Missionary News From Guatemala, January 2016.
One of the things I love most about being in Guatemala for Christmas, is celebrating it with the children we love. The girls from the orphanage Fundaninos come over regularly for youth group meetings in our home. As a way of closing out our classes for the year, we held a Christmas party with them and the new house mother who came in a few months ago.
The celebration included delicious Guatemalan tamales and punch, we played Christmas games, had a gift exchange and did all we could to make them feel loved.
We took the opportunity to recap the topics we had studied during the year; faithfulness, learning to have a Christian work ethic, the books of Esther and Ruth, and, central to it all, the beauty of what Christmas means. We reflected on the amazing love of God, to send his one and only son to be born in this earth, to carry the weight of the sins of all mankind, so that we might be redeemed and restored to our heavenly Father.
We were blessed to have Sandra, one of our first students, come spend a few days with us for Christmas. She is someone we have poured into a lot over the years since we first met her in an orphanage 10 years ago. Upon graduating as a teacher, she came to work for us for two years in the Precious Moments School and Orphanage where she did an amazing job teaching children from one of the most dangerous slums in the city.
She was recently offered a position in a Christian ministry that runs a boarding school for impoverished girls who are gifted academically, but have limited resources. She will be running the home while tutoring and counseling the girls who live there.
While we are sad to lose her as a teacher, we are so very excited to see her embracing this wonderful opportunity to have an impact in the lives of these girls. She shares the same background as them and has been through many of the same difficulties, breakings and struggles that they have.
Knowing what she, and so many other children who are placed in orphanages for their own protection go through always makes me sad. But, in many ways, I think it’s those very breakings that make her so perfect for the job. When Jesus said, "Blessed are the poor in spirit" he was challenging the way our carnal mind thinks. But in truth, the brokenness, when we are poor in spirit, is often the pathway to His blessings! What I find amazing is not that I see this in Sandra’s life, but that she does.
Below is a touching note, translated from Spanish, she wrote after staying with us.
Hello Martiny Family,
I want to thank you for everything you did for me this Christmas. For me it was a very nice and a very blessed experience.
Thanks for the food, every meal was delicious, thank you for the presents and thank you for inviting me to stay with you.
I am very grateful to God for giving me the opportunity to learn, live and share with people as kind as you, you have blessed me and are my angels.
May God continue to use you to bless the girls you work with at the orphanage Fundaninos.
With all my heart, thank you so much!
We were blessed to be a part of it and it was wonderful for the children to see God honored in this way, through the wedding of two people they know so well, To understand that marriage is a beautiful gift from God that He intends to be used to honor Him.
Woodworking and Engineering
In our woodworking and engineering classes at the orphanage, the students continued to make Christmas ornaments and the boys also designed, cut, sanded and painted some nativity figures. I am constantly impressed with their desire to learn, the work they do and their positive attitude.
Sharie continued her culinary arts classes and all the children loved participating in baking and decorating Christmas cookies. The highlight was the day they made gingerbread houses. Several of our friends from the women’s group at our local church assisted with making it a fun filled day for the children.