“My country is beautiful, full of mountains, rivers and lakes.” says Manuel, a MoveIner living in Amatitlan, Guatemala. It is rich in resources and culture, with many indigenous people groups. His city is located next to the stunning lake Atitlan which has become a popular tourist attraction. Sadly this city, surrounded by lush coffee plantations and rolling hills, has grown to be known as one of the most violent areas of the country.
Even so, this is right where Manuel believes he should be.
Before he ever heard about MoveIn, Manuel was living in one of the most dangerous neighbourhoods in Amatitlán. After a series of gang shootings only three days apart in which an elderly woman was killed and a small business right next to his home was attacked, he decided it was time to move out. That same week he was invited to visit a church he used to attend where a MoveIn representative was sharing about intentionally moving to difficult, dangerous, unreached neighbourhoods in our cities. Manuel sensed God prompting him not to leave the neighbourhood where he was living, but to stay and continue to be God’s presence there.
Manuel and his family are still living in this community, not despite the danger, but because of it. They pray every week for their neighbours as a family and they are seeing God answer prayers. They have started a discipleship group for their community members. This group reflects the community and is made up of people who have been involved in gangs, prostitution and trafficking. These are the people Jesus would disciple.
Though Manuel has faced his own financial difficulties, he is trusting God for His provision. This past month he sensed God prompting him to tell the discipleship group that they would have a special party. He prayed that God would provide. A few days later he received word that a church in the US had heard about his discipleship group and had sent money to support his ministry.
“Even though I’m in having a hard time with my finances, my God has been faithful and he has sent people I don’t even know to give an offering for the work we are doing here. My God is wonderful!” he says.
There are dangerous places in this world. In Guatemala, in America, in Canada. But these are the places Christ longs to touch and transform with his love. He didn’t come for the “healthy” in their pristine church buildings. He came for the “sick” and the broken and sometimes he calls us to follow him into those places, not in spite of the danger, but because of it.