Jungle Kids for Christ

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Hello Everyone from Guatemala.

I would like to update you all on what God is doing here in our part of the world and see if you would like to help us change some lives.

As you may remember in my previous news letters it seemed as though Marleni and I were winding down and going to just focus on dental work.
But God sometimes has different plans.
So let me explain.

I know this is a bit long and not many pictures [Webmaster: pictures were deleted due to technical issues] but I feel you need to know
the direction we think the Lord is taking us.

One of the villages I have been doing medical and dental care in for 12 years is a remote Mayan village called Quatro Cayos ( Spanish for : Four Islands)
A local pastor there named Carlos and I have become good friends over the years and I have not only done many clinics there but have taught him how to do some emergency medical care including how to suture.
He is a kind and gentle man and works for the Lord and his people with very little money. He and his wife have 9 kids and live in a stick hut smaller than most American garages. The village is only accessible by water via the Rio Dulce River and then up a small river tributary. It takes about 2 hours to get there by boat.

The problem for this village is the people are extremely poor and no electricity. The school only goes to 6th grade. This means the kids can not finish
what we would call our high school.
The difference is they want to go to high school and get their education. ( unlike me when I was a teenager )

But they cannot due to lack of money as their parents just do not have it, and they cannot go two hours by boat to school and then return each day.
The parents do not have the money to rent a room in the town of Rio Dulce for for 10 months
so their children can finish school.
This leaves them uneducated and unable to get a job other than maybe cutting fields all day with a machete for $4.00 a day if they can find work.

So Marleni suggested that we take in these high school students and let them live in the dorm and go to school and feed them and give them a chance
at getting an education that would dramatically change their lives.

I said " Teenagers! me take care of teenagers? Are you crazy woman? I would rather be dragged by horses though streets of broken glass!

I said I love doing medical work and I love doing dental work but raising teenagers? Why have you lost your mind?

She said Bryan calm down and think about it. What if we could find a church to help with the expenses and send a family to do the student program
and we will focus on dental work.

So we talked about this program with a church who wanted to support the program and send a family.

We connected the church and the family with the Village Pastor Carlos and the eligible students. Everything seemed to be working out and the students were so excited to have this opportunity. Their parents could not believe it either.

However the American family had to unexpectedly return to the States so the funding has dried up.

So now I had to tell Pastor Carlos that we could not continue with the program.
He began to weep and told us that if he told the village they would fire him as Pastor and possibly make him leave the village.
He was devastated. So were we!
So we made some calls and talked with some folks who said Bryan"We have to find a way to help those kids."

So we worked on a budget and made some more calls to the director of the school here in Rio Dulce and found out
we could send the kids to school on Sundays for 10 months and they would graduate to their next grade level.

We called Pastor Carlos and told him we would ask folks in the States to help us feed the kids and buy uniforms and shoes and pay for the electricity.
Marleni and I will use the dorm for these kids to live in and continue their education.

They will come on a boat on Thursdays and get in around 10:00am. We will feed them rice and beans and tortillas and they will be happy
as that is what they are used to and that is all we can afford at this time.

Then Friday Marleni will help each student with their homework from the previous weeks classes.
She not only knows the language but she knows their culture and was actually a teacher in a small village not far from their village when she was 19 years old..
This will also include Bible Study and our hope for the future is for a team to come down and help us build a computer lab/ study room.
So at some point we will be asking for donations of old computers for them to learn typing skills and computer skills.

On Saturday mornings I will teach them First Aid and try to get them to the EMT level.
This may inspire them to want to do medical work for their own people.
Also when they are back in their village they can take care of emergencies.

Then in the afternoon, they have chores like raising chickens, pigs, and helping to make a Talopia fish pond, and raising a garden to cut down on food expenses.

This will be two days of making sure they are doing well in their studies and not wasting time or money.

You see some of these kids have never been outside their village. They have never even seen a toilet and never slept in a bed.
So for them to come to the dorm and have a safe clean bed, with toilets and showers and 3 meals a day will be a big change in their lives.
Our goal is to not only let them have an opportunity to get an education at school, but teach them how to work at a small business and have a better life.
This we hope will be through the projects we will have them helping us with that I listed above.
You know teach a man to fish instead of giving a man a fish.

Our other goal is to teach them English. If they can learn English this opens up jobs to them in business, tourism, a whole new world for them.
Again Marleni being Guatemalan not only speaks correct Spanish but is fluent in English.
( I talk real good in English too )

Most of these kids are from Pastor Carlo's church so they are Christians.
We hope we can continue their learning and walk with the Lord to teach them to spread the Gospel to the Mayan population here in Guatemala.

Let me tell you a little about Marvelin ( the girl )
When she was a small girl her father was a fisherman on the river. One night after dark his dugout canoe flipped in heavy winds.
They found his body three days later. Her widowed mother had no means of support, so she went to work as a cleaning lady in
Guatemala City where so sometimes has works and sometimes does not.

. Marvelin and her sister had to go live in a shack with their Grandmother. She was able to go to the small school up to
6th grade there in the village. But her Grandmother has no money for food let alone high school.
They never dreamed that she would have an opportunity to leave the jungle and finish school.

She has helped me in medical clinics and only dreamed of becoming a nurse.
When I learned about this widow lady having to leave her children to go work in the city to clean toilets and dirty laundry
just to feed her kids, and sometimes when she cannot find work they have nothing. Marvelin does not even have shoes.
She has an old pair of flip flops with holes in the bottom to go collect wood to make a fire to make corn tortillas twice a day.
I felt like my problems were pretty small.

You see folks Guatemala is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, second only to Haiti.
So for Christmas the only gifts most of these kids have ever gotten, is a hug.
They told me it is all they have to give.

With folks like you and Gods help, maybe we can see her graduate someday with a degree in nursing.

What a day that would be huh?

So, here comes the part where I need help.

Would you consider? Sponsoring a student.

We need about $50.00 per student per month to feed them,
pay for school supplies, tuition, a school uniform, shoes, transportation cost, and help pay the electric bill for doing laundry, lights, etc........

The twelve teen agers you see in the pictures are the ones that we have done the paperwork for, to get them into the school.
There are 11 boys who will be sleeping in bunk beds on the first floor
and one girl who will be sleeping on the third floor with Marleni's sister Mari.
( This is to separate the boys and girl and also give the girl some fellowship with a woman instead of boys all the time. )

Folks I have done surveys ( well 1 survey ) were I found Americans spend more than $50.00 a month on make up.
( that sad part is I just really surveyed one person and it was a guy )

OK Seriously, I know this is the time of year that every ministry, missionary, churches, Christmas gifts,
You name it. Everybody wants you to give money.

This is a 10 month request. Would you consider choosing one of these kids and donate once a month, $50.00
or what ever you can?

If you would like to help with this program just e-mail me letting me know which one.
If you would like to correspond with them via e-mail, we ( meaning Marleni ) will translate your message to them and then
respond with their message to you
in English.
Also if there is anyone out there who knows Spanish and English and would like to come and volunteer to help
teach English, please please contact me.

Again I know this is the worst time of year for me to ask you for help. But they start school here in January! (Just 3 weeks away)
We need food, supplies, uniforms books electricity and (Valium for me.)

Please pray about it and remember the words of Jesus:

What you do for the least of these, you do for me.

Thank you for taking the time to read this and for your help.
And you all have a Blessed and Merry Christmas !

In His Service

Bryan & Marleni Buchanan