Sadoc and Adolfo spent several weeks in July traveling to conduct partner evaluations with two of our partners in Petén and in Huehuetenango. During these weeks, they also hosted a representative of the Foods Resource Bank, which supports our agriculture programs in the communities where we work, and Wendy Hammond of the Church Relations part of our office in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
We also received and analyzed reports from all four of our Guatemala partners and our partner in Chiapas, Mexico. It’s always fun to get a picture of the communities where our partners are working in so many different ways. Sitting back in the office, we “attend” a training where over 50 mothers learn to cook more nutritious foods for their families, including making eggs with chaya and moringa and making atoll drinks out of plantains. We “go on visits” with a local pastor to other community leaders to encourage them to put into practice the training they done in justice and equality.
But, more than anything else, I love reading the stories about individuals who work with our partner organizations and are passionate for change in their own communities. Take Pascual, who lives in the community of Ignacio Allende in Chiapas, Mexico: he’s only 18, but he’s already stepping up to be a servant leader in his community and is a health promoter with one of our local partners. This gives us such huge hope for the future!
In his own words, he told us about his involvement in community transformation in Ignacia Allende:
When the brothers from Diaconia Chiapas [World Renew’s partner in Mexico] began coming to my community to give agriculture and health trainings, it caught my attention and I began to participate because they taught us to use materials and plants that were native to the region and easily-obtained. One thing we’ve learned to do is to clean and disinfect the enclosures where we raise poultry to prevent disease from spreading. Whatever I learn in the trainings I always share with others in my community.
Families in the community have really given us their trust, and I’m so thankful to God for the opportunity He’s given me to be a promoter with Diaconia Chiapas. It motivates me personally to keep moving forward and strengthening my own knowledge so I can continue sharing what I’ve learned with others, ultimately looking to transform lives of families and our community.
Or look at the story of Baldomero, a generation older, who is also a leader and advocate in his community. Baldomero is 49 and has been working for nearly 20 years to promote health in San Juan Acul, his community in northeast Guatemala. At first it was difficult. Baldomero had grown up in poverty and never been able to study nursing. But he knew how to read and write, and he read books and learned as much as he could to support community health in an area that had very little access to healthcare.
Our local partner, APIDEC, began working in Baldomero’s community a few years ago and started to offer trainings in preventative health. Baldomero took advantage of every class and soon began to advocate the need for a small community health clinic — which was eventually built with support from World Renew and the local ministry of health! Our local partner staff shared the following with us:
The construction of the clinic has been incredibly useful for the community and Baldomero has been grateful because he’s been able to attend to urgent health needs within the community. Staff from the local health ministry have been able to use the space to offer healthcare in the community as well, especially to children and pregnant women.
Baldomero is so thankful for APIDEC’s work in his community, because through that work he’s learned even more about loving his neighbor, his faith in God has grown, and he’s continued learning about healthcare.
These stories remind us that, in the end, community transformation does not come from us. We walk alongside the partners and the communities, but change comes from within these rural communities themselves, through courageous advocates, principled leaders, and passionate visionaries and the grace of God.
We believe that, with God’s help, the impact of these programs isn’t limited to lives of individuals, but can slowly bring about the transformation of entire communities.
World Renew Guatemala