Ivy Creek Baptist Church sent a team of 14 people to Guatemala City Zone 21 and Patzun. Our purpose was to share the gospel of our Lord and Savior Christ Jesus. We partnered with two pastors, Jaime and Jorge Perez Aguilar. They pastor two churches, one in Guatemala City’s zone 21 and the other in Patzun, Chimeltenago. The churches are Mision Elim Bautista, Zone 21, and Elim Bautista Patzun.
Zone 21 is an area of Guatemala City that is known as a red zone. This is a zone which has a high crime rate. The businesses and residents of this zone are harassed by gangs. Young boys and men are encouraged, by fear, to join gangs. In Patzun alcohol abuse is prevalent. Many husbands are absent from the home and spend their wages on alcohol leaving the women to support the family.
The two churches are active in the communities they serve. Pastors Jaime and Jorge have built relationships with the principles of the public schools. The pastors teach Christian morals and ethics. Also, they are able to bring in mission teams to share the gospel with the children. The churches provide Bible studies and support to the communities. Elim Bautista in Zone 21 and Patzun are taking a proactive position to change the culture in both communities.
The Ivy Creek Mission Team spent three and a half days in Zone 21 and two days in Patzun. While in both communities we spent time in the public schools, participated in church services, visited members of the two churches, and taught Bible School. We shared Christ gospel in the public schools in Zone 21 by teaching the children how to make Salvation Bracelets. The children and the teachers are very receptive to the gospel message. Many children accepted Christ as their Lord and Savior. In Patzun we told a Bible Story or one of the team members would share their testimony. Again, God is good, many children accepted Christ. The house visits are more for encouraging and praying for church members. We also provide them with a bag of food. We would hear many stories of alcohol and drug abuse, men leaving for months to spend time with another woman, and health issues. We encouraged and prayed with each family we visited. Bible School was taught in Patzun. We taught around 80 children. We had 4 stations and split the children into 4 groups based on age. We rotated the groups between the stations. Some of these children we spoke to in the schools so we were able to spend additional time sharing the Love of Christ Jesus with them. Mary Oliver taught a Women’s Bible Study during the VBS. We had about between 15 and 20 women come to the study. At the church services Pastor Dave gave a sermon, Stephen Mainer shared his testimony, and in Patzun Mary Oliver encouraged the women.
Short Term Trip, Long Term Partnership
What can Ivy Creek Baptist Church do to support Mison Elim Bautista and Elim Bautista Patzun in the long term and how can our short term mission trips help provide long term solutions for the communities? Our financial support of Mision Elim Bautista is very important. This supplements Mison Elim Bautista and Elim Bautista Patzun church members tithing so the church can provide materials for Bible Studies, upkeep of the churches, rent (Patzun Church is rented), materials for the public schools, etc. Bible study materials, pastoral education, training and support are all needed for the health of the two churches. Future mission trips should continue to focus on the public schools to reinforce what pastors Jaime and Jorge are teaching. We need to look for ways to draw men to the churches. In Patzun the church is only women and children. If men become a part of the church the community has a greater chance of breaking the cycle of absent fathers and alcoholism. By supporting the pastors in their efforts to draw men and make the family units stronger Ivy Creek Baptist can help form a long term solution.