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First Pres Blog

Compassion Sunday 2018

Posted by Susan Buenger on

Malacatan, Guatemala, is a small town close to the border between Mexico and Guatemala—about 15 minutes from the El Carmen border crossing. Yearly, tens of thousands of migrants from all over Central America are deported to this area by Mexican authorities. Large buses cross the bridge from Mexico into Guatemala several times a day filled with women, men, and children.

There is no one to receive these people, no visible assistance for these migrants, so they leave the bus and disappear into the local community. Many of them do not speak the local dialect and few have any monetary resources. No doubt predators are waiting to take advantage of these new arrivals. Many churches in the area do not respond to the myriad social and spiritual issues created by this admittedly complex situation.

Our friends at Camino Al Cielo church in the Nuevos San Antonio neighborhood of Malacatan have answered the call to provide hope in an area filled with pain, material poverty, struggle and lost hope.   This small church of about 65 families supports a Compassion Child Development center, which serves about 300 children. Children receive a meal, homework help and support, healthy activities, good role models as well as love and care, creating stability and hope in their lives. They also receive vital care and encouragement through correspondence with their Compassion sponsors. Camino Al Cielo also operates their own water treatment plant, selling safe water to the local community and helping cover the cost of church outreach programs. Their congregants also visit local families in dire need of life basics.

Pastor Abel expresses their mission this way: “The community is our church.”  Norma, a congregant, says “Lots of people want to come to the church, listen, sit, sing and go home. But I have learned things by serving my community that I never thought about before. I have seen that the more we learn, the less we know.”

Through our Guatemala Global Engagement partnership, First Pres comes alongside this body of believers as they live out their faith.  On Sunday, October 7, we’ll have a specific opportunity to support the Camino Al Cielo Compassion Child Development Center, as packets of children in need of sponsors there and from centers around the world will be available in the Plaza and Narthex. Sharing the love of Christ and pointing toward his Kingdom is transformational for everyone!

First Pres team (September 2017) at Camino al Cielo with Pastor Abel and other members

Erin Eilmes at Camino al Cielo with some Compassion children


Tags: compassion, guatemala