By Jeannie L Horton
Life Christian University student
Chacalte is a very poor community located high in the mountains of the northern part of Guatemala and usually isn’t listed on any maps. To get to Chacalte, it’s a 7 ½ hour drive from Guatemala City and a 1 ½ hour drive from Nebaj, the nearest town. The roads are extremely run down and make traveling difficult and slow, especially during the rainy season. However, the close-knit community of Chacalte is extremely grateful and excited to see a group of missionaries that come twice a year, a near 20-hour trip. The missionary group is from Evergreen Christian Center located in Hillsboro, Oregon. They are the only group of missionaries that come, there is no one else. When you’re in the town, it’s almost hard to believe that 600 people reside in Chacalte. It appears to have one main dirt road, but after further examination, there are side roads. The side roads are steep and extremely slick especially when it rains. But for the kids who wear gel shoes and the mother’s who wear flip flops, they seem to get around fine. When the van carrying the missionaries arrives, almost every child comes out to greet them with such excitement, they even chase the bus! This year was different as more adults from Chacalte came out to greet and shake our hands. They trust us to come back and relationships are being formed. We are salt and light to them, showing them the love that God has for them.
As Christians, we are called by God to be seen by others as living examples of the love and grace of God, which others are encouraged to follow. God loves all of His children and He truly wants us to live the Godly lives He intended for us from the beginning of time. We do this by staying close to Him, influencing the world as Christians, and letting God’s light shine before others.
You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste (its strength, its quality), how can its saltness be restored? It is not good for anything any longer but to be thrown out and trodden underfoot by men. 14 You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do men light a lamp and put it under a peck measure, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house. 16 Let your light so shine before men that they may see your moral excellence and your praiseworthy, noble, and good deeds and recognize and honor and praise and glorify your Father Who is in heaven (Mathew 5:13-16).
These verses are from the Sermon on the Mount, found in Mathew 5-7. It is part of Jesus’ Galilean ministry and is one of Christ’s most famous teachings, consisting of a variety of topics that dealt with matters of the heart. The sermon occurred on a mountaintop above the city of Capernaum. The twelve Disciples of Christ were there, along with a great crowd who came to listen.
I. THE IMPACT OF SALT AND LIGHT
Why is God comparing us to salt and light? Salt is a preservative, it enhances flavor, and makes us thirsty! As Christians, we are the salt of the world. We are to preserve God’s greatness; Enhance the flavor of God, and make people thirst for God! We can do this with the help of the Holy Spirit and by being obedient to Christ. We want others to get a taste for something better, to thirst for the Living Water that is Christ, for it is He who came to give eternal life!
Jesus also has called us to be light to this world, for God is light. “For God Who said, Let Light shine out of darkness, has shone in our hearts so as [to beam forth] the Light for the illumination of the knowledge of the majesty and glory of God [as it is manifest in the Person and is revealed] in the face of Jesus Christ (the Messiah)”(2 Corinthians 4:6). The Dictionary defines light as a “source of illumination.” Illumination, as part of the 5 infallible steps of faith, is when God’s Word awakens within our hearts, mind, and soul. “Illumination is when God is able to bring across spiritual truth from His kingdom in such a way that suddenly our minds are in agreement with our spirits” (Wingate 85). Christians shine Light in a dark and sinful world through the truth of God’s Word. We shine God’s light into the hearts of unbelievers and help bring them to a place of faith in God.
II. STAYING CLOSE TO CHRIST
God loves us, and truly wants a close relationship with us. Just as salt and light can dissolve, we can also as Christians! I believe that in order for us to stay on fire for God, we need to stay close to Him. Most importantly, we need to love God with all of our heart, soul, and mind; He needs to be #1 in our lives. He wants us to daily read and study His Word. It is not for His benefit, but ours! God’s Word is a love story to us from Him; it’s an instructional manual on how to live the best possible life that He intended for us, and is a useful tool to fight against the attacks of the enemy! We are to worship Him and pray daily, asking Him for everything, from the big things to the little things. He wants us to go to church as often as we can, as an act of obedience; fellowshipping with other believers and receiving encouragement. When we sin, we should ask for forgiveness and repent immediately as sin breaks the fellowship with Him. And be thankful, giving thanks to Him for everything! He’s the God of life, glory, love, mercy, goodness, grace and hope! Everything He does is good and for our benefit so we should thank Him for it.
III. WE ARE TO INFLUENCE THE WORLD AS CHRISTIANS
Joyce Meyer says that “All life is tasteless without love. Even acts of generosity done out of obligation, but without sincere love, leave us empty. Love represents the salt; it is the energy and the flavor of our lives” (Meyer 1485).
We serve a great God and we need to fill our lives daily with Him and share His love with others. As a believer, I want God’s love to shine through me. I want my life to be a reflection of who He is and I want people to say, “There’s something different about her!” Since we may be the only Christ some people will ever see, I want to live as God commands me to live in His Word and I want His light to shine through me and make people thirst for Him!
With the help from Food For The Hungry, the missionaries from Evergreen Christian Center have a 10-year commitment to go. (This is the 3rd year). According to the Food For The Hungry website, it is an organization that “provides life-changing resources such as clean water, medical aid, food, equal educational opportunities to girls and boys, vocational training and empowerment in the midst of unimaginable hardships.” (www.fh.org). With each visit, the relationship with the community gets stronger. My daughter and I were on this year’s trip to Chacalte, Guatemala. The trip lasted 8 days and our time in Chacalte was four.
While in Chacalte, our main purpose was to install water filters in the homes and to put on a vacation bible school for the kids. It was the women that wanted the filters. By installing these filters, we were saying “Yes, we heard your requests, you matter and we care about you!” Normally what the families had to do was boil water on a wood burning stove to get rid of bacteria so that they could drink and use it in their food. During our stay, three groups of at least 5 missionaries went into 15 homes a day to install the water filters. We also showed the families how to use them and clean them. Each time we finished installing the filters, we prayed with them. When we were finished, they all said the same thing; that they were very grateful for the filters because it would save them a lot of time and firewood.
We also put on a VBS for the kids each day. Our main goal was to teach them how to hear from God. We did this through skits, coloring, worship, and games. We knew that if just one kid understood what we were trying to teach them, that person would go and tell the other kids and their families what they’ve learned. I am pleased to say, several got it and they saw the Light!
IV. LET YOUR LIGHT SHINE BEFORE MEN
“Let your light so shine before men that they may see your moral excellence and your praiseworthy, noble, and good deeds and recognize and honor and praise and glorify your Father Who is in heaven” (Mathew 5:16). I believe this verse is saying that we need to live our lives in such a way that makes people thirsty for God. We want to give the world a taste and glimpse of who Christ is, so as believers, we should strive to do our best to follow His perfect example. They will see how we live our lives, God’s light that we give off; they will see our good deeds, and they will want to also praise and glorify Him who is in heaven.
Fresh water is something that the youngest children of Chacalte don’t think much of. They know when they are thirsty; their mom gives them something to drink. But, to most of the community, the ease of how they now obtain fresh water means a lot. The kids in this village do know that twice a year, a group of missionaries comes to visit and play with them and they feel God’s love! For this community, they don’t have a lot and they are not visited by outsiders often, but the impact of each special visit will live in their hearts for a long time.
“Go then and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe everything that I have commanded you, and behold, I am with you all the days, to the close and consummation of the age” (Mathew 28:19-20).
As Christians, the world is watching us. I want to show the world the love of God and I want to share His goodness and glory. I want people to come to know Him as I do and to have faith in Him. He has said in His Word that we are the salt and light of Him and that is what we truly are. We are called to live as Christ commanded in His word, loving God with all of our heart, soul, and mind and being led by love for others as He did. We are to stay on fire for Him by staying close to Him. We are called to be Christ-like imitators, letting God’s light shine before others, to influence the world, and to go out into the world as His disciples making new disciples. I want Him to be proud of me and to one day say, “well done you true and faithful servant.”
All scriptural quotations are from Meyer, Joyce. The Everyday Life Bible: Containing the Amplified Old Testament and the Amplified New Testament. New York: Faith Words, 2013.
Agnes, Michael. Webster's New World Dictionary. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2004.
Wingate, Douglas. Divine Faith & Miracles. Harrison House Inc, 2012.
Meyer, Joyce. The Everyday Life Bible: Containing the Amplified Old Testament and the Amplified New Testament. New York: Faith Words, 2013.
"Food for the Hungry Works to End Poverty in the World's Hardest Places." Food for the Hungry. Accessed July 25, 2017. https://www.fh.org/about/.