Missionary Update – Michael Van Oostveen

            Greetings from beautiful Guatemala. I am here to give you a little update on what is going on in my life right now in Guatemala during the Coronavirus outbreak. I first want to start this letter by thanking God; we serve a great and marvelous God who is not surprised by anything that is going on in our world. He will be with those who call upon His name at this time. Our hope as followers of Him is that during this time we can show the peace that He has given us. We can show the peace that goes beyond understanding, because we are not of this world. Our home is with Him in heaven and we have a great opportunity as believers to proclaim to a quite crazy world right now, how much He loves them! Pray for ways you can minister to others from your home, we do not need to save lives because that’s Gods job, we just need to be willing people who will proclaim His name to the World!

            As for me in Guatemala, I am self-isolating right now in my house. It has been a crazy time in the past week but through it all, I see the goodness of God. Since the virus has become a pandemic, everything in Guatemala has shut down except for essential services. Hospitals, Pharmacies and grocery stores are still open to the public but our President has urged everybody to stay in house. The reasoning is because Guatemala is a third world country, if the virus started to spread it would do a lot of damage here. Many people have bad respiratory issues with the volcanoes and I’m afraid the virus would fatal to many people here. Our president has been amazing through this whole situation. He is a former doctor and that is a blessing for Guatemala because he understands the seriousness of the virus. He has built another hospital in 48 hours in case we need it for more patients. Thankfully, up until this point March 21, 2020 we only have 13 reported cases in the Country. Friends what really gives me hope in this time is that our President here in Guatemala is turning to God as well. March 21, 2020 is a day of fasting and praying for Guatemala. Our president realizes that this situation is bigger than any one people can handle by himself or herself and we need to turn the One who can protect us. I truly feel safe here in Guatemala knowing that this Country is turning to God. There is no better place to be than to be in God’s presence.

            I did try to come home to Canada on March 18th, once we heard that everything was shutting down, including the mission I work out. My parents the director of the Arms of Jesus and I thought that it would be best for me to get home to Canada to be with family. We bought a ticket for a flight on March 18th but on March 17th the President of Guatemala closed the airport to all flights incoming and outgoing, as well he closed the boarders. The result was that I was not be able to get on a flight to Canada. In the moment, I was a little upset because I did want to be with family, but after some time to process everything I realized it’s safer for me to be in Guatemala right now.  The main reason why I wanted to get home is because I’m a Type 1 diabetic and people with compromised immune systems are in danger if they get the virus. I wanted to be in Canada in case I got the virus I could go to a Canadian hospital and get free health care. The Country of Guatemala is doing the best I can with hospitals but I don’t feel super safe if I had to go to one for treatment. I also wanted to get to Canada for my medications like insulin. I have enough insulin for now, it should last me till August or September but just to be in Canada it would be easier to get if needed.  These are the main reasons for me wanting to get home, but I have to tell you, my spirits are good and I am thankful that God is protecting me here in Guatemala. He knows what’s best for my family and me and our trust is in Him. Guatemala feels like home for me too and I am blessed to be here.

            I am self-isolating in my house for precaution and I am constantly washing my hands and taking showers to protect myself. I am testing my sugars to make sure I am staying at good blood levels. I am reading the bible, praying, working out in my room and watching lots of YouTube and Netflix. That is all I can do right now. I am a bit of an extrovert so isolation is  not easy. All I really want is to have the school open again and I can get back being with my children. I miss them a lot; I am praying that they will all be okay during this time. I love my mission here in Guatemala and I know that this time of isolation is only for a time.

I invite you to join me in a four-fold prayer during this time.

  1. Pray for Guatemala and that this Country will continue to see Gods favour over it.
  2. Pray for my diabetes, that I will be okay during this time and that I will not run out of any medication.
  3. Pray that if the Lord wills it that I will be able to find a flight to get back home to Canada.
  4. Pray for the salvation of our world, that Gods presence will be undeniable to people.

Philippians 4:4-7 New Living Translation (NLT)

Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again—rejoice! Let everyone see that you are considerate in all you do. Remember, the Lord is coming soon.[a]

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.

Serving Him,

Michael Van Oostveen