Serving the Lord in Guatemala

May, 2023

Dear Prayer Partners in Christ,

            We give thanks to our LORD JESUS, for through His love and grace we know the truth of His Word every moment we meditate on it, and confess that our salvation is an absolute blessing only from Him alone.

“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:

 Not of works, lest any man should boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9

Zion Middle School

            After being commissioned to Guatemala in 2008, we started our ministry at Zion Middle School in 2009. We participated in an educational development program as a project to support the development of the whole region of Patzicia by a Korean NGO (Non-government Organization), and were involved in the overall operation of starting the school. Excluding the financial part, we worked from the beginning with the hiring of Christian teachers and setting up Zion Middle School. Our involvement allowed Bible reading and learning programs to be added to the curriculum.

            The school is in the basement of a building owned by City Hall and is rented free of charge. However, after the mayoral elections (held every five years), there are always some problems that need to be resolved. When a new mayor is elected, the whole system is rearranged to match that mayor and his demands for various compensations for “free rental”. As a condition for continuing to use the school building, “donations of support” have been requested. It has not been easy to deal with those requests. This year is an election year. When a new mayor is elected this June, it is unclear whether the building will be used or not. Even the NGO is reviewing plans to switch school operations to online classes as we did during Covid 19.

            Now, because of the NGO’s austere fiscal policy, the number of teachers was reduced and the added time for Bible classes and readings disappeared! So because of this we are expanding Saturday English classes to share the Bible with the students. While we were praying for better situations for Bible teaching, we have had opportunities to talk with some teachers who were unhappy about the situation of Zion Middle School in the foreseeable future. After much prayer and discussion with them, the plan is to establish an official Christian school. The process of establishing a Christian school is not easy, and there are many necessary steps to take, such as the legal registration, purchase of a site, teacher and student recruitment, along with material support. But the Christian school system seems to be the best way to freely worship God and learn His Word for teens here in Patzicia. Those who want to embark on this difficult journey have one final goal: to create an environment for the youth in which they can worship and praise God, and study His Word freely and abundantly. Please join us in prayers and support for this vision in belief of the Word in Job:Though thy beginning was small, yet thy latter end should greatly increase (Job 8:7)

            When the details of this project are completed and put into action, we need your active support and earnest prayer. The school enrollment process is complex and is expected to take about a year. All these steps are not carried out by us alone, but with the aid of three local teachers. We have decided to define our duties and responsibilities for each. We are trying to promote it in the form similar to that of Zion Middle School – a cooperative ministry.  Our involvement is crucial to realize the plan in the situation where three teachers are also investing financially. We are currently looking for a school space to rent in order to proceed with a variety of promotional programs to secure students in advance. The budget will be planned and raised when each project is carried out. We want to carry out this project knowing we have nothing, but believing we possess everything. Just as the prophet Elijah prayed earnestly on Mount Carmel, we began to pray earnestly, believing in a future where hymns of worship and the proclaiming the Word fills every corner of Patzicia – even though nothing is visible now. Dear brethren, walk with us in this vision in your prayers. 

            Cindy, a graduate who came to the Saturday English class, could not attend because of her work  on Saturdays (see picture below). She was accepted into college, but had financial problems. However, because of the support of the brethren at the Seapoom Church in Canada, she can now start her college life. Cindy has expressed her gratitude for this with tears, saying that it was an answer to her prayers. We believe that one person’s confession of gratitude for God’s grace becomes a huge wave for praising the Lord. Also sharing the love of the Lord with one person today is by no means small in the future. Please pray for the youth of Patzicia who are looking for hope in the midst of many difficulties at this moment in life. Yet despite the weight that each is carrying now, we believe that these moments of prayer can sustain them in life.

Family News

            Joshua is still looking for a job in Belgium. As a foreigner, getting a work visa in Europe isn’t easy, but he wants to give his best before looking elsewhere. Please pray for him to find a good job and stay in the midst of God’s guidance and protection.

            Finally, Guatemala is heating up with election fever in this coming June. Please pray for everything to go smoothly and safely, and God’s protection for us from all dangers and threats. Dear brethren, I pray for you that God’s delicate consolation will overflow in each one of you in times of need.

                                                                                                            In His endless love,

                                                                                                            Caleb and Debra Kong