Mission Guatemala recently announced an expansion to its feeding program in the Lake Atitlan region of Guatemala. In partnership with Johns Creek United Methodist Church in suburban Atlanta, Ga., Mission Guatemala will feed nearly 60 more children every Monday through Friday in the Guatemalan community of Pacaman. The United Methodist-related ministry is currently feeding nearly 100 children each day in the village of Nueva Esperanza.
Johns Creek United Methodist Church has committed $12,500 to fund the feeding center in Pacaman for the coming year. In announcing the new joint ministry project, Johns Creek’s Rev. Dalton Rushing said, “Johns Creek UMC is preparing to break ground on a new sanctuary. The campaign for this project was called ‘Raising the Steeple,’ with the intention of allowing the steeple to serve as a metaphor for the church’s witness in the community. People from all over the community will see the steeple and know the church is there for them.
Johns Creek UMC also wants to be a witness to the love of God in Guatemala, such that all those who are fed know God loves them and that there are people at Johns Creek in Georgia, who love them. In the new sanctuary, the church is building a house for God. In the feeding center, the church is building a house for God’s people.”
“We are thrilled to be in partnership with Johns Creek on this new ministry opportunity,” said the Rev. Tom Heaton, executive director and founder of Mission Guatemala. “When we asked the congregation if they would be interested in helping with this project, they immediately began to raise funds to make it a reality.”
According to the United Nations World Food Programme, Guatemala has the fourth highest rate of chronic child malnutrition in the world and the highest in Latin America and the Caribbean.
Mission Guatemala began its work in October, 2010 in the Lake Atitlan Region of Guatemala. Since its inception, Mission Guatemala operates feeding centers in Nueva Esperanza and Pacaman, a medical clinic and a dental clinic that serves more than 350 patients a month, and a preschool in conjunction with Mayan Families, Inc.
The ministry also installs efficient wood-burning stoves in the homes of impoverished indigenous Guatemalans. The stoves reduce smoke emissions from within the dwellings by 99 percent and increase the cooking surface height, thus eliminating burns and/or uncontrolled fires and create a 60 to 70 percent savings in fuel consumption allowing for a reduction in deforestation.
Mission Guatemala is an Indiana-based ministry related to the Indiana Conference of The United Methodist Church and is a partner organization through The Advance of the General Board of Global Ministries.