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The new Bible sitting on my desk…

16/06/2011

is a gift from The Bible Society in Guatemala (Sociedad Biblica de Guatemala-TBS).  Today, I was invited to a “kick-off.”  Let me tell you about the Bible and the story behind it…

It is thinner than my other Bibles without hard cover.  This was required so weapons couldn’t be smuggled.  It has plastic water resistant cover and is in modern Spanish.  In the back is a plan to read the Bible in one year, glossary, a history of how we have the Bible today and maps.  They cost $6.50 each. They are stamped extensively not for sale, donation only.  It is plain, simple work, but oh so beautiful….

Today, this Bible is going into the juvenile prisons in Guatemala City area.  400 of them at first printing.  The story begins 5 years ago.  TBS does a lot of work in rural areas, inner city and over 90% of its financial support is raised in Guatemala.  They partner with ministries and churches.  Five years ago a conference with representatives from several countries to discuss street ministry issues was scheduled.  The support team quit en masse a  day before the conference.  Pastor Ignacio Sanchez received a call to ask if he could help on short, very short notice.  He put a crew together out of gang members he worked with, literally asking them to leave their AK-47s at home.  Most of them kept their 9mm pistols well hidden, but set up the stage so this conference of Christian leaders could go forward.  Is that not wild?

Out of that came the introduction of El Barrios for Christ (Ignacio’s ministry) and TBS.  El Barrios for Christ providing much of the man power and TBS giving tracts and Bibles as they partnered to share Jesus on the street and in prisons.  Out this came the idea of providing chaplains in the juvenile prisons.

Prisons are so different here, violent, no heat, no air conditioning, water and electricity are iffy in many cases.  Many places you sit on the floor to eat with your fingers.  Population issues are wild.  They have to separate gangs and gangs are separated from general populations.  I have heard there are 5 and 6 year olds in prisons here.  Young women who are pregnant when imprisoned go to a special place where they deliver and can keep the child with them until 4 yrs old.  The child goes to family or into foster care then.

One would think that getting into juvenile prison to minster the Gospel would be desired.  The person over that part of the prison does not believe one can be rehabilitated only punished.  TBS approved staff insisted they pass the Bibles directly into the hands of the inmates.  The prison insisted on doing it through their staff.  Notoriously, anything given through the prison administration is sold on black market.  The guards and administrators pocket the money generated.  This was the sticking point three years ago and this remained a stone wall til about 10 days ago.  An assistant administrator was put in charge when the top dog has taken a one months leave of absence, (not sure why – grin/wink).  This second man is a Christian and believes transformation is possible through Christ.  The director of projects for TBS got a phone call last week.  “When can you go into the prisons,- I will sign all the documents,- no, not just the gang areas, you must go into the general populations as well….” (and you don’t think God laughs?).  In a country where nothing happens fast, Ignacio and The Bible Society have put 7 chaplains in 7 different sites and they went in TODAY with these Bibles in their hands and the Gospel on their lips.

Scripture says there are few things eternal.  God obviously is one but the only other things eternal are the Word of God and the souls of men.  God has used Vine International to encourage Ignacio and the work of El Barrios for Christ.  We are a small, small part of the story above.  As much as I have referred to Ignacio, El Barrios for Christ and The Bible Society, they would say too that they are a small, small part of the story as well.   They are quick to give the Glory to Christ.  They are right.  I hope you can see God in the details of this story and in the details of your life.  Some believe God is impersonal and that He set the world in motion and now sits on some rock out there in space.  Fools.  We are powerless here against the government.  God removed the hinderance; God gave wisdom to have the materials ready to move and the idea of a program in place;  God stirred the hearts to move and when that door opened seven brothers and sisters ran through that opening.  This is a work of God and we will see eternal fruit.

In Christ

Dennis and Cindy McCutcheon

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. Jess permalink
    16/06/2011 10:12

    Love this, Uncle Denny and Aunt Cindy. Amazing what the Lord does. Many times we are so amazed and should be! at how He works. May He be glorified through your ministry and El Barrios and TBS ministries. Many prayers and hugs from up North. 🙂

    Like

  2. Dave Russell permalink
    16/06/2011 10:47

    Dennis & Cindy. Thanks so much for the story. The Kingdom is near—even in the prisons. Thanks for declaring liberty to the captives and setting prisoners free.

    Like

  3. corki permalink
    16/06/2011 18:05

    I was moved to tears. As To being a small part of the story, you of all people know there are no small parts as all are important. If we do not listen to God and act then the opportunity might be missed. Rock on brother! !!!!!

    Like

  4. Billy O permalink
    17/06/2011 06:13

    What a wonderful testimony of how God intricately moves in our lives to bring about His glorious plans and to cause us to believe in Him by faith and act on that belief. He is faithful and powerful. Keep up the good work and do not become discouraged for you will reap in due season.

    Like

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