If you haven’t heard any news from Guatemala in a while, do a quick Google search. Guatemala is currently experiencing a time of political unrest and upheaval. Businesses and schools were shut down and many roads blocked yesterday as Guatemala came together to protest corruption within their government. Watching the news, I was struck by signs reading, “My child’s dreams are not for sale,” “Our hospitals need medicine,” and “No more corruption.”
To be honest, it was one of the most powerful political things that I have ever seen. In a rural mountain town, we were largely unaffected. We still had school though students in Magdalena did not. Traveling to Antigua or Guatemala City proved to be impossible. It would have been easy to become worried for safety and the future of this country as I am sure, many are (understandably so). I shared in a meeting, “The truth is we serve a king who cares for the kids without food, the homeless, the sick, and those in prison. I also bet he isn’t very happy about how we’ve created systems that allow one person to have all of the money of the people in his/her pocket.”
Ever heard of the Jubilee Year or the Judaic tradition of allowing widows to glean behind the reapers of the harvest? I’m not sure about the details of Jubilee. To me, it sounds like God liked to ensure that each could sit under their own tree and enjoy their property that they owned. It is not a capitalist/socialist debate. I see it as God ensuring that no one man buys up all of the land and thus preventing the rest of the Israelites as a people from enjoying the Promised Land. I’m by no means educated in theology, but I believe God to be just and corruption and extortion might be the farthest one can be from just.
So, we prayed. We prayed as a school this morning for safety, peace, and a better future for Guatemala amidst the current uncertainty. We prayed for peace in the upcoming elections that take place on Sept. 6th. And then we visited the sick.
We went on a home visit today (Pastor Ben, our friend Pastor Chad, Rosario and myself) of a woman in the cooking school who is currently recovering from a surgery due to breast cancer. Well, right now it was a mass that was removed, and she is awaiting lab results to determine malignancy. It was interesting to hear this sitting in a typical cinderblock home with a tin metal roof in rural Guatemala. A scientific laboratory doing cancer research seems about as far away as Seattle right about now. But I guess breast cancer affects all of us.
In a stuffy bedroom we visited with a daughter of God who is still worried about the outcome of her final project as she will be graduating this year from the cooking school, still caring for her children and asking when they can enroll in Love Guatemala’s art school, still being a mom needing to be reminded to rest and take care of herself for once. Politics may rage, but Jesus was clear when he said, “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’” I love this passage of Matthew 25. Though a bit foreboding (I don’t want to be a goat), it sets people like me up well who need to be told what is expected of us. Clothe the naked, feed the hungry, invite in the stranger, give a cup of cold water to the thirsty, care for the sick, and visit those in prison.
Yes, protesting can be good and is necessary when corruption runs deep. But justice for the sake of justice is nothing. Justice in the name of Jesus Christ is everything. Because of this, I am perfectly content listening to the list of worries of a sick mother and praying for peace because I know that God hears his people. If the government cannot complete this list of seemingly simple tasks, then I will work to see them done.
He is faithful. Breast cancer still sucks. And God is still good,
Caleb the Intern