Francis wrote another blog post recently that we are sharing here
James writes to the first-century believers that, amongst other things, pure & faultless religion means caring for widows in their distress.
Whilst Pure Joy may not be running a ministry to the elderly in all its fullness, we are pleased to be able to work with the evangelical ministry ‘Dios Es Fiel’ (God Is Faithful), and the Catholic church who run the two elderly care homes we are connected to (Refugio DEF and Hogar San Francisco de Asís, respectively).
These homes are run as non-profits by these churches, as there is no government-run social care net for them. Typically in Guatemalan culture, the elderly are cared for by their own children or wider family, so these residents are those who do not have family or have sadly been abandoned by them.
For a few months now we are grateful to have been able to once again enter regularly into Refugio DEF (pictured above) and run a devotional time for the residents there. At the moment there are about 20 residents there and most of them come along to the sanctuary building in the centre of the complex each time we are there.
Each time we enter we are greeted with smiles by the men and women who live there, several of whom immediately engage us in conversation before we get anything done. They are happy to see us and encouraged by having people who want to visit them and it is our privilege to get to spend time with them.
The devotional time consists of some opening prayer, singing together with them a number of the choruses that they all know, a devotional message from the scriptures prepared by one of our team, and typically a couple more choruses to finish on before the closing prayer. We then hand out refreshments to those present and deliver the rest to those who have remained in their rooms.
At this point we are engaged in more conversation by several of them, meaning there is both the “formal” and “informal” parts to our time there. Both, I believe, encourage them in their respective ways.
Although we have not yet been able to go in in a regular manner like this into the St Francis of Asisi home, we continue to deliver refreshments to the home each week.
[Last month] some of the residents there were close to the front door whilst we were dropping things off and asked when we would next bring their favourite food, ceviche - a dish containing prawns, onion, tomatoes, cilantro, lemon juice and a couple bits more.
So although we can’t go in and have a full devotional time with them yet (to feed them spiritually), we wanted to be able to at least bless them with a favourite food (and feed them physically). This is what is pictured above and below, as we were (as a one-off) able to go in to deliver this meal.
Thank you to those of you who are partners with us - your generosity is making a difference for the Kingdom in the lives of both young and old here in Puerto Barrios!