Agua Viva Children’s Home began as a result of a massive earthquake in 1976 that struck Guatemala, killing approximately 20,000 people. Guatemala Children’s Mission, Inc. (GCM), a Florida not-for-profit corporation, was formed in 1992 to provide funding and oversight for the home‘s operation. In 1999, the Agua Viva home was moved from Guatemala City to a location with more open space just outside of Chimaltenango. In 2001, an elementary school was established for children living at Agua Viva. By June of 2004, GCM had received the funds necessary to begin construction of a new school building open to children living in the destitute neighborhoods surrounding the home. The new school was dedicated in February 2005, and in 2007, it was expanded to include all three grades of middle school.
Although the Agua Viva residential home was long recognized by Guatemalan authorities as one of the best in Guatemala, numerous factors forced us to close the home in 2019 and focus our resources on the Agua Viva Christian School. The school has received a number of honors based on academic excellence, which while important, are secondary to our primary mission of educating students to become successful Christian adults with the desire and ability to help their own people.
2020 Financial Results
GCM’s all-volunteer Board of Directors held its regular annual meeting on February 13th, 2021 via Zoom. Agua Viva director, Everilda Tzirin Bal (Evy), attended part of the meeting along with other leaders from our Agua Viva staff.
Our GCM financial report for 2020 indicates total income of $410,647 and expenses of $290,994 with net income of $119,653. Funding from GCM covered 82% of the expenses incurred at Agua Viva in 2020. The balance (18%) of the funding came from school tuition paid by families from the local communities near Agua Viva.
GCM’s net income gain in 2020 was especially encouraging in light of two prior years of net income losses and the negative impact of COVID-19 on many ministries. With a stronger financial base, we are now in a better position to initiate several important infrastructure projects and new ministries in 2021.
Agua Viva Christian School
The COVID-19 pandemic led to a shutdown of in-person classes beginning in March 2020. GCM decided to fully support the best efforts of the Agua Viva School leadership team and staff to provide virtual learning for all grades. Importantly, teachers continued to receive their full salaries, which was not the case for most teachers in other schools. As a result of the Lord’s provision and the extraordinary effort of our teachers, 90% of Agua Viva students successfully finished the academic year, allowing them to continue to the next grade level in 2021. The school serves approximately 300 students across all grades to include high school.
Bible Training Center
A new ministry was approved to operate on-site at Agua Viva: the Bible Training Center. Working in partnership with missionaries from United World Mission (Gil and Danna Leon), two of the residential houses previously used as dormitories for the children’s home have been converted to learning centers to train rural pastors and church leaders. The first class of pastors/leaders is scheduled to begin soon, meeting three days a month for nine months.
Early Childhood Learning/Daycare Center
An important new ministry opportunity we hope to launch in 2021 is the Agua Viva Early Childhood Learning and Daycare Center. Many families from the surrounding area have expressed a need for affordable daycare services. In many of these households, a single parent (almost always the mother) must often compromise care for young children in order to work to provide for her family. Agua Viva director, Evy, has long believed this ministry would provide a meaningful service to the community and allow us to share the love of Christ through high quality childcare and training for parents according to biblical principles.
Sponsorship Program/Other Funding
Our sponsorship program supports needy students at the school and their families. Other funding for Agua Viva is provided through general donations from individuals and organizations (mainly churches) plus contributions from mission teams who visit the home throughout the year.
Each year, the Guatemala Children’s Mission requires an outside audit of the Agua Viva organization in Guatemala. A review of the most recent 2020 audit shows the Agua Viva operation is in compliance with generally accepted accounting principles in Guatemala. As required to maintain our status as a federal tax-exempt organization, all funding from GCM has been properly accounted for and utilized in accordance with our defined charitable purposes.
Thanks to GCM Supporters
We realize many of our faithful supporters in the States and elsewhere will continue to face economic challenges in 2021. Our hope and prayer is that the Lord will continue to raise up those capable of supporting the Agua Viva ministry this year.
Respectfully submitted by Christopher C. Gault
President, Guatemala Children’s Mission