OUR GUATEMALA FOCUS MISSION
One of the focus missions of the Langhorne Presbyterian Church is Promised Land Ministries in Guatemala (PLM). PLM’s vision is to assist local and native churches to reach the lost, to bring relief to the less fortunate and to provide food, medical services and education for children. PLM exists to bring the Gospel to all.
By his sovereign grace, God has been calling people from Langhorne Presbyterian Church to partner with PLM in ministering to the people of Guatemala, and for the last decade, members of LPC have been working in the mission field in Guatemala. We do this in several ways, including short term mission trips , scholarships for local children to enable them to attend school (Plan Padrino), support of a local medical clinic in San Lucas Toliman, providing water filter units to local families and a covenantal relationship with our PLM partners.
Short term mission trips are most effective when the visiting team works with an indigenous ministry that has established strong relationships in the communities to be served. PLM has been building such relationships in this area for over 20 years. LPC sends a short term mission team to Guatemala at least once a year, and on occasion, members have joined the short term mission team sent by Thompson Memorial Presbyterian Church. The main area visited is on the shores of beautiful Lake Atitlan, surrounded by the grandeur of ancient volcanoes and immersed in the culture of the local villages. Our base of operations is the Spring of Hope Mission in San Lucas Toliman, but we may work in other villages such as San Antonio Palopo, Tzanchaj or others surrounding Lake Atitlan. What we do will always be in partnership with our Guatemalan brothers and sisters. The core of the mission trips is a mobile medical clinic staffed by doctors from LPC and PLM. A pharmacy, staffed by team members, supports the physicians by dispensing prescribed medications. All team members are encouraged to spend at least one day experiencing the clinic and pharmacy. The make-up of our team will also determine some of what we do. We will seek to use our talents and abilities as best we can; there may be opportunities to work with the local children during various programs and we may add building and home repair, depending on the teams skills. We also engage in daily Bible study, devotionals, and faith sharing with our PLM partners. A primary goal in all we do is to expand relationships between the members of our partner teams. For information on current mission trips, please see the Guatemala Handbook – Summer 2013. An application to participate in this year’s trip can be found here.
In the fall of each year members of the congregation and organizations of LPC provide scholarships for school children in the San Lucas Toliman area of Guatemala through the PLM school scholarship program known as Plan Padrino (Grandfather’s Plan). The purpose of this program is:
• To provide children a Christian education with the purpose of forming strong adults that will love and respect God.
• To counsel parents and children in order to develop stronger families.
• To feed the children a daily nutritional meal and provide them with professional medical care.
• To provide financial aid to children so they can to receive an academic education.
• To train the children in a trade so they may be able to provide themselves with a better income job
For more information about this program, or to become a sponsor, please click here.
San Lucas Toliman Medical Clinic
A permanent medical clinic, staffed by a local doctor and nurse, was established in San Lucas Toliman in 2005 with the support of members of LPC. This clinic provides medical care for the children attending school at the Spring of Hope Mission and their families as well as serving as a local clinic for the residents of San Lucas Toliman. In times of local emergency, this clinic has often been the primary source of medical care for the area residents.
Drinking water in the area surrounding San Lucas Toliman and is obtained primarily from contaminated creeks, wells, and springs, and while residents in San Lucas may have access to piped water, it is not safe to drink without some form of water treatment. Most families cannot afford bottled water or water filter units, therefore the incidence of intestinal disease and diarrhea is significant. Diarrhea is particularly dangerous for infants and children due to dehydration. Believing that prevention of disease is better than treatment, in 2011 LPC, in conjunction with our PLM partners, initiated a trial water filter project by distributing 20 family water filtration units to families associated with the Spring of Hope Mission. The filters are manufactured by Ecofiltro in Guatemala and cost approximately $50 US. The company also educates the families receiving the filters in proper hygiene, rehydration of infants and the use and care of the filter units. A recent evaluation of the project has shown a significant reduction in intestinal disease in the families using the filters. Our intent is to continue to support this project, and if possible, expand the project to provide safe drinking water to additional families in the San Lucas Toliman area.
Many families live in a single room with a wood fueled cooking fire on the floor of this room. Their living space is constantly filled with wood smoke, which causes many respiratory and eye problems. Others may have a separate cooking area, but it is in close proximity to the living area, which the smoke permeates. In addition, the open cooking fires are very inefficient and requiring large quantities of wood which must be cut from nearby hills and carried to the home. In an effort to reduce respiratory disease and reduce fuel consumption, LPC has begun working with PLM to purchase and install fuel efficient, vented cooking stoves in as many homes as possible. These stoves can be purchased for about $130 US in Guatemala and can be constructed on-site in about 25 minutes. They are vented through the roof and thus eliminate the smoke in the family living areas.
Our Covenant with PLM
Recognizing that a meaningful and lasting mission partnership requires the commitment of a significant amount of time, talent and resources by both partners, Langhorne Presbyterian Church entered into a formal covenantal relationship with Promised Land Ministries in 2010. This covenant attempts to define the role of each partner and sets forth an initial set of objectives for both. The following introductory paragraph of the covenant summarizes the spirit of this document:
“Acknowledging our sovereign God’s guidance in this process, this covenant is a commitment to share freely with each other, to be in joyful fellowship together, to give generously to each other and to receive thankfully from each other the many blessings God has bestowed upon us. Our partnership calls for the sharing of all types of resources: human, cultural, financial and spiritual; but especially faith-transforming life experiences.”