Guatemala Missionary News April 2015. The study of Esther.
Youth Group Bible Study
What is so amazing about the book of Esther? One of the things we find unique about Jewish culture compared to other cultures was the commandment that they care for those less fortunate, specifically, widows and orphans.
Zechariah 7 talks about how one of the reasons God allowed Israel to be punished was because they had failed to care for the orphaned. As we know from reading in Esther, she was an orphan. It is a powerful thing to realize that Israel was punished because they failed to care for orphans, and yet God raised up Esther, an orphan, to save the entire Jewish nation.
It has been great to study the story of Esther with the girls from the orphanage Fundaninos and to see them learn of the special place that they hold in the heart of God and to see how much He cares for them.
There are over 35 verses in the Bible that talk about caring for orphans. Among the most commonly cited is James 1:27 "Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world."
It is a simple thing for Christians to understand that part of living a Godly life is to keep themselves separate from the world, yet in this verse we see that God places caring for the widowed, orphaned and those less fortunate on the same level. If we want to seek out true religion that is pure in the eyes of God, we must strive to fulfill the entirety of the verse.
We have been working at the orphanage Fundaninos for over six years. Besides giving them hope in God and Salvation in Christ, one of our goals has been to equip them with the skills they need to live a productive life.
It has been amazing to see our carpentry workshop grow from a hammer and saw to the amazing tools we have today. Our woodworking, carpentry and CNC classes are going well and the students are creating beautiful products. A key part of our programs is a focus on micro-enterprise, entrepreneurial skills and financial management.
Sharie had a lot of fun with the girls in the cooking club. Some of the dishes they learned to make were cashew chicken, blondies, German pancakes with fried potatoes and sausages, tomato basil soup, bread sticks, mango steak salad and carrot cake cupcakes. We were blessed to provide assistance and transportation to the mission team from Redeemer Church in Johnson City and are in the process of arranging mission trips with several other churches.
Our afternoon classes at the school are going well and we are very grateful to those of you who are helping sponsor the salaries of the teachers who are providing tutoring, Bible classes and computer instruction to the students who live in this dangerous part of the city.
Dia por Guatemala
Our local church hosted a Dia por Guatemala activity where the church members worked to fix up a rural school outside of San Jose Pinula. Along with our local homegroup, we adopted a classroom and fixed it up to make a more inspiring learning environment for the students. Efforts included painting, hanging curtains, building a bookshelf and hanging a rack for backpacks and a whiteboard. We feel truly blessed to be part of a local church that is active in serving its community.