New Denver Church is not only concerned with needs in our own local community; we believe that we have the opportunity and responsibility to engage the needs of the world. When we share God’s love in both word and deed with those around the world, something special happens. We leverage the incredible time and resources we have to address legitimate physical, economic, and spiritual needs. And this challenges us to step out of our comfort zones, use our gifts and talents, and learn new things about God.
With that in mind, New Denver Church has chosen to focus on one particular area of the world for now—the Mayan highlands of Guatemala. Our goal is to build a long-term partnership with a church in that area and bless them however we can, as they in turn bless us. Currently NDC is involved in three key ways in Guatemala:
“Why did you choose Guatemala?”
Great question. For starters, we should say that many people involved in New Denver Church (staff included) support organizations, missionaries, and causes in other parts of the world. And we encourage that. But we also believe that our collective efforts will be more effective and valuable if we focus on one particular area and vision. The Mayan highlands of Guatemala felt like a great place to start for several reasons:
1. One of NDC’s pastors has two children adopted from Guatemala, a heart for the people, and a lot of prior experience in the country–this means we don’t “start from scratch.”
2. We have a relationship with an organization in Denver–Healing Waters International–who does a lot of work with clean water in Guatemala. They helped us identify some important needs and possible partners to work with.
3. Guatemala is geographically close, so the time and cost of travel there is very low compared to almost anywhere else.
4. The physical needs are great: 80% of all children there living in poverty or extreme poverty; comparable only to Haiti in the Western Hemisphere.
5. There are some indigenous Christian churches already there with which we can partner–we believe partnership is crucial to any global efforts.
6. The people of Guatemala mostly speak Spanish, which is the easiest foreign language for most Americans and prominent among the large Hispanic population of Denver.
7. There is an openness to Americans working there.
After a lot of prayer and three exploratory trips, in early 2011 we committed to beginning and nurturing a long-term relationship with one church–Vida Real Evangelica Iglesia–in the small village of San Pablo La Laguna on the shores of Lake Atitlan. In the summer of 2011, we sent our first partnership trip team to work in San Pablo. In the coming years, we will be working with the church there to help them meet both physical and spiritual needs in their community. And just as importantly, we anticipate learning a lot from them about following Jesus and living out his mission for our lives in our own cultural context.
“So, how can I get involved?”
1. Begin investing financially. Here are a few options.
- Consider giving a designated gift to New Denver Church for Guatemala. Your donation will help send partnership trip teams to San Pablo two or three times a year or go directly to work we are helping the church with in San Pablo. Go to our giving page for instructions.
- Consider sponsoring a child for $200/year in the school that we support in San Pablo La Laguna. Your sponsorship will provide education and help with meals for local Mayan child that you could actually meet on a partnership trip with NDC! For more information about how to do this, contact Margie Termeer at email@example.com.
- Consider making a micro-financing loan of $100 to a business entrepreneur in Guatemala through kiva.org. Kiva is the largest micro-lending broker in the world and their mission is to connect people through lending for the sake of alleviating poverty. When you profiles on the site, choose someone to lend to, and then make a loan, you are helping a real person make great strides towards economic independence and improve life for themselves, their family, and their community. This kind of assistance in places like Guatemala provides real long-term solutions to the systemic problems of poverty.
2. Learn about the Mayan highlands of Guatemala and pray for our partnerships there.
- Wikipedia entry on Guatemala.
- Unicef report on needs in Guatemala.
- Wikipedia entry on the Lake Atitlan region of Guatemala.
- One non-profit organization’s description of and work in San Pablo La Laguna.
- Trip report from August 2010 when a team from NDC traveled to Guatemala to assess possible partners.
3. Consider going on a short-term partnership trip to Guatemala in 2014.
- We anticipate taking groups of 6-10 people each two or three times a year to Guatemala.
- There is no substitute for physically participating in one of our partnership trips. Start making plans now!
- For more details, go to our Guatemala Partnership Trips page.