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.
Hector spent his life trying to get his father's approval, but nothing he did ever measured up.
As a child, he saw his brothers brow-beaten by an overly-demanding father. He said to himself, "I want to be the son my father has been hoping for."
Sadly, Hector didn't succeed. His father took all he had to offer, and demanded even more.
But thankfully, others stepped in to provide Hector with the approval that his father couldn't give him. An older brother became a father-figure while he was around. And the Vida Schools became a place of refuge and hope for him, where he experienced the love of his heavenly Father - love that didn't have to be earned.
After graduation, Les & Rita invited Hector to be a teacher in the Vida schools, and then a principal. And Hector began to learn what it meant to share God's father-love with the students in his care. Today, as the pastor, he continues to show the love of God to children and adults who are lacking the approval of their earthly father. And he is seeing how God heals their hearts.
Hector has seen healing in his own heart too. "I forgave my father" says Hector, acknowledging that "it was hard." But God is a worker of miracles, and Hector and his father have been reconciled.
God is continuing to heal hearts in Guatemala. Through godly leaders like Hector, through teachers in the Vida Schools, through hugs and prayers and words of encouragement.
"Thank you," Hector kept saying:
A hundred and four years is a long time for an adobe-brick structure to last . . . but that’s how long the original part of Vida Chamché school has been around! Built as a home for a family, then turned into “Colegio Beerseba” – the forerunner to the Vida Schools – this building has served as classrooms for almost a quarter of a century. In fact, Principal Aydee Beb fondly recalls her first grade classroom in the corner.
>> See a timeline of Vida Chamché through the years
Unfortunately, the original part of Vida Chamché has reached the end of its life cycle. The adobe walls are brittle and dried out – not safe in a country that is prone to earthquakes. The roof and the rafters in the original building are compromised by rust, rot and termites. The roof leaks and the wooden rafters will soon not be safe.
For the safety of our students, we’ve moved ahead immediately with the construction of some temporary classrooms and the demolition of the original building. Thank you for giving to the “Build a Brighter Future” campaign before Christmas – some of these funds made it possible for us to respond quickly to these safety issues!
We’d like to invite you to join us in a two-phase plan for the Chamché rebuild, in which the house and modifications that were on the Chamché site prior to 1996 will be torn down and replaced (the other additions made by Impact Ministries over the years will remain).
We are replacing the adobe-brick structure with a two-storey building that will allow us to better utilize the limited space on the Chamché property and will put the children into safe, well-ventilated, and well-lit classrooms. It will also allow us to add more students to both the morning and the afternoon primary school programs at this facility.
The first phase will include construction of three lower-level classrooms. We’ve earmarked some Build a Brighter Future monies towards the Chamché rebuild campaign – but we’re hoping to raise $31,000 to complete this first phase.
Will you consider a gift towards the rebuild of this original Vida school?
Did you know that the original building at Vida Chamché was originally built as a family home – and that it stood for over 100 years? Did you know that Vida Chamché was originally called Colegio Beerseba? How much do you know about the history of our first Vida School campus?
Here’s a partial Vida Chamché Timeline:
1914 – original adobe-brick structure built as family home
1995 – building acquired by a Guatemalan lady who opened a small Christian school called Colegio Beerseba
1998 MAR – Les Peters leads a short-term mission team to build washrooms for Colegio Beerseba
1998 JUL – another short-term team builds the school kitchen
2000 OCT – Les & Rita Peters move to Tactic with their family; the first group of 3 students graduate from junior high school at Colegio Beerseba
2001 JAN – Impact Ministries takes over running the school; the first 7 students are sponsored
2001 JUL – teams build another classroom at Colegio Beerseba
2004 JAN – the Beerseba facility reaches capacity and students have to be turned away
2004 MAY – basketball court is inaugurated
2005 – breakfast program begins
2007 – Impact Ministries acquires the Chamché property
2008 JAN – the Chamché program reopens as a Colegio Vida school
2018 MAR – the original adobe-brick structure is demolished
2018 APR – the kindergarten and grade 1 return to class in temporary structures; construction begins on Phase 1 of the Chamché rebuild
Were you ever on a team that worked on projects at Vida Chamché (or Colegio Beerseba)? Let us know when you were there and what project you were working on in the comments!
We’d like to share with you the excitement and emotion of the Grand Opening at Agua de Vida Chijulhá school through the eyes of Paul Haberstock, a teacher at Living Waters Christian School in Spruce Grove, Alberta – one of the partner organizations that helped make Agua de Vida Chijulhá school a reality:
March 26, 2018. It was with great emotion and anticipation that this day finally arrived. Many people from three different organizations answered “Yes” to God’s call at a unique moment and the result was the development of a new school for the children of Chijulhá. I was asked upon arrival in Tactic, “Over the years of planning for this school, there was opposition, but what kept you going?” I didn’t have an answer. But throughout the inauguration, as I listened to representatives from Southwest Community Church, East Parkland Bible Church, and Living Waters Christian Academy, there was something unspoken that resounded loudly. There was a vision planted in the hearts of many people, many whom had never met each other, and it was an unquenchable desire to be a part of spreading God’s word through this school in tiny Chijulhá.
The celebration was grand, held in traditional Guatemalan style. Pine needles covered the patio, balloons trimmed the pillars of the veranda, music declaring God’s word echoed loudly in the hills, and fine Guatemalan cuisine was served to all. Dignitaries from Canada and Guatemala alike shared the opportunity to thank God for the many miracles that had collided at this time and place and for the many people who will have a chance to hear God’s call on their lives from this location.
Perhaps the celebration wasn’t to celebrate the work that has already been done to prepare a piece of land to serve as a school. I think the celebration is for the many, many children who will come to this place to learn about a God who really cares for them and to see a community of believers emerge from this humble, remote location. What a great and mighty thing when God’s people join hands and work together to further His kingdom!
Ericka has her hands full. She has 3 boys under the age of 7 – her youngest was born in January. She’s also the superintendent overseeing all our Vida schools. And she’s a pastor’s wife. Life is busy.
And yet, Ericka and her husband Hector are expanding their ministry, rather than slowing down. In December, they moved their family into the newly-constructed Vida Children’s Home. They’ve been appointed directors of the children’s home, and they’ll be there to welcome the babies and be our first house parents.
Please continue to pray as this dream becomes reality – and pray for Ericka and Hector as they navigate decreasing some of their current workload so that they can take on this new role at the Vida Children’s Home.
“We have seen the faithfulness of the Lord in difficult situations both in our marriage, each of us in our own families and in the areas where God in His immense mercy has given us the opportunity to serve and bless the people in our care.”
What a wonderful gift of family they will provide to the abandoned babies who will come to call this their home! We hope to be able to welcome the first babies in 2018.
Ericka has already been training two people to work alongside her a assistant superintendents so that they can succeed her in this role. Hector now has leaders in place for 13 departments in the church, so that his load has been distributed to a whole group of upcoming leaders. We’re seeing leaders trained and stepping up – allowing Hector and Ericka to focus on their new responsibilities at the Vida Children’s Home!
Want to support the Vida Children’s Home? Pray for the start-up process or donate here.
Many years ago, while Elmer Poou – one of our original students – was still in elementary school, Impact Ministries acquired a piece of land in Chijulhá.
Impact Ministries had big plans for Chijulhá, but God had even bigger plans for the ministry, so for a dozen or so years, the land at Chijulhá grew produce, while Elmer grew up.
Last year, Impact Ministries started construction on Vida Chijulhá – and Elmer, who was now a Vida teacher, had recently become principal of Vida Chicoy.
Last week, students arrived for the first day of school at Vida Chijulhá. They were welcomed by Vida Chijulhá’s first principal: Elmer Poou.
“The first day of classes at Chijulhá was full of emotions” says Elmer. “Not only was it the first day of classes for the children, it was also the beginning of a new project to bless many lives.”
Even though it was cold and foggy, the children arrived with their parents. “You could see the parents were nervous, wanting to know what the school devotional would be like”
The kids were excited, and the parents – well, they were soon reassured. “You could see on their faces the joy as they heard the worship to our God. And much more importantly, they could know that their children would learn to worship and glorify Him every day.”
Thank you to each of you who helped make the dream of a school in Chijulhá a reality! We’ll be celebrating the Grand Opening of Vida Chijulhá in March, but until then, the kids will be learning – and worshipping – every day!
* want to impact classes like this one? Check out our support a class program.
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