Friday, August 1, 2014

More Relevant than Ever

JamesandEllie
Hello Everyone!  Hope you are all enjoying this mild summer as much as we are.  Personally, I am in love with the afternoon showers and July days that don't even reach 90 degrees (what?!?!).  As the days grow closer, we are spending more and more hours planning for our move to Guatemala.  We are currently comparing shipping rates for companies to move the few belongings that we will be bringing with us, as well as comparing prices for the different utility companies that we will have to choose from once we move.  We are still waiting for our house to sell, but we have had many people looking in the past couple of weeks.  So far, we have had one offer that fell through at the beginning of July, but we know something else will break through soon.  God has really provided over the past month for our fundraising.  Out of our $60,000 goal, we have less than $5,000 left to raise before we move.  I am speechless.  God has provided over 91% of our funds in just sixteen months.  We weren't sure what to expect going in with a goal that seemed so enormous to both of us; we should've known that such a goal could never be too big for our God.  Isn't He amazing?

That's a quick update on our progress to date, but what I really wanted to share was a little bit more about how the work we are doing in Guatemala is becoming more and more relevant to life here in the States.  If you have seen any bit of the news this summer, there is a good chance you have heard about the massive amounts of children crossing the border between the U.S. and Mexico this year.  In fact, the amount of children coming to the States has more than doubled compared to last year.  Although there have historically been countless adults who make the journey across the border in search of a better life, this situation is much more complex as these children are often crossing the border without a parent or guardian accompanying them.  It is also very important to note that very few of these children are actually coming directly from Mexico, but rather from other Central American countries such as Honduras, El Salvador, and- surprise, surprise- Guatemala.

Angel, born and raised in Paradise, Guatemala City

For more facts and stats regarding the children crossing the border, check out this article.  It really opened my eyes.

Thousands of these children have already made their way or been placed in Atlanta until the U.S. can find a better solution to this situation.  Children crossing the border without parents or family is creating a much more complex problem than the adults who regularly cross the border from Central America.  There is no quick fix to this situation, as these children are from a variety of countries, and it is often impossible to locate their parents whether they are here in the States or elsewhere.  I am not in any way claiming to have a fix for the children who are here in the states; as I said before, that is a very complex issue with no straightforward answer.  But what are these children running from in the first place?  Is it gangs, violence, poverty, emptiness, lack of family?  Yes.

What if rather than just fixing the problem as it manifests here in the States, we take a look at the root of the problem?  What if we go to the source to fix it rather than just fixing what is affecting us here and now?

Paradise, Zone18, Guatemala City, Guatemala

We choose, then, to go to Guatemala.  Within five minutes of being in a neighborhood ironically called "Paradise" in the slums of Guatemala City, kids from the streets surround you, tattered clothes hanging from their thin frames.  Trash and filth fills the streets and gutters as emaciated stray dogs sift through for a meal.  Walking through dusty common areas where kids are playing, your shoe kicks the remains of a handgun or even hand grenade- remnants of the wars and gang violence that have plagued the land for so long.  An older child points out, in a mix of English and Spanish, several gang members who are standing a few blocks down from you.  Between yourself and them you see a man passed out on the sidewalk, smudges of paint and glue decorating his face.  All just surface manifestations of the dysfunctional community you have entered.  Something is missing.  Hope.

Pieces of a handgun found at a local park in Guatemala

A hope that we have.  While we can't change all of the problems of the community, what if we started by providing hope- the hope of a new life and a love that can only be found in Jesus Christ, the precious peace that He provides?  That is something we can do, but there are still more physical needs distracting from the Gospel, or good news.

What if we could provide boys with a safe place to grow up, apart from the violence?  Teach them how to love like Christ- how to be a husband, a father, a provider- so that not only they will have the strength to live within their broken community, but will also be able to give their children a safe place to live within Paradise.  What if we could we could reach these boys before they are pressured to join gangs or leave their homes for another country?  What if we could slowly turn this community around, one boy at a time?  Could Paradise, a community formed atop the city's landfill, really become a paradise?

Houses built at the top of the city's landfill

We may not be able to stop every child from running from the desperation growing in Central America, but what if we could stop a few?  Moreover, what if we could fix what they are running from in the first place, creating a strong community, free of gangs and continued war violence, that is filled with strong families, and most importantly, permeated with the message of the Gospel.  We can do our best, but we need your help.  Sometimes it is easy to overlook the poor and needy in other parts of the world.  After all, we have busy lives with our own families, jobs, and hobbies to mind.  We totally get it.  I just wanted to point out that this issue does affect you.  We all have an opinion on the issue of illegal immigration, but what if, as Christians, we at least try to help the root cause while we argue over solutions in the States?

Just some food for thought this month.  Thank you again for reading our updates!  We will update again soon, and look forward to becoming a family of three next month!

In Christ,
James and Ellie Carr

"An argument started among them as to which of them might be the greatest.  But Jesus, knowing what they were thinking in their heart, took a child and stood him by His side, and said to them, 'Whoever receives this child in My name receives Me, and whoever receives Me receives Him who sent Me; for the one who is least among all of you, this is the one who is great.'"
Luke 9:46-48

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.

1 comments:

  1. Thank you for this post James and Ellie! We are praying for you guys! Can't wait to meet your little one! -Catherine and Isaac

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