The Past 2017
This past 2017 was certainly a year of uncertainty with hurricanes pummeling Puerto Rico along with the Caribbean Islands barreling through Texas and Florida. Numerous earth quakes rocked many parts the world, Uncontrollable wild fires encompassed the west coast of the United States, never before has anything like this been witnessed. Hundreds of lives lost thousands more lives and property profoundly affected in this near apocalyptic series of events.
These events made us at Families For the Future change our focus of the Guatemala November group mission trip to concentrate on what we could do to help here at home. Pedro Nieves (president and founder) felt that we needed to help and put all of our efforts here in the U.S. deciding to take much needed aide to Puerto Rico instead.
Families For the Future shipped over four containers (that is including two containers we donated to United City) filled with water, food, toiletries, and other necessities for the people of Puerto Rico. What really seemed like a lot of donations from our perspective seemed like a drop in the bucket once we stepped foot on the battered island of over 3 and half million inhabitants. The need was desperate and incalculable. Drinking water was the main staple most requested by local organizations, municipalities, along with the local churches. Electric power was at about 20 percent capacity for the entire island. What we realized as the days went by was that Families For the Future was one of the many providing aid to the people of Puerto Rico.
Hundreds of non-profit groups from all over the world, along with many countries, along with the USA, were providing water, food, medical aid, with outside power companies rebuilding the power grid for the District of Puerto Rico. The true definition of humanitarian servant-hood was displayed on a global level. Lets us be reminded of the words of Jesus “So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets”. Mathew 7:12 (ESV)
The Near Future 2018
Coming up on the second week of June, Families For the Future is planing the yearly group mission to Guatemala. This is featured to be an exceptional exciting trip, as they all are! We have 2- 3 medical missions scheduled, along with a visit to a women’s prison in Guatemala City, and several children’s work shops. As always the main focus is to bring the gospel to everyone we encounter.
One to La Finca, in Santa Lucia, a small farming village of about 30 families. A small school house had been constructed there three years ago. Families For the Future has been actively supporting La Finca students with outside donations of school supplies, clothes, shoes, and toiletries for the village mothers.
The second medical mission is to the mountain village of San Pedro. To get to this village we must first take a 20 minute boat ride across the volcanic Lake Atitlan. The villagers of San Pedro are native Mayan descendants, dressed in their spectacular colorful traditional dress. The most interesting of this mountain trip is that there is a need for three different translators, from English (for those that do not speak Spanish) to Spanish to the native language of Kekchi and then reverse. This makes it for a fun trip. About 6 years ago a church was established there from the gospel that that was brought there by our mission team.
The third medical is to the village of Cocales located in the southwest pacific coast in the township of Patalud. Cocales is the stepchild of Families For the Future. We have have been ministering to the children and families here over the past 12 years.
The first ever school Families For the Future built was here.. We investigated and estimated that less than 20 percent school aged children attended any government sponsored education, as it was just too costly. Currently over 90% of the children attend school here on a yearly basis. Throughout the past five years we have seen these same children go on to secondary education then see them graduate becoming productive men and women of their communities. As recent as last October the township of Patulud has added to the once one room schoolhouse to constructing a second wing that holds up to another 30-40 students.
The gospel has been preached to majority of these wonderful villagers of Cocales. Throughout the years, Families For the Future has maintained a close relationship with the leaders of this community providing yearly children’s bible school workshops, deworming, medical aid, shoes, along with spiritual encouragement. Upon our arrival to the village we receive a joyous welcome making our work most worthwhile. This is what it’s all about! We certainly look forward to this splendid yearly visit.
Upcoming Near Future: Children’s Center 20-?
About twenty years ago as I was sitting on my living room sofa meditating in my spirit, God showed me a vision. In this vision everything around me seem to have stopped, I could see nothing around me as if my peripheral vision had been blocked off.
I saw a sea of (Central American looking) children as far as I can see. I could feel myself looking down to them as if I was elevated as on a platform or suspended in the air. As I stared down at the children I could see and feel the despair in their big brown eyes, as hopelessness girded their dirt stained faces, I could not tell you in real time how long this vision lasted; to me, it seemed like two to three minutes at the most but realistically it probably lasted but just a few seconds. This same vision reoccurred to me a half dozen times during that year.
This vision has stayed with me as if I just saw it yesterday. The passion I felt from the onset of this vision for me has never diminished through the years. I kept asking myself and telling God, in frustration, “what do you want me to do Lord!” He finally showed me.
About five years ago as a result of seeing the lack and the hopelessness of hundreds of children over the prior four to five years I felt the Holy Spirit prompting me in thought. My thought was that these children need to be housed, fed, educated, and preached the gospel of Jesus Christ. They need to go throughout their country and teach other children as they are taught. My wife Mary (in which she had a similar vision but to be explained in another blog) and I are called to help put an end to this perpetual cycle dark spirit of extreme poverty for these precious children of this country.
Well, I am happy to announce that Mary and I have recently purchased 5 plus acres of land for a children’s center (not yet named) in Sumpango, Guatemala! It is located in a Catholic dominated agricultural village called Las Flores (The Flowers). The climate in Sumpango averages to a high 72 degrees (fahrenheit) during the day to down to the lower 50’s at night year round.
There is a large population of school aged children who cannot afford an education alongside battling malnutrition and/or other domestic situations plaguing these precious children; which makes Sumpango an ideal location for a children’s center; although one can say this for the majority of villages throughout Guatemala. With God’s help Mary and I will focus on putting a dent to this vicious cycle for these children of Sumpango and throughout the other villages of Guatemala.
Our goal is to build a mission center to possibly house (in the future) orphans, construct a school house slash church to teach a Christian curriculum whereas they learn the word of God and preach the gospel of Jesus Christ. We will also introduce a feeding center for all the school children prior to class commencement along to the other hungry children in the village. Eventually the plan is to introduce training programs such as computers, farming tilapia, chickens, and agriculture.
In the Bible God commands us to take care of the poor the orphans and the widows, the downtrodden the hopeless, and the needy. He tells us to love all people and peoples. God did not command the government’s to do this. He commanded the church of Christ, us! James 1:27 “Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for the orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you.” (NIV)
It is not in the name of any church or denomination that this children’s center is to be built but only in the name of Jesus. Together we can make a difference in this tiny part of the world. In saving 2, 3, or 4 children, each child as he or she grows up will save two or three others and they two or three others before one knows it thousands will have been brought to the feet of Jesus. All this by a vision revealed by the Holy Spirit over twenty years ago.