March has been a busy month for me so far. I have gotten involved with a lot of things here in Guatemala, and at time I feel like maybe I've extended myself too far. I have a job working as a manager in hotels which pays my bills. I've also started helping out another missionary couple expand their project to include a school. I'm planning a trip out to Solola to visit Juana de Leon and her family on March 19th to help get a new roof on their house, and I also have a meeting with the mayor to see what can be done to help the economy of the area. At the end of February, accompanied by a friend, I made the trip into the capitol to renew my visa for another 3 months. Basically, God is moving in a big way and I'm so excited to be a part of it!
John and Judy Prim (One Hope Ministry), originally from Chicago, are a missionary couple who are serving down here in Guatemala. They have a home in which they accept girls from poor, rural families. They provide these girls a place to live, teach them about sanitary living (drinking clean—not bacteria-infested—water, bathing one's self regularly, cutting/cleaning nails, cooking with gas instead of wood, and so on), and pay for the girls to attend a school which will provide them with the education to get a good job and help their family escape from the extreme poverty in which they live. Up until now, they've had about 12 girls living with them at a time. This year, due to a few health concerns, they scaled back on the number of girls with them (they have only 5) and are gearing up to build their own home to ideally house up to 100 girls and school which will also accept outside students as well. While helping them, I've managed to make a few contacts of my own which will help to ideally bring short-term groups to Guatemala.
You may recall the pastor couple with whom I was working out in Solola. Last I mentioned them, the situation was a little uncertain. I won't say that it is any more certain, but there is a family in the United States which has decided to sponsor one of the families (Juana de Leon and her seven sons) in Los Encuentros. Ismael, one of the sons of the pastors, is a community leader in the area, and he has been in contact with Juana. After visiting her, he went to talk to the mayor in Solola about this “activist” (me) he knows, and during the course of the conversation, Juana was brought up. As a result, her family will also be receiving 10 pounds of nutritious drink mix each month from the local government. Studies have shown that children who have a nutritious diet do better in school. I'm hoping for big things out of Juana's boys! Also exciting is that I am planning for the visit of two of the members of the sponsoring family who hope to come down at the end of July.
Additionally, the mayor would like to be able to send small groups of artesans to the United States to be able to put on shows (display and sell their wares, and maybe conduct some demonstrations of how the crafts are made as well as share a little about their culture). If you are interested, know anything about this, or know someone who might be interested, please contact me! Maybe a school district would like them to come in and do some demonstrations in each school. Maybe a community center would like to have them for a week. I don't know. I do know that as they are from a high-flight-risk country, they will likely not be allowed without an invitation.
Finally, I have plans to be in the area for a visit near the end of May. Actual dates have not yet been decided yet.
The Care and Keeping of a Missionary
You all take very good care of me, and I am blessed to have you as my sending church. I keep you in my prayers as I know you keep me in yours. Specific prayer requests are for the growth of the ministry which has been entrusted to Judy and John, for the family of Juana, for the residents of Solola, for my general health and well-being, and that God might work through all of us in at least a small way during the coming month. Additionally, I ask that you keep your eyes and ears out for opportunities for the artesans of Solola. If it is in your ability to look for opportunities, please do so.