We've been living in Guatemala for ONE month now and definitely now feel settled in!
We've had a really exciting month!
We've gotten to know the kids and leaders that come out to our ministry center. Jon has started to teach a leadership class for the youth, mentoring students and laying the groundwork for AMI International School.
Our ministry center serves as a community center and church for the kids in the community. In a given week, it offers English classes, math classes, music classes, computer class, mentoring, various trainings, playtime, and church services. What has been most amazing to us is how much the kids and youth love on Elijah and Joel. They LOVE holding them and playing with them. Joel has been happy to interact with the other kids, but Elijah is still a little shy and sometimes frustrated that he cannot communicate in Spanish, but he has found a few kids he connects with and enjoys playing with.
Some of our favorite moments have been visiting the families of the children that attend our center to pray for them and get to know them. The area is hilly without paved roads, so Elijah likes our "hiking" trips. Our focus on these visits is both academic and spiritual. We encourage them to send their children to school, the extracurricular classes at the Ministry Center, and attend church. School is certainly considered optional here which was surprising to us. Also, I was surprised to find out that many of the neighbors may only speak their native Mayan language, Qʼeqchiʼ and not Spanish. Many times we have to take a youth leader to translate. Learning Spanish in school is incredibly important and it's a big reason why we emphasize sending their kids to school.
Also, we hosted a short term missions team from Tapestry LA. They did a fantastic job putting on a science camp at the local school as well as a dance camp here at the mission center. The kids don't have too many opportunities for organized extracurricular activities, so these camps are SUPER popular! We had over 60 kids come out!
We've had a couple of amazing God sightings and answers to prayer!
One of the biggest ways God has been working has been through an unexpected encounter. On Day 3 of us moving to Guatemala, we got into a minor car accident (fender bender). However, this was the most fortunate of car accidents that God orchestrated! The driver, Mrs. Morales, is a prominent pediatrician in the area. She and her husband, who is also a doctor, have been praying about starting a free children's and mother's clinic and partnering with an organization. They have offered up their services to partner with us to start a free medical clinic! We're working through the details, and it may not come to fruition for some time since we need to create a facility, but it is truly amazing how God can work through a chance meeting like a car accident! Additionally, her daughter was on a school break and helped out with the science camps as a translator!
The other is an amazing answer to prayer! As many of you may know, one of our main goals is to start up a brand new AMI International School in Fall 2020. Our biggest concern and prayer has been to find good local teachers to teach. Last week, we had three teachers/soon to be teachers who came to our youth service interested in teaching at our school! Additionally, we have had some interest from some US based people who are prayerfully considering joining our team. We feel so blessed that there are so many inquiries in our first month and this is a huge answer to prayer!
Thank you for reading this and for your prayer and support! We feel so blessed to have an army of supporters and hope these blogs are encouraging to you too!