Partnering with the Church to Spiritually and Physically Sustain the Communities during the Pandemic
However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me —the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.
As our communities continue to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, and cries for justice sweep the United States and the globe, I find strength in the words of the Apostle Paul. Our faith compels us to testify the good news of God’s Grace in the midst of hardship and suffering. This does not mean we do not acknowledge the pain of the world and make space for grief. The crisis of COVID-19, even as it has impacted us all in many ways, has also laid bare social inequalities that existed long before the pandemic. Paul’s words are a call to live out the gospel through tangible actions of learning and love for our neighbors, as Christ taught us to do.
As in many parts of Latin America, COVID-19 cases are steadily rising in Guatemala, particularly in the capital. While curfews, travel restrictions and social distancing are meant to bolster an already stretched public health system, the large portion of the population that normally makes a living through informal work is unable to make ends meet.
How our team is responding: Our team in Guatemala City is still restricted from traveling to the rural areas, so they are splitting their time between communicating with church leaders in Quiché by phone and working in local relief in the capital. Through the generous gift for relief work from one of our supporting U.S. churches, we have been able to coordinate with local churches in the capital to provide food and medicine to 130 families in vulnerable neighborhoods. We work with local churches because they know the context of their own communities best and together we can work to address both spiritual and physical needs.
The current funds are sufficient for three months, but we anticipate the impacts of this crisis to last longer. If you would like to contribute to this ongoing relief work fund, please donate here. To learn more, please feel free to reach out to us directly.
Status of pastoral training programs & education: Our Biblical training program is currently focused on retooling our programming through other means of communication. While the internet is not an option in most of the rural areas, we have been exploring other ideas via phone and WhatsApp. Throughout the country, schools are struggling to stay connected with their students. Luz y Vida, the school we partner with in Salquil Grande, is using some internet, phone, and written communication to try to keep the kids up to date in their studies.
Our first and foremost request is for prayer. The ministry is changing each day and we are seeking to follow the next steps God has for us. The relief funds received go 100 percent to the families in need in cooperation with the local churches.
During this time we have not reduced salaries of any of the team members based in Guatemala, meaning we still need support so they can continue to adapt our usual programming to a new technological and social landscape.
Thank you so much for your love and support. We have been humbled and encouraged by the prayers and gifts of God’s people as no one has been immune to the challenges of this worldwide pandemic. Praying for all of you that together, we will keep a singular focus on sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ that our broken world needs now more than ever.
Sending our love and prayers,
Rick and Deb for our entire HOPE/AGAPE team