This was submitted to our church’s newsletter for October 2017.
In 2013, our family traveled to Guatemala so our son, John Edmund, could be exposed to the country and the culture for the first time as he was too young to accompany us on the CUMC mission trips. One of the memorable things for me on that trip was getting to participate in the morning devotions at the Project Salud y Paz Clinic. They were in Spanish so I didn’t get too much out of the words, but the experience of being a part of this public ritual, with the patients literally waiting to see the doctor in the next room within hearing distance(as shown above), while the entire staff listened to a local Methodist pastor, Pastor Sebastian, lead us in hymns, give a short message, and end with a heartfelt prayer, always felt so very right. Due to a breakdown in relations between Project Salud y Paz and the Guatemalan Methodist church, those devotions stopped in early 2016. Jan and I continued to greet Pastor Sebastian enthusiastically whenever we saw him. I’m pleased to say our new executive director, Kristen Rinaldi, has placed a high priority on restoring the relationship with the Guatemalan Methodist Church and she is having success in these efforts. As a result, weekly devotions with Pastor Sebastian have begun again! There had been 25 small Spanish hymnals in the clinic previously but they had been misplaced as things were moved around during the almost two years in which they weren’t being used. Jan and I tried to find them, more for use by our short and long-term volunteers, as most of the Guatemalan Christians know all the hymns by heart. We were unsuccessful but Pastor Sebastian kept asking about them. I returned only 9 of them to him last month after finding them on a bottom shelf in the patient pharmacy, of all places. This small and gentle man gave me a huge hug and he smiled the biggest smile you ever saw.
When we used them again for the first time, the hymn he chose was Holy, Holy, Holy. The devotions were indeed Holy.
May you feel and recognize God moving in your life today and always!
Jan, John Edmund and John Lage, Jr.