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His heart began to open to “neighbors” he never knew existed.

His heart began to open
Local Guatemalan pastor (far right), Deybee sat down with neighbors whom he had been praying for for a long time.

Written by Andy Sims, Vice President of Leadership Development

High up on the mountains just outside San Jose Penula, Guatemala, there are clusters of homes separated by pastures, farmland or deep ravines. 

Life there is simple, yet hard. If they aren’t related, their families have known one another for generations.  

While visiting a government office, Deybee Berrios, Lifeline’s field director and pastor in Guatemala, noticed a map dotted with these villages that were a short drive from his church in the center of San Jose Penula. At that moment, something stirred in his heart.

Deybee decided to just drive the dirt road that connected these villages. With his eyes wide open and his lips whispering a continuous prayer, his heart began to open to “neighbors” he never knew existed.

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Steeped in tradition, the people on these mountains were known to distrust outsiders. 

Deybee discovered past attempts to “evangelize” got nowhere. They’d even threatened violence to a few strangers who suggested a new way of thinking.

With his heart already captured, Deybee started a weekly trek up that mountain. He began praying from an overlook along the road for the first town - Monte Redonde. Every week.  

Soon, he met a few locals, slowly building friendships and trust. He visited homes, played with children after school, offered to help with local projects or needs, and walked through every open door. He took his time, careful to love first. Of course, he kept praying.

At the same time, a woman named Yolanda began visiting one of his house churches in San Jose Penula. She was baptized and quickly invited her grown children and extended family to join her. With each new baptism this family’s joy grew. How could they keep sharing their good news? 

his heart began to open collageAfter a lot of prayer, Deybee met a few locals and he slowly started building trust. 


One day, Deybee mentioned his solitary trips up the mountain each week. “Monte Redonde?!” they gasped, “That’s where our whole family was born.” 

While Deybee had been praying for open doors on the mountain, God sent him a “person of peace” practically next door to his church.

Different family members began going with Deybee each week, introducing him to community leaders and offering him insider access.

“I’ve got even more family in El Colorado,” Yolanda said, “Let me take you there.” 


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Doors are still opening to reach this community for Christ. Please pray for the people living on this mountain! 

Andy Sims, Vice President of Leadership Development, shared, "A few weeks ago, I visited both of those villages with a van full of foreigners. One family after the next welcomed us warmly, fed us a fabulous meal, and even taught a few of us to milk a cow. I’m not sure they completely understood our fascination with their simple lives, but our differences seemed less important as the day went on. After allowing us to pray over their home, each one pleaded for us to come back.

There is no happy ending to this story. Not yet. But when you realize how it began and Who is in control, you already know it’s only going to get better."

 


If you’d like to visit Guatemala, take that trip up the mountain with Deybee, or support his vision to reach the next village, please contact andy.sims@lifeline.org.