Just within the past few years, Hearts for the Children has extended its ministry base to the heart of one of Guatemala City’s most poor districts. In 2001, in Colonia Landivar of Guatemala City, we bought an old chicken warehouse to renovate into a free hospital for the children of Guatemala. Not long after purchasing the warehouse, the adjoining four-bedroom house became available as well. After much prayer, with the generous support of our brothers and sisters in North America, we were able to buy the house.
It did not take us long to feel the tremendous need for God’s love in these streets, as we couldn’t help but notice prostitutes on every corner and drug and alcohol addicts wandering the streets. The more time Tom and Elizabeth began to spend in this part of the city, the heavier God laid it upon their hearts to one day start a ministry to these ladies and men.
Their vision became to open a halfway-house as a place these men and women can find refuge from their lives on the street and work towards a better lifestyle, through the help of Jesus. Through this vision, the Mary Magdalene Ministry was born. Elizabeth spent the first year or two developing relationships with many of the prostitutes working near the Mary Magdalene house. As the ministry began to host feeding programs and events for children on the streets, the ladies became closer with Elizabeth and eventually some began to come crying to her for hope, for their lives and for the lives of their children.
Then, in early 2004, Elizabeth held the first official Mary Magdalene outreach program. The event was quite a success, and the outreach has continued. Every Tuesday, we open the garage of the Mary Magdalene house to people from the streets of Guatemala longing for hope of something more. We spend some time praising the Lord, we offer them a word of encouragement from the Bible and offer them the saving hand of Jesus. Then we dine together as brothers and sisters.
We are happy to report that many of these men and women have given their lives to the Lord through this ministry. Over a dozen have gone to rehab to start their new lives. We have seen lives of men, women and their children completely transformed through this ministry by the hand of God. One praise report is of Lupita, who gave her life to the Lord through this program, successfully completed rehab, and now has married. Her first two children, born out of prostitution, now have a mother, father, and church family who love them dearly and can raise them knowing the love of the Lord! Praise God!
Lupita with her children, Isaac and Saida, and new husband Wilson
In November of 2004, God began a new branch of the Mary Magdalene Ministry. We took a group of pastors visiting from Cuba to a local men’s rehab center. As we preached the good news to these men so hungry for life, many that first night came to know Jesus. We visited the center again with the group, and more gave their lives to Him. As we could see the tremendous need for Jesus in the lives of these men, we committed to continue helping bring the good news to them. We are now visiting the center several times a month to provide a meal and to offer hope of a new life to these men.
To read more highlights of the Mary Magdalene ministry since the beginning, and to read how lives have been transformed,