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Volcano Fuego Disaster 

AFTER THREE MONTHS… our continuing efforts in the shelters and the government’s temporary living areas (newer shelters) now consists mainly of emotional and spiritual support, often in the form of comfort food and coffee. We still respond to acute needs, like replacing a microwave or fixing a propane stove, but conversation and prayer are our main cargo.

     Thank you for your continued prayers, inquiries, and support during this challenging time       – Pat & Yesenia 

International Children’s Month

October 1 is International Children’s Day around the world, but that isn’t enough in Guatemala. We celebrate the entire month. MCUGuatemala.org provided special meals, cakes, pinatas, and special prayers at each of our regular mission sites. We hope to get to many of the volcano shelters to do the same with as many of those kids as possible. It has been and will continue to be a blessing for us!

Breaking the Poverty Cycle

When our organization started working in Guatemala in 2014, we were determined to do more than give stuff away. We wanted to change lives and give the children and families of our neighborhood opportunities to escape the vicious cycle of poverty.

That goal has proven formidable. When a community feels they are “in their place”, it is difficult to convince them they can do better. Christian preachers tell them to trust God. They can pray for better days, but they should accept their current lot.

Years of relying on government assistance and NGO handouts play a role in this as well. Are their bags of food and plastic shoes God’s answer?

Gangs prey on the youth who still entertain dreams of a better life. But better than what? Is having some money and more food enough? Is it the appeal of a brotherhood allegedly caring for them in tough times the answer?

Better choices? 

We need to provide a better alternative. We need to promote better dreams. We need kids to have hope and offer a path to its realization.

Of course, we are not saying prayer isn’t a good idea. But I must have told the story of Farmer Bob and the great Mississippi flood a hundred times over the past few years.

In that story, Farmer Bob is warned consistently of an impending flood. As the waters rise, Bob declines offers of help and evacuation from the police, fire department, army, and ultimately, a coast guard helicopter, insisting that God will hear his prayers and save him.

When Bob dies, he asks Jesus why he wasn’t saved. Jesus replied, “Bob! I sent the police, fire department, army, and the National Guard. What were you looking for exactly?”

Providing the rescue

We believe God placed us here for a purpose. And we believe He has provided us with a fire truck to help children and youth.

Starting in January, we will send adolescents from our community to computer training classes.

In Guatemala, keyboard training is still a big thing. There is a keyboard training center around the corner from our feeding program.

Two years ago, they added Microsoft computer training to their offerings. A one-year weekly course results in a government-certified competency certificate in general computer operations and all the major Microsoft programs, including publishing and presentation skills.

This could make the difference between landing a job in a better section of the city or the suburbs, where corporations like Nestle, Purina, Bayer, and Xerox need skilled computer operators.

There are also government, airport, and military opportunities where these certifications will give our kids an edge.

More than just classes

Because these certifications are useless without a high school diploma, we will offer this opportunity only to adolescents currently in high school or young adults with a diploma.

Practice time is essential, but many of these students might not have computers of their own yet. To help them out, we will provide access to four computers and offer free WiFi in our feeding program.

The computers will be available while the feeding programs are in progress and during some evenings and weekend hours when the attached church has services or other functions.

We hope this program provides an incentive for our kids to stay in school and will convince others to return. Support in the form of supplies and books will likely be part of that effort.

As the program develops, we will reach out to computer and programming companies for assistance in the form of discounted computers and software.

Want to be a fireman?

Right now, we are reaching out to you. The computer school is offering these classes at a discounted rate of Q75- or about $11 – per month.

To help cover the cost of electricity and cable, we are asking supporters to consider sponsoring a student at a cost of $15 per month or $150 lump-sum for the year.

MCUGuatemala.org (A Couple of Christians and Misioneros Cristianos Unidos) will provide as much assistance as possible to the students.

But it is your help that is vital. We have our first four sponsors already. The school says they can handle 16 more students before they need to regroup and consider additional instructors.

We would like to make that happen real soon.

We believe computer training will help rescue our children from their poverty cycle.

Our dream is to see our feeding program end someday because no one here needs our services anymore.