Friday, August 22, 2014

Guatemala 2014 - A Thank You to Our Benefactors

I give thanks to my God at every remembrance of you, praying always with joy in my every prayer for all of you, because of your partnership for the gospel from the first day until now. I am confident of this, that the one who began a good work in you will continue to complete it until the day of Christ Jesus. (Philippians 1:3-6)

Click here for a link to many awesome pictures of our mission, taken by our sound technician James! :)
I am writing to express my profound gratitude for your partnership in the mission of Celebrant Singers, and to share with you a bit about my team’s recent outreach in California and Guatemala. As one of our benefactors, I consider you a very important part of our mission team and want to assure you of my team’s daily prayers for you and your intentions.

The Guatemala Team of Celebrant Singers came together for 4 intensive days of rehearsal and spiritual preparation, and then started out on our 3-week mission. I originally traveled with Celebrant Singers on a 10-week summer team to Trinidad 14 years ago, and so I was amazed not only by the invitation to travel with the ministry again, but by the idea of preparing for the mission so quickly. Any musician knows how long it can take for a group to come together musically, and even that preparation does not take into account the need for spiritual readiness and learning to work together as a ministry team. Also, our team was extremely diverse in every possible way – we ranged in age from 17 to 79 years old and came from many different Christian churches, work and family backgrounds, and countries including USA, Canada, Mexico, France, Bulgaria, and Slovenia. Even before we set out on mission, I could tell that the Lord had something very special in mind for our team, and I can truly say that by the end of the mission we had become a family deeply bonded in faith, hope, and love.

Our ministry outreach in Guatemala far surpassed any of our expectations. We were hosted by a charismatic community of Catholic Christians who had been greatly anticipating our arrival and welcomed us with open arms. The hospitality we received was extraordinary, and our presentations of music, testimonies, and presentation of the Gospel message were received by more than 5,000 people in Guatemala City and Antigua. In every place we presented, we were greeted by a large crowd of people, usually with standing room only and long lines of individuals coming forward for prayer. The great sincerity and faith of the Guatemalan people was very moving, and it was clear that the enthusiasm they had in receiving us was their way of welcoming Christ himself into their midst. We were certainly undeserving of such hospitality, but truly honored to be welcomed as representatives of Jesus.

We returned to California to conclude the ministry with the France team at the 37th Annual Homecoming Concert in Visalia and the World Touch Partners Banquet and Concert. During this time, we were able to remember the larger scope of the ministry and the importance of all of our sponsors in a very special way. Of all of the music and ministry experiences I have had in my life, this summer’s was one of the most powerful and I cannot express my profound gratitude to you for making this possible. While words may fall short, I pray that grace will suffice and I assure you of my grateful prayers.

In Christ,

Leslie A. Elliott

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