We returned June 24th from our journey to visit our partners in Guatemala, 19 people in our group that consisted of a teaching team and a health team. We had a wide diversity of ages, several InterVarsity alumni from the 1980s (ages anonymous), a group of eight people 19-25, and four of our little kids ages 8-10. Great trip and we want to also thank those of you that contributed money for some of the college and post-college students to go.
While we were in Panyebar we visited the school every day during the week and the education team did activities with the teenagers at the school as well as with younger kids in the community library that we also support. This library is humble, but with hundreds of books for all ages, located in two rooms in the village civic building. Kids go there after school to read, work on art projects, do homework under adult supervision (which is the part MP is supporting). This is the only place like it in the area we believe, where kids have a quiet place to go and read after school.
The health team, which included two nurses, Brooke Turley and Barb (Warmath) Derthick from UC Davis days, did a public health seminar each morning, and did home visits to attend to sick people during the afternoons. Panyebar is a very poor village and we saw some very sick people, some of them had terminal illnesses, including a 4-year-old girl named Pamela whom I will never forget. But we were able to pray with people and care for them with what medicine and resources we had. It was a moving experience for all of us, including the four InterVarsity nursing students from USF.
We had set up special time while we were there to renegotiate a new contract for the school building with Pastor Emilio, who owns the land and the building. He is going to step aside as the de facto leader of the school, and the Colegio Bethel school committee headed by Pastor Juan Ajcaj will now be the official directors of the school.
Because of the new contract negotiation for the rent on the school building, we need to raise another $200/month to sustain our support of the school. If you are not currently sponsoring the school and would like to, please consider monthly support of anywhere between $20 - $100. (The bulk of the support of the school and library comes from 14 families who give $75-100 per month.) You can start sponsoring the school by clicking one of these buttons on the right. Thanks so much for considering this. In supporting MP, none of your money goes to overhead or administrative expenses since we are all volunteers--it all goes right to the school and the library and we can see it working.
And just to be clear on our finances, we send about $2,500 each month down to support the school. Given that the school has 65 kids in it, Mayan Partners is supporting a child in school for every $33.84 per month we send down, essentially a dollar a day to keep a teenager in school during the critical middle school years. The education is quite good--the kids in our school on average do much better on the government tests than other schools in the area. Even better, the vast majority of our kids go on to high school and even a few are now starting to go to college--the first in the village!
In terms of prayer requests, please if you could keep in your prayers the transition into leadership for the school committee and the dreams they have to expand the school ultimately to include a high school program as well as increased enrollment in the middle school grades. We would also love to be able to finish the building, which will require about $15,000. Pray for the kids in our school, who face all of the temptations that our kids face here, plus they have to deal with all of the difficulties of living in extreme poverty, where their parents typically have less than four years of education and their family income is less than $5/day. The coffee harvest was lousy this year--affected by a virus and lower world prices than last year--many families are really struggling in Panyebar.
(front): Rachelle, Daly, Bethany, Brooke; (back): Sarah V, Monica, Sarah N, Catrina, Ian, Jonathan, Barb, Steve
Kids at our school.
View from the School (Wow.)