Orphan/child care:Of course our principal focus is in the care of the children that we receive at our home. Investing in their lives to bring healing and hope where there was brokenness and hopelessness. Read below for our other ministry and outreach projects.
Medical/Dental clinics: LLI is dedicated to helping the less fortunate. One of the biggest things that people in surrounding villages need is basic health care. There is nothing worse than a horrible toothache.. especially when you can’t afford to see a dentist and just need to live with it! We love to provide dental and medical care to the people we work with, so we organize at least 1-2 dental/medical clinics a year where we see up to 300 people per 3-4 day clinic, and hope to only grow that number as the ministry grows. Do you have skills in either area? Ask us how/when you can join us for a medical outreach!
Community projects:Over the years we have been involved with helping our local communities in various ways. We have built a school, various houses, worked on local churches, installed dozens of stoves (see picture), and done feeding programs. We believe outreach and help projects in the local community is so important, and it has been part of our program since the start of LLI. Recently we installed spotlights at the local soccer field so they could use the field after dark… and used that as a way to reach the local men with the Gospel.
VBS: We hold a VBS with most volunteer teams that come to LLI. When we do, we get between 200-400 mothers and children that walk miles and some walk hours to come to our events. During VBS, the teams will lead the whole group of locals in worship/kids songs, and a Bible lesson. Then they are split into two groups; mothers and children. They then teach the mothers some kind of craft to make, or some kind of skill set for them to continue to use later on and even make some money using (many have learned how to crochet, make rugs out of old T-shirts, and things like that). The children go to different stations; crafts, Bible lesson, games, and various other activities like art or face painting (depending on what the team has prepared for them). We have been able to reach hundreds of people with the Gospel message through these events, as well as distribute to them clothes, hygiene products, food, and many other things.
Sports camps: Sports camps are another way we are able to reach our local communities with the Gospel. Because mostly woman and children come to our VBS (usually during the day so the men are out working the fields), we wanted to find a way to reach the men and others who would not come to a VBS type activity. So we have organized soccer tournaments, and general sports days at local soccer fields so that we can preach to groups of men/teenagers all at once. Its been a great tool to reach new crowds!
Door to door Evangelism:This is one of our favorite activities. Very personal, real and you can meet people where they are at! We love to do door to door visits with teams that come to work at LLI, and let them share what God has done in their lives, many times leading to moments of tears, and moments of joy! It is also a great experience for the visitors, as they get to see how the locals live and see them in their homes. But the best part of all is sharing the hope through Jesus Christ to those who will not come to our VBS and other activities! Always praying that the Lord prepares the soil for the seed!
Local church support:Our construction Supervisor is also a pastor of many years. We have been able to help him start some small church groups in the surrounding villages where there were no churches before. Our teams love going to the local services to worship with God’s children in a different culture! As people local people are led to Christ, it’s important for them to have a place to gather from that day forward, and have a home congregation where they can grow in grace and the knowledge of Jesus Christ.
Staff events:We love our staff! So, we try to make sure they know that! We have a great time all together at Thanksgiving and Christmas, as well as other special events. We have done special trips with our workers (fishing, beach, ect.), and hope to continue to do so! Most of them come from our local communities so they have never really left this little corner of Guatemala (many had never even been to the capital city). We love giving them first time experiences, and pray the Lord continues to provide us with the best of help, to give the best care to our children possible!
Student Sponsorships: We believe education is vital to breaking the cycles of poverty and brokenness in Guatemala. Most girls will be “married” by age 13-16 in these villages if they are not going to school any longer, almost always for financial reasons. So we have been finding sponsors for teenagers to go to middle and high school (primary 1-6 grades are usually walking distance from home, one in each village.. but middle and high school they need to travel and pay transport to the nearest town, so it implies much more cost), and have seen many of them graduate, most are the first in their family line to do so! With a high school diploma and an education, it is much easier for them to find a decent job, and with the education they also break out of the cycle that has been running through their families for so many years. This is a project very important to us, and so vital to the long-term health and well-being of these young adults in our local villages.