Guatemala – Update 4 – Finished! The team finished building the playground yesterday morning and it looks great. After the work was done, they gathered in a circle around the playground and prayed together, committing it to the Lord for His service and as a blessing to the children of Sumpango. At the end, Chris pointed out that, though the church has many other plans for how the rest of the land there will be used – a new church building, a school, a soccer field and parking space, the fact that the playground was built first is symbolic of the high priority they put on the children of this community.
This is the first and only playground in the city of Sumpango, and everyone is definitely excited about it. In order for more people to be able to attend, the decision was made to hold the dedication celebration Saturday afternoon. It is sure to include most of the town!
Tonight is the last night of puppet training, when each group will present their “final exam” skits. It has been such a blessing working with these wonderful men and women (and children) this week. They have done their best to learn all they can this week and have been challenged to use their new skills the reach the children of Sumpango and the surrounding villages.
After serving here in Guatemala for the past two weeks with two great teams, the KIDS staff is heading home. As a result of your constant prayers and support, we have seen God work greatly. Thank you so much for the important role you play in this ministry.
For the team,
Guatemala – Update 3 – The team has been hard at work this week. As of the this morning, the playground is almost done! Tomorrow morning, they will go and spread sand to cover the ground under the equipement, and add a few last minutes touches. Then, they will be ready for the big dedication celebration on Saturday.
The sportscamp in the afternoon continues to go well. Although dark clouds rolled in and thunder was heard in the distance just as they were ready to begin yesterday, the team rejoiced as God held off the rain so they could continue with the activities that had been planned.
Once again, some of the teachers that KIDS had previously trained came and helped with the Bible lesson, only this time they used puppets to tell the story! The kids loved the puppets and the teachers did a great job!
In Puppet Training, the participants continued to sew together their new little fleece fabric friends. There were so many people, it was difficult to get an actual count, but we think there were between 55-60 people, plus several children who came with their parents.
Tonight, they will start learning how to bring their new creations to life and learning how to use their puppets in ministry. We are looking forward to a night of learning new skills, lots of laughter, and some very sore arms!
Please continue to pray for these wonderful, commited teachers this week. Ask God to show them how they can use their training to impact the children of Sumpango. I know of one young man who said he was so excited to be a part of this class. He is trying to start a children’s ministry in his church and believes this will be a great tool for reaching the children there.
Thank you for your continued prayers and support for the team here in Sumpango. God is at work!
For the team,
Guatemala – Update 2 – We are with our second team here in Guatemala. This time there are 24 volunteers from Lodi, Wisconsin in Sumpango to build a playground, conduct a sports outreach and a puppet training, We are working with Los Olivos Church here in Sumpango and their work is incredible. They do so much for this community and have a huge vision for the future.
They are currently in the process of developing a large piece of land and the first completed part of the project will be the playground and then the sports field. They have a strong commitment to children and we are happy to be a part of it!
Today, the team worked a little on the playground before going to lead a sports camp at Public School #2, which has more than 900 students. Huge rains came in the afternoon which put a damper on things, but it still went well. Each day they will be working with a different grade and plan to engage not only their bodies, but their minds and spirits as well, through crafts and Bible lessons. It was encouraging to see some of the amazing teachers we had previously trained with the puppets and flannelgraph using their skills to teach the lesson of the prodigal son to the children.
Our puppet training got off to a good start with 42 people attending. More are expected to join tonight. After a brief introduction to puppet ministry, they were put to work sewing their new puppets. We are excited to be using our new puppet pattern, which was created especially for these workshops, for the first time.
Pray for our team here in Sumpango as we work with Los Olivos to bring hope to this community.
For the team,
Guatemala – Update 1 – After our great Dedication Day and our home visits with the families from the dump, we still had some work to do! We headed out early to IJM (International Justics Mission) to learn more about them and serve with them for the day. IJM has a great ministry working with at risk children and being an advocate for them. They go to court to try criminals, therapy for children that have been abused and they work with country governments to change laws as it pertains to children’s rights. In Guatemala, IJM has prosecuted and had convictions on more cases than all the other attorneys combined!
We built a playground for them at their offices in Guatemala City which is a few blocks from the dump. The head office has kids come in from their cases to have therapy, talk to lawyers and to help them rehabilitate. The playground is going to be a huge part of this…and one they had never thought of! The Director told me how important the playground will be to help the kids develop self esteem, which will help them overcome their psychological problems. They will also develop physical and social skills in a closed and safe environment. There was one girl there while we were building the playground and she was so excited! She kept saying “Es Mio!” (Its Mine!) over and over again. She would go throughout the building saying this for hours. Finally, she had to go home and she cried so hard! This showed the staff how important this playground was to this ministry.
We also had teams working with IJM in their new Child Advocacy Center, which they partner with Buckner Intl on. It is opening Oct 1. Our volunteers painted the entrance way and constructed a small playhouse for them. While this was happening, our teams were finishing the painting project at Potter’s House and the VBS at the local dump school. The principal told our staff how much they appreciated our team and their dedication to the kids. Our team expressed how much they enjoyed the kids and most of them had great relationships with them after 5 days of working with them!
As we finished our week, we were so thankful for the things we were allowed to accomplish. The playgrounds, home visits, and service projects were all so helpful to the ministries we worked with and we hope it will have lasting effects. It also had incredible effects on each of us volunteers! We do know, however, that this was just a start and the work will continue for us all. That was the challenge we gave to the volunteers: what will you do to continue the work that has been started? We look forward to seeing how people respond to that challenge!
We want to thank you all for your prayers and support for our team while in Guatemala. It was really felt as we ministered here. We hope you all can join us on a future project as we continue to bring hope to children all over the world. While our team heads home, we pick up another team of 24 from Lodi, Wisconsin to build another playground and more ministry in Sumpango. Please continue to pray for us on this project as well…
For the team,