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