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by Pastor Steve Crombie

The River Church, Minnesota

He and I stood there awkwardly during a break in the conference. I had been around Pastor Diego during a previous trip to his native Guatemala, and I had grown to respect the little I knew of him. He’s one of the oldest of the pastors at 68 and has eyes that sparkle with the love of Jesus. On that day, neither of us spoke the other's language. In broken English, Pastor Diego asked if I spoke Español. I said no. I asked if he spoke any English. He shook his head no. It was a frustrating and awkward 60 seconds. At that moment, I determined this will not happen again. That was in 2019.

When I got saved long ago, world missions quickly became big on my radar, which is why I’m grateful to be part of like-minded NRP. Because I have some familiarity with the people and the country, Dick & Susie Bashta, my personal mission heroes, invited me to help kickoff the first term of the first year of theROAR school in Guatemala! About 30 village pastors and leaders met together in a town called Chicamán to grow as ministers. Though most of the men are pastoring, all are first generation Christians and are very young in the Lord and in their knowledge of God’s Word. What an honor it was to be with these men and teach with Clay & Anita Brooks and Ashley Roll of Living Stones, IN. Wesly Sanchez was our liaison, interpreter, and logistics coordinator extraordinaire. He’s a wonderful man of God and a blessing to work with.

I’m so grateful for the opportunities that present themselves through NRP to sow into the nations in ways that I’m certain will reverberate in heaven forever. It’s humbling to be asked to teach what I’ve learned of God’s Kingdom and His righteousness to passionate men who are already faithfully shepherding the people of their small villages high up in the clouds. All of them speak several mountain dialects, including Español, which brings me to my recent visit.

Since that difficult exchange with Pastor Diego three years ago, I learned enough Spanish to greet the brothers and ask about their families. Are they married, how many children, how many boys or girls, how long have they been pastoring, and a few other things. I asked Wesly to help me craft a specific conversation I wanted to have with Pastor Diego. When he got there, I was able to greet him in Español and ask how he was. I asked if he remembered that awkward time we had, not knowing each other's language. He said, “Sí.” We both agreed it was no muy bueno–very not good. I then told him, “Because of you, I decided to learn Español.” He looked at me, and then put his head, sparkly eyes and all, on my neck and gave me a long, warm embrace.

It’s a powerful thing to communicate with a person living in another part of the world in their language and see the familiar love of Christ shine back at you. Psalm 57:9 says, “I will praise You, Lord, among the nations; I will sing of You among the peoples.” The next chance you get to praise the Lord among the nations, my advice is to go for it!

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