Inquiring minds want to know--how is Pat?

After completing 9 years living in Guatemala, I reflect back on my life with amazement.  When I stepped off the plane in 2010, I never would have dreamed that what started as Guatemala Grandma would have grown into the ministry we have today.

To be honest, I often feel in over my head.   I have strong earthly support from the board of Reason to Hope, my pastor(s) and my ministry friends and mentors.  They help me clarify what I need to be doing, and how the ministry should proceed.  Ultimately, though, I turn to our strategic planning team, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and ask them what to do.  They haven't let me down yet.  And daily I am aware that what I do, I do in Christ's power, because mine would never be enough.

Yes, I am busy.  Busier than I thought I would be at this stage in my life. For some reason known only to the Lord, He opened the doors on two new major projects which I had not planned for in 2019, but seemed so clearly God-directed that I had to respond.

Entrance to our rental property
My door is to the left
Hijas del Rey is to the right

About a year ago I moved into my own house in Panorama.  It was previously rented by my friend, Judy Kerschner, and the owners agreed to let me rent it for the same price she had been paying for the last 16 years!  It is located just outside of Antigua, on the way to San Pedro (where the men's house is located).   I couldn't find anything else for this price.  After so many years living in the men's house, it was clear I needed a place of my own, and their house needed to be able to run without my presence 24/7.  This was a God-send.

My house is to the right in this picture.
The building you see to the left is Hijas del Rey

In December, the missionaries who lived across the driveway from me in our small "residencial" returned to the States, and the owner, who knew I had been called to open a home for women with special needs, asked if I'd like to use the house for the women.  Again, the rent for the Antigua/Panorama area was incredibly reasonable, and two young ladies from Santa Maria were desperately in need of somewhere safe to live, so I moved ahead.  We now have 4 (possibly 5) women who are with us permanently and they live where I can see them out my kitchen window!  This has enabled me to be part of starting the home, without me actually living there.  They are a delight, and so very different from the men!  Much more sociable!

I laugh that it took us 4 years to fill the men's house, and only 4 months to fill the women's but that was the case.  I think it is because we are now "known" around Guatemala and people are continually coming to us for help.  We could easily open two more houses if we had the funds available; the need is great, but God has not led us there yet.

Our first meeting in Santa Lucia/Santo Tomas
I agree to do evaluations for the clinic
and only evaluations.

About this same time I was approached by the psychologist for the city of Santa Lucia Milpas Altas (which you pass through going from Antigua to Guatemala City).  She asked if I could evaluate some special needs children who either were not in school or were not making any academic progress.  I said I would be glad to evaluate them and make recommendations, but did not think I could promise to work with them.

Well, after meeting them and seeing their needs (like a 12 year old boy, electively mute, who was in a fifth grade classroom where he is bullied on a daily basis and given work far about his mental ability which he consistently could not do) I agreed to tutor there one day a week.  

Soon, preschool kids emerged, who, if we could provide early intervention to, would hopefully be ready to enter kindergarten and succeed, rather than fall farther behind.  So, a. second afternoon a week was added.

This is our building--an interesting location
In front of it is a childcare center
Behind me (taking the picture) is the town cemetery

After a few months of this, a true "miracle" happened for Guatemala.  The mayor and the city council offered us the use of a municipal building rent free!  They pay all the utilities, and we have open access to it.  


It was in rough shape, but gradually we have been fixing it up as funds become available (nothing fancy, just paint and laying floor tile provided by the city), and our number of "clients" at the center grows each week.  I am hoping that in the future we can train and employ a Guatemalan teacher or psychologist to run this center, but again, we are praying for the funding which would run about another $500 a month.  Would you specifically pray for this?

We're not fancy with borrowed desks
and saw horse and plank tables
but it is clean and bright and inviting
--and we even have a tile floor now!

With the growth of our ministry, our financial responsibilities have grown also.  But, I fear disobeying God more than I do exceeding our budget, and am happy to take responsibility for the overages by using my retirement funds.  If I ask others to contribute to the ministry, how can I not?

Sometimes feel like I have bitten off more than I can chew, and am working harder than ever, but the rewards are great.  Yesterday, two boys, age ten and eleven, clung to me when it was time to leave because they didn't want to go. One had just been kicked out of his private school just that day because he couldn't keep up with the math work which was about 2 grade levels about him. Their moms say that while they fight not to go to school, they ask when they can again go to see "Seño Paty."  If I can be "Jesus" to these guys, how can I say no?

My health is good, and my energy level sufficient for each day.  For a while, I was covering the weekend shifts at the women's home, but as we added more women, I realized this was pushing it, and we have hired weekend staff.  I still fill in now and then when staff is sick or on vacation.

I am attending a church which doesn't "feed" me, but gives me the "appetizer" and challenges me, as an adult believer, to feed myself.  Seriously, I love Calvary Chapel Antigua, and am growing spiritually daily being a part of this fellowship of believers.

I miss my kids and my grandsons--maybe more now than in the beginning.  Their lives have gone on well without me, and I know I am missing out.  But, my grandsons lack nothing, physically, socially, educationally or emotionally.  I would be cheating them spiritually if I gave the example of disobeying God's call because I care too much for them--the height of selfishness, because it is really my heart I want to protect.  My legacy to them, I pray is one of joyful obedience and trusting God's lead.

Of course, I am over the moon when I get to see them, and as Friday drawn need, I feel the excitement building.  

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