Health Ministry in Guatemala has been one of the priorities of our presbytery’s work with Sur Occidente and Suchitepéquez since the partnership was established in the mid 1990’s. Even in the earliest discussions, the resources in western North Carolina, and the needs in Guatemala were evident. During an initial visit to Guatemala by our health ministry team in 1996, a “Basic Principles” document was composed, which has guided our work together since that time.
Our work together in health ministry has had several components:
We have trained several members of most of the churches in our partner presbyteries as community health promoters. These promoters can communicate basic health information to others in their communities, and act as “agents of change.”
A children’s nutrition program has provided children in many communities a healthy snack on a weekly basis within the church environment, allowing simultaneous Christian Education activities and nutrition education for parents.
A variety of projects are available as needed in the Guatemalan communities to support health – vegetable and medicinal herb gardens, composting latrines, fuel-efficient stoves, and family-sized water filters.
Presently, a health committee in Guatemala is surveying communities to assess the present status of health knowledge, and the local health needs. The outcome of this survey will guide us as we look at reconfiguring the administrative structure of the project and determine the needs for training in health leadership.
Presbyterians in western North Carolina can participate in Health Ministry in Guatemala in several ways. Funding for this project comes primarily through the 5 Cents a Meal program, and is supplemented by theAlternative Christmas Giving project of the presbytery. If your church has a sister congregation in Guatemala, your awareness and encouragement of health ministry in that community is important. If your church does not have a sister church, you might consider becoming a church partner in Health Ministry. In addition to the above, of course, your prayers for our partners, and for our work together in health ministry, are appreciated.