Last week, Pastor Mynor joined his wife, Principal Aydee, in delivering a food hamper to Alejandra, one of our Grade 3 students. It was such a long walk, all uphill, as Alejandra lives in a mountain village far from the school.
When they arrived, Mynor & Aydee found a pretty desperate situation. The single mom had fallen ill, and there was no food in the house.
The mother told them, “My 8-year-old has learned in the school that we have to trust God. She told me, ‘We need to pray and God will get us through.’” Alejandra had been reading the Bible to her mom (since her mother can’t read), and she had been showing her mom how to pray.
“We think she’s five. She was found wandering around barefoot and in her underwear. Her mother abandoned her some time ago and no one wants her”
“He’s six and his little sister is 14 months. They’re both terribly malnourished and he doesn’t talk. They were removed from their home because of physical abuse”
“She’s six and her mother abandoned her with a boyfriend she’d only known for a few months. He now fears violence against himself and the child”
For some months now, the Vida Children’s Home has been operating – as planned – as a Baby Home. Abandoned infants have found love and refuge in the arms of our nannies. Some only needed sanctuary for a short time. Others will grow up as part of the Vida Children’s Home family.
But change was in the air this spring. In the midst of the Covid-19 lockdown, we suddenly started receiving calls about children – not babies – who are neglected, abused and abandoned. And we felt that God was moving us into the next phase of the Vida Children’s Home.
The nannies have their hands full! Several of the new children are malnourished and needed medical attention. One of the girls speaks only Q’eqchí, and the boy doesn’t speak at all. None of these older children have ever attended school.
We actually now have two new nannies who are solely in charge of the three oldest children. Both have worked as teachers, and one is also a nurse. The children are receiving remedial classes and are learning how to play.
The children are adapting well and are happy, though we know there must be a lot of emotional pain buried deep inside. The older boy has taken to Graciela, our cook and cleaning lady. He sits on a stool in the kitchen to be close to her. The girls are enjoying each other’s company and love their nannies.
Please pray for all eleven little ones currently at the Vida Children’s Home in Guatemala, both the babies and the older children. Please pray for our nannies and all the staff. And please consider coming alongside the Vida Children’s Home as an Orphan Care Champion.
Would you consider adding a monthly gift at whatever level is right for you?
Teachers around the world are struggling to figure out how to best support their students through this pandemic, and our teachers in Guatemala are no exception. But can you imagine preparing lessons for home learning when some parents can’t read or write?
Grade 2 teacher Grisley Suc explains how the Vida Teachers have developed study guides, and how they’ve provided photocopies to the families so that the students can keep learning at home with the help of their parents, but she adds, “I know that in some cases this is difficult, because some parents cannot read.” Grade 3 teacher Hilda Quej echoes the sentiment, “Home is difficult for some students because some parents don’t know how to read to be able to support the tasks, and the students aren’t yet able to guide themselves through the tasks on their own.”
“I teach in the stage of learning to read and write,” explains Yenifer Cú, who also teaches Grade 2, “It’s worrying and sad for me, since before all this situation, the students were making good progress, but now it has been limited. I thank God for technology, although many of my students don’t have access because they live in areas that are too remote or they simply don’t have the medium.”
Access to technology is limited, though teachers have been able to connect to some students through phone, text messages or WhatsApp, a common way to communicate in Guatemala.
Grade 1 teacher Paola Ac tells how she brought a few weeks of schoolwork to a student whose parents don’t have a phone for daily contact: “For me, that day was a great blessing to see him very well, and the huge smile on his face was enough to forget the long journey I had made to get to his home.”
We are so thankful for our teacher’s efforts and creativity as they maintain contact with our students during this time. We hear from our students that they are washing their hands and not going out on the street, they are praying at home and they are even singing – but they are also a little bit scared.
We are also thankful to all of you who are supporting a class through Impact Ministries. You are supporting our teachers and our students at this time.
All of our teachers are looking forward to the time when they can be back in the classroom with their students. They can’t wait to be able to see their smiling faces and enjoy devotionals together accompanied by the children’s voices.
In the meantime, the teachers are praying for their students, and supporting them as best they can from a distance.
As Grade 4 teacher Mayco Xoná says, “Each of these days have been filled with a lot of learning and drawing near to God.” May God continue to draw our teachers and our students near to Him!
“Together we Give” - that’s the theme for #givingtuesdayNOW. And that’s something we know the Impact Ministries community is good at!
Today - Tuesday, May 5th - has been designated as #givingtuesdayNOW around the world - an additional global day of giving as an emergency response to the unprecedented need caused by Covid-19.
You’ve already come together in an unprecedented way to provide food hampers for our families, many of whom are struggling to keep their children fed during this crisis.
“Brothers and sisters, thank you so much for everything that you have given us, for groceries,” says 11-year-old Angel on behalf of his family, “We didn’t have food. Thank you so much for all that you give.”
But food runs out, and we don’t know how long the current situation will last. So, for #givingtuesdayNOW, we’re asking if you’d reach out to your friends to make sure that together we can keep providing food to Angel’s family and others like his.
Will you forward this email to share the need to feed families in Guatemala? For every $10 you and 3 friends donate you are providing one generous food hamper for a family like Angel’s. How many hampers can you and your friends provide?
Watch our Facebook www.facebook.com/Impactminusa page for posts that you can share today and throughout the week! Or simply share the link www.impactminusa.org/togetherwecanfeedfamilies
through social media, by email, or however you communicate best.
Thank you so much for sharing your passion for the people of Guatemala with others you know
May God bless you,
“Thank you for the groceries that you’ve provided for us. Thank you for being there in the midst of all that’s happening right now”
Thank you to all of you who have given so generously to provide food to families in Guatemala! You’ve now allowed us to offer at least one food hamper to each of our school families, as well as to other vulnerable families known through our church community.
As you know, the job isn’t finished yet. As the lockdown continues, this food will run out, and children will once again be hungry. So we’re committed to distributing food as long as we have the ability and the resources to do so.
We are so grateful that 20 years of ministry in Guatemala has provided us with deep relationships within the community, allowing us to share God’s love in very practical ways. Thank you for standing with our families in Guatemala at a time when Impact Ministries’ role has shifted to filling very immediate needs arising from the situation surrounding Covid-19.
We know that not all of you are able to give at this time – your lives too, have been turned upside-down by Covid-19. But, as you are able, we invite you to give. Together, we can meet the needs of vulnerable families during this time.
Some of you have asked if it is possible to give a food hamper directly to your sponsor child’s family. You can! But we ask that you give through this donation page to help keep the extra administration to a minimum. While we’re not able to process personal thank-yous from students at this time, we can send you a photo of your child with their food hamper! Don’t worry though - whether or not you choose to donate directly towards the hamper for your child, we’re making sure all our families are offered food hampers.
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?
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