September 25, 2017

First Impressions

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This blog was written by Walking Together Learning Leader Diane Stronks who is working with co-leader Roy van Eerden and key Guatemalan educators as part of the Vision for Christ-Centred Education - Guatemala Walking Together project.

Hello colleagues,

This is the first full day of EduDeo's time in Guatemala.  Roy Van Eerden and I have had the privilege of visiting with the AMG (Advancing the Ministries of the Gospel) Guatemala team today, getting to know who they are and what they do.  This blog gives you a snapshot of first impressions!

We spent the morning with the directors of AMG Guatemala who work in many different types of ministries helping the poorest of the poor.  AMG approaches its work in an holistic sense....dealing with not only the spiritual dimension of peoples' lives but also in the family, health, education, protection and employment aspects of their lives.  EduDeo is being invited to "WALK TOGETHER" with AMG Guatemala in its educational mission.  

The day started with Pastor Bob leading all 14 directors/volunteers in devotions reflecting on the story of Jesus' miracle with the blind man described in John 9: 1-41.  What struck us in the story was that the disciples presumed that the difficulties or the brokenness in the blind man's life was as a result of sin and not just what "was."  Jesus gives an alternative reason for his blindness and suffering...to show the glory of God.  Sometimes we too blame the victim for his/her suffering instead of seeing it as an opportunity to bring shalom and healing.  Another aspect of the story was the Pharisees seeing that the man is healed on the Sabbath.  They are upset because the "letter" of the law is not followed, Jesus shows mercy and grace on the Sabbath and upsets the "order" of things.  Pastor Bob wondered why Jesus would use "mud and spit" to heal the blind man.   He challenged us to think about our own blindness when it comes to those who are vulnerable and to discern when to show mercy and grace.  The discussion and prayers of all who participated were appreciated.

Roy and I then had the opportunity to hear the history of AMG Guatemala and to visit the school that AMG supports that happens to be on the same grounds as its office.  We heard stories of how the 810 children (ages 3-18) comes from the poorest neighbourhoods in the city and receive their breakfast (hot drink), a hot lunch and are learning from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.  These children are part of families who are the most vulnerable in Guatemala City.  They have the opportunity to be educated, learn about Christ and have (sometimes) the only meal of the day.  AMG offers medical, dental and health support to its families/students.   It was so impressive to see people of God working in such a holistic way with the students and the families! 

AMG Guatemala's director of learning is Ruth Rodriguez.  Tomorrow, Ruth will be sharing AMG's educational story with us.  Roy and I look forward to sharing what we learn with you!

Blessings,

Diane

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