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.