BELIZE JOURNAL PT.1.on Guatemala evangelicals. When NEAB leaders met with Peten, Guatemala evangelical leaders to pray at the border for peace on 28 May, little did we know that it would quickly lead to an even bigger meeting. But after our heart-felt hugs at the border, we should have known that it would be hard to let each other go for long. In fact, immediately afterwards President Victor Garcia of EMAP (Evangelical Ministers’ Association of Peten) invited us to the July 18-19th CONACOME conference in Guatemala.
CONACOME is short for Coordinadora Nacional de Confraternidades de Ministros Evangelicos. In English that’s National Coordination of Fellowships of Evangelical Ministries. CONACOME is even bigger than its name. It has a Fellowship in every one of of Guatemala’s 22 departments. (In Belize they are called districts.) About 400 members of their members came to the July 18-19 conference.
It just so happened that the conference was held in Santa Elena, Peten, where one of our members made the first contact with EMAP. And of course EMAP President Victor Garcia was hosting it! Only 5 of our NEAB leaders could make it to the conference. They were President Lance Lewis, Belize Festival of Hope National Coordinator Manuel Guardado, Stann Creek Chapter Chairman Victor Enriquez, Toledo Vice Chairman Antonio Teul, and Secretary George Ferrar. We were treated like VIPs. The Guatemala evangelicals had us sat us up front. They had us stand up to cheers from the audience, before we had done or said anything. It was like the Father choosing us not by works but by grace and unmerited favor.
Despite the widespread image of Belize as belonging to Guatemala, the conference speakers spoke of Belize as a separate nation like El Salvador. And they kept on speaking of Belize. They kept asking us to stand and receive their appreciation. Time after time they asked President Lance—or all of us—to come up on stage, or to be prayed for. Or to speak. Or to be hugged. Or to be blessed. Between sessions everywhere we turned people came up to us. Dozens of Guatemala evangelicals introduced themselves and befriended us. They gave us more hugs. Also they were patient and gracious when were slow to understand their language. They took pictures with us and exchanged contact info.
But we were the ones who were awestruck at what God was doing with the Guatemala evangelicals. Uninhibited worship in the Spirit. Electrifying preaching with vociferous crowd responses. A massive altar call which forced us to move dozens of chairs back from the front. An overwhelming sense of oneness in Christ excluding no one. We were carried away by the Spirit moving over the conference even though some of us couldn’t understand much of the rapid-fire Spanish speeches.
But we understood enough to know we were loved. We were wanted. We were asked to join CONACOME. And dozens of CONACOME members want to come to Belize. They want to participate in our meetings. Most of all, to attend our Festival of Hope…
DailyInsight. Church uniformity includes everyone who looks the same. Church unity includes everyone who loves the same Lord (See Jn. 17: 20-23).
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Guatemala evangelicals welcome us to bimonthly conferences.