Julio

We arrived the in the mountains of Guatemala on Sunday night. As we unpacked I couldn’t help but focus on the dirty floor and bugs that buzzed around what would be my “home” for the next week. A giant lump formed in my throat as I asked God “Why would you have me do this?” Tears came but I then realized I needed to stop and pray instead of wallow in fear.

The Lord said to Satan, “From where have you come?” Satan answered the Lord and said, “From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking up and down on it.” And the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, who fears God and turns away from evil?” Then Satan answered the Lord and said, “Does Job fear God for no reason? Have you not put a hedge around him and his house and all that he has, on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. But stretch out your hand and touch all that he has, and he will curse you to your face.” And the Lord said to Satan, “Behold, all that he has is in your hand. Only against him do not stretch out your hand.” So Satan went out from the presence of the Lord. (‭Job‬ ‭1‬:‭7-12‬ ESV)

Within the next five minutes Pastor Joe asked that we all stopped doing whatever we were doing because we needed to have an emergency meeting. That’s when the tears really came. Pastor joe informed us that while Julio, our fantastic Guatemalan bus driver, was driving us up the mountain someone in Guatemala City where he lived had shot and killed his wife…

I have never felt so broken over someone I didn’t know.

We immediately crowded around Julio and prayed over him and his family. We were 16 hours away from Guatemala City where he left his now dead wife and 9, yes N I N E kids, one of them being in the hospital.

I was later told two huge things about Julio. Julio had been working with this team of missionaries for the past two trips that they had went on in Guatemala. When this trip was being set up Pastor Joe and Mike wanted Julio to drive them again. The missionary that lives in Guatemala informed them that he hadn’t seen Julio in a while and he had turned back to alcohol. He told them they needed to find someone else. Pastor Joe let the missionary know that he wasn’t using someone else and told him to find Julio. After a while the missionary was able to find him and asked him if he would be willing to be our driver. Julio agreed and then went to let his boss know that he was taking this job. His boss informed him that he couldn’t but Julio took this commitment very seriously. He told his boss that he couldn’t dishonor his commitment to God to take care of us. His boss said ok but let him know that when he returned the bus after our trip he would no longer has a job.

Then Satan answered the Lord and said, “Skin for skin! All that a man has he will give for his life. But stretch out your hand and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will curse you to your face.” And the Lord said to Satan, “Behold, he is in your hand; only spare his life.” So Satan went out from the presence of the Lord and struck Job with loathsome sores from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head. And he took a piece of broken pottery with which to scrape himself while he sat in the ashes. Then his wife said to him, “Do you still hold fast your integrity? Curse God and die.” But he said to her, “You speak as one of the foolish women would speak. Shall we receive good from God, and shall we not receive evil?” In all this Job did not sin with his lips. (‭Job‬ ‭2‬:‭4-10‬ ESV)

After praying, crying, and thinking I realized that I was in Guatemala because God needed me to simply love people. People like Julio that’s world was so dark they needed a light.

We were told that Julio had to make a decision to either stay with us or go back to Guatemala City to be with his family and take care of things. No one would have been mad or disappointed if he had left but the next morning when we woke up, Julio was at breakfast. Through out the morning I saw the man that just lost the love of his life sweeping up the floor, talking to people, directing patients to the different doctors and frankly working harder than I I was.

Humbling.

I believe this is an important story to tell because it puts life into perspective. This man chose to make a commitment to God a and nothing stopped him from breaking it. He was told that if he drove us he’d lose his job, his wife was shot and killed and before all of that he was looked at as a man that had turned to the world and was deemed hopeless yet he kept his commitment to the Father that gave everything for him.

He does not keep the wicked alive, but gives the afflicted their right. He does not withdraw his eyes from the righteous, but with kings on the throne he sets them forever, and they are exalted. (‭Job‬ ‭36‬:‭6-7‬ ESV)

From that moment forward I knew that I was supposed to be on that trip. Thank you Julio for changing my life. I don’t know that I could have been that strong. You’re beautiful for going and loving people when your world was the darkest. I am so grateful that I got to meet such an amazing man of God and I know that he will restore everything that was taken from you just like he did with Job.

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