Greetings from GoServ Global
I have tried to write my newsletter several times over the last two months. I normally get home from Guatemala sometime in March. I take a week to get mind focused on what was just accomplished and then start sharing what the Lord is doing in Guatemala.

This year was turned on its head by the Coronavirus. Our last mission team was able to get out of Guatemala just days before the airport closed. We had a couple from Eagle Grove who stayed a week longer working with another ministry. They got word the country was shutting down due to the virus and they had to leave. Joe and Marianne hurried to the airport and Marianne got the last seat on the last plane leaving Guatemala. Joe was stuck and we didn’t have a clue how to get him home. Well, the Lord provided, and Joe was able to travel with another group of volunteers who were trying to get home as well. They took a bus to Mexico, flew into Mexico City and then onto Detroit.
Then word came that the Guatemalan government closed all the schools and churches on April 1 st . We had just started our second year of classes in January and hired Diego, a retired Christian school superintendent. With Diego at the helm, things were moving along smoothly – 100+ students enrolled, 7 teachers hard at work, and the kitchen staff cooking away. Carol was busy in the office, and Ruben and Carlos were busy finishing up the ceilings. We just had two mission teams from Mason City. I came home smiling from ear-to-ear and called Paul at GoServ Global to tell him the building would be completed when the guys finish the ceiling. Life was good. Then BOOM, I was quarantined for 15 days, Ethan and Melissa’s senior year of high school came to a sudden end, and Kelly’s job search came to a screeching halt. All of us were locked away at home 24/7 and my smile began to fade.

The nation of Guatemala is a full month behind us when it comes to the virus. April brought curfews, closures, and job loss. Diego and the teachers met and figured out away to send school lessons by internet and phone apps to kids who had access to them. This worked okay the first month, everyone just hunkered down and tried to ride it out. May came and the government’s quarantine became even more harsh. People could not use motor vehicles anymore in an effort to keep people from traveling to different towns. This is a huge hardship for most of our students and church members. They live outside of Nueva Concepcion in the surrounding villages and 90% of the food they rely on is sold in Nueva Concepcion. The government also closed all the open-air markets where people are able to buy food at better prices. The end of May brought a 4-day in home quarantine where you could be arrested if found outside your home. The police and military were patrolling the streets fully armed.
June arrived and everyone is out of food and money. Guatemalans are very good about sharing with others but a scene that I had never witnessed before has now become a reality. People are standing along the roads and stores holding white flags in their hands. It is a universal sign that the person has no food or money and is starving. Sam and Veronica started taking any food they could put together to the poorest church members. Ruben and Diego focused on trying to help the students. They all came together and pooled the money for the church and school, their salaries, and the money we send down every month to operate the ministry to buy food and share it with those in the most need.

Good news, the government saw what they were trying to do and has allowed us to reopen the school kitchen and begin serving breakfast again. We wired $500 down to Ruben, who bought supplies and served 120 meals on June 2 nd , the first day we were allowed to serve meals. The numbers grow each day and on Friday truckloads of people began to come from the villages towards the ocean. The police just look the other way, understanding the need.

Unfortunately, the need is only going to grow. Guatemala is experiencing nationwide flooding along the coast thanks to the hurricanes. We are only 100 ft above sea level and very flat in Nueva. This means more jobs lost or not coming back due to the flooding. Standing water means mosquitos and all their diseases are going to be a huge problem over the next six months.

A glimmer of hope … it is possible that the government is going to lift the quarantine on the school July 1 st . I have no idea what this would look like but people are ready to get back to work and start moving forward.

Please keep the prayers and the funds coming. There is an abundance of needs to be met.
I want to close this letter with a praise. We have a man named Cheyo who has attended church for several years. Cheyo is the father of the very first couple that I married in Guatemala - Migdalia & Henry. Everyone who has been to Guatemala on a team has met Migdalia - she is dear to their heart. Cheyo just rededicated his life to Christ and was baptized! This is a very big deal for a man of his age (65) to get publicly baptized. It was a huge blessing to all of us as w ell. God is Good!

In Christ,

Mark & Kelly Lee
GoServ Global Guatemala Director

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310 East Broadway
PO Box 193
Eagle Grove, IA 50533
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