After over three months of shutdowns, the Guatemalan government has extended its state of emergency for another month. This decision means most businesses remain closed, curfews continue, and travel between cities is restricted. These closures are having a major impact on the economy and are affecting the families with whom we work.
When we learned that Guatemalan schools couldn’t continue to have classes, our school principal organized what she called a “phase 2” plan to distribute assignments and study plans to students. Because of limited internet access, we used a chat app called WhatsApp to keep in touch with students and parents. While this method worked well for a time, it has its limitations. The principal, anticipating the possibility of an extended closure, directed the teachers to create printable study packets for each student. The teachers have established stations in each village where students live so parents can retrieve the materials in a safe atmosphere that practices social distancing.
Parents were grateful to see the teachers, sharing with them their triumphs and frustrations as they’ve attempted to instruct their children at home. Many families understandably are discouraged because they live in tiny houses with no yards or safe places for their children to study and play. It also has become increasingly difficult, if not impossible, for most people to find work. As a result, the harsh reality of life in Guatemala has gotten even harder. Several parents even confessed they were considering giving up on educating their children altogether. Our caring teachers listened patiently, encouraging and praying for the parents who are frustrated.
Our principal is very aware of our need for God’s guidance and wisdom, and she asks for your prayers. Every week, our teachers pray and study God’s Word together through Zoom before discussing strategies for better helping our students and their families. They continue to serve sacrificially and have even given out their personal contact information to keep in touch with students’ families. We’re grateful for their passion and commitment as we navigate together the fear and uncertainty of these strange times.
We want to thank each of our sponsors and donors for your unfailing support over the last months. So far, we haven’t had to lay off a single employee or cut salaries. Please keep praying for us. We continue to have a monthly loss of $4,500 in student tuition payments, and we’ve had to cancel all of our Summer and Fall missions teams. Would you consider making a donation to help offset these costs so we can continue to pay our staff and serve our students and their families?