Happy Birthday Jesus Offering

I think everybody is aware that our 2020 Guatemala Team of ten was not able to make our annual trip in June due to COVID. What you may not know is that we have continued to be actively involved in supporting our friends in Guatemala and Haiti.

We still provided the annual salary for eight teachers and the principal at the school we built in the mountains of Lagon, Haiti. And while we didn’t hear much from our missionary friends, Frantz and Rhode Previl, while everyone was dealing with being quarantined, we recently heard from them. They have been busy as usual. In 2018 we visited land in Segun that Frantz wanted to purchase to relocate and expand a community church. Last year, we contributed funds toward that land purchase and he recently sent us a video and pictures of their first service in the new location. Frantz had the privilege of preaching the first sermon for the community.  

Frantz and Rhode share this message with us. “The church has moved to the new location now. They have more space to worship. We praise God for this great opportunity. We thank you so much for all your help and support. People were thrilled to worship in this new place.  Thank you so much. God bless you all. In Christ Frantz”.

Late last year, we contributed funds to help with a water project for the community in Guatemala that our friend Diego Xirum lives in. Most residents have running water in this community but they needed to increase their capacity by running miles of new pipe line from the source in the mountains. Diego shared a video of some of their work that they accomplished this year before they had to quarantine.  

We heard in December of last year that Filomena, the grandmother of our host family, fell and broke her leg.  She had to have surgery, not once, but twice to fix her leg. There is no medical insurance in Guatemala so Lidia had to take out a loan to cover the immediate expenses for her medical care. Both times also required follow up x-rays and physical therapy.  We sent funds both times to help with her expenses. In addition to that, we all did some serious praying for Filomena and her family. She works non-stop from sun up to sun down and it was very hard for her to not be able to do anything for several months.

We stayed in touch with our host family. It was very different for them to not be hosting teams this year but here’s what Lidia had to say – “the time of God is precise and we know we will see each other when He prepares the time to do so. Please take care and know that we send greetings, love and we remember your church and team in our prayers. Also keep safe and know that the Lord is taking care of you, your family and church.”

Powell Church provided half a year of sponsorship support to 27 Guatemalan students this year, ranging in age from elementary school to college. Schools in Guatemala shut down this year the same as schools in the US. They did their best at doing virtual schooling but many parents can’t even afford cell phone minutes, much less have internet access. The older students were able to continue school and we received a grade card for one of them from Diego. He said “thank God Jennifer made it with her school this year Next year will be her last year and she will become a teacher.” It’s exciting to know that we play a part in providing for a future for these students.

Guatemala closed its borders in the spring and issued quarantine orders for all.  People were not able to get out and go to their jobs.  This also meant the big market in Chichi shut down.  Selling things in the market is not only the major source of income for a lot of families, but it is also where they shop for fruits and vegetables.  In April we sent funds to Diego to buy some basic supplies to help people in the community who were struggling to feed their families.  He was able to help more than 30 families.  He sent lots of pictures and said “Please tell our Powell family and donors Huge thanks for this blessing to indigenous families from Guatemala”. 

Guatemala remained under lock down long after we did here in the US so in September, we sent more funds for family support. Diego helped an additional 40 families with corn, sugar, coffee, rice, beans, salt, milk, eggs, and some other items.  His family helped him pack and distribute these bags on our behalf. One family that received supplies required a 30 minute walk just to get to the house. Thank you, Diego, for all you do to support your community and thank you Powell Church for your generous donations to the Happy Birthday Jesus offering. We were able to continue being the hands and feet of Jesus in 2020, even if it was from a safe distance of over 2,500 miles.  We certainly hope that we will be able to take a team again in 2021 but even if we don’t, your donations will be used to continue to make a difference in people’s lives in Guatemala and Haiti.

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