By Susan Marko
I am sitting in a school auditorium in Guatemala City as middle and high school students view the Reparando film for the first time. Shorty and Tita are sitting in the room with us and I am, once again, moved to tears. This trip is my first time in Guatemala, but I have watched Tita and Shorty’ s stories for the past two years as my husband has been working on footage from his two trips with the Athentikos team. I couldn’t help but be captivated by their lives and ministries. Now that Bobby and I are both here to participate in the premiers of the finished product, we feel overwhelmed and humbled that God has allowed us to be a part of what he is obviously doing through “Reparando.”
On Wednesday night the team met at Joel Van Dyke’s House in Guatemala City along with our Guatemalan friends who have given so much of their time, passion, and effort towards preparing for the premiers this week. I was overwhelmed by the hope they have that this message could make a real difference for their country. Everyone who has been a part of this film has such a sense that God crafted the story and the results are all to his glory. Now we are all just standing back in awe as God takes his message to the people. Again, all of our showings are full and frequent calls are still coming in of people who want to see the film. But beyond the numbers, we are hearing stories of how hearts are truly being awakened and a passion is forming to serve God’s people like never before. I include myself in these numbers.
So far this week we led an art camp for students near Antigua who have had little exposure to the idea of creative expression. It was amazing to see their joy as they realized a talent that they never knew they had, or to see them express their thoughts about themselves, their family, and God, some for the very first time. This idea that they can see God in the small things, that trash can be something beautiful, that they have the potential to dream and to “ask beautiful questions” is a brand new concept to so many of them. The teachers, who participated in the classes along with their students, seemed equally inspired and wish to continue the art program in their school.
We have also visited some extremely poor communities and walked with people who are giving their lives away to bring hope to these families. We interviewed a pastor (Mario, above) who was born and raised in the same hill town where he now serves. God reached him through powerful visions and some missionaries who came to work and serve in the community years ago. He then took us to meet some families who have been given a chance to provide for their families through a microfinance project, allowing them to borrow money in order to purchase chickens or other livestock so that they will have products to sell. These families were so thankful for the little that they had, and they thanked us for coming to their village to share in their stories. All we could do is hug them and smile and tell them in our broken Spanish how we were thankful too. God truly does use the weak to shame the wise. God’s heart is for the poor. “Blessed are the poor” is not only those who are poor in spirit. God truly dwells with those who are in need and as Tita says in the film, God is “tangible” in these places.
In trying to process all that we have encountered this week, I know I have to respond. All I can do is tell God I am standing here with open hands and trust that he will tell me how. It seems that our involvement in this film is just the first step. To God be the glory.