Thursday, August 23, 2012



During our most recent trip to Los Angeles, I had a unique opportunity to re-unite with a very important person in my life. His name is Pablo Arnoldo, but many of his friends and family call him Chato. 

Twenty years ago, his family welcomed me into their home and into their hearts when I was a missionary in Guatemala. They treated me as if I were one of the family, but more importantly, they experienced a total change of heart when they accepted God. Sometimes people talk about religious conversion as if it were a commodity to be sold by televangelists and preachers of religion, but this was the real thing. Even as my beliefs have changed over the years, their experience still inspires me. I am especially humbled to know that I had a small part in their transformation.  

About three years ago, Chato's father Arnoldo was killed in a terrible accident. He was also a very important person in my life, and when he died, I suddenly became awake to how I have allowed this cherished relationship to suffer the neglect of time. Arnoldo's death set in motion my eventual return to Guatemala. 

Several months ago, we started planning our trip, and it seemed as though an invisible hand continued to guide my path. I don't really believe in coincidence, but it just happened that Chato and I were in Los Angeles on the same day. We arranged to meet in the home of Arnoldo's sister. We got lost along the way, but we eventually found the right street. We had a wonderful reunion! Twenty years of separation did not diminish the devotion I feel for Chato and his family.  

In his own way, Chato opened the door for my return to Guatemala. More on that later. 


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