“Education is one of the most important things that we can invest in. We know the change education brings will alter the destiny of the villagers and give them hope for a brighter tomorrow.”
– Michael Beene, Founder
From humble beginnings come great things
When Faith In Action started working in the highland villages there were only 5 children going to school. The state-sponsored teacher organizing the classes rarely even showed up. He was more interested in drinking alcohol than teaching the children. After several drunken visits to the village school, the teacher reported back to the Ministry of Education that there was no interest in education anywhere in the region. He told the counsel to close the school down!
Michael and Rocky Beene, on behalf of Faith In Action, asked the Ministry of Education not to give up trying to educate the children in the mountains. They asked the counsel for one more chance to teach the local children. Michael and Rocky were even willing to provide a full-time teacher (including paying salary). The Ministry of Education agreed to allow Faith In Action to sponsor the school and bring in a private teacher for the remainder of the school year.
By the end of the first school year Faith In Action had 35 children attending a new school located on the mission in Matasano. The following year, the Ministry of Education decided to help pay the salary for one teacher. Faith In Action would continue to pay the salary for a second teacher that had come to the mission because of the increasing demand. Our once little school has now grown to over 125 children, however, that is still only ¼ of the children from the community. The results are in and the response is conclusive, there is a huge desire for education in the mountains of Guatemala.
As the need grows, so does God’s faithfulness
We know that the only way for our community to thrive is through education. It is the catalyst by which to help them get out of the poverty they are living in. There is no place for the children to go but out of the village to find work. There is no more land for them to inherit from their parents. We provide educational field trips for the children, computer, carpentry, welding, English, mechanic, and trade skill classes. Faith In Action is expanding opportunities and broadening the world of ideas for the next generation.
Before Faith In Action opened up schools in the mountains, many of the families could only afford for one of their children to have the privilege of going to school. This was mainly because of the lack of money needed to be able to provide shoes or respectable clothes (with no holes so that the child would not be ashamed to attend classes). So, in response to the needs of the families we serve, Faith In Action supplies all the children who attend school on a regular basis with uniforms. We also provide daily meals for the children, give them vitamins, and de-parasite them so that the nutrition they get at school doesn’t go to waste. Team-sponsored dentists come once a year to check the children for cavities and do filings.
Faith In Action sponsors field trips for the local school children.
One of the most successful field trips takes the children to Guatemala city, many of them for the first time. The field trips are truly educational, for the teachers and the students. So many things that are taken for granted show up in stark contrasts of cultural reality. One of the students’ favorite stops is visiting the big mall in Downtown Guatemala City; riding escalators, using the elevators, and going to the movie theater. We also take them to different businesses to try to inspire them to study hard and excel in their education. The children get to see the ocean for the first time, swim at a water park, and experience the simple joys of eating ice-cream!
Zacapa Dorm Project – Higher education and trade skills are now a reality!
These children will have a chance for the first time in thousands of years to change the course of their families’ destiny! They are the first generation since the foundation of the world to have the opportunity to receive a a trade school education. Weekly Bible studies and ministry go along with the dormitory living provided for this pioneering first generation of motivated children. Click here for more information. (link to Dorm Project page)
Food for Thought – A School Attendance Subsidy Program
The Lord gave us a plan to help the families whose children are too young to go to school to benefit from the feeding program. So as a stimulant to keep children in school, we have started a reward program. Those children who stay in school for a month will receive nutritional drink, beans, corn, rice, and sugar. This is seen by a child’s parents as a form of a job so as to motivate the parents to let them study. This also provides the much needed food for the little ones back home to survive. Click here for more information. (Link to Food for Thought page)
Nutrition Education Center
The Lord has placed it in our hearts to develop a new ministry that will benefit the very least among the villagers. Many of the children that are between two and five years old have the hardest time surviving. Typically there is another baby on the way or one that is now nursing by the time a child is two. Small children usually have to survive only on corn tortillas – these are the children that many times do not survive. Parents often bring very young children to the clinic for us to treat for a wide variety of illness when the root cause is simply malnutrition. Having a place where we may educate the families of small children about nutrition and provide support for those in immediate need is imperative. Click here for more information.