We were blessed to be able to host two Christmas parties at the nursing home and senior center. A group of children from Club Exploradores performed a Christmas program, and the elderly loved it! They bring them so much joy. Thanks to the generosity of many, we were able to purchase presents for all the elderly, the workers, and the children who helped! FundaCrea provided a delicious meal too! It was a great day!
Erika met Pure Joy's founder, Kathy, in 2011 on their first mission trip to Guatemala. They both fell in love with the community and the people. Erika has always desired to return, and this fall, she was able to do just that! Erika has been a supporter of Pure Joy for years and we are so thankful for her love and support. Check out her experience of returning to Puerto Barrios after 7 years away:
"Returning to Guatemala this year after Kathy and I’s trip almost 7 years ago was absolutely incredible. I had been keeping up with Kathy and Pure Joy Missions through newsletters and social media- but none of that compares to getting down to Guatemala again and witnessing first hand the incredible things God is doing in Puerto Barrios. The amount of change that has happened in such a small amount of time is nothing short of God’s doing. Pure Joy has hired more teachers for the Tutoria, doubled the amount of kids they give scholarships to, and added many more programs including Club Exploradores. It is a strong reminder of what God can do with just a small seed in someone’s heart, a small donation, a small gesture of helping others, a small town. What might seem small to you, could mean the world to someone else- even change their world! It is easy to get caught up and overwhelmed with the immense size of the problems we see around us, that feelings of insignificance and helplessness take control. These are lies we have to ask God to help us see through. Puerto Barrios is a living example of that.
It is amazing to see firsthand the impact Pure Joy has had on not just the lives of the kids they are helping directly, but the community as a whole- their parents, family members, teachers, soccer teams….the list goes on. God is clearly in the hearts of the leaders of Pure Joy and has his hand in everything they do. Puerto Barrios, Pure Joy, the kids, the teachers, Guatemala, it all has a special place in my heart. I cannot wait to go back, and until then, continue to watch them grow and grow with them. I encourage you to do so too!"
Taylor and her husband, Ryan, have served in Guatemala with Pure Joy multiple times, and we are so thankful for their love and support. Check out Taylor's blog from her recent time in Guatemala in August and September:
"My two favorite parts of our month in Puerto Barrios: First, getting to see Doña Antonia again, but this time with an even greater joy and sense of hope than the last time we saw her! She has always shown appreciation for how Pure Joy has been able to help her, but there also was a weight of sadness she had the last two times I saw her. This trip, when she found out she only had a little bit of time before she would be homeless, instead of being full of sadness, it was evident she knew who her Father God is! He is the provider. I sensed so much peace around her because I could tell she knew her Father would give good gifts! I remember hearing Pastor Roni and Kathy talking about how they wanting to help, but it obviously would take time and God would have to make a way only He could to give her the home she needs. A home that doesn’t just have to be temporary and a home she can feel she belongs at. It was amazing to see how Pure Joy was able to give just that to her! I didn’t get to see that up close but I was sent pictures from the team after I left. I can only imagine the beautiful smile on Doña Antonia’s face when she got to enter her new home.
My second favorite time on this trip to Puerto Barrios, was seeing Angel again, a man at the elderly home. He has such a sweet spirit and he tends to stick to the back of the group when they gather, but each time I went I sat near him. He told me all about his family, his faith and what he used to do for work. Angel has been blind. One of the days before I got to the elderly home, I felt God sharing his heart for people to be healed as I was reading in the Gospels. When we showed up to the elderly home, I could tell Angel was a little different this time. He was sitting with everyone else and very eager to be apart of worship. I could tell something was on his mind, and so I asked him. He told me, “I want to see again. I want God to restore my eyes.” I wasn’t sure if I was understanding so I asked Pastor Roni, and sure enough that is what he said. So we all prayed for him, and he said he could see a little better! I don’t know where his vision is now, but I still pray for Angel and I hope that he will one day see again soon!
My husband, Ryan, and I are so thankful for Pure Joy Missions in all they do to love the community of Puerto Barrios. The missionary’s have the biggest, most genuine hearts! They love the people so well all year long! People who are able to give to Pure Joy are loving the community of Puerto Barrios so well too! They get to give toward so many efforts that love on Puerto Barrios and enable the missionaries to give their full hearts and hands just like Jesus. I do hope that everyone involved with Pure Joy Missions, (near and far) see’s how invaluable they are in the body of Christ and the work of the gospel in Puerto Barrios."