Last year, we distributed over 2000 Bibles in locations around Escuintla and Guatemala City. Most were targeted to be replacements for Bibles lost in the Volcano Fuego disaster and were handed out in the shelters.
But we found a need for more Bibles existed in the other areas we serve, too. Hundreds were distributed to folks in Cocales, Pamamus, and Guatemala City. Earlier this year, I realized we made a faux pas. While it was great that each child in the Youth Church in Cocales had a Bible, some were not old enough to get much out of them.
In one of those God-manipulated coincidences, I returned home from Cocales to find an e-mail from a friend in New Jersey telling me to expect funds for children’s Bibles to be directed toward us toot sweet.
Praise God… young children’s Bibles are now in the appropriate hands, as are some really cool Bibles for young adults.
BOOT OUT INFECTIONS
In March, we collected enough donations to provide new rain boots for each child in the Pamamus community school and those in the youth church in Cocales.
Any additional funds received will go toward outfitting particularly needy children in the city with rainboots and ponchos as we strive to keep the kids healthy and in school during the rainy season.
Women’s Ministry 2019
Once again, we will sign up with MOPS- Mothers of Pre-Schoolers- to provide extra support and ideas to our women’s ministries. MOPS is a Christian US-based organization with a large presence in Guatemala. We receive Spanish-language materials and access to speakers and conferences during the year from the group.
One of those conferences was a leadership training meeting outside the city. We sent Yesenia and our two site-leaders to kick off the season. A third ministry is well on the way to becoming a reality in Cocales, too.
Children’s Ministry 2019
Over 250 children signed up for our children’s ministries in La Cuchilla and Santa Fe. Not only will we feed the children like always, but we also kicked off an awesome children’s Bible study program.
It is a hit with the kids- from the 3-year-olds to the 12-year-olds. Videos, play, and book-activities keep the children engaged. We will fit in lessons about social and health issues as the year goes on, as well.
Another wonderful Christmas
Our 2018 Christmas project was a great success. Not only did we distribute over 1000 toys, but children and families received sweaters, caps, umbrellas, shirts, food baskets, and other needed items.
Best of all, we delivered the Good News of Jesus’ birth, including why He came and how He is still with us to more people than ever before.
Thanks to your generosity and prayers, we expanded our reach to folks sheltered after the Volcano Fuego disaster and a small orphanage in Zacapa.
Thank you for your help. We look forward to an even bigger Good News celebration in 2019.
Our most difficult request …
If there is one thing we hate to ask for in our role as missionaries, it is financial help for us personally. But we have to ask you to share any resources you can to allow us to remain devoted to our missionary work full time.
Since we stopped working regular jobs, our ministry has taken off. We have big plans for more growth in 2019, but we have to be present with the kids and their families as much as possible to realize them.
Raising our own baby only adds to the urgency of securing an income we can count on. If you can help us with either a one-time or monthly donation to the missionary family, would you please go to our donate page and note “family” in the comments section or use this link to donate to our crowd-funding family appeal THANK YOU!!!
2019 Children’s Ministry Activity Books
We just received the activity books that help guide Bible lessons for our youngest children of the feeding programs and our Cocales rural mission. We are super-psyched about growing our children’s ministry in 2019!!!
Yes! it’s that time of year again when preparations for our annual Good News Celebrations take place. We hope to get enough funding to buy 800 sweatshirts and 800 new toys to be distributed in multiple locations around Guatemala.
Each celebration includes a short animated story of Christmas, a lesson about God’s love and why He came to earth (and is still here!), along with games, and special meal or snack.
We also will bless dozens of unfortunate families with special Christmas food baskets in time for them to enjoy some respite from their situations on what should be the happiest day of the year for everybody.
Women’s Ministry keeps on rolling 10.18.18
The women’s Ministry continues to meet monthly in each of our feeding program locations. In La Cuchilla, the group has evolved into a church resource for prayer and neighborly support. In 2019, we hope to offer the group resources for a goodwill fund they can use to provide meals or medicines as part of their outreach.
At our October meetings, Yesenia preached and there was a healthy discussion about a local topic of concern. Then she shared a new recipe for shrimp, sharing the results (donated to the program) with the women in attendance.
Feeding programs winding down 10.16.18
Our feeding programs continue to thrive, along with our children’s ministry. At the end of November, the program traditionally stops for most of the children. It is a time of travel and activities related to holiday business and work opportunities, so attendance drops precipitously after December 1. There are several families in need who we will continue to assist throughout the year.
The programs kick off again in January with a year-opening celebration. We have purchased new books for the children that will serve as the guide for our Bible lessons and we are already lining up a schedule of special events and guests.
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!
Volcano Fuego updates 10.10.18
We’ve largely wound down our work with the survivors of Volcano Fuego. The majority of affected families are in temporary housing built by the government and receive regular shipments of food and basic needs.
There are still a few private shelters we visit and assist with emergency repairs and unexpected medical needs. For the most part, we visit just to remind them they are not forgotten. Prayer and emotional support are as important as anything else as they wait for permanent placement in a still-not-designated location.
NO MORE TOES…
… for over 200 of our poorest children in Pamamus and Los Cocales. That is how many pairs of brand-new sneakers we distributed as part of our rural outreach.
Each child received a bag addressed to him or her with blue, black, or brown sneakers and two new pairs of socks. For many, it is the first pair of new sneakers they ever owned.
If they were lucky enough to have bought new shoes earlier, it was likely shoes for school, church, or the fields.
There are no words to describe the delight of the children in Pamamus. They couldn’t wait to try them out. A soccer game broke out before we were finished and kids were running in all directions.
To add to the happiness of the day, which included a song and dance presentation by the students to us, we provided each teacher and school worker with a new pair of sneakers, too.
Meanwhile, in Los Cocales…
…enough new sneakers were left with the pastor to outfit each of the 30 children in their church program, as well as the pastoral family.
We are trying to help the pastor build his youth program and felt that allowing the sneakers to be distributed without our presence helped him somehow.
When we returned home that evening, however, the pastor’s wife called us. She asked if we were safely home and told Yesenia to put our phone on speaker.
Then we were serenaded with a chorus of thank you’s and God bless you’s from the entire youth group. The pastor couldn’t wait to give them to the kids, going door-to-door to gather them up.
We were also pleased to notice that the bibles donated by our friends at Langhorne Presbyterian Church are going to good use in Los Cocales. When we attended a service there recently, many of the youth arrived with their new Bibles in hand.
Our feeding, children’s, and women’s ministries continue. Classes for the children continued thanks to several volunteers who took turns while Yesenia and I were traveling the past two months.
Several members of our Women’s Ministry leadership attended “Mom-Con”, a gathering of mothers sponsored by the international offices of MOPS- or Mothers of pre-Schoolers-in the capital city. They are anxious to share new ideas and concepts with the rest of the mothers in our groups.
Coming up in Q3-
This week, we are kicking off an appeal for sponsors for computer training classes for high school students and graduates in our city neighborhood of La Cuchilla. We believe this training, which results in a government-issued competency certification in general computer proficiency and Microsoft software programs, will help our youth acquire better jobs and create opportunities to escape this neighborhood for something better.
The computer school we are working with offers rolling enrollment, with the first sponsored class of 4-6 students starting in July. For more details, go to our front page by clicking HERE.
Our rural ministry hopes to bless the Pamamus children with items the school needs to enhance their education. The Guatemala government continues to pass over indigenous schools like Pamamus for needed improvements and equipment.
We are hesitant to donate items that should be provided by the government. Look for details soon of an innovative lease agreement that should allow us to supply some assistance to the teachers in Pamamus as they work hard to improve the lives of the children there.
On a personal note…
Yesenia and I recently traveled to the USA and Spain to visit family and friends, including many of our mission sponsors.
We would like to say “Thank you!” again to everyone who helped with travel costs, housing, food, baby supplies and more for the trip.
More than the physical and monetary assistance, we’d like to thank everyone for their overwhelmingly positive and upbeat support of our work.
We enjoyed some great conversations. We learned a lot and return revitalized and anxious to spread God’s love. It will all be easier after the affirmation we received from all of you.
If you would like to donate to our work or to us directly, please visit our DONATE page and mention in the comments section if there is a specific purpose for your donation.
As always, thank you and God bless you!
Pat & Yesenia