Where we are: As you may know Love Guatemala has been growing since IMC got involved about 4 years ago. We are now at a capacity level in all of the schools. The art school has 35 students, the cooking school has 12 students and the Carpentry School has 10. All three schools combined have 57 students with a combined space of about 700 square feet. So, as you can imagine, our space is very tight. Not only are we growing in numbers but also in effectiveness as the students are not only learning a trade but also about God’s love for them in Jesus through weekly devotionals, home visits and the relationships we have with them. Each week we hear stories about how lives are being changed and how these kids and ladies are able to use what they learn to help provide for their families.
Where we are going: Yesterday as I ran the streets of Magdalena and the surrounding communities I began to get angry. I began to see the things that are broken here, the injustices of how children are treated, how a lot of people are treated and the drunk men I saw in the streets passed out. I thought about the student who came to school who was beaten with a belt by her father. I thought about the 2 fathers who took their own lives here a few months ago. My heart was broken again as I saw and thought about all the needs surrounding me. Then my anger led to what can we do how can we make a bigger difference here. How can this change? God reminded me at that time that we need to keep doing what we are doing and do it bigger and do it better. We are making a difference but there is so many more kids who have no opportunities to go to school or learn a skill that can help them break out of the cycle of poverty they are in. And even more than this we can teach them how to live and act as men and women and help them understand who God is and the plan He has for them.
I say all this to say we need more space, we need a bigger facility to not only house the current trade schools, but also many more trade schools, a feeding center, a large room for large gatherings and a church. The first step in this is finding a piece of property to be able to build. As you may know have been raising the funds to purchase a piece of property. Check out some photos of it here.
It is located between Magdalena and Buena Vista (which is a neighboring community that we have current students from), but closer to Magdalena. Below is a view from google earth. We have been doing our homework to make sure this piece of property will work for what we need not just now but for years to come.
One of the things we did was contact a ministry called Engineer Ministries International. They sent down an Engineer and an Architect to help us draw out some potential plans to make sure this piece of property is sufficient for what we need. They have designed a potential layout of a facility that would give us the space we need not only now but for years to come. This facility would fit on the piece of property that we are looking at. This potential facility which is 12,800 square feet will give us the space to house 10 trade schools, a feeding center, a medical clinic, a large area for large gatherings and a place for my family to live and a couple rooms for teams that visit. (None of this design is set in stone this was simply a practice to make sure this piece of property would work for all we could possible want or need for years to come, it can and may be smaller if we want) It would be sufficient for up to 500 students, which would impact thousands of people and transform the community of Magdalena and beyond!
I am excited to say that God has provided the $25,000 needed to purchase this piece of land! Thanks to each of you for giving and praying! It is exciting to see how God has provided and He continues to increase our faith along the way. God has been orchestrating each step of this process. Even to the point that He brought us the right Architect who has designed buildings in Central America and trade schools in the US and has 50-60 years of experience. This project seems impossible in some ways, but God has continued to blow us away over the last couple of years in how He has provided. He will continue to provide as we follow His lead.
A big thanks to each of you for your support and prayers! Please stay tuned as we finalize the plans for the next step in the process.