Tuesday, February 19, 2013

the boys academy purpose

today i hiked to a neighboring village, called tablon.  from tablon, the view of buena vista, and of the boys academy, was breathtaking.
the village of buena vista (boys academy far left)
the picture does it no justice.

from tablon, you could see the academy sitting high above the village.  the sun was going down softly in the background.

the poverty of buena vista is apparent from the distant view. tin structures and roofs, and smoke everywhere.

when looking from a distance, whats not clear is all of the abuse going in inside the homes.  absent dads, abusive husbands, addiction that is rampant.  from a distance, everything looks peaceful.

the image reminded me what the boys academy's role is.

high above this village, God built a place of change.  a place where young boys come every day - and experience, love, acceptance, and truth.  they play soccer.  they study.  they eat a hot, nutritious meal.  but most importantly, they learn about jesus.  that he loves them, and has a purpose for their lives.

our job is train up young boys in the love, grace, and mercy of jesus christ.  those young boys will become men.  they will be different.  they will be good dads, and good husbands.  they will love God and love their neighbors.

they will change buena vista, and so much more...

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

leiva's coffee

We have known the Leiva family ever since moving to Guatemala almost 5 years ago.  They were the first to welcome us, invite us over, love on us, and pray for us.  In fact, Mynor Leiva was the first Guatemalan I ever met, while visiting the country for the first time.  Interestingly enough, he was delivering coffee to the home we were staying in.

Mynor eventually left his position as the Athletic Director and Head Soccer Coach of a prestigious American school in Guatemala City to join our efforts in the poor village of Buena Vista.  His heart for helping the poor of his own country is something to be admired. Watching him and his wife Walda sacrifice their own careers in order to make a difference in the lives of the boys in at the Academy is something pure and precious to see.

Their family has owned a coffee farm in the Sierra Madre Mountains for generations.  The farm is located deep in the Guatemalan rainforest, hours from civilization.  The village where the farm is located is one of extreme poverty.  There is no electricity and no running water. 

Most of the village people are employed, and cared for, by the Leiva Coffee Farm.  In addition to the operation of the farm, the Leivas work diligently in other ways to help the villagers.  They build stoves, kitchens, and bathrooms.  They host children’s camps and activities.  They work with the locals in areas of education and hygiene.  In the village there still exists a deep Mayan belief that a boy must kill another man to enter into manhood.  The Leiva family presence in this village is the only thing working to break these cycles that have been repeating themselves for generations.

The Leiva family treats the village people like family.  In fact, many of the organization’s key employees, including the Director of Operations, were orphans that the Leiva’s took in as young children and raised them in their home.  To this day, a percentage of every bag of coffee they sell goes back into the local community.

The need
The coffee farm is a small operation, and they need a boost.  The goal is to sell their coffee in the US, as the local market is not sustainable.  But recently they have struggled to solidify contacts in the US to purchase their coffee consistently.  This is not for lack of amazing coffee.  It is the best we have ever tasted!  Every visitor we host in our home says the same thing, and typically buys as much as possible to take back!

The hope
We are reaching out to everyone we know, trying to expand the base of people that would be willing to buy and serve Leiva Coffee in their churches, businesses, and homes.

Would you consider serving Leiva Coffee in your church on Sundays, Wednesdays, and during the week to your staff?  How about selling Leiva Coffee in the bookstore, and sharing with buyers the deeper impact of every bag purchased?

Or would your business consider serving Leiva Coffee to customers, or in the break-room throughout the day?  Most businesses buy coffee already, and this could be an opportunity to do something good with an expense that is on the books either way.

For anyone who wants it, we will send you a small display that tells the story of the Leiva Coffee farm and the people that are being helped with each bag of coffee sold.

Please help us help the Leiva’s, and the villagers of the Sierra Madre Mountains!

If interested in more information, please contact us immediately!

Monday, February 11, 2013

pato & robin

kerrie and pato cooking
almost every night for the last couple months, our family has been increased by 2.

pato and robin.

they are jake's closest friends here in buena vista.  they are both "rhinos" (boys in the academy).  as the day's schedule at the academy winds down, pato and robin hang around until everyone is gone...

they have become like part of the family.  they help themselves to a snack and something to drink.  they help jake do his chores.  (its probably time to give them some of their own.)  they have even overcome their fear of our dogs, now that the dogs have accepted them as family too.  on the weekends, they typically spend the night.

their home-lives are rough.

robin's mom is a widow, her dad was murdered years ago.  she doesn't get home from work until around 9pm every night, so he's always home by the time she gets there.  she's a good mom.  and she loves that robin spends so much time with us, as it means he's not out in the streets.

pato has a big family, although dysfunctional.  he loves being in our home. he loves making jokes, laughing with jake, and making our 2 month old luciana laugh.

he loves cooking with kerrie.  and he loves eating whatever they cook!

more than anything, its obvious that they just love being loved on.