Diego to Fuego: Ministry in Guatemala

by Dylan Harris

April 7, 2005

Guatemala City, Guatemala

When we last wrote, we had been staying in the home of Ron and Margie Caruthers, missionaries in Guatemala City, for a few days awaiting the arrival of our friend Jesse Boyd. Jesse decided to join us for a week of adventure and ministry throughout Guatemala.

His presence here this last week has greatly encouraged us in fulfilling one of our main goals on this ride: sharing the Gospel. We had a feeling God would use him to spark a flame under us to be more bold with our faith, but we didn't know what a big fire it would eventually become.

I think there are a lot of preconceived notions as to what "sharing the Gospel" means, so allow me to briefly explain what that means to us. We tell people who Jesus Christ is and what He did for them. It's a simple message of the free gift of salvation offered to all mankind, and it comes through faith in Jesus alone. It's a message told in love and compassion, not something forced upon a person. Everyone we share with has the choice whether to listen or not. When we share the Gospel with people, it usually means we tell them what Jesus has done in our lives, and show them how He can do the same in theirs. Sharing the Gospel can be as easy as asking someone to read a pamphlet or as lengthy as a four-hour theological discussion like the one I had last night. We feel very strongly about sharing this message whenever we can because it has literally changed our lives. With that said, let's move on to the Guatemalan adventures of Dylan, Cheri, and Jesse.

Ron dropped us off in downtown Guatemala City where we found a bus headed to northern Guatemala. Thankfully, when the bus pulled out of the station, its rear tire blew up and we spent 45 minutes fixing it. I say thankfully because it could have happened on the highway and been much worse. It wasn't the most comfortable ride, and certainly not the shortest (10 hours), but we did get to spend 3 hours talking to Freddy about Jesus. In the end, he asked us if he could have the Spanish Bible we were reading.

The interesting thing we've discovered about many of the people we have met is that they have actually never read the Bible. They often think they know what it says, but when they finally read it for themselves as Freddy did, a hunger for the truth consumes them. The bus dropped us off at 9 p.m. and we bargained for a taxi to take us to the jungle ruins of Tikal.

Tikal is an ancient Mayan city that reached its peak around 700 A.D. and was covered in jungle vegetation by the time Columbus set foot in America. No one is sure what happened to the people, but they did leave behind some amazing works of architecture. There are about six main pyramids made out of limestone that rise high above the treetops. Down below are the ruins of an ancient city that once housed many thousands of people. We wanted to watch the sun rise the following morning on the temples so we asked the guard if we could sleep on top of Temple IV, the highest of all. He kindly agreed and escorted us to the temple through the dark as the howler monkeys growled and snored all around. They sound like monsters, and honestly we didn't sleep too well that night. I guess it didn't help that we also slept on a place where people once out cut the hearts of their prisoners of war and offered them up to gods in hope of earning favor.