THE NICODEMUS PROJECT, GUATEMALA CITY
You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you. Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord, the Lord, is the Rock eternal. Isaiah 26:3-4
That isn’t a typo above where “the Lord” is repeated. That is the way the NIV says it. When we start getting anxious because our prayers aren’t answered, or we don’t get the direction from the Lord we need when we want it, or life is one crisis after another, it is good to be reminded that if we can just keep our focus on the Lord who is our steadfast, eternal, unshakeable Rock, then we can also have a steadfast mind and live in perfect peace as we wait on Him. Even though our sentiments don’t “feel” His presence, He has promised to be with us always and that promise is more trustworthy than our feelings.
Sat, August 1: With much joy we share that Siomara’s dad Jorge came through his open-heart surgery with flying colors. She reports that his recovery has been much quicker than when he had similar surgery seven years ago. Thank you for your prayers. Now you can praise God with us! Pray for his continuing uneventful and complete recovery. They ask prayer that they will have many opportunities to testify of God’s sustaining grace through this experience.
Sun, August 2: Here’s another big praise! Last month the Impacto Biblico Church moved into its new, larger location on the second floor of a building on a major thoroughfare. The members worked several weekends getting the place painted, sheer curtains up and furniture moved. The inauguration was held on July 12 with over 80 people present, including many from our cell groups. Pray that the Lord will give us a clear vision for winning the Nicodemus people and bringing them into our church, discipling them and equipping them in turn to minister to others.
Mon, August 3: Today the Hardemans will be on a plane to the States to spend at least six months. Thank the Lord for the opportunities they will have to share what He is doing in Guatemala. Thank Him for the time they will have with family and friends. They will have a reunion with George’s family August 21-26. Pray that they will be able to find time to rest and be renewed.
Tues, August 4: Last week the Crown group that meets at Manuel’s house saw a movie together as their end-of-course activity. At that time, they decided to keep meeting and studying God’s Word together. Pray for them to be consistent and faithful to the group. Pray for their salvation and for Manuel, Siomara and Iñigo as they lead the group.
Wed, August 5: The situation with Victor and Annie came to a head when he said her college-aged daughter would have to leave the house. Annie would not agree to this, and, sadly, they have divorced. Pray for them as they work through this difficult time. Annie attended the worship service at Impacto twice last month. Pray for Siomara and Helen as they try to encourage her and point her to God’s strength during this time.
Thurs, August 6: Last week was very full for the Hardemans as Helen was turning over the reins to three cell groups, had a farewell brunch with her Curves friends and an end-of-course outing with the latest Crown group. George had a trip to El Salvador to check on properties and last minute things to finish up in the office, plus the final packing. Pray for Janet as she will have the office to herself, trying to cover both the financial and legal responsibilities though she and George will be in constant communication electronically. Pray that she will have the stamina and wisdom necessary to do the job. Pray for George as he will return to an office without her as she moves to Chile in January.
Fri, August 7: Sharon’s final surgery is scheduled today and the doctor said it would be between 2 to 4 weeks until he releases her. Pray for her during this surgery and that she will make a rapid recovery. Pray for her re-integration into the church and cell groups when she returns and that God would lead her to where He wants her to minister. Sometimes it is hard to get back into things as quickly as one would like.
Sat, August 8: We rejoice in the birth of Alexandra Elizabeth (Ali Beth) Hammond on July 7. Jennifer and Ali Beth are doing great. Adam will be traveling a good deal as the Cluster Strategy Leader for Middle America and the Caribbean. Pray for Jennifer as she takes care of three children under the age of four. Pray for wisdom for Adam as he must make decisions in leading our cluster in effective planning to reach the lost for Christ.
Sun, August 9: The first Sunday that the church met in the new location last month, Angel, from Manuel’s Crown group, came because the group had agreed to meet there and have lunch together afterwards. Praise God with us that he made a profession of faith that day! He feels strongly that he has a lot of spiritual needs and would like to attend the church services. His wife, however, is very much against it and has no desire to know anything about spiritual things; so he hasn’t been back. Pray that the Lord will touch her heart and that they will soon begin attending together.
Mon, August 10: The cell group that meets at the Hardemans’ has decided to continue meeting. David and Mayari have agreed to lead the group. We finished the study series on Proverbs last month. They are still tossing around the decision about what to study next. Pray that the Holy Spirit will convict them of their need of a personal relationship with the Lord and the need to get involved in a church. Pray for David and Mayari as they lead the group.
Tues, August 11: David and Mayari will also be leading the Tuesday night group at the Hardemans’. This group is studying The Purpose-Driven Life. Last month there was an interesting discussion about the biblical meaning of baptism. Pray that the members will understand that the sacraments of the church cannot save or impart grace but that salvation comes only through personal faith in Jesus Christ and pardon from sins.
Wed, August 12: The group of moms of young children was suspended a couple of weeks last month because of Jorge’s surgery and Ali Beth’s birth, but has gotten started again. They are studying Dare to Discipline. Pray that they will be able to find books for everyone in the group and that this group will continue to grow and lead to witnessing opportunities.
Thurs, August 13: Now that Angel has accepted the Lord, pray that he will set aside a time to be discipled in his new faith. Pray for Iñigo who has accepted the responsibility to guide him in this discipleship.
Fri, August 14: Pray for Siomara and Mayari that they can coordinate their schedules to be able to go one day a week to the Pro-Life Association and serve as counselors. Pray that, not only will the Lord lead them as they counsel, but that also they will make more contacts for witnessing opportunities.
Sat, August 15: After much anticipation and preparation, Carol Wilkinson will be arriving in Guatemala today to begin her ministry with university students. Please pray for her as she adjusts to a new culture and meets new people. She is excited to be arriving in Guatemala; however, she will also be leaving behind good friends in Costa Rica both nationals and other students at the language institute where she has been studying.
Sun, August 16: Victor and Juanita are having a pulpit and communion table made to give to the church. The new sign still needed to be finished and hung when this was written. More and sturdier chairs need to be bought. Curtains or wall hangings to reduce the outside noise and inside echo are needed. Pray for the different committees to have a coordinated vision and be able to prioritize to get the most urgent things done first as the budget allows.
Mon, August 17: David and Mayari were dealt another discouraging blow last month when the Spanish Embassy here refused to grant their visa request although they had the authorization and all the papers from Spain. They can challenge the decision or begin the process all over again, either of which could take another year or two. Pray that the Lord would touch the heart of Ruth, the secretary at the Embassy, who seems to be very antagonist to their petition and the one causing the negation of their request. Praise God that he is the Lord of the impossible!
Tues, August 18: Manuel continues to eat lunch occasionally with his friend Manuel. Pray that he can continue to counsel, encourage, and witness to him. Pray for the restoration of Manuel and Xiomara’s marriage as they are still separated. Continue praying for Nuelmar and Ericka, other friends, that they will be convicted of their need of God and that they will begin attending church.
Wed, August 19: Tonight’s group at Manuel’s house has decided to do the chronological Bible story series. Pray that the members will be committed to the group and there would be no obstacles to prevent them from attending. Pray that each one will be sensitive to the will of God. Praise God that Mabel successfully defended her thesis and should graduate in October or November.
Thurs, August 20: Since moving into the new church facility, an adult Sunday school class has been started. Also, last month a group began meeting there on Thursday nights for prayer. With some involved in cell groups two nights a week, it may be hard for them to add another night’s activity. Pray that those who do meet to pray won’t be discouraged if the group is small, but will continue to support the church in this way.
Fri, August 21: Continue to praise God with us for Manuel’s job at the non-profit organization. Pray for God’s protection and wisdom to reign in his life. Now that his responsibilities are greater, pray that he will receive a substantial raise so they can pay their mortgage because his current salary doesn’t completely cover their budget needs.
Sat, August 22: Cristina and son Tomas leave today for Spain where she will have her baby in October. Iñigo will join them in October after finishing his seminary classes. They will return after Christmas. Pray for their safe travel and a safe delivery for Cristina. Praise God for their tremendous support in the Impacto Church and cell groups. They both play instruments; she has helped with curtains at the church; they designed a new logo for the church; and he has been co-leader of a cell group with Manuel.
Sun, August 23: Manuel asks for prayer that the leadership of the church will have the disposition to work together as a team and that God would lead them with His vision for making strategic plans, with activities directed at reaching the Nicodemus people with the Gospel. Pray for more active members who will use their gifts in working with children, adolescents, youth, couples, and other ministries.
Mon, August 24: Ana from the Monday night group lives just around the corner from Richard and Sharon. She has expressed interest in repeating the Crown study because she feels she needs to review the principles. Helen has encouraged her to serve as a co-leader with Sharon upon her return to begin a group in Zone 15. Ana is very Catholic, but has come to two church activities and spoken very positively to the cell group about them afterwards. She also has many social contacts. Pray that she would come to know Jesus Christ as her Lord and Savior and become a person of peace opening the door to many others.
Tues, August 25: Missionaries Margie Carothers, Gini Cadenhead and Sandy Michael have finished the Crown course and are interested in leading a study in their neighborhoods in Zones 11, 12 and Ciudad San Cristobal. Pray that the Lord will guide them to the right contacts and open doors of opportunity.
Wed, August 26: Pray for Carol Wilkinson as she looks for avenues to enter the universities in the Guatemala City area. Pray that she would find people who would be willing to help her with language studies, cultural studies, and finding her way around Guatemala City. She lived there from 1997 until 1999 but there has been a lot of growth in the city since then.
Thurs, August 27: It is time to get the next round of Crown study groups started. Making the contacts, finding the most strategic places to meet, finding leaders, setting the date for the first meeting are the most difficult part. We have several contacts throughout Zones 14, 15 and the Salvador Highway who have expressed interest in taking the Crown study. Pray that God will guide Manuel or the new cell group coordinator to be able to recruit leaders and get the ball rolling. Pray that this study will continue opening doors to new contacts and sparking interest in spiritual things and a hunger for more Bible study.
Fri, August 28: Nathan and Claudia Hardeman for many years have had a desire to work more directly with children in Guatemala. An opportunity has come open to purchase two plots of land near Antigua where they can build a children’s home. Nathan will make a trip to the States the end of this month to see if he can find enough support. Pray that if it is the Lord’s will for them to purchase this land that he will find the financial help they need. Also, Rebecca Hardeman returned from Hungary on the 10th of this month after spending two months there on a mission project. Thank the Lord for the lives she touched while she was there. Pray for her as she has begun classes again at Southeastern Seminary and as she looks for a much needed job.
Sat, August 29: Pray for Sharon on her return as she resumes leadership of the cell group that meets in Zone 15. Pray that the Lord will direct her as she renews her contacts in her gym and as she looks for ways to use her craft abilities to make new contacts and open new avenues for witness.
Sun, August 30: The Leagans will leave for their stateside assignment on September 3. The Carbonells, also, leave on September 18 to take a position with the State Department in Bangladesh. Ellis and Judy have helped with the preaching and music at Impacto. Victor and Juanita have led a cell group, taught English classes, and started a nursery at Impacto. They will all be greatly missed. Pray for the Lord to guide them in this change. Pray that the members of Impacto will not be discouraged as several families leave but will take up the slack.
Mon, August 31: Today George and Helen will be meeting with some leaders from First Baptist Church, Duncan, Oklahoma to discuss the possibility of partnering to reach the Nicodemus people of Guatemala with the gospel. Pray that God will guide us as we share the challenges with them and seek ways to use them strategically.
(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.)