Things are going amazing so far this year.
Thanks to the help and support of so many amazing people, the Cadaniño ministry in Guatemala continues to have a powerful impact on the lives of the hundreds of students and families enrolled in our two Community Impact Centers.
2022 marked the sixth year since we started our first afterschool program with 35 kids in a small garage. The belief that targeted programs accessible to vulnerable children could make a targeted impact in the lives of those willing to take advantage of them has been validated.
After two tumultuous years of covid-19 and the challenges it brought, we were finally able to return to implementing our complete afterschool program. We are glad to say the results are impressive.
Our team’s focus on continually evaluating, troubleshooting, and improving our programs to maximize effectiveness is paying off in the progress our students are making.
Key to that success is our local team of teachers, which, thanks to the generous support of donors, expanded again this year. We have been able to make targeted hires, specifically a youth pastor and math teacher who we desperately needed.
An emphasis on discipleship and development of our staff through book studies, devotionals, and training has empowered them to better serve the children and teenagers in our programs. We see this playing out in a dramatic increase in the number of students seeking personal counseling from our team.
A bigger team has created bandwidth to improve our family strengthening services through weekly home visits and key outreaches, enabling us to minister to the parents of the students in a more significant way.
As we returned to classes three times a week, with better tracking and control systems in place, we found students learning and progressing faster than ever, demonstrating in an incredible way how much kids can learn when presented with the opportunity.
Among the highlights from the first half of this year are: Return to full after school program, a growing team, expanded youth ministry, service and missions’ expansion, outreaches to parents, improved programs and spiritual growth.
Return to our full after-school program
After a six-month lockdown in 2020 because of Covid-19, we returned to in-person classes in a limited capacity. Social distancing requirements meant that to serve all our students, we had to limit them to classes twice a week instead of three times a week.
Though our teachers did a fantastic job, there is simply no substitute for teaching and ministering to students face-to-face.
Thankfully, restrictions were loosened this year. Returning to our full schedule means that students advance quicker, progress faster in their classes, and learn more about God.
Additional funding means we have hired more staff to serve our students better. Every additional teacher translates into a direct impact on the lives of our students and their families. New team members include Luigi, Sucely, Nancy and Rocio.
The addition of Luigi, the youth pastor at the San Jose Pinula center, has been fantastic for the students there. It freed Luke to devote all his time to the Santa Fe center. The work they do is critical. Teaching, ministering, mentoring, counseling, and praying with the teenagers, many of whom come from broken homes and have faced incredible challenges.
A three-month in-depth study on Joseph has been our focus during the first part of this year and has helped them understand how God sometimes works through bad situations to bring about good in our lives, even if it is hard to understand at the moment.
Since the beginning, service to others has been a core value we teach at Cadaniño. It flows from the understanding of what God has done for us, so we should do for others.
Creating opportunities within the center, where students take care of serving the food and doing the cleaning, ensures that everyone has the opportunity to serve one another.
A partnership with Identify, a ministry that provides a year-long missions training program for Guatemalan youth, has provided us with the opportunity to send key students for leadership and discipleship training.
At the San Jose Pinula center, 16 of the youth continue to receive mission training equipping them as they faithfully go out into the community every month to minister to children from 30 families.
Our Mother’s Day and Father’s Day outreaches were terrific and have become one of the key moments in the year where we minister to, encourage, pray for, and love on the parents.
Attendance for the mother’s event continued to be high, with many dressing up in their finest clothes, and we were so pleased to see an increase in the number of fathers who came to participate. As in many places, broken families and men abandoning their children results in absent fathers, but as we have faithfully carried on with our years’ events, more and more fathers attend every year.
Evaluating, assessing, and improving every aspect of our ministry continues to be a priority. We track students’ progress to understand what works well and where we need to improve. We then make necessary adjustments to ensure that our students have the maximum opportunity to develop their God-given gifts and abilities and use them to their greatest potential in a way that glorifies Him.
All of these things listed above, the return to our complete after-school program, a growing team, a focus on service, the emphasis on missions, the improved programs, and the outreaches we did, are leading to one thing, spiritual growth in the lives of those we serve.
The years we’ve spent laying the foundation, building relationships within the community, teaching, training, and discipling our staff, are paying off as we continue to speak life, hope, and the truth of the Gospel into the lives of those we serve.