Lee's Summit First teams with church in Guatemala - Word&Way

Lee’s Summit First teams with church in Guatemala

Using bags of groceries and crayons, 10 members of First Baptist Church, Lee’s Summit, shared Christ’s love in impoverished San Marcos, Guate­mala.

Susan Escher from First Baptist Church, Lee’s Summit, visits with children in San Marcos, Guatemala.

The team partnered with First Baptist Church, San Mar­cos, to minister in the community.

The week started with a prison visit. Members of the mission team joined with members of their host church to lead prisoners in worship.

Throughout the week, the team assisted with Vacation Bible School, spoke in local schools and provided bags of groceries to community members.

One of the school teachers, a Roman Catholic, shared with the team that she had observed many pastors who served for their own financial gain, associate pastor Gary Snowden shared in a trip update.

“She observed that the FBC here…was different. They really were involved in the community and were seeking to meet the needs of others, and this had impressed her,” he wrote. “She expressed her opinion that this was what churches should be like.”

The team split up into groups to carry grocery bags of staple food items — such as rice, beans and cooking oil — to members of the community. According to team member Thorvald Rygaard, the food was made possible through a special offering taken by FBC Lee’s Summit.

The team brought the food to acquaintances of local church members. According to Snow­den, many homes were no larger than a 10’ x 10’ space, with room for a bed or two and no other furniture.

“Seeing what we experienced today was heartbreaking on many levels, but it reminded me of how greatly we’ve been blessed as a nation in comparison with so much of the rest of the world, and what a tremendous responsibility we have as Christians to meet the needs of others as God permits us to minister to them,” Snowden wrote on the second day of the trip.

Many of the people the team visited prayed to accept Christ, but Snowden said they didn’t keep a record of numbers.

First Baptist Church, Lee’s Summit, was also able to partner with First Baptist Church, Farmington, to assist Santiago, the pastor in San Marcos. Santiago and his wife have taken in eight boys who were living on the street. He has enrolled them in school and teaches them carpentry skills. “He truly gives his all to the Lord,” Rygaard said.

Donated funds from the churches will help Santiago build an extra room to serve as a dormitory for the boys.

“Of the several mission trips I have participated in, I believe in the area of direct mission/witness work that our trip to Guatemala was the most effective and rewarding,” Rygaard said. “However, I know that only the Lord can truly evaluate our service for Him.”

Jennifer Harris is Word&Way's news writer.