Today, for the first time since the pandemic lockdowns began, our Vida Students are back in school!
We’re currently allowed to operate at half-capacity, which means that our children will be attending on alternate days, and receiving home learning packages for the days that they are not in class.
After a consecration service for our teachers on Wednesday, it was so wonderful to welcome our first batch of students this morning!
Please pray for our students and our teachers as they navigate Covid protocols and settle into a routine that will look somewhat different than normal. And pray, as always, that our schools would be a place where our students and our teachers sense just how much God loves them!
We are so thankful for each of you who sponsor a child, support a class, or who gave towards our Build a Brighter Future campaign – you are impacting our students’ lives in Guatemala!
There’s so much about this school year that we’ll be figuring out as we go – but we know God goes ahead of us, and we’re excited to see what He has planned.
So we end 2020 with thankfulness:
The Vida students and from all the Impact staff wish you the Lord’s peace in 2021!
(We’re also thankful for everyone who has given to Build a Brighter Future for our students in the coming year!)
Can you imagine a school without water to flush the toilets, wash hands or wash dishes? Where water for drinking and cooking is purchased in 5 gallon jugs for the school kitchen?
This is the situation two of our schools find themselves in every dry season. It’s not that they don’t have a water filtration system - they do - but when there is no water in the wells, the purifiers sit idle.
Vida Mocohán and Vida Chijacorral School have hand-dug wells. These provide enough water during the rainy season. But during the dry season, the water table drops and these shallow wells run dry.
Because we are in such a remote area, the cost to bring in commercial well-drilling equipment to dig a deep well is prohibitively expensive. But Servants Hearts Ministries, a well-drilling ministry, is willing and able to drill wells for our schools for less than half the cost!
Your donation to our Build a Brighter Future campaign will fund these wells - and provide life-giving water to children in our schools. Plenty of clean water transfers into healthier children who are able to apply themselves more fully to their studies!
Thank you for building a brighter future for children in Guatemala!
As we approach Christmas, we just want to say from our home in Guatemala to yours, may God bless you this Christmas season!
We're so grateful for the ways the Lord has been able to work because we're connected, and we look forward to the many things He has planned for Impact Ministries in 2021!
Thank you so much to all of you who have already given to our year-end Build a Brighter Future campaign! (If it’s still on your list, you can donate here)
If you’ve been to Guatemala during the rainy season, you know just how muddy Tactic can get – and the outdoor play area at Vida Chijacorral School is no exception! While it’s not usually quite as wet as it has been this year with Tropical Storm Eta, we still regularly expect many, many rainy days in our region!
We’ve often thought what a difference a covered sports field would make – a dry area for our kids to run and play both during their gym classes and during their breaks. We know that physical activity and recreation are vital for the healthy development of children.
Then Covid hit, and suddenly having access to a covered outdoor area has taken on an additional sense of urgency. For months the health officials have been encouraging us to move our social interactions outside whenever possible to reduce transmission. Hard to do in “the great white north” in the middle of winter – but definitely possible in “the land of eternal spring”!
Will you help us build a large, covered, open air structure over the existing playground area at Vida Chijacorral School? As part of our Build a Brighter Future campaign, this project looks ahead to the benefits of a dedicated area for physical activity for our students, regardless of the weather. But right now it also fills the need for a Covid-friendly space accessible to our largest school that we can use for classes and devotionals.
When it’s done, it will look something like this:
As an added bonus, this project will provide employment opportunities: jobs now for construction workers who have been struggling to find enough work, and future employment for some of our students. You see, covered sports fields are in high demand in our part of Guatemala, and we’ll be able to rent out the field once sports are given the green light once again.
How’s that for win-win?
A brighter future is something Carolina doesn’t take for granted.
As a young Q’eqchí female, the odds are stacked against her. Like many Indigenous Guatemalans, she lives in poverty in a remote rural village. She’s the oldest of a bunch of brothers and sisters. Her parents are barely scraping by, but they desperately desire a brighter future for their children.
Will you help build into Carolina’s brighter future? This Christmas you can double your impact – every dollar you give to Build a Brighter Future will be matched!
When she was little, Carolina’s parents sent her to the local rural elementary school. But there is no junior high anywhere near her village. So, in January, Carolina and her next-oldest brother started attending Vida Chijacorral.
It’s a long way! Carolina and her brother would walk for two hours just to get to the nearest bus stop that would take them to school. Her father, worried about the lonely, dangerous road, often joined his children before heading to his work as a day laborer in the nearby fields.
Carolina hadn’t missed a single day of Grade 8 – even the rainy season couldn’t dampen her love of learning and her desire to be at school with her classmates. Each day, she had pulled on her worn rubber boots and splashed along the muddy paths alongside her father and brother, knowing that at school she would have the opportunity to learn and grow.
But then came Covid. Two months into the year, schools were shut down, churches were shut down, public transportation was shut down, the economy was shut down. Carolina’s father was left without work, another unemployment statistic amidst the global pandemic.
As teachers around the world scrambled to connect with their students from a distance, Carolina wasn’t sure what this would mean regarding her chance for an education. After all, she lived in a place beyond electricity, beyond telephone lines, beyond the internet – even beyond a mobile signal.
But Carolina’s teachers hadn’t forgotten her. They made the long trek to her remote village. Some of them had never walked that far in one stretch before! They encouraged Carolina and her brothers and they prayed with them. And the teachers came bearing food baskets, study guides, and school supplies. Carolina could continue studying from home!
Carolina has put an amazing amount of effort into the assignments that her teachers brought her. She completes each activity diligently and enthusiastically. And she’s thrilled that she can continue her studies – her key to a brighter future – despite the distance and her family’s lack of resources.
Carolina is eager to return to school and rejoin her teachers and classmates. She hopes that school will be in session again in January. And so do we. But we know that even if schools remain shuttered, the work of building a brighter future for children in Guatemala won’t stop. Will you help us build a brighter future for Carolina, for her younger siblings, and for so many girls and boys like her?
Your gifts will be used to construct a water well and a Covid-friendly outdoor structure at Carolina’s school, in case schools are allowed to open with distancing restrictions – and to develop distance education resources in case they’re not. And your gifts will be matched dollar for dollar (up to $65,000!) until the end of the year.
Will you give to Build a Brighter Future today? Because girls like Carolina need you to keep their dream of a brighter future alive even in the midst of a pandemic!
It’s #GivingTuesday today, and usually we’d be asking you to give to our #NoHungryKids campaign. But this unusual year, you’ve already given so much as Impact Ministries pivoted to providing relief for the immediate needs of our communities: provisions for those evacuated by tropical storms, food baskets for families affected by pandemic lockdowns, all intensified by the underlying poverty so prevalent in this part of Guatemala.
So first, let us say THANK YOU. Thank you for all your donations, and thank you for all your prayers. You have allowed us to be the hands and feet of Jesus in Guatemala, and it has not gone unnoticed. Impact is characterized in the community as a ministry that comes alongside during the hard times - something we have been able to do again and again thanks to your generosity.
But today, too, we want to lift our eyes beyond the immediate needs, and look towards the future of these same communities. What will it take to build a brighter future for families that will last after the food is consumed and the houses are rebuilt?
Impact Ministries is founded on the principle that quality of life grows out of restored relationship with Jesus Christ. Providing a solid academic education based on the foundation of God’s Word will build a brighter future for the children in our communities. We’ve been offered matching funds of $65,000 towards school construction and educational programs. Your impact will be doubled as you help us accomplish this life-changing goal!
In the coming weeks we’ll be sharing stories of how donations to our Build a Brighter Future campaign will be leveraged. Please watch for these stories, and pray with us that we will be able to build a brighter future for our communities!
Eliseo worked very hard to make it to junior high school, but Covid has threatened to destroy all that. As schools in Guatemala locked down, Eliseo was left without access to the technology to communicate with his teachers and receive his school work. The brighter future he was working towards suddenly seemed out of reach.
When his teachers came to bring a food hamper to Eliseo’s family, they learned that Eliseo and his younger sisters hadn’t been able to access any of the study guides at all. So the teachers made a plan to deliver the schoolwork to them.
Eliseo was so thankful when he received the home learning guides to allow him to continue his studies. He worked hard to catch up on his assignments.
But life got even more complicated. Eliseo’s Dad, who was a groundskeeper at a local farm, lost his job during the pandemic. This left the family completely without an income. Eliseo tried to do a few odd jobs to help out, and his father was forced to leave his family behind and search for work far away. He finally found a job as a gardener in the capital city.
Dad soon brought his family to Guatemala City to join him - the distance and transportation costs were just too high for him to make the trip home regularly, and he wanted his family together again.
Once again, Eliseo was unable to receive his home learning guides and his Grade 9 year was in jeopardy.
But as soon as they could afford to, Eliseo’s family got a phone so that the children could receive their study guides online. They didn’t want their children to lose the school year.
Eliseo’s teachers are continuing to support him so that he can complete the school year from far away, and he’s sending photos of his completed assignments back via WhatsApp, which is the cheapest way to communicate in Guatemala. Eliseo’s brighter future is back on track.
Thank you for building a brighter future for kids like Eliseo who have seen their lives turned upside-down through Covid, lockdowns and economic hardship! Although the supports might be happening from a distance, you’re still providing access to academics, a loving community, and affirmation of God’s faithfulness.
Until the end of the year, your donation will be matched dollar for dollar (up to $60,000!) to Build a Brighter Future for Eliseo and children like him. And some of those dollars will be going specifically to develop distance education resources to allow students like Eliseo to continue learning even if schools don’t immediately reopen in January.
Back in 2007, Impact Ministries was running an afterschool program in San Antonio. One of the children who came was 6-year-old Coralia.
Little Coralia wasn’t impressed: “I had to walk so far. Also, it meant a double effort for me, studying at school in the morning and studying in the project in the afternoons.” But that soon changed. Coralia liked meeting team members from the US & Canada, including the family who would sponsor her for many years, as well as others from her own community. “I received a lot of love from the people who were part of it day by day,” Coralia says.
And love was a big deal for Coralia. Coralia felt unloved in her family. Born with health issues to a single mom, Coralia was often left in the care of her grandmother while her mother went to find work. “As I was growing, my whole family looked down on me,” recalls Coralia. “Each one showed me that they did not love me, including my mother.”
As Coralia outgrew the public school in San Antonio, she started attending Vida Chijacorral. “I was so happy!” says Coralia, “If I had not gone to Vida Chijacorral School, I would not have been permitted to continue studying.”
But Coralia didn’t outgrow the health issues. She often had difficulty breathing, and her family couldn’t afford the recommended operation. Weeks into Junior High, she was hospitalized and critically ill.
“Although it was very difficult, now I realize that the Lord always has good plans,” says Coralia. “Through this illness, my mother met the Lord.” People from church prayed for Coralia, and taught her Mom how to talk to God too. The next day, Coralia was stable and ready to go home! And as Coralia saw her Mother’s faith, she too, accepted Jesus. “My Mom began to pay attention to me and to love me,” says Coralia, “She is still faithful to the Lord.”
After graduating from Grade 10, Coralia continued on to the new Teacher Training Program that Impact Ministries was offering at her school. She graduated with honors in Early Childhood Education, and was soon asked to come on staff at the Vida Children’s Home.
Now Coralia is no longer a student, but a fellow worker with Impact Ministries. As she shares love with abandoned little ones, she reflects: “God knows that His plans and purposes in my life are so beautiful and all I can do is say thank you.”
Coralia turns 20 soon. As Impact Ministries is celebrating 20 years, we’d like to thank you for coming alongside children like Coralia through the years. Coralia is passing on the love that you shared with her!
(If you received our Fall Newsletter, you’ve likely already read Coralia’s story. But it’s such a beautiful example about how your love for our children multiplies over the years, that we just had to share it again. We invite you to continue the impact for children just like Coralia who are growing up with Impact Ministries right now.)
We’re collecting photos and stories to continue celebrating 20 years of Impact!
Submit your team photo, favourite memory or Impact photo by September 30th for a chance to win “barely valuable prizes” – like your very own Impact Ministries beanie hat.
Winners will be randomly chosen from each category, so feel free to enter more than once (only one prize per person though)
Here’s the categories:
A google account is required to use this submission form. If you don’t have a google account, please email your photo or story to email@example.com and include the category, the approximate date of the photo or story, and your name and address.
(Impact Staff: you can definitely submit photos and stories, but sorry, you can’t win any prizes)
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