In much of North America, September is synonymous with “Back to School”. In Guatemala, though, the school year runs from January to October, and our teachers are just coming into that tough back stretch! That’s why it was so wonderful to recently be able to invite all our Vida school staff to a retreat – a time of spiritual refreshing and renewed vision.
All of our teachers make great personal sacrifices as they serve the Lord in the Vida schools. All of them could have better-paid jobs elsewhere. But they are here because they love God and they love these kids.The staff retreat has been the highlight of the year. For two hours, lunch was put on hold as staff came forward to make declarations of renewed faith in Christ. Our staff are so transparent … they share their hearts to the point of tears AND they forgive each other. They have needs, but they are turning to the Lord for help.
If you support a class, you are coming alongside these young leaders as they teach, as they disciple their students, as they grow godly leaders. When you pray for your class, don’t forget to pray for their teachers too!
It’s been an exciting few weeks in Guatemala. As you know, the Vida Children’s Home received its official approval on July 9th, 2019. Right around that time, a tiny boy was abandoned and brought to a hospital – the same hospital that we visit with our teams, the same hospital where we’ve cried tears over the abandoned babies who need love and a family.
About a week later, this little guy was placed in our care. Baby Joseph arrived at the Vida Children’s Home in time to join in our grand opening celebrations.
We are praying that Baby Joseph will discover that he is abundantly loved as he is cared for as part of the Vida Children’s Home family.
Will you champion the cause of the orphan and the fatherless? Will you champion abandoned children such as Baby Joseph? We’re looking for at least 50 orphan care champions to partner with us in the care of little Joseph and other children who will come to call the Vida Children’s Home their home:
5 champions @ $10/month
20 champions @ $25/month
10 champions @ $50/month
10 champions @ $100/month
4 champions @ $500/month
1 champion @ $1000/month
Regardless of how many babies we’re caring for at the Vida Children’s Home, many of our expenses remain the same. Thank you for helping us to build a solid foundation with which to care for Baby Joseph and the children who will join him at the Vida Children’s Home.
Thanks to those of you who have already become Orphan Care Champions! Whatever amount you are able to commit, you’ll be showing God’s love to the fatherless and changing the future for abandoned children like Baby Joseph.
Yesterday, we received the word that we have all been waiting and praying for – the Vida Children’s Home has official government approval!
After many years of planning, preparing, and praying, we can now accept children ages two and under into the Vida Children’s Home!
Please pray with us that these cribs will be filled with the babies God has prepared for us – and pray that we will be able to provide them with lots of love, a home and a family.
(Want to help us prepare for our first children? Become an Orphan Care Champion and change a child’s future through your monthly or one-time gift to the Vida Children’s Home.)
When Darlin was an elementary student in Vida Chicoy, her family was going through a tough time. Her father had abandoned the family, and her mother had to work to provide for Darlin and her sibling. Sometimes Darlin came to school crying, because she hadn’t eaten at home, or because the housework was hard, or because she missed her mother so much - but to make ends meet, Darlin’s mother often had to go away to work for weeks at a time.
At school, though, Darlin found the peace of the Lord. Sponsorship helped pay her school fees, provided a plate of food to start each day, and provided caring teachers to walk alongside her.
She was so happy when she received letters from her sponsor, or her new shoes, or when her sponsor would send a special gift. All this taught her that, through everything, there is a God who loves and cares for her and her family. “I thank God,” Darlin wrote to her sponsor when she was eleven, “because I have you and I know someone is supporting me.”
Now Darlin is in her last year of junior high at Vida Mocohan, and, as her teacher says, “after all of these years of being blessed through the school, we can see how the Lord has transformed her life”. Through her sponsor, through her teachers at the Vida Schools, Darlin has felt the love of God for her and her family. Her whole family comes to church now, where Darlin is helping in Sunday School and is preparing to be baptized. And she’s also preparing for her future - she might be in the Vida Teacher Training Program next year!
It makes such a difference when our students know someone is supporting them! Will you help us find sponsors for the children in our program who still need them?
See the children still waiting for a sponsor at http://impact.sponsorsoft.ca.
Thank you for sharing our children’s stories with your friends! In the last couple of months, we have had 24 first-time sponsors choose to sponsor a child like Darlin. Just like for Darlin, these $40/month sponsorships are helping to pay school fees, provide nutritious meals each day, and provide caring teachers to walk alongside these students!
Sometimes our hearts breaks when we hear what some of our students have been through already.
Take 7-year-old Lucia and her younger brother Archivaldo. Their mother abandoned them when they were young, and their father works away for weeks at a time.
Their aunt has opened her home to them, but the family struggles, because their uncle doesn’t make enough to cover expenses each day. But this aunt loves Lucia and Archivaldo, she fights for them, and she teaches them to trust God.
Lucia and Archivaldo never miss a day of school! They attend our newest school, in Chijulhá, and they have been embraced by their school family.
Lucia loves painting, language classes, and science, and she wants to grow up to be a doctor. Archivaldo is excited to learn all sorts of new things and he wants to be a policeman.
Lucia and Archivaldo don’t have sponsors yet. Do you know someone who might want to sponsor them? Someone to help their aunt encourage them and pray for them?
“It would be a great blessing for them to have a sponsor” says one of their teachers, “it would be of great support for them and their family.”
This week, we’ve featured Lucia and Archivaldo for #SponsorAChildSaturday. Each Saturday, we share the story of one of our children who has an immediate need for a sponsor. Then we ask you to help us find a sponsor for them! Like our facebook page to see a new story every week, and help us find a sponsor for Lucia and for Archivaldo today.
“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.
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