Guatemala Stories: The Ravine

“All this pain
I wonder if I’ll ever find my way
I wonder if my life could really change at all”

We had been told about The Ravine. We had been briefed on what we should expect and the few things we should/shouldn’t do while there.

But, words can only go so far; some things have to be seen, touched, smelled, experienced for full impact to occur. The Ravine is one of those things.

Entrance to The Ravine

The Ravine is a garbage dump in Chimaltenango. There are over 50 families there who live and work among the heaps of garbage, hoping to scrape a living out of the waste of others.

Our team traveled there on Friday morning to bring small bags of staple food items and soap to 50 of these families and to pray with them.

Gathering the families...

Their situation seems hopeless. They have been stuck in the cycle of poverty for generations, with seemingly no way out. Each day is the same: work until dark, hoping to find treasures that can be reused/cleaned/recycled and sold to buy food for their families.

“All this earth
Could all that is lost ever be found
Could a garden come up from this ground at all”

Hope is present...

Hope doesn’t seem to exist here at first glance. However, we have seen first-hand that God is indeed redeeming and restoring these people, starting with their precious children. We saw hope in the eyes of each person with whom we prayed and spoke that day. We saw hope in the eyes of their children when we visited them later that day. He is literally taking them from the ashes and making them new, opening doors to a life they never dreamed would be possible. And this is all because of the love of two precious people: Cesar and Carol.

Cesar and Carol decided that they needed to open a school for the children of The Ravine – a school where they could break free from the cycle of poverty and literally change their community forever. That’s how The Ravine School was born only a little more than a year ago – completely out of faith in God. Carol and Cesar did not have a “nest egg” or any riches to speak of, but they believed in a God who redeems, and had faith that He would rescue these children.

There are now 114 children in The Ravine School who are learning to read, write, use computers, and grasp their full potential instead of carrying on the work of their parents and grandparents in the dump with no hope of escape. From a one room building to a beautiful space with classrooms and plenty of light in only a year, God’s redeeming love and faithfulness is abundant in this place.

You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of the dust
You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of us

All around
Hope is springing up from this old ground
Out of chaos life is being found in You

You make me new, You are making me new
You make me new, You are making me new

– Gungor’s “Beautiful Things” (lyrics throughout post) is the perfect song for what God is doing at The Ravine…Hear the song here.

The color and lighting are imperfect due to shooting from inside a vehicle (in order to avoid making the families feel uncomfortable), but these images still show how God is continuing to make beautiful things out of bad situations.

Stay tuned for more about The Ravine School and the beautiful things happening there.

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