Many people who have been on a mission trip have been wondering about our ministry partners around the world. So in an effort to keep you informed of how COVID has affected them, here is a quick update from our ministry partners in Guatemala.
Kids in Guatemala are not in school right now. They’re doing virtual learning and of course, in all these developing countries, the Internet is not great. And, if you’re here in the States, you know we have these portals where students will go online and get their assignments, upload them, and have conversations with their teachers and things like that. Our school in Ciudad Vieja, Guatemala did not have that sort of portal. So, they’ve had to hire a developer to build one for them to make sure that the kids continue to learn during this time. Of course, even that has run into more problems as the children are using their parents’ cell phones to do their work because there are not enough devices to use for online learning. This gets more complicated as the parents have to go to work sometimes, leaving the kids at home.
So, learning right now in Guatemala is very, very difficult. In fact, Mayra, our ministry partner, said that it’s estimated that education in the country has been set back by about 20 years, which is devastating to the school that we work with – Kairos.
The kids are at home all the time. A concern with this is that the parents’ lives have not changed. They continue to have work. So they go out. However, the kids’ lives have changed drastically. What Mayra is noticing is that this is leading to a bit of depression with her students. So, we need to keep praying for the students there in Guatemala, that they wouldn’t fall into the depression that this season has brought them.
She did want to mention that the government is not helping at all with education, especially since the school is private. But, she’s so thankful that they’ve not had to lay anyone off. In fact, financially, the school has done better than expected considering the circumstances. So while the public schools have had to lay people off, they’ve been able to keep their staff throughout this whole season. Not only that, but the staff is really passionate about helping these children. Mayra will tell them, go home at three, but they’ll stay until five o’clock, to teach these kids virtually. So Kairos, the school itself, is doing well.
However, she wanted us to know that in 2020 the needs of the community were not met. Homes are not being built. Water filters are not being delivered. Food is not being delivered. Medical needs are not being met. As she goes through the communities people are asking her, “When are the teams coming back?” Because people know that Mayra has these Mission Discovery and HOLD the Children teams that come to the community and are able to do some good in the area. But, right now we’re just not able to.
Here is a list of seven big needs, though I’m sure there are more than that.
- Pray for the spiritual lives of her students and the students’ families right now. Guatemala does not have an in-person church currently. So they’re not getting spiritually fed by a church every week.
- Elvis. A lot of people know Elvis who had been to the school. So Elvis is a child that one of our teams, the Aggie men’s club, connected with when we were building a home for his family. And what we noticed when we were building the home is that the child was not speaking. And we thought he wasn’t speaking because he doesn’t know English. But Alejandra, Mayra’s daughter and a teacher at the school, figured out that it wasn’t just because he didn’t know English. He was actually mute. And so through a lot of testing, psychology visits, and things like that, they found out that Elvis has some developmental challenges. They really want to see Elvis succeed in learning, but online learning is not doing him well. So they need to figure out a way to get a teacher into his home a couple of times a week to make sure that he’s able to learn. So remember to pray for Elvis.
- Pray for Yoli. Yoli’s job at the school is to work with teams like us. If you’ve ever been to Guatemala with Mission Discovery, you’ve met Yoli. She has taken us through the neighborhoods and led us in our building projects and things like that. Of course, we have no teams going right now. So she is not able to work at the school, other than one day a week. She and her family did have a restaurant, however, COVID also took the restaurant away. Even though all of this, she remains grateful and says, “We have food! And we even have dessert!” But, but she really does need our prayers.
- Operational costs for Kairos. Kairos is a private school in Guatemala. They really focus on quality education. They believe that education is the way out of poverty. So they want their kids to succeed in learning. The operational costs for Kairos are always an issue. We need to continue to pray for and provide for their operational costs.
If you want to find out more information about that, go to holdthechildren.org, or click the link here at the bottom of this page. There you will find a way to donate to Kairos so that their operating costs can be met and their teachers can continue to be provided for.
- Health. Pray for the health of the community, the health of their students, the health of the parents, and the health of the teachers. Obviously, there’s a pandemic going on and we need to pray for the health of those people who are providing education for these kids.
- Open doors to the community. Pray for an open door to access the communities we serve because our partners need to know what the needs are.
- Mayra. She’s having some health difficulties. So if you would just pray for Myra and her health. She has to undergo surgery and she’s very nervous about it.
Hopefully, we will get back to Guatemala soon. We love everyone there. If you’ve been there, thank you for going. Please continue to pray for and support them. Let me know if you have any questions. My email is [email protected].