This summer I ended up in Guatemala on three separate missions with groups from New York, California, and the Maritimes. I enjoyed all the planned ministry with each team, but the best moments are always the ones not on the schedule. The moments where God sets you up.
One day on our way driving back from the villages the construction was minimal, the traffic was light, and the bus driver very fast. We made it to Guatemala City in record time. We decided that we would celebrate what a miracle that was, by going to the Central Square and seeing what God might open up there. We were not disappointed.
The group of about 20 were mostly new to street or park ministry, and seemed a bit nervous. As we got into the square, I was a bit nervous too. Nervous because there were a lot of people and noise, and all the obvious busking-type spots were already taken. We stopped in the middle of the park and prayed that Jesus would direct us to the spot he wanted us to set up. After several more minutes of wandering I picked a lamppost at one corner of the park and we began to do music and drama in spanish. Soon we had a pretty good crowd in our little corner and we told them through the translator that God had a plan for them and we would love to pray for them. Before long the students were not nervous anymore. They were spread out among the crowd praying for people. This went on for a good 45mins, and included tears, hugs, and an impromptu rap by a street performer. Were were having church in the park!
As things were winding down, one of the group’s leaders came up to me and said: ” Remember how we stopped and prayed that Jesus would lead us to the right spot ?” I said: “Of course.” Then he said: ” I want to show you something…” He lead me to the other side of the lamppost; there on the base, in english, was spray painted one word: “Jesus.” I laughed out loud. Sometimes God answers our prayers in ridiculously obvious ways.
All of the events that were seemingly random, were not random at all. Jesus was guiding us to a place where people needed to hear about Him. Some of those people were deeply moved and hung with us for the rest of the afternoon. The nervousness of the group was replaced with joy, and the desire to do it again.
I was reminded that day, that God is always present, and God is always leading. Sometimes He speaks to us in a still small voice… and sometimes He speaks to us in graffiti! In any case, we can have church wherever we are if we keep our ears, eyes, and heart open to His Spirit.