Enter Paradise | story No.2 “Tony”

His name is Ántoni. But you can call him “Tony.”

He was supposed to be one of the lucky ones. Unlike the overwhelming majority in Paradise’s virtually fatherless culture, Tony and his four siblings had a father who cared for them. Then he was killed. One fateful night four years ago, a drunk driver careened into him, and he was gone. Tony’s mother, Iris, was left to raise her children by herself. It was a dark, hopeless time.

Today, the grief is still palpable as Iris speaks and tears run down her face. But there is hope. She and her children live in a safer, cinderblock home built by volunteers. With Engadi’s support, Tony and his siblings (three sisters and a young brother) will be able to continue their education. Tony has excelled in school. And despite his family’s inability to afford books and supplies required for attendance, Engadi has seen him through to know — he is preparing to graduate and plans to attend university, where he will pursue a business degree.

Look into his eyes now, and you’ll see hope. Like so many of the boys in Zone 18 “Paradise,” there is huge potential here. In spite of giant obstacles and traumas, boys here are motivated and want to get ahead. Engadi is passionate about keeping that hope alive in boys’ hearts, to make the “impossible” a reality for them in a place where joining a gang and dying by age 24 is the norm. If the boys in this community can change, the impact on families and the entire community will be immeasurable!

The new Engadi Transformation Center (seen under construction in this video) is now a lighthouse in Paradise. Here 32 boys, including Tony, meet in safety to learn ethics and study the Bible, gain extra tutoring in their studies, and will gain access to the world outside the slum via a computer lab (coming soon as support is raised). It also serves as “headquarters” for the Derek Group’s community projects, through which the boys (with a huge amount of pride!) rebuild, paint, clean, and improve their own community in many ways!

Tony’s final year of high school and preparation for college will cost approximately $3,000. If you’d like to learn more about how to sponsor Tony, another boy, or upcoming projects including the Engadi Transformation Center computer lab, please contact Engadi at hello@engadiministries.org, or donate as you’re able right now.

Tony is a leader among his peers. We’re excited to introduce you soon to another boy (now a grown man and product of Engadi’s long-term work in Paradise) whose changed life is impacting Paradise remarkably. We will also be taking you behind the scenes into the public schools, where Engadi is strategically partnering to transform teachers’  and students’ lives from the inside out.

Please pray for Engadi’s school partnerships, and for the 32 boys now part of Engadi’s “Derek” group, where they experience hope and brotherhood.

The neediest boys in the Derek program are also candidates to enter the Benaiah House — Engadi’s boys home located in the hills outside Guatemala City, where they can enjoy a safe family life (under the care of house parents), guidance and counseling for traumas, and education catered to their special needs.

Thank you for supporting Engadi. Please watch for (and share!) more of these stories, as we introduce you to more real boys of Paradise soon…

#enterparadise
#hopeandbrotherhood 

screen-shot-2016-12-09-at-12-37-58-pm

 

**How can I share this story for the most impact possible? We’re answering that crucial question in our short video clip here. Watch now!…

tony

Enter Paradise | story No.1: “Juanes”

He goes by “Juanes.”

He’s now 15 years old, but until today he has never been to school. It’s a common story. For one thing, 72 percent of the slum’s population has no access to education. (Police don’t even enter here after dark. In this “fatherless” culture, gangs appear to many boys as their only “family” — their only viable path to “survival.” The average recruit joins a gang at 13 years old. From there, his life expectancy nosedives to just 24 years. Murders. Drugs. Disease.

Juanes never met his father. The man — one of several involved in his mother’s life — died from cirrhosis of the liver in this community plagued by sickness.

There is one school within reach of the tin shack where Juanes lives — where he lives packed in alongside his mother, seven brothers and sisters, and several young nephews. Two of Juanes’ younger sisters attend the school. However, Juanes never received a birth certificate; so he was never allowed to register. As far as the system was concerned, it’s as if he didn’t exist.

You would have loved seeing Juanes’ face light up when Nathan Hardeman, Engadi’s co-founder and director, finally located an official form that confirmed Juanes’ birth. Just one more step toward hope for his brighter future!

Please pray for the 32 boys now part of Engadi’s “Derek” group, where they experience hope and brotherhood going together in weekly Bible studies, “gang up” to improve their community through ongoing service projects, and benefit from academic guidance in the new Engadi Transformation Center. (More about this exciting development to come!)

The neediest boys in the Derek program are also candidates to enter the Benaiah House — Engadi’s boys home located in the hills outside Guatemala City, where they can enjoy a safe family life (under the care of house parents), guidance and counseling for traumas, and education catered to their special needs. Juanes just returned from a weekend retreat at Benaiah House, a transitional experience designed to help some boys adapt to the possibility of a new life here.

Thank you for supporting Engadi. Please watch for (and share!) more of these stories, as we introduce you to more real boys of Paradise soon…

#enterparadise
#hopeandbrotherhood 

screen-shot-2016-12-09-at-12-37-58-pm

 

**How can I share this story for the most impact possible? We’re answering that crucial question in our short video clip here. Watch it now…

juanes

Enter Paradise | a story series (Intro)

Thank you for your commitment to “Enter Paradise” and help us share the stories of these amazing young men! More to come SOON…

Click the VIDEO BELOW to watch an introduction.

If you would like to receive the Enter Paradise story series, too, make sure to sign up for the Engadi Newsletter (right column of this page). Then watch your inbox. Thank you!

English Classes Offered to Girls in Paraíso

IMG_3677

Engadi’s English classes have continued to grow and deepen in Paraíso this summer. We now have enough of the boys within the Derek Program attending to offer classes all day on both Tuesdays and Thursdays at the Engadi Transformation Center. Seeing the tremendous response from these classes offered to the boys in Paraíso, Engadi felt burdened still to do more. In response, Engadi extended the offer of English classes to not only the boys being mentored in the Derek Program, but also to their sisters. Last week, Engadi held it’s first “girls only” class first thing in the morning before kicking off classes with the boys.

IMG_3673

Several adolescent girls attended the classes taught by one of Engadi’s summer volunteers, Brenda. The girls learned basic English commands, some sight words, and also had time to peruse Engadi’s library of donated books. Through reaching out to the girls as well as boys living in Paraíso, Engadi hopes to continue bringing #hope and #brotherhood (or should we say #sisterhood for today?) to Paraíso!

#engadi

IMG_3687 IMG_3682

Summer Volunteers 2016

This Summer, we have been blessed with the help of three volunteers to partner with us throughout the months of June and July. We are thank fun for the abilities and talents that each of them brings to share with us this Summer, and want to introduce each one.

IMG_4535

Brenda is from South Carolina and will be working with Engadi throughout July. She will be using her teaching expertise to focus on leading English classes for the boys in the Derek Program, organizing English classes in local elementary schools, and leading workshops for local teachers to better equip them in the classroom. We are thankful for her dedication to #engadi and the skills and wisdom she brings to share with us!

IMG_4428

Our second volunteer joining us for the summer is Brooklyn. Brooklyn is also from South Carolina and will be working with us into the month of August. She will be designing the decor of the Benaiah Home, continuing the portrayal of Engadi’s vision in our team house and office, as well as helping host our two summer teams from the States in July. We are grateful for Brooklyn’s continued dedication to bringing #hope and #brotherhood to the boys of Paraíso this summer.

IMG_4533

Our third volunteer that will be joining us for the summer is Connor. From Oklahoma, Connor is majoring in Construction Management, and will be working in Guatemala with Engadi Ministries until the beginning of August. Connor is focusing on finishing construction of the Benaiah Home furnishings, programming software for the ministry, and helping host the two teams that will be joining us this summer.

We are thankful for the devotion of each of these volunteers to the vision of Engadi Ministries, and ask your prayers over them for the rest of the time that they are here serving with us. Pray that God will protect each of them, and that each will be able to be used in a mighty way for His Kingdom in spite of cultural and language barriers.

IMG_3662

If you would like more information on how you could intern with Engadi, check ways you can GET INVOLVED in the main menu!

Derek Retreat in Benaiah Home

This week, Engadi hosted it’s first ever retreat for boys in the Derek Program. Some of the oldest and most active boys in the program were invited to Engadi’s Benaiah Home for a three-day retreat. Six boys were able to attend the event and arrived to the house Tuesday afternoon. The retreat served several purposes, and much was accomplished during the time with the boys.

#brotherhood

#brotherhood

During the days, the young men had devotional and discipleship time together where Engadi’s Director of Discipleship, David Medina had prepared a series of messages with them during the time they were here. With a one-to-one ratio of boys to Engadi staff and volunteers, we were able to be attentive to the needs and concerns of each boy and spend precious time discipling each one.

Prayer time in the Benaiah Home

Prayer time in the Benaiah Home

 

Volunteer, Brenda Stephens teaching the young men how to give a three-point speech.

Volunteer, Brenda Stephens teaching the young men how to give a three-point speech.

Boys practiced giving three-point speeches to their peers

Boys practiced giving three-point speeches to their peers

Volunteer, Brenda Stephens also had a sequence of classes planned for the retreat with material covering, honoring God though career choices, how to choose a career, tips on giving presentations and doing job interviews, and general restaurant etiquette. The boys were attentive through each of the classes and at the end of the week were able to give presentations to their peers on their career of choice and how they planned on reaching their goal. We are very proud of the efforts they put forth through each of the classes and seeing #hope awakened in each boy.

Playing tug-of-war on the bad of the Benaiah House

Playing tug-of-war on the yard of the Benaiah House

Connor and Brooklyn handing out materials to begin a recreational activity

Connor and Brooklyn handing out materials to begin a recreational activity

Volunteers, Connor and Brooklyn headed up recreational activities throughout each day to give the boys a time to get energy out, build #brotherhood, and just be boys. The boys played a variety of games including tug-of-war, scavenger hunts, and creating contraptions for a two-story egg drop.

 

 

 

At nights, boys gathered together to watch movies in the Benaiah Home in including both Courageous and God’s Not Dead, both which almost every boy had never seen before. By the end of the two days, to say that the boys were worn out would be an understatement. Engadi is grateful for the opportunity and resources to host an event like this and deeply impact the lives of some of the boys that we have worked with the longest in Paraíso.

Settling in for the night to watch "God's Not Dead"

Settling in for the night to watch “God’s Not Dead”

#engadi

IMG_7423

The Derek Boys with Engadi Staff and Volunteers

Derek Group Outing to Scaled Relief Map

This week, the highest performing boys within Engadi’s Derek Group took a special outing to one of Guatemala City’s educational attractions- a scaled relief map of nations Guatemala and Belize. The map, which was created by explorer Francisco Vela at the beginning of the 20th century, is a 3D portrayal of both countries with mountains, volcanoes, cities, and rivers all labeled. It was a great way of the boys, who rarely have the opportunity to leave Guatemala City, to learn more about their nation and realize how much more there is to Guatemala than what they might be aware.

After viewing the map, the boys went to a nearby park to share a snack and just be kids! The #brotherhood spent time throwing a frisbee, playing on the playground, and of course, striking up a pickup soccer game. The boys also spent meaningful one-on-one time with the Engadi staff and interns. We are proud of each of these boys, and the commitment they have put into their discipleship groups, community service, and the Derek Group as a whole.

#engadi

Evidences of Hope- #3

IMG_6561

Engadi has recently initiated English classes as another way to bring #hope to Paraíso. While learning a second language may be a leisure pursuit for some, to the boys in Paraíso it could lead to new job opportunities, even some that they otherwise would have been disqualified from due to the neighborhood in which they were raised. In fact, in some careers in Guatemala, having a basic knowledge of the English language could almost double an employee’s pay.

13396715_10153748833963230_2069015770_o

We have witnessed the renewed #hope and confidence these classes give the boys within the Derek Program as they strive to reach perfection in their class grades- dancing to every perfect score they get and being dissatisfied with any score below. These opportunities will allow the Derek Boys to be able to pursue their dreams, giving them even more possible breakthroughs to become Godly leaders to their families, community, nation, and church.

#engadi

Evidences of Brotherhood- #3

Through the English classes that were initiated in Paraíso last week, Engadi has been able to create an even stronger #brotherhood within the boys in the Derek Program. This #brotherhood can be seen especially between Engadi staff members and the boys during their lessons. While working on the computers, boys have a mentor with them to guide and answer questions throughout the lessons. This has strengthened the bond between the boys and their mentors, and boys can often be heard saying, “Don’t leave me,” or “I want you to sit right here while I work.” This has provided Engadi an even greater opportunity to teach, disciple, and encourage the boys and focus on their individual needs. In addition, many of the boys can be heard encouraging each other, comparing scores of their recent work, and practicing their English together. We are excited to see #brotherhood growing within the Derek Program, and are continuing to create restoration and legacy in Paraíso through providing #hope and #brotherhood to the community.

IMG_4310

Engadi Initiates English Classes in Paraíso

This week, Engadi piloted new typing and English classes for the boys in the Derek Program. Young men who had a desire to improve their skills in either of these areas were invited to classes led by Engadi staff members in the Engadi Transformation Center. Most of these boys do not have regular access to computers, and having even weekly classes on computers will help them gain skills that will be valuable when they begin seeking employment in the future. In addition, having knowledge of the English language can possibly augment, if not double, the salary that they are qualified to earn in many job markets in Guatemala.

More importantly, the classes give boys a time of one-on-one mentorship, encouragement, and discipleship with Engadi staff. The boys’ faces couldn’t hide their excitement and contentment to have a focused time of attention and learning with an adult they trusted.

Engadi is excited to expand the scope of the Derek Program that we are able to extend to boys in Paraíso who are motivated to succeed in spite of their current situation. These classes are scheduled to continue twice a week throughout the summer months for boys who are interested. Check back periodically for updates and photos of the classes throughout the summer!

#engadi #hope #brotherhood