Magdalena, who was sick and taking care of her three orphaned grandchildren, could see the reality. There was no money, there was only so much she could do. So when her middle grandson Tony graduated from 6th grade, she told him that he couldn’t continue in school, he had to work full time. Tony shined shoes in the town square, it’s what the poorest children have to do. If they are lucky enough to get business, they earn 1 quetzal (about 13 cents) for one pair of shoes.
|Tony in the town square with his shoe shining buddies|
We knew about Tony through his sister who attends Colegio HOREB. God had led us to visit the family several times, as we were aware of the dire need they had. When the scholarship program was started, children like Tony were firmly in our minds and hearts. We felt a desire from the Holy Spirit to give children like him a chance to receive an education.
When his grandma told him he would not be able to continue in school, he was devastated. This was evident when we went to his house to interview him. He began the interview trying to act happy with a smile on his face, but it lasted only 3 seconds. He said, “My story is…” and then he broke into tears.
Through tears he continued, “I want to continue studying, but the money doesn’t exist, we don’t have money to continue…”
He told his story, how his mom had passed away, how his dad had abandoned them, and how his grandma is old and is not able to work too much.
“Yes, we work, but the money only exists for a moment, it goes fast to the others. We use the money, but only to buy corn, we eat, only for this.”
|Tony with his grandma and sister|
Through the connections that God creates, we were able to offer Tony a scholarship. A sponsor from the United States heard his story and kindly offered to support him. He not only was able to continue his studies, but God sent him to arguably the best middle school in the area, founded two years ago by AGROS. Besides the usual work load of middle school, they provide a tutor in the afternoons, agricultural and carpentry workshops, and devotions once per week.
Tony is making the most of this opportunity in his first year at the new school. He is scoring above the average in his class and turns in all his homework assignments. He is very participative and takes advantage of the tutor that stays in the afternoons. His attitude is one of thankfulness, knowing how close he came to giving up further education. In the future, he dreams of being an accountant or a lawyer, using what he has to help others.
I ask that you keep this young man in your prayers, pray that God would use his life in big ways for His kingdom and for him to grow deeper in knowledge and draw closer in relationship to our Heavenly Father and our Lord Jesus Christ. I ask that you pray the same for the other three wonderful children in this program as well.
God is doing a work in the Ixil. I can see it. I see it in children like Tony. Though many fathers have abandoned children through alcoholism, divorce, or desertion, this generation of children are getting educated, the Spirit is moving, and schools like HOREB in Cotzal and Filadelfia in Chajul, are giving sound biblical teaching. Through the ashes of a devastating war, God is raising up a people after His heart here. I see great hope in this generation of children. The harvest is upon us. I invite you to be a part of it.
Learn more about WIND (wind-guatemala.org) and consider donating to this cause. You can also consider sponsoring a child for a scholarship for the next school year (information to be provided later) and let God use you to change the trajectory of a child's life, like Tony's.
|The WIND scholarship kids at their school, from L to R: Abigail, Mayerly, Tony, and Dionicio|