This past Saturday, churches from Guatemala and Belize took a different approach to solve the tensions between Guatemala and Belize. In an event called “Operation United in Christ” more than sixty people came together to pray and intercede for the border conflict to be resolved. Pastor Nelson Larios representing the Association Evangelical Ministers of Peten and Pastor Lance Lewis from the National Evangelical Association of Belize addressed the congregation.
Pastors Lance Lewis and Pastor Enrique Novelo from the NEAB spoke about the need for unity, given the grounds of shared cultures and goods.
“The borders that we share, in a sense, not fully but the partial heritage that we share and the education and schooling that we share because there are seven hundred Guatemalans that come to Belize each day for studies and there are several other Belizeans that go across; there is cultural, there is medical and all of that so we share a common thing and a common goal and border. So we see that this problem that is occurring between Belize and Guatemala need not continue. We believe it is a time for this to come to an end. We think the time is now and we have come here to pray for God’s divine intervention.”
“As the nation of our Lord God we are one nation and it’s human nature that puts barriers. If you guys could have seen, we were in unity praising the creator; the owner or the one that created the whole universe so that is our main goal as the body of Christ, the nation of God to ferment unity; the Guatemalans and within the Belizeans.”
Pastor Lewis balanced the importance of keeping Belize’s territorial integrity and a peaceful resolution in mind at the same time.
“Belize has a clearly defined border and that has been so and people in Guatemala and in Belize recognize that. It is usually the politicians that try to stir dissension but we believe that things will come to pass that we will remember and recognize that we gained independence in 1981. We are a sovereign nation, it has been recognized by the entire United Nations and we just pray that Guatemala will recognize all of this and go back to what was defined in 1859 and stick to that because the people in Belize and Guatemala get along quite well, why should the politics destroy us.”
Pastor Lewis offered insight on the influence that the Associations of Churches would be able to have on the government given a crisis.
“We will ask the government to continue their diplomatic means of solving the problem but ask the church to help in prayer for the solution to be found. It’s already there but for Guatemala to recognize our borders and to allow things to be as it was before the rising up of the tensions started in the south and along the borders because of the shooting incident of a minor. We believe that the churches can help by prayer and by intervention. Those are the two areas and we think prayer is the greatest intervention anyone can call on because God is sovereign and he rules in the affairs of men. We ask the government to recognize that. The fact that the Prime Minister could have said, he is with us with this is a testimony that he realizes this. I don’t think it’s just political talks, I think he recognizes the power of prayer so I think he will need to talk to the church as often as possible and ask the church to pray.”
Pastor Nelson Larios from Peten stated that the Associations from Guatemala that were present on Saturday would be taking the message of unity to linked associations all throughout Guatemala.