The Reverend Dana Craft of the Jurisdiction of the Armed Forces and Chaplaincy and his wife Damaris are currently serving in San Cristobal, Guatemala, Guatemala City (4.5.16)
They have planted 2 Anglican mission churches, Cristo Mi Redentor, zona 3 – Guatemala City and Cristo Mi Redentor, zona 11 – Guatemala City.
Church Plant #1 (February, 2014)
Cristo Mi Redentor, zona 3 – Guatemala City
Christ My Redeemer was planted within the heart of the community, a respite for those who work within the giant chasm that the city uses for waste disposal.
The community consisting of 500+ individual families began in 2009 as squatters took over the land at the entrance to the dumpsite. Last year the Guatemalan government officially recognized them as a community, which allows them to maintain “ownership” of the land and establish more permanent and significant buildings.
The ministry was given a parcel of land (approx. 20 meters x 8 meters) on which to construct the first Anglican Church in Guatemala. The building will have two floors and serve a dual purpose, that of a Chapel and as a Community Center providing classes and daycare for all those dwelling in Nuevo Amanecer. With the help of my wife, who grew up in desperate poverty just a few miles from the dump, the Gospel will be delivered right in the center of their community. We have 38 families who make up membership. Principally they are single mothers who have multiple children with different fathers. Thankfully, these women have truly seen the Light and have tasted the sweetness of the Holy Spirit and now live transformed lives.
The primary needs are simple…we need funds. I have discovered that all the items our members, and residents in general, need are available throughout Guatemala City. In addition, considering the high costs of shipping donations via sea-transit, it is far better to support the local economy and directly purchase our items (food stuffs, clothing, etc.) in country. The only items worth the added expense of shipping are medicines. Antibiotics, anti-inflammatories, aspirin, bandages and anti-parasitic and anti-amoebic meds are of greatest need.
Our secondary needs encompass two items. First, we need warm bodies. We need missionaries and volunteers to help in in the day-to-day operations. Any type of skill is useful. Obviously, Spanish is a plus…but not a must. Secondly, we need sponsors to help with long-term aid and mentoring to invest in someone living within the walls of Nuevo Amanecer.
The goals for the near future involve the construction of the Chapel/Community Center. We plan to break ground on November 1, 2016. We are going to need teachers to help with the various classes we are planning to offer for free to the residents. We are looking to offer a number of courses in various trades, i.e., carpentry, textiles, auto-mechanics, baking and English. These will be in addition to biblical studies, discipleship and theology classes.
Let not the needy, O Lord, be forgotten; Nor the hope of the poor be taken away
Church Plant #2 (February, 2015)- Cristo Mi Redentor, zona 11 – Guatemala City
The second church plant grew out of our home church’s monthly gathering that grew into a weekly service. We currently meet in the banquet hall of a Christian-owned family restaurant in an upscale part of Guatemala City.
The principle reason we serve two separate and distinctly different congregations is security concerns. The Guatemala City dump community is a sub-culture of a sub-culture and, as anyone will tell you, it’s probably the most dangerous place in all the country. Nearly everyone there has some kind of direct link (family or neighbor) to organized gang activities, which are notorious the world over for kidnappings and worse.
The members making up this second church are from the opposite end of the social spectrum. They are highly educated professionals and solidly within the middle class in terms of income and education (in Central American terms). For their security, it’s best that the two groups do not mix too much…for now. They do pray for one another and the second church plant is really helping support those in the dump through donations and volunteer efforts.
We have outgrown the restaurant (we had 40 adults and 19 youths this past Sunday) and we now are seeking a more permanent church home.
Our secondary needs are for musical instruments (any type will do) and classroom support materials, i.e., maker board and markers and microphone/speakers system.
For the future we are looking at opening an Anglican seminary to serve all of Latin America. We already have a partnership with The Gospel Coalition to provide books and other materials along with a great relationship with Beeson Divinity School in Birmingham, AL, which has committed to send us short- to mid-term missionary professors to instruct theology classes.
He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.
Your donations will help to provide critical financial aid for trained clergy to continue spreading the Good News to all areas of Latin America. Please select the National Christian Foundation button and type the church name in the “comments” section.