Lindsey and I are very excited to share some changes that God has put on our hearts in regards to our ministry here in Guatemala. After a lot of prayer and consideration, We have decided to transition away from the Vencedor Boys Academy to focus more fully on creating sustainable job opportunities and to minister more intentionally to the high school and college students from our weekly Saturday classes.
This has been a difficult decision to make, but thankfully, the Lord is good and has remained true to His “Comforter” title. The more we’ve prayed and asked for God’s wisdom, the more we’ve come to realize that this is His will for us, and the right decision to make.
We absolutely love providing job opportunities in El Rosario, and that part of our ministry has grown far larger than we ever anticipated. Our ministry with the high school and college students is really growing too. This year, we’re averaging over 30 boys and girls every Saturday! When we step back and look at how much these two ministries have grown over the last few years, we can see that God is truly going before us and He’s perfectly orchestrating it all.
During this process, the Lord has been reminding me a lot about the man who sold us the land in El Rosario. In August of 2013 we got a phone call from a friend saying that her father-in-law, Ventura, was interested in selling land to us. To make a long story short, he basically told us during this meeting that he was, in fact, not at all interested in selling us his land, and he didn’t understand why we were asking him about it in the first place.
Fast-forward two months. We receive another phone call, from the same friend, saying that Ventura wanted to sit down with us again about the property. This time, the scene played out very differently. With his head hung low, and his voice uncharacteristically quiet, he explained that the Lord had spoken to him and told him to sell us the land. I’ll never forget what he said at the end of the meeting, “To be clear, this isn’t what I want. I don’t want to sell you my land, but I do want to obey God, so I have to.”
I tell that story because I felt the same at first. My initial reaction was not a positive one. I’ve been teaching these boys since July of 2013. I feel a lot of ownership and pride in how far we’ve come and what we’ve accomplished. I also feel a lot of uncertainty when I think about my personal ministry from this point forward. I didn’t want to loosen my grip, and I surely didn’t want to let go.
When I told a friend about the difficulties I was having obeying God, he said, “I believe that is what defines a disciple. You just follow whatever the master tells you, at whatever cost.”
The changes we’ve seen through sustainable income opportunities overwhelm us. We’re seeing single mothers’ self-worth go through the roof. We’re seeing uplifting communities and friendships formed. We’re seeing families proudly supporting themselves, some of them for the first time, as loans, debt, and handouts become things of the past. And most importantly, discipleship thrives in this business setting. People are growing in their relationship with Jesus because of these jobs.
Saturdays with the high school and college kids are something that we’ve looked forward to every week since we started them two years ago. We’re amazed by how many kids give us a precious part of their weekend to learn the Bible and some English. This year, our class has grown so large that we’re planning to create a second class for the advanced students who’ve studied with us for 2 or more years. This will create more space in the class and help to intentionally meet the needs of the different levels and age groups.
We can’t wait to dive even deeper into both the sustainable income and high school and college age ministries. We’re so excited to see where God will take things next and to see how He continues to change lives in and around El Rosario.
Our partners, the Sisneros, will now take full responsibility of the Boys Academy. We are so thankful that the Lord has simultaneously put it on George’s heart to take on more classes with the boys. Our trust in the Sisneros remains, as does our belief in the Boys Academy and its mission. We believe these young boys are going to create generational change in El Rosario.
Baby Cooper’s due date is now less than one month away, and (from what we’ve been told) things are about to drastically change in our lives. We also think that the Lord is making these changes now to allow us to really focus on our family after he is born. We can’t wait to share our lives with him and see how God continues to direct us as a family of three!
Would you please pray for us? Pray for our continued peace about this transition. Pray for the growth of our future ministry, and that God would continue to open doors for more job opportunities and impact with the high school and college students, as well as, the Sisneros and the Vencedor Boys Academy.
We are always so grateful for all of your encouragement and support. Thank you for standing with us as we share the love of Jesus in Guatemala!