As I shared in a previous blog post I have been diagnosed with Chronic Moderate Gastritis. There is no sign of infection or parasite so my Gastroenterologist thinks the major reason for my stomach issues is stress. Nice! Anyway, just like I teach the girls at the Shelter, God always has a plan. Here is my story…
My gastroenterologist also attends our church. His wife works with heart patients but also acts as his nurse for clinic procedures. While I had seen them around church and know his parents I had never really met the Dr or his wife. After I had an endoscopy my Dr’s wife comes into where I am recovering from anesthesia and tells me her story. She and her husband both received their specialty degrees in Germany. She goes on to tell me about the 3 years they spent living in Germany and her struggles living in a foreign country so far away from family and all that was familiar. She actually had severe physical issues as well due to the stress of it all. She then proceeds to invite me to be a part of a small discipleship group. She told me I needed friends here. The group began because God answered her prayer and provided a similar group for her when she lived in Germany. When she returned to Guatemala she prayed for a small group to study the Bible with and pray. Almost immediately a lady in our church approached her about joining a small group she was starting. That was 5 years ago, right about the time we moved to Guatemala. For the past couple of years I have prayed for a group of ladies like this. And here it is handed to me because of stomach issues and an endoscopy procedure I did not want to have. I have been meeting with this group for a couple months and what an encouragement they are to me.
I have also been praying for years that the Lord would show me how to connect Guatemalan women with our ministry at the shelter. As well as praying for avenues to teach the ladies skills so that when they leave the shelter they have a way to support themselves. Many of them only have an 8th grade education at most and several can not read or write. Many times I am heartbroken to hear the fear in their voices as they tell me that if the judge allows them to leave the shelter they do not know where they will sleep that night and they have no way to earn money. Again, God had a plan and through this small group I met a lady who took classes at a local college on how to make Chorizos and Longanizas (local sausages) of the quality to sell. She has taught me the process and this Monday a group of 5 ladies from church are going with me to the shelter to teach a class on sausage making. The ladies at the shelter are so excited! A few responded with “WOW” and asked me tons of questions. You could hear the hope in their voices. What an answer to more than one prayer!
God is always working whether we see it immediately or we have to wait 5 years! Be encouraged, God will complete his plan! We need only to be faithful and patient in the waiting.
Gerald and Sarah Lastrapes
Along with their two children are missionaries in Guatemala. They will be sharing stories of discipleship through prison and shelter ministries.