Conversations & Invitations

Norris Allen met Juan Pablo 20 years ago at a United Methodist meeting of some type. Their conversation resulted in Norris bringing a team of volunteers from Tennessee to Guatemala. That one conversation initiated more relationships than we can count. I am a late “add on” from 2011. For Norris and many of us to be here at the same time is an historical moment. I would name it a bridge from one generation to another…and an equipping by the grace of God.

When you meet a friend from another country, things can happen. Amazing, unbelievable things. God’s Grace is always going before us and just waiting for us to arrive. Here too.

Invite someone into whatever God is doing. You don’t have to know all the details or what it will mean in any one persons life. Just invite. Again and again. Invite!

Me, Norris and his children, Sherry & Wesley

Norris reminds me that he and Fran were married 58 years. They met in youth group at church “but she had a boyfriend”. (How many times have I heard this scenario?) But they both ended up at Austin Peay later and the match was made in heaven. “We didn’t have any bad words in our vocabularies. Bad words where never said.” They had 58 years of what marriage was intended to be: a graceful and loving partnership for life.

When I came to Guatemala in 2011, it captured my heart and everyone said: “you need to meet Norris”. So we arranged a meeting right away. He and Fran came to meet me at church. It was only a short time after that meeting that Fran suffered a stroke and Norris’ plans for returning to Guatemala changed. Until now.

So all of us being in Guatemala right now, for this time, is very special. I’m a late comer – these men are the brain trust and vision that started something that must be God’s doing because it never seems to stop! I am grateful just to be at the table. With 20 years of relationships,Pastor Jasón on the ground, and the churches assembled- we see God making all things possible again.

Howard, Pastor Ed, De. Robin, Pastor John Hembree, Norris, Pastor Jasón and Woody.

We are dreaming. We are planning. We are praying. Maybe the future includes YOU too! Whether it is you alone or your church family or whatever tribe you come with. The kingdom of heaven is bending near the earth and this is the time to fully engage. We welcome you.

What conversations are you having? It doesn’t have to be more than across the room. Across the state or across the world are always on the horizon but across the room is right under your nose. Miracles happen in all of these places every day. Not by our power but by the Spirit of the resurrected Christ. Jump in and join this journey; it is an adventure ever day! Walk across the room, or whatever distance you need to experience the risen Christ.

Dr. Robin, Adolfo. and Woody. So many years of friendship!
Summer, Woody, Adolfo, Joe & Marilyn, Robin, Jasón
John Hembree is a retired UM Pastor. He has 20 years of mission here with the original crew.
Summer returned this time after 8 years. Her mom, Connie, was part of the original crew. Connie stirred our church into mission in Central America. We still miss her!

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