And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? -Matthew 6:27
It has been an interesting journey over these last few months in Guatemala. As difficult as some things have been since this virus crisis started, we have had some amazing blessings. God has provided and we are in awe.
When the crisis started, with all the restrictions and curfews and lack of public transportation, the need for food became very dire, so we turned our focus on to food distribution. In January we thought we had enough food to last for a year however by April, the food had dwindled to only enough for a few more weeks. Other missionaries were also turning their focus on to the great needs for food in their areas, appeals were made, and so we shared what we had with several other ministries.
As reported last newsletter , we put out the appeal for funds for another much needed container of food, and the funds came in within 24 hours, praise God for that answer to prayer. That was blessing #1.
The restrictions were tight. Everyone in Guatemala was under a strict curfew, and we were not able to travel outside of the department. As some of the requests for food were in other departments, we were able to obtain a letter by the head of SESAN, which is the arm of the Government that works in food security and malnutrition. In fact it was all very formal. We were invited to their offices in Guatemala City to meet a number of representatives and nutritionists that work there. They then provided us a letter which allows us to travel for the purposes of food distribution, outside of the department and outside of curfew. There are many many road checks, and it has been a breeze to pass through them with this letter. Blessing #2.
The 3rd blessing was with our most recent container. We asked Silvia (the woman who brings in our containers) if she could show this letter to customs to see if it might help release the container quicker. She said “I will try”. When they saw the letter from SESAN they said that we could bring in the container tax free. We had given up on the possibility of trying to bring in our containers tax free as we just couldn’t seem to make the right connections, so we are just so amazed at how God has been working in ways we haven’t even asked for. In future, because of this connection, we will be able to bring all containers in tax free through a Christian organization called Evangelical Alliance. Blessing #4.
Blessing #5 was the offer of free storage for our container in Coban and blessing #6was the moving of a partially filled container in Escuintla, to Coban, for free. That is a 6 hour trip through Guatemala City with a semi. God is so good and may we never take anything for granted.
The container was released on June 8. In port for a total of 25 days. Quickest one yet.
We are returning to Canada on June 16. We leave our ministry in the capable hands of our son in law and daughter, Chris and Leah Rozycki.
We have a new grandson we are anxious to meet. He is 3 months old already and we are anxious to see our other kids and grandkids.
We plan to spend some time at the Gleaners plant in September and are available to speak at Churches or small groups or even individually if you would like to have a visit. We have many exciting new things on the horizon with our ministry and we would love to share them with you.
Many blessings. Denis & Eileen Nogue
P.S. We were saddened to hear of the passing of two good friends, great encouragers, and supporters of our ministry earlier this year. Joan Scheske and Hugo Reutlinger. Although it was sad to get the news of their passing, we know we will see them again. We knew Joan from our many years working with her at the Vernon hospital and Hugo was a faithful volunteer at the North Okanagan Gleaners for many years coming all the way from Salmon Arm with a van full of volunteers twice a week. Both encouraged us greatly and they will be missed.
How quickly things can change. In January we were thinking that we would not need to bring a container in to Guatemala this year. Now, however, due to the current covid-19 crisis, we are seeing a critical need for another container of food to be brought in. The need has become very dire. This last week alone, around 3,000 families have received food via our ministry. We only have food to last another 4 to 6 weeks.
Most people in this country live a day to day existence, so with the shutdown of the public transit many have lost their jobs, in a country that already had a high unemployment rate. Many people are suffering, hungry and desperate.
We have spoken with North Okanagan Valley Gleaners and they have enough food on hand to fill a container.
We have checked with our shipping contact and we could ship leaving Vancouver on May 2 and would arrive in Guatemala on May 26.
We will move ahead with the booking for shipping on faith. Please let us know ASAP if you are able to help with the costs.
Just as a reminder, because of the density of the dehydrated soup mix and that 1 bag makes 100 servings, the cost of shipping a container works out to about .1 cent per serving. It is highly nutritious and has 29% protein. It is definitely worth it.
Isaiah 26.3 You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you.
As the world began to turn upside down a few weeks ago, this verse came to mind and has come to mind often as the news changes on a daily basis. Yet we know, and trust, that whatever happens, God is in control.
In the midst of all, we became grandparents to our 8th grandchild, Jackson Hayes Smith, born to our youngest daughter and son in law, their 4th child. All are healthy and well and we look forward to the day we can meet him.
We've had a few people inquiring about us, so we wanted to send an update. We are currently in Guatemala. We made the decision to stay rather than expose ourselves going through some busy airports to try to get home and we also felt that the need for Gleaners food will likely be in great demand soon. All public transportation has been shut down and many businesses are closed Many people are without work, in a country that already had a high unemployment rate. Many people here do not have transportation and depend on public transportation, and are now unable to get out to get basic supplies. The requests for food have started to come in the last couple of days. We are thankful that we have a good supply of Gleaners food here right now.
Right now in Guatemala there are 38 cases of Covid-19, one death, 10 recoveries. The borders are closed. A curfew is in place from 4 p.m. to 4 a.m and it is being enforced strictly. We have been advised by Sergio that we should stay out of the villages for now. There is a lot of fear around this virus, and because of the lack of education of many of the indigenous, some of them think that the virus was brought in by foreigners.
So for now, we are keeping a low profile. We are providing Gleaners food to those who are requesting it. Sergio has gone into one of the villages we have been working in to check on everyone and bring some food to one particularly needy family. We also visited with another very needy family. The only evidence of food in their home was a small bowl of soaking corn. Covid-19 or not, we will extend ourselves when people are hungry and desperate
We are all well and healthy and are safe and secure. We live a few minutes from the city of Coban on a small acreage. We share our home with Chris and Leah and our three grandchildren. We just take each day as it comes and are praying that the Lord will give us much opportunity to share His love in many practical ways.
Some prayer requests would be for wisdom, for continued safety, and that we are alert to God´s leading in these next days, weeks or months, and that many are drawn to Christ in these difficult days, both here and back home.
Blessings to all. Denis and Eileen Nogue
Jackson Hayes Smith son of Erin & Michael. Sitting on his big sister Emery beside his brother Jonah and sister Nora.
Beautiful had made quilt donated by the Gleaners’s
Widow living in extreme poverty caring for her elderly parents and 3 children (2 shown in picture)
Defend the weak and the fatherless; Uphold the cause of the poor and the oppressed. Psalm 82:3
Several weeks ago, on an invitation to show the Jesus Film in a small village in the Department of Quiche, about 3 and a half hours from Coban, we met Cesar, a 35 year old man who lost both his legs below the knee in a tragic accident in Coban 3 years ago. He had previously, a good job, a wife and a one year old son, when one day while standing in front of a tienda, which is a small convenience store, a car went out of control and pinned him against the cement in front of the tienda. He tells us that incredibly, in that moment, he felt no pain.
He was rushed to hospital, but the Dr.s were unable to save his legs and they both had to be amputated. He spent many weeks in hospital as he developed an infection and the incisions had to be opened and more surgery had to happen. During this time, he said he just wanted to die as he was in such pain and could not see that there was any purpose for his life anymore.
A group of Pastors from Coban heard about him and he said they began to visit him one by one, encourage him and pray for him. It was through these acts of compassion for him that he struggled through what sounded like a horrific time in the hospital.
After being discharged from the hospital, he had used up all of his savings on hospital bills and so he and his family returned to his parents home in this remote village in Quiche.
When we arrived at the village, all we knew was that someone needed a wheelchair and so we brought one along. When we saw Cesar for the first time, he walked out of his house on his knees. What struck me first was the humiliation one must overcome in these situations. I had never really thought about it before, but you could see it in his eyes.
He is a kind and gentle soul, and said that he had been praying for a wheelchair, and gratefully thanked us. We asked him if there had ever been an opportunity for him to have prosthetics and he said he had looked into it, but because of the costs, there was no way he could ever afford them.
When we returned, Denis and I both felt compelled to search out the possibility of prosthetics for this man as there are some ministries who work in this field. We contacted a fellow missionary who highly recommended and gave us the number of a prosthetic specialist in Guatemala City.
We contacted Erick, and although this is his career, he also does work for the cost of the prosthetics for situations like Cesar. He offered to come to Coban and assess him. Cesar and Erick met at our home in Coban where the assessment took place, and then Cesar returned to the city with Erick for 5 days where the prosthetics were built and he had some therapy and training for walking. The look on Cesar´s face when Erick told him that he would return from the city walking was incredible. Erick is also an amputee. He lost his leg in a motorcycle accident 20 years ago, so he is such a good advocate and encourager. When they can see an amputee working in a good career, but with such a generous heart to give back to his own people.
We returned Cesar back to his village last Monday. It was an emotional moment when he got out of the truck and walked into the home of his Mom. His boys 4 and 2 years old, at first were afraid of him. They had never seen their Dad at full height. As we sat in his Mom´s kitchen, one by one friends and neighbours came in to greet him and see his new legs. They had never seen such a thing. We were so blessed to have had a front row seat to this event. If you are able to help towards the cost of Cesar's prosthetics ($2400 USD) tax receiptable donation options can be found at the bottom of this email.
Erick Assessing Cesar at Our Home in Coban
Working on the Prosthetics at Erick's Clinic in Guatemala City
Cesar's First Day Home with His Family
The second story is about the village of Santa Marta. We were invited to this village almost two years ago now, where we showed the film The Hope, in Qéqchí. It was well received and it was decided that they would be a good recipient of a maternity clinic. 125 families in this village and 3 midwives, but the clinic will serve 3 other villages. The rural nurse who visits once per month for each village, will now use the maternity clinic for his visits to all four villages. I have posted a photo of what the rural nurse used before for his visits. The people of the village of Santa Marta have been a real joy to work with.
Recently one of the leaders phoned Sergio, our interpreter and also a Pastor, and said that 5 families in the village want to become Christians. That they would like to be discipled and after this, start a Church. They asked if it could be done outside of their community due to some persecution from some others in the village.
We said if they were willing to come all the way to our home, an hour and a half, we would open our home to them.
Last week hey studied for about 3 and a half hours with Sergio. They have never owned a Bible, and so we gave a gift of a Qéqchí Bible to each family. Sergio said they had lots of questions. It just blessed our hearts to look out on our deck and see 11 people so open and learning and hungry for the Word of God. They will come once per month for Bible Study.
They have received us and fed us many times in their village, and so it was a pleasure to host them and feed them, Canadian style, in our home.
Please pray for these new believers and pray for Sergio as he leads.
Sergio Teaching the First Bible Study
Denis Sharing His Testimony from English to Spanish to Q'eqchi
Bible Study Group from Santa Marta
We had an opportunity to bring Gleaners food and our films to help another CTEN missionary, LynnAnn Murphy, in Huehuetenango, a northern department in Guatemala. We love to go and see other parts of Guatemala. Two very needy communities received the food and were very moved by the film Magdalena. We will be making arrangements for more food to be sent, as it was well received.