“Who are these tall, strange-looking, generous people?” 4-year-old Hilary wondered. They came to her school devotional and they gave her and her classmates big hugs. The teacher explained that these were sponsors. Right away, Hilary began to pray that she could have a sponsor of her very own. And she was so excited when she learned someone had sponsored her!
One day, Hilary’s family was struggling. They hadn’t had food for two days, and they didn’t know what to do. Her mother and father were sad and very worried. But Hilary knew just what to do! “We need to pray that God will provide for us,” little Hilary said.
That day, Hilary’s mother came to pick her up from school like she always did. A gift was waiting. Hilary’s sponsor had sent food and more things for the family. God had answered Hilary’s prayer right away - through her sponsor! God is good.
If you've ever wondered if sponsorship really makes a difference in a child's life, Hilary's story, originally shared in our Spring newsletter, dispels those doubts. And we've seen over and over again how a gift, a hug, or a word of encouragement shared by a sponsor at the right time can be an answer to a child's prayers.
We have more children like Hilary praying for a sponsor of their very own. Will you be an answer to that prayer? Or do you know someone who you could invite to sponsor one of our waiting children?
When Les shared about Impact Ministries at a church in New Brunswick back in 2002 or 2003, Garry & Marion decided to sponsor a child. “Our first sponsored child was a boy called Cristian” says Garry.
Garry got to meet Cristian and his family for the first time in 2005. Cristian didn’t grow up with parents who followed the Lord. In fact, his father was an alcoholic and participated in Mayan rituals. But somehow, his parents had enrolled Cristian and his brother in a Vida School where their eyes were opened to how much God loves them.
As Cristian attended classes, sponsorship provided him with school fees, a school uniform, a daily warm meal, and medical care. The morning devotionals along with the lessons at school helped chip away some of the anger in his heart because of his father’s past mistakes.
When Garry returned to Guatemala earlier this year, he was surprised to recognize the lady who was cooking their meals at the guesthouse - it was Cristian’s Mom, Claudia! Soon after, he met Cristian’s Dad, Hugo, and learned that he, too, was now actively involved in the ministry!
You see, the love Cristian and his brother received from their teachers followed them home and they excitedly showed their parents what they were learning. Cristian and his brother were worried that their parents weren’t going to heaven. When Cristian got home from school one day, he opened up his Bible and showed his Mom and Dad the verses that talked about becoming born again. The parents went to Impact staff members and asked if what their son was saying was true. And in this way, through the witness of their sons, Hugo and Claudia gave their lives to Christ, and God transformed their family!
“I would have been lost in the world if you didn’t sponsor Cristian,” Hugo told Garry and Marion. “You have been part of the salvation of God in my life.”
Cristian has since completed high school. But we have other children just like Cristian who are still waiting for a sponsor. Will you be part of their story? See our available children at impact.sponsorsoft.ca.
We’ve often said that our Guatemalan teachers and pastors are our front-line missionaries, as we grow godly leaders in Tactic and the surrounding communities. But we also have some pretty amazing Canadians on the ground in Guatemala helping to make sure Impact Ministries runs smoothly!
If you’ve been on a short-term mission trip with Impact, you know why we appreciate Julie! Julie and her husband Julio coordinate our short-term mission programs, organizing all the moving parts when your team comes to Guatemala to make sure your time is impactful.
Among a myriad of roles, Ruth manages our sponsorship program in Guatemala. She organizes all those wonderful pictures you get of your sponsor children and the classes you support. (She also provides oversight in the admin office, coordinates at the clinic, and she’s married to Walter, who is integral to so many Impact Ministries programs, from construction to Bible teaching.)
Liz has been teaching in Guatemala for the past half-dozen years. She teaches English as a Foreign Language in several Vida Schools, and mentors our English Teachers who come for shorter stints. In the afternoons, Liz also volunteers her time tutoring the adopted Guatemalan son of the field directors.
And, of course, Les & Rita, our Founders and Field Directors. Under their leadership, over the last nineteen years, Impact Ministries has grown from merely a dream to a thriving ministry including school programs, churches, and much more.
Did you know that every Impact Ministries missionary raises their own support to serve in Guatemala? A big thank you to all of you who are already part of the team allowing these incredible people to impact lives in Guatemala! If you’d like to invest in the great things our missionaries are doing, would you consider joining their ministry team today with a monthly gift? A monthly donation, even if it is small, is the most significant way you can contribute to allow our missionaries to focus on God’s work. One-time gifts are also a blessing!
As a child, Eliseo’s future looked bleak. He had half a dozen siblings at home, and poverty was a constant companion. He began attending a Vida School – but was only allowed to study if he would spend his afternoons collecting firewood and selling it in order to help his Mom with expenses.
Through Impact Ministries, Eliseo was able to graduate from elementary school, then junior high . . . and this year, he fulfilled his dream of graduating as a teacher!
You’ve helped build a brighter future for Eliseo – and for all the students he’ll teach someday.
Will you give towards our Build a Brighter Future campaign? Because there are more kids like Eliseo who are dreaming of a brighter future!
Our Build a Brighter Future campaign for school construction and educational programs is building a brighter future for kids like Eliseo. And, until the end of the year, donations will be matched dollar for dollar (up to $110,000!), so your dollars will have twice the impact!
This month, we’re Building a Brighter Future for kids in Guatemala!
And one of the ways we’re doing that is by rebuilding Vida Chamché.
Vida Chamché, Impact Ministries’ first school, was definitely at the end of its life-cycle. After starting out as a family home more than 100 years ago, it had seen renovations and additions – but the original adobe-brick structure remained. When we demolished this building as part Phase 1 of the Chamché Rebuild, we discovered that much of the walls were simply baked mud reinforced with sticks!
Phase 1 is now complete, and our students have been using the new, much-safer, first floor classrooms. We even came in under budget!
As part of the Build a Brighter Future Campaign, your donation will be doubled and allow us to complete Phase 2. That’s two more upper level classrooms, new washrooms for the campus, and a Health in Action station for Vida Chamché to implement a teethbrushing and handwashing program.
When Phase 2 is complete, Vida Chamché will be able to welcome more primary school students in both their morning and afternoon program! That’s even more children whose future will be brighter.
Hector spent his life trying to get his father's approval, but nothing he did ever measured up.
As a child, he saw his brothers brow-beaten by an overly-demanding father. He said to himself, "I want to be the son my father has been hoping for."
Sadly, Hector didn't succeed. His father took all he had to offer, and demanded even more.
But thankfully, others stepped in to provide Hector with the approval that his father couldn't give him. An older brother became a father-figure while he was around. And the Vida Schools became a place of refuge and hope for him, where he experienced the love of his heavenly Father - love that didn't have to be earned.
After graduation, Les & Rita invited Hector to be a teacher in the Vida schools, and then a principal. And Hector began to learn what it meant to share God's father-love with the students in his care. Today, as the pastor, he continues to show the love of God to children and adults who are lacking the approval of their earthly father. And he is seeing how God heals their hearts.
Hector has seen healing in his own heart too. "I forgave my father" says Hector, acknowledging that "it was hard." But God is a worker of miracles, and Hector and his father have been reconciled.
God is continuing to heal hearts in Guatemala. Through godly leaders like Hector, through teachers in the Vida Schools, through hugs and prayers and words of encouragement.
"Thank you," Hector kept saying:
A hundred and four years is a long time for an adobe-brick structure to last . . . but that’s how long the original part of Vida Chamché school has been around! Built as a home for a family, then turned into “Colegio Beerseba” – the forerunner to the Vida Schools – this building has served as classrooms for almost a quarter of a century. In fact, Principal Aydee Beb fondly recalls her first grade classroom in the corner.
>> See a timeline of Vida Chamché through the years
Unfortunately, the original part of Vida Chamché has reached the end of its life cycle. The adobe walls are brittle and dried out – not safe in a country that is prone to earthquakes. The roof and the rafters in the original building are compromised by rust, rot and termites. The roof leaks and the wooden rafters will soon not be safe.
For the safety of our students, we’ve moved ahead immediately with the construction of some temporary classrooms and the demolition of the original building. Thank you for giving to the “Build a Brighter Future” campaign before Christmas – some of these funds made it possible for us to respond quickly to these safety issues!
We’d like to invite you to join us in a two-phase plan for the Chamché rebuild, in which the house and modifications that were on the Chamché site prior to 1996 will be torn down and replaced (the other additions made by Impact Ministries over the years will remain).
We are replacing the adobe-brick structure with a two-storey building that will allow us to better utilize the limited space on the Chamché property and will put the children into safe, well-ventilated, and well-lit classrooms. It will also allow us to add more students to both the morning and the afternoon primary school programs at this facility.
The first phase will include construction of three lower-level classrooms. We’ve earmarked some Build a Brighter Future monies towards the Chamché rebuild campaign – but we’re hoping to raise $31,000 to complete this first phase.
Will you consider a gift towards the rebuild of this original Vida school?
Did you know that the original building at Vida Chamché was originally built as a family home – and that it stood for over 100 years? Did you know that Vida Chamché was originally called Colegio Beerseba? How much do you know about the history of our first Vida School campus?
Here’s a partial Vida Chamché Timeline:
1914 – original adobe-brick structure built as family home
1995 – building acquired by a Guatemalan lady who opened a small Christian school called Colegio Beerseba
1998 MAR – Les Peters leads a short-term mission team to build washrooms for Colegio Beerseba
1998 JUL – another short-term team builds the school kitchen
2000 OCT – Les & Rita Peters move to Tactic with their family; the first group of 3 students graduate from junior high school at Colegio Beerseba
2001 JAN – Impact Ministries takes over running the school; the first 7 students are sponsored
2001 JUL – teams build another classroom at Colegio Beerseba
2004 JAN – the Beerseba facility reaches capacity and students have to be turned away
2004 MAY – basketball court is inaugurated
2005 – breakfast program begins
2007 – Impact Ministries acquires the Chamché property
2008 JAN – the Chamché program reopens as a Colegio Vida school
2018 MAR – the original adobe-brick structure is demolished
2018 APR – the kindergarten and grade 1 return to class in temporary structures; construction begins on Phase 1 of the Chamché rebuild
Were you ever on a team that worked on projects at Vida Chamché (or Colegio Beerseba)? Let us know when you were there and what project you were working on in the comments!
We’d like to share with you the excitement and emotion of the Grand Opening at Agua de Vida Chijulhá school through the eyes of Paul Haberstock, a teacher at Living Waters Christian School in Spruce Grove, Alberta – one of the partner organizations that helped make Agua de Vida Chijulhá school a reality:
March 26, 2018. It was with great emotion and anticipation that this day finally arrived. Many people from three different organizations answered “Yes” to God’s call at a unique moment and the result was the development of a new school for the children of Chijulhá. I was asked upon arrival in Tactic, “Over the years of planning for this school, there was opposition, but what kept you going?” I didn’t have an answer. But throughout the inauguration, as I listened to representatives from Southwest Community Church, East Parkland Bible Church, and Living Waters Christian Academy, there was something unspoken that resounded loudly. There was a vision planted in the hearts of many people, many whom had never met each other, and it was an unquenchable desire to be a part of spreading God’s word through this school in tiny Chijulhá.
The celebration was grand, held in traditional Guatemalan style. Pine needles covered the patio, balloons trimmed the pillars of the veranda, music declaring God’s word echoed loudly in the hills, and fine Guatemalan cuisine was served to all. Dignitaries from Canada and Guatemala alike shared the opportunity to thank God for the many miracles that had collided at this time and place and for the many people who will have a chance to hear God’s call on their lives from this location.
Perhaps the celebration wasn’t to celebrate the work that has already been done to prepare a piece of land to serve as a school. I think the celebration is for the many, many children who will come to this place to learn about a God who really cares for them and to see a community of believers emerge from this humble, remote location. What a great and mighty thing when God’s people join hands and work together to further His kingdom!
Sign up for our e-news updates
Keep up with the latest stories and updates from the field.