Christ is born
May He live on in your heart
Christmas Blessings:

The pre-Christmas season went by in a blur this year, partly due to my trip to Omaha to spend time with family in late November. Returning to Guatemala December 11, I jumped right into a series of holiday activities sponsored by our ministry, as well as "family" celebrations in our two homes. It has been a busy couple of weeks, but a time of great blessing, too.

(Want to see pictures of our Christmas Season? Click one of these links.)

Unlike in the US where many take down their trees on Dec. 26, the Christmas season here in Guatemala continues until January 6, the feast of the Three Kings, so I can still wish you a Merry Christmas and I pray that the newborn King will continue to reside in your hearts throughout 2020.

Did I really just write that? 2020. I can remember in my 20's wondering if I would be "old" in the year 2000. Now, 20 years after entering the new millenium, I find myself in a country I never thought of at that stage in my life, serving God in a way I only dreamed of as a teen, living with people who are very different from me, and speaking a language I barely knew before. While my body reminds me of my age, my heart continues to be young and I love the life God has gifted to me.

The past year has been filled with many blessings as well as challenges.

Thanks to your prayers and financial donations, our men's house, Casa de Esperanza, is thriving, and the guys living there continue to grow daily as a family. It brings me great joy seeing them moving closer and closer to Jesus both in their words and in the ways in which they live. Their skills and abilities are improving, and they are focusing more on job training and employment than ever before.

One of our men, Osmi, has graduated high school, having earned the privilege of carrying the flag in the graduation ceremony by achieve the highest grades in his class.

He could not have accomplished this without your support.
The opening of our women's home, Hijas del Rey (Daughters of the King) as well as our therapy center in Santo Tomas have proven to be a great successes. God has moved mightily and lives have been changed. These two ministries have impacted not only our residents and clients, but their families and those in the communities in which we are working. This year, move than ever before, we have had Guatemalan volunteers working beside us in our projects, as well as our wonderful paid staff. Thank you for enabling us to serve those who are forgotten and neglected here in Guatemala, but are important to us and to God.
Speaking of our staff, I invite you to celebrate with us their accomplishments during the past year.
Mario, a companion-caregiver at Casa de Esperanza, successfully completed his first year of university training as a physical and occupational therapist. He continues to work for us weekends.
Vicente, another companion-caregiver at Casa de Esperanza, completed a level 1 English course studying Saturdays at a local language center.
Dani, a third companion-caregiver at our men's home, graduated as an auxiliary nurse this past month. While he has been offered positions in a hospital where he did his practicum, he has chosen to continue working for us!
Dani has been busy in other areas of his life, too. This past weekend, he was married to a beautiful young woman who encourages his goals and we look forward to seeing what their future together holds.
The addition of the women's home and therapy center has stretched our resources, but God has been faithful and we are finishing the year in the black. While we have lost a few regular donors due to retirement and medical issues, God had timed this with me beginning to receive Social Security and we have been able to make up any short falls through my retirement funds. (Before anyone tells me I shouldn't do this--which I have heard--I need to share with you that I am more than happy to contribute to our mission and encourage you to do the same.)

Our focus for 2020 is much the same as it has been this past year: improving the quality of the programs in our two homes and our therapy centers. In addition, I have been invited to regularly train teachers in one of the local pubic schools, and will offer this same training to local teachers through our Santo Tomas Center.

I invite you to regularly pray for us during this coming year; for protection, provision and that we may faithfully fulfill the purpose God has entrusted to us: to improve the lives of those with additional needs, now and for eternity.
We invite you to become part of what God is doing in Guatemala
We have two major needs as we look to the near future of our ministry. We ask you to prayerfully consider partnering with us financially in the coming year to enable us to keep serving God's people with special needs.

It has become apparent that in the coming year we will need to replace our 2001 Mazda van with something a bit more reliable. It has served us well, but given its age and its 178,000 miles, it is time for a change. We estimate that this will cost between $7000-10,000. Would you consider a one time donation to keep us on the road in 2020?

To be fully funded for the coming year, we need to increase our monthly donations by $1000. That sounds like a lot, but if fifty people are able to contribute $25 a month, we will meet this goal. Would you prayerfully consider partnering with us financially through monthly donation? I can promise your support will have eternal impact.
Thank you for taking the time to read through all this. We pray regularly for each of you on our mailing list, and welcome any special prayer requests you might have. Just send them to my email, and please be sure to let us know how God answers these petitions.

Wishing you an increased awareness of the presence of Christ in this holy season,

Pat Duff
and the Team of Reason to Hope
Pat Duff, a.k.a.Guatemala Grandma
Reason to Hope, Inc. | | patd@reasontohope,org