November 13, 2019 | Guatemala City, Guatemala | Pablo Zosel/IAD News Staff
The Seventh-day Adventist Church and its institutions and organizations throughout Guatemala took the month of October to celebrate hundreds of children in the church and the community, with numerous activities emphasizing how valuable they are in God’s eyes and how deserving of a happy healthy childhood they need. The events coincided with what the country celebrates each Oct. 1 as the Day of the Child with activities that promotes the welfare and rights of children.
The activities were held in the metropolitan area of Guatemala for more than 400 children as part of the church’s Union Radio live program called Arco Iris de los Niños. The program seeks to educate, inform, and foster Christian values, through puppets among other activities.
“We wanted to remind children of their identity and purpose as Adventist children and their privilege of sharing Jesus with their friends and family as faithful disciples of Jesus,” said Vianka de Méndez, children’s and adolescent ministries for the church in the Metropolitan Guatemala Conference. Many children of the community were part of the activities held during the day at the JUBA Adventist School campus, said Méndez. “We have been working as a team since August to prepare and invite all these children and their families for this event.”
According to statistics by the Refugio de la Niñez NGO in Guatemala, there were over 10,462 cases of child abuse, 4,587 cases of sexual violence and 1,804 cases of sexual assault in 2018. The figures are concerning and that is why it is important to hold such programs to benefit children in the church and the community, said Méndez.
In the coming year, the church in the Metropolitan region plans to hold a children’s council that will teach children how to make disciples of Jesus to other children, Méndez said. The activity is part of what the Adventist world church is promoting in its program Total Member Involvement in the preaching of the gospel and Every child as a disciple of Jesus for 2020.
Earlier last month, a team from Union Radio traveled to the jungle region in North Guatemala to benefit dozens of children at the Hogar Campestre Los Pinos, an orphanage facility in Poptún, Petén.
“This is a ray of hope for these children who have suffered profound loss or have been abandoned by their families because of physical or emotional abuse,” said Lloreny Muñoz, a social worker at Hogar Campestre Los Pinos. “This has brought so much happiness to their lives.”
“They were taught to love persons even if they are different, because such differences make us unique and special and we must love and respect one another,” said Muñoz.
It’s activities such as these that help children heal their physical and emotional wounds and prepare them to reintegrate them into the family nucleus, explained Muñoz. “Our objective is to prepare them to be future resilient citizens who can positively grow and develop in any field.”
Hogar Campestre Los Pinos was funded as part of International Children’s Care in 1978 and is designated as part of the system of homes for the protection of children and adolescents in Guatemala. The home has 48 children who are awaiting legal process with the court system.
Union Radio, which is part of the Adventist Communication System in Guatemala, has two stations and nine repeaters covering 70 percent of the country.
Additional activities will take place to benefit more affected children across Guatemala, including a donation of thousands of blankets for low-income families with children living in the coldest regions in the country.
Gustavo Menéndez contributed to this report.
To learn more about the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Guatemala, visit adventistas.org.gt