Promises.

I will wrap up with today's post with that, as my beautiful daughter is begging for my attention with continuous kisses being blown in my direction between taste testing each type of dirt, leaf, and flower in our garden.  I will update again soon with our plans for after James finished school.

Crazy girl.
Much Love from Guatemala,
The Carr Family

1 Corinthians 15:56-58
"The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law.  But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord, your labor is not in vain."

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