Becoming Esperanza

Signing the covenant in 2015
A scholarship meeting

        It was 2014 when the very first group from Cary Presbyterian Church (CPC) in Cary, North Carolina, traveled to Guatemala to investigate establishing a relationship with an indigenous Mayan community. For several years, CPC had supported the work of another church and non-profit; the next step seemed to be “to do more."

   

        With the help of two Guatemalan partners, Martin Sop and Mario Mejia, the following year Cary Presbyterian Church and Iglesia Presbiteriana Monte Sinai signed a covenant. From the beginning, the goal of the two churches was to evolve beyond a two-church ministry into a nonprofit able to serve the entire village.  Programming and support would be open to all in the village of Nimasac, Guatemala, and to other villages in the future.

        By mid-2017 Esperanza de Guatemala became a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization made up of people passionate about supporting the village of Nimasac. Esperanza has patterned its work in Guatemala on the important idea of partnership. When Helping Hurts, by Stephen Corbett and Brian Fikkert, explains how mission trips and non-profits can actually hurt the economy of developing countries.  From the beginning, Esperanza’s work is guided by local committees of Guatemalans, complete with officers, to plan and implement all our work.  Shared-decision making is embraced and when problems occur, as they always do, more joint decision-making happens. For example, with several construction projects, a Nimasac Building Committee provided a daily construction supervisor, handled payments, and scheduled the work.  We trust our work is for development, not rescue, with the goal of encouraging sustainability.

        The work we do together is driven by the community’s priorities. The people in the Guatemalan community prioritize needs, and it is the supporters of Esperanza who respond “yes, we can.” While the needs far surpass the resources currently available, our desire is to continue our efforts and build upon the partnership’s successes as resources allow.