August 2002

SPIRITUAL BATTLES

The day started out nice enough.  The ladies at the Bethel Bible Church on the Pacific coast had prepared a lovely chicken dinner for the guys who sing in my ASAPH men’s chorus from the Guatemala Bible Seminary.  We set up the microphones and the keyboard and warmed the group up vocally.  People tend to come early to these special services and the place was filling up.  We asked God’s blessing on the concert and found our seats.  After the usual introductions, the men sang their hearts out and then filed back to their places for the announcements and offering.  I took care to put my conductor’s scores behind the amplifier so no one would knock over the stand with my notebook on it.  A fellow faculty member in the music department, gave a challenge from the Word of God on genuine worship.  During this time, several tremendous claps of thunder reverberated through the building as a tropical downpour began.  Eyes were wandering to the windows as brilliant bolts of lightening flashed across the skies.  The rain was deafening as the corrugated steel roof caused the storm to echo throughout the building.  Suddenly the sound equipment failed.  I said to myself, “Oh well, there goes any chance of God’s blessing here today.  There are simply too many things going awry.”

As the sermon came to an end and I was preparing to give the signal for the chorus to step up onto the platform, I reached for my music and couldn’t believe my eyes.  During the entire rainstorm a few small holes in the roof just over the front of the platform had been leaking drop after drop of water.  One of those holes was right over my musical scores.  Good thing it was memorized.  I couldn’t peel the pages apart because they were soaked!  I prayed again, “Oh God, surely it will have to be a miracle if anything spiritual is accomplished in this meeting.  Nothing seems to be going right.”  The sound equipment was repaired and we sang the second half of our program.  The pastor rose to thank us for our participation and asked the congregation of over 300 if there were any present that had made a decision.  Several young men raised their hands.  We talked with them later and found out that the message in our musical selections and the words of the speaker had combined to make an impact on their lives and they wanted to accept Jesus Christ as Savior and live for Him.  Let me tell you, I was very grateful to God for what He did on Sunday in that church in Santa Lucia Cotzulmayguapa.

PHYSICAL BATTLES

As we were driving back from a retreat in the mountains, I kept complaining to Arleen that the pains were increasing in my upper abdominal region.  There was a cell phone in the car so the couple in the back seat made a call to a mutual friend who is an internist in Guatemala City.  He answered and said that he would not close his clinic at 5 PM as usual but would await our arrival.  At 6:30 we presented ourselves and a half hour later the biologist reported to Dr. Marroquin that I had a bad case of amoebas plus a virus and bacteria in my system.  For the next week I took the prescribed medicine, but one week later I returned and got tested again, and the amoebas had come back with revenge.  The doc doubled the prescription and I am just now getting my energy back, praise the Lord.

As I was finishing the second round of medication I awoke one morning, with blood on my pillow, quite to my surprise.  Arleen discovered that my right ear had been bleeding during the night.  We called the internist, but he recommended a specialist so we made an appointment with an ENT physician.  He found a staph infection in the ear canal and, thanks to God, I am getting over that and now am back to speed with the various groups I lead, the classes I teach and the ministries with which Arleen and I are involved.

Thanks so very much for your part in our ministry of music here in Guatemala.

Phil Blycker

P.S.  As I was writing this, we received that Arleen’s mom Elizabeth, 93, was just hospitalized for a severe stroke.  Please pray with us regarding this situation.  She is in critical condition.

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