THE NICODEMUS PROJECT, GUATEMALA CITY
April 2006
 
“Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ…. Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should.” Colossians 4:2-4
 
A friend wrote last month saying this was what she had felt led to pray for us. How appropriate it is and how much we need that open door and the Spirit’s leading to clearly proclaim God’s message of salvation. Please make this your daily prayer for us this month.
 
Sat, April 1: Last Sunday Helen was able to share briefly at both morning services at Union Church about the Nicodemus Project and how we are trying to share the gospel with the upper middle and upper class people of Guatemala City through cell groups. She challenged the members there who have family members or friends, who, like Nicodemus, depend on religious traditions rather than faith in Jesus or feel pressure from their peers not to change the status quo, to find out how they could be the “person of peace” to get them involved in a cell group Bible studies. While a few people expressed some interest, no one actually signed the sheet asking for more information. Pray that this idea will continue to work in their minds and that some would be instrumental in opening doors for witness among their family and friends.
 
Sun, April 2: The Nicodemus Project Team met over lunch last Sunday to evaluate what we are doing and make some plans for the coming months. Helen and Siomara had planned to have a discipleship class with Griselda in her home, but after meeting, we felt that we should explore the possibility of offering a class on Sundays before our regular service to try to get Griselda, Maria, Andres and Sergio (Mayarí’s brother) all participating at once. Pray that they will be excited and committed to attending this class and doing the homework.
 
Mon, April 3: George Hardeman and Janet Hervey leave this morning for a meeting in Miami of the Support Strategy Coordinators from the Middle America and Caribbean Region. Pray for God’s watch care over each one as he/she travels (return on Friday). Pray that this will be a very beneficial meeting. Pray for Carter Davis as he leads it.
 
Tues, April 4: As the Tuesday cell group studied Acts the past two weeks, Victor commented that they (the Catholics) believe in oral revelation as well as the Bible, accepting papal declarations as equally as trustworthy as the Bible. Pray earnestly that as we begin the study of the letters of Paul this week, it will be abundantly clear that anything that contradicts the Bible cannot be truth. Pray that the Holy Spirit will open their understanding that all the truth we need is already revealed in the Bible.
 
Wed, April 5: Siomara and Helen have been going to Marroquin University each Wednesday to pray for the Lord to open doors of witness among the students, faculty and administration. Cayetano, the director of Campus Crusade in Guatemala, has also joined us to pray and talk with us about some strategies for getting to know the students to be able to witness them. We are looking at requesting permission to conduct a scientific survey of the students as a means to approach them. Pray for God’s guidance as we prepare the survey. Pray for the administration to approve our carrying it out. Pray that it will open opportunities of dialog with the students.
 
Thurs, April 6: Manuel and Siomara have felt the hand of God in their lives through your prayers interceding for them. Please continue to pray that the Lord will fill them with peace and help them understand God’s purposes in these trials. Pray that God would provide for the financial resources to do the tests that they need and then to provide any treatment necessary.
 
Fri, April 7: Today is the last day of classes for all the schools and universities in the country until the 17th or 18th. Many of the “Nicodemus” people will close their offices next week. The roads will be very crowded after work today as people begin leaving Guatemala City for the holidays. Will they pause to remember what this week represents as it commemorates the great sacrifice of love that Jesus Christ made of us? Let us pray that, as Christians, we would use this opportunity to share with others about how much God loved the world.
 
Sat, April 8: George along with two other missionaries was able to make the trip to Ixchiguan last month without any incident. He was able to assess the damage done to the wall around the mission property as a result of the rain damage from Hurricane Stan and finish arranging things with the mason to get it repaired. Thank you for your prayers. Continue to pray for the safety of our missionaries as they travel around town or throughout the country.
 
Sun, April 9: This will be Stacy Steven’s last day with us at Impacto Biblico. David Minchez will take over leading the music ministry. Pray that God will help him learn all the guitar chords he needs to accompany the songs. Pray that God will send us others to join the music ministry.
 
Mon, April 10: Today Manuel, Siomara, George and Helen will be going to San Felipe, a village on the coastal plain about 3 hours from Guatemala City for a couple of days’ vacation at IRTRA. That is kind of a theme park and water park combined. Pray for them as they travel and for a great time of relaxation and refreshment from their normal, packed schedules.
 
Tues, April 11: Pray for David and Mayari as they continue their seminary studies and look toward their goal of going to Spain as missionaries after their projected graduation at the end of 2007. Pray for God to provide for their material needs. They also need to improve their understanding of English. They along with Manuel and Siomara are looking for someone to give them conversational English classes. Pray for the Lord to provide the right person and for them to find the time to do this along with all their other activities.
 
Wed, April 12: As Cayetano, Siomara and Helen work on the university student survey, they would also like to carry it out on the Galileo, Landivar and Del Valle University campuses. Last year there was a robbery at the Landivar campus and a guard was killed. As a result, many areas of the campus are now off limits to people who are not enrolled in classes. Del Valle also has a limited access campus. Pray that we will be able to get permission to be on the campuses to carry out the surveys and get to know some of the students. Pray for God’s direction in each step we take.
 
Thurs, April 13: Today and tomorrow are national holidays in Guatemala. The City is very quiet since most people have taken the opportunity to get out of town. There will be processions all day both days, leaving from each Catholic church. Victor told us that he is going to be participating in the procession from their church for the first time ever. People usually have to pay for the privilege to do this, but it also grants them a certain amount of merit that takes years off time in purgatory, according to their belief. Praise God that the reenactment of Jesus’ final week and His sacrifice will be remembered, but pray that people’s eyes will be opened to see where truth stops and tradition begins.
 
Fri, April 14: Juan Pablo, one of the students in the class Manuel teaches at the Mesoamerican University, approached him last month to ask Manuel if he were a Christian. So is Juan Pablo. Pray that he will be interested in participating in a training program about “How to evangelize your classmates.” The “inside” person is the most effective in reaching his/her peers. Pray that he will become a bold witness.
 
Sat, April 15: Silvia from the Tuesday group had an operation last month and hasn’t returned to the group all month. Pray that her time of recuperation has been used by God to draw her closer to Him. Pray for Silvita from the same group who had an argument with a supervisor in her office and hasn’t returned to the group since then. She had been asking that God would help her change her character, and she may be discouraged that she hasn’t seen the change she desires.
 
Sun, April 16: “The Lord has risen! He has risen indeed!” What a shout of triumph we Christians should be giving today! Our sins are forgiven. The price has been paid. Death has been defeated. Though there are still skirmishes going on, we are on the winning team and our future is assured. Pray with us that these truths may be real to the Nicodemus people of Guatemala. Many know the story in their heads but not in their hearts. They have never come to realize what it means for them personally.
 
Mon, April 17: Inertia = the property that makes an object that is not moving continue motionless unless some outside force changes it. This principle seems to apply to group dynamics, also. Getting a new cell group started can be such a chore. The location has to be decided; the materials chosen; people invited; and a time slot carved out in an already busy schedule. Then people have to decide that it is worth their time to get involved, risk meeting new people and becoming vulnerable with them, etc. Please pray that God’s Spirit will work through us to get this moving and bring in the people who need to be involved. Pray for Adoniram and Aura who have shown interest in opening their home for a new group. Pray that we can make the contacts necessary to get a group started.
 
Tues, April 18: Inertia = the property that makes a moving object continue to move at the same speed and in the same direction unless some outside force changes it. This can also be a problem. The Nicodemus Team has talked about the attendance that we had when we met on Saturday nights during the Purpose-Driven Life emphasis. Would it be better to move our Sunday morning service to Saturday night? Would more attend? For us Christians it is a difficult move because Sunday morning is our traditional church time. What about a cell group? Has it outlived its usefulness if no new people are being reached and no real changes are being seen in the lives of those attending? Pray for us as we seek God’s will and direction that we will be obedient to stop or change direction if that is what He would have us do, in spite of our habits.
 
Wed, April 19: Manuel continues to try to develop relationships with his coworkers at the bank. Andrea, Isabel, Ivilly and Maria Jose, who work with him, have expressed interest in an interior design seminar that Mary Bennett from Tennessee has given on various occasions in Guatemala as a way for us to invite people to our home to get to know them better. Pray that the Lord will work it out for Mary to return to Guatemala again and that these seminars will serve as door-openers to build relationships and start new Bible study groups or get them involved in ones already going on.
 
Thurs, April 20: With the help of fellow missionary David Brown, Helen and Siomara are trying to venture into the world of technology and set up a website and web log for our team. Stay tuned next month for more information. Pray that these will become valuable tools to help you and others get to know us better and keep emergency prayer requests and activities before you. The Spanish site will also serve to communicate more effectively with the people here.
 
Fri, April 21: Pray that Manuel will have the time to make the necessary changes on his thesis and that there won’t be any more obstacles to his being able to graduate from the university this year.
 
Sat, April 22: When Mary comes to Guatemala again, Helen is planning to have a design seminar at her house and invite the women she sees at the Curves gym each week. Pray that many will accept the invitation and also become interested in coming back for Bible study.
 
Sun, April 23:  Pray for Veronica’s friends that she was testifying to before her death that they will remember her witness and seek the Lord. Pray that we can get them involved in a cell group Bible study.
 
Mon, April 24: Each year at Christmas, George and Helen buy about 90 calendars that are published by the Spanish Baptist Publishing House to give away as gifts. Each month has a beautiful picture and there is a Bible verse for each day of the year. We give them to Mission employees, neighbors, cell group members, the men who pick up our trash or those who deliver the milk, our dentist and doctor, the Mission lawyer and so on. Since we got back in mid-December last year, we weren’t able to get quite as many because they were nearly sold out and we were late distributing them. Last month, when the Hardemans went for their dental check-up, their dentist commented on how she had missed her calendar—but they’d saved one for her though it was late. The milkman stopped one morning long enough to say thanks for the calendar that it meant so much to him and that he’d given his 2005 calendar to his sister so she could read the verses this year. One of the cell group members, upon getting his well into 2006 commented, “Oh, I didn’t think I would get one this year so I just started over reading the verses from 2005.” Pray that these verses will encourage those who are already believers and shed spiritual light into the darkness of those who aren’t.
 
Tues, April 25: Pray for Manuel as he tries to get to know Erick better. Erick’s mom, wife and children attend Impacto Biblico Church, but he is not interested. Pray that Manuel will be able to witness to him and that the Holy Spirit would open his mind and heart to understand and believe. Pray that this whole family will make a firm commitment to Christ and begin participating with more than their attendance.
 
Wed, April 26: Last month, we had a Saturday youth activity planned which turned out to be a family activity. Five families from the Sunday and Tuesday groups came together to watch Bruce Almighty, discuss it afterwards and eat hamburgers. One great insight that they got from the movie was that with all the power God and Bruce (In the movie God gave Bruce all His powers which, of course, turned out to be a disaster for Bruce.) had, one thing that they couldn’t do was to force someone to love them. God has given us free will to decide if we will love and serve Him or not. He will never make us follow Him. Pray that this truth will continue to impact those who saw the film and help them choose Jesus and give Him their love. The two families from the Tuesday group, who attended, commented over and over what a good time they had and how they would like to have more activities like that. There has been a noticeable shift in attitude within this group. Pray that it is the Lord drawing them to Himself.
 
Thurs, April 27: David and Mayari are planning a conference for couples the first weekend of May. Pray for them as they arrange the location, plan with the speaker and take care of all the other details. Pray that the Lord would lead us to the couples that should be invited and that they will accept the invitation. Pray that it will be an opportunity to witness to them and make more contacts for our church.
 
Fri, April 28: The women of the Guatemala/El Salvador Baptist Mission will be traveling to Panajachel today for their annual weekend retreat. Pray for safety as they travel and for a wonderful time of fellowship and spiritual refreshment.
 
Sat, April 29: The missionary dads and “uncles” are planning to take the MK’s (missionary kids) out for the day today while the women are away. Pray for their safety and for a day filled with fun.
 
Sun, April 30: Andres missed church a lot last month because Erick, his dad, takes him to motocross races many weekends. Maria also missed a couple of Sundays because she was studying for mid-term exams. Andres had said he was going to quit racing because he wanted to dedicate time to his studies so that after graduating from high school, he can get into medical school. Pray that they would make Jesus Christ a priority in their lives. Pray that his dad would not be a distraction to draw him away from the Lord.
 
Our heart’s desire is to see the Nicodemus people come to know Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord and to see them gathered together to worship and grow in faith, fellowship, and service. If you would like to contact us, our email is helen.hardeman@macregion.org.
 
(Please feel free to make copies of this prayer letter to distribute to your church, prayer group, missions organization, Sunday school class, etc. We depend on your prayers.)