Missional Context

neighborhood-8

The Guatemala City Garbage dump community is a fascinating place. When you can take a step back and observe the Missional Context.  The Guatemala City garbage dump is home to more than 30 organizations, most providing relief in the form of food, clothing, medical care and educational programs for children. These organizations host nearly 100 short term mission trips each year to this community. While certainly some good has come from this work, this atmosphere has created a challenging environment. There is competition between the organizations for resources and exposure as well as between residents of the community as they compete for those resources. It has also destroyed the dignity of the people by creating a “hand-out” culture of entitlement and dependency. Some have stated they do not need to work because they know where to go to get what they need. It will take a different approach to bring lasting change to this community. For the Love of Missions is grateful that God has opened the door for us to be a part of something different.

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram by clicking the links on the right of the screen.

Shop at https://www.etsy.com/shop/ForTheLoveofMissions. Every purchase supports our mission!

Geographical Context

laundry

Understanding how and why slum communities grew up and continue to exist in Guatemala City provides Geographical Context. The community surrounding the Guatemala City garbage dump is one of a number of squatter communities which developed during and after the civil war. Often people fled the violence of rural areas for the imagined safety and economic opportunities of the cities. There was no infrastructure to provide for this population growth so slums developed. These slums have been categorized as “red zones” which designates an area of high crime, drugs, gangs and low educational and economic opportunities. The squatter community around the Guatemala City garbage dump has been estimated between 11,000 -20,000 people. Often people still come to the city for economic opportunities only to be disappointed.

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram by clicking the links on the right of the screen.

Shop at https://www.etsy.com/shop/ForTheLoveofMissions. Every purchase supports our mission!

Where are they? The Disappeared!

img_3077

The armed internal conflict resulted in thousands of missing and disappeared people. This excerpt from Geography of Grace by Joel Van Dyke and Kris Rocke tells the story of the FAFG who is working to bring closure to families who are missing a loved one.

“One of the most powerful experiences of mapping the hurt, hope and heart of a place for us has been with the Forensic Anthropology Foundation of Guatemala (FAFG). The FAFG uses forensic science to investigate human rights violations that occurred during Guatemala’s 30-year internal armed conflict. Forensic anthropologists exhume mass graves, identify the bodies through interviews from witnesses and DNA samplings, and then determine the cause of death to create the possibility for criminal prosecutions. FAFG has exhumed more than 5,000 of the more than 200,000 skeletal remains of victims of the war, 20% of which are children….

The work of the FAFG teaches us that while the victors usually write history, in modern-day Guatemala there are chapters that can only be written in the blood of these innocent victims. Through their silent tears, truth is slowly being uncovered and hope regained for a devastated people….

As the bones of each ‘case’ are carefully laid out on tables and the skeletons reassembled, they slowly take the shape of a person. The bones begin to speak and tell the story of what happened until they eventually are reconnected to their names, faces and histories. Their stories are honored, and they are then ultimately returned to their families for burial.”

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram by clicking the links on the right of the screen.

Shop at https://www.etsy.com/shop/ForTheLoveofMissions. Every purchase supports our mission!

Historical Context

guatemalan-capital-building-2

In addition to refining our key definitions, For the Love of Missions reflected on all that we learned about Guatemala in general and the zone 3 garbage dump community, in particular. We start with the Historical Context that affects every part of the country. Guatemala continues to recover from an armed internal conflict (civil war) that lasted 36 years and resulted in an estimated 250,000 deaths.

The United States government heavily influenced the course of the civil war in order to protect U.S. economic and political interests in Guatemala. This negative involvement damaged trust toward the U.S. and between Guatemalans. The military regimes in power during the civil war left little room for disagreement or differences of opinion creating a culture of silence and mistrust which continues today.

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram by clicking the links on the right of the screen.

Shop at https://www.etsy.com/shop/ForTheLoveofMissions. Every purchase supports our mission!

Social Entrepreneurship

javier-workingJavier is an entrepreneur in Guatemala. For the Love of Missions is pursuing social entrepreneurship to further our mission of Transforming Generational Cycles of Poverty to Ignite Hope and Value in the Name of Jesus. Social entrepreneurship can broadly be defined as using business theories and practices to address social issues. Social enterprises can take many shapes and sizes from a nonprofit serving a specific need to a business with an awareness of social issues and everything in between.

So much more on this in the future! But check out this video from povertycure.com to learn more about entrepreneurs and the challenges they face in the developing world:

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram by clicking the links on the right of the screen.

Shop at https://www.etsy.com/shop/ForTheLoveofMissions. Every purchase supports our mission!

Crisis Situation or Chronic Poverty

_address-chronic-need-with-crisis-intervention-and-people-are-harmed-_bob-lupton

Determining the difference between Chronic and Crisis situations also plays a role in long term solutions. Thanks to Bob Lupton as he helped us flush out the difference in his book Charity Detox. Chronic Poverty is long term material poverty. A situation where a family or individual is in a state of material poverty over a long period of time.  Crisis situations occur when an unexpected natural or man – made situation happens. A crisis can be measured by a 6 week cycle of stabilization; after 6 weeks the situation becomes chronic.

Some guidelines to consider from another book by Bob Lupton, Toxic Charity:

  • CRISIS need demands RELIEF intervention (Think: an earthquake, tsunami, famine, war. The goal is to stop the bleeding.)
  • A CHRONIC need requires DEVELOPMENT (Think: rebuilding homes, re-starting businesses, rebuilding infrastructure. We have to strengthen capacity.)
  • Address a CRISIS need with CRISIS intervention and lives are saved. (Think: doctors and medical supplies to treat the wounded, food and water to feed the starving, tents to shelter the refuges, etc.)
  • Address a CHRONIC need with a CRISIS intervention, and people are harmed. (Think: dependency increases, work-ethic erodes, dignity diminishes.)

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram by clicking the links on the right of the screen.

Shop at https://www.etsy.com/shop/ForTheLoveofMissions. Every purchase supports our mission!

Relief or Development?

relief-or-developmentAs an organization and as individuals, we continue to wrestle with best practices to engage material poverty. We continue to rest on these definitions from Brian Fikkert and Steve Corbett in When Helping Hurts.

Relief can be defined as the urgent and temporary provision of emergency aid to reduce immediate suffering from a natural or man-made crisis.

Development is a process of ongoing change that moves all people involved – both the helpers and the helped closer to being in right relationship with God, self, others and the rest of creation.

There are times of true emergency, like a landslide, where relief is the proper response. Often, though, North Americans see what would be an emergency situation in their life and want to provide relief which in fact further traps the receivers in a cycle of poverty.

Fikkert and Corbett state,

One of the biggest mistakes that North American churches make- by far- is in applying relief in situations in which rehabilitation or development is the appropriate intervention.

For the Love of Missions is committed to continue to explore the proper approach to material poverty alleviation in each situation God opens the door for our involvement.

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram by clicking the links on the right of the screen.

Shop at https://www.etsy.com/shop/ForTheLoveofMissions. Every purchase supports our mission!