A tired sun falls slowly down the San Lucas Sacatepéquez sky studded with mountains. Blaze of peach, rose and coral collide in the clouds, a small breather from the suffocating day. Angled white houses of tin, wood and concrete balance along the crooked cliffs of the village. What mars the beauty of this Guatemalan municipality is the landfill that lies within the city.
This evening pulses with a subtle joy emanating from the San Lucas Transformation Center. Teens from the local church slip into the enclosed space and prep for the evening, organizing vitamin drinks and checklists to mark the names of children who will come with eager hearts, starving for love they don’t receive from empty-eyed parents with alcohol-stained lips. The children who live at the end of the landfill inherit malnutrition problems that plague their bodies and stunt growth. But the joy and freedom they experience at the center builds hope and lets the light of Jesus penetrate dark spaces.
I was privileged to visit the San Lucas Transformation Center while in Guatemala for work with FCA, but God made sure this divine appointment was for my own heart’s assignment. It fused with the laughing, kind children and the teens who run the center. And when Helmer, one of the leaders, shared Proverbs 25:25 with me, my heart rent yet again and I knew I had to give voice to those whose own has been silenced by poverty and circumstance.
Like cold water to a weary soul is good news from a distant land. –Proverbs 25:25
I believe my eyes have been opened for such a time as this. To observe how close the children of San Lucas are to breaking out of the mold of mediocrity to launch into the life God designed for them from before He breathed this world to life.
Absence of love, education and a lack of guidance exposes children to a vulnerability bred out of darkness and evil prowling for the chance to destroy. They are susceptible to dangerous situations—pulled into a life of crime and prey for gangs. The center combats that and brings a safe place for these kids to rest from the riot of their world.
And I see how a community across the ocean may be one simple answer to their unspoken request.
The Transformation Center supports 300 kids and, other than a little assistance from the local church and municipality, they rely on the high school and college leaders’ own finances. They are desperately short on funding and resources to sustain operation. They also want to send 150 kids to sports camp this summer, provide them with Bibles and give them a hope and a future that will not be cut off.
Here’s where we step in.
We can offer something heart-attracting: hope. Hope that holds tight to their souls that allows them to believe deep in their insides that another way is possible, that light can indeed shine, blazing, through the dark.
We get complacent easily, quick to slip into the charade of this life and get lost in the façade of Western reality. We have power at the ends of our fingertips, the ability for one small action to change someone’s world, and we don’t even know it.
If we hear about the specific atrocities that poverty exposes, and continue on our merry American way, God will hold us accountable because we did not rise to reach out to the least of these. How can we break the cycle if we are not willing to get our hands dirty in the mud, swiping away the debris to move the wagon wheel of opportunity forward?
I am asking for your help. I have listed what they’re in immediate need of, and if you could please prayerfully consider helping in any way you are able.
Children’s clothes (4-14 years, girls and boys)
Rent facility: $19.65/day
Transportation to center & nutritious milk: $39.32/day for 50 kids
School supplies: $26.21/6 mos.
Materials to make shirts & paper art: $13.11/student
Facility rental, transportation, food, shirt: $800
150 Bibles for camp: $350
If you feel like contributing monetarily to help cover operating costs, please contact me (firstname.lastname@example.org; @SRennAwake) and I can further direct you on where you can do so; it will be either through my church, or through FCA and our Guatemala leader.
Let us refresh aching souls from our overflow, giving hope, heart and help in the name of Jesus.