THE town of Chichicastenango lies on the road between our two ministry bases in the old capital city of Antigua and in the mountain village of Chixicol in Guatemala. It is a Mayan cultural centre and has a population of around 70,000. Our staff drive through it every week on their four-hour journeys between our two bases and have often thought that it would be a good place to establish a programme.
A couple of years ago a small group of local Christians contacted us and a house church was started in the town. Work began to identify a suitable building for a church and feeding programme, but nothing suitable could be found. Then, towards the end of last year, a fourteen-acre piece of ground was offered for sale in the village of Chulumal, just outside Chichicastenango. It had previously been an orchard but was now very overgrown and neglected. It was too good an opportunity to miss, and we purchased the site at the beginning of this year. Plans are underway to design and build a community facility that will house a church, feeding programme, medical & dental clinic and children’s activity centre.
Work has already started to clear the site while keeping as many of the fruit trees as we can. These are mainly plum trees and we recently harvested 8 boxes of plums, some of which will be used in our own kitchens and some to share with the local community. A site has been identified to drill a well, which will provide fresh water for our programme, for irrigation and for the surrounding area. Just over £4,000 was raised at a recent Business Dinner in Inverness, Scotland, towards the funding for drilling this well – the Highlands of Scotland supporting the High Lands of Guatemala – Chulumal sits at a height of around 6,400 feet.
Construction of a perimeter fence is well underway and we hope to be able to begin construction of the multi-purpose building by the end of this year. The local people are very excited at the prospect of having a centre in their village and are already keen to register for the new programme!
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