An Update from the Kings in Peten, Guatemala (August 2004)

Greetings again from south of the border! We’ve had a busy couple of months… I guess it’s high time we tell you about it! But first of all, we wish to praise and give our Maker the glory for all that He’s done thru us. And we want to thank you, too, for your faithful support of the ministry to which HE has called us.

Visit the Kings personal webpage to learn more about their work in Guatemala.

The King Family: Arlen and Keturah with Asher (8), Cordell (5) and Ariana (22 months).

A Widow's Home in Sayaxche

With the help of some Brothers from Canada we were able to bless a widow with a new home. Rosa Martinez is 53 and had three grown daughters. None of her daughters are married and they all have several children. Rosa lived in a small, falling down shack with her three daughters and 12 grandchildren. We worked on the project together with a local church. Youth from the church came out to help dig footings, pour the concrete floor, etc. We hope that by showing the love of Christ to this family that they come to know Him as their Lord and Savior and will become a part of God’s family. We pray that a personal relationship with Jesus will help them break the bonds of poverty and promiscuity that holds this family in their clutches. I just learned this past week that one of Rosa’s three daughters has died, leaving her in charge of more of the grandchildren. Join us in praying for this family!

Youth Camp in Xela

In the past 15 years, MV has been instrumental in helping various Christian schools get started. The directors of these schools have formed a loose association and meet regularly to share ideas. The biggest organized event of the year for these schools is the “Olympics”. The Olympics is held at a Christian Retreat Center and students have to compete within their school to earn the privilege of participating. This year, seven of the schools sent delegations to compete in drama, choir, solos, Bible memory and quizzing, as well as soccer for the guys and basketball for the girls. This year, we were privileged to be a part of the “Olympics”. We hosted a team from our home church, Petra Christian Fellowship, in PA. The team was in charge of morning and evening devotions. It was a diversified team… ranging in age from 15 to over 50, with singles, couples, and even a family of 4! We were also blessed in that one was fluent in Spanish and several could converse well. They led worship in Spanish and shared from their hearts. It was a week of hearing from God and sharing the words He gave. They were a HUGE blessing to the kids and to us!

The team from PA, leading the youth in worship.

“Look, the fields are ripe for harvest” The 600 + kids literally poured out of the main meeting area after morning devotions.

Campin' Out and Buildin' Churches in Quiche…A Team Leader's Testimony

1. I led a team of 19 Young Adults from eastern PA to Guatemala, June 15-26, 10 other support members joined us in Guatemala; cooks, pastors and Arlen King, our field coordinator and his son, Asher (who celebrated his 8th birthday on the trip).

2. We flew into Guatemala City and traveled in 2 vans and a truck about 12 hours to Chiyutal, Quiche to construct a church and then 5 days later drove 3 more hours to Pantalox, Quiche to construct a second church.

3. The scenery was spectacular and often breathtaking, literally. The altitude was up to 7,600 ft, the roads appeared to be less then a single lane at times, rocky and wet. We even had to use snow chains on 4 tires to get through some muddy spots. Twice about 10 of us had to get behind our large cargo truck and push because of mud on a steep hill. The mountain drop offs were hundreds to thousands of feet at times, the opportunity for fear presented it's self many times. The team knew that God had called us to this place so we attempted to trust.

4. We slept in tents for 9 nights, it rained many nights (rainy season); mornings were damp and then the sun usually appeared for several hours. Water was a rare commodity, the first bath was 5 days after our arrival and it was with frigid spring water after a 30 minute hike. The camp sites were unforgettable; the first on a slope of the mountain, try sleeping in a tent on a 10-15% slope, every hour you wake up to caterpillar back up to the top of your tent, only to roll back to the lowest corner.

5. Both towns were very remote and high elevation, so local produce and fruits were rare, no electricity so our food options were limited. We ate well; lots of rice, beans and tortillas with some local meats. Sheny and Julian Carter traveled with us; she was our cook and took good care of us.

6. The team had some skilled carpenters who did a great job leading and training the rest, we all pulled together and built each of the two churches in 2 1/2 days; a wooden frame with a tin roof.

7. Both villages were Quiche Indians, an indigenous group not given much support from the government so they live in the poorest of conditions. Some knew Spanish so several of us could communicate; we had a Quiche translator so services were interesting, sometimes in 3 languages.

8. The local brothers cut all the wood with a chain saw so it was rough but adequate. The first day we didn't have all the necessary wood so Arlen proposed a plan which the team embraced. We purchased a 500 gallon water tank and proceeded up the mountain about 1 1/2 hours in the pickup truck until it was impossible to go any further then we started the 3 hour walk to San Pablo, up over the mountain on some times very narrow trails. Eight of the guys took turns carrying our empty water tank (4 guys), a generator, and video projector and sound system. The last hour it poured rain and even hail (we found a shelter to hide under for 20 minutes) and finally on to the church most of us were soaked and cold. We showed some videos and the pastor with us preached. The church was packed. During the service most of us had opportunity to gather around a fire in a nearby hut to dry off. After the service we started our long 4 hours trek up over the mountain assisted by our flashlights (batteries and bulbs were changed by several). We arrived back at our camp site at 1:30 AM, exhausted but also ecstatic at what we had accomplished in 12 hours as a team. It set the pace for the team unity the rest of the trip, we discovered that with God's help and the unified team we were nearly unstoppable. We were deeply moved the next day when the Pastor from San Pablo walked 8 hours to thank the team for coming to his town to bless his people. It was a WOW for us all. Yes, it was tough, the hardest living conditions I've every endured, the adventure was extraordinary for us all but the blessings far outweighed the negatives. The team unity was a divine miracle. The Psalmist says that where there is unity the Lord commands a blessing. Believe me, we experienced the blessings of God!

9. We thank God for protection, health and His smile on us. Yes, we had about 10 people sick through out the trip. Doctors were out of the question. We did a lot of praying and believing and they were each raised up to health in a short time. The scriptures tell us to pray without ceasing, the principle came alive for all of us.

10. We were blessed to be part of about 5 services with several hundred in attendance. We often showed a video; a RARE event in these parts. One of the pastors traveling with us preached. We had an evening dedication of the first church and had a wonderful service. The pastor walked his family home 3 hours, slept 3 hours and walked back 3 hours to travel with us to the next village. We saw commitment and dedication like we have never experienced before. The team was deeply affected by the commitment of the Quiche Christians.

11. The team was a worshipping team, they sang whenever possible, in our truck travels, in the vans, as we hiked, at our team meetings and in the services. I often told them we were like the praisers that King David sent out before the Army. We were very aware of the darkness and evil in the locations we were called to serve but God protected us as we press in. I could go on and on with more details and blessings but I hope you get the flavor; God was faithful!! The lives of these young adults are forever changed. Pray for them as they try to process the struggle of poverty and our wealth (financially and spiritually). We had awesome team meetings, honest sharing and questions. It was an experience that requires some response or a callused heart will develop. This was a team with several leaders, I sense several are headed for some time of service. It was an honor and privilege to be their leader and guide for 12 days. Yes I was twice their age and I huffed and puffed a bit more then they did as we climbed the mountains but PRAISE God I arrived not far behind them and never experienced any back pain; another miracle in my life for which I am SO grateful! And yes I left part of my heart in Guatemala again. I am dreaming of another trip to Quiche in 2005 to locate more Quiche villages with a team of hikers. Pray as I discern the call in my heart to assist Brother Diego, the local evangelist. I am dreaming of taking teams periodically to carry generators and projectors to the remotest villages. So many have not yet heard the gospel, I believe that we can assist the local indigenous brothers to carry the gospel to their people most effectively. Our team did travel to places where "white man" has never traveled. We were the "circus" come to town; we created interest so the local brothers could preach and share the Gospel.

Breathtaking scenery.

We slept in tents.

Carrying the water tank.

Pastor Diego Melchor - Evangelist and our guide; Ken Reinford - Team Leader;
Arlen King - MVI Field Coordinator

Construction in Chiyutal

The finished Chiyutal Church

The finished church in Pantalox