What would you say if you received a phone call saying that a little five-year old girl was found filthy, wandering barefoot and in her underwear?
Inquiries had been made. No one wanted her. She had been abandoned by her mother two years ago, and since then she’d been passed from one home to another. With barely enough to eat and just a corner on the floor to sleep on, she’d been both left unattended and physically abused.
Would the Vida Children’s Home be willing to take her in? The Child Welfare Office couldn’t find any other place for her.
We said ‘Yes.’ If the Lord is sending her to us, we cannot say ‘No’.
Small blessings in a time that seems almost surreal to all of us – we’ve been able to distribute food to some of our neediest families!
Many of you have asked how COVID-19 is affecting your sponsor children, the students in the class you support, or others you love in Guatemala.
Like you, people here are facing sweeping restrictions right now. In Guatemala, the implications can be ominous. For many Guatemalans, if you don’t work for a day, you don’t eat for a day.
So we’re praising God that the principals of the Vida Schools, working with the pastors of the Rio de Vida Churches, were able to get food hampers into the hands of some of the families of our students who need them most.
Pray with us that God will continue to provide for our children and their families. We will continue distributing food as long as we are able.
If you’d like to be part of our food hamper distribution, donations can be made by clicking on the "Give Food" button above. Now, more than ever, we want to stand by our most vulnerable families.
Natanael and Wilder’s Mom was at her wit’s end. The boys’ behaviour was going downhill, and as a single mother, she was struggling with their disobedience. Their Dad had ended up in jail, and she wanted better for her boys!
Long ago, her brother had attended a Vida school, and now Natanael and Wilder’s Mom made the decision to move her boys there from the public school system. Natanael had failed a grade, so both boys started in Grade 2 at Vida Chamché at the beginning of the school year.
The first day didn’t go well. Bad habits, inappropriate language and behavioural issues made the transition tough. And at the end of the school day, rather than waiting to be dismissed, 8-year-old Natanael and 6-year-old Wilder simply disappeared. Teachers were combing the streets until they found the brothers already at home.
Progress is slow, but the brothers are beginning to learn what is expected of them – and they’re learning just how much God loves them. In the month that they’ve been at school, the teachers have started to see changes in them – enough to encourage their Mom to have patience with her boys rather than sending them off to live with their paternal grandmother.
The teachers at Vida Chamché are surrounding Natanael and Wilder with love and support. “With the help of the Lord they will continue to improve,” says the Principal.
Thank you for allowing us to be there for children like Natanael and Wilder, and for their families! We’re excited about how God is changing their future.
(These brothers are not sponsored yet. If you’d like to come alongside them in a more personal way, you can sponsor Natanael or Wilder.)
We’re coming to the end of not just another year, but another decade. And, more than ever, we are excited to see what 2020 has to bring.
In 2020, Impact Ministries will be celebrating 20 years in Guatemala. When we look back to where we started – a dream, 1 school, 73 students – we’re reminded that God specializes in small beginnings. Who, back then, would have even imagined 1500 students, three churches, a medical clinic and a children’s home?
So we look ahead, knowing that God is continuing to work his purposes in the highlands of northern Guatemala. Every year we see more young men and women stepping into leadership. Every year we see more children discovering how much God loves each of them. Every year we see anew how faithful a God we serve.
Thank you for faithfully serving alongside us – through prayers, through gifts, through support and encouragement. And Happy New Year from our family, the Impact Ministries staff, and all the students at our Vida schools.
(If Impact Ministries is part of your planned year-end giving, there are still a few hours to have your gift matched through the Build a Brighter Future campaign. A big THANK YOU to everyone who has given so far! If it’s still on your list, you can donate here right now.)
Evelin and her now-elderly mother live alone. They don’t have a lot - they didn’t even when her Dad was still alive - and they’ve made many sacrifices to keep Evelin in school. They are thankful for the sacrifices others have made on their behalf so that Evelin can have a brighter future.
So what does it take to build a brighter future for a girl like Evelin?
It takes access to education and so much more. Thanks to generous people like you, Vida schools have provided academics, health care, nutrition, a loving community, and affirmation of God’s faithfulness for Evelin. These are all building blocks to Evelin’s brighter future.
Evelin started studying at Vida Mocohán School in kindergarten. Even back then she wanted to be a teacher - perhaps because she felt so loved by her own teachers. While Evelin didn’t always have the highest marks, those around her recognized her tender heart and her tenacity in pursuing the things of the Lord.
That same tenacity allowed Evelin to work hard in school, beat the odds, and graduate from Junior High. “I have learned,” she wrote just before her Grade 10 graduation, “to live pleasing the Lord. If God allows me, I would like to be able to study to be a teacher and teach the youngest children.”
Evelin was so excited to be accepted into the Vida Teacher Training high school program. But High School came with extra expenses, including a daily half hour bus-ride to Vida Chijacorral school. Evelin worked part-time before school and on the weekends to be able to cover her portion of these costs.
Evelin is nineteen years old now and looks so grown up and professional. She graduated as a teacher this year - a testament to God’s faithfulness, her own perseverance and dedication, and the support of so many who have come alongside her on her journey.
As a certified early education teacher, Evelin’s future looks bright. But this year we had about 120 children in kindergarten just starting their journey. Will you provide the same building blocks for a brighter future for them? Right now, your donation to the Build a Brighter Future campaign will be doubled - but only for a few more days.
Donations to the Build a Brighter Future campaign will be matched dollar for dollar - but only until $100,000 has been donated or the year ends - whichever comes first. Will you help us take advantage of these matching funds to build a brighter future for more kids like Evelin?
As a child, didn’t you think the onset of winter was wonderful?!? It meant Christmas was coming! Somehow, in North America, snow and cold weather and “Christmas” were intertwined.
There’s no snow in Guatemala, but the warmth enjoyed when family and friends gather together to share a meal and celebrate the birth of Jesus transcends the differences in our climates and our cultures! In the last few years, we have seen an increase in lights, decorations and ornaments, alongside the Guatemalan firecrackers and Christmas tamales. Guatemalans love to celebrate! And we love to celebrate with them!
In Guatemala, though, Christmas isn’t a happy time for everyone. In Tactic, during the holiday season, the children of broken, dysfunctional and abusive families often experience an increased level of suffering. Sometimes that’s from increased alcohol consumption in the home during the holidays. Sometimes it’s from feelings of loneliness and abandonment at a time when everyone else seems to belong. And sometimes it’s from hope-draining diabolical customs that have ruled this area for generations. It is for these precious lives that the Lord has brought us to Guatemala.
We love the way new Guatemalan believers have come to rejoice at Christmas, knowing their future is bright. Why? Because “Jesus came to rescue us – Jesus rescued me!”. The celebration has little to do with gifts and is mostly free of our “seasonal clutter”. Young Christians enthusiastically celebrate the freedom they have found in Christ. They know the Good News is just that – a cause for celebration!
(Help us share hope in Guatemala through our Build a Brighter Future matching campaign. A big thank you to everyone who has given so far! If it’s still on your list, you can donate here.)
Will you help us build another three classrooms at the Vida Chijacorral School campus in Tactic, Guatemala?
In the morning, Vida Chijacorral is full of our younger students. Children from preschool to Grade 7 fill every available classroom, energetically learning to read, to study, and, of course, to praise the Lord!
In the afternoon, the volume is, perhaps, a bit more subdued - but the learning is no less energetic. Our junior high students are working hard to meet their Grade 10 graduation requirements. And our senior high students are learning to be teachers themselves as part of the Vida Teacher Training program.
Our year-end Build a Brighter Future campaign always includes a school construction project - and this year we’re raising money to build three new classrooms at Vida Chijacorral. Last year there weren’t enough classes for all the children who wanted to attend - and that needs to change!
Whenever we build a classroom in one of our Vida schools, there is space for another teacher to minister to another 25 children - twice that, if the classroom is used both in the morning and afternoon. So right now, not only will your gift itself be doubled, as Build a Brighter Future campaign gifts are matched dollar for dollar (up to $100,000!), but the impact of the classrooms will be doubled once they’re at full capacity in both the mornings and the afternoons!
We want to build these classrooms this coming year, so that we can start filling them in January 2021! Will you help us ensure that we don’t have to turn away children at Vida Chijacorral?
For our students, having a school to go to is so much more than just an education. Vida schools provide academics, health care, nutrition, a loving community, and an introduction to God’s faithfulness. New classrooms will allow us to welcome more children into this school!
Thank you for building a brighter future for the children of Guatemala,
Founder/ Field DirectorP.S. This year, our Build a Brighter Future campaign will help build additional classrooms at Vida Chijacorral School as well as supporting other construction projects and educational programs. Double your impact by giving today!
Did you receive Les & Rita’s letter in your mailbox, sharing the story of Little Keyser? Did it break your heart like it broke ours? We’re so thankful that together, we are able to build a brighter future for Keyser and his sister – and for so many children like them. Because all kids should be able to attend school, feel safe and loved, and know God’s got their future. Will you join us?
Here’s the story that Les & Rita shared from Guatemala:
Little Keyser and his big sister Nayeli looked absolutely dishevelled when they showed up at Vida Chijacorral School. They didn’t have their school uniforms or backpacks with their notebooks. It didn’t look like they had slept much at all. But their mom brought them to school anyways. She knew they’d receive a hot breakfast there – and find a refuge from the fallout of a disintegrating family.
For Keyser, having a school to go to means so much more than just an education. It is a place of love and safety after the scariest night of his young life.
Will you help us be there for children like Keyser? This Christmas you can double your impact while building a brighter future for children in Guatemala. Every dollar you give will be matched!
We knew that there were problems at Keyser’s home. “Teacher, will you please pray for my dad?” the 5-year-old had asked just a few days before. “Last night he fought with my mom.” But now things had come to a head. The previous night, Keyser’s parents had argued once again.
This time, as his dad stormed out, his grandmother decided to kick her daughter-in-law out of the house. The police were called to evict the family. Keyser’s big sister was crying, and Keyser himself tried to run away with a police officer in pursuit. Mom collected up her frightened children and left everything else behind.
The next morning, Vida Chijacorral was truly a place of refuge for Keyser and his sister. They filled their tummies with food and participated in the morning devotional, and as the teachers prayed for them, they felt safe and loved.
Keyser’s mother continues to pray for her husband – and for a brighter future for her children. She works long hours to provide for Keyser and Nayeli, and the family is currently living with an aunt so that the children aren’t on their own when they come home from school.
Keyser keeps praying for his dad too. He has hope that one day his dad will come back and they can continue being a family.
But in the meantime, Keyser’s faith continues to grow. School has become a place of refuge for his heart in the midst of everything that’s happened in his family. Keyser and Nayeli are happy to walk to school in the mornings – and they know God has a hope and a future planned for them
Will you be part of Keyser’s brighter future? Your gifts will be used for school construction – including new classrooms in Keyser’s school – as well as educational programs. And your gifts will be matched dollar for dollar (up to $100,000!) until the end of the year.
Please, consider donating today, because children like Keyser need us to be there for them when life is hard. Together, we can build a brighter future for children like Keyser.
We’ve been asking you to provide meals for our children for #GivingTuesday – but they want to give something back, too.
Want a taste of Guatemala? Here’s a recipe for Atol de Elote – a creamy sweet corn drink that is seasoned with cinnamon and served warm.
Atol de Elote
5 cans of whole kernel corn
1 cinnamon stick
2 glasses of milk or water
Sugar to taste
Maizena Cornstarch (this is very different from Canadian cornstarch – find it in the international aisle of your supermarket)
It’s #GivingTuesday, and we have a #NoHungryKids goal of providing 20,000 meals for kids in Guatemala. Because we won’t let kids like Damiana start school hungry!
6-year-old Damiana gets up really early because it’s a long walk from her home to school. But when she gets there, Damiana receives her meal with so much joy! It’s obvious that she appreciates every last bite – even the vegetables!
There is so much need in Damiana’s home. Her father works long hours in the fields – when he gets work. Sometimes the family just can’t make ends meet. But every morning, Damiana has a smile on her face and a tummy that’s full. Now she’s ready to learn.
Will you help put a smile on the face of Damiana & children like her? It only costs 55¢ for one hot, nutritious meal for a student like Damiana. Your $11 donation can provide meals for 20 kids! How many meals will you give?
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