Given the time constraints, the thought of reaching our support-raising goal for this trip in such a short amount of time gave me serious doubts that it would actually happen. What’s more, for me personally, the lack of the number of people I’ve kept in contact with over the years made the task even more daunting. The thought of having to reach out to ask for support brought dread. What my own limited networking skills and ability to convince could not accomplish God provided for in an exceeding abundance. God directed me to humbly and faithfully receive from him rather than figure it out on my own–it was nothing short of incredible.
Setting foot on the Bethel International Christian Academy (BICA) campus was such a pleasant surprise. I felt like I was stepping onto some movie set the first night that we got there. I did not expect things to be so well put together and the accommodations to be so comfortable. However, what belies the comforts of the building of BICA are the stories behind the people who came together that God is using. Hearing Doña Mari’s story along side of Don Carlos’ was moving, if not heart-wrenching. Even before the school was an idea, God had been transforming her through incredible hardship and suffering, along with unmistakable timing and miracles.
Hearing their stories gave me a much deeper appreciation of how things came to be and how things continue to function. Because of their persevering obedience God is glorified through adults and students who are being transformed by the gospel. The building has such niceties, comfortable accommodations, the food is amazing, but not knowing these stories would immensely underappreciate the lives it was built upon and God’s amazing graces. In learning their stories, God is teaching me how to advocate for the people of BICA. As Romans 5:3,4a states: “Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering by produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope…”
Long before departing on this trip, I had my own reluctance, wonderings, doubts, and skepticism. My parents had done some work in the nearby town about 10 years ago. The closer the date came to departure, the more looming the thoughts started to creep in–how much more difficult it seemed to leave my kids who became increasingly unsettled at the idea of me being away so long, time taken out of Winter Break; Catholic and Mayan religious strongholds, syncretism; walking into an historically spiritually bleak and physically impoverished place where many missionaries much money have failed before language barriers (Is it even possible to be effective yet non-Spanish speaking? Missionaries Jesse and Doña Mari prove otherwise).
My conclusion? God is growing his kingdom, using unconventional means and resources, moving in middle schoolers and people in Mayan villages like Pastor Joel. God clearly showed me that he is not limited by my own limited expectations or thinking or ways. Rather than dwell on doubts and question what I am responsible for is to hear his call and obey.
“Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.” (Galatians 6:7-9)
– Stan Park
* Read the Yucatan Mission Online Report here.