Space has been one of the simplest things For the Love of Missions has provided over the years and God has blessed that simple provision. Several years ago, we heard from a few local leaders about the lack of space for ministries to use and for them to meet with community and ministry leaders. We had a building that we were willing to open for these purposes. The garbage dump community in Guatemala City has not seen much cooperation and collaboration between organizations because many compete for resources. But something new is happening as space has been opened. We look forward to the future collaborations.
Chad Johnson gives a powerful challenge about how we view the materially poor in Rethink Missions. He writes, “Mindsets and action are directly correlated. How we perceive a situation directly affects how we react. This is human nature. Whether we view people in poverty as weak, unimaginative, destitute, and uneducated or as smart, capable, innovative, and potential-laden will elicit extremely different responses. The first view will produce shortsighted reactions – We’ll take control and react out of our perception of the needs. The second view will produce collaboration – We’ll come alongside, partner, create shared value, and promote opportunity.” We at For The Love strive to view the immense value each person is intrinsically created with and have seen the Lord open our hearts.
Education is a critical aspect of breaking the cycle of poverty. We are so thankful that God has allowed 11 students to continue their education this school year through For the Love scholarships. We are hopeful for additional growth and education for these families and students in the years to come.
The challenges of the Guatemala City garbage dump community are many, especially for students who are dedicated to working hard at school. There are not many places and spaces available for students to get help, be encouraged or just use a computer or table to complete an assignment. The tutoring center was developed out of a desire to provide this space to the students in the mentoring program who receive scholarships. The tutors take their work very seriously and build intentional relationships with the students.
Kris Rocke and Joel Van Dyke write in their book, Geography of Grace, “For those who want to make sense of serving marginalized populations in hard places, the image of God ‘hovering’ in chaos also frees us from the need to bring God to those we serve in order to fix them or their circumstances. Rather, it gives us license to awaken people to the God who hovers there in the midst of their mess. This means we can greet the Holy Spirit in the hardest places with a holy kiss as opposed to having to bring Him there as a special delivery package.”
What can we say but Praise God over how He has used our open hands in Popabaj. Homes have been built, babies born healthy, children are growing and learning, moms are caring and interacting with their children and each other in new ways. God is good!