Engadi Discussed in TEDx Talk

In recent weeks, Engadi Ministries had the privilege of being discussed during the TEDxUGA conference in Athens, GA. During Phillip and Eileen Blume’s talk titled, “Trading Selfies for Selflessness,” the ministry was featured as an example of how everyone can use their own creativity to help others.

TEDx talks are prestigious events held around the world. The events promote open communication of “ideas worth sharing,” to help communities, movements, and individuals create conversations that will further their visions. During the recent TEDxUGA conference in Athens, GA, one of Engadi’s board members, and long-time supporters of Engadi’s vision, Phillip Blume and his wife, Eileen, of Blume Photography, had the opportunity to speak openly about how they have chosen to use their creativity to make a difference in the world. We encourage you to check it out, and explore ways that you can use your OWN creativity to do what God is calling you to do!

“Phillip and Eileen Blume are award-winning photographers and socially conscious creatives who believe in the power of visual artists to change the world. They work with wedding couples worldwide and are the founders of ComeUNITY Workshops for photographers . They also invest in personal projects, such as their 2011 documentary film Lost Boys of Paradise, which screened nationwide to benefit children in third-world slums. As educators, the Blumes have been seen on CreativeLIVE and speak at many top industry events about the art and business of photography. Phillip is a contributor to Shutter Magazine (now available at all Barnes & Noble locations), and the pair live with their children in rural Georgia.”

Monday Discipleship Groups in Paraíso

Manuel leading Monday morning's Bible study in the Engadi Transformation Center in Paraíso

Manuel leading Monday morning’s Bible study in the Engadi Transformation Center in Paraíso

Every Monday in Paraíso, Manuel, Engadi’s Community Outreach Coordinator, leads two Bible Studies for the young men in the Derek Program. The studies offer the boys a time of Biblical teaching and Spiritual growth, as well as a time to bond and build #brotherhood between them. Since the study began in September, the boys have come to love their time together learning Biblical lessons and how they can apply them to their individual lives. 10-year-old Canche, one of the boys in the Derek Program looks forward to his small group each week, and especially loves learning new lessons from the Bible. Also, 9-year-old Anthony’s favorite part of his small group is learning new Biblical stories, his favorite so far being Noah’s Ark.

While it is wonderful to see each boy helping out in his community and focusing on his education while in the Derek Program, Engadi also focuses heavily on creating a foundation in Christ in order to give each boy a strong base from which he can continue developing in every other aspect. We are thankful for this opportunity to work closely with each of these bright young men and watch them learn and grow in their personal walks with God through this intimate discipleship group.

Weekly Discipleship classes in the Engadi Transformation Center Weekly Discipleship classes in the Engadi Transformation Center

Evidence of Hope- #2

Recently, David, Manuel, and James met with Leonso, a close friend of Engadi’s and a supporter of the change within Paraíso. During the meeting, Leonso took time to thank Engadi for their involvement in the community, and went on to report that this soccer season, there are 50% more teams enrolled in the league he directs in Paraíso. He attributes this change to the overall drop in violent crime in the area, and has #hope for even more involvement in community recreation in the future!


Long time friend of Engadi, and supporter of change in Paraíso, Leonso.

Long time friend of Engadi, and supporter of change in Paraíso, Leonso.

The Value of Short-Term Mission Teams

In ministry, there is a constant struggle between raising funds and using volunteers. Well-intentioned individuals fly down for a week to pour their heart into a ministry they barely kninternshipsow. Tens of thousands of dollars are spent on airfare, lodging, and local transportation. Many times, it is little more than poverty tourism. I’m regularly asked if it wouldn’t be more beneficial for people to just send the funds they would spend coming so I could hire local help. The simple answer is, “Yes,” but the reality is most people wouldn’t give the money, if we are honest. Short-term teams rush in and rush out of our lives as career missionaries, many times never looking back or never being truly impacted themselves. However, there are moments of tremendous blessing.


8949821269_2a807b0055_oThe best way to express what short-term teams do is by sharing a story. Engadi Ministries works in one of the most
dangerous slums in Guatemala. In 2006 we decided to build a soccer facility on a local sandlot. It wasn’t anything real fancy, just some stadium seating along a mud slope up one side of the field. A team from Anderson University was here laying concrete blocks and painting Bible verses on a wall at one end of field. A guy that had had a beer or twelve wandered up and started eyeing the young ladies as they painted the verses. I approached him and said, “Hi.” He replied, “Why?” It caught me off guard, because I wasn’t expecting that response. Again I said, “Hi”. He again said, “Why?”, but this time gestured toward the team working on the stadium. “Why are they here?” I briefly explained how they had raised their funds to come down paying for their airfare, lodging, meals, etc. all because of the Love Christ had placed in their heart for Guatemala. Jorge accepted the Lord that day and asked me to go pray for his house. He said, “The shadows don’t let me sleep.” I invited AU’s Director of Campus Ministry, Greg Allgood, to go help me cast out demons. Something neither of us had ever done. Two days later I was supervising the work and this guy walked up to me and sad, “Hi.” I greeted him politely and went on with what I as doing. He just stood there staring at me with a goofy grin on his face. I said, “Can I help you?” “It’s me,” he replied, “Jorge.” God had changed him to the point that, in two days, I couldn’t recognize him. Because a team came to Guatemala to build a soccer stadium one man’s life was touched by God. Jorge led his family to Christ. They brought 4 other families to Church and in the end an entire section of the neighborhood was impacted. The short-term team was oblivious to most of this.


The debate over going or just sending money will go on forever. There is a need for both. My good friend, Preston Hester, was a faithful supporter of all our work since 1999 until he went on to be with the Lord. He, however, never came to Guatemala to see what we were doing. I asked him to p9395770764_79733ec926_olease come to the dedication of the soccer stadium. Preston simply said, “I know you and trust you. I would rather give you what I would spend going than go.” In his case, he did. I also think about Dr Mike Gilbreath, a Veterinarian, that came on a short-term team. At the end of the week Mike said to me, “I’m not ever coming back.” I would rather send you the funds.” He, too, kept his word and became one of our strongest supporters. Ellie and James Carr came on a short-term trip as college students and years later have returned with their daughter to help out for the long haul. Even people like Jared Vaughn that haven’t been back to Guatemala in a long time, but their time here helped inspire him to go as a career missionary to Asia.


Guatemala 001 - Version 2People need to see the need. A friend of mine always says, “How can your heart weep for that which your eyes have not seen?” There must be a measure of coming and doing, but it needs to be balanced, purposeful, and done right. Short-term teams come to work alongside those on the field permanently, not to give them more work. Large groups can advance a particular labor intensive job quickly. Simply, the team’s presence lets the locals know someone cares. Teachers come and train people with new skills and talents. Medical teams come to provide a service many couldn’t afford. Finally, they encourage those of us here on the field long-term.


We look forward to seeing you on a short-term team soon. As I always pray, “May your eyes, your ears and your heart be open to sense what God is telling YOU to do.”Screen Shot 2014-09-22 at 1.52.46 PM

Laboring Together for the Poor,

Nathan Hardeman
Executive Director & Founder
Engadi Ministries, Intl.


Evidences of Brotherhood- #1

In the months since acquiring and renovating the Engadi Transformation Center in Paraíso, Engadi has seen a strong #brotherhood form between the boys within the Derek Program. The boys can often be found in the ETC during their downtime on their own accord, whether they be cleaning the building, browsing through Engadi’s collection of children books, or just enjoying a snack in the refreshing shade with their buddies.

Engadi is thrilled to see the ETC becoming a refuge for these young men, but even more than that, we are inspired that these boys are forming a brotherhood outside of the gang influences the so often fill Paraíso.


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Watkinsville Finishes Workweek

Yesterday, the Watkinsville high school team finished up their workweek in Paraíso. The team of one nine individuals finished all of the major playground structures, and neighbors and local residents are thrilled! You can sense the renewed feeling of #hope within the neighborhood almost instantly. The team did awesome work on the playground, and as you can see in the photos, they were constantly joined by local children who couldn’t wait to play on the playground. We encourage you to take a moment and check out their work in the photos above!

Today the team will spend their free day hiking an active volcano here in Guatemala before heading back to the States tomorrow. Thank you, Watkinsville students, for spending your spring break bringing glory to the Father through your service!


Evidence of Hope- #1

Each day this week, as the team of students from Watkinsville FBC arrived to work on Paraíso’s first community playground, they experienced evidences of #hope within the community located in Guatemala City’s northern slums. Upon arriving to the central playground, the team encountered mothers with their children playing together on the unfinished structures. Mothers who no longer felt it necessary to stay indoors for their children’s safety. Mothers who deemed this playground a GOOD and SAFE place for their children to play. Mothers who see this playground as a beacon of #hope, a change for the better, within their community.


This hope, through Christ’s love, is what Engadi is all about.


Watkinsville’s Workweek in Paraíso

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The team of high school students from Watkinsville FBC have been hard at work this week in Paraíso continuing progress on a playground for local children.  The play area is the first of it’s kind in the community and is strategically located only 1-2 blocks from four nearby elementary schools. Several families in the area have expressed their gratitude, excitement, and #hope at the idea of their children having a place to play at such a central area in their community, and local children have formed a #brotherhood working with teams from the States to help construct the area. Watkinsville has done a great job at continuing the plans for the playground, and we can’t wait to update you with their finished progress at the end of the week!


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Watkinsville Family Fun Day in Paraíso

Yesterday marked yet another day of bringing #hope and #brotherhood to Paraíso through hosting local families at an open neighborhood community space to bond through fun and games. The team of high school students from Watkinsville FBC spent the afternoon yesterday playing games and drawing with local children and their parents. Engadi was able to use the event to evangelize to those in attendance through a message given through our Director of Discipleship, David Medina. In addition, opportunities were created to hand out New Testament Bibles to many of the families in attendance. We are thankful for Watkinsville’s partnership yesterday to help Engadi continue spreading the Gospel and bringing #hope and #brotherhood to Paraíso.

The team of high school students will spend the rest of this week continuing work in Paraíso on the playground mad of recycled and repurposed tires that Engadi began last month. Check back to see photos of their progress throughout the week!


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201604 Watkinsville

Derek Group Takes Outing for Ice Cream

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This week, boys within the Derek Program who succeeded in having satisfactory attendance in both community service and their weekly discipleship group were treated to a trip out of Paraíso for ice cream with Engadi staff members- David, James, and Manuel. Over the past several months, the #brotherhood of young men has formed a tighter bond from within, and can regularly be found encouraging each other in attendance and work. During this outing were three boys that had achieved perfect attendance in their discipleship group and in community service for both February and March. Engadi is proud of the strides made by each individual boy within the group, and enjoys watching each grow and develop into Mighty Men of Paraíso.


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