The Devil's Recipe for Disaster Turned Good.

July 8 2008 / ShareHim in Guatemala, May. 23 - Jun. 7 '08 #303
by Jellique Stephenson

Personal Testimony of Jellique Stephenson.

Being in Guatemala has been one of the greatest experiences in my life. I really didn’t know what to expect and I did not know how the church was going to accept me. I felt the call to come to Guatemala, but I did not know that my experience was going to be so good and trying at the same time. The many stories I experienced made this trip unforgettable.

I leaned Spanish two years ago in Argentina and I did not know how God was going to use this gift of speaking in another language for His purpose. The,n before I knew what was happening, I was on a plane to Guatemala as part of the smaller group from Southern Adventist University that would be preaching in Spanish. I was very wary about preaching because I did not know how the church would accept a non-native female Spanish speaker as the main speaker for their two week evangelistic series. I knew that God had something unique in store for me.

My campaign site was an hour and a half away from our hotel and I felt it was in the middle of nowhere. When I preached my first sermon, I was very nervous and my pastor, Jorge Gamboa, told me that he just became the pastor of six churches in his district and he did not know how the members would receive me. I practiced the sermons the best I could, but my Spanish was a little rusty. I stumbled over the words, but it was hard to read the Bible texts because the Spanish was old Spanish (Reina Valeria version), which is not the Spanish I had learned. I really struggled through the first sermon and I did not know if I could continue preaching for seventeen more sermons. God definitely had other plans for me.

The next day was Sabbath and Pastor Gamboa was not at my campaign site. He is the pastor for all of the six churches in his district, so every Sabbath he has to be at a different church. Now I felt even more nervous because I was alone and had no one to identify with, but this is when God’s blessings started to pour out. One of the brothers in the Church approached me and asked if I would like for someone to read the bible texts as they came on the screen. I was shocked and I jumped for joy at my relief over this. I was able to preach with more certainty that morning because I did not have to read the Bible verses myself, which is what I stumbled with so much. With each night, preaching became easier and easier; when I stumbled over words, the whole church would help me. They made me feel very welcome and that put my mind at ease to let the Holy Spirit do His work through me and in the minds and hearts of the people. I believe that God truly blesses those who are out to do His will.

God blessed me and brought me to a very poor church in the city of La Blanca. This church is in the middle of farm country and most people live in shacks with palm branches as roofs. Some of the people expressed that they could not hear me very well, but I had a very hard time remembering to put the microphone closer to my mouth. Then the person who ran the sound system for the church provided me with a portable microphone so that my hands would be free to illustrate my sermons. Then the audience could hear me at a steady volume. I was very surprised that the church was able to find such an accommodation though. The church and I were blessed by the use of the portable microphone.
One thing I learned from the sermons I preached in this campaign is that whatever good God does the Devil works hard to destroy. The La Blanca district was not prepared to have a campaign before I came because they did not know they were going to have a campaign until ten days before the whole event started. This means that there was almost no pre-work, not enough time to invite all the visitors and the prospect of baptisms was unknown. On top of that, Pastor Gamboa was new and did not understand how the campaign was supposed to work. I was new and had never preached a sermon before in my life and especially never in Spanish. Everyone including myself was stressed about the success of the campaign. These were perfect ingredients for the Devils recipe, but God has the Master plan. Every night we had thirty to fifty visitors and we had some baptisms on the weekends. The members of the church were able to understand my Spanish and would tell me every night that the sermon was good and every night I was getting better. I know without a show of doubt that God protected us and used this campaign for His glory and for the people of Guatemala to have an opportunity to choose Him.

Through all the experiences I had in Guatemala, I am convinced that the God of all nations, languages, and people is more powerful and glorious than anything that this world could bring. The stories of my campaign in La Blanca, Guatemala will forever strengthen my faith and remind me of what serving God and sharing his word is really about.
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