Young girls were being abused. People walking the rugged trail were being attacked, but one ASELSI Bible Studies graduate wanted to be right in the middle of it all.

    

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In 2015 Pastor Miguel Ángel found just the place he was looking for to take the light of Christ--El Esfuerzo, Suchitepéquez. This little village is tucked in the woods

near the Guatemalan Pacific Coast, and is home to 65 families.

     In this case, “home” is a relative term since this village provided little love or protection for its inhabitants.

   The village was a place of dirt, poverty, fear, abuse, hurt, crime, and limited resources. There is no running water, no electricity, and few jobs for the men. These things are just the physical problems.

    The darkness of this village was deeper than their tiny wax candles could illuminate as young girls were sexually abused or even sold themselves to whomever could offer them a mere bottle of soda. Adults were attacked and robbed of the little money they had.

     When Pastor Miguel Ángel wanted to visit, leaders from the village warned that if he came, they wouldn't be responsible for his protection. He went anyway.

     What he found were families hungry for hope and a different way of living.

     Partnering with a local pastor, Miguel Ángel began developing a few projects. He built a stove here, repaired a house there, and invited families to come and learn how God’s Word can transform their lives.

     They did come, and the small congregation of about a dozen people grew to 60 (statistically almost one person for every household in the village).

     Now Miguel Ángel leaves his hometown and makes the two and a half hour drive to El Esfuerzo every month. He trusts God for protection and takes his own family—including his three daughters—and others who have partnered with him to help fill El Esfuerzo with the love of Christ. They take sugar and a nutrition drink that they distribute to the families who come to a discipleship program along with teachings and activities for the children.

     With the help of his wife and daughters, Miguel Ángel started teaching the parents about integrity and about protecting their daughters. They teach the men how they can be men of character and integrity. They also teach the girls about whom they can be in Christ and show them how to play and enjoy their childhood again. They teach them about how to stay safe and how to avoid dangerous or potentially abusive situations.

     Since Miguel Ángel began visiting El Esfuerzo, they have seen big changes. The homes are better cared for, the church has blossomed with families joining together every week. Better still, there haven't been any young girls getting pregnant.

     "My vision is that the girls live health lives, that the people grow in their love for Christ and that the community prospers spiritually and economically." Pastor Miguel Ángel said.

     There is still a big need for help to make this vision come true. A lot of work is to be done. Pastor Miguel Ángel is developing a water project, a solar lighting plan, and an economic development project for the local farmers. He is also taking lots of teachings to help these young hearts grow into a community that shows the love and light of Christ.

     ASELSI's Bible students have committed to partner with Pastor Miguel Ángel for 2017 to provide the supplies for the nutrition drink and sugar that are distributed to the families of El Esfuerzo each month. Already some of ASELSI’s students and a team from the U.S. have visited El Esfuerzo to help build and grow the Kingdom of God there.

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If you’d like to help ASELSI continue reaching out with projects like this, consider a gift to help us equip more saints like Pastor Miguel Ángel and our students to bring Christ’s Word and love to the nations.