Since we are not able to host the tutoring program yet and therefore aren't purchasing lunches for the students, we have been able to use the Project Valor funds to purchase care packages for the students and their families. These packages include Guatemalan staples like rice, beans and corn flour, and a variety of other items including sugar, milk, cereal, salt, coffee, a nutrition drink, spaghetti and sauce, cleaning supplies, etc. We are thankful we can support the students and their families in this way. Dropping off the care packages also gives us an opportunity to check up on each student and see them in person. Please pray we can start the tutoring program soon!
"This is a moment to thank God for his mercy, because He has protected us from this disease that is attacking humanity; But it is also beautiful to remember that he gives us the privilege of serving others and to know that by helping we can bear witness that Jesus is in our hearts and that God loves them.
I feel blessed to see the faces of the teens from the tutoring program and some of their parents when they received the food and school supplies that the sponsors have donated. I can see the gratitude that is in their hearts. That fills me with joy and my heart feels satisfied knowing that I can be a part of this blessing."
It has been one year since we have entered into isolation due to the COVID 19 pandemic. It was something that shook us all, none of us were prepared for this sudden change. We couldn't go out, go to school, go do our jobs, go to the park, or go to church. We felt like prisoners with fear in our homes.
With this, we were not able to do various ministries as we do regularly. Club Exploradores was one of the most affected ministries, and we still cannot bring the children together. I was surprised that one year into the pandemic, I received a call from a mother asking when we would start Club Exploradores again. "We miss very much that our children hear the Word of God," the mother shared. "We want the program to come back soon," she told me. That fills my heart with joy knowing that they want to hear the Word of God.
We know that this seed is falling on fertile ground.
-Yeni, Pure Joy Missionary
Pray with us that we will soon be able to start Club Exploradores again!
In March of 2021, Francis and Andrea became the new Guatemalan Directors of Pure Joy Missions. We are thankful for their dedication to the ministry and willingness to serve in this new role. Francis and Andrea both have God-given leadership abilities, and we are excited to see how God uses them to grow and strengthen Pure Joy. Check out their update below!
This year so far has had it’s aspects that have stayed the same and those that have changed.
The continuing constant in our lives is that of Covid-19, a pandemic that, at least in Guatemala, doesn’t look to be finishing up any time soon. The restrictions around it haven’t changed much, except that they did and then they didn’t. The school year here was delayed in it’s start and so kids started back in February rather than January, and we were able to help Project VALOR students register for their courses and get equipped with school supplies. The day that schools started Puerto Barrios was actually downgraded from being a Red Zone (according to the Ministry of Health’s colour coded system of Red, Orange, Yellow and Green) to an Orange Zone, meaning that after months of remote learning students were going to be able to go to (reduced) in-person classes, typically one day a week. We were in touch with them as we heard about how it was working at different schools and we started to gear up to start in-person tutoring times, making plans to have them in reduced group sizes, developing protocols, and coordinating locations and supplies. Then after about a month of classes the Ministry of Education released updated information on restrictions within the different colour zones. Schools went from being closed in Red, hybrid in Orange & Yellow and open in Green, to being closed in both Red & Orange and hybrid only in Yellow.
And so we find ourselves again back where we were. The orphanage and old folks home remain closed to visitors (though we still deliver practical helps as best we can), and the senior center has not started back up yet (but is under new management so we will need to see what effect that may have). Schools being closed means that Club Exploradores cannot run, and the advice we have received from the Ministry of Education is that our tutoring sessions should not go ahead yet either. We are, to say the least, frustrated that where we were ready to start working with the kids in person again this has been almost immediately blocked once more. But we continue to do what we can to help them. We are in touch via phone calls regularly to see how they are, have offered to print off & deliver any work they may need that done for, are speaking with teachers to check how they are doing, and are sending them weekly devotionals to encourage them in their discipleship. We have been able to deliver care packages to their families and hope to develop this a bit over the coming weeks too, hopefully being able to deliver some activities for the younger kids of these families, in lieu of running Club Exploradores. Please pray for us to have wisdom as to how best to minister during this time.
For us personally as a couple and as a family there have been some big changes very recently. We were asked by the Board of Directors whether we would be willing to take on the role of local directors for Pure Joy here in Guatemala, which we have accepted. However, we have only been able to do that in a limited capacity so far because of impending maternity & paternity leaves. And, on April 6th, 22 days early (and over a week earlier than even we thought) we were delighted to welcome Liam Matthew into the world! Charlie & JJ are both thrilled to be older sister & brother respectively and both Andrea & Liam are healthy and doing well. We are taking some time off right now as we adjust to being a family of five and are so happy to be together like this. We are also grateful to Yeni & Wendy who are carrying on without us for a little while, but look forward to coming back together as a team soon to continue to work together in seeking God for how to develop this ministry going forward.
Thank you for your support of Pure Joy Missions and the work that is being done here in the name of Christ to raise up young people who can influence the country for the Kingdom. God bless you.
-Francis & Andrea
The majority of our Project Valor students are starting off the school year with online learning again. As a result, in addition to receiving the beginning of the year school supplies, shoes and backpacks, we are also providing the students with monthly internet packages. This enables them to do their school work at home. We hope and pray that COVID-19 numbers decrease, so these students can safely return to school. Please pray with us! Check out some photos of our Project Valor teens receiving their school supplies. Thank you sponsors for helping make this possible!
Ana served with Pure Joy over the last five years, starting out as a volunteer, then serving part-time, then full-time, and lastly becoming the assistant director of the ministry. In February of 2021, Ana, who is also a law student at the local university, felt called to take a step back from Pure Joy and focus on her studies and practicum for school. We are so thankful for Ana's dedication and passion for the ministry over the last five years. We will miss her dearly, but we know God has great plans for her. We asked Ana to share a little bit about her time with Pure Joy.
My name is Ana, and I live in Puerto Barrios Izabal. I am 27 years old and I study Legal and Social Sciences, Lawyer and Notary Public at the Public University of Guatemala. Throughout my life, I have attended the Evangelical Christian Church where I have served since I was very young.
In 2015, a sister of the Church, Heidy, invited me to participate in a Christian ministry and I accepted. It was Pure Joy Missions. From the first day, I liked the ministry. I started as a volunteer supporting the Explorers Club ministry on Mondays in the afternoon, with the children of the Piedra Parada School. There, each child gained a place in my heart. Participating in the ministry for me was a great blessing. At that time, I did not have a job since my parents wouldn't let me have a job, my father took great care of us; But I was very surprised that when he found out that I was going to participate in the ministry on a voluntary basis, he allowed me to continue helping. For me, that was a great blessing because he did not deny me the right and the obligation to serve God and the community. Later I attended the other ministries, and the second one I attended was the nursing home on 22 Street, where I also came to love each elderly resident in the love of God. Every day, they are in my mind and my heart. Later, I attended the city dump with the Pure Joy team.
As time went by, I became part of the Pure Joy team and I was loving the ministry and each activity. Each ministry I did with a lot of love knowing that my work was for God and to serve the people who need it.
Pure Joy is a great ministry that not only helped the people of the garbage dump and surrounding villages, it also helped me, in my spiritual, emotional, work growth, etc. And I always dreamed of seeing Pure Joy much bigger than it already is; where more people want to join together to help and with their own facilities, with an office where everyone who needs help can be received, I hope in God one day my eyes can see this dream come true.
It was approximately 5 years that I was able to experience the love of God in my life, in each of the ministries, each day that passed.
I thank God for the beautiful opportunity that He gave me to have, in addition to a work experience, a very gratifying Spiritual experience.
I thank Kathy to the Pure Joy team in the United States and Guatemala for this growth that they have directly and indirectly helped me to have. God bless and take care of you always.
Thank you for your dedication and service, Ana. We love you!
Mi nombre es Ana, vivo en Puerto Barrios Izabal, tengo 27 años y estudio Ciencias Jurídicas Y Sociales, Abogado y Notario en la Universidad Pública de Guatemala, durante toda mi vida he asistido a la Iglesia Cristiana Evangélica en donde he servido desde muy pequeña hasta la fecha.
En el 2015 una hermana de la Iglesia, Heidy Herrera me invitó a participar en un ministerio cristiano y acepte, se trataba de Pure Joy Missions, desde el primer día me gustó el ministerio comencé como voluntaria apoyando en el ministerio de Club Exploradores los lunes por la tarde, con los niños de la Escuela de Piedra Parada en el cual cada niño se fue ganando un lugar en mi corazón, participar en el ministerio para mí fue de mucha bendición, ya que en ese tiempo no tenía un empleo ya que mis papás no me dejaban tener un empleo, mi padre nos cuidaba mucho; pero me sorprendió mucho que al enterarse que iba a participar en el ministerio de forma voluntaria no se negó a que asistiera, para mi esa fue una gran bendición porque no me negó del derecho y la obligación de servir a Dios y a la comunidad. Posteriormente fui asistiendo a los demás ministerios, y al segundo al que asistí fue al asilo de ancianos de la 22 calle, en el cual, también llegué a amar en el amor de Dios a cada ancianito y cada día están en mi mente y mi corazón, y luego asistí al vertedero de la ciudad con el equipo de Pure Joy en ese momento.
Conforme iba pasando el tiempo me convertí en parte del equipo de Pure Joy y fui amando el ministerio y cada actividad, cada ministerio lo realicé con mucho amor sabiendo que mi trabajo es para Dios y para servir a las personas que lo necesiten.
Pure Joy es un gran Ministerio que no solamente ayudó a las personas del basurero de Piteros y aldeas alrededor, también me ayudó a mí, en mi crecimiento espiritual, emocional, laboral, etc. Y siempre soñé con ver a Pure Joy mucho más grande de lo que ya es; en donde más personas se quieran unir para ayudar y con instalaciones propias, con una oficina en donde se pueda recibir a todos los que necesiten ayuda, espero en Dios un día mis ojos puedan ver este sueño hecho realidad.
Fueron 5 años aproximadamente en donde pude experimentar el amor de Dios en mi vida, en cada uno de los ministerios, cada día que pasaba.
Agradezco a Dios la hermosa oportunidad que me brindó de poder tener además de una experiencia laboral una experiencia Espiritual muy gratificante.
Agradezco a Kathy al equipo de Pure Joy en Estados Unidos y en Guatemala por este crecimiento que directa e indirectamente me han ayudado a tener. Dios les bendiga y cuide siempre.
Going into 2020, I knew there would be some challenges. Our team in Guatemala had a change in leadership and new missionaries were also joining our team. The location of the tutoring program had to change, someone on our team needed to learn how to drive, and each missionary on our team had to pick up new roles and additional responsibilities.
Although I was confident in the team’s abilities and excited for new opportunities, I knew it would be a process that would take time. However in the first few months of 2020, I was so impressed by how our team quickly adjusted and grew into their new roles. I watched Yeni grow as a director and lead the team with grace and wisdom. She also faced her fears and learned how to drive. Ana became the assistant director and did a wonderful job managing additional responsibilities such as creating weekly financial reports. Wendy stepped up and helped the team become more organized. Francis and Andrea brought new ideas and became a vital part of our team.
Then COVID-19 shut the country down. For months, strict government restrictions prevented us from doing nearly every ministry. However, our team rose to the occasion, thinking of ways they could continue to reach others safely. They created a whole new ministry to help encourage local pastors. They started recording lessons and devotionals for the children and teens online. They kept in contact with the directors of the nursing home and orphanage and met many physical needs. They became more faithful in prayer and they grew as a team. They also saw the physical needs of the community and created care packages on multiple occasions.
Then two hurricanes and major flooding came to Puerto Barrios, and again, our team rose to the occasion. As a team, we were able to create 200 care packages and deliver them to communities most affected by the flooding. We were able to hand out Bibles, pray with the families, and offer words of encouragement. Although 2020 was not what we had planned, we are thankful to God for guiding us through these challenges. He has been so faithful. We are so thankful for our supporters, too, for their generosity and prayers! We could not do this without your generous hearts. Although the pandemic prevented us from starting the building project for our Project Valor tutoring program, we have many dreams for 2021 and pray that in God’s perfect timing, they will come to fruition. Thank you for partnering with us!
-Kathy Jacobs, Director of Pure Joy Missions
This year 2020 has been a great challenge since we have not had a normal year due to the different events that have been emerging internationally and we could even say globally. We tried to let it not affect our ministry and tried doing everything that we do in a normal year but it was impossible due to COVID19. One of the hardest things was knowing we could not see the elderly. It was quite difficult to know that we cannot visit them, talk to them, sing with them, give them the message of God's word the message of hope, listen to their stories, see their smiles, listen to their requests and thanks, sit by their side and sing together, give them their snack and hear them say “I don’t like it” or ask “is there more?” It is quite painful not to be able to visit them; To see them from afar and not be able to chat or give them words of encouragement, to leave their food at the door and not be able to give each one of them their snack, to see their sad faces from afar knowing that we cannot be with them.
What comforts us and encourages us is knowing that their health is good. Despite the fact that COVID-19 is still in Puerto Barrios and that we are the department most affected by this disease, the elderly are healthy. The staff at the nursing home tell us that they are grateful to Kathy and that through the team, they always bring the elderly a snack and always remember them. They say they miss us, as we do them.
As a sign of the love that the Pure Joy Missions’ team have for them, we have bought them their Christmas gifts like every year. We hope that the gifts give them a little happiness in these difficult times (photos below!). We are very grateful to God because through the difficulties, He has shown His power and has allowed us to get even closer to Him. Every Tuesday after leaving the snack at the nursing home, we have a moment of praise and prayer where we intercede for each of the ministries of Pure Joy Missions, for the board of directors, the children, the elderly, the tutoring program teens, for the life of each person who collaborates directly and indirectly with Pure Joy. We also thank God for the team here in Puerto Barrios and for those who were a part of forming Pure Joy in past and for the opportunity it gives us to serve others.
Just a year ago, I received a challenge, for me, a great challenge, and that was to lead the ministry of Pure Joy Missions in Puerto Barrios, Guatemala. I remember I felt that I could not do it, and I asked for time to pray. I told God if You go with me, I go. I prayed, “Lord, Pure Joy Missions was born first in Your heart and is Yours Lord. I want to please You and do things well for You.” After praying, I felt the confidence to do it.
I then realized that I had to learn to drive a car. It seemed very difficult to me, but God was faithful and I learned to drive. Then on March 16, Guatemala was closed by the pandemic, something unusual and a situation that we did not know how to handle. We didn’t know how to continue with the ministries if we couldn't visit and get together. It really became a challenge. I praise God for our team. The ideas began to flow on how to maintain the support of the scholarship students of Project Valor, how to continue the Bible classes for the Explorers Club, how to take the snack every Tuesday to the elderly at the nursing home, and how to support the children of the orphanage in some needs.
God is still faithful. I know that I have made many mistakes, and I have a lot to learn. I praise God for each member of the team. I love to see the love with which they carry out each ministry and that they are always willing to go the extra mile. They are a great team, and God is still faithful. Although many times I have felt insecure to continue, God has shown me that He uses the weak of this world for His service. Like a loving Father, he teaching me how I can serve in the best way. In everything I do, I want to please God and be a blessing. May God guide me where He wants, and my prayer has not yet changed: IF GOD GOES WITH ME, I WILL GO.
THANK YOU, PURE JOY MISSIONS.
Este año fue toda una nueva experiencia en mi vida, muchas cosas importantes pasaron en mi vida.
Justamente hace un año, recibí un desafío, para mí, un gran desafío, y ese fue liderar el Ministerio de PURE JOY MISSIONS en Puerto Barrios Izabal, Guatemala recuerdo que sentí que no podía hacerlo y pedí tiempo para orar y le dije a Dios si Tu vas conmigo yo voy.
PURE JOY MISSIONS, nació primero en tu corazón es tuyo Señor y quiero agradarte y hacer las cosas bien para Ti. Sentí la confianza de hacerlo, me di cuenta que debía aprender a manejar carro y me parecía muy difícil pero Dios fue Fiel y aprendí a manejar carro, luego en marzo 16, Guatemala es cerrada por la pandemia algo inusual una situación que no sabíamos cómo manejar como continuar con los ministerios si no podíamos visitar, reunirnos, realmente se convirtió en un reto. Alabo a Dios por el equipo, las ideas empezaron a fluir de cómo hacer para mantener el apoyo a los chicos becados de Proyecto Valor, llevar las clases bíblicas al Club Exploradores, llevar la refacción como todos los martes a los abuelos del asilo de la 22calle, apoyar a los niños del Orfanato en algunas necesidades, Dios sigue siendo fiel. Sé que he cometido muchos errores, y tengo mucho que aprender, Alabo a Dios por cada miembro del Equipo, me encanta ver el amor con que realizan cada ministerio que siempre están dispuestos a dar la milla extra, son un gran Equipo Dios sigue siendo Fiel. Aunque muchas veces me he sentido insegura de continuar, Dios me ha mostrado que de lo débil del mundo tomo Dios para su servicio y que como un Padre amoroso me enseña cómo puedo servirle de la mejor manera, todo lo que hago deseo que agrade a Dios, ser de bendición, que Dios me guie hacia donde El quiere, y mi oración aun no a cambiado SI DIOS VA CONMIGO YO VOY.
GRACIAS, PUERE JOY MISSIONS .
As a Pure Joy Missions team, we felt the need to go and support the people who lost everything due to the storms and flooding. We have been working hard trying to find food to give to the community called Quetzalito in Entre Rios where access is very difficult. There were many challenges. The community was still flooded and families did not have food to eat. It was also difficult to find food such as rice, beans, corn flour, and nutrition drinks here due to road closures. By God's grace, we managed to get the necessary food to be able to take it to Quetzalito village and Cacao Frontera village. There we distributed New Testament Bibles with each bag of food in order to bring them not only physical food but also spiritual food. We were also able to pray together with the families of the community.
Something that moved us was there were not enough food packages for the entire community of Cacao Frontera since the need is very great. We also ran out of New Testament Bibles, and people asked us for more New Testaments. We felt that in the same way that they needed the physical food, they also were spiritually hungry for the Word of God. We thank God for the opportunity he gave us to go and support the families affected by Hurricane Eta. Please pray for all those families who at this time do not have food to eat.
-Ana, Assistant Director of Pure Joy
This year has been a year full of challenges for everyone due to the Covid-19 pandemic. However, it has also been a time that has helped us grow and create new strategies to develop our work as a ministry. Although we have not been able to achieve many goals that we had for this year, we have achieved much more in other different areas. One of them being becoming more technological than ever before. This has been a great advance for us since this was an area where we did not place too much importance on developing before. For me (Andrea), being in charge of producing and editing the videos for the Explorers Club and Project Valor has been something very interesting, entertaining and also edifying.
You may wonder how this has impacted my life. Well, I can say how this time with the team has helped us in our unity and coordination as we prepare the themes and messages that we want to share with both the children and adolescents. Also in developing the ideas of how to make scenery or choreography for them, we have had to plan new ideas for everything. This has been something very exciting and fun. I love when we think of crazy things that are very fun for children and teens who see us on social media.
Anyway, the moment I get home and can edit these I have realized that God speaks to me through something that, although we have already recorded at the time of editing, God speaks to me clearly and I am very surprised about this. It has really helped me to be able to get closer to the team and to God in those moments, that is why we strongly encourage you to see our videos (although they are only in Spanish, I hope that soon we can give them with English subtitles). It amazes me what God wants to do through this resource, and we hope it will be a very blessing to all who see and enjoy them in the same way that we have enjoyed doing this for you.
A few clips from our future Christmas program!
Este año ha sido una año lleno de retos para todos debido a la pandemia de Covid-19, sin embargo, ha sido un tiempo que nos ha ayudado a crecer e improvisar nuevas estrategias para poder desarrollar nuestro trabajo como ministerio. Aunque no hemos podido alcanzar muchas metas que teníamos para éste año hemos logrado mucho más en otras áreas diferentes...siendo una de ellas el volvernos más tecnológicos que nunca antes y ésto la verdad para nosotros ha sido un gran avance ya que antes no creíamos que era un área en la que pusieramos demasiada importancia para desarrollar. Para mí (Andrea), el estar encargada de producir y editar los videos para el Club Exploradores y Proyecto Valor ha sido algo muy interesante, entretenido y también edificante, pero se podrán preguntar como esto ha impactado mi vida, bueno, puedo decir que como equipo éste tiempo nos ha ayudado en nuestra unidad y coordinación de cómo preparar los temas o mensajes que queremos darle tanto a los niños como adolescentes. También en desarrolar las ideas de como hacer escenografía o coreografías para los mismos, hemos tenido que panear nuevas ideas para todo y eso es algo muy emocionante y divertido, me encanta cuando se nos ocurren cosas locas que son muy divertidas para los niños o para los que nos ven en las redes sociales. En fin, el momento que llego a casa y puedo editar estos me he dado cuenta que Dios me habla por medio de algo que aunque ya hemos grabado al momento de edición Dios me habla claramente y me muy sorprendida de ésto y de verdad me ha ayudado a poder acercarme más al equipo y a Dios en esos momentos, por eso es que animamos mucho a que puedan ver nuestros videos (aunque están solamente en español, espero que pronto podamos darlos con subtitulos en inglés), me assombra lo que Dios quiere hacer por medio de éste recurso y esperamos sea de muchisima bendición para todos los que los vean y disfruten de la misma manera en que nosotros hemos disfrutado hacer esto para ustedes.