Guatemala: Our Next National Conference?


Church planting team in Esquintla, Guatemala, looks over a new site.

Next January when the international General Conference meets, we hope to welcome Guatemala as our newest national conference–our tenth. I visited Guatemala earlier this year. Let me tell you about our pastors and churches there.

Eight million people live in Guatemala City. Five volcanoes, two of them quite active, surround the city. The landscape is flat with huge gullies produced by lava flows. The roads curve around through the lava flows. It takes a long time to drive anywhere in Guatemala City.However, Guatemala is probably more developed than the other countries where we operate in Central America–Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, El Salvador. There are a lot of shopping malls. But because Guatemala City has eight million people, you do see a lot of poverty in that mix.

We have 12 churches in Guatemala, and a number of new church plants. They are basically divided into two geographical locations–around Guatemala City, and in the coastal area of Esquintla. I visited a number of the churches. Some are what I describe as “picnic shelters.”

I was so impressed with the pastors, especially their level of dedication. They work with very few resources. Most have committed themselves fulltime to the work, even if they have no income. They live by faith. Nobody owns a vehicle. One project for Self Denial is to purchase a vehicle for the conference.


A United Brethren church in Esquintla, Guatemala.

The pastors live very simply. Most of them have a humble, one-bedroom home. Everybody sleeps in the same room. All resources go into the ministry.

Our leader in Guatemala is Francisco Najera. He is a wonderful, ┬áhumble, committed leader. You can see leadership oozing out of this guy in the way he develops a sense of teamwork among his fellow pastors. I’m excited about how God is using him.

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