By Shannon Baker, BCM/D National Correspondent
OAKLAND, Md.—It was news that many pastors like to hear.
Joshua Lahay, a freshman at Garrett Community College, has decided to follow God’s call to be a missionary.
This news made Ben Lahay ecstatic. Lahay is the pastor of Deep Creek Baptist Church in Oakland, Md. But more than that: he is Joshua’s father.
Deep Creek Baptist Church actively sends and supports five missionaries in three countries: Botswana, Guatemala and the United States, where they support Windswept Academy, a Christian School for Native Americans; First Baptist Church, Eagle Butte in South Dakota; and local ministries, Deep Creek Lake Resort Ministries and a jail ministry.
This past summer, Deep Creek took a team of ten people to Guatemala to minister in communities surrounding ClubHouse Guatemala, which serves over 400 children in five different villages through student programs and summer camps.
The church was introduced to this ministry by Amped Student Ministry, the student evangelism ministry of the Baptist Convention of Maryland/Delaware. Former Amped Ministry staffer Peter Odulana, who now lives and ministers in Guatemala, led the Deep Creek volunteers.
Among the church volunteers was Joshua, a recent high school graduate who came along to help build stoves, chicken coops and even houses for the poverty-stricken families in the Nixcio and San Miguel villages.
“The goal was to do whatever the Lord wanted us to do,” shared Pastor Lahay. Though he had served as a U. S. Marine and witnessed poverty all over the globe, Lahay was overwhelmed by the extremely poor conditions in the villages. Much of their work involved improving those conditions.
The team built several concrete block stoves, designed to push smoke outside of the houses and protect the inhabitants from smoke inhalation.
Joshua and fellow church member, Miguel Perinne, built one of the stoves by themselves. They were overwhelmed by the family’s gratitude in return.
The team also shared shoes with the children, many who “had bleeding feet because their shoes were too small.” There weren’t enough shoes to give to kids, Joshua marveled, “and not one child complained!”
He was equally impressed that the children waited patiently and didn’t touch food until it was given to them.
As a pastor’s kid, Joshua didn’t grow up with a lot of things, but after serving in Guatemala, he realized how much he does have. Now, he wants to share.
“I really didn’t want to leave,” shared Joshua. “It’s something I am being pulled to. I don’t understand it. I had no desire to leave that country.”
“God used this experience to awaken what was already in him,” Pastor Lahay said.
Joshua agreed, “That was an experience that would be something I would want everyone to do, especially Americans!”
Joshua said he wants to go back to Guatemala to help them build houses and to serve as a resource for the mission teams who come to assist in the ministry. He currently plans to earn an associate’s degree in network administration, and then attend a trade school to learn more about computers—and about metal work.
“That’s what they need there,” he said.