Thursday, February 20, 2020


EUM Church has been sending mission teams to Guatemala for 16 years. In that amount of time, Cliff Rapier, Missions Coordinator at EUM, has made over 30 trips. Sometimes he takes a construction team to build houses, and sometimes he takes a medical team to help meet the physical needs of the people there. He is in Guatemala now, building their 26th house.

EUM Missions works with Potter’s House in Guatemala to minister to families who live in the Guatemala City Dump. Many of them live in flimsy, tin shanties, and make their living collecting recyclable materials from the dump. Potter’s House refers to these people as Treasures, since that is what they are in the eyes of Jesus.

The Guatemala Medical Mission Team met a man named Rudy at their medical clinic in 2017. He had lost his right leg in a truck accident the year before. Rudy was depressed and broken when he came to the clinic.

Rudy had been one of the few in the area who had a “real job.” He worked on one of the garbage trucks that hauled their load to the dump each day. While on the job, he would have seen Treasures collecting recyclables, scavenging for something to feed their families or build into some sort of shelter. He took pride in his work, earning a paycheck each week. Then tragedy struck. Somehow, his leg became entangled in the garbage truck compactor, and it had to be amputated.

On the medical team that year was Stephanie House, a Physician’s Assistant at Darke County Family Health, met Rudy in 2017, “He was messed up, angry, and frustrated. He was mad at God.” The team prayed with him that day.

Rudy’s name came up on the Potter’s House list of families who qualified for a new house in 2019… and Cliff and his team just happened to be the ones who would build it! Despite having had a stroke just nine months earlier and against doctor’s orders, Cliff had made the trip to Guatemala to lead his team. He was unable to do the physical work he was used to doing, but led his team with grace and strength. Because of their physical limitations, Cliff and Rudy connected instantly. Cliff was frustrated that he could do little more than sit and watch as the team worked. Rudy was humiliated and ashamed that white, American women, among others, were building his house, and he was just “in the way.”

Had Cliff not experienced a stroke, he probably would not have even taken the time to be with Rudy. But because he could relate so well to his situation, they understood each other on a different level and their connection was instant. As Cliff recalls that encounter, he shares that he needed Rudy more than Rudy needed him!

When Stephanie saw Rudy again at the medical clinic after his house had been built, he was a changed man. “How do I deserve this? I am not good enough!” Rudy said. But when Stephanie began to share some options about a prosthetic leg, Rudy became agitated. Others had made promises like this, but failed to follow through and he couldn’t bear going through that again. But the team continued talking and brainstorming about how they could help Rudy.

On the way home from that trip to Guatemala in 2019 when the team got to their gate at the Atlanta airport (the busiest airport in the country) they “happened” to see the surgeon who would need to get the ball rolling for this prosthesis at the same gate! More conversations, doctor appointments for Rudy, a referral to Action Prosthetics in Troy, and a new leg was in the making. Carl at Action Prosthetics was able to build the prosthetic leg from spare parts that he would not be allowed to use on patients in America.

In December, the team was able to present Rudy with his prosthesis and through an interpreter Rudy said, “I don’t deserve this. I can never repay”. In response, Cliff was able to share an eternal truth with Rudy. He said, “Mercy and grace are free… we can’t earn it… this we give to you freely”.

Since receiving his new leg, Rudy is a changed man! He has been given his life back. He has gone from being depressed, angry and suicidal to being a community leader. He works to keep the neighborhood clean and well kept, painting over graphitti, and being a positive influence.

What a beautiful picture of how Jesus desires to transform us! Taking us from a life of brokenness, enslaved to sin, depression, and hopelessness to a life of freedom, wholeness and hope in Christ. Mercy and grace are free… we cannot earn it… this He gives to you freely.

Jeff Harper is Lead Pastor at EUM Church. The contemporary worship services are Saturday at 6:30 pm and Sunday at 9:00, 10:30, and 11:59 am at the Worship Center located at 1451 Sater Street. A traditional worship service is Sunday 9:45 am at the Downtown Campus at 111 Devor Street in Greenville. Kidmunity Children’s Ministry is available for kids age birth through grade six at the 6:30 pm, 9:00, 10:30 and 11:59 am services. The Downtown Campus, 111 Devor Street, houses the offices. For more information, go to or call 937-548-3211.

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