Part 4: The Power of Forgiveness

Part 4: The Power of Forgiveness
By: Kristen
Photos: Connie Rock

Dark clouds blanketed the sky, rolling past the “old man sleeping”, the iconic ridge overlooking Lake Atitlán, over the lake, and beyond the towering volcanoes. The air was damp with rain yet to fall, heavy with promise, and cool to touch. Our team stood upright in the back of two pickup trucks, holding onto railings and leaning with each curve. The wind whipped through our hair as we rounded each dramatic curve, with steep overlooks to our right and the mountainside to our left. Men, women, and children peeked out darkened doorways as we passed by yelling “Buenos tardes“! The little ones waved, smiling. The adults looked on in amusement at the truckloads of gringos. The stray dogs just looked bewildered.
From 09gu0630yi.myadventures.org
Driving to San Pablo is an adventure just in itself. After two days of VBS, ATL (Ask The Lord), and prayer walks, we were on our way to our host pastor’s church to go on home visits and minister at the church. We were excited. The sky looked ready to release its burden, and we arrived just before the first drops began to fall.

While waiting for the rain to pass, the pastor told us the history of his church, how it began, how the congregation struggled, and how the church itself was robbed just weeks before. Everything of value was stolen. Antonio’s family was attacked as well.

A few weeks after the attack, one of the seven young men involved attended the church. He accepted Christ as his Savior! Antonio was actually able to lead him to Christ. Now he prays for the remaining six who still do not know Christ. This incredible man of God has chosen to forgive the seven young men who attacked his family and robbed his church. Though he had every right to seek justice, every right to exact revenge, he has chosen love. He has chosen to follow Christ’s example and give grace.

Antonio’s church is still under construction. The main building is mostly complete, but the cinderblock is unpainted and rough. There is no bathroom yet, something they are praying to build. Antonio’s family relies on God to provide even the food on their table. He is a humble man, a warrior passionate for Christ and about his kingdom. Antonio truly is a man after God’s own heart, for he practices the Word of God with every step that he takes.
From 09gu0630yi.myadventures.org
The ultimate irony about missions trips is that while we know God is using us and that we want to serve Him, He usually rocks our world as well. More often than not, we leave feeling forever changed. Antonio’s story-his testimony of forgiveness-has impacted us all directly. Our lives will literally never be the same.

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