Let's Do That Again

June 18 2008 / ShareHim in Guatemala, May. 23 - Jun. 7 '08 #298
by Eli Rojas

Personal Testimony of Eli Rojas.

My trip to Guatemala was filled with excitement from the beginning. My heart was beating faster than a jet engine as we stepped into the airport. I could feel my heart making its way into my throat. “What in the world had I gotten myself into,” I wondered. I’d preached once before in Spanish, only two or three times in English. Needless to say, I didn’t feel good enough or experienced enough to preach a two-week campaign series completely in Spanish—no translator, no buffer—just me and the audience every night for two weeks. It was definitely going to be a challenge at least.

As I stepped into Guatemala and I saw all the curious faces watching me move with the rest of the preaching heard, I felt awkward and out of place. I didn’t belong here. But it was way too late to back out now; I didn’t want to lose my deposit. The first few days, we spent in Guatemala City and the first day after we arrived in the hotel, we proceeded to blindly step into the most dangerous neighborhood in the entire city. We went out in our little preaching heard. We walked boldly were many bad guys lay eagerly awaiting. No matter what though, I never feared. No matter what danger was around me, I never really worried.

The next day they informed us that we could go in any direction other than the one we had just gone in. The first two days were relaxing. I felt at ease in the relatively comfy and secure hotel. An armed guard with a shotgun watched every passer-by and interrogated every intruder to make sure no harm would come to us. We were taught a couple of fool-proof preaching methods and before you knew it, we were on our way to our true destination. We walked into paradise. We stayed at The Itra—one of the most prestigious locales in all of Guatemala and my eyes started to water. In my mind, I let down my guard down. I thought that I was at home—well, just a tad better than home.

But then, before I could blink, it was time to get to work. My ride came to get me an hour after I was told to be ready just because there was miscommunication. I stared out the window until I saw an older man going from cabaña to cabaña trying to find me. Then we walked almost a mile to his truck. It was a green pick-up truck that apparently belonged to a lady in the church. I shook many hands on my first night, and honestly, I was too scared to even know what I was doing half the time. But God had brought me to this very special place. I got up and preached awfully. I didn’t even know what I was saying half the time and I read most of the sermon. Yet, God blessed me and there were more people the next night. I met some cool people the first nights and the first Sabbath was very testing, and as brother Isaiah and I drove up to the hotel, I was overjoyed.

As badly as I always thought I did, God brought more visitors. We rarely got chances to relax and then for only a few hours. But God blessed. The church was about forty-five minutes away, and it always served as my relaxing time. There were fields of corn and rubber trees. We must have crossed fifty rivers, which were still preserved in perfect nature. We were surrounded by volcanoes, too. I promised Isaiah that I would preach better every night, and for the most part, that was true. I was out of my mind with excitement. I was being used by God!

Then I got a wakeup call. Half of my group dropped out. Some of them were really cool people I came to look forward to talking to. It seemed that no matter how well I thought I did and how much I thought I had improved, half is a lot, especially when it only leaves you with twenty or so people. But I came to realize throughout the campaign that the worse I did, the more God used me and the better the result. I thought I might have destroyed their campaign. After all their hard work, I thought there would only be one baptism.

I felt like I was being useless, so I decided to go on visits. The head elder Andy and I went to visit some people by the old rail road tracks. There was a small family where a little boy and girl lived with their mother and father. I walked in after walking about a mile or so and taking a bus. Yet, they were in the first row every night. I walked into a room with no floors and a small curtain serving as a barrier. They could pay the bus toll to get there. They showed me the notes they had taken, and they knew some of the topics better than I did. That little family gave me hope. I was thinking that there was no way we’d reach ten baptisms that was projected, but that family gave me the last push I needed and I’m proud to say I finished strong.

After I preached, I thought that it still wouldn’t be enough. The pastor gave a nice little speech and told the baptismal candidates to come forward. One by one they came up and in the morning alone, there were nine baptisms. In the afternoon, more were baptized. This trip blessed me so much because it made me realize how influential I really am in winning souls. I preached okay some nights and worse on others, but people still came every night. Through the rain and distance they came. I was awkward and boring many times, but God still blessed. I realized that I really don’t have anything to do with how many people were baptized. God brought all those people back to Him and I am ecstatic that he could have used me to do it. And I can’t wait to let Him use me again!
Can we improve this page?  Yes  No