On March 1st of this year, Abogar successfully completed 11 years of service to the Lord! It’s incredible for me to even think about that reality! What a long journey it has been, and how time has flown at the same time! There have been many heartaches, trials, setbacks, triumphs, salvation prayers, and pleasant surprises on the way. It has for sure been quite the journey.
8 years ago today, at the suggestion and advice of Abogar’s board of directors, I relocated myself to here in Guatemala, for us to be able to have on-the-ground ministry taking place in Latin America, while also focusing upon the development and raising-up of local leadership. Serving with Abogar, I have visited and ministered in the dumps and slums of Guatemala, spent time with the poor and with rich, seen violence and injustice perpetuated without ability to rectify or alleviate it, met my wife and now have a precious son, seen too many children laid to rest, seen many new and beautiful children come into the world and into our ministry, and I’ve witnessed beauty to the maximum and yet also things that would break the heart of even the most stone cold person. Guatemala has had quite an impact upon me.
Reflecting on the 8 years, and the 11 years, I am certain that God has called our ministry to a steadfast pursuit of His heart and call for precious children of Latin America. Many times things do not work out as we hope or expect, but He knows the details and is leading in His will and not our own! Many, walking in my shoes, probably would have given up by now, looking at the results and maybe considering them less than significant or less than sufficient. Sometimes, when Satan tempts me also with those very thoughts, God almost always reminds me of a very important story, author unknown, that I want to share here…
There was a man who was asleep one night in his cabin when suddenly his room filled with light from the presence of God. The Lord told the man He had work for him to do, and showed him a large rock in front of his cabin. He explained that the man was to push against the rock with all his might — which he did, day after day.
For many years he toiled from sun up to sun down, pushing with all his might against this massive, unmoving rock. Each night the man returned to his cabin sore and worn out, feeling that his whole day had been spent in vain.
Seeing that the man was getting discouraged, Satan decided to pour salt in the wound by saying to him, “After all these years, and despite your best efforts, the rock hasn’t budged. Why keep torture yourself like this? You’re never going to move it.”
These thoughts disheartened the man even more. “Why am I killing myself over this?” he thought. “I’ll just put in my time, give minimal effort and that will be good enough.” But in his wrestling, he decided to make this a matter of prayer.”
“Lord” he said, “I have labored long and hard in your service, putting all my strength to do what you have asked. Yet, after all this time, I haven’t even budged the rock a half a millimeter. What am I doing wrong? Why am I failing?”
The Lord compassionately responded, “My friend, when long ago I called you to serve me and you accepted, I told you that your task was to push against the rock with all your might, which you have done. Never once did I mention that I expected you to move it.
Your task was to simply push. And now you come to me with your strength spent, thinking that you have failed. But is that really true?
Look at yourself. Your arms are strong, your back muscled, your hands calloused from constant pressure, and your legs have become massive and rock hard.
Through opposition and resistance, you have grown much in strength, stamina and ability. You may not have moved the rock, but remember this: Your calling was to obediently push against the rock, to exercise your faith and trust in my wisdom. This you have done well, my friend. So I will now move the rock for you.”
I have, for soooo long, felt that God has been calling me (and Abogar) to push against a rock, a HUGE rock, that will not budge. We have been working to be faithful, obedient, and persistent. Many times the result feels discouraging. I am not seeing an immediate, tangible result, though God knows that He is growing our muscles of obedience and dependence on Him. Being human, and hearing sometimes the complaints and discouragement from others, I, like the man in the story, can question God and His motive in all of this.
However, God has called me and Abogar to a steadfast pursuit… of obedience and patience. Abogar has seen many children (and adults) come to know Jesus Christ, and His salvation and love, through our ministry. We’ve rescued a widow and her children from the hands of someone trying to trap them in poverty and remove their property. We’ve helped people devastated by the eruption of a volcano, that obliterated a full community. We’ve protected children, and rescued children, as well as families, from threats of violence and corruption. We’ve taught children. We’ve fought to preserve and strengthen families that are vulnerable. We’ve provided resources for many families in need. Actually, the full list of accomplishments I do not want to be known here on earth, as God has asked that we not let our left hand know what our right hand is doing for His glory! But I do want it to be known that, as we are steadfast in our pursuit of what God calls us to, the results may differ from our expectations, but God has a plan of development and growth through it all, not just to those whom we serve, but also for us as well. There is a need for a steadfast pursuit, and in this we are focused on what God calls us to, and not what man plans for our wants from us! May God get all the glory as we remain faithful and steadfast, pursuing His heart for these children to have lifelong family, lifelong home, and educational opportunities!