Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Preparations in Guatemala

Last week, James and I returned from a two week trip to Guatemala with Engadi Ministries.  Although the past year since our last mission trip to Guatemala has been full of many advances towards a full-time career on the mission field, it was still refreshing and uplifting to have another boost of energy and motivation by seeing the area we will soon call home.  Even though we are continuously pursuing and moving forward towards life in Guatemala, it has been easy to get somewhat discouraged at the progress that still lies before us.  God has definitely reaffirmed our call to the mission field and has given us a second wind to keep pressing forward while we were on the trip.

The first week of the trip we spent serving with our home church here in the states, Watkinsville First Baptist.  Our group assisted in leveling, repairing, and preparing the road that leads to Engadi Ranch (our future home) to be paved this fall.  The work was physically demanding and to be honest, it was some of the least rewarding work that it seemed like we had done in the many years that we traveled to Guatemala, but it definitely had to be done.  Picturing the boys that will one day travel that road to their houses at Engadi Ranch definitely made the work worthwhile.

Our group also painted three classrooms at one of the schools in Paradise.  One thing that really shocked me on this trip was some of the facts that I learned regarding the school system in Zone 18 and specifically in the neighborhood of paradise:

Average classroom before painting

- There are 2 schools in Paradise.
- In the mornings, 500 elementary students attend each of the two schools.
- In the afternoons, 500 more elementary students attend one of the schools, while 500 middle school students attend the other.
- There is no high school in the area.
- A college education is unimaginable for most kids from Paradise.

Classroom after being painted

As you can see, there are a total of 1500 elementary students and only 500 middle school students.  Only 1 in 3 kids is afforded a middle school education.  Very few children have the privilege of attending high school.  I found these facts astounding and can only pray that with God's help, Engadi Ministries will be able to mend some of the brokenness of the educational system in Zone 18.  If nothing else, the boys that we will be taking in as houseparents through the ministry will be provided an education throughout at least high school.

James and I spent our second week in Guatemala doing a variety of things to prepare for our move.  We were able to better price out moving and living expenses as well as look into things like how to get our visas and where we will be attending language school.  We also spent a few days working in the ministry's office in Antigua, Guatemala.  The best part of our week was our trip back to Paradise where we had the opportunity to visit with two families that Engadi Ministries is building houses for this summer.  The ministry finalized plans for the construction of the houses as well as mapped out a plan for more classrooms to be painted in the local schools.

On a side note, we found out that our announcement letters had been mailed out by CTEN while we were out of the country.  We would like to thank those of you who have supported us already toward moving (hopefully next year).  We still have a very long way to go and at times are not sure how and when we will make it down there, but are encouraged to see those who have already partnered with us to reach out to those in Guatemala.  So, THANK YOU!!! If you did not receive a letter and want to be connected to our work in Guatemala, email us at jamescarr@cten.org or elliecarr@cten.org . If you would like to give, a tax-deductible donation can be made at www.cten.org/jamescarr .

Overall, God has blessed us to have had another opportunity to visit Guatemala before making our move there.  Through out both weeks he has only strengthened the call that He place in each of our lives, and we are more ready than ever to begin ministering to the people there.

Until next time,
James and Ellie

"The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me,
Because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the afflicted;
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to captives and freedom to prisoners;"

 Isaiah 61:1

JamesandEllie / Author & Editor

James and Ellie Carr have been missionaries in Gautemala since 2014 and write to share their feelings and how they have experienced God's goodness and mercy on the mission field.


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