David Byrd stumbled through the darkness to find the outhouse, trying to avoid the guard dogs roaming the area. Twenty bats flew out of the door when he opened it. He was high in the mountains of Guatemala, hundreds of miles and worlds away from his home in Douglasville, Georgia. It was terrifying.
David had been on this missions trip for several days. When he returned home, all he could think about was Guatemala. For six months he cried and prayed, his heart burdened unbelievably for the Guatemalan people.
He was an elementary school teacher. His wife, Vickie, had a good job at a heart clinic. He knew God was calling them back to Guatemala, but he had to be sure – more than sure – before he gave everything up and followed. After three visions from God, he knew it was right. The Byrds moved to Guatemala in June 2005 and have never looked back.
“Our call to Guatemala is to provide the basic needs of the people and share the gospel,” David said.
The people they serve, in the eastern part of the country, live in poverty that is unimaginable to most Americans. By meeting the physical needs of the people, David and Vickie find hearts more receptive to the Word.
The Byrds ministry provides 290-gallon water tanks for families that otherwise would not have a source of clean water. They give blankets to seniors and children who sleep on the cold ground. They help students with books, uniforms, shoes, and school supplies, so that through education the kids can break the cycles of poverty in their community.
Hunger is a huge concern for people living in drought-prone eastern Guatemala. To meet this need, David and Vickie give corn and black beans, and also provide formula for babies. They have two feeding centers, one in Guayabo and the other in Pinulito. Over 100 children and 45 adults are fed between them.
The Byrds have seen spiritual growth in their community, as well.
One particular story stands out for David:
“Sister Nubia and Sister Maria went with me to the village of Guayabo to help with praise and worship and teach the Bible story. However, on this particular day as we left going back down the mountain, we met a woman walking. She wanted a ride down the mountain to the town of Caparja. When we arrived at the bottom of the mountain, Sister Maria said wait a minute. Sister Maria wanted to share the gospel with the lady we picked up. After sharing the gospel, she received Jesus as her savior,” he said.
God has been faithful in David and Vickie’s lives and ministry. Whether it was miraculously keeping David’s truck running, or providing the means to serve the people, He has been present every step of the way.
David encourages those called to missions to follow God and let nothing stop them. “When times of difficulties come, and they will come, rely on your call to strengthen you to press on.”
“The most important part is to love the people you are called to serve,” he said. “Love them as you would you own family.”
To partner in ministry with David and Vickie to reach the people of eastern Guatemala, click on the project link below.