We're approaching the mid-point of the year (both the calendar year and the school year, since Guatemala's schools follow the calendar year rather than starting in September) and next week for most schools will be the mid-year vacation week (woohoo!)
We've been keeping a constant eye on classifications regarding the pandemic and restrictions around Guatemala, and Puerto Barrios has now been a Yellow zone for a number of weeks. Whilst our tutoring kids still use masks and we have hand gel available things are a little more relaxed, which is also ok because we are in small groups and are meeting in an outdoor location.
Please pray that Covid cases would continue to fall and restrictions can finally all be lifted here in Puerto Barrios and across Guatemala.
When we return from the vacation we will be making a few changes to our ministry schedule, depending on some externals.
We have been in contact with the managers of the two elderly care homes that we are connected with and we are now able to return to one of them, and hopefully not long after posting this we will have confirmation for the other one. We will be delivering refreshments to both homes each week but alternating which home we go into to have a devotional time with them. Most recently we were able to go into Refugio Dios Es Fiel (the Refuge run by God is Faithful Ministries) and share with them.
Please pray that we would be able to go into both homes regularly and without problem to share encouragement and devotionals with these precious people.
We're also hoping to be able to start up the kids club again. There are a couple of limitations on this though.
One will be the school itself. Although they recently returned to normal full class teachings, they then reverted back to small groups because a lot of kids were having colds and they had no way to determine what was or wasn't Covid so are playing it safe. Inasmuch as the school itself is not having the kids together in large groups we will not be able to either, but if the seasons of having colds passes quickly and they return to full class sizes then the school can start.
The other is a practical consideration on our part and that is that we will need to make sure we have a sufficient ratio of adults to children. As a team of only three full-time staff at present we will need to ensure we have committed volunteers as well to be able to safely have many small kids with us.
Please pray that God would help us find volunteers so that this club can start up quickly in the second half of the year.
To have time to run both of these ministries again we are restructuring the tutoring program a little by shifting from 5 small groups a week to 4 slightly less small groups a week. The young people have been telling us how much more they have appreciated being in smaller groups compared to the large groups pre-pandemic, even though it means coming once a week instead of twice (especially since we give them the option of coming on any of the other days should they feel they have extra need), so we are keeping that in mind as we consider future ministry schedule development.
Please pray for wisdom as we continue to look to do all we can to bless these teens and help them finish their secondary-level schooling.
Thank you for your prayers for and giving towards the Kingdom work that is happening here that you make possible