God at work through Paradise Bound in Guatemala

Guatemala (MNN) — Over the past several months, Paradise Bound Ministries has done some life-changing work for hundreds of Guatemalans.

San Ramon is a refugee village that has been neglected, abandoned, and a place many outsiders wouldn’t choose as their next vacation spot. But over these last winter months, Paradise Bound finished a large project of building 49 homes for 49 families.

President of Paradise Bound Dan Smith says, “The Mission Network News listeners, two years ago, prayed us into that village, and God opened the door for us to be able to go into that village not only [to] share the Gospel through our mobile medical clinics, which was our initial impact there, but then also [to] come back over the last couple of years and build 49 houses for the 49 families. They were literally living in plastic huts.”

(Photo courtesy Paradise Bound Ministries)

(Photo courtesy Paradise Bound Ministries)

Smith emphasizes that in the last 18 years of Paradise Bound’s work in Guatemala, these were the worst conditions they’d seen. Their missions helped 45 of the 49 families to chose in following Christ.

But the work didn’t stop there. They also constructed a new church for the village. “It’s actually a new initiative that we’re stepping into as our expanding lay pastor leadership program. It’s underway in Guatemala,” says Smith. “We have hundreds of people–hundreds of lay pastors right now in training, and then we’re starting to plant them in various villages throughout Guatemala. This is another offshoot of that in an ability to be able to come in and build a small church.”

In a separate village, Paradise Bound put this new initiative into practice. “The church was growing amazingly, but they were meeting in this tiny, little one-room mud hut; and from that they couldn’t fit anymore people,” explains Smith. One of the eight mission teams that came to Guatemala over the past months was a combination team, three churches from Iowa and one from Michigan. Together, they gathered the funding and, in one week, built a new building for this village.

Smith says it was an incredible week filled with blessings. “The most exciting part was the final night, when the entire village came out to dedicate this church to our Lord. Many, many people at the end of the night were so touched and so moved that they went forward in that church and rededicated their lives to Christ. [Some] were giving their lives to Christ for the first time.”

(Photo courtesy Paradise Bound Ministries)

(Photo courtesy Paradise Bound Ministries)

As Paradise Bound outreach grows, they are finding it increasingly difficult to keep connected. That’s why the ministry is starting up a new aviation program. “We need approximately $250,000 to get this program off the ground,” says Smith. “And that’s going to tie all our national missionaries, all of these different church plants, all together over the next few years. It’s something very, very needed in Guatemala. It’s to that point now that we can no longer assist all the pastors that we are working with simply by ground transportation.”

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