Kids in much of North America have headed back to school, and we figured it was a good time to give you an update on what has been happening in our Vida Schools in Guatemala.
Some of our students have been able to be in class sometimes, others have spent much of the year learning from home. Protocols seem to change from week to week! Through it all, God has been there, and we’ve seen children and families impacted by His love shown through our Vida teachers, the sponsors of our children, and so many others who come alongside the needs in Guatemala.
Our teachers do the best they can to rise to the challenge of shifting protocols, and our students work hard despite the circumstances. Here’s some thoughts from Samuel, a Grade 3 student from Vida Purulhá School, about what learning from home is like for him:
As you pray for the students and teachers among your family and friends who are going back to school, would you also pray for the students and teachers in Guatemala? That students like Samuel would continue to be able to learn well and stay healthy!
Thank you for being a blessing to children in Guatemala!
(If you sponsor a child, now is a great time to write them a quick note to encourage them! And we still have a few students waiting for a sponsor, if you are looking for a child to come alongside during this topsy-turvy school year.)
Dr. Chris Brandenburg, our Medical Engagement Coordinator, just got back from a trip to Guatemala – Here’s his update:
I have to say, it was so exciting to be back at the Impact Ministries Clinic!
We spent time with the two local nurses recently hired to help get the clinic fully up and running again and even got to spend the week treating patients with Dr. Rivas from Guatemala. He is a Christian physician who has such an incredible heart for the poor and the Guatemalan people. We’re hoping to hire him soon to spend a week a month at the Impact Clinic treating patients and overseeing operations. He is exactly the kind of doctor that we all would want treating our patients and would represent Impact Ministries very well.
As many of you know, the medical and dental needs of the people in the Impact Ministries area of Guatemala are often beyond words. However, being there last week reminded me just how little it takes to make a huge difference in the medical and dental care provided to them.
Did you know that $35 can provide a nurse for a day for the clinic, and $85 can provide a physician? Just $60 can provide a day’s worth of medications and medical or dental supplies. In fact, $215 provides for a full day at the Impact Ministries Clinic – all the medications and supplies, along with two nurses and a doctor to provide much-needed health care alongside our medical teams. Approximately $130 can provide for the costs of a dental clinic with a volunteer dentist.
Will you help us ensure that the Impact Ministries Clinic has stable funding to continue to provide these vital health services to our Vida students and their families, our church families, and our Impact Staff? Your ongoing support will allow us to focus on better overall patient care, maintenance of care, as well as to expand our outreach into the many outlying villages that are also in extreme need of medical and dental care.
Thank you for your part in impacting body & soul through your involvement in the Impact Ministries Medical Clinic!
(We’re also starting to schedule our Medical Teams for 2022. See www.impactminusa.org/medicalmissions to schedule a team or to see our list of Open Medical Team Dates)
Have you ever wished you could drop by Guatemala for just a few minutes and see what God’s been doing there these days?
On July 29th, we we’re able to give you the opportunity to do just that! We’d like to invite you to join us “on location” at Vida Mocohán for our very first VidaLive event!
These short interactive online events will be streamed live from our various ministry locations in Guatemala – and you’ll have the opportunity to participate by asking questions of our hosts and guests.
On Thursday, July 29th, we joined Les Peters and Principal Juan Carlos in Tactic Guatemala.
Juan Carlos himself came to our school as a Junior High student – his Mom sent him to our school to remove him from the bad influences of some of his friends. Needless to say, Juan Carlos wasn’t all that keen on the idea. Long story short – he accepted the Lord and his life was completely changed. Today, he is the principal of the Vida Mocohán School, and his passion for our young people is so very evident!
If you want to hear more of Juan Carlos’ amazing story, along with what’s happening at Vida Mocohán click on the Yourtube link.
(We know that time zones are a funny thing, and not all of you were be able to attend live. Future VidaLive events will be at different times – we’re hoping to host them monthly – and we’ll be recording and posting them to our YouTube channel – click “subscribe” to be notified as they’re available.)
We’re so excited to introduce you to Dr. Chris Brandenburg and his wife Rachel, who have recently come on staff with Impact Ministries.
Rachel will be serving as our Missions Engagement Coordinator, fostering new and existing church and donor partnerships, planning our Impact Events, and representing Impact Ministries at conferences and church events. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org
Dr. Chris will be pioneering the role of Medical Engagement Coordinator for Impact Ministries. Our clinic has served our school children and their families for years, and we’ve welcomed medical professionals from Canada, the US, and other parts of Guatemala to provide health and dental care in our community.
Dr. Chris will be connecting with doctors, dentists, and other medical professionals as we hope to grow this area of ministry. If you’d like to learn more or contact Dr. Chris directly, feel free to email him at email@example.com.
Please pray for the Brandenburgs as they settle into their new roles on the Impact team!
Impact Ministries is all about growing godly leaders! Often, we think that only means training Guatemalans for leadership – but we grow godly leaders as we impact North American Christians for world missions too!
That’s why we’re so excited to announce the launch of the VIDA School of Discipleship!
It’s a chance for North Americans to spend 3 months in Guatemala for an incredible discipleship adventure, followed by 9 months of continued mentorship back home.
VIDA means “life” in Spanish. It’s also a beautiful acronym that summarizes the goals for the VIDA School of Discipleship:
Vision – Seeing the world as God sees it
Impact – Living life intentionally
Delight – Experiencing intimacy with Jesus
Adventure – To follow Jesus is to risk
Our VIDA participants will live in intentional community while in Guatemala, learning and exploring what stepping out for God can look like. They’ll engage in our Vida Schools, in local churches, and with the local community.
Back home, participants will live out their transformation and continue to connect with their class and their mentors via weekly phone calls and online meetings.
If you know anyone who might be interested – or if you’d just like some more info – check out www.impactminusa.org/schoolofdiscipleship. We’re currently accepting applications for the first two sessions, scheduled for January & May 2022.
Please pray with us that God will use the VIDA School of Discipleship to grow disciples who follow Jesus anywhere, anytime and at any cost!
We’ve been so encouraged by everyone who has been sharing sponsorship this month! Did you know - more than 37 Vida children have found a sponsor since the beginning of May! And we know that sponsorship makes an impact - because we hear the stories, over and over again, of what sponsorship means to our students and their families.
Like the story of little Jhon:
Many people had a rough year last year - but Jhon’s family had it rougher than most. Even before the pandemic, Jhon’s dad wasn’t able to work, as he was recovering from surgery. Then came the Covid lockdowns, and finding work was next to impossible. The year even ended with a bang. Because of the non-stop heavy rains during the tropical storms, part of Jhon’s home completely collapsed!
But throughout it all, Jhon’s family was blessed by his sponsors. The gifts of food their sponsorship provided sustained the family and brought them joy and hope. Jhon’s mom had been struggling to meet the needs of her family, and she was discouraged. When she realized that these people in North America, who had never met them and didn’t even know the specifics of their situation, had it in their hearts to give, she was filled with gratitude and amazement!
Little by little, the family is getting ahead again. Jhon’s dad has found odd jobs to do, and Mom is also working a few days a week. They’re striving to provide for their children. And they are doing their best to support Jhon in his studies, helping him at home with lessons as he learns to read and write.
This year, Jhon is in Grade 2. His sponsors continue to support and encourage him. And we have all seen once again that God is faithful and does not forget his children!
Thank you for loving our kids. Thank you for sharing about their needs with your friends and family members. Thank you for being a blessing - often to people you haven’t met. You are bringing hope and joy to children and families in Guatemala!
There are just 30 more children in Jhon’s school still waiting for a sponsor. Will you help us find sponsors for them?
“Having a sponsor is something very special and unforgettable,” says Vida Purulhá Grade 1 teacher Evelyn Cho. “They leave traces in our hearts.”
Friend, did you receive the Impact Ministries Spring Newsletter yet? Did you read Evelyn's story on page 3? You won't want to miss it!
Evelyn began studying at an Impact Ministries school when she was about the same age as the students she’s now teaching, and she was sponsored for all those years.
“My sponsor was a very special person in my life,” says Evelyn. “She always supported me with words of encouragement through the letters she sent to me, and her prayers for my family were a great help in my life.”
When Evelyn and her family were going through tough times, she’d remind herself that there was a person far away who had never even met her, but who was concerned about her and praying for her. “This encouraged me to keep striving every day, and it especially encouraged me to keep trusting the Lord.”
Today, Evelyn tells her own students how the Lord reflects his great love to us through our sponsors. She’s so happy when she hears that one of the children in her class have been sponsored, because she knows that “their life will be blessed by wonderful people.”
To our sponsors, Evelyn says: “when sponsoring a student, you become part of that child’s life. You give them hope and strength, knowing that another person cares about their life and is praying for them.”
This year, despite all the disruptions to education in Guatemala, we have over 200 new children in our Vida Schools! That means we have 200 children waiting for a sponsor.
For the month of May, we’ve set a goal of finding a sponsor for every one of those children. And with teams and events not happening right now, we need your help to find them!
We’re making it as easy as possible for you to share sponsorship! We’ll be posting about sponsorship on Facebook and Instagram - and we’ll be featuring a different child still waiting for a sponsor each day. Share our social media posts or post your own and get your friends excited about sponsoring a child!
Or take your sharing off-line. Think of just one friend or family member who might be interested in sponsoring a child, and share about the Vida sponsorship program with them. Or select one of our children still waiting for a sponsor and pray for him or her by name to find a sponsor this month.
Will you commit to finding one sponsor, three sponsors or even more sponsors for our Vida children?
Thank you for helping us find sponsors for children in Guatemala!
We’ve got a brand new video about the Vida Children’s Home, and we’re so excited to share it with you! Meet some of our core staff, take a look inside, and hear the voices of the Vida Children’s Home:
“An abandoned child has nobody advocating for them,” Les says in the video. Will you help us change that?
Our orphan care champions are part of the answer to Les’ question: “Who’s going to care for these babies? Who’s going to do that?“
As an orphan care champion, you will change the future of orphaned and abandoned children in Guatemala by joining with the church in Guatemala in loving and blessing these children’s lives.
Thank you for your heart for abandoned babies in Guatemala!
Our Vida students are so excited to be back at school, even though things look a little different this year! If you’re connected to any school-aged children in the US, you know that Covid protocols can vary widely depending on the region, and that requirements can change quickly. The same is certainly true in Guatemala. But here’s an update of what school looks like for our Vida students right now.
Last week, most of our students were back in school, but attending on alternate days. They’re usually required to wear masks and face shields, and they sanitize their hands and get their temperature checked before they enter the school grounds.
This is largely dependent on the “Covid alert level” in the area. On Friday, Alta Vera Paz moved to red alert, so students in these schools are temporarily learning from home again. Schools in Baja Vera Paz – Mocohán, Purulhá and Vida Nueva – are still open with staggered attendance.
When schools are open, the children are once again receiving a nutritious meal at school, although until attendance is full-time again, we’re still supplementing those meals with food packages for the families.
The school day starts with a devotional – often outside – and it’s so good to hear voices raised in worship together once again!
With only half the students in attendance at a time, there’s lots of space to spread out throughout the day, including in the classroom. And at the end of the school day, the children receive a learning package to complete from home. The next day, the other half of the students take their turn attending class.
A few of our youngest students in our less remote schools are still learning from home full-time even at lower alert levels. The teachers are visiting these children with special learning activities, and the children are always so excited to see their teachers!
We also have a new weekend study program that some of our older students are taking advantage of. The Vida Extension Program is allowing some of our Jr High and High School students to study from home on a more flexible schedule, with learning supports (and a special devotional time) available on the weekend.
Regardless of how our students are studying, our teachers are doing their best to support their learning. Please pray for all our students and staff as they adjust to the new realities of what school looks like this year. And thank you for being part of growing godly leaders in Guatemala!
(Our sponsorship office in Guatemala is working hard to update the student packages for the 2021 school year. You can see our children still waiting for a sponsor here.)
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