These past 4 months have flown by! It has been challenging being in a completely different environment than I am used to, but God has helped me every step of the way. First, I want to give God all of the glory, all of the credit, and all of the honor for everything that has happened. In teaching English, he has helped me so much in learning how to teach each one of the students He has placed in front of me. So, let me tell you a little bit about the ministry God has placed me in, called “El Centro Zona 6”.
As many of you know, I served a 9-month Missionary Associate term with a ministry called “Operation Jabez” in Chiquimulilla, Guatemala during 2018. At the beginning of this year (2019), the Lord guided me towards serving at “El Centro Zona 6”, with missionaries, Peter and Nadia Odulana, in Zone 6 of Guatemala City. Before I talk about what I have been doing at El Centro, I’d like to explain more about El Centro. El Centro is a ministry that exists to show the youth of Guatemala a brighter future than they could ever imagine. One where they see pain, sorrow, poverty, difficulty, and other struggles as obstacles meant to be overcome, through the lens of a relationship with Jesus Christ at the center of their lives. That’s why it’s called El Centro. Guatemala City is divided into zones and Zone 6 is considered a red zone, meaning that it has higher crime rates, more gang violence, and more extreme poverty than the other zones of Guatemala City. At El Centro, we say that we work with at-risk youth. We say this because they are at risk of so many things that normal kids growing up shouldn’t have to be at risk of, such as gang violence, dealing drugs, parental neglect, etc. El Centro, gives a place for these youth to find refuge and a safe place, where they are taught about the gospel of Jesus Christ and the importance of a relationship with Him. However, they are also provided with an education as well, so that they can break the cycle of poverty that their families have been in for generations. Here are some photos of us doing Biblical studies with the students and praying with them during our devotional time in the morning.
My main role at El Centro is the English Teacher. I teach students, according to their English level, Monday through Friday. I also teach Biblical studies along with the Director Peter Odulana. I also help in any way that I can with their general studies. Their general studies are done through an online curriculum, which allows them to study through high school and receive their diploma, giving them the hope to continue their studies at the college level and pursue a professional career. While the educational aspect of what we do is vital for the future of these kids, it would be completely futile without the foundation that we give them in the Word of God. Every day at El Centro, we start out in the Word of God. We have 45 minutes of Biblical Studies every morning and every week, on Monday, we have a Scripture Memorization test. Our goal at El Centro is that each student would treasure the Word of God and apply it to their daily lives, allowing it to be the very foundation upon which their lives are built on, with Jesus at the center.
Now, let me give you all some highlights from these past 4 months. I think my biggest highlight would have to be the relationships I have begun to form with each student at El Centro. It has been great to teach each one of them and become a part of their daily lives.
Another highlight would be beginning to teach percussion to the children at the church I now attend with Peter and Nadia, Sembradores de Vida. I am teaching them percussion so that they can perform at their end of the year Christmas performance, which is a really big deal for these kids.
I have also been selected by the pastor at Sembradores to be one of the youth leaders and lead worship during our youth gatherings. I have also gotten the privilege to teach during the youth group. It has been great being able to get to know the youth of Zone 6 even better and pouring into their lives spiritually.
As an end of the year reward, we took the El Centro students to hike a nearby volcano called “Pacaya”. We had a blast! None of them had ever experienced anything like this before, so they really enjoyed it. We also took them all to Sky Zone Trampoline Gym (yes Sky Zone is even in Guatemala City). Needless to say, we all had so much fun!
Another highlight is that I recently found an apartment that is in the same neighborhood as Peter and Nadia! It is so convenient being close to them so that we are able to talk frequently about the ministry and how we can continue moving forward! I also just recently bought a 2005 Toyota Rav 4! Thank you to everyone who has supported me along the way to help me become mobile and afford housing so that I can do all that the Lord is calling me to do! I am very happy with the purchase and know that this car is going to serve me very well!
I know that my commitment at El Centro will be at least until the end of 2021. I want to remain available to go wherever God wants me to go, but also available to stay wherever He wants me to stay. God has been so faithful in the process of moving to a new place and settling down here in Zone 6. He has provided housing, a car, a church family, friends, and so many other things. He is always faithful to keep His promises.
My plan now that I am a missionary with A Jesus Mission is to have a blog on my profile page at least every month. Along with social media, this will be my new outlet to keep you all in the loop of what God is doing down here in Guatemala City. Thank you all so much for reading my first official blog/newsletter with A Jesus Mission and there will be more coming soon!