Amalia Toc works with U.S. churches who partner in Guatemala.
When your church partners with Food for the Hungry (FH), you’ll develop a relationship with one or more staff who will serve your church all year. Today, I’m introducing you to Amalia Toc, the staff member who works with all U.S. churches who partner in Guatemala.
Amalia lives and works in her home country of Guatemala. She was a pastor’s daughter who was once a sponsored child through FH. (Check out the touching FH video where she shares her story.) Amalia pursued an education, became fluent in English and decided to serve God by linking U.S. churches to impoverished communities in Guatemala.
Building a Bridge to Guatemala
As a Field Liaison, Amalia communicates with churches about their partner communities. Via email, phone calls and web conferencing, she introduces church leaders to prospective partner communities. She talks with church leaders about projects in the community that will benefit people as well as resonate with the church community. She sends them sponsorship packets, plans short-term team trips, prays with them and even visits their churches.
‘This position has allowed me an opportunity to walk closer with church partners, hear about their needs and passions, and serve as a bridge to maintain ongoing relationships with their sponsored communities,” she said.
As part of her role with FH, Amalia visits U.S. churches. Here, she’s spending time with church leaders and their families in Colorado.
Beyond Physical Needs
Although the physical needs in rural Guatemala can seem overwhelming, Amalia is quick to point out that the solution to poverty is not simply about providing food and water.
“Sometimes, we want to see poverty end in a blink of an eye, or by providing basic needs,” Amalia said. “But, ending all forms of poverty requires more than just meeting basic needs. It requires us to present the love of Jesus. Often times, we do not see the fruit of our work, but I am encouraged by Scripture.”
Amalia cites Galatians 6:9-10: “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Thus, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.” (NIV)
The Ideal Church Partner
Guatemala welcomes churches who wish to partner with the movement of God.
Guatemala, like all countries where FH works, welcomes U.S. churches who wish to partner with the movement of God. Amalia listed several qualities that characterize an ideal church partner.
Willingness to respond to God’s call to serve the most vulnerable
Open to learn and receive from the local partner
Committed to walk with a community for a number of years
Amalia added, “We are seeking all types of church partners. Some might not want to go on mission trips. Yet, there are opportunities to advocate on behalf of the poor, contribute toward disaster relief, promote child sponsorship and see communities graduate out of poverty.”
The Transformation is Mutual
After their first visit to their partner communities, church leaders often say the love and dedication of the FH staff they met blew them away. Likewise, FH staff treasure the relationships they develop with churches.
Amalia commented, “I love that we join efforts and come together for a common goal, to expand God’s Kingdom and serve the most vulnerable. We all need to work as a team, as a whole body of Christ to allow the Holy Spirit to bring transformation to both ends.”
Her relationships with church groups also bless Amalia. “Working with church partners blesses me because through each team member, leader or pastor, I get inspired to be a better follower of Jesus. And plus, I have more friends joining me in prayer!”