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!"