Paola Cardona is the Communications Coordinator for FH Guatemala, based in Guatemala City.
On March 6, the government of Guatemala declared a state of public calamity because of COVID-19. All companies, except those dedicated to food supply and health, had to close their doors to avoid massive infections. Churches, shopping malls, businesses, and organizations including Food for the Hungry all had to close their offices.
Like the rest of the world, we started to wear masks, wash our hands all the time, disinfect everything, and adjust to quarantine. Some of us started to feel fear. Fear because we are not in control, fear of contagion…fear even of our own fragility. Yet thanks to God, we’re all safe and working from home. Every day, we have a time of Bible study and are in prayer for the needs of our brothers and sisters.
It is in the midst of this fear that we return to the Word to see our God and remember who sustains us.
“He who watches over you will not slumber.” – Psalms 121:3
This trust in the One who protects us allows us to look at our brothers and sisters and respond to their suffering. We are no longer thinking about only ourselves during this crisis, but caring for our community and country.
It is a good time to ask ourselves: What can I do better for my family? How can I improve personally and spiritually? How do I take advantage of this crisis to help others?
The Love That Loves
In response to the coronavirus, FH Guatemala made a donation of masks, gloves, lenses, and glasses to CONRED (The National Coordination for Disaster Reduction). These donations go directly to the people in charge of handling the emergency, such as doctors and police in different quarantine centers. In total, FH Guatemala donated over $6,000 for this first wave of support.
The generosity of many people like you made it possible to deliver this donation, helping Guatemalans everywhere.
What about our staff and beneficiaries?
By government order and to care for others, our staff is not physically in the communities. However, we are in constant communication with each community to find out how they are doing, know their needs, pray for them, and share important advice and guidelines during the crisis. In this time, we’re preparing. We are developing action plans and adjusting interventions to best respond to the crisis.
We are deeply moved to know that community leadership is caring for all families. Unfortunately, temporary unemployment has affected the economy of the most vulnerable families who depend on daily income. As a result, many groups of volunteer mothers are working together to help those most in need. It reminds me of 1 Corinthians 13 when Paul writes that “love does not seek its own. Love awaits everything.”
Your support of FH allows us to witness communities and families caring for each other. There are still families that suffer, but there are also others that alleviate their pain. Even as we navigate this uncertain time, we see families starting their own gardens for food! And now, more than ever, they can both enjoy them and share their harvests with neighbors in need.
Beyond the Guatemala Coronavirus Response
In Guatemala coronavirus has dominated headlines. Almost everything we see on social media networks is related to the coronavirus. This over-information of the virus and its effect on the world is causing a lot of anxiety about the future.
However, it’s important to remember that this is not the only crisis that humanity is experiencing. In Guatemala, extreme poverty and the migration crisis have our brothers tied hand and foot. While authorities have sent populations into quarantine to prevent further contagion, questions remain:
How does someone cope in quarantine, when they need to go out to work to feed their family?
How does someone take care of themselves when they have to leave their country, due to poverty or war?
“The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free.” – Luke 4:18
In addition, the rate of children with malnutrition in Guatemala and Central America continues to be alarming. In fact, Guatemala has the sixth-highest rate of chronic malnutrition in the world at 47 percent. The number of people who go out of their communities, cities, and countries to look for better opportunities, blows our minds.
For this reason, FH donated 500 hygiene kits to “Casa del Migrante” (Migrant’s House) in response to the Central American migration crisis. Located in the department of San Marcos, Casa del Migrante has cared for approximately 4,000 people who have left their homes looking for better opportunities, or people who are returning to their home country.
In the midst of crisis, it fills us with hope to see sons and daughters of God responding to His call to bring good news to the poor and to release those who are oppressed by poverty, corrupt systems, disease, or war.
Our staff continues to make efforts to let communities know that we are praying, managing different types of aid, and connecting with different levels of government to benefit the community. In addition, volunteers and donors are giving their time and resources to help those most in need.
May this be a time of flourishing in confidence in our Father. May it be a time to serve others, giving ourselves to the call God has given to each of us. Let us witness to others of His love that fills our hearts like a powerful light.
Please continue to pray for the families we serve around the world, including in Guatemala. If you’d like to get involved in the global response to this new coronavirus, learn more about FH’s response here. You can also respond to God’s call on your heart, and sponsor a little girl or little boy from Guatemala today.
More articles you may be interested in:
As heaven-bound migrants, what’s our responsibility to the world?
Once Living in Fear: Guatemalan Mother Leader Transforms Community
4 Ways to Pray in Times of Uncertainty