Hello from Guatemala!
We’re still here, and we’re alive! Sorry that it’s been almost a year since our last ministry update.
Our girls have just about a month of school left as the school year goes from January to October. At the start of the year, we had a big surprise when the school that most of our kids, including Margaret, announced that they were shutting down. All classes have been required to be online since the start of the pandemic, and the school couldn’t handle it. So we had to scramble to get them all registered in new schools. All of our girls are in 10th grade this year, although they study in different schools because they’re required to pick a major in high school. But in the end, they’ve barely even seen their schools as all classes have been remote all year long. We’re hoping they’ll be able to go next year!
Our newest girl, Liseth, came to live with us last October. We love having her here with us and she’s a great addition to our family. She received a huge surprise a few months ago when her father reached out to her. Liseth had no memory of him and very distant memories of her mother, as she was brought to an orphanage due to abandonment a long time ago. But in May we were able to meet her father, and she got two big surprises: She has a different last name, and she has a different birthday! In fact, we had just celebrated her 19th birthday, and now we learned that we get to celebrate her birthday a second time! We continue to get to know her father better, and it’s very exciting for her to finally know a parent.
Karla is 17 now, and she’s studying to be a computer programmer. Ana is 19 and is studying business administration, and Mary is 20 and is studying to be a preschool teacher. We’re very proud of our girls and we have a great time together. Being stuck inside together now for almost two years has had the effect of really unifying us and building a feeling of family that wouldn’t have been possible otherwise!
Breakfasts, Dinners & Bible Studies
It’s been great to be able to have meetings this year, as they were prohibited almost all of last year. Our president and congress can’t figure out what’s best in order to contain the virus, and they’re always fighting amongst themselves. (It doesn’t just happen in the United States!) So sometimes there are mandatory curfews at certain hours, and sometimes meetings and gatherings are not allowed.
In the middle of all the craziness the ministry has grown a lot this year. Our breakfasts on Sunday mornings now have about 125 people attending, and there’s a lot more needs as the pandemic continues and jobs are scarce. We also have a lot more volunteers to do the work of cooking and serving, so I’m now free to sit, talk and pray with people. It’s been awesome to be able to focus on building relationships!
On Monday nights we have dinner and a Bible Study. We use to call it shoe shiner ministry, but only 1 comes anymore! Most are not from our town, and with all the shutdowns, there was no work for them in our town, and so they went home. But we have a lot of kids and adults that sell food, candy and masks around the central park, and we also have a group of alcoholics that regularly attend. We typically have about 30-40 come, and split into three groups according to age. Our girls along with our niece Heidy teach the young kids and teens, and I have a Bible study with the adults.
We partner with DBO Ministries for all of these ministries. They’re much better than I am at regular newsletters and pictures on Facebook, which can be seen here: https://www.facebook.com/dboministeriosgt.
I also have the privilege of serving on the board of directors for a special needs orphanage in our town called Los Gozosos (The Joyful Ones). They have been really struggling to meet their budget during the pandemic to pay for all the medicine, therapists, teachers and nurses necessary to care for these precious kids. I encourage you to take a look at their website and see if there is a way that you can help out. This ongoing pandemic has been a trying time for all of us, but it has severely affected ministries like Los Gozosos that rely on continuous help from teams visiting from the United States.
Margaret is finishing second grade. With the school closing we decided to homeschool her, and so it’s been busy teaching her ourselves. And Isabella is a very energetic and happy two and a half year old!
Thank you for your continued prayers and support for us! We’re grateful for God’s goodness and for all of your help. We’re so blessed to be able to serve the poor, lost, and needy here in Guatemala. It’s a rare privilege to be able to do what we do. Thank you so much for making it possible!
Thank you so much and God bless,
Brent, Yuliza, Margaret & Isabella