I know that we are ALL tired of this dragging on so long and that it has definitely changed our lives. Our restrictions in Guatemala are still very strict. The “lockdown” has been changed to being shortened to 9pm-4am for the entire week. Schools are still closed and all the protocol for using hand gel and masks still in force. Going into August, they are beginning a traffic light system (as Mexico has been using). At least this will impose the restrictions based on the number of cases in any given area; red being where they have the highest number of cases, orange for areas that are in the middle and yellow for those areas where there are minimal cases. No part of Guatemala is in green, which means there are cases in all parts. In our immediate area, we have moved from yellow to orange in the last couple of weeks! Public transportation has reopened but with only 50% capacity in vehicles. Some public stores are reopening but not those who are in red and unfortunately the city of Chiquimula, for us, is in red. Restaurants are reopening, with no use of a/c and only a maximum of 10 people for inside eating and spaced out where outdoor eating is available. Churches can hold meetings but with only 10 people allowed to attend and the service cannot exceed 30 minutes! Any public meeting is still limited to 10 people so unfortunately, at least until mid-August when a new evaluation will be given; our Embrace children still cannot attend the monthly meetings. Pastor Marcos wants to start two nights a week for prayer and then two services on Sunday to get restarted in Camotan!
We continue to see more issues from the secondary effects of the pandemic, caused by people not being allowed to go out to work. This is resulting in many areas being affected greatly with hunger. Many organizations and ministries have stepped up and are trying to reach out to those in need. Thanks to special donations that have come in to the Servant Ministries office, we have also been going out to different mountains villages and have handed out food to our 11 churches twice for the past two months. We have distributed over 10 tons of food at this point! We are also weighing and evaluating all the children (from 4-11 years of age) that are brought to the food distributions; to target any children in full blown malnourishment and sign them up in the Embrace program. We have found a number of children this way and are in need of finding sponsors for them. Please let us know if you can take on the sponsorship of a children through Embrace. It makes a huge difference in the life of the children, even more so now!
As of July 27, the current statistics for Guatemala for the pandemic are 45,053 cases, 1,734 deaths and 31,612 cases recuperated.
Our mountain churches have begun to have some house meetings (off road locations) or closed-door meetings in the churches; where monitoring is almost non-existent. Town churches should be able to at least begin some prayer meetings with limited attendance. The town pastors are reaching out to their congregations through cell calls, visitation and definitely through prayer. Thankfully we have been able to get all the benefits to our Embrace families, even though the children have not been allowed to attend meetings for the last 5 months!
It is a precarious time in history, one that we have never lived through before. I just want to encourage you to entrust your family to God’s care and to recognize, in an even deeper way, our need to have Him in our lives in a personal way and to look for His guidance and direction in the midst of all that is going on.
I was unable to do my southern fundraising trip and am pending now as to whether I will be able to do a “later than usual” version of my northern trip. I am thankful to the Lord, who has shown His faithfulness in making provision for the ministry’s need. We have had some short-term teams cancel, that very much affect the ministry economically as well as not being able to offer the projects and outreaches that these teams bring. I am reminded that my life and the ministry do not belong to me; they belong to the Lord and He is faithful, as I put my trust in Him. God bless you all; please know that I am praying for you and yours as well!