God Does All Things Well

Upon returning to Guatemala in 1963 to begin our second term of service, we desired to live in San Pablo, San Marcos because it was a town without an evangelical church as San Rafael had been during our first term of service. However, in San Pablo we could not find a house to rent for several months.

Then prominent lady in town, through illness and being in the capital city for treatment, heard the gospel on the radio, and accepted the Lord. When she returned to San Pablo, she rented us a one room building on her property, which had been the former Catholic School of the town. With doors closed in our faces as we had visited house-to-house, we wondered how the Lord would open that town to the gospel.

La Veta began children's classes with our 4 children, plus their neighborhood friends, but the parents were not receptive to us. We prayed, along with 2 grandmothers and a 12-year-old boy that the door would open to us for evangelism and God answered in unexpected ways.

One day as we were eating lunch an urgent knock came at our door and when Bill answered a distraught man was there saying, “Help us! Help us! My brother has taken poison (by mistake) and needs to get to the hospital in Malacatan.” Having one of the few vehicles in town, Bill took the man and two of his brothers to the nearby town. While the doctor was working on Baudilio, the brothers and Bill were in the waiting room. While Bill prayed out loud, and even before the “Amen,” one brother, Erasmo, prayed, “God, if you save my brother I will accept the gospel.”

Baudilio did recover. As Bill cleaned up the vomit in the car, he wondered if it was worth the effort and would the brother honor his promise to God. Not only did he do so, but, little by little, the entire family accepted the Lord and began to have Bible studies with Bill. Now, 50 years later, they held a celebration in the church to commemorate their years of walking with the Lord. Not only the older brother, Erasmo, but even the children and grandchildren have been and are leaders in the San Pablo church.

Shortly after the poison episode, another incident also helped open the town to us. A nearby river had a shallow pool in it where we would sometimes go to let our children play in the water. One particular day, Dec. 3, 1964, the girls were having a good time when one of our twins got too close to the edge where the water flowed back into the river, and she slipped in and was carried away. Our efforts to save her were futile. Yet her death was used by God to open the hearts of many more people in the town as they realized that "these rich Americans" also suffer and they were softened toward us, and expressed their compassion to us. They seemed pleased that we elected to bury our daughter in their local cemetery. A few months later the first gospel preaching church was organized.

Now in 2014, San Pablo has a growing church with sometimes 200 in regular attendance plus there are many daughter churches on coffee plantations in the area.

There is much more to tell. GOD DOES ALL THINGS WELL.

 

Bill and LaVeta Sparks have been church-planting missionaries with Camino since 1958. They have served in Guatemala, Mexico, and USA.