I shared in the end of the year newsletter about a home and piece of land we were able to purchase for a family in great need. This past March, however, was the first time I was able to see the land and home. What a special moment it was! Antonia has made this home beautiful, planting flowers and vegetables in the front yard and fixing up the interior. As beautiful as the home was, what was more beautiful was the transformations I have been able to witness in the hearts of this family. When I first met them five years ago, I could feel the deep sense of hopelessness they were experiencing. When I looked in their eyes, I saw so much sadness. Over the last several years, I have witnessed God working in their hearts. Even in the midst of the difficult times, I saw God healing their hearts and drawing them closer to Him. This March, I shared with Antonia how God provided for this home and prayed over her and her family. When it was time to say goodbye, she gave me the biggest hug and started to cry. With tears in her eyes, she thanked me for everything. Knowing that this had nothing to do with me, I said, thanks be to God. She looked at me, with eyes full of joy—PURE JOY—, and in the most genuine way I have ever heard, she said, “Dios es maravilloso,” God is wonderful. What a mighty, faithful, and loving God we serve!
The piece of land we purchased last year not only has space for Antonia’s house, but there is also sufficient land to build something else. We have been dreaming of a place to have the Project Valor tutoring program that is closer to the community we serve. The piece of land we purchased just happens to be right in the middle of the community! If we were to construct a building for the tutoring program, we could also use the building for further discipleship activities, such as Bible studies. We are still praying over these ideas, but we wanted to invite you to pray with us. Pray for guidance, discernment, and provision.
New things bring new challenges, but one thing I am learning is to not allow fears to get in the way of God’s glory. God has been so faithful to us, and I pray that we continue to be faithful with what He has given us. Please pray that God would continue to use us and guide us. Pray, too, that God would provide the funds needed to do whatever He has planned for the ministry.
One day, we were explaining to the students of the tutoring program the importance of being grateful. We said that each sponsor, even without knowing the child, took part of their salaries and gave them the opportunity to move forward and continue studying.
After sharing this, we remembered that in reality God is like that. Although He does know us, we have never seen Him. He is perfect and holy. He shows us His mercy each day with a plate of food, another day of life, the sun, the rain. We are not worthy of his love, and yet He will always remind us that He will always love us.
The love each one of the sponsors has towards the children is a reflection of God in their lives. Each one of the children knows in their heart that someone, their sponsor, wants a better life for them and wants them to walk in the right paths. -Abi
Explicando a los chicos de la tutoría de la importancia de ser agradecidos. Les decíamos acerca de cada persona que sin conocerlos, tomaba parte de sus sueldos y les daba la oportunidad de salir a adelante y seguir estudiando.
Luego de esto recordé que en realidad Dios es así, aunque él sí nos conoce, nosotros no, aunque él perfecto y santo nos muestra misericordia todos los días, con un plato de comida, otro día de vida, el sol, la lluvia. No somos dignos de su amor y él siempre recordándonos que nos ama siempre.
El gesto de amor de cada patrocinador hacia los chicos lo he tomado como un reflejo de Dios en sus vidas, cada uno de los chicos está guardando en su corazón que alguien los quiere ver salir adelante y tomar los caminos correctos. -Abi
The staff at the orphanage wanted to bless the kids with a visit to the zoo. Thanks to our sponsors, we were able to help make this a reality! We partnered with the orphanage to provide transportation to the capital (6 hours away), and our staff acted as chaperones. It was a fun day for all!
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."
"Thank you for allowing me to be somebody in life."
"I promise to make the most of this help."
"My family and I are very grateful."
"Thanks to your support, I am shaping my future that I have ahead of me, your help has been very useful in my life, you will always be present in my mind and heart."
"Your help has already been a great blessing to my life, and because of this, I will be able to make many goals in my life with the help of God and you."
"I always pray to God for you, that you will always be well."
These are just a few words from our sponsored students to their sponsors.
According to the Global Education Fund, 35% of children in Guatemala are not enrolled in secondary education, only 59% complete lower secondary education (9th grade), and 18% are enrolled in higher education.
"With more than half the population living below the poverty line, many children – especially rural and indigenous children – are forced to drop out of school to help support their families or because they are unable to afford the cost of uniforms, books, supplies and transportation. In many poor communities, school fees for tuition, textbooks, uniforms and supplies easily consume a substantial percentage of a poor family’s income and result in high drop out from school. Dropout rates are high, especially for girls. Girls particularly are expected to take care of siblings, leave school to help support their family or get married early.” 1
We saw this happening all too often in Piedra Parada, the community near the city dump. Teens would either never continue onto school after sixth grade, or they would start middle school and then drop out because their families could not afford the school expenses.
We knew, however, that with a little bit of help, these teens could complete their schooling, gain better jobs, help their family, and end this cycle of generational poverty.
In 2015, we formed Project VALOR, a sponsorship program that gives the children and teens living in the communities surrounding the city garbage dump an opportunity to continue their education into middle and high school. Over the last couple years, our program has grown to help teens in other poor areas in Puerto Barrios.
1/18: Our original 5 students who started the program in 2016! They are awesome young men & women!
Our first group of students in 2016 consisted of five middle schoolers. In 2017, 20 students attended middle and high school through Project VALOR. This year, we have 40 students who are in our program! We are so excited that they want to continue their education and that their parents see the value in education. Lord willing, next year, we will add 5-10 more students to our program.
We truly believe that education combined with the hope and joy of Christ will transform these children’s lives and futures.
Not only is Project Valor giving the students the opportunity to continue their schooling, it also provides them with the necessary tools they need to succeed. Each week, the students have to attend our tutoring program twice a week. There, they have access to school supplies, printers, computers, and teachers to help them. In addition, we have a devotional time each day where our missionaries teach the teens about God’s Word, and how God desires us to act and love others. One student wrote in a letter to her sponsor, “I have learned a lot, that we should help others and also that we should love our neighbors” and another student wrote, “I thank you with all of my heart, and I am thankful for the teachers (Pure Joy staff) that we have here that have taught us many things. Some of these things are that we should help others, just like you have helped us, so we should help others too. Thank you for the example you have given us to follow.”
Our staff who work at tutoring program have become more like family for these teens. One of our students lost her mother and was extremely shy at the beginning of this year. As the year continued, she began to feel more comfortable with our staff. Now, she has opened up so much to our missionary Yeni. It has been amazing to see the friendships and trust that our missionaries have been able to build with these teens. Every day, Yeni tells the teens, “Bye, my children!” and the teens respond with “Bye, Momma Yeni!”
Our missionaries have the great privilege of not only helping the teens with their homework, but they also have the opportunity each week to encourage the teens and remind them that they are smart, important, valued, loved, and capable— something that several of these teens do not hear at home.
When we asked one of our students if he liked the tutoring program, he responded with yes! A few seconds later, he looked up with a smile and said, “I like the food!” The meals the sponsorships provide are also a great help to these teens.
In addition to the tutoring program, every other month, the students participate in a community service project as a way to pay it forward and give back to their community.
God has been so faithful in providing the needed sponsors for all our students in the past, and our prayer is that this year will be no different! We are in need of 5-10 more people who would be willing to sponsor a child at $45/month.
For $45/month (or $540/year), you can give these teens an opportunity that they desire and need. The sponsorship includes daily bus fees, school fees, school uniforms, shoes, school supplies, and the lunches at the tutoring program. If you are unable to give the full $45/month, a donation of any amount will go towards helping this program continue. All donations are tax-deductible.
If you are interested in sponsoring a child or would like to receive more information, please fill out the boxes below and click sumbit! If you would like to donate to this program, please click on the donate button below. Thank you!!
God is working in the hearts and minds of these children. We believe He has big plans for them and their community. The amazing part is that He allows us to be a part of it! If you have any questions, please feel free to call us at (570) 360-9216 or email us at email@example.com.
The Meaning Behind
"Project VALOR"Valor is the Spanish word for value.
We want these teens to know their value in Christ. We want them to see themselves as Christ sees them: beloved, strong, worthy.
The V in VALOR is for Victory in Christ.
We hope and pray these students receive and proclaim victory in their lives through Christ.
The A stands for Academics.
Education is a crucial part of stopping the cycle of poverty. Through their sponsors, these children are able to continue their academic education. The tutoring program also gives them the academic support they need to do well.
The L is for Love.
We want more than anything for these children and teens to feel loved-- loved by God and loved by us. We want them to understand and experience the selfless and unconditional love that God has for them.
The O stands for Opportunity.
We want the students to have opportunities that they wouldn't have had otherwise. The opportunity to go to school, the opportunity to get academic support, the opportunity to learn about Jesus, and the opportunity to bring Christ's love to others.
The R is for Readiness.
We hope and pray that this program will equip these students with what they need to be ready for their future. We pray they are prepared academically, but more importantly, we pray they understand and live out Ephesians 6:10-17:
""Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”
1 Reference: http://www.globaleducationfund.org/guatemala/
Thank you to everyone who donated shoes for Guatemala this summer!! The children were so happy and thankful for their new shoes. Check out the pictures below! With your help, we were able to give shoes to around 200 children and adults at Club Exploradores, Project Valor, the orphanage and city dump!
Pure Joy is without a vehicle, and we need your help!! The current car we have is no longer functioning, and the mechanics have been unable to fix the many problems it has. As a result, we are exploring several options—purchasing a vehicle in Guatemala, purchasing a vehicle in the USA and shipping it there, or (ideally!) receive a donated vehicle and ship it or drive it to Guatemala.
Do you know any individual, business, or car dealership that want to give back? We need a vehicle that can withstand the roads and grow with the ministry. As a result, we are looking for a 12-passenger van, SUV, or pick-up truck with 5 seats. God has been so faithful in every aspect of this ministry, and we are praying that God would touch hearts to help us get back on the road in Guatemala!
Expenses come with any of the options, so if you would like to give monetarily to help, you can do so online at www.purejoymissions.org/donate or by check to 316 Golf Course Road, Milton PA 17847. All donations are tax-deductible. For more information or if you have any suggestions or ideas, please call us at 570-360-9216 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please share with your friends!! We need your help!
A huge thank you to Doña Beatriz for donating 40 large bags of food and household items to those in need at the city garbage dump. Doña Beatriz is the owner of the buses we use when mission teams come to Guatemala. Over the past several years, she has also on occasion driven the bus for the team and helped at the ministries. When she went to the dump, it had a great impact on her. She wanted to do something to help. Over the last couple years, she has done just that-- helping out with specific needs and allowing us to use her vehicles when ours was broken. We are so thankful for you and humbled by your generosity and kindness! Also, thank you SOSEP and Licenciada Crisitina for providing the transportation!
El sábado pasado fuimos a entregar 40 bolsas de comestible a las familias que trabajan en el basurero de piteros. Estas bolsas fueron donadas por Doña Beatriz Leal con a ayuda de transporte de SOSEP y la licenciada Crisitina. Muchísimas gracias Doña Beatriz por la donación y a la Licenciada Crisitina por proveer transporte! Ustedes son muy especiales. Que Dios las bendiga abundantemente, las queremos mucho!