Dear Guatemala Mission Partners:
The parable about the good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37) gives an excellent depiction of mission partnership. The Samaritan, moved by the plight of an assault victim along the road, ignores social barriers & renders first aid. Then, instead of resuming his trek to Jericho, he carries his fellow traveler to a shelter where his wounds can heal. Next, he even provides resources for his new friend’s care. Incredibly, the Samaritan even promises to return to check on him & make sure the recovery is complete.
The good Samaritan’s spirit is so evident in you, our mission partners. Moved by the dire conditions in Guatemala, your response hasn’t been minimal or fleeting. Instead, you’ve overcome barriers to be able to walk alongside people who find themselves in a ditch along life’s pathway. You’ve offered friendship & financial gifts. Incredibly, you keep coming back, over & over, as witnesses to the unwavering grace of God. Thank you for your goodness & for the faithful ways that you accompany God’s people as they seek the abundant life.
Here’s some news about how mission partnerships are making a difference in Guatemala:
La Patria Norte Protestant School: The 2019 academic year began in Jan. with a 35% increase in enrollment. Due to generous sponsorships from many of you, 80 full scholarships were awarded to needy, worthy students. Final plans are underway for the new campus. Hopefully, work will start by this summer.
Theological education: In Feb., Guatemala’s Presbyterian Seminary began its 8th year of classes for Mayan church leaders from across the region. A dream was fulfilled on Feb. 26 with the dedication of the John Knox Theological Center, a facility with classrooms & sleeping quarters for up to 50 students. (See photo) During the ceremony, deep appreciation was voiced for the many Presbyterians from the U.S. & Canada that provided generously provided construction funding and volunteers.
Antioch Presbyterian Church: Lately Philip has been busy training new church leaders & forming cell groups in homes, while Bacilia coordinates the ministry with women. Last Dec. the church held a week-long Vacation Bible School, drawing 140 neighborhood kids. Each of them received a set of supplies to start the school year.
Recent Teams. We received 2 teams in March, one from Middle TN that held health clinics in villages in the Petén. The other, from Toronto, Canada worked at Cobán’s Presbyterian Complex (see photo) & visited churches in the Ixil area. Meanwhile, a full slate of groups is scheduled for June & July. We can’t wait to see you!
Our Month in the States: In Nov., our family visited partner churches in Charleston, SC; Greenville, SC; Williamsburg, VA; Cincinnati, Kingsport & Nashville, TN; & Fairhope & Dothan, AL. At each stop we enjoyed amazing hospitality & the opportunity to share about God’s work in Guatemala. Extra bonuses for us were a harrowing drive thru “Winter Storm Avery” & Thanksgiving in Nashville with Philip’s family.
Family: It was thrilling to watch Bacilia receive her nursing degree in Oct. (see photo) Matthew’s year at Bentonville HS in AR has gone well. He runs on the track team & plays drums for his youth group band. Manny & Stefi started 6th and 8th grade respectively at La Patria Norte. In April, Daniel’s scheduled to return to Omaha from his deployment in Qatar. We suffered a hard blow with the death of Philip’s Dad in late Nov. A memorial service was held in Nashville to celebrate his long life of Christian ministry, social activism & devotion to family.
Recently word got out that our assignment was facing a financial shortfall. Your responses have been most encouraging. Words can’t express our gratitude for your support as we journey together as servants of Christ.