Beth Puckett sits on a plane to Guyana, the South American country where she and her husband Steve started a ministry over a decade ago. She looks through dozens of thank-you letters but knows that for each one, there are thousands of people who’ve yet to hear the gospel. And the clock keeps ticking.
Puckett has watched as more than 20,000 people in Guyana have given their life to Christ. While she celebrates that number, she can’t stop thinking about remote areas like the savannah bordering Brazil, where some groups live in near isolation from the outside world. The laborers are few and the expense is high to reach these groups, presenting a serious logistical challenge.
Puckett has learned not everything goes according to plan. Four decades ago, as a single woman in her late 20s, she wanted only to be a wife and mother. Most of her peers were wed, and the culture made it hard to separate her identity from that expectation. So, when she met and married Steve Puckett, it was an answer to prayer. Now, she thought, I can really start my life.
In the following years, the attempts to have children failed, revealing infertility. Puckett sought out medical solutions, all the while praying to God for His favor and apologizing for wasting so much of her youth. She realized she’d been “wishing life away” and was now determined to learn to live with a present-mindedness. Single or married, parent or not, Puckett’s identity actually always rested solely in her relationship with God.
Big changes were in store. Not only was the first of their four children born five years later, but along with Puckett’s renewed vision, the Lord birthed something else altogether—a passion for global missions. Friends introduced the Pucketts to Nevis, a Caribbean island where English is the common language. Together with a team of people, they planned an island-wide revival event at the largest cricket stadium. But at the 11th hour, some pastor allies removed their support for the event, and only a handful of people became believers.
Puckett noticed most of those receptive to the gospel were originally from Guyana. One young man, Jai Ramnauth, grew so quickly in faith that he wanted to return home as an evangelist. The Pucketts felt God pointing them to focus solely on Guyana, and they decided to support Ramnauth full-time. They’ve equipped him with the In Touch Messenger, which he’s taken to remote areas of the country. One pastor wrote in gratitude: Twelve years ago he lost his eyesight and with it the ability to read and prepare sermons. The audio device has turned his life around and filled him with joy.
With roughly 777,000 residents, Guyana is one of the world’s least densely populated countries. “We really feel there’s a chance for the Great Commission to be fully realized [there],” Puckett says. “Not that everybody’s going to accept Christ, but that all will be able to hear the truth.” She knows challenges lie ahead, but nothing the Lord can’t accomplish—in His perfect time.
Photographs by Logan Cyrus