For the last several months, our staff members Kellie and Michelle have joined in a mom's ministry hosted by our friends Emma and Renzo de Lopez. The ministry is an opportunity for the women to come together, have fun, and learn about the Lord.
Emma says, "The women´s ministry is growing. Some of the moms come from far away with their children just to be here with us. We are beginning to see a great spiritual change in their lives and they are growing in their faith.
Renzo and I began to notice that there is a great need for stoves in many of the homes. The families are suffering physically from the smoke from the fires they use to cook on. So we began to pray and ask God to provide stoves for them. A couple of weeks ago, I received an email from our friend saying that they would like to bless ten families with new stoves.
We installed the stoves and we have witnessed the change this blessing has brought to their lives. Moms now are able to cook without crying from the smoke and their lungs are not suffering anymore."
On the day of the stove installations, our staff member Angela had an encounter that completely changed her perspective on the impact of these stoves.
I had heard my housemates talk about how awesome these stoves were, but I wasn't so sure. Could a stove really improve someone's life?
The day of the stove installations arrived. Kelsey and I met Bob Kornegay, our contact who supplied the stove materials. We travelled together to Santa Maria de Jesus, a nearby village, to begin our day of ministry.
Our group gathered together and prayed before splitting up into two groups. Each group would install five stoves. Friends and family from the community gathered to watch the event unfold. After each stove installation, we had the opportunity to pray for the family.
At the second house, a girl stood by to watch. Her name was Anna, and she was about 12 years old. Anna lives in the community, and her family received a stove from Bob about a year ago. Ever since, she has been helping Bob connect with different people who need stoves.
We continued to talk, and she shared about her life. After some time, she looked at me and whispered, "Would you come to my house?"
When we got to her house, she took me straight to the kitchen and showed me her stove. She told me about how Bob had come a year ago and installed a stove for her family. She told me what a blessing it had been, and how it had changed her family. Then, she turned to a pot of beans and put a spoon inside to give me a taste. She was so proud of the stove, and kept thanking the Lord for providing it for her family.
This encounter with Anna touched me. Before that moment, I wondered how much of an effect these stoves could actually have. After meeting Anna, I saw the impact myself.
These stoves meet a great physical need. Most women in Guatemala cook over an open fire all day. As smoke fills the small kitchen, the woman and her children breathe the smoke in. There is also a risk of a child getting burnt.
The stoves we installed include a pipe for ventilation. They also only have two places that are hot to the touch: the cooking surface and the ventilation pipe. A wire net covers the ventilation pipe to keep children from touching it.
More than the physical gift of a stove, though, there is a beautiful opportunity to share with people how loved they are by the Father. With every family, we are able to pray with them and hear their story. We are able to share with them that the stove isn't from us, but its from God. He is the one who provides for them.
We have chosen to install stoves for people we are in relationship with already, from our gardener's family to the moms we spent time with every week in Emma's group. The Lord has placed people in our lives who need this, and has allowed us to be able to meet this need.
We are so thankful that God has given us the resources to provide stoves for these families. We are continuing to provide stoves for the women in Emma's group, as well as other families we meet.
Please keep these families in your prayers. Pray that God would continue to supply the finances to fund this ministry. And, ask the Lord if you are supposed to be a part of this ministry.
Please email us if you want more information on how to get involved.